The Hindu Prelims News Notes- Prelims Sure Shot
1st October to 19th October 2019
The Indian Grey Hornbill
- The Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) is a common hornbill found on the Indian subcontinent. It is mostly arboreal and is commonly sighted in pairs. It has grey feathers all over the body with a light grey or dull white belly.
- The horn is black or dark grey with a casque extending to the point of curvature of the horn. It is one of the few hornbill species found in urban areas in many cities where they are able to make use of large trees in avenues.
- It is found in most parts of India, from the Himalayan foothills, southwards through the Indian peninsula, absent in the very dry areas of western India, and in wet forests of the Western Ghats and north-eastern India.
- Also found in parts of Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. In deciduous forests, woodlands, thorn forest, can be also seen in city gardens, plantations and parks. Usually seen in the plains up to 600 m, but reported up to 1400 m in the Himalayan foothills.
- They feed on fruits and berries from fig trees, insects, reptiles (snakes, lizards), small birds (mostly fledglings) but on occasion can go after slightly bigger adult birds as well.
- The Bird is listed as Least Concern by IUCN, and in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
Local Names: Hindi: Dhanesh/Dhanmar/Dhand/Dhanel; Bengali: Puttial dhanesh; Marathi: Bhinas; Gujarati: Chilotro; Tamil: Munu mukkula/Irawakke; Telugu: Supanati/Kommu kasiri
- Brexit is a term used to define United Kingdom coming out of EU. Recently in a referendum conducted in United Kingdom, UK voted by a narrow margin in favour of Brexit. Negotiations are undergoing currently between United Kingdom and European Parliament to negotiate the terms of the exit deal.
- Post the Second World War, two countries Germany and France came together and decided that they wanted to establish trade relations as it would prevent their countries waging war against each other in the future.
- The result was the 6 members (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands) signed a deal covering resources like coal and steel.
- In 1957 a treaty was signed in Rome (Europe)-European Economic Community (EEC) or Common Market. This has expanded and now has 28 member states.
- It became a member country in 1973 and held the first referendum in regards to EU in 1975 (when they voted to stay in EU).
Reasons for Brexit –
Economic reasons – The primary contention was that economically, Britain loses more than what it gains.
- The first issue being that of membership fees paid – about 340 pounds per year per household
- Secondly, it was said that EU’s policies were too protectionist and did not favour competitiveness to the extent that would be beneficial for the British economy
- Post the Sovereign Debt Crisis, EU introduced Fiscal Compact and tighter control on national budgets. Britain was not comfortable with these ideas
- Germany’s proposal to impose taxes on financial transactions (Tobin Tax) also did not find favour with London, which is an important financial hub.
- Half of British legal migrants come from EU. There is this feeling that they have a negative impact on UK born workers. Adding credence to local fears was the fact that since 1997, 3/4th of jobs created are taken up by EU immigrants
- EU’s obligation on its members to accommodate more refugees also did not find favour with UK. Especially at a time when the refugee influx in Europe is at an all-time high in light of multiple crisis in Middle East and Africa
- There is also this perception that immigrants pose a threat to national security
- EU is a transformative idea in many senses. One of the things that it leads to is the weakening of national sovereignty. EU has been pushing for creation of an Ever Closer Union which would accord greater decision making powers to European Parliament, while, limiting the authority of British Parliament.
National Security Advisor
- The post of NSA was created in 1998 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and has become increasingly influential and powerful over the years with the rise of India on the world stage.
- The NSA is the senior official on the National Security Council (NSC) of India, and the chief adviser to the Prime Minister of India on national and international security policy. Presently NSA is most powerful bureaucrat in the Government of India.
- The National Security Adviser (NSA) is tasked with regularly advising the Prime Minister of India on all matters relating to internal and external threats and opportunities to India, and oversees strategic and sensitive issues on behalf of the Prime Minister.
- The NSA of India also serves as the Prime Minister’s Special Interlocutor with China as well as the envoy to Pakistan and Israel on security affairs.
- The NSA receives all intelligence reports and co-ordinates them to present before the Prime Minister. NSA is assisted by the Deputy National Security Advisers.
- Prasar Bharati is a statutory autonomous body
- It is established under the Prasar Bharati Act
- Established in 1997
- It is the Public Service Broadcaster of the country.
- The objectives of public service broadcasting are achieved in terms of Prasar Bharati Act through All India Radio and Doordarshan.
Mo Sarkar Initiative
- Odisha has launched a new governance initiative- ‘Mo Sarkar’- on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. The ‘Mo Sarkar’ was launched at all police stations across the State along with 21 district headquarters hospitals and three government-run medical college hospitals at Cuttack, Berhampur and Sambalpur.
- The Programme will be effective at all the 30 district headquarters hospitals of the State by October 30.
- The objective of the Programme is to provide service with dignity to people who are coming to government offices for different purposes.
Open Defecation Free
- ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a] safe technology option for disposal of faeces.
- safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.
Unusual movement of moths and butterflies causing a flutter
- A publication titled ‘Assemblages of Lepidoptera in selected protected areas across Indian Himalaya through long-term ecological monitoring’ released during the 6th Asian Lepidoptera Conservation Symposium organized in Kolkata.
- The volume, published by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), is a result of three years of study across 175 long-term ecological monitoring plots across six Himalayan regions, from the cold deserts of Ladakh to the tropical evergreen forests of Arunachal Pradesh.
- The butterfly named Himalayan tailless bushblue (Arhopala ganesa ganesa) occurs at an altitude between 1,300 m to 2,400 m in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
- Recent studies however, have located the species at 3,577 m in Askot Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand, at least 1,200 m higher than its known range.
- An upward habitat shift has also been found for the blue baron (Euthalia telchinia), a butterfly species protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
- While earlier it was known to be found at an altitude of 1,500 m in the central Himalayas, north-east India and the Western Ghats, researchers recorded it at 2,100 m at Neora Valley National Park, West Bengal.
- In the case of some species of moth, a similar uphill movement of habitat was recorded. The Trachea auriplena — described from Sri Lanka at about 300 m altitude — was recorded at 3,100 m in the Valley of Flowers National Park (Uttarakhand), an unusual occurrence for the species.
Another moth species Diphtherocome fasciata was recorded at 3,300 m in the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary (Uttarakhand), at least 2,200 m higher than its previous range.
- Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) are known as potent ecological indicators.
- Their distribution depends on and shifts with changes in vegetation.
- These species are shifting their habitats mainly because of Climate change.
347 billion ton iceberg unexpectedly breaks off Antarctica
- Antarctica just lost a massive 347 billion ton iceberg, which broke off from the third largest ice shelf on the continent. It’s the largest break-off from the Amery Ice Shelf in more than 50 years.
- The iceberg, known as D-28, separated from the Amery Ice Shelf in East Antarctica last week. According to researchers, the tabular iceberg measures 1,636 square kilometers (632 square miles) in area, is 210 meters (689 feet) thick, and weighs 315 billion metric tons (347 billion U.S. tons).
- Scientists will monitor and track the iceberg — which is larger than Los Angeles, London or the island of Oahu — because its size poses a hazard to shipping.
Russia mark 100th birthday of Kalashnikov
- Russia will next month celebrate the life of Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, with a number of events, including the museum display and a biopic.
- Kalashnikov, who died in 2013 at the age of 94, is seen in Russia as a national hero and symbol of the country’s proud military past.
- His AK-47 has become a weapon of choice for both guerrillas and governments the world over.
- It is also a staple of early military education in Russia.
- Kalashnikov was showered with every possible major prize in the Soviet Union, and the Kremlin in 2009 gave him the highest honor — Hero of Russia.
- In 2017, authorities unveiled a monument to Kalashnikov holding his weapon in central Moscow. Wounded during a bloody battle with Nazi forces in 1941, Kalashnikov was given a leave during which he thought up the first versions of the rifle.
- In 1945, a prototype was entered into a competition and the design was eventually recommended for use in the Soviet army.
- Famous Indian painter Jamini Roy was born on April 11 in 1887. Born on April 11, in the year 1887, at Beliatore village of Bankura district in West Bengal, Roy studied painting at Government College of Art in Kolkata.
- Jamini Roy is one of the most significant modernists in the world of Indian fine arts of the 20th century and was also honored with one of the highest civilian honors of the country– Padma Bhushan in the year 1955.
- He was trained in the formal western style of art; however, later he got influenced by the Kalighat Pat style, with its bold sweeping brush-strokes.
- In this new found style, he painted everything from scenes of the Ramayana and Krishna Lila to ordinary men and women. He was one of the few distinguished painters who held exhibitions in London and New York.
- Roy introduced the world a new style of painting that was influenced from Bengali folk art.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor
The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
- The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consisting of highways, railways, and pipelines is the latest irritant in the India–China relationship.
- CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
- The proposed project will be financed by heavily-subsidized loans that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banking giants such as Exim Bank of China, China Development Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
- The Nilgiri Mountains form part of the Western Ghats in western Tamil Nadu of Southern India. At least 24 of the Nilgiri Mountains’ peaks are above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft.), the highest peak being Doddabetta, at 2,637 metres.
- The word Nilgiri, coming from Sanskrit nil (blue) + giri (mountain), has been in use since at least 1117 CE. It is thought that the bluish flowers of kurinji shrubs gave rise to the name.
- Three national parks border portions of the Nilgiri Mountains namely- Mudumalai National Park, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley National Park. The Nilgiri Hills are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (itself part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and form a part of the protected bio-reserves in India.
Reang or Bru Tribes
- Reang or Bru are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura. The Bru are the second most populous tribe of Tripura after the Tripuris.
- The correct nomenclature for this ethnic group is actually Bru although the name Reang was accidentally incorporated by the Indian government during a census count.The Bru can be found all over the Tripura state in India.
- However, they may also be found in Mizoram, Assam, Manipur and Bangladesh.
- FDI 2.0 intends to deploy ‘List or Trade in India’ as a strategic policy tool to enable Indian citizens become shareholders in MNCs such as Google, Facebook, Samsung, Huawei and others, thus capturing the ‘upside’ they create for their platforms and companies.
- The world has undergone a structural change with the emergence of Internet Multinational Companies (MNCs) that are based on ‘winner-takes-all’ platform business models.
- In 1978, the Indian government adopted a policy that required equity dilution by 100% foreign-owned companies. This led to the Listing of MNCs in the Indian market, which resulted in handsome returns to both MNCs and Indian shareholders.
The two proposals of the following policy –
- Proposal 1, by itself, will not achieve the objective of increasing Indian participation in the fair value of Internet MNCs. This is because of complex issues in revenue booking that result in low profits in Indian subsidiaries. Hence, there is a need for additional initiative by way of proposal 2 to enable Indian investor participation in the ownership of parent MNCs’ shares.
- Proposal 2 (‘Trade in India’ i.e. U.S. dollar-denominated parent MNC Shares to be ‘Admitted for Trading’ on Indian bourses]: In this proposal, Indian investors could buy shares of parent MNCs (where global profits and value get consolidated).
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the administrative Ministry of FSSAI.
- Headquarters: Delhi.
- Framing of regulations to lay down the standards and guidelines of food safety.
- Granting FSSAI food safety license and certification for food businesses.
- Laying down procedure and guidelines for laboratories in food businesses.
- To provide suggestions to the government in framing the policies.
- To collect data regarding contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
- Creating an information network across the country about food safety.
- Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.
FSSAI was consequently established in 2008 but work within the Food Authority effectively began in 2011 after its Rules and key Regulations were notified.
World Economic Forum (WEF)
- WEF is Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Geneva. It was founded in 1971.
- It works to improve the state of the world through public-private cooperation.
- It serves as independent not-for-profit organization that works closely with other international organizations.
- WEF is best known for its annual winter meeting for five days in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in eastern Alps region of Switzerland.
Special Economic Zone
Ministry/Department: Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
- SEZ are set up under Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 as duty free enclaves to be treated as foreign territory for the purpose of trade operations and duties and tariffs.
- SEZ are allowed for manufacturing, trading and service activities.
- A single window SEZ approval mechanism by Board of Approval
- Application recommended by states/UTs are approved by BOA
66th National Film Awards
- The National Film Awards is the most prominent film award ceremonies in India. Established in 1954, it has been administered, along with the International Film Festival of India and the Indian Panorama, by the Indian government’s Directorate of Film Festivals since 1973.
- Every year, a national panel appointed by the government selects the winning entry, and the award ceremony is held in New Delhi, where the President of India presents the awards
The list of winners for the 66th National Film Awards are as follows-
Gujarati film Hellaro – Best Feature Film Award
Badhaai Ho bags award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
Hindi movie Padman declared Best Film on Social Issues
Aditya Dhar wins Best Director Award for Uri: The Surgical Strike
Ayushman Khurana and Vicky Kaushal jointly win Best Actor Award for their performances in Andhadhun and Uri: The Surgical Strike
Keerthy Suresh bags Best Actress trophy for her performance in Telugu movie Mahanati
Marathi movie Paani wins the award for Best Film on Environment Conservation/ Preservation.
Kannada film Ondalla Eradalla gets Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
Uttarakhand declared Most Film Friendly State
Real Estate Regulation Act
- RERA, 2016 is a central legislation which aims to regulate the real estate sector. It seeks to empower and protect property consumers and make transactions fair and transparent.
- Enacted in enacted March 2016, RERA came into effect from May 2017
- RERA requires any project that has 8 dwelling units or is at least 500 sq m in area to be registered with the regulatory authority.
The Real Estate Act provides transparency and accountability in the realty sector. Its objective is to make known the status of building approvals, to enable customers to make accurate decisions. The Act aims to take steps to promote affordable housing for everyone.
Indian Ocean Region
- The Indian Ocean Region can be roughly identified as follows: Its western border is continental Africa to a longitude of 20° E, where it stretches south from Cape Agulhas; its northern border is continental Asia from Suez to the Malay Peninsula; in the east it incorporates Singapore, the Indonesian archipelago, Australia to longitude 147° E and Tasmania; while in the south it stretches to latitude 60° S as determined per the Antarctic Treaty of 1959.
- The region has 51 coastal and landlocked states, namely 26 Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) states, five Red Sea states, four Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain and 13 landlocked states.
- Four critically important access waterways are the Suez Canal (Egypt), Bab el Mandeb (Djibouti-Yemen), Strait of Hormuz (Iran-Oman), and Strait of Malacca (Indonesia-Malaysia).
Bureau of Indian Standards
- BIS is National Standard Body of India established under BIS Act, 1986.
- It is mandated for harmonious development of activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected.
- It is headquartered at New Delhi.
- BIS is involved in various activities such as standards formulation, product certification scheme, compulsory registration scheme, foreign manufacturers certification scheme, hall marking scheme, laboratory services, laboratory recognition scheme, sale of Indian standards, consumer affairs activities, promotional activities, training services, national & international level and information services.
- The Shaheen Falcon is a non-migratory sub species of the peregrine falcon, is known for reaching speeds in the excess of 300 km an hour while driving to capture prey and are listed as being “Vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
- The Shaheen is found in South Asia from Pakistan across to India and Bangladesh in the east and to Sri Lanka, central and south-eastern China and northern Myanmar. In India, it has been recorded in all states mainly from rocky and hilly regions. The Shaheen has also been reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
World Trade Organization
- The WTO has 164 members (including European Union) and 23 observer governments (like Iran, Iraq, Bhutan, Libya etc.).
- Officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948
- An organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade
- HQ – Geneva, Switzerland
The WTO’s global system lowers trade barriers through negotiation and operates under the principle of non-discrimination.
The WTO’s system deals with these in two ways.
- One is by talking: countries negotiate rules that are acceptable to all.
- The other is by settling disputes about whether countries are playing by those agreed rules.
- Mountain range starts around the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, to the south of river Tapti.
- Runs through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- Ends at Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India. It covers approximately 1600km.
- The Western Ghats blocks southwestern monsoon winds reaching the Deccan plateau.
- Major rivers originate from the Ghats; these include Godavari, Kaveri, Krishna, Thamiraparani, and Tungabhadra.
- The Western Ghats, also known as ‘Sahyadri’, constitute a 1600 km long mountain chain along the west coast of India.
- The mountain chain of the Western Ghats represents geomorphic features of immense importance with unique biophysical and ecological processes.
- The site’s high montane forest ecosystems influence the Indian monsoon weather pattern. It also has an exceptionally high level of biological diversity and endemism.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. It is known as one of Ecologically Sensitive Area.
- A Co-operative bank is a financial entity which belongs to its members, who are at the same time the owners and the customers of their bank.
- Co-operative banks in India are registered under the States Cooperative Societies Act. The Co-operative banks are also regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and governed by the
- Banking Regulations Act 1949
- Banking Laws (Co-operative Societies) Act, 1955.
- Features of Cooperative Banks:
- Customer Owned Entities: Co-operative bank members are both customer and owner of the bank.
- Democratic Member Control: Co-operative banks are owned and controlled by the members, who democratically elect a board of directors. Members usually have equal voting rights, according to the cooperative principle of “one person, one vote”.
- Profit Allocation: A significant part of the yearly profit, benefits or surplus is usually allocated to constitute reserves and a part of this profit can also be distributed to the co-operative members, with legal and statutory limitations.
- Financial Inclusion: They have played a significant role in the financial inclusion of unbanked rural masses.
Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)
- CAATSA stands for “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”
- This punitive act was signed by President Donald Trump in August 2017.
- It mandates US administration to impose sanctions on any country carrying out significant defense and energy trade with sanctioned entities in North Korea, Iran and Russia.
- This is an act by the Congress, thus the President of the United States of America doesn’t have too much of authority over it.
Ten Years after Crash mission – NASA thirst for Lunar Water
- LCROSS was launched with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in 2009.
- It aimed to determine if water-ice exists in a permanently shadowed crater at the Moon’s South Pole.
- LCROSS and LRO found evidence of the lunar soil in shadowy craters.
- It also revealed that the Moon is chemically active and has a water cycle.
- LCROSS also confirmed the water was in the form of mostly pure ice crystals in some places.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent a Lunar CRater Observations and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) to the moon’s south pole, the space agency is about to start the same project again.
- Gynecomastia is a condition that makes breast tissue swell in boys and men. It can happen when the balance of two hormones in your body is thrown off. Boys’ bodies mostly make a hormone called testosterone, which guides their sexual growth during puberty. But males also make some estrogen — the hormone that steers sexual growth in girls.
- When a boy is going through puberty, or when an older man’s body makes less testosterone, the balance of the two hormones changes, sometimes when that happens, a higher percentage of estrogen causes male breast tissue to swell.
- The white-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) also known as the white-breasted kingfisher is a tree kingfisher, widely distributed in Asia from the Sinai east through the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines.
- This bird is the State Bird of West Bengal.
Chemistry Noble 2019
- The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 was awarded jointly to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.” Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized the world of technology. The batteries power everyday products such as smartphones, laptops and even electric vehicles.
- Built in the 7th century, Shore Temple depicts the royal taste of Pallava dynasty. During the reign of Rajasimha, the temple saw its construction when Pallava art was at its apex. This work of genius was recognized and listed amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
- Shore Temple comprises three shrines, where the prominent ones are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and one to Ksatriyasimnesvara.
The Rafale is a 4th generation Aircraft with twin-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft
- An active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which enables the pilot to look 200 to 400 kms away. It gives long range precision strike capability, the pilot can detect enemy aircraft and share the information and also destroy the targets.
- The 4th generation Aircraft capabilities involve Situational awareness in which Aircraft has got those sensors which enable the pilot to be aware situationally and detect the enemy Aircraft for which the Rafale has got AESA radar.
- The weapons package includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile considered the best in the class with range of over 150 km and Scalp long range air to ground missiles. The Rafale will also be fitted with MICA missiles, an Air to Land precision missile of more than 300 km range.
- The Rafale Aircraft will give India a superior Nuclear Strike capability and add to the existing nuclear strike capability of Sukhoi Su-30 and Mirage-2000.
Consumer Price Index (Rural and Agricultural Labourer)
- Consumer Price Index is a measure of change in retail prices of goods and services consumed by defined population group in a given area with reference to a base year. This basket of goods and services represents the level of living or the utility derived by the consumers at given levels of their income, prices and tastes.
- CPI (Rural) is compiled by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- Base Year for calculation is 2012. In a typical rural scenario most of the population practice agriculture, hence get many products from their own farm. The rest buy their needs from local market/ bazaar where mostly the producers themselves sell the products. Hence, in a rural market, demand for products is low but supply is high.
- This ensure the cost of the products remain low. And when cost of essential products is low, the salary requirement is low, resulting in the cost of services also being low. This is a cyclic process leading to low cost of living in rural areas.
The number of items in CPI basket include 448 in rural.
- Labour Bureau has been compiling CPI Numbers for Agricultural Labourers since September, 1964.The base of CPI (AL) was 1960-61=100. This series of CPI Numbers was then replaced by CPI for (i) Agricultural and (ii) Rural Labourers with base 1986-87=100 from November, 1995 onwards .
- CPI for Agricultural and Rural labourers on base 1986-87=100 is a weighted average of 20 constituent state indices and it measures the extent of change in the retail prices of goods and services consumed by the agricultural and rural labourers as compared with the base period viz 86-87. This index is released on the 20th of the succeeding month.
- CPI-AL is basically used for revising minimum wages for agricultural labour in different States.
Mahatma Gandhi NREGA
Mahatma Gandhi NREGA was notified on 7th September 05.
- The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments
- This act was introduced with an aim of improving the purchasing power of the rural people, primarily semi or un-skilled work to people living below poverty line in rural India. It attempts to bridge the gap between the rich and poor in the country. Roughly one-third of the stipulated work force must be women.
- Adult members of rural households submit their name, age and address with photo to the Gram Panchayat. The Gram Panchayat registers households after making enquiry and issues a job card. Registered person can submit an application for work in writing (for at least fourteen days of continuous work) either to Panchayat or to Programme Officer.
- The Panchayat/Programme officer will accept the valid application and issue dated receipt of application, letter providing work will be sent to the applicant and also displayed at Panchayat office. The employment will be provided within a radius of 5 km: if it is above 5 km extra wage will be paid.
Kaziranga National Park
- It is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India.
- It is a World Heritage Site.
- The sanctuary hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. Rhinos are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species.
- Tigers:Kaziranga is home to the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world, and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006.
- Fauna:The Park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
- Important Bird Area: Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species.
- Data localization is the act of storing data on any device that is physically present within the borders of a specific country where the data was generated.
Global Competitive Index by World Economic Forum
- The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which was launched in 1979, maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organized into 12 pillars.
- The pillars, which cover broad socio-economic elements, are: institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, the financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.
- Aarey Colony is a neighborhood in Goregaon (East). It was established as Aarey milk colony, in 1949, to revolutionize the processing and marketing of dairy products in the city. It is a ‘forest’ area, which begins in Powai and goes all the way till Western Express Highway, Goregaon in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- Aarey colony is known for its massive variety of flora and fauna. It has 77 species of birds, 34 species of wildflowers, 86 species of butterflies, 13 species of amphibians, 46 species of reptiles, 16 species of mammals and 90 different types of spiders. Several newly discovered species of scorpions and spiders have been found here. Two of these are even named after Aarey- Heterophrictus aareyeneis (tarantula) and Lychas aareyensis (scorpion). In spite of the vast variety of wildlife, the leopards are the most famous residents of Aarey.
Prime Minister Innovative Learning Programme “Dhruv”
- 14 day learning programme was launched recently from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Headquarters at Bengaluru.
- 60 students, 30 each from Science and Performing Arts discipline, have been selected for this ambitious programme in the first batch. Every student is to be called ‘DHRUV TARA’.
- The programme begins with a tour at ISRO followed by a stay in Delhi, where the selected students will be mentored by renowned experts.
- It is being started to identify and encourage talented children to enrich their skills and knowledge.
- The scheme is being implemented Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Deendayal Research Institute is developing a POSHAN atlas under POSHAN Abhiyan.
- The atlas aims to map the crops and food grains grown in different regions of the country so that nutritious protein rich food in local areas can be promoted.
- According to the World Bank Global Nutrition Report – 2018, malnutrition costs India at least $10 billion annually in terms of lost productivity, illness and death and is seriously retarding improvements in human development and further reduction of childhood mortality. The solution to tackling malnutrition lies in promoting regional cropping patterns and embracing local food that is rich in protein. The atlas will help tackle malnutrition effectively.
National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey
To mark the occasion of World Sight Day (a global annual event observed on the second Thursday of October) report on ‘National Diabetes & Diabetic Retinopathy Survey India 2015-19’ and on ‘National Blindness & Visual Impairment Survey India 2015-19’ were released.
Major findings of the survey in India are:
- One in eight persons above 50 years is Diabetic,
- One in every 46 diabetics is Blind; and
- One in seven suffers from some form of visual impairment due to high blood sugar levels.
Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (Suman)
- Under the scheme, pregnant women, mothers up to 6 months after delivery, and all sick newborns will be able to avail of free healthcare benefits.
- The beneficiaries visiting public health facilities are entitled to several free services.
- These include at least four antenatal check-ups that also includes:
- one checkup during the 1st trimester
- at least one checkup under Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan
- Iron Folic Acid supplementation
- Tetanus Diphtheria injection
- other components of comprehensive ANC package
- six home-based newborn care visits
- There will be zero expense access to the identification and management of complications during and after the pregnancy.
- The government will also provide free transport from home to health institutions.
- There will be assured referral services with the scope of reaching health facility within one hour of any critical case emergency and Drop back from institution to home after due discharge (minimum 48 hrs).
- The pregnant women will have a zero expense delivery and C-section facility in case of complications at public health facilities.
- It will ensure respectful care with privacy and dignity, with early initiation and support for breastfeeding, zero dose vaccination and free and zero expense services for sick newborns and neonates.
Hindu Kush – Himalayan Region
- The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region spans an area of more than 4.3 million square kilometers in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
- The region stores more snow and ice than anywhere else in the world outside the Polar Regions, giving its name: ’The Third Pole‘.
- The Third Pole contains the world’s highest mountains, including all 14 peaks above 8,000 metres, is the source of 10 major rivers, and forms a formidable global ecological buffer.
Green Wall of India
The proposed wall:
- It will be a 1,400km long and 5km wide green belt from Gujarat to the Delhi-Haryana border, on the lines of the “Great Green Wall” running through the width of Africa, from Dakar (Senegal) to Djibouti, to combat climate change and desertification.
If approved, this may turn out to be a legacy programme in India’s efforts to deal with land degradation and the eastward march of the Thar Desert.
- India seeks replicate the idea as a national priority under its goal to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC)
It is a non-profit making organization.
- Setup in 1982 by the Ministry of Textiles.
- Objective: To promote export of Carpets, all types of Handmade / handmade knotted Carpets, Rugs, Floor Coverings & other allied Products from India.
- A brand new antibiotic has been discovered in the soil of a tropical rainforest, Known as phazolicin, this previously unknown compound was recently isolated deep in the tropical forests of Los Tuxtlas, Mexico; it appears the new antibiotic can strike against several types of bacteria.
- Found in the root nodules of wild beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), this unusual antibiotic is produced by a symbiotic soil bacterium that fixes nitrogen for the plant and keeps harmful microbes away.
- The antibiotic phazolicin is a class of peptide produced in the ribosome, and is part of a diverse class of natural products with a variety of biological uses that we are only beginning to uncover.
Asia Environmental Enforcement Award
- These are given to outstanding individuals and/or government organizations/teams that demonstrate excellence and leadership in enforcement of national laws to combat trans-boundary environmental crime
- These awards are given by is given by UN Environment in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, USAID, Freeland Foundation, and the Government of Sweden.
India’s industrial output shrinks by 1.1%
- India’s industrial output shrank by 1.1% in August due to a poor show in the manufacturing, power generation and mining sectors. The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had expanded by 4.8% in August 2018.
- The manufacturing sector, which contributes over 77% to the IIP, showed a decline of 1.2% in output during August 2019 as against a growth of 5.2% in the same month of last year.
- Electricity generation declined by 0.9% as against an expansion of 7.6% in the year ago month while the growth in the mining sector was flat at 0.1%.
- The overall IIP growth during the April-August period was 2.4%, down from 5.3% in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.
Other crucial data points include:
1) Capital goods output contracted by 21% in August against a contraction of 7.1% in the previous month.
2) Primary goods output grew 1.1% in August compared with 3.5% in July.
3) Infrastructure and construction goods output fell 4.5% compared with a 2.1% rise in July.
Noble Peace Prize 2019
- The 100th Nobel Prize for peace has been awarded to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abhiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts towards peace and international cooperation. The prize was awarded in particular to honor his initiatives to resolve border conflict with Eritrea.
- Nobel Peace Prize awardee is selected by a five-member Committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting).
14th Anniversary of the R.T.I Act, 2005
Right To Information (RTI) has marked its 14th anniversary on 12th October 2019 to mark the occasion the ‘Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India’ has been released by the NGOs, Satark Nagrik Sangathan and the Centre for Equity Studies.
- RTI is one of the landmark acts which have led to a significant boost in accountability of the government towards the people.
- It has given ordinary citizens the confidence and the right to ask questions to the government authorities.
- RTI ensured the maintenance and publication of public records.
- Section 4 of the RTI Act makes it a duty of public authorities to maintain records for easy access
- It ensured transparency as well as accountability between citizens and public authorities.
Invasive Weeds Threatening Tiger Habitat
The spread of invasive weed species like Hyptis, Cassia Tora and Parthenium has been detected in environmentally-sensitive areas like Adilabad district of Telangana.
- These invasive weeds do not allow the grasslands to grow, which in turn leads to a decrease in the population of herbivores, which are prey to the Tigers.
- The decrease in the numbers of herbivores may threaten the existence of the tiger population in the area.
- The Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biodiversity (1992) had recognized the biological invasion of alien species of plants as the second-worst threat to the environment after habitat destruction.
Assam Tea Estates Violating Labour Laws
A report titled ‘Addressing the Human Cost of Assam Tea’ by Oxfam has flagged violation of labour rights in the tea estates of Assam. This report has been written by Oxfam, Tata Institute of Social Sciences was also involved in this research.
- Workers are paid in a ‘blend’ of cash and in-kind benefits and services. Cash payments are supplemented by the provision of food rations and free housing, healthcare and primary education, as required by the Plantations Labour Act (PLA), 1951.
- Plantation owners describe wages in terms of the total value of both cash and in-kind benefits, claiming that this meets minimum wage levels.
- India’s Minimum Wage Act of 1948 stipulates that in-kind benefits may not form part of the minimum wage calculation.
- However, the Act is not compulsory and Assam (like West Bengal) has agreed an exception for tea companies.
- The cash component of Assam tea workers’ wages is well below the minimum wage level of unskilled agricultural workers in the state i.e. Rs. 254.91.
- Women do the labour-intensive, low-paid task of plucking tea, while men get the better paid, more respected factory jobs.
- They are excluded from decision making and from pay and working conditions negotiations, partly due to being under-represented in trade unions.
- Indian tea estates are legally obliged under the PLA, 1951 to provide decent housing, healthcare, education and working conditions – but are clearly failing to do so.
- Housing and toilets are dilapidated or non-existent.
- Most workers do not have access to safe drinking water, so they have to drink the contaminated water, meaning diseases such as cholera, typhoid etc.
- It is a scheme of West Bengal.
- Kanyashree is a conditional cash transfer scheme aiming at improving the status and wellbeing of the girl child by incentivizing schooling of teenage girls and delaying their marriages until the age of 18. It received the United Nations Public Service Award last year.
- Through the initiative, cash was deposited into the bank account of girls for every year they remained in school and were unmarried.
NASA ICON Mission
The satellite Ionosphere Connection Explorer (ICON) was launched from an aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean near the Florida coast to detect dynamic zones of Earth’s Ionosphere.
- The ICON satellite will study the Earth’s Ionosphere. It includes various layers of the uppermost atmosphere where free electrons flow freely.
- The ICON mission is the 39th successful launch and satellite deployment by Pegasus rocket.
This mission is operated by the University of California.
- It was originally planned to launch in late 2017 but delayed due to the problems with the Pegasus XL rocket.
It is equipped with 780-watt solar arrays to power the instruments.
Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism
- The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens. It is a draft proposed by India in 1996 that is yet to be adopted by the UNGA.
Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure
- Indian Prime Minister, at the Hamburg G20 meet in 2017, proposed Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) CDRI which will act as a convening body that will pool best practices and resources from around the world for reshaping construction, transportation, energy, telecommunication and water, so that building in these core infrastructure sectors factors in natural catastrophes.
- CDRI could fill this gap of funds and technology and help developing countries to build disaster-resilient Infrastructure.
- In the elastocaloric effect, the transfer of heat works much the same way as when fluid refrigerants are compressed and expanded.
- When a rubber band is stretched, it absorbs heat from its environment, and when it is released, it gradually cools down.
- In order to figure out how the twisting mechanism might be able to enable a fridge, the researchers compared the cooling power of rubber fibres, nylon and polyethylene fishing lines and nickel-titanium wires.
- Researchers have found that the elastocaloric effect, if harnessed, may be able to do away with the need of fluid refrigerants used in fridges and air-conditioners.
- These fluids are susceptible to leakages, and can contribute to global warming. They observed high cooling from twist changes in twisted, coiled and supercoiled fibres.
- The emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica.
- Like all penguins it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat.
- Its diet consists primarily of fish, but also includes crustaceans, such as krill, and cephalopods, such as squid.
- The only penguin species that breeds during the Antarctic winter, emperor penguins trek 50–120 km over the ice to breeding colonies which can contain up to several thousand individuals.
- In 2012 the emperor penguin was put in the near threatened by the IUCN.
Dharma Guardian Exercise
- It is an annual training event which is being conducted in India since 2018.
- This exercise is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of global terrorism.
- The scope of this exercise covers platoon level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.
- It will enhance the level of defense co-operation between Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF) which in turn will further foster the bilateral relations between the two nations.
- Launched by the Ministry of housing and Urban Affairs to encourage public engagement in planting trees and Green drives. The application provides automatic geo – tagging of plants. It will hence enable the nodal officers to periodically monitor the plantation.
- The app is aimed to encourage Public engagement in planting trees and other such Green drives.
First Private Train in India
- Tejas Express, the country’s first “private” train runs by its subsidiary IRCTC, on the Lucknow-New Delhi route.
- The Tejas Express cuts the time travelled between the two cities to 6.15 hours from the 6.40 hours taken by the Swarn Shatabdi, currently the fastest train on the route.
- There are 14 non-executive chair cars and they can seat up to 72 passengers each in 3+2 configuration.
- The coaches have energy-efficient LED lights and digital destination display boards. It also has two executive chair cars in 2+2 configuration.
- The executive chair cars have a seating capacity of 56 passengers with adjustable head-rests, arm support and leg support. Leg support is not available in non-executive chair cars.
- Coaches have bio-vacuum toilets, water level indicators, tap sensors, hand dryers, integrated braille displays, LED TV for each passenger with phone sockets, local cuisine, celebrity chef menu, Wi-Fi, tea & coffee vending machines, magazines, snack tables, CCTV cameras, fire & smoke detection and suppression system.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome/Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a syndrome caused by the HIV virus. In this condition, a person’s immune system becomes too weak to fight off any kind of infection or disease.
- AIDS is an advanced HIV infection or late-stage HIV. Someone with AIDS may develop a wide range of health conditions like – pneumonia, thrush, fungal infections, TB, toxoplasmosis and cytomegalovirus.
- There is also an increased risk of developing a medical illness like cancer and brain illnesses. CD4 count refers to the number of T-helper cells in a cubic millilitre of blood. A person may be referred to as “AIDS-affected” when the CD4 count drops below 200 cells per cubic millilitre of blood.
- As AIDS is a virus infection, the symptoms related to acute HIV infection can be similar to flu or other viral illnesses, like – Fever, Muscle & Joint Pain, Chills, Headaches, Sore throat, Night Sweats, Red rashes, Mouth sores, Tiredness, Swollen lymph glands, Weakness, Weight Loss and Diarrhea.
Symptoms of late-stage HIV infection may include – Blurred vision, Persistent or Chronic Diarrhea, Dry cough, Fever of above 37 degrees Centigrade (100 degrees Fahrenheit), Night Sweats, Permanent tiredness, Shortness of breath, Swollen glands lasting for weeks, Weight loss and White spots on the tongue or mouth
- The Safdarjung Tomb also referred to as ‘Safdarjung Ka Maqbara’ is a garden tomb in New Delhi, India, made of marble and sandstone and built in late 18th century as mausoleum of Safdarjung, a statesman who remained the Wazir ul-Hindustan (Prime Minister of India) during the reign of Ahmad Shah Bahadur.
- This mausoleum built by Safdarjung’s son Nawab Shujaud Daula remains the last monumental garden tomb depicting Mughal architectural style.
- The Safdarjung Tomb, designed by an Ethiopian architect marks the last colossal garden tomb of the Mughals. The mausoleum constructed on an elevated platform is surrounded by a huge square garden measuring 280 metres (920 ft) on each side with a courtyard and a three-domed mosque housed inside the compound that is enclosed within a wall.
- The tomb that is built of red and brownish-yellow coloured sandstone has a high terrace and is capped with a massive central dome. Slabs from the mausoleum of Abdul Rahim Khankhana were used in its construction.
- The huge garden encompassing the mausoleum, designed in line with the conventional charbagh garden style of the Mughals, is segregated into four squares with footpaths and water canals around them. Each square is again divided into four smaller gardens. One of the water canals leads to an elegantly decorated gateway while the other leads to three pavilions namely ‘Jangli Mahal’ or ‘Palace in the woods’, ‘Badshah Pasand’ or ‘The Emperor’s Favourite’ and ‘Moti Mahal’ or ‘Pearl Palace’.
Galathea National Park
- The Galathea National Park comprises the core area of the southern part of the Biosphere Reserve in Great Nicobar Island and consists of lowland forests which have the greatest abundance of endemic avifauna.
- It is the prime nesting habitat of the Nicobar Megapode and possibly the area of other endemic species too.
- The park is endowed with large uninhabited low lying forests containing some rare and endangered plants with rich species content, and is also a rich resource of genetic germplasm. Important Fauna of the National Park includes – Leather Back Turtle, Crab Eating Macaque, Salt Water Crocodile, Andaman Wild Pig, Palm Civet, Fruit Bat, Nicobar Pigeon, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Nicobar Serpent Eagle, Parakeets, Water Monitor Lizard and Reticulated Python
Campbell National Park
- Campbell Bay National Park is a national park in India, located on the island of Great Nicobar, the largest of the Nicobar Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean some 190 km to the north of Sumatra. It was gazetted as a national park of India in 1992, and forms part of the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve.
- The park has an approximate area of some 426 km², and is separated from the smaller Galathea National Park by a 12-km wide forest buffer zone.
Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve
- The Great Nicobar Biosphere Island Reserve consists of tropical wet evergreen forest hosts a wealth of animal species and medicinal plants.
- The reserve which encompasses a large part of the island of Great Nicobar is home to indigenous Shompen people, semi-nomadic hunters living inland, and the Nicobarese, who are coastal dwellers dependent on fishing and horticulture.
- The bio reserve is home to 1,800 animal species, including 200 species of meiofauna in the coastal zone. Both above mentioned National Parks are a part of the Great Nicobar Biosphere reserve.
Rao Singh Policy
- The goals of the liberalisation in 1991 embarked upon were short term as well as long term.
- The immediate provocation was the critical fiscal situation that India faced in terms of foreign obligations as well as stagnancy in the growth of the economy.
- To overcome it, certain actions were taken. It also included devaluation of rupee.
- A lot of thinking was done by the government to make the organized sector moving. The organized sector, industrial sector, finance sector, trade sector- all of those were experiencing minimal growth rates. This was the background in which the liberalisation process started.
It can be clubbed as
- Industrial licensing- where most products and lines were de-licensed.
- Trade liberalisation- a whole lot of items in which the trade was not allowed were removed from the restricted list. Also, to facilitate freer trade, the duties on export as well as on imports were done away with. However, there was no question of India participating in any of FTAs.
- Changed attitude towards FDI- it was not a direct impact. It has happened in tranches over 20 years and continues even now.
- Financial changes- privatization of banks
This New Economic Policy of India was launched in the year 1991 under the leadership of P. V. Narasimha Rao and the then finance minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh, and is termed also as “Rao Singh Policy”.
- Headline inflation is the raw inflation figure reported through the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that is released monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The CPI calculates the cost to purchase a fixed basket of goods, as a way of determining how much inflation is occurring in the broad economy. The CPI uses a base year and indexes the current year’s prices according to the base year’s values.
- Headline Inflation is the measure of total inflation within an economy. It includes price rise in food, fuel and all other commodities.
Chief Election Officer
- Election Commission of India in consultation with State Government/Union Territory Administration nominates or designates an Officer of the said State/UT as the Chief Electoral Officer to supervise the election work in the State/UT.
- The main function of the chief election officer is to supervise the preparation of the Electoral Rolls, preparation and issue of Electors Photo Identity Cards and to conduct Elections to the Assembly Constituencies of Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha under the overall direction, superintendence and control of the Election Commission of India.
- The officer is designated to overview the smooth functioning of the duties mentioned above and overlooks the election procedure during polling dates.
Nepal, China ink road connectivity deal
- The infrastructure-building agreements were part of the 20 documents that were signed after delegation-level talks held by visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.
- An agreement for upgraded all-weather road connection that includes building of Himalayan tunnels was reached between the Ministry of Finance of Nepal and the China International Development Cooperation Agency.
- Both sides resolved to begin feasibility studies for the construction of the tunnels along the road from Keyrung in Tibet to Kathmandu, said a joint statement issued at the end of the visit. The joint statement declared that both sides will intensify cooperation to realize “trans-Himalayan multidimensional connectivity network”.
- The tunnel network will connect Tokha and Chhahare within Nepal that will ultimately reduce the road distance between Nepal and China.
- The current road network is unsafe as it is prone to disruption due to landslips and poor maintenance.
- Both sides also gave the green signal for a feasibility study of the trans-Himalayan rail connectivity aimed at connecting the Nepal capital with major commercial centers of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and beyond in China.
- Nepal agreed to allow Chinese banks to open branches and other financial services in Nepal and increase imports from China.
- Nepal and China signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation within the BRI framework in 2017, bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges has been deepened at a fast pace. The trans-Himalayan connectivity network, a gigantic infrastructure program undertaken by the two countries, could help upgrade the roads, railway system and aviation in Nepal, and better logistics would then benefit the agriculture and industry sectors, improve economic structure and boost export.
Mother tongue for preschool
- The first-ever preschool curriculum was released by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)
- The NCERT’s new curriculum is aimed at all pre-school education, defined as the education of 3 to 6-year-olds, whether at anganwadis, nursery schools, kindergartens, playschools or Montessori schools.
- It recommends that Children between the ages of three and six years should be taught in their own mother tongues.
SARAS Aajeevika Mela
- It is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
- Its objective is to bring the rural women SHGs formed with support of DAY-NRLM, under one platform to show-case their skills, sell their products and help them build linkages with bulk buyers.
- Through this mela, rural SHG women get vital national level exposure to understand the demand and taste of urban customers.
- It is organized by Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), marketing arm of Ministry of Rural Development.
- Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language, is a super typhoon swirling around Japan.
- It made landfall in Izu Peninsula, south-west of Tokyo and moved up the east coast.
- It led to Chikuma River breaching their banks inundating residential neighborhoods and the torrential rain triggered landslides.
- The typhoon caused a total of 48 landslides in 12 prefectures and at the storm’s peak, more than seven million people were placed under non-compulsory evacuation orders. After it made its landfall, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake shook Tokyo shortly after.
National Medical Commission
- National Medical Commission Act 2019 proposes set up a National Medical Commission with 25 members.
- Appointment: These members will be appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a committee.
- Composition: The members will include a chairperson, who must be a senior medical practitioner and academic with at least 20 years of experience, 10 ex officio members and 14 part-time members.
- The NMC will frame policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals, assessing the requirements of healthcare-related human resources and infrastructure, and ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils of the regulations made under the Bill.
- Besides this, the NMC will frame guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50 per cent of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities which are regulated under the Bill.
Dark Grey List of FATF
According to FATF rules there is one essential stage between ‘Grey’ and ‘Black’ lists, referred to as ‘Dark Grey’.
- ‘Dark Grey’ means issuance of a strong warning, so that the country concerned gets one last chance to improve, another official said.
- ‘Dark Grey’ was the term used for warning upto 3rd Phase. Now it’s just called warning — that is the 4th phase.
Asia Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2019
- The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2019 -published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Key findings- Effects of NTMs:
- Non-tariff measures (NTMs) have increased in the past two decades and are affecting trade as well sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Asian countries.
- NTMs affect 58 per cent of the trade in Asia-Pacific.
- NTMs can have a direct impact on the performance of trading partners. They can also impact issues such as health, safety, environment, climate, public security and peace, which in turn, influence SDGs.
- Around half the Asia-Pacific’s economies have at least one NTM addressing water and energy efficiency and only 10 per cent have measures addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and illegal timber trade.
Facebook’s New Cryptocurrency
- Facebook says Libra is a “global currency and financial infrastructure”. In other words, it is a digital asset built by Facebook and powered by a new Facebook-created version of blockchain, the encrypted technology used by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
- The Libra Association, the nonprofit that will govern the currency, officially signed on 21 charter members at the organization’s inaugural meeting in Geneva.
LOTUS- HR Project
- The launch of the second phase of the Local Treatment of Urban Sewage streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS-HR) program was recently held. It is located in Delhi.
- The LOTUS-HR project is jointly supported by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.
- The project was initiated in July 2017 and aims to demonstrate a novel holistic (waste) water management approaches that will produce clean water which can be reused for various purposes.
World Standards Day
- World Standards Day (WSD) is celebrated each year all over the world on 14 October by the members of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to pay tribute to the collaborative efforts of thousands of experts worldwide, which develop voluntary technical agreements that are published as International or National Standards.
- It is also called International Standards Day.
- The aim of WSD is to raise awareness among regulators, industry and consumers as to the importance of standardization to the global economy.
- The first WSD was observed in 1970.
Noble Prize in Economics 2019
- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences to – Abhijit Banerjee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA), Esther Duflo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA), Michael Kremer (Harvard University, Cambridge, USA) “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”
- The research conducted by this year’s Laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty.
- The Laureates have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty.
- In brief, it involves dividing this issue into smaller, more manageable, questions – for example, the most effective interventions for improving educational outcomes or child health.
- They have shown that these smaller, more precise, questions are often best answered via carefully designed experiments among the people who are most affected.
- A FASTag is a reloadable tag that automatically deducts toll charges and allows a vehicle to pass through a toll gate without stopping for the payment
- It uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make cashless payments through a prepaid account linked to it
- The tag is fixed to the windscreen of a vehicle and an RFID antenna in the canopy of the toll gate scans the QR code and the tag identification number, following which the boom barrier lifts to allow a vehicle to pass through
- Apart from enjoying a cashless transaction, users can also pass through the plaza without having to stop their vehicle to make the payment.
- Board of Control for Cricket in India is the national governing body for cricket in India. The board was formed in December 1928 as a society.
- It is a consortium of state cricket associations and the state associations select their representatives who in turn elect the BCCI officials. BCCI does not depend on the Government for its finances.
- The board was formed in December 1928 as a society, registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.
- BCCI covertly manages its annual revenue of Rs.2, 000 crore. About half of the revenue is earned by way of broadcast fees of Rs.43 crore per match. Rest is from the International Cricket Council‘s fund, gate fees, and miscellaneous sponsorships. It don‘t receive funds from the Government of India.
- In January 2015, the SC appointed a committee headed by Justice (Retd) RM Lodha to determine punishments for those named in the Mudgal Committee report which had been formed by the Supreme Court appointed under Mukul Mudgal to investigate irregularities in the IPL and BCCI following the spot-fixing scandal and to recommend reforms for cricket in India particularly suggesting amendments to the processes followed by BCCI.
- The Lodha Committee report banned the owners of CSK and RR for life, from taking part in any BCCI related cricket activities in India.
- The CSK and the RR franchises have been barred in the IPL for 2 years.
- Eligibility – As regards the office bearers of BCCI – president, VP, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer – certain eligibility criteria has been fixed. i.e.
- He must be an Indian,
- not be above the age of 70,
- not be a minister or government servant, and
- who has not held office in the BCCI for a cumulative period for nine years.
- Tenure – Each office bearer will have tenure of three years and no office bearer can hold the office for more than three terms. No office-bearer can hold two terms consecutively.
- Bringing BCCI under of the purview of RTI Act.
- It legalized betting.
- The panel felt that the move would help curb corruption in the game and recommended that except for players and officials, people should be allowed to place bets on registered sites.
- Further, each state is to have only one official cricket association registered with the BCCI.
- IPL and BCCI are to have separate governing bodies.
- Three authorities, an ombudsman for internal disputes, an ethics officer and an electoral officer are to be appointed to oversee BCCI activities.
- The Lodha committee stated that politicians and government officials may not hold posts in the BCCI.
Market Intervention Price Scheme
- It is a price support mechanism implemented on the request of State Governments.
- It is for procurement of perishable and horticultural commodities in the event of a fall in market prices.
- The Scheme is implemented when there is at least 10% increase in production or 10% decrease in the ruling rates over the previous normal year.
- Its objective is to protect the growers of these horticultural/agricultural commodities from making distress sale in the event of bumper crop during the peak arrival period when prices fall to very low level.
- The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation is implementing the scheme.
National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India
- NAFED is apex organization of marketing cooperatives for agricultural produce in India.
- Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
- It was founded in October 1958 to promote trade of agricultural produce and forest resources across the nation.
- It functions under Ministry of Agriculture.
- NAFED is now one of the largest procurement as well as marketing agencies for agricultural products in India.
- In 2008, it had established, National Spot Exchange, a Commodities exchange as a joint venture of Financial Technologies (India) Ltd. (FTIL).
- A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes.
- Symptoms may include faded colors, blurry or double vision, halos around light, trouble with bright lights, and trouble seeing at night.
- Cataracts are most commonly due to aging but may also occur due to trauma or radiation exposure, be present from birth or following eye surgery for other problems.
- Risk factors include diabetes, smoking tobacco, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and alcohol. The underlying mechanism involves accumulation of clumps of protein or yellow-brown pigment in the lens that reduces transmission of light to the retina at the back of the eye.
National Investigation Agency
- It is a central agency, came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.
- It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency. (NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised.)
- The Agency has been empowered to conduct investigation and prosecution of offences under the Acts specified in the Schedule of the NIA Act.
- A State Government may request the Central Government to hand over the investigation of a case to the NIA, provided the case has been registered for the offences as contained in the schedule to the NIA Act.
- Central Government can also order NIA to take over investigation of any scheduled offense anywhere in the India.
- Officers of the NIA who are drawn from the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Police Service, state police, Income Tax as well as officers from the Central Armed Police Forces, have all powers, privileges and liabilities which the police officers have in connection with investigation of any offense.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
- The code applies to companies and individuals. It provides for a time-bound process to resolve insolvency. When a default in repayment occurs, creditors gain control over debtor’s assets and must take decisions to resolve insolvency.
- The Code also consolidates provisions of the current legislative framework to form a common forum for debtors and creditors of all classes to resolve insolvency.
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 is a comprehensive law and covers all individuals, companies, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and partnership firms.
- The adjudicating authority is National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for companies and LLPs and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) for individuals and partnership firms.
- The insolvency resolution process can be initiated by any of the stakeholders of the firm: firm/ debtors/ creditors/ employees.
- If the adjudicating authority accepts, an Insolvency resolution professional or IP is appointed.
- The power of the management and the board of the firm are transferred to the committee of creditors (CoC). They act through the IP.
- The IP has to decide whether to revive the company (insolvency resolution) or liquidate it (liquidation).
- If they decide to revive, they have to find someone willing to buy the firm.
- The creditors also have to accept a significant reduction in debt. The reduction is known as a haircut.
- They invite open bids from the interested parties to buy the firm.
- They choose the party with the best resolution plan, that is acceptable to the majority of the creditors (75 % in CoC), to take over the management of the firm.
- The Code creates various institutions to facilitate resolution of insolvency. These are as follows: Insolvency Professionals, Insolvency Professional Agencies, Information Utilities, Adjudicating authorities and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board.
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (Land Acquisition Act)
- The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (also Land Acquisition Act, 2013) is an Act of Indian Parliament that regulates land acquisition and lays down the procedure and rules for granting compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to the affected persons in India.
- The Act has provisions to provide fair compensation to those whose land is taken away, brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land. The Act came into force from 1 January 2014.
Main features of act:
Clearly defines various types of “public purpose” projects for which, Government can acquire private land.
Acquiring land: For private project, 80% affected families must agree. For PPP project, 70% affected families must agree. Only then land can be acquired.
Social impact assessment: Under Social impact assessment (SIA) even need to obtain consent of the affected artisans, labourers, share-croppers, tenant farmers etc. whose (sustainable) livelihood will be affected because of the given project.
Compensation: Compensation proportion to market rates- 4 times the market rate in rural area, 2 times in urban area. Affected artisans, small traders, fishermen etc. will be given one-time payment, even if they don’t own any land.
To ensure food security: Fertile, irrigated, multi-cropped farmland can be acquired only in last resort. If such fertile land is acquired, then Government will have to develop equal size of wasteland for agriculture purpose.
Private entities: If Government acquires the lands for private company- the said private company will be responsible for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. Additional rehabilitation package for SC/ST owners.
Safeguards: State Governments have to setup dispute settlement Chairman must be a district judge or lawyer for 7 years.
Accountability: Head of the department will be made responsible, for any offense from Government’s side. If project doesn’t start in 5 years, land has to be returned to the original owner or the land bank. Establishment of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority for speedy disposal of disputes.
Solicitor General of India
- Solicitor General is the second highest law officer in the country.
- He is subordinate to the Attorney General of India, the highest law officer and works under him. He also advises the government in legal matters.
- Solicitor general is appointed for period of three years by Appointment Committee of Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister.
- Solicitor General and Additional Solicitor Generals’ do not have these rights with reference to participation in voting in parliament.
- While, Solicitor General and Additional Solicitor Generals’ office and duties are governed by Law Officers (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1987 and not by Constitution (thus they are statutory posts and not constitutional).
Central Pollution Control Board
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organization under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.
- CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
- It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.
Guru Nanak ‘s 550th Birth Anniversary
- Guru Nanak Jayanti, also called Guru Nanak Gurpurab or Guru Nanak’s Prakash Utsav is a Sikh festival that commemorates the birth of Sikhism’s first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev.
- The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, is known for his political, social and spiritual beliefs, which were based on love, equality, fraternity and virtue.
- The year 2019 marks the 550th birth anniversary year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, whose birthplace is Sri Nankana Sahib, in Pakistan. It falls on 12Th November this year.
- Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows or Milch Cows) are cattle cows bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species Bos taurus.
Jersey or Holstein
- Jersey cows and Holstein cows are popular and high-yielding breeds that produce more milk. These two breeds are a favorite of the farms.
- Holstein – These cows have their origin in the Netherlands. Holstein cows are either white or black with black-or-white patches on their bodies. These are large cows and give birth to healthy calves that could weigh 40 to 45 kg.
- Jersey – Jersey is a breed of cow that has gotten its name from the place of its origin. The name comes after Jersey Island in the British Channel where it was developed. These cows are reddish in color.
- When comparing the two cows, a Holstein cow is heavier and larger than a Jersey cow. When a Jersey cow weighs around 350 to 550 kg., a Holstein cow weighs about 580 kg.
- Moreover, Jersey cows are smaller in size when compared to Holstein cows. In milk production, Holstein cows produce more milk in their lifetime. Jersey cows are more adaptable to hot climates.
President Ram Nath Kovind To join for Japan Emperor’s Enthronement
- President Ram Nath Kovind will join Britain’s Prince Charles, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan and leaders of several Asian countries in attending the enthronement ceremony of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito on October 22.
- About 80 world leaders are expected at the ceremony and banquets, which will be held over two days. Royal families of the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Saudi Arabia are also among the invitees due to attend.
- The Enthronement of the Emperor of Japan is an ancient ceremony that marks the accession of a new monarch to the Chrysanthemum Throne, the world’s oldest continuous hereditary monarchy.
Tulagi and Solomon Islands
- Tulagi is an island within the Solomon Islands, which are located in the South Pacific, directly between Australia and the U.S.
- It was the administrative seat (from 1893) of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate until it was destroyed by the Japanese (1942) during World War II.
- The Solomon Islands are located directly between Australia and the U.S. and was the site of fierce battles during World War II.
- Its capital is Honiara.
- The Solomon Islands is a sovereign state consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea.
- The country takes its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is a collection of Melanesian islands that also includes the North Solomon Islands (part of Papua New Guinea), but excludes outlying islands, such as Rennell and Bellona, and the Santa Cruz Islands.
Global Hunger Index
- In the recently released Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report-2019, India was ranked at 102nd position out of 117 countries.
- The report is an annual publication that is jointly prepared by the Concern Worldwide (an Irish agency) and the Welt Hunger Hilfe (a German organization).
- The report is based on four GHI indicators namely, undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting, and child mortality.
- India’s rank has slipped from 95th position (in 2010) to 102nd (in 2019). Over a longer-term duration, the fall in India’s rank is sharper, i.e., from 83rd out of 113 countries in 2000 to 102nd out of 117 in 2019.
Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF)
- RUTF is also referred to as ‘Energy Dense Nutritious Food – EDNF’ due to its high calorific value.
- It is a medical intervention to improve the nutrition intake of children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
- It is a packaged paste of peanuts, oil, sugar, vitamins, milk powder and mineral supplements containing 520-550 kilocalories of energy per 100g.
- Additional ingredients may include nuts, legumes, grains and sweeteners to improve the taste.
- Usually, it is given to children aged between six months and six years, after a doctor’s prescription.
- A child can be given three packets daily for a month and each packet which costs around Rs 25 and has a shelf life of two years.
The Archaeological Survey of India is planning to declare the Rangdum Monastery located in Ladakh (Kargil district) as a monument of national importance.
- It is the 18th century built monastery that is situated at an altitude of 4,031 m. at the head of the Suru Valley, in Ladakh.
- Suru Valley is drained by the Suru River which is a tributary of the Indus River.
- Rangdum Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery belonging to the Gelugpa sect.
Hog deer (Axis porcinus)
- Two subspecies of hog deer are typically recognized: A. p. porcinus from Pakistan to Myanmar, and the slightly larger A. p. annamiticus from Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
- Head and body length: 105-115 cm
- Shoulder height: 60-70 cm
- Tail length: 15-20 cm
- Adult weight: 30-50 kg. Males average 43 kg, females 32 kg.
- Only males grown antlers; these are shed annually.
The hog deer (Axis porcinus) is threatened by habitat alteration, fragmentation, and poaching, which have led to a drastic decline of its wild population. The hog deer (Axis porcinus), is an endangered species in the IUCN Red List and is protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
Saharan silver ant
- Saharan silver ant (Cataglyphis bombycina) is an ant that lives in the Sahara Desert. Saharan silver ant is the fastest of the world’s 12,000 known ant species. It clocks a blistering 855 millimetres — nearly a metre — per second. It covers 108 times its own body length per second.
- They have longer legs than other ants. This keeps their bodies away from the hot sand and when traveling at full speed, they use only four of their six legs. This quadrupedal gait is achieved by raising the front pair of legs. Several other adaptations, including a very high stride frequency, make C. bombycina one of the fastest-walking animal species in relation to their body size.
- Silver ants are covered on the top and sides of their bodies with a coating of uniquely shaped hairs with triangular cross-sections that keep them cool in two ways.
- These hairs are highly reflective under visible and near-infrared light, i.e., in the region of maximal solar radiation (the ants run at a speed of up to 0.7 m/s (2.3 ft/s) and look like droplets of mercury on the desert surface).
- The hairs are also highly emissive in the mid infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, where they serve as an antireflection layer that enhances the ants’ ability to offload excess heat by thermal radiation, which is emitted from the hot body of the ants to the air. This passive cooling effect works under the full sun.
- Aflatoxins are toxins produced by certain fungi which are generally found in agricultural crops like maize, peanuts, cotton seed and others. They are carcinogenic in nature.
- According to a World Health Organization (WHO) study, consumption of food containing aflatoxin concentrations of one milligram per kilogram or higher has been suspected to cause aflatoxicosis, the outcome of which consists of acute liver failure, jaundice, lethargy and nausea, eventually leading to death
- The exposure to AFM1 from milk causes stunting among children.
Chief Justice of India
- The promulgation of Regulating Act of 1773 established the Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta as a Court of Record, with full power & authority.
- It was established to hear and determine all complaints for any crimes and also to entertain, hear and determine any suits or actions in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
- The Supreme Courts at Madras and Bombay were established by King George – III in 1800 and 1823 respectively.
- The India High Courts Act 1861 created High Courts for various provinces and abolished Supreme Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay and also the Sadar Adalats in Presidency towns.
- After India attained independence in 1947, the Constitution of India came into being on 26 January 1950. The Supreme Court of India also came into existence and its first sitting was held on 28 January 1950. The law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all Courts within the territory of India.
- It has the power of judicial review – to strike down the legislative and executive action contrary to the provisions and the scheme of the constitution, the distribution of power between Union and States or inimical to the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
- The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India. The CJI also heads their administrative functions.
- As head of the Supreme Court, the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law. In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the Chief Justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.
- On the administrative side, the Chief Justice carries out the following functions: maintenance of the roster; appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court. Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in the office until the age of 65 years. He can be removed only through a process of impeachment by Parliament.
- Though no specific provision exists in the Constitution for appointing the Chief Justice, who as a result, is appointed like the other judges conventionally, the outgoing CJI recommends the name of the senior-most judge (i.e. by date of appointment to the Supreme Court) for appointment by the President of India, as his successor.
- The Federal Court of India came into being on 1 October 1937. The seat of the court was the Chamber of Princes in the Parliament building in Delhi. It began with a Chief Justice and two puisne judges. The first Chief Justice was Sir Maurice Gwyer and the other two judges were Sir Shah Muhammad Sulaiman and M. R. Jayakar. It functioned until the establishment of the Supreme Court of India on 28 January 1950.
While H. J. Kania is the inaugural CJI of independent India, the current incumbent is Ranjan Gogoi who is appointed as Chief Justice of India on 3 October 2018. Justice Y. V. Chandrachud is the longest serving Chief Justice (February 1978 – July 1985), while Kamal Narain Singh is the shortest serving one (21 November 1991 – 12 December 1991). Ranjan Gogoi is Incumbent Chief Justice.