Daily Current Affairs : 24th July 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Tianwen-1 mission
  2. Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) protocol
  3. India and Israel to work on rapid test
  4. New warning on tobacco products
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Tianwen-1 mission

Context: China launched a rover to Mars, signalling a space race with the US — NASA is set to launch its own rover on July 30. It also marks a busy week for Mars missions, with the UAE having launched one on Monday — one that does not involve a landing, but an orbital mission that will study the Martian atmosphere. This is a period that offers a window for such launches, with the alignment of Earth and Mars allowing a short journey.

About China’s Mission

  • China’s first Mars probe is called Tianwen-1 (formerly Huoxing 1), which means “Questions to Heaven”.
  • The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, and the mission aims to study the thickness and sub-layer distribution of the Martian soil.
  • The spacecraft, weighing 5 tonnes, launched on a Long March 5 rocket from Xichang, China.
  • It has carried 13 payloads (seven orbiters and six rovers) that will explore the planet.
  • Tianwen-1 is expected to land on the Red Planet’s surface in the first quarter of 2021.
  • The orbiter will use high-resolution cameras to search for a suitable landing site somewhere in the Utopia Planitia region. It weighs around 240 kg and will carry cameras, a subsurface radar, a spectrometer, a magnetometer, and atmospheric sensors
  • China named its first Mars exploration mission as Tianwen-1 as it celebrated ‘Space Day’ to mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the country’s first satellite Dong Fang Hong-1 in 1970. All of China’s planetary exploration missions in the future will be named on Tianwen series, signifying the Chinese nation’s perseverance in pursuing truth and science and exploring nature and the universe.


  • The Chinese Mars probe named Tianwen 1 or Quest for Heavenly Truth 1, will fulfil three scientific objectives: orbiting the red planet for comprehensive observation, landing on Martian soil and sending a rover to roam the landing site.
  • It will conduct scientific investigations into the planet’s soil, geological structure, environment, atmosphere and water

Earlier attempts by China

  • China’s previous ‘Yinghuo-1’ Mars mission, which was supported by a Russian spacecraft, had failed after it did not leave the earth’s orbit and disintegrated over the Pacific Ocean in 2012.

2. Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) protocol

Context : Nandan Nilekani announced the launch of a new credit protocol infrastructure called the ‘Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) protocol, which Indian Software Product Industry RoundTable (iSpirit) has built and worked over the past months

About OCEN

  • OCEN is a credit protocol platform.
  • It will mediate the interactions between loan service providers, usually fintechs and mainstream lenders, including all large banks and NBFCs.
  • Private equity and venture capital players, angel investors, high networth individuals and others could be part of this exercise as investors
  • iSpirit is partnering with key lenders such as State Bank of India, HDFC Bank Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd., IDFC First Bank Ltd., Axis Bank Ltd. and Bajaj Finserv Ltd. for this new credit rail.

Significance of OCEN

  • With the help of OCEN credit will move seamlessly to small businesses and thus ensure the revival of the economy, which has been hit by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.
  • It will solve the problem of cost and data symmetry for the lenders. Cost is solved by digitisation and asymmetry is solved by the Account Aggregator model

About Account Aggregator

  • Account Aggregator (AA) platform is a digital public infrastructure developed in collaboration with major Indian financial regulators, to manage data on behalf of consumers and streamline its access to payment and financial service providers.

3 . India and Israel to work on rapid test

Context: A team of top Israeli scientists will soon arrive in India for the final stages of testing of four advanced technologies for rapid diagnosis of the novel coronavirus.

About the news

  • The Israeli delegation led by the Directorate of Defense Research and Development in the Ministry of Defense, will conduct a series of tests to determine the effectiveness of a number of rapid diagnostic solutions along with Indian scientists and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

About the Tests

  • The tests include two Covid-19 tests that could give results in minutes from a saliva sample, a third that could tell if a person has incipient Covid by listening to their voice, and a virus detector that uses radio waves on a breath sample
  • The Israeli and Indian scientists will carry out 4,000-5,000 tests using each technology in India to determine if they can work.
  • The technologies to be tested in India include an artificial intelligence based online voice test and breathalyser test, isothermal testing and testing using polyamino acids.
  • The voice test analyses recording of a human voice and aims to identify changes in the patient’s voice and/or deterioration in the condition of his/her respiratory system as part of system developed for detecting the virus using Terra-Hertz (THZ) waves.
  • Isothermal testing allows detection of the virus in a saliva sample with the help of a chemical reaction and produces a result within 30 minutes, while testing using Polyamino acids too detects virus proteins in a saliva sample in a few minutes.

4 . Warning on Tobacco Products

Context: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified new sets of specified health warnings for all tobacco product packs by making an amendment to the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008.

Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Third Amendment Rules, 2020

  • The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Third Amendment Rules, 2020 amends the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008.
  • It will come into effect from December 1, 2020.
  • The new sets of specified health warnings will include enhanced pictorial images to be printed on all tobacco products.
  • All tobacco products manufactured or imported or packaged on or after December 1, 2020 shall display the first set of images, while the second set of images will be displayed by the tobacco products manufactured or imported or packaged on or after December 1, 2021
  • Any person engaged directly or indirectly in the manufacture, production, supply, import or distribution of cigarettes or any tobacco products shall ensure that all tobacco product packages shall have the specified health warnings exactly as prescribed.

Provision in case of violation?

  • Violation of the above-mentioned provision is a punishable offence with imprisonment or fine as prescribed in Section 20 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003

About Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003

  • The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003 is an Act of Parliament of India enacted in 2003 to prohibit advertisement of, and to provide for the regulation of trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India.
  • The Act prohibits smoking of tobacco in public places, except in special smoking zones in hotels, restaurants and airports and open spaces
  • Advertisement of tobacco products including cigarettes is prohibited.
  • Tobacco products cannot be sold to person below the age of 18 years, and in places within 100 yards radius from the outer boundary of an institution of education, which includes school colleges and institutions of higher learning established or recognized by an appropriate authority
  • Tobacco products must be sold, supplied or distributed in a package which shall contain an appropriate pictorial warning, its nicotine and tar contents
  • The Act also gives power to any police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector or any officer of State Food or Drug Administration or any other officer, holding the equivalent rank being not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police for search and seizure of premises where tobacco products are produced, stored or sold, if he suspects that the provision of the Act has been violated
  • The Act also prescribes punishment for various offences

5 . Facts for Prelims

Spike protein

  • It is a protein that protrudes from the surface of a coronavirus, like the spikes of a crown or corona — hence the name ‘coronavirus’. In the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, it is the spike protein that initiates the process of infection in a human cell.
  • It attaches itself to a human enzyme, called the ACE2 receptor, before going on to enter the cell and make multiple copies of itself.

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action