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Current Issues (October) READERS NOTE    

The study material covers important current affairs topics of October 2017 The study material is the result of unaccountable hours of exhaustive research It is presented in the most comprehensive manner required for UPSC prelims READ and REVISE


MPLAD SCHEME           


The Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme was launched in 1993-94 It is a Central Sector Scheme It enables MPs (both elected and nominated) to recommend works for creation of durable community assets The MPs can recommend the work(s) in their constituency (in case of Lok Sabha)or anywhere in the state from where they are elected (in case of Rajya Sabha) Nodal ministry: The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MSPI) The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable The annual entitlement under the scheme per MP at present is Rs.5 crore Role of MPs for the projects is only recommendatory MPLADS funds are used for the implementation of the SansadAdarsh Gram Yojana 15% and 7.5% funds must be entitled to areas with SC and ST population respectively. In case of insufficient tribal population in the area, they can recommend the creation of community assets in tribal areas outside of their constituency, within their State of election


It aims to develop and modernise the textile sector in the North East Region (including Sikkim) It is being implemented under two broad categories viz., Integrated Sericulture Development Project (ISDP) and Intensive Bivoltine Sericulture Development Project [IBSDP]

Sericulture         

It is production of natural silk using silkworms India is the second largest producer of silk in the world. Four major types of silk produced in India: Mulberry, Tasar, Muga, Eri Mulberry accounts for 70% of total raw silk production Major states of Mulberry silk production: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal Vanya Silk:Tasar, Muga, Eri comes under this category as the silkworms producing these types mostly feed on the wild leaves. Muga silk: It is golden coloured silk and mostly produced in Assam. The GI tag has also been given to this variety. Other varieties of silk mainly produced in the Jharkhand, Odisha, and Chhattisgarhetc Central Silk Board, as a statutory body under Ministry of Textiles, entrusted with the overall responsibility of developing silk industry

National Sericulture Project:  

The project aims to support the Central Silk Board (CSB) in research and training activities The project is funded from World Bank.

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Recently cabinet has given approval to Bharatmala Project, for construction of 34,800 Km of highways

ABOUT       

It is an umbrella project under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The project is part of the government’s plan on point-to-point expressways and border road connectivity Under the plan the government intends to develop 83,677 km of highways and roads at an investment of around Rs.7 lakh crore over the next five years. It also includes first phase of new umbrella programme Bharat Mala Pariyojana I that involves construction of 34,800 km highways by 2022 It focuses on the new initiatives like development of Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal & port connectivity roads, improving efficiency of National Corridors, Economic corridors and others. Funding: market borrowings, central road fund, monetizing government-owned road assets and budgetary allocation Implementedby -Ministry of road transport and highways, NHAI and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) and respective state public works departments (PWDs)

CONNECTIVITY PROGRAMMES Currently, there are three infrastructure connectivity programmes in India viz. Bharatmala, Sagarmala and Sethu Bharatam    4.

Bharatmala will be the umbrella road development programme which shall cover various categories of roads. Sagarmala is a port development project comprising road, rail, inland and coastal waterways to improve port connectivity and port-led development. The objective of SethuBharatam is to make all national highways free of railway crossings by 2019


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved two schemes Viz. Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP), Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) These schemes are outcome focused and aimed at institutional reforms, imparting market relevant skills to boost the Skill India Mission


It is a Central Sector Scheme with the financing support ofthe World Bank The objective is to enhance the employability potential of the youth by providing market relevant training It envisages setting up of over 50 Trainers and Assessors academies with self-sustainable models It will focus on greater decentralization in skill planning by institutional strengthening at State level which includes setting up of SSDMs and allow states to come up with State and District level Skill Development Plans (SSDPDSDP)


It is Centrally Sponsored Scheme with loan support from the World Bank The objective of project is to improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training and apprenticeships It will incentivize ITIs to improve overall performance including apprenticeship by involving SMEs, business association and industry clusters. It also involves strengthening of institutions such as, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), SSDMs etc. to improve the quality of skill training. It will support universalization of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) including National Quality Assurance Framework (NQAF) across skill development schemes Note: Nai Manzil and Tejaswini schemes are also funded by the World Bank

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To provide affordable life insurance services to people, particularly those living in rural areas, Union Government has launched Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana and expanded coverage of Postal Life Insurance (PLI) Under the scheme at least one village (having a minimum of 100 households) will be identified in each of revenue districts of country to cover all households of identified village with minimum of one RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance) policy each. Coverage of all households in identified village under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana is primary objective of this scheme


It was introduced in 1884 for the benefit of Postal employees. It is one of the oldest life insurance scheme in the country Low premium and high bonus is unique to this scheme Apart from Government and semi-Government employees, benefits of PLI have now been expanded to professionals such as Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, and Bankers etc. and to employees of listed companies of National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange




It is an initiative by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare. Under this project, sound methodology for estimation of Horticulturecrops is being developed and implemented on pilot basis using Sample Survey methodology and Remote Sensing technology. The Coordinated Horticulture Assessment and Management using geo-informatics (CHAMAN) uses GIS tools along with remote sensing data for generating action plans for horticultural development Implementation: Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC), New Delhi


 8.

Launched on the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan It was launched for the development of model villages through implementation of existing schemes and certain new initiatives Under it, Members of Parliament (MPs) will be responsible for developing the socio-economic and physical infrastructure of three villages each by 2019, and a total of eight villages each by 2024. Funds will be utilized from existing schemes such as MPLAD, MGNREGA etc.

Launched by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas To develop new business models, marketing plans, technology and innovations in heavy oil and gas industry sector by supporting 30 start-ups For the same, 10 oil and gas PSUs have setup Rs.320-crore venture capital fund to encourage start-ups based on innovative ideas in the energy sector The selected start-ups will work in various energy fields such as converting waste plastics to petroleum fuels, solar stove, and multipurpose fuel from agricultural waste biomass and leak detectors for liquefied natural gas (LNG) cylinders etc. It is expected to reduce fuel import dependence through innovations in alternative fuels


Ministries of Power and Textiles have joined hands under SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small industries) initiative Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), would procure energy efficient Power looms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Power loom units at no upfront cost The initiative will be jointly implemented by Energy Efficient Services Limited (EESL) and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis.

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PAT SCHEME       

The PAT (perform, achieve & trade) scheme was launched by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (Ministry of Power) under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) It is a market based mechanism in which certain sectors are assigned efficiency targets Industries which over-achieve target get incentives in the form of energy saving certificates (ESCert) These certificates are tradable Background: Government in 2012 set target to save energy in eight energy intensive sectors, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 The Eight Energy Intensive Sectors are: Thermal Power plants, Iron & Steel, Cement, Fertilizer, Aluminium, Textile, Pulp & Paper and Chlor-alkali The recent outcome report of the scheme shows that energy-intensive industries in India have reduced their carbon emissions by 2% of India's total annual emissions.


    

Recently, the quantitative evaluation of the RSBY found that it is unable to reduce out-of-pocket payment for healthcare for the poor, thus illness remains one of the most prevalent causes of human deprivation in India. It is a government-run health insurance scheme for the BPL family. It provides cashless insurance for hospitalisation in public as well as selected private hospitals The scheme has been tagged as the world’s largest publicly funded health insurance scheme RSBY became fully operational in 2008 It provides for IT-enabled and smart–card-based cashless healthy insurance cover, up to Rs.30,000/- per annum on a family floater basis to the BPL families (a unit of five) and 11 occupational groups in the unorganized sector and most importantly the workers who have worked for more than 15 days under MGNREGS The beneficiary has to pay Rs.30 per annum as registration/renewal fee to get biometric-enabled smart card for identifying their eligibility. Beneficiary is also eligible to receive transportation cost within a limit of Rs.1000 per annum. It also covers maternity benefits. Funding pattern centre and states - 75:25 Initially the RSBY project was under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, but from April 1, 2015 it was transferred to Ministry of Health and family welfare


  

Recently, the Union Ministry of Tourism gave Letters of Intent (LoI) to seven shortlisted companies for adopting 14 monuments under the scheme The monuments are Jantar Mantar, Purana Quila, Safdarjung Tomb, Agrasen ki Baoli, and Qutub Minar (Delhi), Hampi (Karnataka), Ajanta Caves (Maharashtra), Sun Temple, Raja Rani Temple and Ratnagiri Monuments (Odisha), Leh Palace and Mt. StokKangri (Jammu & Kashmir), Mattancherry Palace Museum (Kerala), Gangotri Temple Area and Trail (Uttarakhand) The shortlisted companies will be future ‘Monument Mitras’ who would associate pride with their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities. The scheme was launched by Union Ministry of Tourism on World Tourism Day (27th September). Under it, Private, Public Sector Companies and Corporate individuals were invited to adopt heritage sites and to take up responsibility for making them and promote sustainable tourism through conservation and development under their CSR activities. This scheme was launched by Tourism Ministry in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)


It is an online monitoring and compliance mechanism developed by Cabinet secretariat with technical help from National Informatics Centre. It was first launched by the railway ministry to monitor implementation of railway projects. Now, It is being used for tracking the progress on projects & policy initiatives of various ministries by cabinet secretary and Prime Minister on a real-time basis. E-Patrachar – It is a facility launched to send meeting notices via SMS, email etc

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Recently, Government made the use of PFMS mandatory to monitor allCentral Sector Schemes It is an electronic fund tracking mechanism compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information regarding all government schemes It rolled out by Controller General of Accounts, Department of Expenditure ofMoF It covers Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes as well as other expenditures including Finance Commission Grants It integrated with the Core banking system in the Country So far total of 613 Central Sector Schemes are covered under PFMS


14. TRIBUNALS (Article 323A, 323B)  

Recently, the Law Commission of Indialaid out a detailed procedure for the working of the tribunal system in India The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 - insertedArticles 323-A and 323-B in the Constitution 323 (A) 1. 2. 3. 4.



7. 8.

It deals with administrative tribunals These can be established by a parliament law For adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints relating to, central and state public servants Article 323(A) (2): An act on Administrative Tribunals may exclude jurisdiction of all courts (excluding the Supreme Court) on decisions made by the Administrative Tribunals. Example: the Electricity Act, 2003, and the TRAI (Amendment) Act, 2000, provide for direct appeals to the Supreme Court against orders of appellate tribunals Under this Article, The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 passed to establish one CAT and Sate administrative tribunalson the request of the specific governments There is no possibility of creation of hierarchy of tribunals under this articles Jurisdiction of the CAT: Extend to all central government employees except members of the defence forces, officers and servants of the Supreme Court and secretarial staff of the Parliament.

323 (B) 15. It dealswith tribunals for ‘other matters’ 16. These can be established by the Parliament and the state legislatures 17. For the adjudication of disputes relating to, a) Taxation, b) Foreign exchange, import and import, c) Industrial and labor d) Ceiling on urban property e) Elections to Parliament and state legislatures f) Food stuffs g) Rent and tenancy rights h) Land reforms 18. Hierarchy of tribunals may be created under this article.


This act brought into force recently and thus it replaced the existing Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 Nodal ministry: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution It made the BIS as the National Standards Body of India for the purpose of standardization, marking and certification of articles and processes  It allows central government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles, processes, etc. to carry the standard mark  It also allows the self-declaration of conformity against standard by the manufacturers Note: The standards of BIS are not available for “open access”. So a PIL filed in the SC to free them up for public

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It is constituted to recommend stringent legal provisions for hate speech. The committee has suggested that section78 of the IT Act needs to be substituted and Section153 & 505A of the Indian Penal Code needs to be amended Amendments in Cr. PC to enable each state to have a State Cyber Crime Coordinator (Sec 25B) and a District Cyber Crime Cell (Sec 25C). Hate speech addressed in India through, i. Article 19 – reasonable restriction to Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression ii. Section 153(a) - promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., iii. Section 295 (a) – “deliberate and malicious intentions” of hurting the religious feelings of a community IPC Sections – Demand for reforms 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Section124A - Sedition Section 153 (a) - Hate speech Section 375 - Marital Rape Section 377 - Criminalising Homosexuality Section 499, 500 – Criminal defamation Section 306 – Criminalising suicide (Now, decriminalised) Section 498 A- Domestic violence Section 295A – Hurting religious feelings of a community


Recently, Union Home Ministry moved a cabinet note to seek its nod to allow retired SC judges to be appointed as NHRC chief

ABOUT NHRC        

  

NHRC is apex statutory watchdog of human rights in the country Formed as per the statutory provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 It is multimember body consisting of Chairman and four members It has the powers of a civil court Its orders on compensation are only recommendatory in nature It cannot take up the cases older than 1 year The chairman should be a retired chief justice of India President appoints the Chairman and members of the NHRC on the recommendation of the high-powered committee headed by the Prime Minister. The committee includes, o Prime Minister (Head), o Lok Sabha Speaker, o Union Home Minister, o Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, o Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Term of Chairman and members: 5 years or until attain the age of 70 years. The salaries, allowances and other conditions of service of the chairman or a member are determined by the Central government. The Chairman and members can be removed by the President according due process.


Recently, Law Commission of India has recommended the Centre to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture

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  

It also proposed standalone anti-torture law - Prevention of Torture Bill 2017 India had signed the UNCAT in 1997 but not yet ratified it. Besides India, there are other 8 countries which are not part of the convention.

UNCAT   

It is an international human rights instrument aimed to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment around the world. This convention is in force since 1987. It requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured


The President has appointed a five-member Commissionto examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) under Article 340 of the Constitution It will be headed by former Delhi High Court's Chief Justice G Rohini Article 340:It allows the president to appoint a commission to investigate the condition of socially and economically backward classes and table the report in the parliament


India ranked100th position among 119 countries Slipped by 3 places compared to last year India is at the high end of “serious” hunger problem category India’s neighbours ranking are Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29), Pakistan (106) and Afghanistan (107) North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings than India

GHI     

GHI is multidimensional measure that describes state of hunger situation on regional, national and global level. It is published annually by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) since 2006. It ranks countries on a 0 to 100-point scale calculated by taking into account four indicator parameters. Zero means best score (no hunger) and 100 is worst. GHI scores are based on four indicators:  undernourishment  child wasting  child stunting  child mortality

21. SECTION 375 OF IPC  

The Supreme Court recently held that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, who is below 18 years of age, is rape Therefore it read down the exception to Section 375 of the IPC, which allowed the husband of a girl child — between 15 and 18 years of age — blanket liberty to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with her


NITI Aayog along with the Health ministry has started this initiative to rank district hospitals all over India


The Swachh Iconic Places is an initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

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  

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will be the coordinating Ministry for this initiative, in association with the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the concerned State governments. Under this Initiative government will undertake a special clean-up initiative focused on 100 iconic heritages, spiritual and cultural places in the country. Recently, Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai has been adjudged the best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ (clean place) in India


It is observed every year on the first Monday of October throughout the world Theme of 2017:"Housing Policies: Affordable Homes." Theme of 2016:"Housing at the Centre". WHD was established in 1985 by the UNGA, and was first celebrated in 1986


It is the outcome document agreed upon at the Habitat III cities conference in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016


On 24th October It was established by Rotary International.

Today, there are only three countries where transmission of wild poliovirus is occurring: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan


The 14th annual Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was recently held in New Delhi Joint statement issued contained statement on terrorism, UN reforms agenda, multi polarity of the world, Iranian nuclear issue, Afghanistan, and BTIA. The EU is India’s largest regional trading partner in 2016. The EU is also the largest destination for Indian exports and a key source of investment and technologies.

Issues in concluding Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) India’s demands Mode I : Improved market access toITES, BPO, and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO)

EU’s demands Mode 3: Liberalisation of FDI in insurance, accountancy and legal services For entry of foreign banks – Do away with priority sector lending and financial inclusion norms Data exclusivity, Ever greening

Mode IV:Movement of skilled professionals like software engineers

Import duties on goods such as automobiles and wines and spirits

Barriers to Mode 4: Include work permits, wageparity conditions, visa formalities and nonrecognition of professional qualifications.

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Agricultural commodities trade: EU’s peak import tariff rates on certain products such as dairy, fruits and vegetables , and sugar & confectionary and highly subsidized fishery and dairy sectors India wants to make ‘investment protection’ a part of the negotiations on the proposed comprehensive BTIA

It demand India to reduce tariffs on dairy products, poultry, farms and fisheries from the EU

EU is keen on finalization of an India-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) before the relaunch of the FTA talks

28. EUROPEAN UNION      

It is as an economic and political partnership consisting of 28 (Including the UK) member countries. A law made in European Parliament is applicable and binding on all Member States directly. It is a single market allowing the free movement of goods and people. The union has its own currency, the Euro, which is being used by 19 member countries. 9 EU countries which are not part of the Euro currency are : Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom The capital of EU is located in Brussels, Belgium

THE SCHENGEN AREA It is the area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control and functions as a single country for international travel purposes.   

The area came to establishment in June 1985 Non-Schengen EU states:Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK Non-EU Schengen states: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein


Recently, India sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port in Iran It is located at the mouth of Gulf of Oman

Bandar Abbas Port (Iran)  

Located near Strait of Hormuz, in Persian Gulf It conceived as the hub for the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

India’s efforts for economic connectivity Initiative

Mode of transport

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) (2000)

ship, rail, and road

Kaladan Multi Model Transport Project (2008)

ship, Inland Water and road

Ashghabhat agreement (2011)

Ship, rail, and road

Member Countries Founders : India, Iran, Russia 10 new members: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Oman and Syria. India, Myanmar

Foundingmembers: Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Oman.

Objective It aims to link Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran, and onward to northern Europe via St. Petersburg in Russia.

Economic development of the North-East India and improve the bilateral relations between India and Myanmar Facilitating the transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Kazakhstan later joined.

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TAPI Project (2010)


IPI Pipeline (1993)


(India, Pakistan to accede this agreement) Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (Galkynysh field of Turkmenistan - World’s 2nd largest field) Iran, Pakistan, India

To transport natural gas from the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan

To transport natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India


It is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. It was established as an autonomous organization in 1957 through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute It is independent of the United Nations but reports to both the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council (UNSC). The IAEA has no authority to act on its own, but relies on the willingness of nations to cooperate, or on a UN mandate Headquarters: Vienna, Austria Director-general: Yukiya Amano Known nuclear-armed states: China, France, India, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, UK, US (Israel is widely believed to have nuclear arms)


Recently an independence referendum held in Catalonia which was backed by 90 percent of voters supporting the region breaking away from Spain. It is Spain’s 17 autonomous regions and enjoys a relatively large level of autonomy, except over the areas of infrastructure and taxes. The 1979 Constitution of Spain only allows the Spanish to vote for sovereignty of the nation and no part of population should vote against it

32. KURDISTAN   

  

Recently, Iraq's Kurds voted in a referendum on support for independence. However, it is non-binding on the state to grant independence Kurdistan is a roughly defined geo-cultural region comprising parts of i. Eastern Turkey (Turkish Kurdistan), ii. Northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), iii. North-western Iran (Iranian Kurdistan) and iv. Northern Syria It habited mainly by Kurds. Kurds are an ethnic group who speak Kurdish languages. They are and culturally and linguistically closely related to the Iranian people

Rojava revolution:  

It is a political, social and military conflict taking place in Northern Syria, known as Rojava. Rojava is regarded by Kurdish nationalists as one of the four parts of Kurdistan.

World – Colour Revolutions: These describe various political movements that developed in several countries across the world. S.No.




Orange Revolution



Lotus Revolution



Jasmine Revolution


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Umbrella Revolution

Hong Kong


Green Revolution



Saffron Revolution



Cedar Revolution



Tulip Revolution



Purple Revolution



Sunflower Revolution



Yellow Revolution



Rose Revolution



It was organized at Durban, South Africa The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three countries signed an agreement to renew and ensure the continuity of their contributions to the India, Brazil and South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation (IBSA Fund) The fund is managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) IBSA Dialogue Forum: It is an international tripartite grouping for promoting international cooperation among these countries. It was launched in June 2003.


Union government has approved Rs.2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation plan for the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) over the next two years PSBs need as much as $65 billion by 2019 to meet Basel III standards

Basel III norms     

Basel III is a comprehensive set of reform measures, to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of the banking sector Developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Basel Committee was established by the Bureau of International Settlement. Financial Stability Board (FSB) in consultation with Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) publishes the Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) The central banks of each country identify Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs)


Released by World Bank in its Doing Business Report, 2018 India’s rank has risen to 100 in the latest report compared to 130 in the Doing Business Report, 2017. This edition of the report acknowledges India as a top improver, with an improvement of 30 ranks compared to last year’s report, the highest jump in rank of any country in the DB Report, 2018. India is the only country in South Asia and BRICS economies to feature among most improved economies of the DB Report this year

NITI Aayog – Ease of Doing Business Report  

NITI Aayog has collaborated with the IDFC Bank Ltd to conduct an enterprise survey of manufacturing firms including start-ups, across India to assess the ease of doing business. The primary objective of this survey is to assess the business regulatory environment in each State and Union Territories (UTs) and identify policy and regulatory hurdles faced by businesses in the States/UTs.

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It is published by World Bank It shows various factors affecting investment decision in a country Those factors include domestic market size, macroeconomic stability and a favourable exchange rate, labour force talent and skills, physical infrastructure etc.

Other Reports Report Global Competitiveness Report Global Competitiveness Index The World Economic Outlook The World Development Report The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report World Investment Report

Released by WEF WEF IMF International Bank for Reconstruction and Development WEF UNCTAD


Appointed by SEBI To suggest measures for improving corporate governance Recently, it submitted its report to SEBI Other committees previously constituted for this purpose were Kumar Mangalam Birla (1999) and N.R. Narayana Murthy (2003)


Recently launched by UNCTAD According to this report, a country is considered dependent on commodities when its commodity exports account for more than 60 per cent of its total merchandise exports in value terms. Where the share exceeds 80 per cent in a particular country, it is considered "strongly” dependent on commodity export. 91 out of 135 developing countries are considered to be dependent on commodity exports, according to this study. In India, the total value of commodity exports has increased by 44.3 per cent from 2009- 10 to 2014-15

UNCTAD        

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964. It is an organ of UN General Assembly UNCTAD Objective is to maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis The UNCTAD Conference meet once in every 4 years, last one at Nairobi, Kenya (2016) It organizes World Investment Forum Member countries:193 It is a member of the United Nations Development Group Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)   

To conceive and implement the GSP is one of the UNCTAD achievements It is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries (also known as donor countries) to developing countries (also known as beneficiary countries). It involves reduced MFN tariffs or duty free entry of exported products of beneficiary country into the donor country

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Recently, US firms approached the United States Trade Representative (USTR) with a request to either suspend or withdraw India’s benefits under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) against the price capping of medical devices by India.

Reports of UNCTAD         

The Trade and Development Report The Trade and Environment Review The World Investment Report The Economic Development in Africa Report The Least Developed Countries Report UNCTAD Statistics The Information Economy Report The Review of Maritime Transport The International Accounting and Reporting Issues Annual Review

39. POWER GENERATION IN INDIA              

India for the first time has become a net exporter of electricity in fiscal 2016-17 India exported around 5,798 million units of electricity to Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar in 2016-17 Total installed capacity of thermal sector – 220 GW Solar energy capacity – 12 GW (Target 100 GW by 2022) Wind energy capacity – 33 GW (Potential 103 GW) (Target 60 GW by 2022) Total renewable energy capacity - 46 MW (Therefore first time surpassed the hydro capacity) Hydro power - 44GW (Potential 148 GW) Total power installed capacity 330 GW In total installed power: Coal>Hydel>Wind>Gas>Solar>Nuclear (Or Thermal>Renewable>Hydel>Nuclear) Among Non-renewable sources: Coal>Gas>Diesel Among Renewable Sources: Hydel>Wind>Solar>Biomass>Waster to Power Increase in renewable energy due to policy initiatives and several years of early stage private sector investments Hydro suffered because of non-availability of long term financing, the cost imposed by royalty of power (from 12 to 36%) to be offered free to the state government, and limited opportunities for the private sector

40. RO-RO FERRY SERVICE      

 

Recently, Ro-Ro (‘roll-on, roll-off) Ferry Service was launched in Gujarat Between Ghogha and Dahej Executed by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), It is South Asia’s first world class Ro-Ro ferry service Ro-Ro ferry is a small part of Sagarmala project of Central Government that aims to promote port-led development in the country Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro) ships are vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, and trucks etc. that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle, such as a self-propelled modular transporter. This is in contrast to lift-on/lift-off (Lolo) vessels, which use a crane to load and unload cargo. The services also proposedin other places viz., Kolkata, Sahibganj, Varanasi, Patna and Bhagalpur besides setting up small terminals at a cost of Rs.1000 crore.

41. GOLD OPTIONS     

Launched for the first time in India on Multi Commodity Exchange Earlier initiativesfor easing trade in gold are the Gold Monetisation Scheme launched in 2015 and the Sovereign Gold Bonds launched in 2016. The options allow trading in 1 kg of gold. The gold options would allow investors to hedge any volatility in the price of the metal MCX: It is an exchange where commodities are traded.

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It was formed in 2003 and falls under the regulatory purview of SEBI

42. DR. JANAK RAJ PANEL      

It is a RBI panel to determine external benchmark rate for banks It recommended linking the bank lending rates to a market benchmark in order to hasten the monetary policy transmission Currently, the banking lending rates are determined by the MCLR or marginal cost of funds lending rate Before MCLR, base rate system was used to determine the bank lending rates Both the base rate and the MCLR were internally determined by the banks themselves. However, the major difference between the two was that calculation of base rate was done as the bank saw fit while MCLR was to be calculated through a set formula

43. PEER TO PEER LENDING      

It refers to a crowd-funding platform (mostly online) where people looking to invest and people in need of borrowing come together These companies follow a reverse auction process, that is, lenders bid for borrower’s proposal and the borrower is free to choose whether or not to borrow Recently, RBI classified peer to peer lending as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) Until now, P2P companies were registered under the Companies Act, 2013 A NBFC is a company registered under the Companies Act It engaged in the business of loans and advances, acquisition of shares/stocks/bonds /debentures/securities

Banks Vs NBFCs   

NBFC cannot accept demand deposits They are not part of the payment and the settlement system and thus cannot issue cheques drawn on itself. Deposit insurance facility of Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation is not available to depositors of NBFCs


Recently, National e-Governance Services Ltdbecame India’s first information utility (IU) for bankruptcy cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Information utility is an information network that will store financial data like borrowings, default and security interests among others of firms. The utility would specialize in procuring, maintaining and providing financial information to businesses, financial institutions, adjudicating authority, insolvency professionals and other relevant stakeholders. Information utilities are governed by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, 2016 and IBBI (Information Utilities) Regulations, 2017 The objective behind information utilities is to provide high quality, authenticated information about debts, defaults and expeditiously process & verify information received

45. SAFE CITIES INDEX 2017   

The Economist Intelligence Unit launched safe cities index 2017. The report ranks 60 cities across 49 indicators covering digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security and ranks them accordingly According to the index Tokyo tops the overall ranking.


Recently Union Home Ministry launched a digital police portal under the CCTNS project.

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    

The police portal is a platform for citizens to file online crime related complaints and also request for antecedent verification. It will also provide 11 searches and 46 reports from the national database for state police and central investigation agencies. Central investigating and research agencies also have been provided logins to the portal to access crime statistics The portal also generates various thematic reports of trends of incidence of crime across the country to facilitate policy analysis and undertaking targeted interventions. CCTNS, launched in 2009, has originally aimed at maintenance of crime and criminal records of individuals through a national database, and delivery of web based police related services to all citizens.

47. FREE MOVEMENT REGIME (FMR)       

The Union Cabinet has approved, recently, agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing. It is an enabling arrangement for movement of people across border of both countries The FMR was a bilateral agreement between India and Myanmar that allows free movement of Indian and Myanmar citizens within 16 km of the border without visa restrictions for 72 hours. Its purpose is to alleviate insecurity of tribal people living along India and Myanmar border as they still continue to have trans-border linkages with their kith and kin. However, it has been misused by militants and criminals who are using it to smuggle weapons, narcotics, contraband goods and Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) Earlier, Rina Mitra Committee has been constituted to study the Free Movement Regime along the Myanmar border India’s border states with Myanmar: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram

48. INS KILTAN    

Recently, INS Kiltan, indigenously developed, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvette was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh It is India’s first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fibre composite material resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight and maintenance costs INS Kiltan is third of the four kamorta class anti-submarine warfare corvettes being built under naval modernisation project P-28. It was designed by Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited, Kolkata

49. OPV VIKRAM   

An Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), countryfirst-ever such defence craft to be built in a private shipyard, was handed over to the Coast Guard. OPV Vikram is a 100% in-house designed vessel made by an Indian private sector L&T for Indian Coast Guard. It is the first of the seven vessels for which contract had been awarded by the Ministry of Defence in March 2015to L & T.


   

Established in 1999, as part of the United Nations Secretariat It was established to ensure the implementation of UNGA’s “the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction” resolution. It serves as the focal point for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations system and regional organizations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields. Headquarter: Geneva Report: Global Assessment Report UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report, India has been ranked as the world's most disaster-prone country for displacement of residents. The International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR): October 13

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The 2017 theme is “Home Safe Home: Reducing Exposure, Reducing Displacement

51. THE UN SASAKAWA AWARD FOR DISASTER REDUCTION:  It is awarded to an individual or institutions that have taken active efforts in reducing disaster risk in their communities and advocates for disaster risk reduction.  Along with WHOSasakawa Health Prize and the UN Environment Programme Sasakawa Environment Prize, the United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction is one of three prestigious prizes established in 1986 52. SENDAI FRAMEWORK FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION 2015-2030   

It was adopted during the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015 Its adaptation involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures in order to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster It is successor to Hyogo framework for Disaster Risk Reduction


According to the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has hit a new high WMO is an intergovernmental organization Its mandate covers weather, climate and water resources. It has become UN specialized agency in 1951 for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences It is dedicated to international cooperation and coordination on state and behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with land and oceans, the weather and climate and distribution of water resources It has 191 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland Annual report: Greenhouse Gas Bulletin The World Meteorological Day: 23rd , March 2017 Theme: “Understanding Clouds” It also launched the International Cloud Atlas in 2017

54. CMS COP 12       

 

The 12th Conference of Parties (CoP) of Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) held in Manila, Philippines. Theme: “Their Future is Our Future – Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People” CMS CoP is also known as a Global Wildlife Conference In the conference several species of vultures, including four that have India on their migratory routes, were awarded the highest protection Species of vulture which received highest protection under the convention (Appendix I) are the red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture, Indian vulture and slender-billed vulture Whale shark and Caspian Seal also accorded global protection in the convention There are nine species of vultures in India out of which, 3 have been on critically endangered list of IUCN and also listed under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. These are, i. White-backed Vulture ii. Slender billed Vulture iii. Indian Vulture/long-billed vulture Though Red-headed vulture is on critically endangered list of IUCN but not listed under Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 CoP 13 will be held in: India

55. CMS CONVENTION    

CMS is an international treaty concluded under aegis of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) It is concerned with conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. It is also known as the Bonn Convention CMS aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range

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   

It was signed in 1979 in Bonn and entered into force in 1983 Headquarters: Bonn, Germany. Appendix I of the Convention: It includes Migratory species threatened with extinction Appendix II of the Convention: It includes Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation


Recently held in New Delhi Jointly hosted by MoEF, World Bank, UNDP Theme: “Peoples’ participation in wildlife conservation” During the event, India’s National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) for the period 2017-2031 and Secure Himalaya were released. The GWP is World-Bank led global partnership of 19 countries in Asia and Africa to promote the conservation and sustainable development by combating trafficking in wildlife. It was initiated in 2015 by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) The implementing agencies channelling the funds to the governments or other partners for the national projects are World Bank Group, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) & Asian Development Bank (ADB) It serves as a platform to exchange knowledge and coordinate in on-ground action for combating illegal poaching of wildlife and improve governance on wildlife conservation


The project aims to Sustain critical ecosystem services, conserve vulnerable snow leopards and other endangered species, Improving knowledge, advocacy and information systems for promoting landscape-based conservation approaches Specific landscapes under SECURE Himalayas are: o Changthang (Jammu and Kashmir) o Lahaul – Pangi and Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh) o Gangotri – Govind and Darma – Byans Valley in Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand) o Kanchenzonga – Upper Teesta Valley (Sikkim)


Under Namami Gange programme, government has decided to set up a turtle sanctuary at Allahabad Previously, Turtle sanctuary was set up in Varanasi in 1989 under the Ganga Action Plan-I


A 152 million-year-old fossil of an Ichthyosaur - an extinct marine reptile – discovered in Gujarat. Many ichthyosaur fossils have been found in North America and Europe, but this is the first time an ichthyosaur fossil has been discovered in India. The fossil belongs to Jurassic era and was found inside rocks belonging to Mesozoic Era

60. SAWFISH    

According to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute,the sawfish may be the most endangered fish species in India. They included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 enacted to save them from exploitation, There are only five species of the sawfish ever identified – dwarf sawfish, knifetooth sawfish, small tooth sawfish, large tooth sawfish and green sawfish. The sawfish family has been assessed either ‘Endangered' or ‘Critically Endangered' in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Global Red List, considering their threatened status, high extinction risk and observed population decline.

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61. BLUE PLANET PRIZE 2017    

Won by Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber from Germany It is the world’s most prestigious award for pioneers in environmental science and often considered as Nobel Prize for environmental research. It was instituted by Asahi Glass Foundation. It carries prize of 50 million yen (about $450,000) and is handed over in presence of Japan’s Imperial Prince and Princess.


 

 

Chemistry - Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of high-resolution cryoelectron microscopy  Cryo-electron microscopy is a method for imaging frozen-hydrated specimens at cryogenic temperatures by electron microscopy  Cryo-Electron Microscopy specializes in interpreting and visualizing unstained biological complexes such as viruses, small organelle, and macromolecular biological complexes of 200 kDa or larger preserved in vitreous (i.e. glassy or non-crystalline) ice. Physics - Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves Physiology or Medicine - Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm  The discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronised with the Earth’s revolutions Literature - British author Kazuo Ishiguro.  He is best known for his novel ‘The Remains of the Day’ for which Ishiguro has won Booker prize as well in 1989 Economics - Richard Thaler (USA)  for his contributions in the field of behavioural economics Peace - International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)  ICAN is an international coalition of non-government organizations running the campaign to advocate UN Weapon Ban treaty in about 100 countries.  Due to their efforts the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was officially adopted in July 2017 and will come into force after ratification by 50 countries.


It is a technique of assisted reproduction in which the embryo or zygote is collected from a donor animal with higher genetic merit and transferred to a recipient animal which serves as surrogate for rest of the pregnancy Recently, Department of Animal Husbandry launched ETT to increase the livestock productivity. Under this, a Mass Embryo Transfer programme in Indigenous Breeds undertaken National Mission on Bovine Productivity:The programme is implemented with the objective of conservation and development of indigenous breeds under Rashtriya Gokul Mission


RUTF is a medical intervention to cure Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) among children It includes readymade packed paste made of high energy fortified supplements (peanuts, oils, dried milk etc. In addition to these ingredients, RUTF contains nuts, sweeteners and grains for improving the taste. RUTF is also known as energy dense nutritious food (EDNF) It is general administered to children aged between 6 months and 6 years daily for about a month. It is being implemented under the global initiative Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and ICDS in India, through collaboration with the state governments.

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Recently, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has asked the states and Union Territories not to use RUTF for managing malnutrition as it is not an accepted policy of the Indian government


It is Japan’s version GPS and is dubbed as Michibiki system. It is intended for civilian use, with a claimed positioning accuracy down to mere centimetres. The QZSS constellation of 8 satellites will trace out a figure-8 pattern over Japan, the Western Pacific, and Australia. The Michibiki system can cover the Asia-Oceania region and works with the US-operated GPS to provide higher level of precision than previously possible with fewer satellites in visible range Recently, Japan launched fourth satellite as part of the programme


Recently the MoHRD announced that Paika Rebellion will be renamed as “First War of Independence”. The Paika rebellion took place in 1817 in Khurda, Odisha. Paikas were the peasant militias of the Gajapati rulers of Odisha who rendered military service to the king during times of war while taking up cultivation during times of peace They owned rent-free land that was given to them for their military service However they were forcefully usurped their land rendering them landless by the policies of British East India Company in 1803 But in 1817 Paikas rebelled against the British under the leadership of BaxiJagandhu Bidyadhara, hereditary chief of militia army to throw off the British. It ended with the surrender of Jagandbandhu in 1825


Held at New Delhi The Initiative started in 2013 by National Geographic Society


Central and state governments across India observe31st October as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. The day is observed to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India. Sardar Patel is credited with the integration of more than 500 princely states into India between 1947-49 after independence Act 1947

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Sagarmala is a port development project comprising road, rail, inland and coastal waterways to improve port. connectivity and port-led development. The objective of SethuBharatam is to make all national highways free of railway crossings by 2019. 4. SANKALP AND STRIVE PROGRAMMES. The Cabinet Committee ...

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