Wednesday, 13 December 2017

12th Dec Daily current affairs for UPSC Civil Service Exam 2017

World Economic Situation and Prospects Report
  • The report is a jointly published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
  • This year report marks the 70th anniversary of the publication.
  • It is the flagship report on the state of global economy.
  • The report highlights that, global economic growth reached 3 per cent in 2017, the highest growth rate since 2011.
  • It states that, India is set to see the growth accelerating to 7.2% in 2018-19 and 7.4% in 2019-20, up from the 6.7% in 2017-18.
  • UN-DESA is based at UN Headquarters in New York.
  • It is an entity of the UN Secretariat responsible for economic, social and environmental issues.
  • It promotes international cooperation in the pursuit of sustainable development.
  • It helps countries individually and regionally to formulate and implement national development strategies.
  • Its in-depth policy analysis has helped resolve many of the world’s most pressing socio-economic issues.
  • It publishes “Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017”, which is the annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the Goals.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and part of the UN Secretariat.
  • It is a part of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG).
  • It was formed specifically to handle the problems of developing countries dealing with trade, investment and development issues.
  • Other reports published by UNCTAD – Trade and Development Report, World Investment Report, The Least Developed Countries Report, Information and Economy Report, Technology and Innovation Report and Commodities and Development Report.
Laqshya Initiative
  • Government of India has recently launched Laqshya - Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative.
  • Its objective is to reduce preventable maternal and new-born mortality, morbidity and stillbirths by improving the quality of care provided in the labour room.
  • It will be implemented in Government Medical Colleges besides District Hospitals, and Sub- District Hospitals and Community Health Centres.
  • The initiative plans to conduct quality certification of labour rooms and also incentivize facilities achieving the targets outlined.
  • National Informatics Centre (NIC) provides nationwide common ICT infrastructure consisting of national and state “Data Centres” to support e-Governance services to the citizen.
  • National Knowledge Network (NKN) has been set up to connect institutions/organizations carrying out R&D, Higher Education and Governance with speed of the order of multi Gigabits per second.
  • Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It has been designated to serve as the national agency to collect, analyse and disseminate information on cyber incidents.
  • Country’s first NIC-CERT has been recently setup that will monitor, detect and prevent cyber attacks on government networks
  • It uses various tools to gather intelligence to identify vulnerabilities and possible exploits thereby predicting cyber incidents.
Ranganadi Hydroelectric Dam
  • It is the Run-of-the-River (ROR) dam constructed on Ranganadi River in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • ROR is a type of hydroelectric generation plant whereby little or no water storage is provided.
  • Substantial flooding of the upper part of the river is not required for run-of-river projects as a large reservoir is not required.
  • It does not require the formation of a reservoir thus eliminating the methane and carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The Emissions are generally caused by the decomposition of organic matter in the reservoir of a conventional hydro-electric dam.
Methanol blending with Petrol
  • It is a liquid chemical which is made from the destructive distillation (pyrolysis) of wood and is chiefly synthesized from carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
  • Its principal uses are in organic synthesis, as a fuel, solvent, and antifreeze.
  • It is also used to produce biodiesel via transesterification reaction.
  • Government will soon announce a policy which calls for 15 per cent blending of methanol in petrol to make it cheaper and also reduce pollution.

Source: The Hindu, PIB

11th Dec Daily current affairs for UPSC Civil Service Exam 2017

  • Mi-8, also known as Pratap, is a helicopter served the IAF since 1969.
  • It is commonly used as a transport helicopter and as an airborne command post, an armed gunship.
  • It has served the IAF in mainland India and the island territories of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands.
  • It has been deployed in various operations such as IPKF operation in Sri Lanka, UN Mission in Congo, Siachen etc.
  • The Indian Air Force is phasing out the Mi-8 helicopters.
Degradation of Plastic Bags
  • A recent study has found that the plastic wastes which find its way to ocean are being shredded by marine organisms in to microplastics.
  • The marine wildlife is actually contributing to the spread of microplastics within the marine environment.
  • A marine organism “Orchestia Gammarellus”, an amphibod found in the coastal areas of Northern and Western Europe involved in breaking up of the plastic bags into microplastics.
  • Scientists examined the rate at which plastics were broken down by the marine organism.
  • They also found that the type of plastic such as conventional, degradable and biodegradable had no effect on the rate of ingestion by the organism.
  • Amphibod – They are microscopic Crustaceans inhabiting all parts of the sea, lakes, rivers, sand beaches, caves, and moist (warm) habitats on many tropical islands.
Asset Stripping
  • It refers to the practice of buying an ongoing business with the aim of selling off its individual assets to buyers in the open market.
  • It usually happens when a business as an ongoing entity is no longer able to operate profitably and add value to its existing shareholders.
  • Instead of incurring even more losses, it might be a better option for the shareholders to simply sell off its assets and realize its value.
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
  • It is a paramilitary force that works under the command of the Union Home Ministry.
  • The CISF security consultancy wing was raised in 1999 which provide expert advice over 150 institutions such as IITs, IIMs, RBI etc.
  • It earns revenue through this service by charging consultancy fee.
  • Recently, it has extended its special consultancy wing services to the schools across the country to protect school children.
  • It will provide security suggestions to organizations and agencies to strengthen safety and security features.
Hambantota Port
  • Hambantota port is located in southern province of Sri Lanka.
  • It was formally handed over to China on a 99-year lease.
  • The lease is accordance to repay the $8 billion loan that the country owes to China.
  • China Merchants Port Holdings Company and the Sri Lanka ports Authority will own the port and the investment zone around the port.
  • The port city is twinned with Chinese city of Guangzhou since 2007.
  • Twin towns are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, cities, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas.
  • It is intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures as an act of peace and reconciliation and to encourage trade and tourism.
World Heritage Tag
  • The Telangana government is planning to send a proposal to UNESCO to get “World Heritage Site” tag for Hyderabad.
  • Monuments which will be included in the file are Charminar, Golconda and Qutb Shahi Tombs.
  • Charminar was built by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah, the 5th Sultan, Qutub Shahi Dynasty in 1591.
  • Golconda fort was first built by kakatiya dynasty and later ceded to Bahmani sultanate in 1364.
  • Qutb Shahi dynasty of Bahmani sultanate expanded the fort which was finally came under Mughal ruler Aurangazeb.
  • Qutb Shahi tombs are located in Ibrahim Bagh close to Golconda fort.

Source: The Hindu

10th Dec Daily current affairs for UPSC Civil Service Exam 2017

11th WTO Ministerial Conference
  • The 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) will take place from 10 to 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • The Ministerial Conference, will be attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organization’s 164 members.
  • It is the highest decision-making body of the WTO.
  • Under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO, the Ministerial Conference is to meet at least once every two years.
  • The last Ministerial Conference took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2015.
Supreme Court’sdirection on Taj mahal
  • The Supreme Court recently directed the UP government to prepare a comprehensive document with a futuristic vision to protect the monument.
  • SC stated that members of the civil society including experts from cultural heritage, historical heritage, environment and wildlifeshould be involved in devising a strategy to protect the Taj Mahal.
  • It ordered comprehensive plan on Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) an area of about 10,400 sq kms spread over spread over 6 districts of UP and Bharatpur in Rajasthan for a few hundred years should be prepared.
Waste management and pollution exchange platform
  • India is set to launch its first waste management and pollution exchange and trading platform.
  • London based leading provider of exchange technology will collaborate with the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (CGanga) will to launch this Platform.
  • It will address the waste management and pollution related problems in the Ganga river basin, which is a part of the Ganga clean-up initiative.
  • The exchange solution will include technology to deliver market data, warehouse receipts, finance and trading, including auctions, quoting and continuous trading facilities.
  • CGanga is the new think-tank formed under the aegis of NMCG (National Mission for Clean Ganga).
  • Its stated objectives is to make India a world leader in river and water science.
  • It is responsible for introducing new technologies, innovations and solutions into India.
  • The Centre is headquartered at IIT Kanpur and represents leading science and technological institutes of the country.
Day Zero
  • Weekly reports on water levels in the dams that supply Cape Town capital of South Africa, terms “Day Zero”.
  • It is the day when most taps could stop running and in South Africa it is expected to probably arrive in May 2018.
  • The severity of the crisis, brought on by three years of poor rains and surging water demand.
  • In a bid to curb water consumption, the city has banned residents from watering their gardens and washing their cars, shut most public swimming pools.
  • It is a practice of engaging in multiple sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved.
  • Its definition is often expanded as consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy which is different from polyandry and polygamy.
  • The polyamorous group or Polycules is committed to every one of its members, mentally and physically.
  • This society is distantly related to the Gond people, an indigenous tribal people still living in central India.
  • Scientists have proven the existence of new form of matter called Excitonium, which was first theorised almost 50 years ago.
  • There are five known phases of matter - solids, liquids, gases, plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates, Excitonium is a condensate.
  • Excitonium is made up of particles known as excitons, which are made from an escaped electron.
  • Excitonium exhibits phenomena like a superconductor.

Source: Business Line, the Hindu, Financial Express

9th Dec Daily current affairs for UPSC Civil Service Exam 2017

Wassenaar Arrangement
  • India has been admitted as the 42nd member of Wassenaar Arrangement.
  • Members are admitted based on the consensus of the existing members.
  • A country must also meet certain criteria such as compliance to a range of global non-proliferation treaties including NPT to get admitted to the arrangement.
  • U.S backed the admission of India in the aftermath of signing of civil nuclear cooperation in 2005.
  • Barring China, all permanent members of UNSC are signatories.
  • Upon becoming the member, India will get access to high technology which will help address the demands of Indian Space and defence sectors.
  • It will also boost India’s chances of joining Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
  • Earlier this year, India had updated its export control lists to bring them in line with international standards, including those required by the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Global Compact for Migration
  • It is the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement under the auspices of UN to cover all dimensions of migration.
  • The agreement was signed in the UNGA by adopting a non-binding political declaration “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants” in 2016.
  • The declaration pledged to uphold the rights of refugees, help them resettle and ensure they have access to education.
  • All the 193 member countries of UNGA became the part global pact for migration.
  • It is framed consistent with target 10.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Under the agenda, member States committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration.
  • United States has recently withdrawn from this pact, saying that the declaration is inconsistent with its policies.
  • It is a chronic infective disease of the eye and a leading cause of corneal blindness in India, affecting young children.
  • It is caused by poor environmental and personal hygiene and inadequate access to water and sanitation.
  • According to the National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17), India has become free from Trachoma with an overall prevalence found to be only 0.7%, much below the criteria set by WHO.
  • According to WHO, active trachoma is considered eliminated if the prevalence of active infection among children below 10 years is less than 5%.
  • Trachoma is no longer a public health problem in India.
  • The disease is found to be affecting the population in certain pockets of north Indian states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the Nicobar Islands.
World’s largest free-trade Agreement
  • The European Union and Japan concluded negotiations on a free-trade deal to create the world's largest open economic area.
  • It will remove EU tariffs of 10 per cent tariffs on Japanese cars and the 3 per cent rate typically applied to car parts.
Bodhi Parva
  • It is a BIMSTEC Festival of Buddhist Heritage held recently in New Delhi.
  • It is celebrated as a part of 20th anniversary of BIMSTEC.
  • It involves exhibition of international and Indian Buddhist art and architecture, discourses by eminent scholars of Buddhism, screening of film on Buddhism, dance and music performances etc.
  • It will help in building an awareness of BIMSTEC's rich and common heritage.

Source: The Hindu, PIB, BusinessLine

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Direct tax collection rises 14.4%

Net direct tax collections up to November, at 4.8 lakh crore, were 14.4% higher than they were in the same period of the previous nancial year, according to ocial data released by the government on Saturday. “The provisional gures of direct tax collections up to November 2017 show that net collections are at 4.8 lakh crore which is 14.4% higher than the net collections for the corresponding period of last year,” the government said in a release. “The net direct tax collections represent 49% of the total Budget Estimates of direct taxes for nancial year 2017­18 (9.8 lakh crore).”  In other words, the government has earned less than half of its full year target in the rst eight months of the nancial year. This is, however, in line with the trend seen in the previous nancial year, where the same period saw 48.7% of the budgeted amount being collected. “Gross collections (before adjusting for refunds) have increased by 10.7% to 5.82 lakh crore during April­November 2017,” the release said. “Refunds amounting to 1.02 lakh crore have been issued during April 2017 to November 2017.” 

India INX gets SEBI nod for listing debt securities

India INX gets SEBI nod for listing debt securities  MUMBAI BSE’s India International Exchange (India INX) has said it had received approval from the capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India on the framework for listing of debt securities. 

The move will enable Indian and foreign issuers to issue masala bonds, Eurobonds and foreign currency bonds from India INX at the International Financial Services Centre at the Gujarat International Finance Tec­h City for the first time, India INX said.

Lanka formally hands over Hambantota port to China

Two Chinese firms will own harbour and investment zone

Sri Lanka on Saturday formally handed over the strategic southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99­ year lease, in a deal dubbed by the Opposition as a sell­out. Two Chinese firms — Hambantota International Port Group and Hambantota International Port Services managed by the China Merchants Port Holdings Company and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority — will own the port and the investment zone around it, ocials said.

 Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during a visit to China in April had agreed to swap equity in Chinese infrastructure projects launched by former President Mahinda Rajapakse in his home district. Sri Lanka owed China $8 billion, then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said last year. ‘Economic zone’ “With this agreement, we have started to pay back the loans. Hambantota will be converted to a major port in the Indian Ocean,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said while addressing the handing­ over ceremony held in Parliament. 

 “There will be an economic zone and industrialization in the area, which will lead to economic development and promote tourism,” the Prime Minister said.

Excitonium -New form of matter

New form of matter Scientists have proved the existence of a new form of matter called excitonium — which was first theorised 50 years ago.

Excitonium is made up of particles known as excitons, which are made from an escaped electron and the hole it left behind. It exhibits macroscopic quantum phenomena.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

India gets admission into Wassenaar Arrangement ,2017

Space, defense to gain from entry to export control regime 

The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday welcomed the decision of the Wassenaar Arrangement to admit India as the 42nd member of the organisation which aims to regulate trade and use of dual use technology

Officials said that following admission into the club, India will get access to high technology, which will help address the demands of Indian space and defense sectors. 

It will also boost New Delhi’s chances of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). “The plenary meeting of the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) held on 6 to 7 December 2017 in Vienna, Austria, has decided to admit India, which will become the Arrangement’s 42nd participating state. 

The necessary procedural arrangements for India’s admission will be completed shortly,” the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Aairs said at his weekly briefing. On the scope of the Arrangement, he said, “India’s membership is expected to facilitate high technology tie ups with Indian industry and ease access to high ­tech items for our defense and space programmes.”

8th Dec Daily current affairs for UPSC Civil Service Exam 2017

Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
  • The convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage was adopted by UNESCO in the year 2003.
  • It acknowledges cultural heritage also encompasses tradition and living expression in addition to tangible places, monuments and objects.
  • The 12th session of Intergovernmental committee for the safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage is being held at South Korea.
  • In this session, the committee has added “Kumbh Mela” as an intangible heritage.
  • Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation of pilgrims in the planet, held once in every 12 years in 4 places - Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik.
  • It represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and ritual cleansing in holy rivers in India.
  • It is the third inscription to the list in the two years following the addition of “Yoga” and “Norouz” last year
Other Intangible cultural Heritage from India
  • Ramlila- the traditional performance of the Ramayana
  • Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre
  • Tradition of Vedic Chanting
  • Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas.
  • Chhau dance
  • Kalbelia folk dance and songs of Rajasthan
  • Mudiyettu,ritual theatre and dance drama of kerala.
  • The Buddhist chanting of Ladakh
  • Sankirtana –the ritual singing, drumming, and dancing of Manipur
  • The traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab.
  • Yoga and Norouz
  • SAICON is the first international conference on sports medicine and sports sciences.
  • The 3-day conference is being organized by sports authority of India.
  • Its objective is to promote scientific temperament in the country and inspire students, researchers and educationists to take up sports science and research to the next level.
Up gradation in IUCN list
  • IUCN has recently upgraded the status of two kiwi birds from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable”.
  • The two species are the northern brown kiwi and the rowi kiwi.
  • They are flightless birds found in New Zealand.
  • The conservation of these species was taken care by the New Zealand government for the past 25 years under “Kiwi Recovery Plan”.
  • It mainly involved predator (dogs, feral cats) control which is the biggest threat for the survival of kiwis.
  • The plan also has community engagement and operation Nest Egg to improve the juvenile survival rates.
  • Kiwis lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any bird species.
  • The upgrade in the status came after the steady increase in its population.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)
  • Mission Indradhanush (MI) was launched to vaccinate children against life threatening diseases.
  • It focuses on unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children in the pockets of low immunization coverage in high risk and hard to reach areas.
  • IMI aims to reach each and every child under two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme.
  • IMI focus on 190 districts across 24 states with an objective of 90% full immunization coverage in those areas by Dec, 2018.
  • IMI was launched in Oct, 2017 at Vadnagar, Gujaarat.
  • Vaccines against Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus and Measles are provided in all covered areas.
  • In few selected states and districts, vaccines are also provided against Haemophilus influenzae type B and Japanese Encephalitis.
Operation Sahayam
  • It is an Indian Navy exercise for undertaking search and rescue operation and providing Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the south east Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep islands in the aftermath of Cyclone OCKHI.

Source: The Hindu, PIB