Current Affairs: 6th November 2020

India-OPEC Energy Dialogue

Context: 

  • The fourth high level meeting of India-OPEC Energy Dialogue was held virtually on November 5, 2020. 

Key Highlights:

  • On the occasion, India put forward the issue of assessing the disruption of oil supply that has been induced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • India urged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to address the anomalies that are prevalent in differential crude oil prices. Currently, the prices for the crude oil is fixed by the OPEC members for different regions.

About Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC):

  • OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of 13 nations. 
  • The organization was founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad. 
  • The first five members that founded the organization include- Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. 
  • OPEC has been headquartered in Vienna, Austria though Austria is not an OPEC member state. 
  • The current OPEC members include- Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. 
  • Ecuador, Indonesia and Qatar are the countries that left the grouping. The most recent being Qatar that withdrew in 2019.

About OPEC+:

  • OPEC+ grouping was formed in 2016 with the addition of 10 additional oil exporting countries led by Russia. 
  • These countries had cooperated in fixing the global crude oil prices by agreeing to production quotas. 
  • OPEC+ countries encourage excess capital investment in the global oil sector rather than encouraging cheaper oil production at lower capital investment. 
  • The 10 members include- Russia, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Mexico, South Sudan and Sudan.

 

‘All insults not offence under SC/ST Act’

Context:

  • All insults or intimidations to persons belonging to Dalit or tribal communities will not be an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act the Supreme Court has said in a recent judgement.

More about news:

  • A three-judge bench said that an offence is made out under the statute only if “such insult or intimidation is on account of the victim belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe”.
  • “Offence under the Act is not established merely on the fact that the informant [complainant] is a member of Scheduled Caste unless there is an intention to humiliate a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste,” the court said.
  • The court said that in order to be considered an offence, the insult should be specifically intended to humiliate the victim for his caste.
  • The court said that the object of the Act is to punish violators who inflict indignities, humiliations and harassment.
  • The Act is intended at punishing the acts of the upper caste against the vulnerable section of society for the reason that they belong to a particular community.
  • The Act: 
    • It prohibits the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and establishes special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims. 
    • It is empowered by Art 17 of the constitution.

 

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Context: 

  • The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has recently released a report on water scarcity.

Key highlights:

  • According to the recent report, hundred cities worldwide, including 30 in India, face the risk of ‘severe water scarcity’ by 2050.
  • This will be due to a dramatic increase in Cities population percentage to 51 per cent by 2050, from 17 per cent in 2020.
  • The cities include global hubs such as Beijing, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Mecca and Rio de Janeiro.
  • In the report more than half of the identified cities are from China and India.                                        
  • Thirty Indian cities are included in the list, the top five cities are as follows:
    • Jaipur
    • Indore
    • Thane
    • Vadodara
    • Srinagar
  • The report suggested that, Cities needed to invest more in nature-based solutions and enhance the health of river basins, watersheds and wetlands to build resilience to water risks.

WWF Water Risk Filter:

  • WWF also launched an online tool called the WWF Water Risk Filter.
  • It aims to help cities imagine future water risks and plan a better and sustainable future facilitating climate and water resilience.
  • While a lot of initiatives taken by the government were based on old data, the simulation that WWF had designed could help cities and its stakeholders plan better.

About WWF:

  • It is an international non-governmental organization
  • Founded in 1961
  • Headquarter : Gland (Switzerland).
  • It is the world’s largest conservation organization
  • Objectives:
    • Conserving the world’s biological diversity
    • Ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
    • Promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption

 

COVID-19 Vaccine

Context: 

  • Recently the Government of Bangladesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Serum Institute of India

Key points:

  • The MoU has been signed for the priority delivery of 3 crore COVID-19 vaccine called COVISHIELD doses to Bangladesh. 
  • The COVISHIELD Vaccines has been developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford.  
  • As per the MoU, initially 1.5 crore people will be vaccinated and each person would be given two doses.

Vaccines in India:

  • In India, three COVID-19 vaccines are currently undergoing the trial. 
  • The three vaccines are:
    • Russian Vaccine called Sputnik V, 
    • Oxford University Vaccine called COVISHIED and 
    • The COVAXIN that has been developed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Bharat Biotech.
  • About COVAX Facility:
    • India has been made a part of the COVAX Facility by the Global Alliance for Vaccines (GAVI). This facility is aimed at making the COVID-19 vaccines to all the countries. The primary objective of the facility is to avoid vaccine nationalism.
  • The Government of India has planned to store COVID-19 vaccine using the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN). 
  • The GoI will use the real time tracking using eVIN. It is an indigenously developed system that digitises the vaccines stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain.

 

Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI)

Context: 

  • Recently Gandhian Young Technological Awards in two categories have been announced by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology.

Key points:

  • The awards and appreciations are given under these two categories to encourage technology students to move towards setting up Biotech and other start-ups.
  • SITARE-GYTI
    • Students Innovations for Advancement of Research Explorations – Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (SITARE-GYTI) under Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
    • The SITARE-GYTI awards are given every year to the most promising technologies developed by the students in life sciences, biotechnology, agriculture, medical devices etc.
  • SRISTI-GYTI:
    • Sustainable Technological Innovations-Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (SRISTI-GYTI) given by SRISTI.
    • This award is given to students in other engineering disciplines.