- SOVERIGN GOLD BOND SCHEME 2021-22- ISSUE PRICE
Focus: GS III- Agriculture
Why in news?
In a bid to increase mangoes exports to South Korea, APEDA in collaboration with Indian embassy, Seoul and Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ICCK), organised a Virtual Buyer Seller Meet (VBSM).
Nodal: Ministry of Commerce and Industry
- The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985.
- The Authority has its headquarters in New Delhi.
- A Chairman is appointed by the Central Government.
- APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products viz. fruits, vegetables and their products; meat and meat products; poultry and poultry products; dairy products; confectionery, biscuits and bakery products; honey, jaggery and sugar products; cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; cereal and cereal products; groundnuts, peanuts and walnuts, pickles, papads and chutneys; guar gum; floriculture and floriculture products; herbal and medicinal plants.
- APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.
- Registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products and fixing of standards and specifications for the scheduled products for the purpose of exports.
- Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughterhouses, processing plants, storage premises and improving packaging of the scheduled products.
Focus: GS II- Health
Why in news?
Government of India proactively makes all round efforts to ramp up supply and availability of Amphotericin-B anti-fungal drug for treatment of Black Fungus disease.
- Black Fungus or Mucormycosis, previously called zygomycosis, is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes which exist in the environment.
- The disease is often characterized by hyphae growing in and around blood vessels and can be potentially life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals.
- Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.
- Mucormycosis causes loss of eyesight, removal of the nose and jaw bone, and 50 per cent mortality in cases where it affects the brain — within 15 days.
- The symptoms in general are face numbness, one-side nose obstructions or swelling of eyes, or pain – affected skin may appear relatively normal during the earliest stages of infection, however, this skin quickly becomes reddened and may be swollen before eventually turning black due to tissue death.
- Other forms of mucormycosis may involve the lungs, skin, or be widespread throughout the body; symptoms may also include difficulty breathing, and persistent cough.
How it is related with COVID-19?
- The disease is caused by a set of micro-organisms known as mucormycetes, which are present naturally in the environment, seen mostly in soil and in decaying organic matter like leaves, compost and piles.
- In normal course, our body’s immune system successfully fights such fungal infections. However, we know that COVID-19 affects our immune system. Moreover, the treatment of COVID-19 patients involves intake of drugs like dexamethasone, which suppress our immune system response. Due to these factors, COVID-19 patients face a renewed risk of failing the battle against attacks mounted by organisms such as mucormycetes.
- In addition, COVID patients undergoing oxygen therapy in ICU, where humidifier is used, are prone to fungal infection because of exposure to moisture.
- But this does not mean that every COVID patient will get infected by Mucormycosis. The disease is uncommon in those not having diabetes but can be fatal if not treated promptly. Chances of recovery depend upon early diagnosis and treatment.
- Mucormycetes, the group of fungi that cause mucormycosis, are present throughout the environment, particularly in soil and in association with decaying organic matter, such as leaves, compost piles, and animal dung.
- Several different types of fungi can cause mucormycosis and belong to the scientific order Mucorales.
- The most common types that cause mucormycosis are Rhizopus species and Mucor species.
- They are more common in soil than in air, and in summer and fall than in winter or spring.
- These fungi are not harmful to most people but for people who have weakened immune systems, breathing in micromycetes spores can cause an infection.
Amphotericin B (AmB)
- It is a polyene antifungal antibiotic that causes damage to fungal and host cells by altering cell membrane permeability.
- Amphotericin B appears as deep yellow prisms.
- It is a yellow to orange, odourless, or practically odourless, powder.
SOVERIGN GOLD BOND SCHEME 2021-22- ISSUE PRICE
Focus: GS II- Indian Economy
Why in News?
The Government of India in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India has decided to allow discount of Rs 50 (Rupees Fifty only) per gram from the issue price to those investors who apply online and the payment is made through digital mode.
- For such investors the issue price of Gold Bond will be Rs 4,792 (Rupees Four thousand Seven hundred Ninety two only) per gram of gold.
About Soverign Gold Bond Scheme (SGB)
- The Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme was introduced in the Union Budget 2015-16 by the Union Cabinet which was chaired by PM Narendra Modi.
- It was launched to reduce the demand for physical gold and with an aim to invest a part of these physicals gold bars and coins that are purchased every year into financial savings in the form of gold bonds.
- Investors have to pay the issue price in cash and the bonds will be redeemed in cash on maturity.
- The Bond is issued by Reserve Bank on behalf of Government of India.
- Government introduced these bonds to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports.
- The move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.
- The bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities, including individuals, Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs), trusts, universities and charitable institutions.
- The bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
- The tenor will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from the 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
- The minimum permissible investment limit will be 1 gram of gold, while the maximum limit will be 4 kg for individual, 4 kg for HUF and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the government from time to time.
- In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 4 kg will be applied to the first applicant only.
- Bonds can be used as collateral for loans.
- The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
Benefits of Soverign Gold Bond
- As a low-risk investment, it is perfect for investors with low-risk appetite.
- Compared to physical gold, the cost to purchase or sell SGBs is quite low.
- The expense of buying or selling the SGB is also nominal in comparison to the physical gold.
- The gold bonds can be availed either in paper or in demat form as per the convenience of an individual.
- The gold bonds invested by the Investors can be gifted or transferred to others who are eligible under the scheme.
- They can also trade these bonds on stock exchanges subject to notifications of the Reserve Bank of India.
- These Gold bonds can be purchased through multiple payment modes such as cheques, cash, DDs or electronic transfer.
Focus: GS II- International Groupings
Why in news?
Delegates from BRICS nations highlighted the importance of enhancing collaboration among astronomers from the countries at the seventh meeting of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group Meeting.
- Under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track of the BRICS 2021 calendar, India hosted the seventh meeting of BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) meeting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, as well as astronomers from these countries in online mode from 19 to 20th May 2021.
- From the Indian side, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, and Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India coordinated the meeting. It witnessed participation of all five BRICS countries with more than 50 participants, including researchers, academicians, and government officials.
- The delegates deliberated on strategic and operational matters and recommended the networking of existing Telescopes in BRICS countries and create regional Data Network.
- BRICS is an informal group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (joined in 2010).
- The BRICS leaders’ summit is convened annually.
- BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
- The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
- Together, BRICS accounts for about 42% of the world’s population and about 23% of the global GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and 17% of the world trade, making it a critical economic engine.
- The five nations account for 50 per cent of the world economic growth, 27% of the world area and 13.24% of World Bank voting power.
- Pitted as a counterweight to G7, the combine of developed economies, BRICS represents the world’s top emerging economies and claims to serve as a bridge between the developed and developing world.