Current Affair – April 28, 2021

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Report

  • SIPRI has released its annual report on trends in global military expenditure in 2020.

Findings of Report

  • The world’s top military spenders are the US, China and India. All three countries military spending went up compared to 2019, even during a pandemic year.
  • In 2020, the US spent a total of $778 billion, China spent $252 billion and India’s military expenditure was $72.9 billion.
  • India’s spending since 2019 grew by 2.1%, China’s by 1.9% and US saw a 4.4% growth over its 2019 expenditure.
  • The global military expenditure rose to $1981 billion last year, an increase of 2.6% from 2019. The increase in world military spending came in a yearwhen the global GDP shrank by 4.4%.
  • In 2020, the United States’ military spending was 3.7% of its GDP while the corresponding numbers for China and India were 1.7% and 2.9% respectively.
  • From 2011 to 2020, American military expenditure dropped by 10%, but China saw a 76%  growth while India’s military spending grew by 34%.
  • The military spending in Asia and Oceania was 2.5% higher in 2020 than in 2019 and 47%  higher than in 2011, continuing an uninterrupted upward trend since at least 1989. This rise isattributed primarily to increases in spending by China and India, which together accounted for 62% of total military expenditure in the region in 2020”.
  • The other top spenders included Russia, the UK, Saudi Arabia, followed by Germany and France.
  • While military spending did rise globally, some countries explicitly reallocated part of their planned military spending to pandemic response, such as Chile and South Korea, and many others, including Brazil and Russia, spent considerably less than their initial military budgets for 2020.

India

  • Earlier in March, a SIPRI report found that India’s arms imports came down by a third between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020, at a time when the government has been trying to reduce the import dependence when it comes to defence platforms and weapons.
  • However, India remained the second highest importer, only behind Saudi Arabia.
  • The top five global arms exporters were the US, Russia, France, Germany and China in 2016-2020.
  • Arms imports by India decreased by 33% between 2011–15 and 2016–20. Russia was the most affected supplier, although India’s imports of US arms also fell, by 46%.
  • The report attributed the fall not to the government’s push to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing, but to factors including reducing the dependence on Russian arms, and the complex procurement procedure.

About SIPRI

  • The SIPRI is a Sweden-based independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  • It was established in 1966 on the basis of a decision by the Swedish Parliament and receives a substantial part of its funding in the form of an annual grant from the Swedish Government.
  • It provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.
Source: Indian Express

Exercise  VARUNA 2021

  • The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ concluded on 27th April 2021.
  • It was conducted from 25-27 Apr 2021 in the Arabian Sea.

About the exercise

  • Exercise VARUNA has been a key enabler in building interoperability and strengthening the coordination between the two navies.
  • Units of both navies honed and enhanced their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain.
  • Indian Navy’s guided missile frigate Tarkash will continue to exercise with the French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from 28th April to 1st May 2021 participating in advanced surface, anti-submarine and air-defence operations with the French CSG.
Source: PIB

Agreement on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters

  • The Cabinet of India has approved the signing and ratification of an Agreement between the Government of Republic of India and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters.

Impact:

  • The Agreement will help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences.
  • The Agreement is also expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between the countries.

Implementation strategy and targets:

  • The Agreement will be signed on behalf of the Governments of the two countries after it is approved by the respective Governments.
  • This Agreement shall enter into force from the first day of the month following signature by duly authorised representative of both parties.

Background:

  • The Agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.
  • The draft text of the proposed Agreement has been finalized with the concurrence of the two Customs Administrations.
  • The Agreement takes care of Indian Customs’ concerns and requirements, particularly in the area of exchange of information on the correctness of the Customs value, tariff classification and origin of the goods traded between the two countries.
Source: PIB

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

  • Agriculture Infrastructure Fund has crossed the Rs. 8000 crore mark after receiving 8,665 applications worth Rs. 8,216 crores.
  •  The largest share of the pie is contributed by Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) (58%), agri-entrepreneurs (24%) and individual farmers (13%).

About AIF

  • The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is a medium-long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.
  • The duration of the scheme is from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).
  • Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE for loans up to Rs. 2 Crores.
  • Eligible beneficiaries include farmers, FPOs, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.
Source: PIB

Pink Moon / Supermoon

  • A “super full moon”  was observed on April 27, 2021. April’s moon is called the Pink Moon. It is named after an early spring flower also known as a perennial wildflower plant. This Full Moon is also known as the Fish Moon or Sprouting Grass Moon.
  • For many Hindus, this day is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti according to the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra.

Moon orbit

  • The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle.
  • It has an average distance of 382,900 km from Earth. 
  • Apogee and perigee are moon’s farthest and closest approaches from Earth.

Tides

  • Exceptionally high tides are common when the moon is closest to the Earth, known as perigee, and when it’s either full or new.
  • In the case super full moon, it’s both full and at perigee.

What the moon has to do with coastal flooding?

  • The moon’s gravitational pull is the dominant reason for tides on Earth. More specifically, Earth rotating beneath the moon once per day and the moon orbiting around Earth once per month are the big reasons that the ocean is constantly sloshing around.
  • Moon’s gravitational pull creates a bulge in the ocean water that is closest to it. There’s a similar bulge on the opposite side of the planet due to inertia of the water.
  • As Earth rotates through these bulges, high tides appear in each coastal area every 12 hours and 25 minutes. Some tides are higher than others, depending on geography.
  • The sun plays a role too: Earth’s rotation, as well as its elliptic orbit around the sun, generates tides that vary throughout the day and the year. But that impact is less than half of what the moon contributes.

What is the lunar nodal cycle?

  • Earth orbits the sun in a certain plane, called the ecliptic plane.
  • Moon’s orbital plane intersects Earth’s orbital plane at two points, called nodes.
  • The Moon’s orbital plane wobbles, to a maximum and minimum of +/- 5 degrees over a period of about 18.6 years. This natural cycle of orbits is called the Lunar Nodal Cycle.
  • When the lunar plane is more closely aligned with the plane of Earth’s equator, tides on Earth are exaggerated. Conversely, when the lunar plane tilts further away from the equatorial plane, tides on Earth are muted, relatively.
Source: Downtoearth

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