DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS SEPTEMBER 22, 2018

Shivraj Chouhan lays foundation stone of Rs 84.66cr-worth projects

On Sept. 22 During  Jan Ashirwad Yatra Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan laid the foundation stone of developmental projects worth Rs 84.66 crores in Chhindwara’s Parasia town.
i. Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal also attended the yatra assured that four mines in Chhindwara and two in Betul will be opened soon. Also, he assured these six mines will make employment for thousands of youths.
ii. Goyal announced that Coal India Limited (CIL) will build a stadium for the youths in Chhindwara to showcase their skills to honor the players who achieved the Indian contingent at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.

Naropa festival concludes with Guinness World Record in Ladakhi dance

On Sept. 22 , To mark the end of “Naropa Festival” total of 299 women dressed up in traditional Ladakhi wedding attire danced together making it to the Guinness World Records and declared the dance performance as the “Largest Ladakhi Dance”. Celebrated every 12th year of the Tibetan calendar, the Naropa festival, also known as the ‘Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas’

Naropa festival

i. The women wore Peaks, turquoise headgears and performed the Shondol to Ladakhi music at the Hemis Monastery in the Himalayas. Shondol is a traditional dance performed for the king on special occasions.
ii. During the end of five-day festival Tsering Ladol being honored with the Himalayan Hero award. Ladol was the first Ladakhi girl to scale Mount Everest in 2005.

  • The award was conferred to Master Sonam Lundup, for his dedication in the field of education
  • Olthang Nimoo, for his contribution in the field of art
  • Posthumously to Late Padma Shri Tsering Wangdus

iii. The festival, which started on September 16, celebrated the life and teachings of Buddhist scholar-saint Naropa with traditional dance and musical performances. Tibetan Buddhist painting on a cloth depicting a deity or a mandala which the monastery touted as “the largest silk embroidered brocade of Buddha” in India.

Jharkhand govt inks MoU with NICL for Ayushman Bharat scheme

On Sept.21, Jharkhand government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Insurance Company Ltd to provide medical facilities to the people of the state under the Centre’s flagship health scheme”Ayushman Bharat Yojana”.

Jharkhand-govt-inks-MoU-with-NICL-for-Ayushman-Bharat-Scheme

i. This MoU became quality and timely medical treatment to the citizens.
ii. The Scheme will benefit 57 lakh families in the state who will be provided health insurance upto Rs.5 Lakh to get best possible medical treatment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch this scheme from Ranchi.
About Jharkhand
♦ Capital: Ranchi
♦ Chief minister: Raghubar Das
♦ Governor: Draupadi Murmu
♦ Tagore Hill is a monument honoring Nobel Prize-winning author Rabindranath Tagore.

Arunachal introduces ‘Smart e-Public Distribution System’, developed by Madras Security Printers

Arunachal Pradesh becomes the first State in North East India to introduce Smart e-Public Distribution System (e-PDS), a solution developed by the Madras Security Printers, a company specializing in system integration and solutions for e-governance projects. Deputy Commissioner (DC) Prince Dhawan introduced the Smart Ration Cards (SRCs)
Benefits:
i. It provides centralized online real-time electronic PDS to improve efficiency in supplying commodities to the beneficiaries.
ii. Department of Food & Civil Supplies (DFCS)will be able to use technology to monitor and control their complete supply chain, plan operations, get analytical information and MIS reports and ensure that the citizens are benefited.
About Arunachal Pradesh
♦ Capitals : Guwahati (Judiciary), Itanagar
♦ Chief minister: Pema Khandu
♦ Governor: B. D. Mishra

Meghalaya cabinet approves final draft of the state Education Policy, 2018

On 21st September 2018, Meghalaya cabinet approved the final draft of the state Education Policy, 2018, after 46 years of statehood, that aims to address issues related to the education sector.
Key Points:
i. This policy has the learner as the focal point. It covers broad areas like vision, overall goal, goals for the development of early childhood care and education (ECCE), elementary, secondary, higher secondary and teacher education.
ii. The policy also addresses the problem of having different categories of schools and teachers in Meghalaya.
iii. In March 2017, a 24-member Task Force was constituted to finalise the Meghalaya State Education Policy.
iv. After incorporating suggestions, the task force submitted the draft to the education department on 30 July 2018.
Some National Parks in Meghalaya:
♦ Balphakram National Park
♦ Nokrek National Park

3rd edition of MahaBiz 2018 to be held in Dubai

The 3rd edition of ‘MahaBiz 2018’ International Business Conference will be held in Dubai on 12th and 13th October 2018.

3rd edition of MahaBiz 2018

Key Points:
i. MahaBiz acts as a bridge for business opportunities between Maharashtra and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.
ii. MahaBiz 2018 would act as a common platform for businesses, investors and important government decision makers to share and discuss various opportunities in more than 10 different industry sectors.
iii. Over 400 delegates from India, Gulf countries and Africa will participate in MahaBiz 2018.
About Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC):
♦ GCC – a political and economic alliance of 6 middle-eastern countries
♦ Members – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar
♦ Secretary General – Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani

India, Nepal agree to use satellite images in boundary survey work

India and Nepal have agreed to explore the possibility of using high-resolution satellite images in boundary survey work.
Key Points:
i.This decision was taken during the 5th meeting of Nepal-India Boundary Working Group (BWG) held in Kathmandu from 19th to 21st September 2018.
ii. India and Nepal also agreed to continue mapping of No man’s land encroachment and cross-border occupation.
iii. Outcome of the 4th meeting of BWG held in Dehradun in 2017 was reviewed and it was observed if the issued guidelines are followed.
iv. Work schedule for the remaining field seasons was finalized. Discussion was held on various matters related to the ongoing Nepal-India boundary work.
About Nepal-India Boundary Working Group (BWG):
♦ Constituted – 2014
♦ Type – joint body constituted by the Governments of India and Nepal
♦ Purpose – carry out works in the fields of construction, restoration and repair of boundary pillars including clearance of ‘No-man’s land’ and other technical tasks

IRDAI hikes insurance cover for owner-driver to 15 lakh

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has raised the minimum insurance cover for owner-driver to Rs 15 lakh from Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh for a premium of Rs 750 per annum for motorised two-wheelers and private cars/commercial vehicles under capital sum insured (CSI).
i. All motor policies will now include personal accident protection that will cover the owner-driver for Rs 15 lakh in case of accidental death while driving.
ii. The regulator directed all general insurers to provide a minimum CSl of Rs 15 lakh under Compulsory Personal Accident (CPA) cover for owner-driver under ‘Liability Only’ to all classes of vehicles at the premium rate of Rs 750 per annum for annual policy.
iii. This will be part of the mandatory insurance cover for the vehicle owners.
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI)
♦ Headquarters: Hyderabad
♦ Agency executive: Subhash Chandra Khuntia (Chairman

Assamese movie ‘Village Rockstars’ is India’s official entry for Oscars 2019

On 21st September 2018, Film Federation of India (FFI) announced that, Assamese movie “Village Rockstars” has been selected to represent India in the Best Foreign Language category at the 91st Academy Awards 2019.

Village-Rockstars-Oscars-2019-India-entryKey Points:
i. This announcement was made by SV Rajendra Singh Babu, Chairman, Selection Committee for Oscar Award, FFI. The 91st Academy Awards will be held on 24th February 2019.
ii. “Village Rockstars” features Bhanita Das in the lead role. It was directed by Rima Da.
iii. It had won the Best Feature Film trophy at the 65th National Film Awards. It had also received Best Child Artist, Best Location Sound Recordist and Best Editing awards.

Ramesh Bawa resigns as MD and CEO of IL&FS Financial Services

On 21st September 2018, IL&FS Financial Services Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ramesh Bawa resigned from his position.
Resignation of Ramesh Bawa:
i. Ramesh Bawa has resigned from the post of MD and CEO of IL&FS Financial Services following allegations on the IL&FS group regarding defaults in loan payment and corporate governance issues.
ii. Four independent directors: Renu Challu, Shhubhalakshmi Panse, Uday Ved and SS Kohli, and non-executive director Vibhav Kapoor have also resigned from the board.
iii. IL&FS has around Rs 35,000 crore consolidated debt and IL&FS Financial Services has Rs 17,000 crore of debt.
About Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS):
♦ Type – infrastructure development and finance company
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai

ISRO setting up third launch pad at Sriharikota for Gaganyaan mission

On Sept 21.The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is setting up a third launch pad at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh to undertake the Gaganyaan manned space flight programme.
i. The two launch pads were already full. The third launch pad is set up for human space flight.ISRO is inspecting for a location on the western sea coast near Gujarat to set up another launch pad for Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV).
ii. Aim of Mission: To send a three-person crew to space for a period of seven days.The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 Km.
Gaganyaan manned space flight programme or Gaganyaan Mission:-
Indian Human Spaceflight Programme was created by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop the technology needed to launch crewed orbital spacecraft into low Earth orbit.[2] The first crewed flight is planned with a spacecraft called Gaganyaan for December 2021 on a home-grown GSLV-III rocket.

India settles for silver in Asian Team Snooker Championship in Doha

On 21st September 2018, India won silver medal in the Asian Team Snooker Championship in Doha.
Key Points:
i. India lost to Pakistan 2-3 in the final of the Asian Team Snooker Championship.
ii. Scores:

  • Pankaj Advani lost to Babar Masih 2-110(81)
  • Malkeet Singh defeated Muhammad Asif 81(52)-47
  • Doubles: Pakistan beat India 70-72
  • Pankaj Advani beat Muhammad Asif 107(68)-5
  • Malkeet Singh lost to Babar Masih 18-98

World Rose Day or Cancer Free Day – September 22

On September 22  Rose Day is observed on all over the world every year who are battling cancer. The purpose of celebrating Rose Day is to make cancer patients become strong to face the disease with spirit and will power.
i. Healthy diet, Avoid smoking and alcohol, Regular exercise, less sun exposure to sunlight will prevent the cancer.
Backgroud:-
It is observed in the memory of 12-year-old Melinda Rose from Canada, who was diagnosed with Askin’s Tumour, which is a rare form of blood cancer. One way in which we can cut down on cancers such as lung cancer, is by reducing the passive smoke that we inhale.

Assam to observe ‘Rhino Day’ on September 22

i. Assam government has decided to observe September 22 as “Rhino Day”.During the 10th meeting of the State Board for Wildlife Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressed the idea to make people aware about the importance of Rhinos.

Assam to observe 'Rhino Day' on September 22

ii. There are approximately 2600 rhinos have been found in Assam and 95 Rhino poachers were arrested followed by 117 in 2017 and 82 in 2018

Question of the day | Legal terms lists September 22, 2018

Question of the day

Question:  Who is the Legal Advisor to the Government of a State in India?

(a)The Solicitor General

(b) The State Chief Legal Officer

(c) The High Court

(d)The Advocate General

Legal terms of the day

1. RATIO DECIDENDI –Reason for deciding the main part of judgement.

2. SINE QUA NON –“Without which nothing”

3. SINE DIE –Indefinitely

4. STARE DECISIS –The principle that courts must abide by precedents set by judgement made in higher courts.

5. ANNUL –To cancel

 

Today’s answer of the question: D

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

World Bank Approves Country Partnership Framework for India

i. World Bank Board has endorsed an ambitious five-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for India, which aligns with New Delhi’s objectives of high, sustainable and inclusive growth. The framework is expected to bring between 25 and 30 billion US Dollars in financial support to India.

ii. The move is aimed at supporting India’s transition to a higher middle-income country by addressing some of its key development priorities such as resource efficient and inclusive growth, job creation and building its human capital. 

More Info-

  • The President of the World Bank is Jim Yong Kim.
  • The World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States.

Health Ministry Partners With Dell And Tata Trusts

i. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, exchanged the MoUs with the Tata Trusts and Dell to provide a technological platform for nationwide prevention, control, screening and management program of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). 
ii. Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare released the user manual for NCD application under Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) IT Solutions.

iii. Aimed at bringing healthcare technology transformation in Comprehensive Primary Health Care NCD program under Ayushman Bharat, the Health Ministry is working with Dell as a technology partner and the Tata Trusts as deployment partner. 

India Contributes 1 Million to UN’s Ambitious Solar Project

i. India has contributed one million US dollars for the installation of solar panels on the roof of the imposing UN building at the world body’s headquarters iNew York. The contribution will help reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy.
ii. According to India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, India is the first responder to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres‘ call for climate action. 

More Info-

  • Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • The UN Headquarters in New York, United States.

MHA Signs MoU with ISRO To Set Up An Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response 

i. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Department of Space signed a MoU for setting up of a state-of-the-art Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER) in Ministry of Home Affairs.
ii. ISRO will render its technical expertise for setting up of proposed ICR-ER whereas the project will be executed under the overall supervision of MHA. 

More Info-

  • ISRO Chairman: Dr. K Sivan, Headquarters in- Bengaluru, Karnataka. 

DRDO Successfully Flight Tested Tactical Missile ‘Prahar’ 

i. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the indigenously developed surface-to-surface tactical missile ‘Prahar’, from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Balasore, Odisha

ii. Range stations and electro-optical systems tracked the missile throughout its flight. ‘Prahar’ is a contemporary weapon system capable of carrying multiple types of warheads and neutralizing a wide variety of targets. 

More Info-

  • DRDO Headquarters in: New Delhi, Founded in: 1958. 
  • Dr G Satheesh Reddy is the present Chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). 

PM Modi Laid Foundation Stone For World-Class Convention Centre In Delhi 

i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) in Dwarka, New Delhi. The facilities provided at the centre will be on par with the best in the world in size and quality. 

ii. It will rank among the top 10 in the world and the biggest indoor exhibition space in India. The project is planned over an area of 221.37 acres in Sector 25, Dwarka, at an estimated cost of Rs 25,703 crore.

Vice President 3-Nation Visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania: Complete Highlights 

i. The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu was on an official Visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania and returned after a successful official visit. The visit was characterised by extremely cordial discussions with Heads of Governments, PMs and other senior political leaders. 

ii. Some key outcomes: 

1. Support for India’s aspiration to be on UNSC and for taking forward UN reforms.

2. Endorsement of India’s stand on terror and support for early adoption of United Nation’s Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.


International Day of Peace: 21 September 

i. Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. 

ii. The theme for International Day of Peace 2018 is “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”. The theme celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

More Info-

  • Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • The UN Headquarters in New York, United States.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

ICAP: India first country in world to develop document on cooling action plan

Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on eve of World Ozone Day (16th September) released draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP). It makes India first country in world to develop such document. The draft was prepared by Ozone Cell  of MoEFC.  It aims to provide sustainable cooling while keeping in mind, at the same time, the need to protect the ozone layer from substances that can deplete it. It provides a 20-year perspective, with projections for cooling needs in 2037-38.

NITI Aayog calls for clear policy on shifting cultivation

NITI Aayog in its recently report has recommended that Ministry of Agriculture to take up mission on shifting cultivation to ensure inter-ministerial convergence between different ministries. The report was titled “Mission on Shifting Cultivation: Towards a Transformational Approach”.

India’s first ‘smart fence’ pilot project inaugurated along Indo-Pak border

India’s first ‘smart fence’ pilot project was inaugurated along two 5-km each patches of India-Pakistan International Border Jammu and Kashmir. It was launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh from Border Security Force (BSF) Headquarters in Ploura, J&K.

President Launches Logo, Web Portal For Mahatma’s Birth Anniversary

President Ram Nath Kovindlaunched a logo and web portal for the upcoming celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The portal – gov.in is participatory in nature and all participating organisations will be able to upload their activities regarding the commemoration of the occasion.

It also has a unique feature Gandhipedia which will be a repository of Gandhian knowledge and will continue to grow with time. The logo and web portal is part of the two-year-long celebrations from October 2, 2018 to October 2, 2020 across the country and on foreign soil to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.

India committed to become $5 tn economy by 2025: Naidu

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Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said that India is committed to be a five trillion dollar economy by 2025 while addressing at the India-Malta Business Forum in Floriana, Malta.

PM to lay foundation stone for India International Convention and Expo Centre

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The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will lay the foundation stone for India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) at Dwarka, New Delhi, on September 20, 2018.

India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project construction launched

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly launched the construction of India-Bangladesh Friendship Product Pipeline Project through video conferencing. It is first such pipeline through which refined diesel will be supplied to Bangladesh from India.

USEFUL INFO
Bangladesh Capital Dhaka
Currency Taka
PM Sheikh Hasina

AAI to develop project report for Sri Lanka’s Palaly airport

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State-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI)will prepare a detailed project report for development of Palaly airport in Sri Lanka. This would be the first project for the AAI in the island nation.

USEFUL INFO
Srilanka Capital Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
Currency Rupee
President Ranil Wickremesinghe

Maharashtra Government to set up new Cyber University

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Maharashtra Government is setting up new Cyber University dedicated to mitigating cyber threats. It will train 3,000 professionals to fight online space cyber-attacks, internet crimes and conduct cyber forensics.

USEFUL INFO
Maharashtra Capital Mumbai
CM Devendra Fadnavis
Governor Chinamani Vidyasagar Rao

World Bank to lend $74 mn for workforce training in Uttarakhand

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Indiasigned a $74 million loan agreement with the World Bank for the Uttarakhand Workforce Development Project. The project aims to improve the quality and relevance of training at priority Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and to increase the number of workers relevant to the labour market through short-term training in the state.

USEFUL INFO
Uttarakhand Capital Dehradun
CM Trivendra Singh Rawat
Governor Baby Rani Maurya

Odisha CM launches star-rating system for industries to reduce air pollution

Odisha government-introduced a system to rate industries based on the amount of pollutants generated by them. They will be given star rating from one to fivewith the most polluting industry getting one star while the industry with highest compliance rate with pollution control norms will get five stars.

USEFUL INFO
Orissa Capital Bhubaneswar
CM Naveen Patnaik
Governor Ganeshi Lal

Salman Inaugurates Special Children’s Centre Umang In Jaipur

Salman Khanwill officially inaugurate “Umang“, a centre for special children in Jaipur. After unveiling the plaque, he will meet the children and see the services provided by the centre for rehabilitating them.

USEFUL INFO
Rajasthan Capital Jaipur
CM Vasundra Raje
Governor Kalyan Singh

Government inks US$ 74 Million loan agreement for Uttarakhand Workforce Development Project

Union Government has inked US$74 million loan agreement for International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) Credit for Uttarakhand Workforce Development Project (UKWDP).

Interest Rates on PPF, NSC, Other Small Savings Schemes Raised

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The government has raised interest rates on Small Savings Schemes (SSS),including National Savings Certificate (NSC) and Public Provident Fund (PPF) by up to 4% for the October-December quarter, in line with rising deposit rates in the banks. Interest rates for small savings schemes are notified on a quarterly basis.

Sl.
No.
Instrument Rate of interest
(01.07.2018 to 30.09.2018)
Rate of interest
(01.10.2018 to 31.12.2018)
Compounding frequency
1. Savings Deposit 4.0 4.0 Annually
2. 1 Year Time Deposit 6.6 6.9 Quarterly
3. 2 Year Time Deposit 6.7 7.0 Quarterly
4. 3 Year Time Deposit 6.9 7.2 Quarterly
5. 5 Year Time Deposit 7.4 7.8 Quarterly
6. 5 Year Recurring Deposit 6.9 7.3 Quarterly
7. 5 Year Senior Citizen Savings Scheme 8.3 8.7 Quarterly and paid
8. 5 Year Monthly Income Account 7.3 7.7 Monthly and paid
9. 5 Year National Savings Certificate 7.6 8.0 Annually
10. Public Provident Fund Scheme 7.6 8.0 Annually
11. Kisan Vikas Patra 7.3 (will mature in 118 months) 7.7 (will mature in 112 months) Annually
12. Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme 8.1 8.5 Annually

Government Appoints New MD & CEOs At 10 PSBs:

The government of India cleared the appointment of Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors (CEOs and MDs) at 10 Public Sector Banks (PSBs).

Sl.No Banks Headquarters Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors Tagline
1 Andhra Bank Hyderabad Packirisamy Where India Banks
2 Allahabad Bank. Kolkata SS Mallikarajuna Rao A Tradition of Trust
3 Bank of Maharashtra Pune AS Rajeev One family one bank
4 Central Bank of India Mumbai Pallav Mohapatra “Central To you Since 1911”
5 Dena Bank Mumbai Karnam Shekhar Trusted Family Bank
6 Indian Bank Chennai Padmaja Chandru Your Tech- Friendly Bank
7 Punjab & Sind Bank New Delhi S Harisankar Where service is a way of life
8 Syndicate Bank Manipal Mrutyunjay Mahapatra Faithful. Friendly

Or

Faithful and Friendly

9 United Bank Of India Kolkata Ashok Kumar Pradhan The Bank that begins with “U”
10 UCO Bank Kolkata Atul Kumar Goel Honours Your Trust

Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma signed as ambassadors of Skill India Campaign

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Actors Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma have been signed on to promote and endorse the Skill India Mission, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Delhi airport gets top honour at ASQ Awards 2017

The national capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA)has bagged the title of Best Airport to handle over 40 million passengers per annum (MPPA) by the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards 2017.

7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism held in Seoul

7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism was held in Seoul, capital of South Korea from 16 to 19 September, 2018. The theme of the summit was ‘A 2030 Vision for Urban Tourism’. The summit was co-organized by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Seoul Metropolitan Government and supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea Korea Tourism Organization and Seoul Tourism Organization.

Sundeep Misra to write a book on sprinter Dutee Chand, Story So Far

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The incredible story of Dutee Chand, who rose from abject poverty to become one of India’s biggest sprinting stars, will be brought alive in the form of a book titled as, “Story so far” by Sundeep Misra.

Government, FAO launches agriculture project in 5 states with $33.5 million GEF grant

Union government (Agriculture and Environment ministries) along with UN body Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched agriculture project that seeks to bring transformative change in farm sector through conservation of biodiversity and forest landscapes. It will be implemented in five states viz. Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

The project is being funded with US $33.5 million grant from Global Environment Facility (GEF). It aims to transform agricultural production to generate global environmental benefits by addressing biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management. It strives to bring harmony between conservation and development efforts of the country.

ESIC Approves Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna For Cash Relief To Unemployed Insured Persons

The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC)has approved a new scheme- Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna for Insured Persons covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act. This scheme is a relief payable in cash directly to their Bank Account in case of unemployment and while they search for new engagement.

Government launches e-Sahaj portal to facilitate security clearances of businesses

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has launched e-Sahaj portal to facilitate individuals and private companies in seeking security clearance for setting up businesses in certain sensitive sectors. The portal aims to bring greater transparency in according security clearances to business proposals relating to sensitive sectors and geographical locations.

Website, helpline number launched for prospective beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat+

The National Health Agency (NHA), the apex body implementing the Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), has launched a website and a helpline number to help prospective beneficiaries check if their name is there in the final list. One can visit the websitepmjay.gov.in or call up the helpline (14555) to check their enrolment.

DAC approves procurement of upgraded Akash missile system

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman given approval to Indian Army for inducting upgraded variant of indigenously developed Akash short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) system.

Exercise Aviaindra-18 Commences at Lipetsk (Russia)

Exercise Aviaindra is an Air Force level exercise between India and the Russian Federation. First Aviaindra was conducted in 2014 and has been planned as a bi-annual exercise.

Question of the day | Legal terms lists September 21, 2018

Question of the day

Question: What is the meaning of the maxim “nemo judex in sua causa”?

(a) The judge needs a cause to condemn the accused.

(b) No person can be a judge in his own cause.

(c) The judiciary is appointed for a cause, and they shall serve the cause till their last breath.

(d) None of these.

Legal terms of the day

1. NON SEQUITUR –An inconsistent statement

2. PARI PASSU –On an equal footing.

 3. PER CURIAM- In the opinion of the court.

4. PRO RATA –In proportion.

5. QUANTUM –An amount.

 

Today’s answer of the question: B

 

Question of the day | Legal terms lists September 20, 2018

Question of the day

Question: Which of the following had the most profound influence in framing the Indian Constitution?

(a)British Constitution

(b) US Constitution

(c) Irish Constitution

(d) The Government of India Act, 1935

Legal terms of the day

1. MANDAMUS –We command.

2. MENS REA –Guilty state of mind.

3. NEMO DEBET ESSE JUDEX IN PROPRIA CAUSA –No one can be judge in his own case.

4. NEXUS –Connection

5. NISI –Unless

 

Today’s answer of the question: D

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS SEPTEMBER 19, 2018

Defense Acquisition Council (DAC)

Sources: The Hindu.

Context: DAC has approved Procurement of Equipment Worth Rs 9,100 Crores.

DAC has approved procurement of- Akash Missile systems and IUWBA:

Akash Missile Systems: The Missile to be procured is an upgraded version of the previously inducted Akash missiles and will include seeker technology, possess 360-degree coverage and will be of compact configuration with reduced signature. The upgraded Akash Weapon System is operationally critical equipment which will provide protection to vital assets.

The DAC also accorded approval for progressing Design and Development of Individual Under Water Breathing Apparatus (IUWBA) for T 90 Tanks. Developed by DRDO Lab DEBEL, the IUWBA is used by the crew of Tanks as a safety gear and is required by the Tank crew for emergency escape when negotiating water obstacles while deep fording.

Defense Acquisition Council (DAC)

What is it? To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement, the government of India in 2001 decided to set up an integrated DAC. It is headed by the Defence Minister.

Objective: The objective of the DAC is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces, in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

Functions: The DAC is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans. It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license.

Southern Zonal Council

 

Sources: pib.

Context: The 28th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council was recently held under the Chairmanship of the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh in Bengaluru.

  • The Council reviewed the progress of the implementation of the recommendations made at the last meeting relating to security to fishermen, introduction of peninsular tourism trains, uniformity in allocation of funds in proportion to population of SC/ST for scholarship for all the courses etc.

What are zonal councils?

Zonal councils have been established by the Parliament to promote interstate cooperation and coordination. They are statutory bodies established under the States Reorganisation Act 1956 and not constitutional bodies. They are only deliberative and advisory bodies.

There are 5 five Zonal councils namely:

The Northern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.

The Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal.

The Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

The Southern Zonal Council is composed of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Composition:

Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.

Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.

Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.

Advisers- One person nominated by the Planning Commission (which has been replaced by NITI Ayog now) for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone.

Union Ministers are also invited to participate in the meetings of Zonal Councils depending upon necessity.

The main objectives of setting up of Zonal Councils are:

  • Bringing out national integration.
  • Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies.
  • Enabling the Centre and the States to co-operate and exchange ideas and experiences.
  • Establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.

Facts for Prelims:

The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya (vii) Sikkim and (viii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils and their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972.

‘e-Sahaj’ portal

 

Sources: pib.

Context: The Government has launched an online ‘e-Sahaj’ portal for grant of Security Clearance. The portal will facilitate an applicant to submit application online and also to view the status of his application from time to time.

About Security clearances:

  • MHA is the nodal Ministry for security clearances in certain sensitive sectors before issue of license/permit, permission, contract etc, to companies/ bidders/individuals by the administrative Ministry.
  • The objective of national security clearance is to evaluate potential security threats, including economic threats, and provide risk assessment before clearing investment and project proposals in key sectors.
  • The aim is to strike a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country.

Significance of the portal:

With the introduction of online portal, the process has become standardized, resulting in a process which will be faster, transparent and easy to monitor. Various functionaries can access the application and documents online and take timely decisions.

Background:

MHA has cleared about 1,100 cases of security clearance in the past one year. Although the given timeline is 90 days, MHA strives to decide Security Clearance cases in 60 days (average time per case in 2018 is 53 days), which is being reduced further. In 2016, there were 209 cases which were over 6 months old; in 2017, this came down to 154 cases and further down to 47 cases in 2018.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Sources: The Hindu.

Context: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has announced that it will establish its South Asia Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre at New Delhi.

About International Telecommunication Union (ITU):   

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency of the United Nations (UN) whose purpose is to coordinate telecommunication operations and services throughout the world. Originally founded in 1865, as the International Telegraph Union, the ITU is the oldest existing international organization. ITU headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

The ITU consists of three sectors:

  • Radiocommunication (ITU-R) — ensures optimal, fair and rational use of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum.
  • Telecommunication Standardization (ITU-T) — formulates recommendations for standardizing telecommunication operations worldwide.
  • Telecommunication Development (ITU-D) — assists countries in developing and maintaining internal communication operations.

Membership:

  • There are 193 Member States of the ITU, including all UN member states except the Republic of Palau, plus the Vatican City.
  • Membership of ITU is open to only UN members, which may join the Union as Member States, as well as to private organizations like carriers, equipment manufacturers, funding bodies, research and development organizations and international and regional telecommunication organizations, which may join ITU as non-voting Sector Members.

Functions:

  • The ITU sets and publishes regulations and standards relevant to electronic communication and broadcasting technologies of all kinds including radio, television, satellite, telephone and the Internet.
  • The organization conducts working parties, study groups and meetings to address current and future issues and to resolve disputes. The ITU organizes and holds an exhibition and forum known as the Global TELECOM every four years.
  • Another important aspect of the ITU’s mandate is helping emerging countries to establish and develop telecommunication systems of their own.

Although the recommendations of the ITU are non-binding, most countries adhere to them in the interest of maintaining an effective international electronic communication environment.

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Sources: The Hindu.

Context: 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism is being held in Seoul, capital of South Korea.

Theme: ‘A 2030 Vision for Urban Tourism’.

Organized by: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Seoul Metropolitan Government and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea and Seoul Tourism Organization.

Significance: The summit provides unique platform to discuss key issues shaping future of urban tourism in the context of the 2030 Urban Agenda. It brings together high-level representatives from National Tourism Administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders, serving as platform to exchange experiences and expertise.

About UNWTO:

What is it?

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

Members:

UNWTO’s membership includes 158 countries, 6 Associate Members and over 500 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

What it does?

  • As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
  • UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism’s socio-economic contribution while minimizing its possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development worldwide.
  • UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY)

Sources: pib

Context: Government has modified operational guidelines for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY). The new operational guidelines come at the onset of the rabi season, which starts from 1st of October.

Modified guidelines:

  • Provision of penalties for States and Insurance Companies for the delay in settlement of insurance claims has been incorporated.
  • There is a Standard Operating Procedure for evaluation of insurance companies and remove them from the scheme if found ineffective in providing services.
  • The Government has also decided to include perennial horticultural crops under the ambit of PMFBY on a pilot basis.
  • The scheme, as per the new operational guidelines provides add on coverage for crop loss due to attack of wild animals, which will be implemented on a pilot basis.
  • Aadhaar number will be mandatorily captured to avoid duplication of beneficiaries.
  • The insurance companies are given a target of enrolling 10% more non-loanee farmers than the previous corresponding season.
  • The insurance companies will have to mandatorily spend 0.5% of gross premium per company per season for publicity and awareness of the scheme.

Significance:

The new operational guidelines address the current challenges faced while implementing the scheme by putting forth effective solutions. The much demanded rationalization of premium release process has been incorporated in the new guidelines. As per this, the insurance companies need not provide any projections for the advance subsidy.

About PMFBY:

In April, 2016, the government of India had launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) after rolling back the earlier insurance schemes viz. National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), Weather-based Crop Insurance scheme and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).

  • Premium: It envisages a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5% for Rabi crops. The premium for annual commercial and horticultural crops will be 5%.
  • The scheme is mandatory for farmers who have taken institutional loans from banks. It’s optional for farmers who have not taken institutional credit.

Objectives:

  • Providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of unforeseen events.
  • Stabilizing the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
  • Encouraging farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
  • Ensuring flow of credit to the agriculture sector which contributes to food security, crop diversification and enhancing growth and competitiveness of agriculture sector besides protecting farmers from production risks.

 Awareness in space.

Sources: The Hindu.

Context: Scientists are arguing that denying Pluto planetary status is invalid and erroneous. A team of scientists is indicating that the basis on which Pluto was rejected as a planet does not have any support in research literature.

Background:

When Pluto was discovered in 1930, it was the ninth planet in the solar system based on an overestimation of its size. However, Pluto seemed to look out of place among the other larger planets after the discovery of swarms of ice dwarfs – icy rocks in the Kuiper Belt, at the very edge of the solar system billions of miles from the sun. Due to this, some astronomers suggested that Pluto could be just another Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) and not a planet.

How is a planet defined?

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) laid out some guidelines for a celestial body to be called a planet. The IAU said that there were three conditions that must be fulfilled for a celestial body to be termed as a planet: 1) it must be round; 2) it must orbit the sun; and 3) it must have “cleared the neighbourhood” of its orbit.

Why was Pluto rejected?

According to the IAU’s definition, Pluto does not meet the criteria, as Neptune’s gravity influences it, and Pluto shares its orbit with frozen gases and objects in the Kuiper belt.

Pluto downgraded to “dwarf planet”:

After several years of intense debate, astronomers finally reached a consensus in August 2006. They decided to demote Pluto in an extreme redefinition of planethood that seemed to favour scientific reasoning over historic and cultural influences. The decision meant that Pluto will not be a planet anymore.

Pluto stood apart from the other discovered planets. Not only because of its small size, but because its elongated orbit was tilted with respect to other planets, and it goes insider Neptune’s orbit as part of its 248-year journey around the sun.

Key facts:

  • Pluto has five known moons, the largest of which is Charon. Charon is about half the size of Pluto itself, making it the largest satellite relative to the planet it orbits in our solar system.
  • Pluto orbits the Sun about 3.6 billion miles (5.8 billion km) away on average.
  • A year on Pluto is 248 Earth years. A day on Pluto lasts 153 hours, or about 6 Earth days.
  • Pluto has a thin atmosphere of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. The atmosphere has a blue tint and distinct layers of haze.

 

18 Sept 2018, CURRENT AFFAIRS

Public sector banking reforms: Unification of state-owned banks

In news

Public sector banking reforms

  • The Centre proposed the unification of state-owned banks – Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank – to create India’s third largest bank.
  • Merger to provide total business of more than ₹14.82 trillion.
  • After getting in-principle approval, the banks will take steps in accordance with the law and SEBI requirements.
  • The final scheme will be notified by the Central government in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The merger will be based purely on commercial considerations.

Why was the decision taken?

  • India aspiring to be the fastest growing economy has to be supported by stronger and globally competitive banks with increased choices to the stakeholders.
  • Dena Bank has been placed under the prompt corrective action framework (It is in a bad shape with higher NPAshigher cost to income and falling profitability).
  • So the idea is to merge the weaker bank with stronger bank (BoB and Vijaya Bank) so that it would be a strong competitive bank with economies of scale.
  • The entity would also be positioned for substantial rise in customer base, market reach and operational efficiency.
  • The amalgamation is aimed at catering the massive credit requirements of the growing economy, and cutting costs as well as dependence on the government for capital infusion in the longer term.

Do you know?

  • The proposal of fewer but stronger state-run lenders was originally mooted in 1991.
  • Narasimhan report on banking reforms had recommended merger of public sector banks to make them stronger
  • It had envisaged a three-tier banking structure with three large banks with international presence at the top, eight to 10 national banks at tier two, and a large number of regional and local banks at the bottom.

Machines will rule workplace by 2025: “The Future of Jobs 2018” report by WEF

In news

  • The Future of Jobs 2018” report by WEF predicts that the rise of robotics will result in machines performing more tasks on the job than humans by 2025.
  • The trend could displace 75 million jobs globally by 2022.
  • The report surveyed executives from different industries around the world, aiming to get a look at how new technologies, like artificial intelligence, will affect the global labor force.

Pic: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/jx4v0t/article24970905.ece/alternates/FREE_615/th18machinescol

Details of the report

  • In 2018, humans performed an average of 71% of total task hours across the 12 industries spanning manufacturing, services and high tech.
  • By 2025, that will drop to just 48%, according to the WEF. Machines will perform the remaining 52%.
  • Globally, almost half of all companies expect automation to cut their full-time workforce in the next four years;
  • However, new jobs will still lead to a net gain in employment opportunities if sufficient reskilling is done.
  • In India, 54% of employees in these sectors will need reskilling by 2022
  • Of this 35% would need at least six months’ worth of reskilling,
  • 10% would need more than a year of training in order to meet the demands of the new economy

Significance

  • Roles that rely on human skills, like sales, marketing and scientific-based positions, will likely see an increase in demand.
  • The report calls on businesses and government leaders around the world to create a support system for their employees and ensure a smooth transition as the workforce evolves.

Fluoride contamination in Odisha

In news

  • School Children in Odisha’s Nuapada district are facing the brunt of Flouride Contamination with potable water sources in as many as 54 schools and anganwadi premises testing for fluoride presence beyond permissible limits.
  • Laboratory tests found 5.25 mg per litre fluoride content in water.
  • Consumption of water having fluoride content above 1.5 mg per litre is considered dangerous to health.
  • In 2018-19, drinking water sources in eight schools in Nayagarh, seven in Balangir and eight in Kalahandi districts were found to be fluoride contaminated.

Health Issues

  • Prolonged consumption of fluoride-contaminated water leads to dental and skeletal fluorosis.
  • Mottled Teeth and crippled backbone and limbs are manifestation of the disease.
  • Bones in children are in formation stage while fluoride tends to damage bones.

Maharashtra to set up cyber varsity

In news

The Maharashtra Government has taken the first step towards setting up a varsity dedicated to mitigating cyber threats. It has set aside 80 crore for the first round of its funding.

What was the need?

  • A 2015 skill gap analysis for Maharashtra by the consultancy firm KPMG had pointed to a gap of 1.5 crore professionals in 10 sectors. Of these, there was a greater shortfall in the IoT and Cyber Forensics sectors. The new varsity will bridge this skill gap
  • The current supply of cyber professionals in the country is about a lakh while the demand hovers around 30 lakh.
  • A cyber-attack is taking place every 10 minutes as opposed to 12 minutes previously. The varsity will remedy this.

Details

  • The new Cyber University will train 3,000 professionals to fight online space cyber-attacks, internet crimes, and conduct cyber forensics.
  • It will also impart training in 15 other Internet of Things (IoT) areas such as Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • The government will provide different levels of training and enable affiliated colleges to impart certification for the 15 courses. The State will also supply infrastructure for training and education.

Cost of courses

  • The varsity will provide for and prepare internet professionals on the lines of the Microsoft Certified Professional Program.
  • The courses will cost less than 5 lakh for courses in data analytics, cloud computing, blockchain, AI, cyber forensics and cyber investigations.

Background

  • Maharashtra is already in the process of setting up its version of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to ward off external cyber threats.
  • In 2016, the State had even appointed a consortium of M/s C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) and Railtel Corporation of India for the 838-crore project.
  • The consortium in its analysis used the same technology as GARUDA, India’s national grid computing initiative, and the Graphics and Intelligence Based Script Technology.

Do you know?

  • GARUDA (Global Access to Resource Using Distributed Architecture)
  • GARUDA initiative is a collaboration of the Scientific, Engineering and Academic Community to carry-out research and experimentation on a nationwide grid of computational nodes, mass storage that aims to provide the distributed data and compute intensive High Performance Computing solutions for the 21st century.
  • It will deploy a distributed networked infrastructure for universities, research labs, industry and government throughout India.
  • Department of Information Technology (DIT) has funded the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to deploy the nation-wide computational grid, GARUDA.
  • It connects 45 institutions across 17 cities, with an aim to bring Grid computing to research labs, industries and academic institutions.
  • GARUDA is part of the National Knowledge Network (NKN), an initiative to build a high-speed national network backbone with reliable quality of service (QoS) and security.
  • Read more on: GARUDA

India calling: 5G networks may be in place by 2020

In news

  • Having missed the bus for early adoption of latest technologies in the past, India — one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world — is pushing for a timely roll-out of 5G technology in the country.
  • The Indian government is aiming to commercially introduce 5G services in the country by the end of 2020, almost in line with rest of the world.
  • The steering committee has recommended that the 5G spectrum allocation policy should be announced by the end of this year.
  • The high-level panel has recommended that 5G programmes be also funded by the government.

What is 5G?

  • 5G is the next generation of mobile Internet connectivity that would offer much faster and more reliable networks, which would form the backbone for the emerging era of Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Previous generations of mobile networks addressed consumers predominantly for voice and SMS in 2G, web browsing in 3G and higher speed data and video streaming in 4G. The transition from 4G to 5G will serve both consumers and multiple industries.
  • Globally, over 150 pre-commercial 5G trials are under way around the world, including South Korea, China and the U.S., 5G trials are yet to begin in India.

Challenges ahead

  • Coverage in rural areas remains a challenge.
  • Disrupting industries: Once commercialised, 5G is expected to disrupt not only telecom but other industries as well as. 5G is expected to see use beyond delivery of services just on “personal phone platforms.” It will also connect new devices to support a much larger range of applications and services.
  • This comes at a time when the industry continues to reel under financial stress, weighed down by high debt.

Advantages

  • Next generation mobile Internet connectivity will offer faster, more reliable networks that will form the backbone for era of IoT.
  • The next generation network will see usage in key government projects such as smart cities and Digital India, besides other business-to-business applications.
  • Consumption in terms of using IoT (Internet of Things) devices such as connected refrigerators etc.
  • It would enable revenue opportunity for Indian telecom operators by 2026.
  • The largest opportunity would be seen in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities followed by public safety and health sectors.

Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS): Smart fencing will end infiltration

In news

  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the first phase of hi-tech ‘smart fencing’ of 11 km stretch on the International Border (IB) in Jammu.
  • CIBMS would provide for round-the-clock laser-guided surveillance of the borders.
  • The smart fencing project will initially be implemented to cover gaps in the physical fencing. Eventually, this technology will be implemented across the entire border,
  • The smart fencing is a web of surveillance, communication and data storage devices.
  • It will enable surveillance during difficult weather conditions and reduce the need for physical patrolling of the borders.
  • It will rely on thermal imaging, infra-red and laser-based intruder alarms to stop infiltration.

The power of Kudumbashree: A case study on Women participation

Introduction:

In the month of August 2018, Kerala faced the worst disaster in a century. Now, long and tedious process of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction process is going on. There are many heroic stories coming to surface about how people are contributing to rebuild Kerala. One of them is of contribution of Kudumbashree.

What Kudumbashree is doing in disaster relief?

  • Kumari had contracted leptospirosis while doing relief work in Kerala after the floods, away from her own home which had not been affected. She was a health volunteer and prominent member of the Kudumbashree Mission.
  • Volunteers Zarina and Sudha said: “We saw mounds of foul-smelling black mud piled outside the houses blocking the entrances and, in some cases, partially covering the houses. There were dead animals too….. We knew we could fall ill or be stung by poisonous insects or snakes, but we were not afraid. Tribal women and members of Kudumbashree from nearby areas also joined us.”
  • Like Kumari, Zarina and Sudha, around 4,00,000 women of Kudumbashree self-mobilised across the State to do relief work.
  • The Kudumbashree State Mission estimates that Kudumbashree groups cleaned up 11,300 public places and two lakh houses.
  • They provided counselling and information assistance as well as shelter to families. They also donated Rs. 7.4 crore to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.
  • This scale of voluntary relief work by women is quite unprecedented by any standard.

United in relief work

  • The attention is necessary not just to accord women relief helpers like Kumari recognition and appreciation, but also to understand how such an enormous, effective and well-planned intervention could be made across the State by women through their own initiatives.
  • Women from working class families, women from the lower middle class and middle class, Muslim women and Dalit women were present.
  • They were a microcosm of the 2.43 lakh groups functioning across the State.
  • Within a day or two of the deluge, the Kudumbashree members started contacting each other to discuss what they should do.
  • They divided themselves into squads of five to six members and started relief work.
  • They were helped by the district coordination team of five women, who were on deputation to the Kudumbashree Mission from the government.
  • Within a short span of time, there were 7,000 women volunteers engaged in various tasks.
  • When the situation in their district improved, some of them set out to neighbouring districts to help.
  • Many of these women have family responsibilities, but they convinced their families of the urgency of the work at hand and set off with all the equipment required for cleaning which they themselves had collected through sponsorships.

A unique model

  • Started in 1998, it was envisioned as a part of the People’s Plan Campaign and local self-governance, with women at the centre of it.
  • In its conceptualisation, it was markedly different from the self-help group (SHG) movements in many parts of India.
  • While the commonality with other States was in the thrift and credit activities at the grassroots level through the formations of saving groups, the structures differed.
  • Kudumbashree has a three-tier structure. The first is the basic unit — the neighbourhood groups (NGs). There could be several such units within a ward and they are networked through the area development societies (ADS). All ADSs are federated through the community development societies (CDS).
  • There are core committees of elected coordinators at all three levels.
  • Each Kudumbashree member has a vote. Direct elections for the NG coordinators are held every three years. These people, in turn, elect the coordinators of the ADS who elect the members of the CDS.
  • A majority of the members of the coordinator groups have to belong to women below the poverty line or from comparatively poorer sections.There is reservation for Dalit and Adivasi women.
  • At the district and State levels, employees/officers of the government are appointed on deputation to help the Kudumbashree groups. Thus, there is a socially representative leadership.
  • This secular composition acts as a facilitator for the secularisation of public spaces.
  • The micro-enterprises undertaken by the women NGs in Kerala also strengthen community bonds. These include organic vegetable growing, poultry and dairy, catering and tailoring.
  • The concepts and practices have expanded over the years. Today the community farms run by Kudumbashree groups are acknowledged as a critical avenue for the rejuvenation of agricultural production in Kerala.
  • Kudumbashree training courses are quite comprehensive and include women’s rights, knowledge of constitutional and legal provisions, training in banking practices, and training in skills to set up micro-enterprises.
  • The Kudumbashree groups are therefore often seen as a threat by those who would like women to adhere to socially conformist roles.

Conclusion:

  • In a modern democratic India, women are still suffering to prove their existence and abilities.
  • This case study is a proof that women are equal half in pair of human. They can significantly contribute to the society as well as economy.
  • This model of Kudumbashree can be implemented across India, if it is done with the same secular and gender-sensitive spirit.

Connecting the dots:

  • Historically, be it the disaster of world war or floods of Kerala, time and again women proved their abilities. Critically comment in context of role of women in modern society and economy.

Note: Story of Kumari, Zarina and sudha, or story of Kudumbashree can be used in Essay as well as examples in ethics (Humanitarian behaviour in the event of crisis).


Transforming agriculture

Introduction

  • India is signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • As four of the 35 biodiversity hotspots are located in India, it is biodiversity-rich.
  • However, climate change and development without consideration for biodiversity are leading to loss of biodiversity.

Some of the issues

  • India gave the world crops such as rice, chickpea, pigeon pea, mango and eggplant. Most keepers of these crops genetic diversity are smallholder farmers, including women.
  • With the focus on policies that cater to market demands, its reservoir of indigenous traditional crops has dwindled.
  • Man-animal conflicts in the fringes of Protected Areas or animal corridors
  • Conflicts over unsustainable procurement of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have been contentious, especially in Odisha and Uttarakhand.

Green Agriculture project and its significance

  • India’s National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) recognises the importance of biodiversity for inclusive development.
  • The Green Agriculture project implemented by the Indian government and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) takes a novel approach to support the NBAP and synergise biodiversity conservation, agriculture production and development.
  • It is being implemented in five landscapes adjoining Protected Areas/Biosphere Reserves: Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
  • It envisages a transformation in Indian agriculture for global environmental benefits by addressing land degradation, climate change mitigation, sustainable forest management, and biodiversity conservation.
  • The approach will be to strengthen their role as agrodiversity guardians by developing value chains for their indigenous crops such as traditional rice varieties in Odisha.

Way forward

  • A participatory and landscape approach can ensure sustainability of conservation efforts.
  • Keeping the focus on initiatives for sustainable NTFP harvest, eradication of invasive alien species, and mitigation of wildlife conflicts is essential.
  • Biodiversity conservation is a part of traditional wisdom. Examples include the Orans of Rajasthan and the village safety and supply reserves in Mizoram.
  • Traditional farming systems such as jhum encouraged crop diversity. However, climate change and shortened fallow cycles are undermining jhum cultivation sustainability.
  • The landscape approach will aim to restore traditional knowledge systems, such as the conservation of common property resources.
  • Participatory learning tools will encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable indigenous soil conservation.

Conclusion

Environmental concerns are inadequately reflected in the development rhetoric. Thus, projects such as Green Agriculture are essential in equipping decision-makers with the necessary instruments to design effective and informed policies to underpin environmental concerns.

Question of the day | Legal terms lists September 18, 2018

Question of the day

Question: When the consent of a party to a contract has been obtained by Undue Influence, Fraud or Misrepresentation, the contract is-

(a) Illegal

(b) Voidable

(c) Void

(d) Enforceable

Legal terms of the day

1. MANDAMUS –We command.

2. MENS REA –Guilty state of mind.

3. NEMO DEBET ESSE JUDEX IN PROPRIA CAUSA –No one can be judge in his own case.

4. NEXUS –Connection

5. NISI –Unless

 

Today’s answer of the question: B

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS SEPTEMBER 18, 2018

Union Power Ministry launches Chiller Star Labelling Program to improve energy efficiency

The Union Ministry of Power on September 14, 2018, launched the Chiller Star Labelling Program, an ambitious program to encourage the deployment of energy efficient chiller systems in the country.

Initially, the program is launched on voluntary basis and will be valid up to December 31, 2020. Chillers are used extensively for space conditioning of buildings and for industrial process cooling applications. Chillers, being energy intensive system, contribute more than 40 percent of the total energy consumption in commercial buildings.

ISRO launches two UK satellites aboard PSLV-C42

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on September 16, 2018, successfully launched its polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) C42 carrying two earth observation satellites for the United Kingdom.

The 44.4 meters launch vehicle weighing 230.4 tons carried two earth observing satellites – NovaSAR and S1-4 of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, UK. There was no Indian satellite on the flight.

With the successful launch, the total number of foreign satellites launched by India goes up to 239.

Delhi, Seoul sign MoU to tackle air pollution, improve infrastructure

The Delhi government on September 14, 2018, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to work closely in the fields of environment, tourism, wastewater and solid waste management, infrastructure and public health.

The agreement requires the two capital cities- New Delhi and Seoul- to set up and operationalize a ‘Twinning Cell’ and a committee to support the cell for easy communication and knowledge sharing.

The cell will support activity related workshops, conduct community participation activities and help maintain documentation.

National ALDS Control Organisation releases HIV Estimations 2017 report

The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) on September 14, 2018, released the HIV Estimations 2017 report. 

The HIV Estimations 2017 report is 14th in the series of HIV Estimations launched earlier under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). The first round of HIV estimation was done in 1998, while the latest round was done in 2015.

NACO undertakes HIV estimations in every two years in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Medical Statistics (NIMS).

Indo-US joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas 2018’ begins in Uttarakhand

Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2018, a joint military exercise of Indian and US armies, commenced on September 16, 2018, at Chaubattia, Uttarakhand with the unfurling of the national flags of both countries on the tunes of “Jana Gana Mana” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

This is the 14th edition of the joint military exercise hosted alternately by both countries. The two-week exercise will witness participation of about 350 personnel of the US Army and similar strength of Garud Division of the Indian Army.

It is one of the longest-running joint military training and a major ongoing bilateral defense cooperation endeavor between India and the US.

 

Question of the day | Legal term lists September 17, 2018

Question of the day

Question: How many States have bicameral State Legislatures in the Country?

a) 4

b) 5

c) 6

d) 7

Legal terms of the day

1. REPEAL –Doing away with law so that it is no longer valid.

2. REVOKE –To cancel/withdraw

3. STAY –Temporary stopping of an order made by court.

4. TACIT –Agreed but not stated.

5. MALA IN SE- Bad in themselves.

 

Today’s answer of the question: D

Explanation: They are Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. These States have Legislative Councils, in addition to Legislative Assemblies.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS SEPTEMBER 15, 2018

PM Launches Swachhata Hi Seva Movement 

  1. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, launched the‘Swachhata Hi Seva’Movement, to boost nationwide public participation in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, and catalyze the fulfillment of Bapu’s dream of a Clean India.
    ii. The Swachhata Hi Seva movement aims at generating greater public participation towards Swachhta. It is being organized in the run-up to the fourth anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission, on October 2nd, 2018, which will also mark the commencement of the 150th year celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.

Vice President 3 Nation-Visit: India, Serbia Signed Agreements on Various Fields 

  1. India and Serbia signed agreements on cooperation in plant protection and plant quarantine and on-air services, following the talks between Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. 
    ii. The two sides also agreed to expand their bilateral cooperation, especially in the areas of economic and cultural relations and join hands to fight terrorism. India and Serbia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.

More Info-

  • Serbia Capital: Belgrade, Currency: Serbian dinar.

International Day of Democracy: 15 September 

i. The International Day of Democracyis observed globally on 15th September.It provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world. The theme for IDD is ‘Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World’.
ii. The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly through a resolution in 2007 to strengthen national programmes devoted to the promotion and consolidation of democracy. The day was observed for the first time in 2008. 

More Info-

  • Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • The UN Headquarters in New York, United States.

Wholesale inflation drops to four-month low of 4.53% in August

Inflation based on wholesale prices eased to a four-month low of 4.53%in August on softening of prices of food articles, especially vegetables. The Wholesale Price Index-based inflation stood at 5.09% in July and 3.24% in August last year.

Data released by the commerce and industry ministry showed a 4.04%decline inflation in food articles in August compared with a 2.16% fall in July. The wholesale price index is an index that measures and tracks the changes in the price of goods in the stages before the retail level.

More Info-

  • CPI: Consumer Price Index
  • WPI: Wholesale Price Index

Government Announces Measures to Check Rising Current Account Deficit 

i. The government has announced an array of stepsto check the rising Current Account Deficit (CAD), and the fall in rupee.
ii. The government has decided on a number of steps to contain CAD, which widened to 2.4% of the GDP in the first quarter of 2018-19.

iii. The steps to be taken by the government to attract dollar inflows into the country include:

  • Reviewing of mandatory hedging condition for infrastructure loans.
  • To permit manufacturing sector entities to avail of External Commercial Borrowing (ECBs) up to $50 million with minimum maturity of one year, instead of the earlier limit of three years.
  • Removing restrictions with respect to FPI exposure limit of 20 per cent in corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate group or company or entity and 50 per cent of any issue of corporate bond.
  • Removal of withholding tax on rupee-denominated bonds known as Masala bonds issued till March 2019.
  • Removing restrictions on Indian banks, market making in masala bonds, including restrictions on underwriting of masala bonds.
  • Relaxation for Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) and curbs on non-essential imports.

RBI to Buy G-Secs in Open Market

  1. The Reserve Bank to purchase government securities (G-secs)worth Rs 10,000 crore on September 19, a move aimed at inducing liquidity in the system. The purchase of the government securities will be done through Open Market Operations (OMO).
  2. When the RBI thinks there isexcess liquidity in the market, it resorts to the sale of securities, thereby decreasing the rupee liquidity. Similarly, when the liquidity conditions are tight, it may buy securities from the market, thereby increasing liquidity in the market.

More Info-

  • Urjit Patel- 24th Governor of RBI, Headquarters-Mumbai, Established on- 1st April 1935, in Kolkata.

RBI Released India’s Foreign Trade: August 2018 

i. India’s overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in April-August 2018-19 (as per the RBI Press Release) are estimated to be USD 221.83 Billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 20.70% over the same period last year.
ii. Overall imports in April-August 2018-19 are estimated to be USD 269.54 Billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 21.01% over the same period last year.

Union Minister of Textiles Presents ‘Shilp Guru’ & National Award to Master Craft Persons 

Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Iranipresented ‘Shilp Guru’ and National Award to Master craft personsat a function held at Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. Eight ‘Shilp guru’ and 25 National awards were presented for the year 2016.

Shilp Guru’ is the highest award in the Handicraft sector in India. The handicraft export has witnessed a year-on-year growth and in the last four years,handicraft items worth Rs. 1 lakh 26 thousand crores had been exported from India. 

Former Indian Hockey Captain Sardar Singh Announces Retirement 

  1. Sardar Singh has announced his retirement from international hockey. He made the decision after a disappointing Asian Games where India failed to defend their title and had to settle for a Bronze medal.
  2. The 32-year old player made his senior debut for India against Pakistan in 2006, and since then played over 350 international matches, captaining the team for eight year

 

Question of the day | Legal terms lists September 15, 2018

Question of the day

Question:  The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. If he’s unable to attend proceedings, who takes his place temporarily?

a) The President

b) Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha

c) Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs

d) Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha

Legal terms of the day

1. VETO –Right of executive head to refuse to approve any legislation.

2. VOID –Nullity in the eyes of law.

3. WAGER –A bet.

4. REMISSION –To reduce

5. REPUDIATE –To refuse to accept.

Today’s answer of the question : D

Explanation: The Deputy Chairman is elected amongst Rajya Sabha members and he has to resign from his party once he/she gets elected.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS SEPTEMBER 15, 2018

Minister for Minority Affairs Launched ‘National Scholarship Portal Mobile App’ 

 

i. Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launched the country’s first “National Scholarship Portal Mobile App” (NSP Mobile App) in New Delhi.
ii. This “National Scholarship Portal Mobile App” will ensure a smooth, accessible and hassle-free scholarship system for students from poor and weaker sections.

Country’s 1st Tribal Tourism Circuit Launched in Chhattisgarh 

 

i. Union minister K J Alphons, the Minister of State for Tourism, inaugurated the country’s first tribal circuit project connecting 13 tourism sites in Chhattisgarh. This project was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in February 2016 for Rs. 99.21 Crores.

ii. The project was implemented under the Tourism Ministry’s Swadesh Darshan scheme launched in 2014-15 for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritized manner.

Imp Info-

  • Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh: Raman Singh.
  • Governor of Chhattisgarh: Anandiben Patel.

Hindi Diwas: 14 September

 

i. Hindi Divas is celebrated on 14 September because, on this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi written in Devanagari script as the official language of the Republic of India.
ii. Under the Article 343 of the Indian Constitution, on 26 January 1950, Hindi, written in Devanagari script was adopted as the official language.

Imp Info-

  • The first Hindi day was celebrated on- 14th September 1953

India Approves MOU on Joint Blockchain Research with BRICS Members

 

i. The Union Cabinet of India has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the collaborative research of distributed ledger technology (DLT). The research will be jointly conducted by the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) and one bank from each BRICS member states.
ii. The MoU was initially proposed at the 10th International BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg in July, the main focus of which was cooperation in economic development in the face of the fourth industrial revolution.

Imp Info-

  • Venue of  BRICS Summit 2019 – Brazil
  • Exim Bank Headquarters in: Mumbai, Founded in: 1982, CEO- Shri Yaduvendra Mathur.

23rd Meeting of India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission Held In Moscow 

 

i. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj led the Indian delegation at the 23rd meeting of India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission (IRIGC-TEC) to discuss the expansion of Russia-India relationship across all sectors.

ii. The meeting was chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.

Imp Info-

  • IRIGC-TEC: India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Technical and Economic Cooperation
  • Russian Capital: Moscow, Currency: Ruble, President: Vladimir Putin
  • IRIGC-TEC last meeting: December 2017, Delhi

Global Climate Action Summit: Indian Cities, States Step Up Climate Action Plans 

 

i. The Global Climate Action Summit 2018 was held at San Francisco, California, United States. Over 4000 businesses, cities, states, and civil society delegates attended the summit and showed their commitments to achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement.

ii. The co-chairs of the Summit, Governor of California Edmund G. Brown Jr. and UN’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R Bloomberg, unveiled a new report demonstrating how cities, states, and businesses can help the US in achieving its 2025 emissions reduction target.

iii. As per Maharashtra Principal Secretary for Financial Reforms, Sujata Saunik, six more states would adopt heat action plans. In 2018, based on guidance provided by the central government, 13 states and over 30 cities adopted or are developing Heat Action Plans. These 13 states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.

Venkaiah Naidu Embarks on 3-Nation Visit to Serbia, Malta, And Romania 

 

i. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu embarks on a three-nation visit to Serbia, Malta and Romania. During the seven-day visit, Mr. Naidu will first reach Serbia where he will meet the leadership of that country.

ii. In the second leg of his visit, Mr. Naidu will arrive in Malta, where he will meet the country’s leadership and discuss issues of mutual interest. In the last leg of his visit, the Vice President will reach Romania. 

Imp Info-

  • Serbia Capital: Belgrade, Currency: Serbian dinar.
  • Malta Capital: Valletta, Currency: Euro.
  • Romania Capital: Buchares, Currency: Romanian leu.

G-20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting Held in Argentina 

 

i. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu participated in G-20 trade and investment ministerial meeting at Mar del Plata in Argentina. Issues including increasing protectionism challenges to promote global commerce and the new industrial revolution were discussed at the meeting.

ii. The members of the G20 include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Imp Info-

  • Argentina Capital: Buenos Aires, Currency: Argentine peso.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi Appointed Next Chief Justice Of India 

 

 

i. The President of India has appointed Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India. He will assume the office of Chief Justice on 3rd October 2018 after the retirement of the current Chief Justice, Justice Dipak Misra. 
ii. Mr Gogoi is the 46th Chief Justice of India. Justice Gogoi was enrolled as an advocate in 1978. He practised in the Gauhati High Court on constitutional, taxation and company matters.

Imp Info-

  • Justice Harilal Jekisundas Kania was the first Chief Justice of Independent India.

Question of the day | Legal term lists September 14, 2018

Question of the day

Question: The Constituent Assembly Chair-person was?

a) Dr. Sacchidananda Sinha

b) Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

c) Dr. Rajendra Prasad

d) Acharya J.B Kripalani

Legal terms of the day

1. REPEAL –Doing away with law so that it is no longer valid.

2. REVOKE –To cancel/withdraw

3. STAY –Temporary stopping of an order made by court.

4. TACIT –Agreed but not stated.

5. AMNESTY- Pardon, often for political crimes.

 

Today’s answer of the question: A

Explanation: Dr. Sacchidananda Sinha was the temporary acting Chairman during the inaugural session, after which Dr. Prasad continued as Chairman.