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UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 17-02-2021

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February 17, 2021

Report on Road Accidents

  • Report on road accidents was prepared by the World Bank in collaboration with the Save Life Foundation (NGO).
  • With just 1% of the world's vehicles, India accounts for 11% of the global death in road accidents, the highest in the world.
  • India accounts for about 4.5 lakh road crashes per annum, in which 1.5 lakh people die.
  • India witnessing 53 road crashes every hour; killing 1 person every 4 minutes.
  • Crash costs are estimated at 3.14% of India’s Gross Domestic Product.

Bhuvan Geospatial Portal

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) of the Department of Space (DoS) has joined hands with the CE Info Systems Pvt Ltd., (owned by MapmyIndia) to offer fully indigenous mapping solutions.
  • This is in line with the new guidelines for the Geo-Spatial Sector in India.
  • As part of the deal, ISRO and MapmyIndia would develop solutions by leveraging their geoportals and work on enhancing geospatial expertise.
  • The partnership brings together MapmyIndia's digital maps and ISRO's catalogue of satellite imagery and earth observation data.
  • The combined geospatial expertise of the DoS and MapmyIndia would be leveraged through their respective Geoportals.
  • Their partnership would help in further development of the indigenious geospatial portal ‘Bhuvan’ of the ISRO.
  • Holistic geospatial solutions will be build jointly utilising the earth observation datasets, "NavIC", "Bhuvan", "VEDAS" and "MOSDAC" geoportals, Web Services and APIs of MapmyIndia.
  • [APIs - Application Programming Interface]


  • Bhuvan is the national geoportal developed and hosted by ISRO in 2009 comprising geospatial data, services and tools for analysis.
  • It provides visualisation services and Earth observation data to users in public domain.
  • It also services several users for their remote sensing application needs.
  • NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) or Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is ISRO’'s own navigation system.
  • VEDAS is Visualisation of Earth observation Data and Archival System.
  • It is an online geo-processing platform using optical, microwave, thermal and hyperspectral data covering applications particularly meant for academia, research and problem solving.
  • MOSDAC (Meteorological and Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) is a data repository for all the meteorological missions of ISRO.
  • It deals with weather-related information, oceanography and tropical water cycles.

Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021

  • It aims to create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • It also prohibits private cryptocurrencies in India.
  • However, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.
  • The bill was brought as the regulatory bodies like the RBI and SEBI do not have any legal framework to directly regulate cryptocurrencies.
  • This is because of the fact that the cryptocurrencies are not currencies, assets, securities or commodities issued by identifiable users.

Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021

  • This Bill seeks to replace Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.
  • It seeks to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and provides for the following, namely:—
    1. To grant unconditional stay of enforcement of arbitral awards, where the underlying arbitration agreement, contracts or arbitral award is induced by fraud or corruption;
    2. To omit 8th Schedule of the Act which laid down the qualifications, experience and norms for accreditation of arbitrators; and
    3. To specify by regulations the qualifications, experience and norms for accreditation of arbitrators and the said amendment is consequential in nature.

Digital Intelligence Unit

  • Ministry of Communications will set up a Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU).
  • DIU will be the Nodal agency to deal with unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) and financial fraud related complaints, especially in the digital space.
  • DIU’s main function will be to coordinate with various Law Enforcement Agencies, Financial Institutions & Telecom Service Providers to investigate any fraudulent activity involving telecom resources.
  • Telecom Analytics for Fraud Management and Consumer Protection (TAFCOP) system will be created at 21 License Service Area level.

Unsolicited Commercial Communication

  • It is any commercial communication which a subscriber opts not to receive.
  • This excludes messages from Central or State Governments.
  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notified the ‘Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018’ to curb UCC problem.

Ebola Outbreak

  • Guinea has declared an Ebola outbreak for the first time since an outbreak ended in 2016.
  • The first epidemic began in 2013 in Guinea, which caused major life loss and socio-economic disruption in the region, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  
  • It’s a huge concern to see the resurgence of Ebola in Guinea.
  • However, banking on the expertise and experience built during the previous outbreak, health teams in Guinea are on the move to quickly trace the path of the virus and curb further infections.

Ebola Disease

  • It is viral disease, which is also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever.
  • It is transmitted from animal to human through infected fruit bats, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines or in the rainforest.
  • It is transmitted from human to human via direct contact (through broken skin, blood, secretions, organs or mucous membranes) with the infected or dead person.
  • Symptoms include impaired kidney and liver function, fever, fatigue, muscle pain, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Diagnosis can be done through RT-PCR assay, ELISA assay, Antigen-capture detection tests, Serum neutralization test, etc.


Source: PIB, The Indian Express, Business Line, Down To Earth, Business Today, Economic Times

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