16 July 2021 Current Affairs English


  1. Draft Drone Rules, 2021 released for public consultation by Ministry of Civil Aviation.

  • Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has released the updated – The Drone Rules, 2021 for public consultation. Built on a premise of trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive monitoring, The Drone Rules, 2021 will replace the UAS Rules 2021 (released on 12 March 2021). The last date for receipt of public comments is 5 August 2021.

Key takeaways from the Draft Drone Rules, 2021 include.

  • Approvals abolished: unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorisation etc.
  • Number of forms reduced from 25 to 6.
  • Fee reduced to nominal levels. No linkage with the size of the drone.
  • Safety features like ‘No permission – no take-off’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in future. A six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
  • Digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
  • There will be minimal human interface on the digital sky platform and most permissions will be self-generated.
  • Interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones will be displayed on the digital sky platform.
  • Yellow zone reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • No flight permission required upto 400 feet in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • No pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drone and for R&D organisations.
  • No restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
  • Import of drones and drone components to be regulated by DGFT.
  • No security clearance required before any registration or licence issuance.
  • No requirement of certificate of airworthiness, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.
  • Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.
  • All drone training and testing to be carried out by an authorised drone school. DGCA shall prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.
  • Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.
  • Manufacturer may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
  • Easier process prescribed for transfer and deregistration of drones.
  • Standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) will be prescribed by DGCA on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users. No approvals required unless there is a significant departure from the prescribed procedures.
  • Maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 reduced to INR 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.
  • Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries.
  • Drone promotion council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.
  1. School Innovation Ambassador Training Program.

  • Union Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Tribal Affairs Minister Shri Arjun Munda will jointly launch the ‘School Innovation Ambassador Training Program’ for 50,000 School Teachers on 16th July 2021.
  • The innovative and one of its kind training program for School Teachers ,
  • it aims at training 50,000 school teachers on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, IPR, Design Thinking, Product development, Idea generation etc.
  • The program has been designed by Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Education and AICTE for School Teachers based on its “Innovation Ambassador Training Program for Higher Educational Institution’s faculty members”.
  • The training will be delivered in online mode only.
  1. Raksha Mantri launches Artificial Intelligence powered grievance management application.

  • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered grievance management application in New Delhi on July 15, 2021, developed by Ministry of Defence with the help of IIT-Kanpur.
  • This is the first AI based system developed to improve grievance redressal in the Government.
  • The AI tool developed as part of the initiative has capability to understand the content of the complaint based on the contents therein. As a result, it can identify repeat complaints or spam automatically.
  • Based on the meaning of the complaint, it can categorise complaints of different categories even when key words normally used for such search are not present in the complaint.
  • It enables geographical analysis of complaints in a category including analysis of whether the complaint was adequately addressed or not by the concerned office.
  • Easy user-friendly search enables user to formulate his own queries/categories depending on management requirements and seek performance results based on the query. Given that lakhs of complaints are received on CPGRAMS portal of DARPG, this application will have great use in understanding the nature of complaints, geographies from where they emanate and policy changes which can be introduced to create systemic improvements to address these grievances.
  1. MSME Minister Shri Narayan Rane Launches New Khadi Products – Khadi Babywear & Unique Handmade Paper “Use & Throw”

  • Minister for MSME Shri Narayan Rane launched Khadi’s two new exclusive product range – Khadi cotton babywear and unique Khadi handmade paper slippers – at Khadi India’s flagship showroom in Connaught Place, New Delhi.
  • The new products include Khadi’s first ever cotton clothing for babies. To begin with, KVIC has launched sleeveless vests (jhablas) and frocks along with bloomers and nappies for new-borns and up to 2 years old babies.
  • KVIC has used 100% hand-spun and handwoven cotton fabric that is soft on the tender and sensitive skin of the children and prevents them from any rashes or skin irritation.
  • The ministers also launched Khadi’s handmade paper “use & throw” slippers which has been developed for the first time in India. These handmade paper slippers are 100% eco-friendly and cost-effective.
  • The Handmade paper used in making these slippers is completely wood-free and made of natural fibres like Cotton & Silk rags and agro waste. These slippers are weightless and best suited for travel and indoor usage like in home, hotel rooms, hospitals, places of worship, laboratories, etc. It is also effective from the hygiene point of view.
  • While Khadi cotton babywear are priced uniformly at Rs 599 per piece; the handmade paper slippers cost a meagre Rs 50 per pair. The two new products can be purchased at Khadi showroom in Connaught Place as well through KVIC’s online portal khadiindia.gov.in.


  • NTPC Group achieves over 100 Billion Units of cumulative generation in the current financial year.
  • NTPC Group companies under Ministry of Power have achieved over 100 Billion Units (BU) of cumulative generation in the current financial year, reinforcing group’s commitment towards excellence in operation.
  • Last year the group generation had crossed 100 BU on 7th August 2020, indicating improved performance and an increase in demand for power in the current year.
  • NTPC group companies recorded a generation of 85.8 BU in the first quarter from April to June 2021, registering an increase of 26.3% from 67.9 BU generated in the corresponding quarter last year.
  • On a standalone basis, NTPC generation increased by 19.1% to 71.7 BU in the first quarter from April to June 2021, compared to the 60.2 BU generated in the corresponding quarter last year.
  • NTPC Korba (2600 MW) in Chattisgarh is the top performing thermal power plant in India with 97.61% Plant Load Factor (PLF) between April to June 2021, as per the data published by Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
  • Further 37-year-old, NTPC Singrauli Unit 4 (200 MW) in Uttar Pradesh, achieved 102.08% PLF, highest in the country, from April to June 2021.
  • This demonstrates the expertise of NTPC in Operation and Maintenance of the power plants and the high levels of operational excellence.
  • With a total installed capacity of 66085 MW, NTPC Group has 71 Power stations including 29 Renewable projects. NTPC has set a target to install 60 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy (RE) capacity by 2032.
  • NTPC is also India’s first energy company to declare its energy compact goals as part of the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE).
  • The group has over 20 GW of capacity under construction, including 5 GW of renewable energy projects. Uninterrupted supply of electricity through environment-friendly energy projects at affordable prices has been the hallmark of NTPC.


  1. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurates and dedicates PRASHAD projects in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

  • PM Modi inaugurated various development projects in Varanasi which includesTourist Facilitation Centre under the Project “Development of Varanasi Under PRASHAD Scheme – Phase II” and operation of Cruise Boat from Assi Ghat to RajGhat under the Project “Development of River Cruise in Varanasi under PRASHAD Scheme”.


  • The ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) is a Central Sector Scheme fully financed by the Government of India launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15.
  • Its objective is integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
  • The scheme aimed at infrastructure development such as entry points (Road, Rail and Water Transport), last mile connectivity, basic tourism facilities like Information/ Interpretation Centers, ATM/ Money exchange, eco-friendly modes of transport, area Lighting and illumination with renewable sources of energy, parking, drinking water, toilets, cloak room, waiting rooms, first aid centers, craft bazars /haats/ souvenir shops/ cafeteria, rain shelters, Telecom facilities, internet connectivity etc. The project “Development of Varanasi Under PRASHAD Scheme – Phase II” was approved by the Ministry of Tourism with the cost of Rs. 44.69 crores in Feb. 2018.


  1. COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam.

  • Shri Arjun Munda, Minister of Tribal Affairs, today, virtually launched the nationwide campaign “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam” to accelerate the pace of COVID vaccination among tribals, in India.
  • Shri Munda launched the campaign through video conferencing link-up with field camps in Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and Bastar in Chhattisgarh.
  • The campaign will leverage the 45,000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVK) of the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), a national level cooperative body under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
  • The campaign will be implemented with the help of traditional village headsmen, SHGs,  and ground level workers in villages and the Van Dhan Kendras will become the focal points ,
  • Tribal communities should not only remain safe and healthy during the pandemic but should also be able to continue their livelihood activities, this is the objective of the campaign,
  • UNICEF India Representative, Dr Yasmin Haque said, “COVID-19 has exacerbated issues of access to sanitation, nutrition and health services in the tribal areas making the people more vulnerable. This campaign is aligned with UNICEF’s equity approach to survival, growth and development of children. We are proud to be associated with this campaign, which focuses on vaccine equity and engages with communities that risk being left behind.
  • The India Representative of WHO, Dr, Roderico Ofrin said that vaccine offers indemnity against covid virus and reaching ‘hard to reach’ people should be the  focus of any vaccination drive. Communication plays a vital role in the success of the vaccination drive and it is very appropriate that such an awareness campaign is being launched for the tribal communities today, he added.


  1. Gira Sarabhai, co-founder of NID, passes away at 98.

  • Gira Sarabhai, co-founder of the renowned National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad and a pioneer of design education in India, passed away in Ahmedabad
  • She played a crucial role in setting up several other institutions and contributed immensely in the field of art and architecture.
  • With her brother Gautam Sarabhai, she founded the NID and also prepared its academic curricula, which laid the foundation for design education in the country.
  • Besides NID, another notable institution both Gira and Gautam were involved in setting up is the Calico Museum, one of India’s most famous private museums. The Calico was one of the textiles mills run by their father Ambalal Sarabhai, along with a range of other businesses in Gujarat.
  • The Calico Museum was inspired by Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy, who had suggested to Gautam Sarabhai, chairman of the mill in 1946, to found a textile museum in the city since Ahmedabad, as a major textiles hub, was known as the ‘Manchester of the East’.
  • The museum was set up in 1949 and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated it.


  1. Oil marketing companies revised transportation rates of Ethanol to facilitate large scale Ethanol blending with petrol.

  • Oil marketing companies have revised the transportation rates of Ethanol to facilitate large scale Ethanol blending with petrol in states far from ethanol producing states.
  • State-run oil marketing companies– Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation– are required to blend Ethanol with petrol under the National Policy on Biofuels 2018 Ethanol Blended Program (EBP).
  • Blending petrol with more of home-grown ethanol can reduce India’s oil import bill by 4 billion US dollars a year.
  • The central government has fixed a target to blend petrol with ethanol up to 20 percent by 2023.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on June 28 issued a draft notification to facilitate manufacture of automobiles designed to run on petrol blended with ethanol to the extent of 12 percent and 15 percent.


  1. India’s overall exports grow by 31.87% in June.

  • AIRIndia’s overall exports in June are estimated to be 49.85 billion dollars, exhibiting a positive growth of 31.87 per cent over the same period last year.
  • Overall imports in June this year are estimated to be 52.18 billion dollars, exhibiting a positive growth of 73.65 per cent over the same period last year.
  • India’s overall exports in April to June this year are estimated to be 147.64 billion dollars, exhibiting a positive growth of 50.24 per cent over the same period last year.
  • Overall imports in April to June this year are estimated to be 156.58 billion dollars, exhibiting a positive growth of 80.75 per cent over the same period last year.


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