Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 July 2021

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 16 July 2021


Centre’s new SOP may damage Environment Impact Assessment regime

  • The standard operating procedure (SOP)issued by the ministry is a result of orders from the National GreenTribunal, which earlier this year directed the ministry to put in place penalties and an SOP for green violations.


  • The latest guidelines from the Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to prevent violations of green norms actually seem yet another attempt to weaken the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) regime.
  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked the ministry to formulate a standard operating procedure, keeping the ‘polluter-pays’ principle and the ‘principle of proportionality’ in mind. 
  • The green bench was concerned by continuous violation of environmental norms by infrastructure and industrial projects.  

The environment ministry’s office memorandum (OM) empowers regulatory institutions at both central and state level:

  • To identify and report cases of violation 
  • To take action against violators in terms of closure or demolition of a project
  • To levy penalty on them that is akin to the scale of the project

Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked the States and Union Territories to immediately withdraw the cases registered under the repealed-Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.


  • Days after the Supreme Court expressed shock that it was being invoked even six years after the apex court had struck it down.
  • The Supreme Court found it “distressing”, “shocking” and terrible” that the provision — which was held unconstitutional and a violation of free speech in the Shreya Singhal judgment authored by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman on March 24, 2015 — was still being used to book people.
  • Through an advisory, the MHA asked the authorities in the States and Union Territories to direct all police stations not to register cases under the repealed provision. “If any case has been booked in your State under Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000, it should immediately be withdrawn,” said the advisory.
  • In view of the Supreme Court judgment, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology through a letter in January 2019, and the MHA via two letters in January and April 2019, had asked the States and Union Territories to sensitise the police department and local police authorities for strict compliance with the Court directive.


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World Youth Skill Day

  • The World Youth Skills Day, an event organised by the United Nations (UN), celebrates the strategic importance of equipping the youth with skills for employment, entrepreneurship and work. It is observed on July 15 every year. 


  • The day first came into existence back in 2014, and has since then provided “a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organizations, policy makers and development partners.
  • The World Youth Skills Day aims to achieve the Incheon Declaration: Education 2030, “which devotes considerable attention to technical and vocational skills development, specifically regarding access to affordable quality TVET; 
  • The acquisition of technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship; 
  • The elimination of gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable,” the UN further said in its website.

Fit for 55 Legislation

  • The European Union is set to unveil sweeping new legislation that will focus on slashing the region’s emission of greenhouse gases by 55% in 2030.
  • The initiative is called as Fit for 55 legislations.

It covers a number of initiatives like:

  • Tougher caps on car pollution;
  • New national limits on gases from buildings;
  • Revamp of the bloc's emissions trading scheme under which companies pay for the gases they send into the air;
  • Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will impose duties on foreign companies, and so increase the price of certain goods, notably steel products.


Longevity Finance

  • Gift-City regulator IFSCA(International Financial Services Centres Authority)has set up an expert committee to recommend approach towards development of Longevity Finance Hub in the Gift-City in Gujarat and provide a road map for the same.

Need For Longevity Finance:

  • Global estimates suggest that there are one billion people in the silver generation (individuals aged 60 and older) with a combined spending power of $15 trillion.
  • Development in medicinal science and technology will further extend lifespan and longevity of the silver generation.
  • This demographic change will throw open new challenges and opportunities in areas of wealth management, health, insurance, and other investment products.


Vikas Engine for Gaganyaan

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on July 14 successfully conducted the third long-duration hot test of the liquid propellant Vikas engine for the Gaganyaan programme, the country's first manned mission to space.


  • The engine was fired for a duration of 240 seconds at the engine test facility of ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.
  • The objective of the Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit onboard an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth.
  • Vikas Engine is a high thrust engine to enhance lifting power of various Indian Launch Vehicles.
  • Presently, it is under test to be used on the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle for GaganyaanProgramme, announced in 2018 to demonstrate ISRO capability in sending humans to low-earth orbit and bringing them back to Earth.


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