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Current Affairs
MADE EASY

Exclusive Annual Issue


for ESE 2018 Preliminary
Examination

Chief Editor
B. Singh (Ex. IES)
CMD, MADE EASY Group

Editor
Aniruddh Pratap Singh

MADE EASY Publications


Corporate Office: 44-A/4, Kalu Sarai, New Delhi-110016
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© Copyright 2017

MADE EASY Publications has taken due care in collecting the Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors
and do not necessarily reflect policy or position of CURRENT AFFAIRS Magazine
data before publishing this book. Inspite of this, if any inaccuracy
or MADE EASY Publications. They should be understood as the personal opinions
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Contents

05 National Affairs
67 Defence in News 103 Miscellaneous

120 ESE-2017 Topper Interview

124 Recent Current Affair


Questions

36 International Affairs
74 Environment and Wildlife

51 Science & Technology 85 Current Economy

Disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed in this maga-
zine are those of the authors and do not neces-
sarily reflect policy or position of CURRENT AF-
FAIRS Magazine or MADE EASY Publications. They
should be understood as the personal opinions
of the author/ authors.
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1
National Affairs
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Chapter National Affairs

Rohingya Crisis: India refuses to sign Bali Declaration


• In a show of solidarity with Myanmar amid
Rohingya crisis, India dissociated itself from
signing Bali Declaration which was adopted
at World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable
Development held in Bali, Indonesia.
• The declaration was against Myanmar which
has been accused for gross human right
violation against minority Rohingya Muslims in
its restive Rakhine state.
• India reiterated its stance that purpose of
convening Parliamentary forum was to arrive
at mutual consensus for implementation of
Sustainable Development Goals which required
inclusive and broad-based development
processes.

About  Rohingya
• Rohingya is ethnic Muslim minority group, living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. They practice a Sufi-
inflected variation of Sunni Islam. Rohingyas speak Bengali dialect rather than commonly spoken Burmese language
in Myanmar.
• Myanmar considers Rohingyas as illegal Bengali immigrants, despite fact that they have resided in Rakhine province
of Myanmar for centuries.
• The Myanmar Government even refuses to grant them citizenship status, and as a result they do not have any legal
documentation facilities, effectively making them stateless. They are also restricted from freedom of movement, state
education and civil service jobs.

Note: Remarks:
• Aung San Suu Kyi is first State Counsellor
• Government of India has launched Operation Insaaniyat
to provide humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh on of Myanmar and former pro-
account of heavy influx of Rohingya refugees from democratic rights activist. She is
Myanmar. Under this, relief material is being sent to the leader of National League of
Bangladesh with the assistance of the Indian Air Force. Democracy (NLD), the ruling party of
Myanmar.
• The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), also
• She has won many international awards for reviving
known by its former name Harakah al-Yaqin is a
democracy in Myanmar against military junta, including
Rohingya insurgent group active in northern Rakhine
Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 1991.
State of Myanmar.
• She is presently facing international criticism for
mishandling Rohingya crisis.
  United Nations (UN) has often described
• President of Myanmar: Htin Kyaw
Rohingya Muslims as “the world's most
• Capital of Myanmar: Naypyidaw
persecuted minority”. 
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Supreme Court declares Right to Privacy as Supreme Court declared instant Triple Talaq as
Fundamental Right Unconstitutional
• The nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in a • The Supreme Court strikes down Talaq-e-Biddat (referred
landmark unanimous decision has declared Right to Privacy as Triple Talaq), an Islamic practice of instant divorce,
a Fundamental Right under the Constitution of India. terming it as unconstitutional, illegal and void and not
• The apex court ruled that Right to Privacy is an intrinsic part protected by Article 25 (Freedom of Religion) of the
of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and Constitution of India.
entire Part III of the Constitution. • The verdict was given in 3:2 majority by 5-judge multi-religion
• With this, the Supreme Court overruled its own previous constitutional bench of the Supreme Court. In the judgment,
eight-judge Bench and six-judge Bench judgments of the Supreme Court held that Triple Talaq is against the basic
M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh, delivered in 1954 and 1961 tenets of Quran and hence, is unacceptable.
respectively, both of which had pronounced that the Right to Remarks:
Privacy is not protected under the Constitution of India.
• Triple Talaq is a personal practice followed by Muslim
About  Fundamental Rights communities as a form of divorce wherein a man can
• The Fundamental Rights are enshrined in Part III of the unilaterally and arbitrarily end his marriage by merely
Constitution from Articles 12 to 35. pronouncing the word Talaq thrice.
• The controversy surrounding the issue arises from the
• The Fundamental Rights are meant for promoting the
fact that the divorced woman is not provided any legal
ideal of political democracy. They protect the liberties and
safeguards under the rule of law against such a divorce or
freedoms of the people against the invasion by the State.
any injustice arising from it.
• Some Fundamental Rights are available only to the citizens
• It is also held that this practice is against constitutional
while others are available to all persons whether citizens,
principles such as gender equality, secularism, international
foreigners, corporations or companies.
laws etc. It also undermines gender equality which is a
• Some of them are negative in character, that is, place
sacred principle of our Constitution and modern society.
limitations on the authority of the State, while others are positive
in nature, conferring certain privileges on the persons.
• They are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme Do You Know?
Court. Hence, the aggrieved person can directly go to the
Many Islamic theocratic countries including Pakistan,
Supreme Court.
Bangladesh have abolished the practice of Triple Talaq.
• They are not sacrosanct or permanent. The Parliament
can curtail or repeal them but only by a Constitutional
Amendment Act and not by an ordinary Act. Moreover, Union Govt. launches YUVA scheme
this can be done without affecting the ‘Basic Structure’ of • The Union Home Ministry recently inaugurated YUVA scheme.
the Constitution. It is a skill development program and an initiative by Delhi
• They can be suspended during the operation of a National Police under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
Emergency except the rights guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21. • It has objectives to connect with youth by upgrading their
• The Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Constitution skills as per their competencies and helping them to get
of India can be classified under the following six groups: better employment under PMKVY.
1. Right to equality (Articles 14-18)
2. Right to freedom (Articles 19-22) Key Provisions of Scheme
3. Right against exploitation (Articles 23-24) w 32 police station buildings have been identified where
4. Right to freedom of religion (Articles 25-28) Skill Development Centers would be opened.
5. Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29-30) w In these centers, selected youth will be provided job
6. Right to constitutional remedies (Articles 32) linked skill training by National Skill Development Corpo-
ration (NSDC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Do You Know? w Selected youth will be in the age group of 17-25 years
and will belong to categories such as School dropouts,
Right to Property (Article 31) was deleted from the list of Juvenile offenders, Victims of crimes or those from the
Fundamental Rights by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Underprivileged colonies.
Act, 1978. It is made a legal right under Article 300-A in Part w It can bring a lot of alienated youth into the mainstream
XII of the Constitution. by making them employable.
National Affairs
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Goods and Services Tax (GST) rolled out nationwide


• Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the midnight of June 30, 2017, rolled
out Goods and Services Tax (GST) nationwide in presence of imminent
dignitaries in a special programme held in Central Hall of the Parliament.
• Earlier, Parliament passed the Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2016
which entitles half of Indian states to ratify the bill, as it is related to fiscal
federalism. This amendment related to Goods and Service Tax added new
Articles 246A, 269A and 279A to the Constitution. Moreover, there have
been modifications in various Articles and 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

What is GST?
• GST is single indirect tax for the whole nation, which will make
India one unified common market. It is a tax on the supply of   France was the first country to introduce
goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer. GST system in 1954.  
• GST is essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage i.e.
credits of input taxes paid at each stage will be available in the subsequent stage of value addition. Thus, the final consumer
will bear only the GST in the supply chain charged by the last dealer with set-off benefits at all the previous stages.

Which indirect taxes will subsume into GST?


At the central level At the state level
Central Excise Duty State Value Added Tax (VAT) or Sales Tax
Additional Excise Duty Entry tax (All forms)
Service Tax Purchase Tax
Additional Customs Duty (Countervailing Duty) Luxury tax, Taxes on lottery, betting and gambling
Special Additional Duty of Customs Entertainment Tax (other than the tax levied by the local bodies)
Central Sales Tax (levied by the Centre and collected by the States)

Key Provisions of GST


• There are three kinds of applicable Goods and Services Tax:
CGST: where the revenue will be collected by the Central Government.
SGST: where the revenue will be collected by the State Governments for intra-state sales.
IGST: where the revenue will be collected by the Central Government for inter-state sales.
• There have been provisions of five tax slab of 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% in GST.
• Alcohol for human consumption has been kept out of the purview of GST.
• At present, GST is not applied on petroleum, high speed diesel, natural gas and aviation turbine fuel and electricity.
• The Union Govt. will compensate state governments for revenue losses arising out of the implementation of GST for up to
5 years based on the recommendations of GST Council.

About  GST Council


• The Goods and Services Tax Council (GST Council) has been created under Article 279-A of the Constitution of India.
The GST Council make recommendations to the Union and States on important issues related to GST.

• The GST Council consists of


(i) The Union Finance Minister (Chairperson)
(ii) The Union Minister of State, in-charge of revenue or finance (member)
(iii) The Minister In-charge of Finance or any other Minister nominated by each State Government (member)
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Gorkhaland Agitation: New Statehood


Demand About  Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA)
• Recently, the people of Darjeeling and the adjoining Nepali GTA is a semi-autonomous administrative body for the
speaking areas started agitation for a separate state of Darjeeling and Kalimpong hills in West Bengal, India. It
Gorkhaland. It started in the aftermath of West Bengal was created by West Bengal Legislative Assembly by
Government’s decision to make Bengali language mandatory passing a bill in 2011.
in all schools of the state.
• Gorkhaland region consists of Nepali-speaking people of UNESCO designated Walled City of
Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and other hilly districts of Ahmedabad as India’s first World Heritage City
West Bengal. • The Walled City of Ahmedabad has been declared World
Heritage City by UNESCO World Heritage Committee
(WHC) during the meeting held in Karlow, Poland. With this,
Ahmedabad became first Indian city and third city from the
Indian subcontinent after Bhaktapur (Nepal) and Galle (Sri
Lanka) to get such honour.
• The Walled City of Ahmedabad is located on the eastern
banks of Sabarmati river. It was founded by Sultan Ahmed
Shah I of Gujarat Sultanate in 1411. It remained the capital
of the Gujarat Sultanate and later important political and
commercial centre of Gujarat.
• The Walled City of Ahmedabad presents a rich architectural
heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel,
walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and
tombs, as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later
periods.
• The UNESCO World Heritage Cities Programme aims to assist
state parties in the challenges of protecting and managing
their urban heritage. The programme is based on development
of a theoretical framework for urban heritage conservation,
and provision of technical assistance to States Parties for the
  The first demand for Gorkhaland
implementation of new approaches and schemes.
was submitted in 1907 to Morley-Minto
Reforms panel.   India’s longest bridge inaugurated in Assam
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated India’s
Reasons sighted for creation of Gorkhaland State: longest river bridge- the Dhola-Sadia Bridge in Assam. The
• Residents of this region have hardly any connection with the bridge has been renamed as Bhupen Hazarika Bridge.
Bengali community which are different in ethnicity, culture and • It is situated on Lohit river (a tributary of Brahmaputra
language. river) and connects Assam with Arunachal Pradesh. The
• Due to decisions like imposing Bengali language, residents construction of the bridge began in 2011, which costs about
of the region fear that their culture, language and thus, their Rs. 2056 crores.
identity is under threat.
• The region continues to suffer from backwardness. A smaller Key Features/Significance of Bridge
state will ensure better governance and development. • Dhola-Sadia Bridge is a three-lane bridge stretching
9.15 kilometre built by Navayuga Engineering Co. Ltd. The
Opposition to this demand: bridge is 3.55 km longer than the Bandra–Worli Sea Link in
• If their demand is accepted, then other regions and groups like Mumbai which was the longest bridge in the country till now.
Bodoland Tribal Area Districts of Assam and the Indigenous
• The bridge has been designed to withstand the weight of
Peoples Front of Tripura will intensify their demands for
60-tonne battle tanks. This is the only bridge in the region
separate state.
which is strong enough to withstand the travel of tanks.
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• It will enhance road connectivity which can boost overall • The list will be applicable only for on-board behavior of the
economic development of the areas north of Brahmaputra in passengers. Unruly behavior on airport premises will be dealt
upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. with by security agencies under applicable penal provisions.
• With the construction of the bridge, the distance between two • These are applicable for all Indian operators engaged in
states has been reduced by 165 Km. Besides, the travel time scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both
between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will also get reduced domestic and international carriage of passengers.
by up to four hours. • The CAR would also be applicable to foreign carrier’s subject
• The bridge will cater the strategic requirements in border to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963.
areas and will facilitate troop mobilization much more quickly
• The Tokyo Convention is applicable to offences against penal
in Arunachal Pradesh, which has been claimed by China as law and to any acts jeopardising the safety of persons or
South Tibet. property on board civilian aircraft while engaged in international
air navigation.
OBC reservation slab increased • Three levels of unruly behaviours are defined:
Union Cabinet has approved norms to ensure that children
of those serving in lower categories in Central Public Sector Level Type of behaviour Punishment for it
Undertakings (PSUs) and Banks can get the benefit of OBC Level 1 Disruptive behaviour Debarment from flying
reservations, on par with children of people serving in lower for upto 3 months.
e.g.: Verbal abuse,
categories in Central Government.
showing Physical
gestures
Steps taken by government for OBCs:
• A Bill has been introduced in Parliament to provide Level 2 Physically abusive Debarment from flying
Constitutional status to the National Commission for behaviour for upto 6 months.
Backward Classes. e.g.: Pushing,
• The Government has decided to set up a Commission, under kicking and sexual
Article 340 of the Constitution to sub-categorize the OBCs, harassment
so that the more backward among the OBC communities can Level 3 Life- threatening Debarment from flying
also access the benefits of reservation. behaviour for a minimum of 2
• Income criterion for identifying creamy layer has been e.g.: Damage to years.
increased from Rs. 6 lakhs per annum to Rs. 8 lakhs per aircraft systems
annum. This will enable more persons to take advantage of For every subsequent offence, the ban will be twice the period
reservation benefits extended to OBCs. of previous ban.

No-Fly Rules introduced Background


• Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) issued the Civil Aviation • Between July 2016 and March 2017, Domestic airlines
Requirement (CAR) on handling of unruly/disruptive witnessed 53 cases of unruly behavior by passengers.
passengers. • The trigger for a no-fly list was an incident related to Shiv
• The objective behind issuing the rules to enhance the safety Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad in March, 2017 in which he had
and security of passengers, crew as well as airlines. allegedly beaten up an Air India staffer which led to airlines
imposing a temporary ban on his travel.
Key Provisions of Rules
• He was barred from flying by an aviation industry association,
• It will be a database maintained by the Directorate General
of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which will contain list of unruly/ but this was done in the absence of any no-fly list in the statute
disruptive passengers as well as individuals identified book, which raised eyebrows. There was also confusion about
by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as national security whether this was a one-time bar on entry or could be exercised
threats. multiple times.
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President of India inaugurated phase-II of PM Modi inaugurates exhibition marking 100


the Link-4 of SAUNI project years of Champaran Satyagraha
• PM Narendra Modi inaugurated an exhibition titled
• The President of India Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated
“Swachhagraha – Bapu Ko Karyanjali – Ek Abhiyan, Ek
phase-II (Link-4) pipeline canal of the ambitious
Pradarshani” in New Delhi to mark the 100 years (centenary
Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana
year) of Champaran Satyagraha.
in Rajkot district of Gujarat. • The exhibition showcased Champaran Satyagraha and
• The objective of the project is to fill 115 major dams in it connected essential principles of Satyagraha with
the Saurashtra region by diverting floodwater overflowing Swachhagraha. It also showcased the ground covered by
from the Sardar Sarovar Dam. the Swachh Bharat Mission in creating a mass movement
• The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada towards a clean India.
River near Nawagram (Gujarat) in India. Its water is
further distributed to states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and About Champaran Satyagraha
Maharashtra.
• Champaran Satyagraha was Mahatma Gandhi’s first
experiment of Satyagraha (Insistence on Truth). It was
undertaken in the Champaran district in northern Bihar in
April 1917.
• It was undertaken when Mahatma Gandhi learned about
the abuses suffered by farmers, who were forced into
growing indigo by British planters and estate owners.
• Gandhi led organised protests and strike against the
landlords, who with the guidance of the British government,
signed an agreement granting more compensation and
control over farming for the poor farmers of the region,
and cancellation of revenue hikes and collection until the
famine ended.

Union Government launches Diksha Portal for


teachers
• The Union Ministry of Human Resource
Development (MHRD) has recently
launched Diksha Portal for providing
About  SAUNI project digital platform to teachers.
• The entire SAUNI project envisages supplying water • The portal will help teachers to create
for irrigation purposes to 10.22 lakh acres of land training content and personal profile,
in Saurashtra region. Under this project, one million avail in-class resources and assessment aids, follow news
acre feet (MAFT) of floodwaters of Narmada will be and announcement and connect with teacher community.
diverted to the Saurashtra region. • It will record complete work and accomplishment of teachers
in educational institutes from start to end point till their
• In total, 1,126-kilometre-long network of giant pipelines
retirement, i.e. it will cover entire life cycle of teacher– from
would be laid to fill up 115 reservoirs in the Saurashtra
time they were enrolled in Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs)
region by diverting flood waters overflowing from the
to after they retire as teachers.
Sardar Sarovar Dam across the Narmada in South
• The private institutes and NGO’s can also participate in the
Gujarat.
Diksha initiative.
• Under the SAUNI project, instead of open canals,
pipelines are used. The massive pipelines of SAUNI
Government approves first phase reforms in
project will run underground and thus requires no
acquisition of farmer’s land and results in less water Armed Forces
loss. The pumping stations for the project will be • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by the
constructed on government land. Prime Minister, has recently approved implementation of first
phase of reforms pertaining to the Indian Army. The decision
was based on recommendations of Shekatkar Committee.
National Affairs
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• Shekatkar Committee was constituted by the Union Ministry • Digital Assistants: Highly advanced organizations use digital
of Defence under the Chairmanship of Lt. Gen (Retd.) D.B. assistants who can actually interact with the users, thus
Shekatkar for recommending measures to enhance combat saving the need of human resources.
capability & rebalancing defence expenditure of Armed • Repetitive Jobs: Repetitive jobs which are monotonous
Forces in phased manner by December, 2019. in nature can be carried out with the help of machine
• This reform is first ever reform exercise to be undertaken in intelligence.
Indian Army since independence. • Medical Applications: Artificial intelligence finds a huge
• One of the key recommendations of Shekatkar Committee application in detecting and monitoring neurological
is redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 disorders as it can simulate the brain functions.
posts of officers/Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs)/ Another popular application of artificial intelligence is
Other Ranks (ORs) and civilians. radiosurgery which is used in operating tumors and this
can actually help in the operation without damaging the
Do You Know? surrounding tissues.
The important Cabinet Committees headed by the Prime
Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence
Minister of India are
• High Cost: Creation of artificial intelligence requires huge
1. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
costs as it drives very complex machines.
2. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
3. Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs • No Replicating Humans: Machines do not have any emotions
4. Cabinet Committee on Security and moral values. They perform what is programmed and
cannot make the judgment of right or wrong.
Note: The other two important Cabinet Committees, namely
Cabinet Committee on Accommodation and Cabinet • No Improvement with Experience: Unlike humans, artificial
Committee on Parliamentary Affairs are usually chaired by intelligence cannot be improved with experience.
Union Home Minister. • No Original Creativity: Creativity or imagination is not the
forte of artificial intelligence. While it can help to design and
create, there is no match for the power of thinking that the
Union Government sets up task force on human brain has or even the originality of a creative mind.
Artificial Intelligence • Unemployment: Replacement of humans with machines
• The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recently can lead to large scale unemployment. Unemployment is a
constituted a Task Force on Artificial Intelligence (AI), a new socially undesirable phenomenon.
breakthrough in digital world.
• The 18-member panel will be headed by Dr. V. Kamakoti of IIT
About  Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Madras. It will comprise of experts, academics, researchers
and industry leaders. • Artificial intelligence (AI)
• The Task force will explore the possibilities to leverage AI is an area of computer
for India’s economic transformation across various fields science that emphasizes
including in government, industry and research institutions. the creation of intelligent
• In addition to regular members, official participation from machines that work and
the following organizations such as NITI Aayog, Ministry of react like humans.
Electronics and Information Technology, Department of Science • Some of the activities
& Technology, UIDAI and DRDO will be also facilitated. of devices with artificial intelligence include speech
recognition, learning, planning, problem solving (playing
Advantages of Artificial Intelligence chess or solving equations), etc.
• Error Reduction: Artificial intelligence helps in reducing the
error and the chance of reaching accuracy with a greater
degree of precision. NITI Aayog launches Mentor India Campaign
• Difficult Exploration: Artificial intelligence and the science of • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog
robotics can be put to use in mining and fuel exploration has recently launched Mentor India Campaign, an initiative
processes. to engage leaders for guiding and mentoring students at Atal
Tinkering Labs.
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• Under this initiative, NITI Aayog will engage leaders who can Navika Sagar Parikrama: Indian Navy’s all-
spend one to two hours every week in such labs to enable woman team to circumnavigate globe flagged
students learn, experience and practice future skills such as
off
design and computational thinking.
• Atal Tinkering Labs have been established across the
country as a part of the Atal Innovation Mission.
• These labs are dedicated work spaces where students
from Class 6th to Class 12th can learn innovation skills and
develop ideas for transforming India. These labs are powered
to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such
as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools,
Internet of things & sensors etc.

About  Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)


• Atal Innovation Mission is a
flagship program of the • Recently, a six-member all-woman team of the Indian Navy
Government of India to has started to circumnavigate the globe on the sailing vessel
promote innovation and INSV Tarini.
entrepreneurship in the
• The voyage has been given title ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’
country.
with an aim to promote women empowerment in the country.
• The primary objective of AIM is to provide a platform The project is considered essential towards promoting
involving academics, researchers and entrepreneurs, Ocean Sailing activities in the Indian Navy.
drawing upon national and international experiences to
• This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by
foster a culture of innovation in India.
an all-woman crew.
• It also promotes a network of world-class innovation
• The expedition will have stop overs in Australia, New
hubs, Start-up businesses and other self-employment
Zealand, Falkland Islands and Cape Town. The expedition is
activities, particularly in technology driven areas.
expected to culminate on their return in March 2018.
• INSV Tarini is a sailing vessel which was inducted into the
Govt. launched Swasth Bachche, Swasth Indian Navy in February 2017. It has Raymarine navigation
Bharat Programme suite and an array of satellite communication systems on
• Recently, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development board through which contact can be made from anywhere.
launched ‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme
which is an initiative of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS)
to prepare a Physical Health and Fitness Profile Card for Union Government launched BHIM-Aadhaar
students of Kendriya Vidyalaya. platform
• The programme aims to provide a comprehensive and • Union Government has launched BHIM-Aadhaar platform
inclusive report card for children covering all age groups and which is the merchant interface of the BHIM App for making
children of different abilities. Its main objective is to make digital payments using the Aadhaar.
students, teachers and parents aware about the importance
• BHIM App was launched in December 2016 to provide a
of good health and fitness and encouraging 60 minutes of
one-stop solution for all digital payments. The App created a
play each day.
new world record by registering 1.9 crore downloads within
• The programme also intends to infuse values of Olympics
four months since its launch.
and Paralympics amongst students.
• The objectives are to make recreational games and Key facts about BHIM-Aadhaar
physical activity an integral part of learning process,
• The newly launched BHIM-Aadhaar platform will help people
motivating potentially outstanding performers in various
to pay digitally using their biometric data like thumb imprint on
sports.
a merchant’s biometric enabled device like a smart phone or a
biometric reader.
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• The App needs to be installed only by merchants and they need • The scheme will be implemented initially in 250 blocks in the
to connect their smartphones to the biometric scan machine country on a pilot basis for a period of 3 years from 2017-18
to accept the payments from customers. The customers who to 2019-20.
want to pay using this app needs to link Aadhaar number and • The Community Investment Fund (CIF) provided to
biometric fingerprint to complete a transaction. Community Based Organization (CBOs) under DAY-NRLM
will be utilized to provide interest free loan to SHG member
for purchase of transport vehicles.
India ranks 122 in World Happiness Report
2017
• India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World About  DAY-NRLM
Happiness Report 2017 published by the UN Sustainable • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods
Development Solutions Network on the eve of International Mission (DAY-NRLM) is a poverty alleviation scheme
Day of Happiness (20 March). implemented by Union Ministry of Rural Development to
• The rankings are based on factors such as inequality, life promote self-employment and organization of rural poor.
expectancy, GDP per capita, public trust (i.e. a lack of It is supported by the World Bank.
corruption in government and business), and social support. • The scheme aims to organize the poor into SHGs
• India ranked near the bottom in the six factors such as income, and make them capable for self-employment. It is
healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of implemented across the country in all States and Union
trouble, generosity, freedom and trust. Territories (except Chandigarh and Delhi).

Key facts in the report


Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017 released
• The Top ten happiest Countries are Norway (1), Denmark
• The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has
(2), Iceland (3), Switzerland (4), Finland (5), Netherlands (6),
released Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017, a survey report
Canada (7), New Zealand (8), with Australia and Sweden
to assess the progress of Swachh Bharat Mission in rural
sharing 9th spot jointly.
India. The survey was undertaken by the Quality Council of
• SAARC Nations: Pakistan (80), Nepal (99), Bhutan (97), India (QCI).
Bangladesh (110) and Sri Lanka (120). • Under the initiative, QCI surveyed 1.4 lakh rural households
• BRICS Countries: Brazil (17), Russia (56), China (79), South across 4626 villages across all States and Union territories,
Africa (116) and India (122). and found the overall toilet coverage to be 62.45%.
• Quality Council of India (QCI) was set up in 1997 jointly by
the Government of India and the Indian Industry represented
Union Ministry of Rural Development to by the three premier industry associations i.e. Associated
launch Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM),
• The Union Ministry of Rural Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of
Development to launch a new Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), to
sub-scheme under Deendayal establish and operate national accreditation structure and
Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural promote quality through National Quality Campaign.
Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) • The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of
which will be named as Aajeevika Commerce & Industry, is the nodal ministry for QCI.
Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY).
• The scheme aims at providing an alternative source of
Key Highlights of Swachh Survekshan Gramin
• Top performing states: Northeastern States of Sikkim,
livelihood to members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) by
Nagaland and Manipur with 95% rural households covered
facilitating them to operate public transport services in
by toilets were top performers. Himachal Pradesh and
backward rural areas.
Uttarakhand were also top performers with over 90%
• AGEY will help to provide safe, affordable and community
toilet coverage of the rural houses. In Gujarat 85% of rural
monitored rural transport services to connect remote villages
households have access to toilets. Tamil Nadu has 79% rural
with key services and amenities such as access to markets,
households access to a toilet.
education and health for the overall economic development
• Worst performing States: Bihar (30% coverage) and Uttar
of backward rural areas.
Pradesh (37%), Jharkhand (37%) were among the worst
performers in terms of rural sanitation.
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Govt. launches Tele-Law scheme to provide Union Cabinet approves new Metro Rail Policy
legal aid • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister approved a
• The Union Ministry of Law and Justice has recently launched new policy for expanding and regulating metro rail services
‘Tele-Law’ scheme in Bihar. The scheme was launched in cities across India.
in association with the National Legal Service Authority • The policy opens a big window for private investments
(NALSA). Under it, ‘Tele-Law’ portal has been launched across a range of metro operations making Public Private
which is available across the Common Service Centre (CSC) Partnership (PPP) component mandatory for availing central
network at panchayat levels. assistance for new metro projects.
• The portal will connect the marginalised communities
and citizens from rural areas to have access to legal
Key Features of new Metro Policy
consultation with the help of para-legal volunteers (PLVs). • The mandatory PPP participation will help to meet the huge
It will enable people to seek legal advice from lawyers resource demand for capital intensive high capacity metro
through video conferencing. The National Legal Services projects.
Authority (NALSA) will provide a panel of lawyers from • The new policy seeks to ensure focusing on a catchment
state capitals. area of five-km for last mile connectivity i.e. feeder services,
• The scheme is a joint initiative of the Union Ministry of Law & non-motorised transport infrastructure like cycling and
Justice and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology walking pathways and para-transport facilities on either side
(MeitY). of metro stations.
• It makes mandatory for setting up Urban Metropolitan
Transport Authority (UMTA) to prepare Comprehensive
About  NALSA
Mobility Plans for ensuring complete multi-modal integration
• The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has for optimal utilization of capacities.
been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities
• It mandates Transit Oriented Development (TOD) to
Act, 1987 to provide free legal services to the weaker
promote compact and dense urban development along
sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for
metro corridors since TOD reduces travel distances
amicable settlement of disputes.
besides enabling efficient land use in urban areas.
• The Chief Justice of India is Patron-in-chief of NALSA
• States need to adopt innovative mechanisms like Value
Capture Financing (VCF) tools to mobilize resources for
Union Cabinet approves creation of financing metro projects.
Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh • It also empowers States to set up permanent Fare
• The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Fixation Authority (FFA) for timely revision of fares and
Modi has accorded its approval for creation of a non- make rules and regulations in this regard.
lapsable pool in the Public Accounts of India for secondary
and higher education, known as Madhyamik and Uchchtar
Shiksha Kosh (MUSK) into which all proceeds of Secondary
Union Cabinet clears proxy voting for NRIs
and Higher Education Cess will be credited. • The Union Cabinet has recently cleared a proposal to extend

• The funds arising from MUSK will be utilised for schemes proxy voting to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and overseas
in education sector, which will be available for benefit of Indians. Currently, this facility of vote through proxy is
students of secondary and higher education all over the permitted only to service personnel.
country. • This decision will enable nearly 16 million NRIs to cast
• It will be administered and maintained by the Union Ministry their vote in General and assembly elections by appointing
of Human Resource Development (MHRD). proxies residing in their constituencies. Overseas electors
• The MUSK would be maintained as a reserve fund in the non- will have to appoint a nominee afresh for each election in
interest bearing section of the Public Accounts of India. which one person can act as proxy for only one overseas
• The expenditure on ongoing schemes of the MHRD will be voter.
initially incurred from the gross budgetary support (GBS) in • To make proxy voting for NRIs a reality, government is going
any financial year and the expenditure will be financed from to introduce bill to amend the Representation of the People
MUSK only after the GBS is exhausted.
Act, 1951.
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Union Cabinet clears the Code on Wages Bill Reasons of declination of Parsi population
2017 • Parsi community has one of the highest literacy rates in
• The Union Cabinet has approved the Labour Code on Wages India and they are career loving people; therefore, both
Bill which will ensure a minimum wage across all sectors by young women and men prefer to give top priority to their
integrating existing labour related laws. professional career. 
• The Second National Commission on Labour had • Average age of marriage for Parsi women is around 29-30
recommended that the existing labour laws should be and for men it is 35 and about 30% never marry at all. Thus,
broadly grouped into labour codes on Industrial Relations; Parsi community has the highest presence of bachelors and
Wages; Social Security & Welfare and Safety and Working
spinsters of the world.
Conditions on functional basis.
• Since most of their population is concentrated in Mumbai
where cost of living and raising kids is rather high; it forces
  Labour is a subject in the concurrent list of
them to have just one child or stay childless.
Constitution of India. 
• The Parsi community doesn’t practice conversion of people
Salient Features of the Bill from other faiths into Zoroastrianism. The desire to keep the
• The Labour Code on Wages Bill will empower the Centre to bloodline pure often results in nearest cousin marriages or
set a minimum wage across sectors, and states will have to between uncles and nieces.
maintain that. However, states will be able to provide higher • Under Parsi laws, lineage passes through fathers but not
minimum wage in their jurisdiction than fixed by the Centre.
mothers. Thus, kids of a Parsi woman married outside the
• It will help government to improve the ease of doing business community are not considered Parsi.
as well as ensuring universal minimum wage to all.
• The minimum wage will be applicable on all classes of
workers, even workers getting monthly pay of higher than
Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana
Rs 18,000 will be legally entitled to a minimum wage. launched for senior citizens
• The proposed legislation is expected to benefit over 4 crore • The Union Finance Ministry has recently launched
employees across the country. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY), a
pension scheme exclusively for senior citizens aged 60
years and above.
Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2 launched • Under this scheme, senior citizens will get a guaranteed
• The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has recently launched interest of 8% for 10 years depending upon the investment
Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2 in Mumbai under the Jiyo Parsi made by them.
scheme. The scheme aims at containing the declining trend
of population of the Parsi community and reverses it to bring
Key Highlights of PMVVY
their population above the threshold level. • Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is nodal agency to
implement the scheme.
• Jiyo Parsi scheme to adopt a scientific protocol and
structured interventions to stabilize and increase the • The scheme provides an assured return of 8% per annum
population of Parsis in India. It has two components: Medical payable monthly for 10 years on single lumpsum premium
Assistance and Advocacy (Counselling). ranging from Rs. 1,50,000 (minimum) to Rs.7,50,000
(maximum).
Note: • Minimum pension of Rs.1000 month and maximum of
Rs.5000 will be payable at the end of each period, depending
• The first phase of the scheme was launched in 2013. As of
upon policy chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
2015, the population of Parsi (Zoroastrian) is just 69,000
• It is exempted from Goods and Services Tax (GST).
people and declining at the rate of about 12% per decade.
• The scheme allows for premature exit for the treatment
• Total fertility rate  of Parsi community is only  0.8 children
of any critical terminal illness of self or spouse. On such
per woman, whereas the national average is 2.3. Parsi
premature exit, 98% of the purchase price would be
community’s demographic characteristics are similar to
refunded. On death of the pensioner during the policy
developed countries in having more middle aged and
term of 10 years, the purchase price will be paid to the
elderly population.
beneficiary.
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AFSPA made optional in Assam and Manipur • The plan divides the country into four categories and
• The Union Government has decided to give up its power accordingly sets target to be achieved by 2022. Ultimate
to impose Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in vision of the plan is to rid the country of malaria by 2027 and
Assam and Manipur. Now, it will be the prerogative of State eliminate the disease by 2030.
governments to either continue or revoke it in these two states.
• AFSPA was first invoked in Assam in 1990. Since then it would
  To be declared malaria-free, a country
be the first time that the Union Government would give up its has to report zero incidence for at least three
power to continue or discontinue it. years.  
• AFSPA is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam and
• Strategies to eliminate malaria includes, strengthening
Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal).
malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early
In Arunachal Pradesh, it is in force in 16 police station areas
detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria and promoting
and in districts bordering Assam.
the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting
• It is not in force in Meghalaya (except in a 20-km area along the Impregnated Nets (LLINs) and effective indoor residual spray.
border with Assam) and Mizoram, whereas Tripura withdrew
the AFSPA in 2015. Do You Know?
LLINs are nets treated in the factory with an insecticide
About  Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act incorporated into the net fabric which makes the insecticide
• Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is collective name of last long. These are being promoted by WHO as a cost
several acts passed by Indian Parliament for providing effective and sustainable method for protection against
special powers to the armed forces and to provide army malaria.
officers and jawans legal immunity for their actions in
disturbed area. Cause and transmission of Malaria:
• Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites.
• AFSPA is imposed in areas declared as disturbed under
• The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected
section 2 of the Act.
female Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors."
• The ‘special powers’ of armed forces under Section 4 are:
• There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans,
(i) ‘Power to use force, including open fire’ at an individual and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the
if he violates laws which prohibit (a) the assembly of greatest threat.
five or more persons; or (b) carrying of weapons. w P. falciparum is prevalent on the African continent.
(ii) ‘Power to arrest’ without a warrant; (Under section 5 the w P. vivax is prevalent outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
armed forces have to hand over the arrested person w All of the important vector species bite between dusk and dawn.
to the nearest Police Station with the least possible w Transmission peaks during a humid and rainy season.
delay.
(iii)
‘Power to seize and search’ without any warrant any Government made some changes in UDAN
premise. scheme
• Union Government has announced regional aviation routes
Note: and airlines after the first round of bidding under UDAN (Ude
Desh ka Aam Naagrik) Scheme. In the first round, as many
• According to recommendations of BP Jeevan Reddy as 128 routes connecting 70 big and small airports across
Commission, AFSPA should be repealed and its appropriate the country were selected. Flights under the scheme was
provisions should be inserted in the Unlawful Activities started in April 2017 with both Alliance Air and Air Deccan
(Prevention) Act, 1967. providing services between Shimla and Delhi.
• It proposed to establish a grievance redressal mechanism
• The airlines selected under this round are Spice Jet, Air India's
in each district where the armed forces are deployed.
subsidiary Alliance Air and regional airlines Turbo Megha
Airways (TruJet), Air Deccan and Air Odisha Aviation. Some
of the inactive airports selected are Shimla, Bikaner, Agra,
National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination Gwalior, Rourkela, Kadapa, Jharsuguda, Vidyanagar, Burnpur,
(2017-22) unveiled Kullu, Diu, Mysuru, Shillong, Jagdalpur, Salem, Utkela, and Hosur.
• Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched • To improve regional air connectivity, government has
the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22). announced changes in the rules of UDAN scheme.
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Following changes have been made: Union Cabinet approves the National Health
• Smaller aircraft will be allowed to operate under regional Policy 2017
connectivity scheme (RCS) flights in priority areas, including • The Union Cabinet has recently approved the National
North-eastern states and Uttarakhand. Health Policy 2017. It will replace the previous policy which
• The viability gap funding for helicopters operating under the was framed 15 years ago in 2002.
scheme will be increased. • The Policy seeks to reach everyone in a comprehensive way
• Routes with stage length less than 150 kms will now be to move towards wellness. It aims at achieving universal
permitted for operations as RCS routes through fixed wing health coverage and delivering quality health care services
aircraft. to all at affordable cost.

About UDAN Scheme Key Highlights of National Health Policy 2017


• It aims to raise public healthcare expenditure to 2.5% of GDP
• UDAN is an acronym for “Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik”. It
from current 1.4%, with more than two-thirds of those resources
was officially launched in April 2017.
going towards primary healthcare.
• It is a regional connectivity scheme (RCS) which
• It is a comprehensive package that will include care for major
attempts to connect smaller towns with bigger cities. It
non-communicable diseases (NCDs), geriatric healthcare,
aims to develop the regional aviation market.
mental health, palliative care and rehabilitative care services.
• The scheme UDAN envisages providing connectivity • It proposes free diagnostics, free drugs and free emergency
to un-served and under-served airports of the country and essential healthcare services in all public hospitals in
through revival of existing air-strips and airports. order to provide healthcare access and financial protection.
• It will create affordable yet economically viable and • It aims to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population to
profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes enable access within golden hour. It proposes to increase life
affordable to the common man even in small towns. expectancy from 67.5 to 70 years by 2025.
• Total Fertility Rate: It aims to reduce total fertility rate (TFR) to
Union Cabinet approves setting up Rail 2.1 at sub-national and national level by 2025.
• Mortality Rate: It aims to reduce mortality rate (MR) of children
Development Authority
under 5 years of age to 23 per 1000 by 2025 and maternal
• The Union Cabinet has recently approved setting up
mortality rate (MMR) to 100 by 2020.
an independent rail regulator, named Rail Development
• Infant Mortality Rate: It aims to reduce infant mortality rate to 28
Authority (RDA).
by 2019.
• It is to be based in Delhi and will be set up through an
executive order. It will also be responsible for recommending
passenger fares, setting performance standards for rail
Swachh Sarvekshan 2017: Indore is the
operations and creating level playing policy for private Cleanest City
sector participation. Indore has emerged as the India's
Cleanest City in the Swachh
Key Facts about Rail Development Authority (RDA)
Survekshan-2017 conducted in
• The RDA to act within the parameters of the Railway Act, 1989.
434 cities and towns.
It will only make recommendations to the Railway Ministry
which has to take a final call on passenger and freight fares. Key Highlights of Swachh
• Primary functions: Survekshan-2017
(i) Tariff determination: RDA will recommend tariffs, frame • The Survey described Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand
principles for classification of commodities, and social and Chhattisgarh, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
service obligation and guidelines for track access charges as the Movers and Shakers for having significantly improved
on dedicated freight corridors. their rankings from that of the Survey conducted in 2014 before
(ii) Ensuring fair play: It will ensure level-playing field for all the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission in October, 2014.
stakeholders. It will propose modifications and send
• The criteria for selecting the cities for ranking for this year
suggestions or advisory notes on investment in railways.
included 45% marks for cities becoming open defecation-
(iii) Setting standards: It will help to set efficiency and
free; solid waste management like sweeping, collection,
performance standards and disseminate information in line
transportation and processing of garbage; education and
with global best practices and benchmarking. It will also
capacity building. 25% marks were given for field inspection
collect, analyse and disseminate information and statistics
and another 30% marks were given for citizen feedback.
concerning the rail sector.
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Rankings (Cleanest City)


Top 5
Ranking City State/UT

1 Indore Madhya Pradesh

2 Bhopal Madhya Pradesh

3 Visakhapatnam (Vizag) Andhra Pradesh

4 Surat Gujarat

5 Mysuru Karnataka

Bottom 5
• It is expected to become a tourist attraction in the region
430 Katihar Bihar
when completed. There will also be a ropeway in the bridge
431 Hardoi Uttar Pradesh for inspection purposes.
• After completion, it will surpass the record of the Shuibai
432 Bagaha Bihar
railway bridge (275 m) which is on Beipan river in China.
433 Bhusawal Maharashtra
Key features of the Bridge
434 Gonda Uttar Pradesh
• Steel was the material of choice to construct the humongous
structure as it is more economical and able to resist
Union Govt. launches Vidya Veerta Abhiyan temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of
• The Ministry for Human Resource and Development above 250 kmph.
has launched Students for Soldiers- a nationwide Vidya
• The railways will also install sensors on the bridge to
Veerta Abhiyan to encourage Universities and educational
check the wind velocity. As soon as the wind speed
institutions across the country to display portraits of Param
exceeds 90 kmph, the signal on the track will turn red,
Veer Chakra-decorated soldiers.
preventing train movement.
• The portraits of Param Veer Chakra decorated soldiers were
handed over to the Vice Chancellors of Jawaharlal Nehru • In order to enhance safety and security, the bridge will be
University, Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia (Jammu) made of 63 mm thick special blast-proof steel as the Jammu
and IIT Delhi, among others, to put it in their educational and Kashmir region is prone to frequent terror attacks. The
institutions. The “wall of heroes” depicting portraits of brave concrete pillars of the bridge will be designed to withstand
soldiers who showed exemplary bravery in defending explosions and painted with a special corrosion-resistant
the nation is expected to instil a sense of patriotism and paint, which lasts for at least 15 years.
nationalism among students.
• This initiative has been launched in the wake of the demand India ranks 131 in Human Development Index
made by the ex-servicemen that portraits of martyrs and
tanks used in wars be showcased in the universities and
2016
• India ranked at 131 in the 2016 Human Development Index
educational institutions to instil a sense of nationalism and
(HDI) among the 188 countries. India scored 0.624 and
patriotism among the students.
was placed in medium human development category. The
index was unveiled as part of the Human Development
World’s highest Railway Bridge to Come up Report (HDR) 2016, titled Human Development for Everyone
over Chenab River published by the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP).
• World’s highest railway bridge which will be 35 metres taller
than the Eiffel Tower is to come up over the Chenab River in • Top three countries in HDI are Norway (0.949 score),
Jammu and Kashmir at a cost of around Rs. 1,100 crore. The Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).
bridge will connect Bakkal (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar). The
bridge will be a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla
Key facts about India in HDR 2016
rail link project. • India ranks lowest among BRICS nations with Russia (49),
Brazil (79), China (90) and South Africa (119).
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• Among SAARC countries, Sri Lanka (73) and Maldives (105) • The pillars of index include the capacity of human capital and
were placed in “high human development” category, followed research, strength of institutions, supporting infrastructure
by India (131), Bhutan (132), Bangladesh (139), Nepal (144), and the level of business sophistication, among others.
Pakistan (147) and Afghanistan (169). • It will be a one-stop data warehouse and will track progress
• Life expectancy at birth in India has increased from 68 years to on each indicator at the National level and the State level on
an average of 68.3 years with 69.9 years for women and 66.9 real-time basis.
years for men.
• India’s expected years of schooling remains at 11.7 years,
while mean years of schooling increased from 5.4 to 6.3 years.
One crore assets geotagged under
GeoMGNREGA initiative
The HDI is a measure for assessing countries progress in
three basic dimensions of human development: a long and
healthy life (life expectancy), access to knowledge and
access to a decent standard of living.

NITI Aayog launches India Innovation Index


• National Institution for Transforming India (NITI)
• MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Aayog and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) jointly
Guarantee Act) scheme has reached a major milestone
launched India Innovation Index. The index has been jointly
by geotagging one crore assets created under it. The
developed by NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII in consultation with
geotagged assets have been put in public domain.
World Economic Forum (WEF), World Intellectual Property
• The scale of assets created under MGNREGA is massive and
Organization (WIPO), Cornell University, United Nations
estimated to be about 2.82 crore assets since the financial
Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), ILO, OECD,
year 2006-07. On an average, it works out to a creation of
UNESCO and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
30 lakh assets annually.
• The Index will rank states on Innovations through country’s
• The geotagging exercise is expected to usher in greater
first online innovation index portal that will capture data on
transparency and accountability at field level.
innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly
update it in real time. • The type of assets created under MGNREGA includes
water harvesting structures, plantations, rural infrastructure,
flood control measures, individual assets for sustainable
About Global Innovation Index (GII) livelihood, community infrastructure etc.
• The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking
• As per the Ministry of Rural Affairs, all assets created under
of countries by their capacity for, and success in,
MGNREGA will be geotagged and special focus would be
innovation. It is published by Cornell University, INSEAD,
given to geotagging of Natural Resource Management works
and the World Intellectual Property Organization, in
primarily the water-related works.
partnership with other organisations and institutions,
and is based on both subjective and objective data About GeoMGNREGA
derived from several sources, including the International
Telecommunication Union, the World Bank and the • GeoMGNREGA is a unique endeavor of the Union Ministry
World Economic Forum. of Rural Development in association with National Remote
Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO and National Informatics
• It has established itself as both a leading reference on
Centre.
innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for policy makers. India
• A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by
currently ranks 60th out of 130 countries on the Global
Union Ministry of Rural Development with NRSC for geo-
Innovation Index (GII) 2017.
tagging the assets created under MGNREGS in each
gram panchayat. The strength of Space technology has
Key Facts about India Innovation Index
been leveraged.
• It will be structured based on the best practices followed in • In January 2017, Kangra district (Himachal Pradesh)
Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators and additionally by became the first district in the country to geotag all the
adding India-centric parameters those truly reflect the Indian assets created under MGNREGA.
innovation ecosystem.
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PM Modi inaugurates India’s longest road • The Centre Government has chosen Bengaluru-based
Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Hyderabad-based
tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir
Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) to manufacture
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Chenani-Nashri
the VVPAT units. The government has also directed the Price
Tunnel, country’s longest road tunnel that links Kashmir
Negotiation Committee to negotiate the final unit price. It is
Valley with Jammu by an all-weather route.
expected that the two PSUs will need at least 30 months to
• The 9-km-long tunnel passes through the lower Himalayan
produce over 16 lakh VVPATs.
mountain range on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway 44. It
• Earlier in 2013, Supreme Court (SC) had directed the EC
cuts the distance between Jammu and Srinagar to around
to introduce VVPAT in a phased manner for 2014 general
250 km from the existing 350 km.
elections. SC had observed that VVPAT will ensure free and
fair polls and help in sorting out disputes.

How VVPAT works?


• In the VVPAT system, when a voter presses the button
for a candidate of his/her choice in the electronic voting
machines (EVM), a paper ballot containing the serial
number, the name of the candidate and poll symbol will
be printed for the voter.
• The voters will be able to view the voter-verifiable paper
audit trail slip for 7 seconds after which it will get deposited
in a sealed box.

Key facts about the Tunnel Government sets up Committee to examine


• Chenani-Nashri Tunnel has been built at an altitude of 1,200
framework for Virtual Currencies
meters. It is also Asia’s longest bi-directional highway tunnel. It • The Union Government has consti-
has been built at the cost of Rs. 2,500 crore. tuted a time-bound inter-disciplinary
committee to come up with an action
• It is India’s first tunnel equipped with world class Integrated
plan for dealing with virtual currencies
Traffic Control System (ITCS) through which ventilation,
so as to fix the regulatory gaps in the
signals, fire control, communication and electrical systems are
existing framework governing virtual
automatically actuated.
currencies. The nine-member inter-disciplinary committee
• The tunnel will provide all-weather road connectivity to the is chaired by Dinesh Sharma, Special Secretary in the
Valley and avoid landslide-prone stretch. It will help to boost Economic Affairs Department.
the trade and commerce, and tourism in the valley.
• The panel’s terms of reference require it to take stock of the
present status of virtual currencies both in India and the
Union Cabinet clears Election Commission’s world, examine the existing regulatory and legal structures
governing them and suggest measures for dealing with such
proposal to buy VVPAT machines
currencies.
• The Union Cabinet has
cleared the Election
About Virtual Currencies
Commission’s proposal to
buy new Voter Verifiable • Virtual Currencies, also called as digital/crypto-currencies,
Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) are a type of unregulated digital money that is neither
machines. issued by a central bank/public authority, nor is necessarily
• These machines are attached to a fiat currency, but is used and accepted among
expected to be used in the the members of a specific virtual community.
2019 General Elections. • They are capable of being transferred, stored or traded
The Union Cabinet has permitted the Election Commission electronically. The examples of virtual currencies
(EC) to procure 16,15,000 units, at an estimated base price are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Darkcoin, Peercoin, Dogecoin,
of Rs. 3,173.47 crore. Primecoin, etc.
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Government launches Rashtriya Vayoshri List of top 5 Universities Ranking 2017


Yojana
Rank Institutions
• The Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has
launched Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana in Nellore District of 1 Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Andhra Pradesh. The Scheme aims at providing physical 2 Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens belonging
3 Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.
4 Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
• The assisted-living devices will help the Senior Citizens to
overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead 5 Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on
care givers or other members of the family.
Cabinet approves Collaboration Agreement to
Key Provisions of the Scheme support Belmont Forum
• Under the scheme, there will be distribution of free of cost • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of
physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens the Collaborative Agreement with the French National
belonging to BPL category. It is the first-of-its-kind Central Research Agency (ANR) of France.
Sector Scheme (CCS) in India, to be fully funded by the Union • The MoU will be signed for supporting the Belmont Forum
Government. Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a
• It is expected to benefit 5,20,000 Senior Citizens and its total estimated expenditure of 40,000 Euros. The Cabinet
expenditure implementation will be met from the “Senior also approved continued financial support to Belmont
Citizens’ Welfare Fund“. Forum Secretariat beyond 2017.
• The implementing agency of the scheme is Artificial Limbs
Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under Ministry About Belmont Forum
of Social Justice and Empowerment. • Belmont Forum is a high level group of the world’s major
and emerging funders of global environmental change
research and international science councils. It was
IISc ranked India’s top university in 2017 NIRF established in 2009.
Survey • It aims to accelerate delivery of the environmental research
• The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by
Bangalore was ranked as the best aligning and mobilizing international resources.
Indian university in the 2017 National • Belmont Secretariat is hosted by one of the Belmont forum
Institutional Ranking Framework member on rotational basis. ANR, France is hosting the
(NIRF) released by Union Human Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017.
Resource Development Ministry.
• It is second edition NIRF survey and NITI Aayog launched SATH programme
was released as part of the India Rankings 2017 for the • NITI Aayog has recently unveiled a programme called SATH
Educational Institutions. along with the state governments to kick start the process of
transforming education and health sectors.
About NIRF survey
  SATH stands for ‘Sustainable Action for
• NIRF survey is first of its kind of indigenous ranking
framework for higher education institutions in the
Transforming Human capital 
country. It outlines a methodology to rank institutions • The Aayog will work in close collaboration with their state
across the country based on the parameters broadly machinery to design a robust road-map of intervention,
covering teaching, learning and resources, research develop a program governance structure, set up monitoring
and professional practices, graduation outcomes, and tracking mechanisms, hand-hold state institutions
outreach and inclusivity and perception. through the execution stage and provide support on a range
• It covers six categories of institutions including of institutional measures to achieve the end objectives.
universities, engineering, management, pharmacy,
• The program will be implemented by the NITI Aayog along
architecture and colleges.
with McKinsey & Company and IPE Global consortium, who
were selected through a competitive bidding process.
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Karnataka amended law for conducting kambala Remarks


• The Karnataka Government decided to bring an amendment
• The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu in May 2014 and
to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, for conducting
held that bulls could not be used as performing animals.
Kambala and bull-cart race, traditional sports of the State.
It ordered to completely stop use of bulls for Jallikattu
• Karnataka to follow the model of the Tamil Nadu government
events or bullock-cart races across the country.
and bring changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Act. • The ban was imposed by Supreme Court as it violated
provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,
• The traditional sport along with bull-cart race was banned
1960; Fundamental Duty under Article 51A (g): Compassion
in the state by the Karnataka High Court in November 2016
towards animal; Article 21 (Right to Life), which prohibits
while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical
any disturbance to the environment, including animals as
Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty.
it is considered essential for human life.
About Kambala
• Kambala is an annual traditional Buffalo Race held in
coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of
Yoga Inscribed on the Representative List of
the area. The sports season generally starts in November the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
and lasts till March. Slushy/marshy paddy field track is • United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
used for Kambala. (UNESCO) has inscribed Yoga in its representative list of
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Decision in this
• The contest generally takes place between two pairs of
regard was taken by the Inter-governmental Committee for the
buffaloes, each pair race in two separate wet rice fields’
Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting held
tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer. Kambala
in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
has been criticised by animal lovers as they perpetuate
cruelty due to the use of whips on the racing buffaloes.. • The declaration describes Yoga, an ancient Indian practice
as a human treasure. It was unanimously supported by all
the 24 members of inter-governmental Committee.
Tamil Nadu Assembly passes Jallikattu Bill
• The UNESCO’s Heritage list is made up of those intangible
• Tamil Nadu Assembly had unanimously passed an
heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural
amendment bill for conducting the bull-taming sport without
heritage and raise awareness about its importance. It was
any hindrance, replacing an ordinance promulgated to allow
established in 2008 after Convention for the Safeguarding of
Jallikattu.
the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2003 came into effect.
• The Bill to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
(PCA), 1960 was unanimously adopted by the House. The Elements from India on the Representative List of the
Bill denotifies the bull from the list of performing animals. This Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
will ensure that provisions of Prevention of cruelty to Animals
2016 Nawrouz/Novruz; Yoga
Act (PCA), 1960 will not apply to the bull.

2014 Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making


About  Jallikattu among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab
• Jallikattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu
2013 Sankirtana (ritual singing, drumming and dancing of
on Mattu Pongal day as a part of Pongal celebrations Manipur)
i.e. harvest festival. It is one of the oldest living ancient
traditions practiced in the modern era. 2012 Buddhist chanting of Ladakh (recitation of sacred
Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region,
• Jallikattu has been derived from the words ‘calli’ (coins) Jammu and Kashmir)
and ‘kattu’ (tie), which means a bundle of coins is tied to
2010 Chhau dance (Odisha), Kalbelia folk songs and dances of
the bull’s horns.
Rajasthan; Mudiyettu (ritual theatre and dance drama of
• As part of the game, the bull tamer sought to remove Kerala)
this bundle from the animal's head to win gold or silver
2009 Ramman (religious festival and ritual theatre of the
coins to be called valourous.
Garhwal Himalayas)
• In Sangam literature, the sport is called as ‘Yeru
2008 Kutiyattam (Sanskrit theatre); Tradition of Vedic chanting;
thazhuvuthal’ (means to embrace bulls).
Ramlila (the traditional performance of the Ramayana)
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ESE 2018 : Preliminary Exam

Supreme Court makes national anthem PM launches Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
mandatory in cinema halls • PM Narendra Modi launched Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana
• The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered cinema halls to (PKVY), a skill development program targeted at Indian
mandatorily play the national anthem before every screening youth seeking overseas employment to make India, the Skill
and all those present in cinema halls have to stand up to Capital of the World. It was launched after inauguration of
show respect. According to SC such practice will enhance a 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) convention at Bengaluru,
feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism. Karnataka.
• The SC order was given by bench of Justices Dipak Misra
• Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa was the Chief
and Amitava Roy on a writ petition by Shyam Narayan
Guest of the event.
Chouksey in October 2016. The court banned dramatising,
abridging or making money from the 52-second-long Jana Key Facts About the PKVY
Gana Mana and said the National Flag, the Tricolour must be
• PKVY will provide training and certify Indians who are seeking
displayed on the movie screen when the anthem is played.
overseas employment in selected sectors that have high demand
Moviegoers must stand up and all doors of cinema halls be
in the global labour market in line with international standards.
closed at such times to stop people moving around.
• It will be implemented by the National Skill Development
• The national anthem was penned by India’s first Nobel
Corporation (NSDC) through its training partners and in
laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1911 and the first of five
consultation with the Union Ministry of External Affairs and the
stanzas of Brahmo hymn adopted as the country’s national
Union Skill Development Ministry.
anthem in 1950.
• NSDC will leverage various MoUs signed between 2011
• The song was last ordered to be played in cinemas in India
and 2015 with different agencies of Germany, Canada,
after the country’s 1962 war with China but the practice was
Australia, Singapore, UK, US, European Union, France, Iran
discontinued in 1975 after most moviegoers ignored it.
and China.

Fundamental Duties of Indian Citizens under


Article 51A of the Constitution About Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is being
institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem; celebrated on 9 January every year
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our to strengthen the engagement of the
national struggle for freedom; overseas Indian community with the
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity Government of India, reconnect them
of India; with their roots and celebrate their
(d) to defend the country and render national service when achievements and contributions.
called upon to do so;
• January 9 was selected as it was on this day in 1915 that
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood
Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India
amongst all the people of India transcending religious,
from South Africa to lead India’s freedom struggle.
linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce
practices derogatory to the dignity of women; • In 2015, the Government of India revised the format
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture; of PBD. Following the review, the PBD Convention
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including will be held once in two years in a city outside Delhi.
forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion In the intervening year, smaller, outcome-based PBD
for living creatures; Conferences will be organized in New Delhi on issues
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of concern to the Indian Diaspora. It was decided that
of inquiry and reform; Indian Missions and Consulates will also celebrate PBD
(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence; every year.
(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual • The 14th PBD Convention was organized in Bengaluru,
and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to Karnataka from 7 to 9 January 2017. PBD 2017 focused
higher levels of endeavour and achievement. on the theme “Redefining Engagement with the Indian
(k) who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities Diaspora”.
for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward
between the age of six and fourteen years.
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Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin Key Facts about Mission 41K


launched • This target of Mission 41K will be achieved by taking a slew
of measures which include moving 90% of traffic to electric
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Pradhan
traction over diesel from present 50% of the total rail traffic.
Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), a flagship housing
• The railways will also procure more and more electricity at
for all scheme in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
cheaper rates through open market instead of sourcing it
• Under PMAY-G, Government aims to provide affordable,
through Distribution Companies (DISCOMs). Thereby it hopes
environmentally safe and secure pucca house to every rural
to save as much as 25% on its energy expenses.
household living below the poverty line by 2022.
• New technologies will be also explored to bring down electric
consumption and change the energy mix of Indian Railways.
Key features of the PMAY-G Scheme
• The electrification mission will help Indian Railways to reduce
• The unit cost for these houses has been significantly increased
dependence on imported fuel, change energy mix, and
and now through convergence a minimum support of nearly
rationalize the cost of energy for Railways.
Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 1.6 lakh to a household is available. There is
also a provision of Bank loan upto Rs. 70,000, if the beneficiary
so desires. Govt. launches Swachh Swasth Sarvatra
• The selection of beneficiaries has been through a completely • ‘Swachh Swasth Sarvatra’, an inter-ministerial joint initiative
transparent process using the Socio Economic Census 2011 between the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and
data and validating it through the Gram Sabha. the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was launched in
New Delhi on Good Governance Day 2016 (25 Dec. 2016).
• The programme provides for skilling 5 lakh rural masons by
2019 and allows over 200 different housing designs across • The objective of the ‘Swachh Swasth Sarvatra’ initiative is to
the country based on a detailed study of housing typologies, build on and leverage achievements of two complementary
environmental hazards and the households’ requirements. programmes – Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and Kayakalp,
of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and Ministry
of Health and Family Welfare respectively.
Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Under this initiative:
Abhiyan approved (a) The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has declared
• The Union Cabinet has approved 'Pradhan Mantri Gramin over 700 blocks as Open Defecation Free (ODF).
Digital Saksharta Abhiyan' (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore Besides, the Community Health Centres (CHCs) in ODF
rural households digitally literate. blocks of the country will be allocated Rs 10 lakhs under
• The outlay for this project is ` 2,351.38 crore to usher in digital National Health Mission (NHM) to focus on sanitation and
hygiene.
literacy in rural India by March, 2019. This approval comes in
(b) Under Kayakalp, one Primary Health Centre (PHCs) in each
line with the announcement made by Union Finance Minister
district is awarded for meeting quality standards including
in the Union Budget.
sanitation and hygiene.
• PMGDISHA is expected to be one of the largest digital literacy
Under SBM, the Gram Panchayat in which the PHC which gets
programmes in the world. awarded under Kayakalp for that district will be noted, and
• The implementation of the Scheme would be carried out under special focus will be given to make it ODF at the earliest.
the overall supervision of Ministry of Electronics and IT in
active collaboration with States/UTs through their designated Govt. launches “Vanjeevan” for tribal livelihood
state implementing agencies, District e-Governance Society • The Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs has launched “Vanjeevan”,
(DeGS), etc. the National Resource Centre (NRC) for Tribal Livelihood
issues in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It has been developed in
collaboration with United Nations Development Programme
Railway Ministry unveils Mission 41K (UNDP) and National Scheduled Tribes Finance and
• R a i l w a y M i n i s t r y h a s u n v e i l e d ‘Mission 41K’ to save
Development Corporation (NSTFDC).
Rs. 41,000 crore on the Indian Railways’ expenditure on
• The centre will identify livelihood issues, provide skill training
energy consumption over the next 10 years.
and facilitate employment generation among them. It would
• The launch of this programme was announced at a round
cater to development and promotion of livelihood avenues in
table discussion on Energy Initiatives of Indian Railways with
areas like farm, non-farm, forest-based allied sectors through
external stakeholders headed.
entrepreneurship and skill development.
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• The centre will also have a knowledge hub that will give
Targets of Street Light National Programme (SLNP)
special emphasis on traditional tribal knowledge and
make sync with new business models and employment Sl.No. Parameter Data
opportunities. 1 No. of street lights to be repalced 3.5 cr
• The centre will start function in two districts each in six states
2 No. of towns where work in progress/ Entire Country
having low human development index including Assam,
complete
Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Telengana
in the first phase. 3 Estimated annual energy savings 9 billion KWh

4 Estimated reduction of peak load 1500 MW


Coal Swapping Allowed Between Public and 5 Estimated cost reduction of bills of Rs. 5500 cr
Private Companies municipalities
• To improve fuel availability and cut its transportation cost, 6 Estimated annual GHG emission 6.2 mt CO2
the government has allowed swapping of coal between reductions
public sector and private sector companies.
• The government and public sector companies can swap Significance of Program
their coal with private companies also. • This innovative initiative can save energy up to 20% of the
About Coal Linkages Rationalisation and Coal Swapping present consumption.
• Coal linkage rationalization means buying coal from mines • More of street lights would also mean more security especially
which are closer to the power plant, thus saving money on for women.
transportation/logistics. • People would also save a lot of money which can be diverted
• Earlier it was compulsory to buy coal from the allocated coal for other social and economic developments.
block, but to reduce the generating cost of electricity by • The program would also help in the reduction of greenhouse
reducing the transportation costs, proposals have been made gases as less energy would be consumed. It is an environment
to buy coal from mines which are closer to the power station. friendly, green initiative and also a judicious and a sustainable
This is actually called as coal linkage rationalization. one.
• Swapping means exchanging, so its basically supplying coal
from one thermal station having sufficient stocks to the other
which have deficit. Saksham (Sanrakshan Kshamta Mahotsav)
• Power stations which are closer to the ports would use 2017 programme launched
more of imported coal than far away from the ports without • Saksham - 2017 (Sanrakshan
compromising the Plant Load Factor (PLF) and so it would Kshamta Mahotsav) was aimed
require modifications in the Boiler. to create awareness amongst
masses towards judicious utili-
Street Light National Programme unveiled zation and conservation of pe-
• The Union Government unveiled the Street Light National troleum products along with use
Programme (SLNP) which aims to install LED bulbs street of energy efficient appliances
lighting across different cities in the country. The LED lights and switching to cleaner fuels.
will replace conventional lamps. • The programme was organized by Petroleum Conservation
• It is the World’s largest street light replacement programme, Research Association (PCRA) and other Oil and Gas PSUs
which is being implemented by the Energy Efficiency under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Services Limited (EESL), a venture under the Ministry of • During one-month long drive, workshops was held for
Power, Government of India. drivers of commercial vehicles and housewives, cooks on
• The SLNP programme is presently running in Punjab, adopting simple fuel saving measures.
Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, • The programme was aimed to educate on various steps
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, for fuel conservation through activities like Quiz Show,
Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Saksham Asian Cycling Championship, Walkathons,
• Under the programme around 3.5 crore conventional street concerts and other activities across the country.
lights will be replaced with smart and energy efficient LED
street lights by March 2019.
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Important Schemes launched by Government of India


Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana- • The purpose of Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic
growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling
Saubhagya
local area development and harnessing technology.
• Union Government on 25 September 2017 launched
Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana- Saubhagya • The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would
for electrifying all the households in rural and urban areas include:
which are still living without power. The government will (i) Adequate water supply
provide Rs. 16,320 crore within next two years for the (ii) Assured electricity supply
implementation of Saubhagya scheme. (iii) Sanitation, including solid waste management
(iv) Efficient urban mobility and public transport
• The scheme funds the cost of last-mile connectivity to
(v) Affordable housing, especially for the poor
willing households to help achieve the goal of lighting
(vi) Robust IT connectivity and digitalization
every household by 31 December 2018.
(vii) Good governance, especially e-governance and citi-
• The Ministry for power is the nodal authority which has
zen participation
the responsibility to provide power connection to each
(viii)  Sustainable environment
household in the country and fulfil the targets.
(ix) Safety and security of citizens, particularly women,
• The beneficiaries for free electricity connections will children and the elderly, and
be identified using Socio Economic and Caste Census (x) Health and education
(SECC) 2011 data.

Start-up India
Sankalp Se Siddhi: New India Movement • Start-up India initiative was launched on 16 January 2016
from 2017-2022 to promote startups and entrepreneurship ecosystem in
• Sankalp Se Siddhi (Attainment through Resolve) the country. On this occasion, the Start-up India, Stand-
programme is a new initiative launched by PM Narendra up India Action Plan was also unveiled which contained
Modi for a New India movement from 2017 to 2022. This a bunch of financial, policy and regulatory measures
program aims to bring in many changes in the country aimed at giving proper roadmap for innovation and
for the betterment of country’s economy, citizens, society, entrepreneurship.
governance, security and other verticals. • A separate fund has been created with 10000 crore
• The main objectives of the Sankalp Se Siddhi programme rupees corpus for development and growth of innovation
are: driven enterprises. It will be 2500 crore rupees a year for
(i) Poverty-free India four years.
(ii) Clean India • Profits of Start-up units have been made tax-free for 3
(iii) Terrorism-free India years and there will be a moratorium on labour inspections
(iv) Casteism-free India for the first 3 years of operations.
(v) Corruption-free India • Capital gains tax to be exempted for venture capital
• This program was launched on 9 August 2017 the investments. However, the exemption will be applicable
occasion of 75th anniversary of Quit India Movement. only when the proceeds are invested in another startup.
Besides, the easier exits for failed ventures with a provision
for winding them up within 90 days under the Bankruptcy
Smart Cities Mission and Insolvency Bill, 2015 is also provided.
• Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting
programme to develop 100 potential cities all over the
country making them citizen friendly and sustainable. Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY)
These cities were nominated by all the states and Union • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA (Micro Units Development and
Territories. The scheme was launched on 25th June 2015. Refinance Agency) Yojana was launched with the purpose
• The Ministry of Urban Development is nodal agency for to provide funding to the non-corporate small business
implementation of mission in collaboration with the state sector. It is available from all Bank branches across the
governments of the respective cities. country. The scheme was launched on 8 April 2015.
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• The small businesses/startups or entrepreneurs can avail • The initiative is further aimed at creating a conductive envi-
loans from Rs. 50 thousand to 10 Lakh to start/grow their ronment for investment, modern and efficient infrastructure,
business under the three, Shishu, Kishore and Tarun opening up new sectors for foreign investment and forging
categories of the scheme. a partnership between government and industry.
• The Government also established MUDRA Bank to
The targets of ‘Make in India’ programme are:
refinance MFIs (microfinance institutions) through the
1. An increase in manufacturing sector growth to 12-14% per
Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. MUDRA Bank will work with
annum over the medium term.
co-coordinators at the national, state and regional levels.
2. An increase in the share of manufacturing in the country’s
Additionally, it will also work with last mile financiers
Gross Domestic Product from 16% to 25% by 2022.
(LMFs) of micro businesses at the regional level.
3. To create 100 million additional jobs by 2022 in
manufacturing sector.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) 4. Creation of appropriate skills set among rural migrants and
the urban poor for inclusive growth.
• The PMJDY is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to
5. An increase in domestic value addition and technological
ensure access to financial services like availability of basic
depth in manufacturing.
saving bank account, remittance, credit, insurance and
6. Enhancing the global competitiveness of the Indian
pension to the excluded sections i.e. weaker sections and
manufacturing sector.
low income groups.
7. Ensuring sustainability of growth, particularly with regard to
• It was launched on 28th August 2014 across the country and
environment.
considered as the biggest financial inclusion initiative in the
• The following 25 sectors have been identified under the
world. It also features in Guinness Book of World Records for
Make in India initiative: Auto Components, Automobiles,
opening 18,096,130 accounts by banks in a week.
Aviation, Biotechnology, Chemical, Construction, Defence
Special Benefits under PMJDY Manufacturing, Electrical Machinery, Electronic System
Design and Manufacturing, Food processing, IT and BPM,
1. Interest on deposit.
Leather, Media and Entertainment, Mining, Oil and Gas,
2. No Minimum balance required
Pharmaceuticals, Ports, Railways, Roads and Highways,
3. Accidental insurance cover of Rs. 1 lac. Renewable Energy, Space, Textiles, Thermal Power,
4. Life insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 (to be given by Life Tourism & Hospitality and Wellness
Insurance Corporation of India)
5. Easy transfer of money across India.
Digital India
6. Beneficiaries of Government schemes will get Direct Benefit
• The Digital India is an initiative by the Government of India
Transfer in these accounts.
to ensure that Government services are made available to
7. Access to pension, insurance products.
citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure
8. Accidental Insurance cover, RuPay Debit card must be and by increasing internet connectivity. It was launched on
used at least once in 45 days. 1 July 2015.
9. After satisfactory operation of the bank account for • The programme will be implemented in phases till 2018
6 months, an overdraft facility will be permitted. which aims to transform the country into a digitally
10. Overdraft facility up to Rs. 5000 is available in only empowered society and knowledge economy.
one account per household, preferably lady of the • This programme has been envisaged by Department of
household Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).
• Digital India to provide the much needed thrust to the nine
Make in India pillars of growth areas, namely Broadband Highways,
• The ‘Make in India’ programme aims at promoting India Universal Access to Mobile connectivity, Public Internet
as an important investment destination and a global hub Access Programme, e-governance: Reforming Government
for manufacturing, design and innovation. It also aims at through Technology, e-Kranti-Electronic Delivery of Services,
promoting entrepreneurship in the country. It was launched Information for All, Electronics Manufacturing, IT for Jobs
on 25 September, 2014. and Early Harvest Programmes
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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (ii) Ensure panchayats display gudda-guddi board with
• Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission) is a national number of new born boys and girls every month
campaign covering 4,041 cities and towns, to clear the (iii) Hold Panchayat responsible for child marriage
streets, roads and infrastructure of the country. (iv) Create parliamentary forum for MPs representing 100 districts.
• The campaign was launched on 2 October 2014. • Prime Minister also launched Sukanya Samridhi Yojna (girl
• It is country’s biggest ever cleanliness drive in which 3 child prosperity scheme) on the same day, under which girl
million government employees and school and college children below 10 years will have bank account with more
students have participated. The mission was started by interest and income tax benefits.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who nominated nine famous • Sukanya Samridhi Account
personalities for the campaign, and they took up the
(i) Account opened in girl child’s name any time before she
challenge and nominated nine more people and so on.
attains the age of 10.
• The campaign aims to accomplish the vision of a ‘clean
(ii) Minimum deposit required is Rs. 1,000. Any amount in
India’ by 2 October, 2019 the 150th birth anniversary of
multiples of Rs. 100s can be deposited subsequently, up
Mahatma Gandhi.
to a maximum of Rs. 1.5 lakh in a year.
The objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are: (iii) Government will provide rate of interest of 9.1% for the
• Elimination of open defecation saving account; no income tax will be charged.
• Eradication of Manual Scavenging (iv) 50% money can be withdrawn by the girl child after 18 years.
• Modern and Scientific Municipal Solid Waste Management (v) Account will remain operative till girl attains 21 years.
• To effect behavioral change regarding healthy sanitation
• A reward of Rs. 1 crore will be given for the innovative village
practices
which attains a balanced sex ratio.
• Generate awareness about sanitation and its linkage with
public health
• Capacity Augmentation for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All
• To create an enabling environment for private sector (UJALA) Scheme
participation in Capex (capital expenditure) and Opex
• The National LED programme - Unnat Jyoti by Affordable
(operational expenditure).
LEDs for All (UJALA) was launched on 30 April 2016.
The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Abhiyaan (BBBP) Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the
• Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme aims to generate Union Ministry of Power.
awareness and improving the efficiency of welfare services • Under this Programme the beneficiaries will get energy
meant for women. efficient 9W LED bulbs at an upfront payment of just 85
• It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from rupees per LED bulb.
Panipat, Haryana on 22 January 2015. • UJALA will not only help reduce consumers their electricity
• The 100 districts have been identified on the basis of low bills but also contribute to the energy security of India. The
child sex ratio as per census 2011 covering all States/UTs. UJALA scheme is being monitored in a transparent manner
through a national dashboard (www.delp.in).
The three criteria for selection of districts namely
• The distribution of LED bulbs will happen through electricity
(i) Districts below the national average (87 districts from 23 states)
distribution companies (DISCOM) offices, DISCOM bill
(ii) Districts above the national average but shown declining collection centers, designated EESL kiosks, weekly haat
trend (8 districts from 8 states) markets, etc.
(iii)
Districts above national average and shown increasing
• Consumers can buy these affordable LEDs by
trend (5 districts from 5 states)
presenting any identity card. These bulbs come with
Action Plan for BBBP a three year free replacement warranty in case of any
technical defects.
(i) Promote early registration of pregnancy and institutional
delivery. • The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing
electricity bills but also help in environment protection.
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Namami Gange Programme • It is being implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and


• The Namami Gange Programme (NGP), an Integrated Natural Gas. It is for the first time this ministry is implementing
Ganga Conservation Mission which aims to integrate a welfare scheme.
the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga River in a • Identification of BPL families will be made in consultation
comprehensive manner, has been launched by the Union with State Governments and Union territories.
Government. It has a budget outlay of 20000 crore rupees • Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) facility for meeting the
for 2015-20. cost of stove and refill cost.
• It will result in socio-economic benefits in terms of job • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced about the
creation, improved livelihoods and health benefits to the scheme in his 2016-17 Budget with a budgetary provision
vast population that is dependent on the river. of 2000 crore rupees.
• The programme is now operational under the National • It will be implemented over three years’ time frame namely
Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
• Its focus is on pollution abatement interventions namely
interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater
UDAY
flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation
• The Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna (UDAY) has been
or appropriate in-situ treatment or use of innovative
launched for financial restructuring of debt of power
technologies such as sewage treatment plants (STPs) or
distribution companies.
effluent treatment plant (ETPs).
• The scheme aims for financial turnaround and revival of
• The Union Government will sanction 100 percent funding
Power Distribution companies (Discoms) and also ensures a
for various activities or projects under this program and
sustainable permanent solution to the problem of Discoms.
the operation and maintenance of the assets will be for a
minimum period of 10 years. • Under the scheme, the Union Government will allow state
governments, which own the Discoms, to take over 75 per
• It would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean
cent of the debt as of specific date (September 30) and pay
Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations that
back lenders by selling bonds. For the remaining 25 per
is State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
cent dues, discoms have been allowed to issue bonds.
• A three-tier mechanism will be established for project
• State governments will be incentivised by allowing them
monitoring viz., A high level task force chaired by the Union
to borrow more through the bond market. The bonds to be
Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level,
issued by the state governments will be offered at a coupon
State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted
of 8-9 per cent and the rest of the debt will be re-priced at
by SPMG at state level and District level committee chaired
the minimum lending rate of banks plus 0.1 per cent.
by the District Magistrate.
• The scheme also seeks to improve operational efficiency
• The programme adopts a PPP (Public Private Partnership)
by implementing swapping of coal linkages, monitoring
or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) approach for pollution
aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C) and
hotspots.
focus on smart metering and feeder separation in the states.
• A 4-battalion Ganga Eco-Task Force, a Territorial Army unit
to be set up to bolster enforcement.
Skill India
• Skill India is a project which aims to train over 40 crore
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) people in different skills by 2022. It consists of four initiatives
• The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched on of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship:
1 May 2016 which aims to provide cooking gas connections National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill
to five crore below-poverty-line (BPL) beneficiaries over the Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Pradhan Mantri
next three years and it will benefit the poor, especially the Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Skill Loan Scheme.
women. • It was launched on 16th July, 2015 to mark the first-ever
• PMUY will provide 5 crore LPG connections to BPL families World Youth Skills Day.
with a support of 1600 rupees. The connections will be • Government sets target to provide Skill training to 40.02
given in the name of women beneficiaries. crore people by 2022.
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• The government’s flagship scheme, PMKVY, will incentivise (ii) Increase the amenity value of cities by developing greenery
skill training by providing financial rewards to candidates and well maintained open spaces (e.g. parks); and
who successfully complete approved skill training (iii) Reduce pollution by switching to public transport or
programmes. The scheme aims to recognise and provide constructing facilities for non-motorised transport (e.g.
skill to 24 lakh youth who lack formal certification, such as walking and cycling.)
workers in vast unorganised sector.
• Through an initiative known as ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’
Housing for All by 2022 Scheme
(RPL), 10 lakh youth will be assessed and certified for the
• Housing for all by 2022 scheme was launched on 25th
skills that they already possess.
June 2015 which aims for urban areas with following
• Under the Skill Loan scheme, the loans ranging from
components to states/UTs and cities:
Rs. 5,000 - 1.5 lakhs will be made available to 34 lakh youth
(a) Slum rehabilitations of slum dwellers with participation
of India seeking to attend skill development programmes
of private developers using land as a resource;
over the next five years.
(b) Promotion of affordable housing for weaker section
Atal Pension Yojana (APY) through credit linked subsidy;
• Atal Pension Yojana was launched on 9 May, 2015 which is (c) Affordable housing in partnership with public and
intended to enhance old age income security of the working private sectors and
poor. It has become operational from 1 June, 2015. (d) Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house con-
• It is administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and struction or enhancement.
Development Authority (PFRDA). • Central grant of Rs. one lakh per house, on an average,
• The minimum age of joining this scheme is 18 years and will be available under the slum rehabilitation programme.
maximum age is 40 years. A state government would have flexibility in deploying
this slum rehabilitation grant to any slum rehabilitation
• The subscribers would receive the fixed pension, as
project taken for development using land as a resource
guaranteed by the Union Government, of 1000, 3000,
for providing houses to slum dwellers.
4000 and 5000 rupees per month, at the age of 60 years,
depending on their contributions, which itself would vary on • The scheme will be implemented as a centrally
the age of joining the scheme. sponsored scheme except the credit linked subsidy
component, which will be implemented as a central
• The Pension would also be available to the spouse on the
sector scheme.
death of the subscriber and thereafter, the pension corpus
would be returned to the nominee. • Under the Credit Linked Interest Subsidy component,
interest subsidy of 6.5 percent on housing loans availed
up to a tenure of 15 years will be provided to EWS/LIF
Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban
categories, where as the subsidy pay-out on NPV basis
Transformation (AMRUT) would be about Rs. 2.3 lakh per house for EWS category
• The AMRUT scheme was launched on 25 June, 2015 will be provided under the affordable housing in partnership
with the focus of the urban renewal projects, to establish and beneficiary-led individual house construction or
infrastructure that could ensure adequate robust sewerage enhancement.
networks and water supply for urban transformation.
• The houses constructed under the mission would be
• Rajasthan was the first state in the country to submit state allotted in the name of the female head of the households
annual action plan under AMRUT. or in the joint name of the male head of the household and
• The scheme is dependent with public private partnership his wife.
model (PPP). • The scheme will cover the entire urban area consisting
of 4041 statutory towns with initial focus on 500 class-I
The purposes of AMRUT are to
cities and it will be implemented in three phases. It aims to
(i) Ensure that every household has access to a tap with
construct about 2 crore houses in the country from 2015 to
assured supply of water and a sewerage connection.
2022.
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Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC)

• The PMJJBY was launched on 9 May 2015 which is intended will create a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore.

to provide life insurance cover to the eligible subscribers. • The government will create a web portal for online

• It provides for an annual life insurance of 2 lakh rupees and registration and support services and also prepare a credit

covers death due to any reason. A premium of 330 rupees per history of borrowers.
annum is paid by the subscribers to enroll in the scheme.
• People in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank
Bharat Mala
account are eligible to join the scheme. It will be administered • Bharat Mala is the name given to an ambitious programme
through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC). of Union Government which has objective to build a road
along India’s vast west to east land border, from Gujarat to
• The coverage period is of one year duration starting from
Mizoram, at a cost of around Rs. 14,000 crore, and linking
1 June to 31 March of the succeeding year.
that to a road network in states, from Maharashtra to Bengal.
• This is a road network that will garland the territory of India.
Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana Hence the name given. It was launched on 29 April 2015.
• The PMSBY was launched on 9 May 2015 which is an • There will be construction of 5,300 km of new roads to cover
Accident Insurance Scheme (AIS) offering death and India’s entire west-to-east land border.
disability cover on account of an accident. • Bharat Mala, will eventually connect with another signature
• It provides for the risk coverage of 2 lakh rupees for accidental project, Sagar Mala, which aims to connect ports and
death and full disability, and 1 lakh rupees for partial disability coastal regions with the hinterland through both rail and
due to an accident. It is available to people in the age group of road links, besides developing inland waterways.
18 to 70 years having a savings bank account.
• The coverage period is of one year duration starting from
Sagar Mala
• Sagar Mala project is a strategic and customer-oriented
1 June to 31 March of the succeeding year.
initiative which aims to transform the existing ports into
• A premium of 12 rupees per annum is paid by the subscriber
modern world class ports and integrate the development of
which will be deducted from the account holder’s savings
the ports, the Industrial clusters and hinterland and efficient
bank account through auto debit facility in one installment
evacuation system through road, rail, inland and coastal
on or before 1 June of each annual coverage period.
waterways.
• The product will be offered by Public Sector General Insurance • It was launched on 31st July, 2015 by Ministry of Shipping
Companies (PSGICs) and other General Insurance companies which is nodal agency for this initiative.
willing to offer the product on similar terms with necessary
approvals and tie up with banks for this purpose. The objectives of Sagar Mala project are
1. Enhancing the capacity of major and non-major ports
Stand-up India and modernizing them.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 April, 2016 launched the 2. Optimizing the use of existing and future transport
‘Stand up India’ scheme under which banks will give loans in assets and developing new lines/linkages for transport
the range of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore to Scheduled Castes/ (including roads, rail, inland waterways and coastal
routes)
Scheduled Tribes and women entrepreneurs.
3. Setting up of logistics hubs
Key Highlights of Stand-up India 4. Establishment of industries and manufacturing
• SC/ST and women entrepreneurs who avail loan would centers to be served by ports in EXIM and domestic
be given a RuPay Debit Card for withdrawal, besides trade.
comprehensive support like pre-loan training, facilitating 5. Simplifying procedures used at ports for cargo
loan, factoring and marketing. movement and promotes usage of electronic
• There would be a Rs 10,000 crore refinance window through channels for information exchange leading to quick,
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the efficient, hassle-free and seamless cargo movement.
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Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana
• The DDUGJY was launched on 25 July, 2015 for power • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana was launched
sector reforms in rural areas with a view to ensuring round on 25 September, 2014 which aims at alleviating urban
the clock electricity supply to formers and rural households. and rural poverty through enhancement of livelihood
opportunities through skill development and other means.
• This power scheme focuses on feeder separation (rural
• It has two components, one for urban India and other for
households and agricultural) and strengthening of sub-
rural India. The urban component will be implemented by
transmission and distribution infrastructure, including
the Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation
metering at all level in rural areas.
while rural component named as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya
• The scheme has an outlay of Rs. 76,000 crore for Grameen Kaushalya Yojana will be implemented by the
implementation of the projects under which the centre shall Union Ministry of Rural Development.
provide of Rs. 63,000 crore. • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana for urban areas
• The scheme would help in Improvement in hours of power extends the coverage to all the 4041 statutory cities and
supply in rural areas, Reduction in peak load and Improvement town. The scheme will focus on
in billed energy based on metered consumption and providing 1. Imparting skills with an expenditure of 15,000 rupees to
access to electricity to rural households. 18,000 rupees on each urban poor.
2. Promotion of self-employment through setting up
Soil Health Card Scheme individual micro-enterprises and group enterprises with
interest subsidy for individual projects costing 2 lakhs
• The Soil Health Card Scheme was launched on 19 February
rupees and 10 lakhs rupees for group enterprises.
2015 for helping farmers to scientifically analyse the soil of
3. Training urban poor to meet the huge demand from urban
farms in the country. 
citizens by imparting market oriented skills through city
• The scheme aims at helping farmers in improving livelihood centers. Each centre would be given a capital
productivity by appropriate use of nutrients or fertilizers.  grant of 10 lakhs rupees.
• Under the plan, 14 crore Soil Health Cards will be issued to 4. Enabling urban poor from self-help groups for meeting financial
farmer of the country in a span of 3 years. and social needs with a support of 10,000 rupees per group
• The card would contain all basic information and crop- who would in term would be helped with bank linkages.
wise recommendations of nutrients or fertilizers required 5. Development of vendor markets besides promotion of
for farms of different soil types and also carry crop-wise skills of vendors.
recommendation of fertilizers required for farm lands and 6. Construction of permanent shelters for urban homeless
other inputs to increase the productivity of individual farmer. and provision of other essential services.
• Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Shramev Jayate meant to open skill development training centers on a large
scale to address the problem of unemployment particularly
Karyakram (DDUSJK)
in rural India. It aims at training 10 lakh rural youths by 2017.
• The DDUSJK was launched on 16 October, 2014. The
• The minimum age for entry under the Yojana is 15 years
scheme is aimed at creating conducive environment for compared to 18 years under the Aajeevika Skills
industrial development, doing business with ease, good Development Programme.
governance welfare and skill development of labour sector. • The Kaushalya Yojana to address the need for imparting
• Under the scheme the following new initiatives are provided: training to the differently-able persons also.
1. Labours will be given unique Labour Identification
Number and Local Interconnect Network to facilitate Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
their online registration. • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 18 February 2016
2. Unified Labour Portal (Shram Suvidha) and a Transparent launched the guidelines for operationalization of the
and Accountable Labour Inspection scheme to facilitate Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
ease of compliance. • It aims at boosting the agricultural sector of India and
3. Demand Responsive vocational Training for workers. envisages a uniform premium of only 2 percent to be paid by
4. Apprentice Protsahan Yojana farmers for Kharif crops, and 1.5 percent for Rabi crops.
5. Portability through Universal Account Number for • The Yojna is effective from the 2016 Kharif season (from
Employees Provident Fund Account Holders. June to October).
6. Implementation of Revamped Rashtriya Swasthya Bima • The premium for annual commercial and horticultural
Yojana for the workers in the unorganized sector. crops will be 5 percent.
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Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana • The purpose of Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS) is

(PMKSY) to mobilize unutilized gold from individuals, households


and institutions and make them available to gold-base
• The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)
industries including jewelers.
has been launched which aims to bringing concerned
• The purpose of Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme is to
ministries and departments engaged in recycling of
reduce the demand for physical gold and to shift part of the
water under a common platform so that a comprehensive
estimated 300 tons of physical bars and coins purchased
and holistic view of the entire water cycle is taken into
every year for investment into Demat (Dematerialised) gold
account and proper water budgeting is done for all
bonds.
sectors namely, household, agriculture and industries.
• The purpose of Indian Gold Coins scheme is to revive
• The Yojana was approved with an outlay of 50000 crore
investment and reduce dependence on imports of gold
rupees over a period of five years, that is, from 2015-16
coins.
to 2019-20.
• Under the scheme, gold coins bearing the Ashok
• PMKSY envisages a decentralized State level planning
Chakra and Mahatma Gandhi have been minted by the
and execution structure. As part of it States will be
Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India. They
allowed to draw up a District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and a
will be sold through banks, post offices and state-run
State Irrigation Plan (SIP).
MMTC Ltd. (Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation
• DIP will have holistic developmental perspective of the
of India) which will sell them through the World Gold
district outlining medium to long term developmental
Council (WGC).
plans integrating three components namely, water
sources, distribution network and water use application
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission
of the district to be prepared at two levels - the block
• Shyama Prasad Mukherjee National Rurban Mission,
and the district.
which seeks to develop smart village on the line of smart
• The programme will be supervised and monitored by
cities and reduce the burden of migration to the cities
an Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC)
through adopting ‘cluster approach’, was launched by
under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister with Union
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 21 February 2016 in
Ministers of all concerned Ministries.
Chhattisgarh.
• The implementation of the PMKSY will be through a
• Under the first stage of Mission, the four districts
National Executive Committee (NEC) to be constituted
of Chhattisgarh namely, Rajnandgaon, Dhamtari,
under the Chairmanship of the Vice Chairman, NITI
Kabirdham and Bastar will be covered.
Aayog. • These clusters will be developed at an investment of Rs.
• A State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) to be 120 crore.
chaired by the Chief Secretary of respective state will • Apart from this, PM Modi also launched Jan Aushadhi
be administering the programme at state level. The Medical Store project under which 100 generic
committee will have all authority to sanction the project medicines stores will be opened at government district
and also monitor the progress of the scheme. hospitals and community health centres. These stores
• At the district level there shall be a district level will help people to buy medicines at relatively cheaper
implementation committee for ensuring last mile rates.
coordination at the field level.
HRIDAY
Gold Related Schemes • The National Heritage Development and Augmentation
• Three gold related schemes, namely, Gold Monetization Yojana that seeks to preserve and rejuvenate the rich
Scheme, Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme and Indian Gold cultural heritage of the country was launched on 21 Jan,
Coins were launched on 5 November 2015. 2015.

• The primary purpose of these schemes is to reduce • It seeks to promote an integrated, inclusive and
dependence on imported gold and recycle the unutilized sustainable development of heritage sites, focusing on
gold in the country. At present, India is the largest maintenance of monuments and on advancement of the
entire ecosystem.
consumer of gold in the world.
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• In the initial phase of HRIDAY, 12 heritage cities have been • The programme is an ambitious village development
identified which will be rejuvenated and developed, for project under which each Member of Parliament will take
which Union Government has provided 500 crore rupees. the responsibility for developing physical and institutional
These cities are Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Amritsar infrastructure in three villages by 2019.
(Punjab), Warangal (Telangana), Ajmer (Rajasthan),
• The primary goal is to develop three Adarsh Grams or
Gaya (Bihar) , Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Kanchipuram
model villages by March 2019, of which one would be
(Tamil Nadu), Vellankini (Tamil Nadu), Amaravati (Andhra
achieved by 2016. Thereafter, five such Adarsh Grams
Pradesh), Badami (Karnataka), Dwaraka (Gujarat), Puri
(one per year) will be selected and developed by 2024.
(Odisha)
• The main objectives of SAGY are:
• The scheme will be completely funded by union
Government to create infrastructure and provide facilities (i) To trigger processes which lead to holistic develop-
around the heritage sites to attract more tourists. ment of the identified Gram Panchayats.

(ii) To substantially improve the standard of living and


Nai Manzil Scheme quality of life of all sections of the population through:
• The Nai Manzil scheme has been launched by Union (a)  Improved basic amenities;
Government which aims to address educational
(b)  Higher productivity;
and livelihood needs of minority communities in
general and Muslims in particular as it lags behind (c)  Enhanced human development;
other minority communities in terms of educational (d)  Better livelihood opportunities;
attainments.
(e)  Reduced disparities;
• The scheme gives a new direction and a new goal for
the all out of school or dropped out students and those (f)  Access to rights and entitlements;
studying in madrasas. It aims at this target group as an (g)  Wider social mobilization; and
integrated intervention in terms of providing education as
(h)  Enriched social capital
well as skill development.
(iii) To generate models of local level development and
• It also aims at providing educational intervention by
effective local governance which can motivate and
giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them
inspire neighbouring Gram Panchayats to learn and
Certificates for Class X and XII from distance medium
adapt
educational system.
• It will also provide them trade basis skill training in (iv) To nurture the identified Adarsh Grams as schools
4 courses including manufacturing, engineering, services of local development to train other Gram Panchay-
and soft skills. ats.
• The scheme is intended to cover people in between • The gram panchayat would be the basic unit for
17 to 35 age group from all minority communities as well development. It should have a population of about 3000-
as madrasa students. 5000 in plain areas and 1000-3000 in hilly, tribal and
• It will provide avenues for continuing higher education and difficult areas.
also open up employment opportunities in the organised
• The MP would be free to identify a suitable gram panchayat
sector.
for being developed as Adarsh Gram, other than his/her
own village or that of his/her spouse.
Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)
• The District Magistrate will be the nodal officer for
• The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana was launched on
implementing the SAGY. He will conduct a monthly review
11 October 2014, the birth anniversary of Lok Nayak Jai
meeting and the Member of Parliament concerned will
Prakash Narayan. It has been implemented under the
chair the review meetings.
overall supervision of Union Ministry of Rural Development.
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Miscellaneous
• The Union Government has is contraceptive pill, effective for Property. At international level, GI
constituted an expert Committee one week. They will be available for is governed by WTO’s Agreement
headed by Justice (retired) B. N. free in medical colleges and district on Trade-Related Aspects of
Srikrishna to study and identify key hospitals in 10 states. Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
data protection issues. The ten- To help improve the supply and Note: Darjeeling tea was the first
member committee which comprises distribution of contraceptives, the product to accorded with GI tag in
of members from government, Union Health Ministry recently had India.
academia and Industry will also launched Family Planning Logistics • Union Government has approved
suggest a draft Data Protection Bill Management Information System the establishment of two Post
• The Union Cabinet has extended (FP-LMIS), new software designed to Graduate Institutes for Research in
the second phase of the BharatNet provide robust information on demand Yoga and Naturopathy.
project that forms the backbone for and distribution of contraceptives to These will be established by Central
the Union government’s Digital India health facilities. Council for Research in Yoga and
initiative. Mission Parivar Vikas aims to Naturopathy (CCRYN) at Nagmangla
The second phase aims at covering accelerate access to high quality (Karnataka) and Jhajjar (Haryana).
the remaining 1.50 lakh Gram family planning choices based CCRYN is an autonomous Research
Panchayats (GPs). The Union on information, reliable services Council under the Ministry of
Cabinet also has approved a and supplies within a rights-based AYUSH. It is the apex body for
modified implementation strategy framework. Its main objective is to Research and Education in the field
of BharatNet project for providing bring down Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of Yoga and Naturopathy.
broadband connectivity to all GPs to 2.1, which is when population of
• Indian Railways has recently
by March 2019. country starts stabilizing by 2025.
launched a new 20 coach premier
The BharatNet Project is the new • NITI Aayog has recently suggested train called the Tejas Express,
brand name of National Optical establishment of a Judicial connecting Mumbai and Goa.
Fibre Network (NOFN) which was Performance Index (JPI) to check The Tejas service aims to provide
launched in October, 2011 to delay in finalisation of cases in lower comfort to passengers in the inter-
provide broadband connectivity to judiciary. city journeys. As the Mumbai-
all 2.5 Lakh gram panchayats (GPs) It was suggested as part of ‘Three Goa run became operational, the
through optical fibre. It was renamed Year Action Agenda (2017-20) Railways is likely to extend the Tejas
Bharat Net in 2015. Bharat Net is recommendations for far-reaching service in Delhi-Chandigarh route.
being funded through Universal reforms to expedite justice delivery • The draft National Electricity Plan
Service Obligation Fund (USOF). system, particularly lower courts (NEP) has been prepared by Central
USOF was formed by the Central where nearly 3 crore cases have been Electricity Authority (CEA). The Draft
Government to help fund projects pending for years. covers a review of the 12th Plan,
to boost connectivity in rural areas. • The Geographical Indications Registry plan for 2017-2022 in detail along
The money for this fund comes (GIR) has granted geographical with details for renewable energy
through a ‘Universal Access Levy,’ indication (GI) status to Gobindobhog integration and a perspective for the
charged from the telecom operators rice, a speciality from Burdwan district period beyond 2022.
as a percentage of various licenses of West Bengal. • Central Electricity Authority has
fees being paid by them.
GI tag is an insignia on products estimated an investment of Rs.2.6
• The Ministry of Health and Family having a unique geographical origin trillion (~$38.2 billion) in the Indian
Welfare has launched two new free and evolution over centuries with power transmission sector by the end
contraceptives  Antara  and  Chayya regards to its special quality or of 2022. These and other estimates
under Mission Parivar Vikas, reputation attributes. It is covered as form the base for a draft National
a central family planning an element of intellectual property Electricity Plan-Volume II, which
initiative. Antara is injectable rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention would be the basis for investment
contraceptive, effective for three for the Protection of Industrial and policy planning in the sector.
months drug whereas Chayya
2
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Chapter International Affairs

BRICS Summit 2017 held in Xiamen, China

• The 9th edi-


tion of BRICS
summit was
recently held in
Xiamen, China.
• It was for sec-
ond time the
summit was
hosted in Chi-
na after 2011
Sanya summit.
• At the end of
summit, BRICS
leaders ad-
opted Xiamen
Declaration.

Key Highlights of Xiamen Declaration


  The theme of the
• The Xiamen Declaration explicitly called out several Pakistan-based terror
organisations and expressed concern on the security situation in the Afghanistan-
summit was Stronger
Pakistan region. It also referred to violence caused by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and Partnership for brighter
its affiliates including the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement, Haqqani Network, Future. 
Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, etc.
• BRICS countries agreed to strive towards broad partnerships with emerging
About  BRICS
markets and developing countries as well as with non-BRICS countries, including
through BRICS Plus Cooperation which includes Thailand, Tajikistan, Egypt, Kenya • BRICS is acronym for an
and Mexico. association of five major
• They resolved to promote development of BRICS local currency bond markets and emerging national economies
agreed to jointly establish a BRICS local currency bond fund. viz, Brazil, Russia, India,
China and South Africa.
• The member countries agreed to enhance joint research, development and
innovation in information and communications technology (ICT), including internet • It was established in 2009.
of things (IoT), big data, data analytics, cloud computing, nanotechnology, artificial Originally it was known as
intelligence, 5G and their innovative applications. BRIC before inclusion of
• A BRICS Agriculture Research Platform is proposed to be established in India South Africa in 2010.
which will serve as virtual network facilitating cooperation in priority areas. • BRICS countries comprise of
• They called upon international community to establish genuinely broad counterterrorism 42% of the world’s population,
coalition and support UN’s central coordinating role in this regard. about 23% of the world
1st Summit (2009): Yekaterinburg, Russia economy and collectively
contribute they more than half
8th Summit (2016): Goa, India
of global growth.
Next Summit (2018): Johannesburg, South Africa
International Affairs
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India-China end Standoff in Doklam Plateau • In recent years relations have been largely defined by North
• The standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam Korea's six tests of nuclear weapons and its development of
(located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan) has long-range missiles capable of striking targets thousands of
come to end but it highlighted India’s vulnerable border and miles away.
security issues with China.

• This standoff developed in June 2017 when China’s People’s


Liberation Army (PLA) construction party entered the Doklam
area and attempted to construct a road. Due to this unilateral
activity, Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) patrol attempted to dissuade
them from this and underlined that the construction of the Trump Era Highlights
road inside Bhutanese territory was a direct violation of the • After assuming office, Donald Trump has declared that he
agreements held between Bhutan and China in 1988 and 1998. would do “whatever is necessary” to prevent North Korea
• Indian forces confronted PLA as per the India-Bhutan from developing a nuclear-capable missile that can reach
Friendship Treaty. 2004 which states that India and Bhutan the U.S.
to cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to • U.S. has deployed a nuclear submarine, USS Michigan, in
their national interests. Korean waters.
• This Friendship Treaty provides that neither Governments • U.S. has also decided to accelerate deployment of the
will allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) system in
national security and interest of the other. The treaty gives South Korea.
India virtual responsibility to protect Bhutan from the kind of
external threat including from Chinese military.
Six Arab Nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar
• Moreover, this development by PLA was against India’s own
• Six Arab countries namely Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt,
security interests as well. This tri-junction area is close to
Yemen, Libya and UAE have suspended their diplomatic ties
India’s vital Siliguri Corridor or ‘Chicken’s Neck’, a narrow
with Qatar, alleging it nurtures terrorism.
stretch of land between Nepal and Bangladesh, which is only
• The decision has been taken after Qatar alleged that hackers
route to connect North-east to rest of India. It is strategically
took over state-run news agency’s website and published
important for India in case of any aggression from China.
fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel.
It had angered the Gulf Arab countries who responded by
Tension between North Korea and U.S. escalates blocking Al-Jazeera, a Qatar based media group.
• North Korea recently conducted its 6th nuclear test, a • Qatar has long been accused by its Arab neighbors over its
thermonuclear weapon and fired missiles over Japan. This support of Islamist political group Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas
has moved U.S. and North Korea closer to the brink of a war. and supporting Iran which is consider as regional rival of Saudi
• The relations between the two nations has been always Arabia.
hostile and have developed primarily since the Korean War. • Qatar, a gas rich nation is also the biggest supplier of
• The United States has maintained a strong military presence liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a major seller of refining
in South Korea and considers South Korea as the sole product derived from natural gas. Qatar will also host 2022
legitimate representative of all of Korea. FIFA World Cup.
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G20 Summit 2017 held in Hamburg, Germany

• The 12th edition of  G20 Summit was held in Hamburg,


Germany. In this Summit, the leaders adopted Hamburg About  G20 Group
Action Plan which aims to address major global challenges, • The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for
including climate change, harnessing digitalisation, and international economic cooperation and decision-
to contribute to prosperity and well-being. They had also making.
pledged for a joint crackdown on the global scourge of
• It is a forum for the governments and central bank
terrorism and check its funding sources.
governors from 20 major economies on economic
• The theme of 2017 G20 Summit was “Shaping an issues and other important development challenges. It
Interconnected World”. was started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers
and Central Bank Governors.
Key Highlights of Summit
• The G20 comprises of total 19 countries plus the
• The G20 countries strongly condemned all terrorist attacks
European Union (EU), representing 85% of global
worldwide and pledged greater coordination to counter
GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s
the menace. The leaders also agreed to facilitate swift
population.
action  and targeted exchange of information between
intelligence, law enforcement and judicial authorities. Members:
• The leaders reiterated their resolve to make the international Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, France,
financial system entirely hostile to terrorist financing and Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico,
also called for taking strong measures against the terrorist Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and
organisation like ISIS, Al-Qaida etc. European Union.
• They stressed on the importance of harnessing the benefits
First Summit (2008): Washington DC, USA
of globalisation, reaffirm the importance of transparency for
predictable and mutually beneficial trade relations. Next Summit (2018): Buenos Aires, Argentina

• They agreed that the 2015 Paris Agreement is irreversible


and reiterated the importance of fulfilment of the UNFCCC Do You Know?
commitments by developed countries in providing means
The G20 operates as a forum and not as an organisation.
of implementation including financial resources to assist
Therefore, it does not have any permanent secretariat or
developing countries with respect to both mitigation and
management and administrative structure. One of the G20
adaptation actions.
countries is selected to hold the Chair in rotation, also
• G-20 members called for strengthening health care systems
known as ‘G20 presidency’.
and safeguarding against health crises.
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IAEA launches low-Enriched Uranium Bank in education, transport and communication to further deepen
mutually beneficial partnership and cooperation.
Kazakhstan
• International Atomic Energy • The member states also shared the concept notes on
Agency (IAEA) has recently formation of task forces on maritime connectivity and
inaugurated world’s first extension of (India-Myanmar-Thailand) trilateral highway into
low Enriched Uranium Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
(LEU) Bank in Oskemen in
Kazakhstan. The IAEA has
About  Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC)
established a series of strict
criteria for member state purchasing uranium from the bank. • The Mekong Ganga Cooperation is an initiative by
India and five ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia,
• It will be the first of its kind LEU bank not to be under control
Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation
of any individual country. The bank has reserve capacity to
in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and
store 90 tons of LEU.
communications.
• The project was funded by donors, including the United
• It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Laos. It is named
States, European Union, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates,
after Ganga and the Mekong rivers.
Norway and Nuclear Threat Initiative.
• This initiative will discourage countries from developing
their own uranium enrichment capacities which have been ICJ Stays Kulbhusan Jadhav’s hanging
long feared as may be converted into weapons-grade • India has received a stay order preventing
level. However, it will not disrupt usual trade of nuclear fuel Pakistan from executing the death
purchased in the open market or by bilateral agreement sentence awarded to the former naval
between countries. officer Kulbhushan Jadhav from the
International Court of Justice at The
  LEU is the essential ingredient needed to Hague.

make the fuel for light-water nuclear reactors, • India’s team of lawyers led by senior advocate Harish Salve
accused Pakistan of gross violations of international laws.
which generate electricity. 
They pointed out the violations of the Vienna convention
that deals with Consular relations.
About  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) • Pakistan had denied consular access to India despite
• IAEA is an international organization that seeks to several attempts. It also refused to give any details of
promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Jadhav’s arrest and trial until the death sentence was

• It was established as an autonomous organization passed.


in 1957 through its own international treaty, the IAEA
Statute. About ICJ
• It is independent of the United Nations but reports to • International Court of
both the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Justice was established
Security Council (UNSC). in 1945 via the UN Charter
and its jurisdiction is
Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.
worldwide. It is located in
Hague in Netherlands.
India to MGC nations: Expand areas of • It is a part of the UN
cooperation and its judgments have binding force and are without
• The 8th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting appeal for the parties concerned.
which was recently held in Manila, Philippines emphasized • The major functions of the ICJ are to settle legal
for expanding the areas of cooperation among the member disputes submitted to it by states and to provide
countries of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) bloc. advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by
• Besides, MGC countries have proposed to add newer areas duly authorized international organs, agencies, and the
of cooperation to the traditional areas on tourism, culture, UN General Assembly.
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Venezuela facing Economic Crisis India, Pakistan became Full Members of SCO
Since 2012, Venezuela is undergoing an economic crisis which
has resulted in hyperinflation (projected by IMF at 720% this
year and 2069% next), declining foreign exchange reserves, an
economic depression, and drastic increases in poverty, disease,
child mortality, malnutrition, and crime.

Reasons for this Socio-Economic Crisis


• An oil-dependent economy:
 Venezuela has the world’s largest number of proven oil
reserves.
 A quarter of Venezuela’s GDP and 95% of its export
earnings are from crude oil. The price of crude oil has India and Pakistan recently became full members of the Shanghai
drastically decreased since 2014 from over $110 per Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at its Astana Summit. With the
barrel to under $30 per barrel in 2016. expansion of the grouping, the SCO will now represent over 40%
 As a result, Venezuela’s GDP and U.S. dollar reserves fell of humanity and nearly 20% of the global GDP.
and now the country has just $10.2 billion in reserves.
Indian Prospective
• An import-oriented economy: Due to over-concentration of
• As an SCO member, India is expected to have a bigger role
economy in oil, other sectors became uncompetitive and
in pressing for effective action in dealing with terrorism as
unproductive; the economy became dependent on imports
well as on issues relating to security. Besides, India will have
which has led to shortage of foreign currency.
greater access to major gas and oil exploration projects
• Populist policies under Hugo Chavez regime (1999-2013):
in Central Asia as many of the SCO countries have huge
 Chavez had reduced the prices of basic commodities
reserves of oil and natural gas.
to make them easily affordable. But this led to loss for
producers and domestic production came to a standstill. • India is also keen on deepening its security-related
 Also the large oil revenue accumulated for a decade up cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism
to 2014 due to booming oil prices for a decade upto 2014 Structure (RATS) which specifically deals with issues relating
was spent on welfare programmes like cash transfers to to security and defence.
poor, instead of saving some of the oil revenues, investing
the cash in other industries or diversifying investments via
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
a sovereign wealth fund.
• The Problem of Inflation: The lack of foreign currency inflow • SCO is the political and security grouping founded at
and shortage of goods due to poor domestic production Shanghai Summit in 2001 by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan,
led inflation. The situation worsened when the government Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
decided to print more of the national currency pay for imports, • It is a successor of group Shanghai Five (founded in
contributing to spiralling inflation. 1996). In 2001, Uzbekistan was invited to join it and the
Implications for India SCO was officially born.
• The crisis had hurt Indian oil companies. State-owned ONGC • The groupings main objective is military cooperation
Videsh, Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India have invested in between the members. The grouping also works towards
Venezuela’s Carabobo and San Cristobal oil fields. intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism operations in
Central Asia.
• Lack of payment is also the concern for Indian pharmaceutical
companies supplying drugs to the country. Venezuela, along • Headquartered: Beijing
with Brazil and Mexico are important markets for Indian • Observer States: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia
pharmaceutical companies. (first country to receive observer status).

Do You Know?
Note:
Dutch Disease is a phenomenon where a country is dependent
India, Iran and Pakistan were admitted as observers at the
on one extremely profitable sector, leading to the neglect and
2005 Astana Summit
decline of other developmental sectors.
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One Belt, One Road summit 2017 held in China


• One Belt, One Road summit (Belt and Road Forum) was
held in China. Belt and Road Forum (BRF) is a gathering
of world leaders from across the globe, organized by
China to showcase its plans to build a network of trade
routes under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
• India boycotted the summit owing to sovereignty concerns
related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
• China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a
3000 km project connecting Pakistan’s deep-water port
Gwadar and China’s Xinjiang falls under the OBOR
initiative of China. The CPEC passes through Gilgit-
Baltistan region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
About OBOR Initiative
Highlights of the Meeting • OBOR is China’s ambitious development strategy
• The Forum resulted in signing of a joint communique by and framework that aims to boost connectivity and
30 heads of state that promised to implement plans for trade that will connect Asia, Africa, the Middle East
cooperation in trade and infrastructure programs across and Europe. It was proposed by Chinese President Xi
Asia, Europe and Africa. Jinping in 2013.
• It comprises two components viz. the Silk Road
• The Signatories to the joint communiqué also pledged their
Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
support for promoting a rules-based, open and multilateral
OBOR initiative is part of China’s revived 21st century Silk
trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its core.
Road diplomacy that seeks to push it to take a bigger
• Next edition of the BRF: Beijing (2019) role in global affairs as a major global power.

Sri Lanka, China sign $1.1 billion Hambantota About  String of Pearls
port deal
• Sri Lanka has recently signed
a US $1.1 billion deal to sell
a 70% stake of the strategic
Hambantota deep-sea port to
China.
• The deal was signed between
Sri Lanka Ports Authority
(SLPA) and China Merchants
Port Holding Co. (CMPort).
Under the 99-year lease
agreement, CMPort will invest
• The String of pearls is a geopolitical theory on potential
up to US $1.1 billion in the Chinese intentions to surround India in the Indian Ocean
port and marine-related activities. region. It refers to the network of Chinese military and
• CMPort will be only responsible for commercial operations, commercial facilities and relationships along its sea lines
while the SLPA will handle port’s operations, security and of communication extending from the Chinese mainland
services. Hambantota port is a deep-water port in the to Port Sudan.
• These sea lines run through several major maritime choke
southern tip of Sri Lanka.
points such as the Strait of Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz,
• The port is expected to play a key role in China’s Belt and Strait of Malacca and the Lombok Strait as well as other
Road initiative (BRI), which will link ports and roads between strategic maritime centres in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri
China and Europe. Lanka, Bangladesh, and Somalia.
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19th RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee • Japanese companies are in possession of critical technologies,
such as steel shields covering a nuclear reactor core which
Meeting held in Hyderabad
are otherwise difficult to acquire from the international market.
• Recently, the 19th round of the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Negotiating Committee Some Concerns:
meeting was held in Hyderabad, Telangana.
• There is a clause in the deal that Japan may suspend the
• During the meeting, all RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) nuclear agreement in the event of India conducting nuclear
agreed that a good RCEP agreement has immense potential
tests, even with its own resources. This is seen as a huge
to deliver on new economic opportunities including job
concession given by India.
creation that are much needed in today’s world of uncertainty.
• There are doubts about the economic viability of the deal
• The RCEP members expressed shared commitment to work
as Westinghouse (a subsidiary of Japanese giant Toshiba),
collectively and in a cooperative manner, to progress the
which is to make huge investments in Indian nuclear power
negotiations in an accelerated way, and achieve a modern,
generation program declared bankruptcy.
comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial
agreement that addresses and balances the aspirations and • According to critics of nuclear energy, India is seen to be
sensitivities of participating countries. treading along the wrong path as after the Fukushima incident,
many countries are moving away from nuclear power.
 Germany has decided to pull out of nuclear power
About  Regional Comprehensive Economic
altogether by 2022.
Partnership (RCEP)
 In Fact in Japan itself, there has been no domestic
• RCEP is a proposed comprehensive regional economic construction on a new reactor for the past eight years since
integration agreement amongst the 10-ASEAN countries
a unit at the Tomari plant on the island of Hokkaido came
(Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
on stream in 2009.
Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand,
and Vietnam) and its six Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)
partners, viz. Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Chagos Archipelago Sovereignty Dispute
Korea and India. • In June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
• RCEP negotiations were formally launched at 2012 voted in favour of referring the dispute between Mauritius
ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. and UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to
• It is widely viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific clarify the legal status of the Chagos archipelago.
Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that • The Chagos Archipelago is a group of seven atolls comprising
includes several Asian countries but excludes China more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean.
and India. • It is officially part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
• Till 2017, RCEP member states accounted for a
population of 3.4 billion people with a total GDP (in
terms of PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39% of the
world’s GDP.

India and Japan signed Civil Nuclear Deal


The India-Japan Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful
Uses of Nuclear Energy, which was signed in 2016, entered into
force in July 2017.

Significance of this pact:


• This pact is essential for enhancing nuclear energy cooperation
with the U.S. as prominent American nuclear companies are
owned by the Japanese nuclear majors like Toshiba.
• India is the only non-NPT signatory with which Japan has
entered into a civil nuclear deal. This can be described as a
recognition for Delhi’s impeccable non-proliferation record.
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Timeline of Dispute:
• Chagos Archipelago has been part of Mauritius since at least
About  Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01)
the 18th century when France governed it. • It is the longest route of the Asian Highway (AH) Network
• In 1810, Mauritius was captured by the United Kingdom and which runs from Japan to Turkey.
France ceded the territory in the Treaty of Paris.
• In 1965, three years before Mauritius got its independence,
Britain separated the Chagos islands to carve out a ‘British
Indian Ocean Territory’.
• In 1966, the UK leased Diego Garcia (the biggest island in the
Chagos archipelago) to the US to create an air & naval base.
For constructing the defence installation, the inhabitants of the
island were forcibly removed.
• In 1968 Mauritius was granted independence.
• In 2011, the General Assembly proclaimed the 2011-2020 • AH is a cooperative project among countries in Asia and
decade as the Third International Decade for the Eradication the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for
of Colonialism. Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), to improve the highway
systems in Asia.
• In 2015, The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration
ruled in favour of Mauritius and criticised the UK for its violation
of international law in exercising territorial control over Chagos India re-elected to ECOSOC
islands. • India has been re-elected to UN Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC) and will begin its three-year term beginning
January 1, 2018.
Government approved a project of ‘SASEC’
Road Connectivity Investment Program About  ECOSOC
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved
• The UN Charter established ECOSOC in 1945 as one of
the upgradation Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur.
the six main organs of the United Nations.
• The project is being developed under the South Asian Sub-
• It is UN’s principal organ to advance the three dimensions
Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity
of sustainable development – economic, social and
Investment Program. This will improve regional connectivity environmental.
with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) nations. • Membership:
• The project corridor is a part of the Asian Highway No. 01  It has 54 member countries.
(AH01) and acts as India's Gateway to the East.  These are elected by the General Assembly (after
• It will support the increased traffic volume due to coming up of obtaining two-third majority) for overlapping three-
an Integrated Custom Post (ICP) at Moreh. year terms (i.e. 18 members are elected each year).
 Seats on the Council are allotted based on
• Landlocked Manipur, with almost 90% of the area under
geographical representation. India got elected from
difficult terrain, has only road transport as a means of mass
Asia-Pacific region.
transport system. Thus this project will benefit Manipur.

About  SASEC Road Connectivity Investment USA to implement Raise Act


Program • Recently, RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for Strong
• Under this program, Asian Development Bank is providing Employment) Act has received the support of President
Donald Trump.
India loan assistance to expand about 500km of roads in
• RAISE Act is a bill introduced in the United States Senate in 2017.
the North Bengal and North-Eastern Region (NB-NER) of
• The bill seeks to
India.
 Reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by
• Ultimate objective is to improve road connectivity between 50% by halving the number of green cards issued,
India and ASEAN. w Impose a cap of 50,000 refugee admissions a year and
w End the visa diversity lottery system (which aims to diversify
the immigrant population in the United States).
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• Those promoting the legislation, argue that the bill would IORA Leaders’ Summit held in Jakarta
increase economic growth and increase wages. On the • The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit
other hand economists "overwhelmingly predict" that cuts in was held in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia from 5 to 7 March,
immigration would have a negative impact on GDP growth.
2017. The theme of the summit was ‘Strengthening Maritime
• Impact on Indian IT sector:
Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian
 If implemented, it can also potentially increase the cost of
Ocean’. It was attended by leaders from 21 member states
employing an Indian software engineer in the US.
 But experts also feel that it could favour Indian and global of IORA.
IT firms, as it focuses on higher skills. • The 21 member states issued a strategic vision document,
known as the Jakarta Concord that sets out a vision for a
India joined TIR Convention revitalized and sustainable regional architecture. The
• India recently became the 71st country of the world to have concord builds on a ministerial meeting earlier in March,
joined the United Nations TIR Convention. which resulted in an action plan document setting out
• TIR stands for Transports Internationaux Routiers or numerous initiatives for the organization in addition to the
International Road Transport. adoption of a Declaration on Preventing and Countering
• Its full official name is “The Customs Convention on International
Terrorism and Violent Extremism.
Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets, 1975”.

Significance for India About  Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)


• Compliance with the Convention ensures enhanced security
• The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), formerly
in the supply.
known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative, and Indian
• It also serves as a Customs declaration, and hence it removes
the need to file multiple declarations satisfying national laws Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-
of the different transiting countries. ARC), is an international organisation consisting of coastal
• It will boost India’s trade with the Central Asian countries & states bordering the Indian Ocean. It is a regional forum,
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) by facilitating tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of
movement of goods from Chabahar port and along the Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-
International “North-South” Transport (INSTC) Corridor, operation and closer interaction among them.
which India is developing along with Russia.

About  International Road Transport


• It is an international transit system under United Nations
Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
• It facilitates seamless movement of goods by road or
multi-modal means amongst the parties to the Convention.
• The TIR procedures allows the movement of goods under
customs control across the international borders with the
need of paying duties and taxes. • It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for
• The multilateral convention is in effect a kind of transport strengthening economic cooperation particularly on trade
agreement among participating nations and also serves facilitation and investment promotion as well as social
as a strong foreign policy statement. development of the region. It comprises 21 member
states (including India) and 7 dialogue partners. Besides,
Do You Know? Indian Ocean Research Group and the Indian Ocean
Tourism Organisation have observer status.
• UNECE was set up in 1947 by ECOSOC to promote pan-
European economic integration. • The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene,
• It includes 56 member States in Europe, North America Mauritius.
and Asia (India is not its member).
• Member countries: Iran, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Somalia,
• It is one of five regional commissions of UN, the other
Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa,
four being: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA),
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros, India, Bangladesh,
Pacific (ESCAP), Economic Commission for Latin America Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia,
and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Economic and Social Australia.
Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
International Affairs
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United Nations Ocean Conference 2017 held of UN-Habitat for the next two years. Accordingly, the
• The 2017 UN Ocean Conference concerned minister will chair the 26th Meeting of 58 members
Governing Council of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya.
Took place in June 2017.
• UN-Habitat, also known as United Nations Human Settlements
• It was the first ever such summit
Program is a UN agency responsible for sustainable urban
convened by the UN, which was
development and human settlements. It was established in 1978
held at UNHQ, New York, United
and has its headquarters in the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya.
States.
• It’s objective is to act as a platform for • The theme of the meeting: “Opportunities for effective
mobilizing actions for the conservation implementation of the New Urban Agenda”.
and sustainable use of the oceans, Sustainable Development
seas and marine resources. PM Modi attended UN Vesak Day celebrations
Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve
• Its theme was "Our Oceans,
and sustainably use the
in Sri Lanka
Our Future: Partnering for the • Prime Minister Modi visited Sri Lanka to attend the Buddhist
oceans, seas and marine
Implementation of Sustainable festival ‘Vesak Day’ that commemorates birth, enlighten and
resources for sustainable
Development Goal 14". death of Buddha. ‘International Day of Vesak’ celebrations
development.
• It coincided with the World Oceans held in Colombo from May 12 to 14.
Day which is annually observed on “8 June 2017”. • As a part of the celebrations, International Buddhist
Conference held, in which over 400 delegates from more
than 100 countries participated. Vesak is the most important
PM Modi’s visit to Israel day in the Buddhist calendar. This is the first time Sri Lanka
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded three-day visit to hosted the festival.
Israel, becoming the first Indian prime Minister ever to visit that • The Buddhist link between India and Sri Lanka dates back
country. This visit also marks the 25 years of establishment of to 2nd century BC. During the reign of Emperor Ashoka,
diplomatic relationship between both countries. Buddhism was made as the official religion of India. Ashoka’s
• During the visit, India and Israel signed 7 agreements on areas daughter Sanghamitta is believed to have brought a branch
including space, Science and Technology and agriculture. of original Bodh tree to Anuradhapura. Theravada Buddhism
Besides, Prime Minister Modi has assured faster facilitation of is widely practiced in Sri Lanka.
OCI cards for Jewish Citizens of Indian origin in Israel.
• In the joint statement released after talks between India Trump signs executive order on H-1B visa
and Israel, both the countries have called for taking strong • American President Donald Trump has signed an
measures against terror organisations and also against those executive order "Buy American, Hire American” to enforce
who encouraged, supported and financed terrorism. and review the H-1B visa programme. He has ordered
• As a special gesture, a new fast growing Israeli Crysanthumun the country’s federal agencies to tighten the H-1B visa
flower was named “MODI” after Prime Minister Narendra programme, widely used to bring high-skilled foreign
Modi during his visit to the Danziger flower farm. workers to the US. This order is aimed at fulfilling his
campaign pledges to put “America First”.
Israel is India’s third largest arms supplier after the US and • Trump also seeks to make modifications in government
Russia. procurement that would give a push for purchases of
American products in federal contracts. Earlier, Trump’s
India elected as President of UN-Habitat administration had rolled out policy shifts to clamp down on
H-1B visa programme. It included a warning to employers
• India has been unanimously
not to discriminate against US workers.
elected as the President of the UN-
Habitat. UN-Habitat, an organ of • As mandated by the Congress, the US Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) every year issued 65,000 H-1B
the United Nations’ Organisation
visas and another 20,000 to those applicants having masters
(UNO) reports to the United
and higher degrees from a U.S. educational institution.
Nations General Assembly. UN-
• India accounts for the highest pool of qualified IT
Habitat promotes socially and
professionals, whose services go a long way in making
environmentally sustainable
American companies globally competitive.
human settlements across the world. India has been elected
• The move will affect Indian IT companies which send a huge
as the President of UN-Habitat after a gap of 10 years.
number of software engineers to the US on H1-B visas.
• The Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation
Indian companies will have fewer visas approved once the
will preside over the deliberations of the Governing Council
changes proposed by Trump are adopted.
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PM Modi’s visit to USA India to give Rs. 35-cr to Bangladesh under
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the first foreign ‘Muktijodha scholarship’ scheme
leader to have a White House dinner after the US President • India to give 35 crore rupees to children of freedom fighters
Donald Trump assumed power. in Bangladesh under the new ‘Muktijodha scholarship’
scheme in the next five years. Under the scheme, students
Key Highlights of visit at higher secondary level will get a one-time grant of Tk
• India and the US have asked Pakistan to make sure that its soil 20,000 (Rs 15,370) and students at the undergraduate
is not used for cross-border terror strikes and to expeditiously level will get a grant of Tk 50,000 (Rs 38,430).
bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot attackers • In addition, all freedom fighters will be eligible for multiple
to justice. entries on Indian visa for a period of five years. Also, every
• The US has designated Hizbul Mujahedeen Chief Syed year 100 of them will be entitled to free medical treatment in
Salahuddin as a global terrorist. Indian hospitals.
• The US has cleared the sale of Guardian Unmanned Aerial
Systems to India. The drones would help India to keep a closer About Muktijodha Scheme
watch over the strategically important Indian Ocean. • Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme was initiated in 2006 to
• Besides, US has asked India to maintain a fair and reciprocal support the descendants of the 1971 Freedom Fighters. So
trade relationship and has called for the removal of barriers for far, more than 10,000 scholarships worth Tk150 million have
the export of US goods into Indian markets. been granted to the descendants under the scheme.
• India and the US have expressed concern over the rising • During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s
instability in Afghanistan and vowed to strengthen cooperation recent visit to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had
for establishing peace in the war-torn country. announced that India will provide scholarships to another
10,000 students under the new ‘Muktijodha scholarship’.

Australia abolishes '457 Visa' Programme Turkey’s Constitutional Reform


• Australia has abolished the 457 Visa Programme used
The Turkish Parliament has approved a constitutional reform
by thousands of temporary foreign workers, a majority of
bill that includes strengthening the powers of the presidency, a
them Indians to address growing unemployment in the
move that paves the way for a referendum this year that could
country. Instead, Australia wants to adopt ‘Australians first’
see President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in office until 2029.
approach to skilled migration. It intends to replace the 457
visa programme by another visa programme, with new Changes unveiled by Bill
restrictions.
• Referred to as the ‘Turkish-style presidency,’ the constitutional
• The new temporary visa will be designed in such a way it change will bring about a number of reforms, and replace the
will help in recruiting the best and brightest to fill critical skill current parliamentary system in which the President serves
gaps in the interest of that nation. only as a ceremonial figurehead alongside a Prime Minister,
• The new visa will ensure that foreign workers are not brought with a presidential system, which will allow the president to
into Australia just because it is easy for the employers to become the sole executive head of state in the country.
recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an • More importantly, the office of the Prime Minister and the
Australian. Cabinet will be abolished and the President will become the
• There are about 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 head of the executive branch.
visa programme. The majority of the visa holders are from • The reform would enable the President to issue decrees, declare
India followed by the UK and China. emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and
dissolve parliament – powers that the two main opposition parties
About 457 Visa say strip away balances to Erdogan’s power.
• With the reforms, the President will be allowed to retain ties
The 457 visa allows Australian employers to employ foreign to a political party, potentially allowing Erdogan to resume
workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where his leadership of the ruling party, in a move that opposition
there is a shortage of Australian workers. The visa holders parties say will abolish any chance of impartiality.
are eligible to bring family members, who have unrestricted • The plans also envisage presidential and general elections
work and study rights in Australia. to be held together in 2019 with a President eligible to serve
a maximum two five-year terms.
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India becomes Associate Member of IEA


• India has joined International India becomes Associate Member of
Energy Agency (IEA) as CERN
an associate member. India became an Associate member of European
India is already a partner Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with the Union
of the International Energy Government completing its approval procedures in respect
Agency, but the upgradation of the status will enhance its of the agreement it had signed with the CERN in November,
status and weight in its dialogue with major oil suppliers and 2016.
consumers.
• With India as a member, International Energy Agency now Significance for India
formally covers 70% of the world's energy consumption. This • As an Associate Member of CERN, India will be a part of
increases the relevance of the IEA. India will now have a the huge scientific and technological endeavor.
greater say in global energy issues. • The India-CERN association as a whole is interdisciplinary
• India had not made any additional obligations, but the country in nature and the involvement of physicists, electronics
will now be involved in the key committees and dialogues of hardware and software engineers, will pave the path for
the IEA, and will be able to represent the interests of the overall knowledge development in the best possible way.
emerging markets. • Becoming Associate Member of CERN, will enhance
participation of young scientists and engineers in
About International Energy Agency (IEA) various CERN projects and bring back knowledge for
• IEA is an inter-governmental organization established in deployment in the domestic programmes.
1974 as per framework of the Organisation for Economic • It will also open opportunities for Indian industries to
Co-operation and Development (OECD). participate directly in the CERN project.
• It was established in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis after • Through the Teachers programme, teachers teaching
the OPEC cartel had shocked the world with a steep in the higher secondary schools would also be able to
increase in oil prices.
participate in the programme and pass on the knowledge
• Members: Presently it has 29 member countries. India is
and quest for high-end science to their students.
lone associate member of IEA.
• In recent years, Indian scientists have been involved in all
• Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.
pioneering activities at CERN. India has made significant
contributions to the construction of the Large Hadron
US Senate votes to approve Montenegro as Collider (LHC), in the areas of design, development and
NATO’s 29th member supply of hardware accelerator components/systems
• US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to approve and its commissioning and software development and
Montenegro as 29th member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty deployment in the machine.
Organization). So far, 25 other NATO members have ratified
Montenegro’s accession. About  CERN
• CERN is the world’s largest
About NATO nuclear and particle phys-
• NATO is an international alliance that consists of 28 ics laboratory, where sci-
member states from North America and Europe. entists and engineers are
• It was established at the signing of the North Atlantic probing the fundamental
Treaty on 4 April 1949. structure of the Universe
• Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack by using the most sophis-
occurs against one of the member states, it should be ticated scientific instru-
considered an attack against all members, and other ments and advanced computing systems.
members shall assist the attacked member, with armed • CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border.
forces if necessary.
• Presently CERN has 22 member states, four associate
• Headquarters : NATO’s headquarters is located in member states, and the observer status is given to
Brussels, Belgium. four states and three International Organizations.
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Heart of Asia senior officials meeting held in Significance of Full Membership of NSG
Azerbaijan • The waiver is in the form of a concession without according
• The Heart of Asia-Istabhul Process Senior Officials Meeting India the status of a full member and therefore has an element
(SOM) was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. of unpredictability and attendant risks in the long run for India’s
long-term nuclear power programme.
• The meeting welcomed the Republic of Azerbaijan for co-
• Full membership of the NSG would enable India to have
chairing and hosting of the 7th HoA-IP Ministerial Conference
enhanced and predictable global access to nuclear
as well as the first Senior Officials Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan
technology, fuel, materials and components required for
in 2017. During this meeting, under the political consultation,
expanding civil nuclear programme.
Afghanistan briefed participants on internal and regional
• It would advance energy security, contribute to India’s growth
security and political challenges.
strategy based on clean energy to combat climate change,
and strengthen global nuclear non-proliferation.
About Heart of Asia Conference • The NSG will take up India’s membership issue at its next
• The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA) was founded plenary session scheduled to be take place in June 2017.
on November 2nd, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.
• Primary Objective: Regional Security and Cooperation About NSG
for a Secure and Stable Afghanistan and near and
• Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational
extended neighbours.
body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by
• It provides a platform for sincere and results-oriented
controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that
regional cooperation by placing Afghanistan at its center, in
may be applicable to nuclear weapon development
recognition of the fact that a secure and stable Afghanistan
and by improving safeguards and protection on existing
is vital to the prosperity of the Heart of Asia region.
materials.
• This platform was established to address the shared
• Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to
challenges and interests of Afghanistan and its neighbors
India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of
and regional partners.
nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.
• The Heart of Asia is comprised of 14 participating
countries, 17 supporting countries, and 12 supporting
regional and international organizations. World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting
held in Davos
India’s Quest for NSG Membership • The world’s elite, including political leaders and corporate
• The government recently informed the Lok Sabha that it is titans, met at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
looking for full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group • The theme of 2017 annual summit was “Responsive and
(NSG) as the current arrangement with the elite club carries Responsible Leadership”.
attendant risks.
• India is currently engaged in nuclear trade with international Highlights of Summit:
partners based on a waiver from the NSG in 2008. • The forum discussed the contents of the Global Risks Report
which identified a number of threats to the world order.
About NSG Waiver • At the top of this list, was the income inequality. The report
• The NSG took a consensus decision in September invokes the rich and powerful to suggest that a fundamental
2008 to permit its members to engage in civil nuclear reform of capitalism is necessary to tackle the public anger
cooperation with India despite India not being a party to (due to rising inequality) which it blames not just for the
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). popularity of Donald Trump, but also BREXIT.

• Since then, India has been trying to upgrade the waiver • Showcasing India growth story before global business leaders,
status into a full member status and the government Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that it is the appropriate time
accordingly made two attempts this year to become to invest in the country.
member of the elite organisation. • A global coalition to create new vaccines for emerging infectious
• India has been engaging nuclear energy producing diseases, designed to help give the world an insurance policy
countries in civil nuclear deals since getting the waiver. against epidemics was launched. The coalition is named-
Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
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India, UNISDR sign Statement of Cooperation • The new route through Sittwe would significantly lower the
cost and distance of movement from Kolkata to Mizoram and
on Sendai Framework
beyond.
• India and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
(UNISDR) have signed a Statement of Cooperation during
the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction About Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project (KMMT)
(AMCDRR) 2016 held in New Delhi. • The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is a
• The Statement underlines the guiding principles, objectives project that will connect the eastern Indian seaport of Kolkata
and areas of cooperation between India and UNISDR with Sittwe seaport in Myanmar by sea; it will then link Sittwe
towards the effective implementation and monitoring of the seaport to Paletwa in Myanmar via Kaladan river boat route
Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), and then from Paletwa on to Mizoram by road transport.

About  Sendai Framework


• The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-
2030) is an international document which was adopted
by UN member states between 14th and 18th of March
2015 at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
held in Sendai, Japan and endorsed by the UN General
Assembly in June 2015.
• It is the successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework
for Action (2005–2015), which had been the most
• The KMMT would allow goods from eastern Indian ports
encompassing international accord to date on disaster
such as Kolkata to reach India’s north-eastern states more
risk reduction.
cheaply. It would also enhance economic ties between
• It is voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes
coastal Indian urban hubs and the Myanmar economy,
that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster
an attractive prospect for India as Myanmar’s 60 million
risk but that responsibility should be shared with other
people begin to consume more foreign goods.
stakeholders including local government, the private
• It will also serve as cornerstone of India’s “Look East
sector and other stakeholders. It has framework for 15
Policy” aiming to expand India’s economic and political
years, i.e. 2015-2030
influence in Southeast Asia
• The Sendai Framework sets four specific priorities for
action:
(i) Understanding disaster risk; Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing
(ii) Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage & Urban Development (APMCHUD) held
disaster risk; The sixth edition of ‘Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on
(iii) Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; Housing & Urban Development (APMCHUD)’ was held in New
(iv) Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective Delhi.
response, and to "Build Back Better" in recovery,
rehabilitation and reconstruction. Highlights of Conference
• It sought to address issues ranging from crowded city centres
Kaladan Multimodal Project: Sittwe Port to peripheral expansion, metropolitan based urban population
growth, megacities and urban corridors, among others.
Ready for Commissioning
• During the conference, ministers and senior officials from 68
A deep water port built in Myanmar’s Sittwe on the Bay of
countries in the region deliberated on challenges of urban
Bengal by India is ready to be commissioned. Sittwe is pivotal
planning and management.
for operability of Kaladan Multimodal Project.
• It adopted Delhi Declaration and implementation plan for
Significance of this port for India: aligning urban development strategies of member countries
• At present, the only route to this region from the rest of India is with New Urban Agenda adopted at Quito, Eucador.
a rather circuitous one through a narrow strip of Indian territory • The theme of the declaration was ‘Emerging Urban Forms Policy
nicknamed the Chicken’s Neck in West Bengal, sandwiched Responses and Government Structures’.
between Bhutan and Bangladesh.
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About New Delhi Declaration About Antarctica Treaty System
• The New Delhi Declaration strongly advocated planning • The Antarctic Treaty (came into force in 1961) and related
for urban and adjoining rural areas in an integrated manner agreements are collectively known as the Antarctic Treaty System
instead of looking at them as independent entities. (ATS). It’s objective is to regulate international relations with
• The declaration also called for a thorough review of existing respect to Antarctica.
policies and formulation of new policies to promote New • The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve. It
Urban Agenda adopted at the United Nations Conference on establishes freedom of scientific investigation. It also bans
Housing and Sustainable Development in Quito, Ecuador in military activity on that continent.
October 2016. • Antarctic Treaty Secretariat: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
• Noting governance as the key to sustainable development, • Members: 53 parties (as of June 2017).
the declaration stressed on the need for effective governance
structures in urban areas. India slams World Bank process on Indus
Waters Treaty
About New Urban Agenda
• India has taken strong exception to the World Bank’s
• It was adopted at the UN Conference on Housing and
inexplicable decision to set up a Court of Arbitration and
Sustainable Urban Development (also known as “Habitat III”
appoint a Neutral Expert to go into Pakistan’s complaint
conference) held in Quito, Ecuador.
against it over Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects
• It sets the global vision of sustainable urbanization for the next
in Jammu and Kashmir.
20 years.
• It is a set of 175 commitments that countries need to adhere to • The Neutral Expert has been asked to go into Pakistan’s
tackle challenges of urbanization. complaint against India on the Kishenganga and Ratle
hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
• While India had asked for a neutral expert to be appointed,
Government constituted a committee on Pakistan appealed directly for a Court of Arbitration (CoA)
Antarctica Policy to be set up as it claims India has violated the 1960 Indus
• Ministry of earth science has constituted a committee Waters Treaty.
chaired by Biman Patel to draft a dedicated Antarctica policy • Surprised at the World Bank’s decision to appoint a Neutral
& law, which are expected to be tabled in the winter session Expert, as sought by the Indian government and at the same
of Parliament. time establish a Court of Arbitration as wanted by Pakistan,
• Being a signatory to Antarctica treaty, India is expected to India says proceeding with both the steps simultaneously
have a clear policy on the consequences of its initiatives in the legally untenable.
region.
About IWT
About Indian Antarctic Program • Signed in 1960 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
• Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi- and then Pakistan President Ayub Khan, the treaty
institutional program under the control of National Center allocates 80% of water from the six-river Indus water
for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth system to Pakistan.
Sciences. It was initiated in 1981 with the first Indian • Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are the
expedition to Antarctica. rivers of the Indus water system that flows from India to
Pakistan. The Indus river basin spans parts of 4 countries
• The program gained global acceptance with India's
(Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China) in an area that is
signing of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequent
more than 30% arid.
construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research
• Under the treaty, control over six north Indian rivers were
base in 1983.
divided between the two countries. India got control over
• It was superseded by the Maitri base from 1990.
the rivers Beas, Ravi and Sutlej whereas Pakistan got
• The newest base commissioned in 2015 is Bharati. control over Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
• Under the program, Atmosphere, Biology, Earth, • This is a unique treaty involving a third party. It was
Chemical, and Medical sciences are studied by India, brokered by the World Bank.
which has carried out 30 scientific expeditions to the • A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral
Antarctic as of 14 October 2010. commission to implement and manage the Treaty.
3
Science & Technology
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Chapter Science & Technology

TRAI recommends delicensing of spectrum for


Andhra Pradesh to have India’s first M2M services
Hyperloop transportation project • The Telecom Regulatory Authority
• India’s first Hyperloop project to connect Vijayawada
of India (TRAI) has recommended
and Amaravati cities of Andhra Pradesh. The proposed
delicensing of some of spectrum
project will cover 35 km distance only in five minutes.
bands to facilitate smooth roll-
• The project will use a Public Private Partnership (PPP) out of machine-to-machine (M2M)
model with funding primarily from private investors. communications.
• In this regard, Andhra Pradesh Economic Development • As per TRAI’s recommendations to
Board (APEDB) has inked memorandum of Department of Telecom (DoT), there should be no separate
understanding (MoU) with Hyperloop Transportation spectrum exclusively allocated for M2M services, rather all
Technologies (HTT) for developing the project. existing operators should be allowed to provide connectivity for
M2M services. Under this technology, devices will be fitted with
SIM or embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC).
• It recommended the delicensing of 1 MHz of spectrum from
867-868 MHz frequencies and another six units from the 915-
935 MHz range for M2M communication services.
• It also suggested that companies offering M2M services
using unlicensed spectrum should be covered under licence
through a new permit to be called Unified Licence (M2M)

What is M2M communication?


• M2M technologies involve automated information exchange
between two devices. It enables wired and wireless devices
to talk to each other using sensors.
• M2M communications have wide range applications like
About  Hyperloop Technology
new-age infrastructure projects and various industry
• Hyperloop Technology is system of magnetically verticals such as smart cities, smart grids, smart homes,
levitating capsules that are sent at high speeds smart transportation and smart heath sectors.
through low-pressure tubes. It envisages tube
modular transport system that runs free of friction.
It uses linear Induction motors in it to control speed Union Government launches Digital Police
of pods. Portal
• Hyperloop is claimed to be two-to-three times • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has recently launched
faster than fastest high-speed rail and can achieve Digital Police Portal under Crime and Criminal Tracking
speed even greater than commercial air travel. Network and Systems Project (CCTNS). The portal is a smart
• However, it is still in trial stages in different policing initiative to provide services to citizens and aid
countries and not been implemented for practical efficient police investigation.
use anywhere in world yet.
• It is a platform for citizens to file online crime related
• Hyperloop system’s capital cost per mile is less
complaints and also request for antecedent verification.
than that of high-speed rail, and is less expensive
• Central investigating and research agencies also have been
to operate.
provided logins to the portal to access crime statistics.
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Sagar Vani system launched to alert coastal
community 
• Recently, the Union Ministry of Earth Science has launched Sagar
Vani, an integrated information dissemination system that will
serve the coastal community, especially the fishermen community
with the advisories and alerts towards their safety at Sea.
• It has been developed by ESSO-Indian National Centre for
Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). It is a software platform
where various dissemination modes will be integrated on a
single central server.
• It includes multi-lingual SMS, voice call/audio advisory,
social media, mobile apps, email, etc.

Govt. launches e-RaKAM portal for selling Agri


About  CCTNS
produce
• Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems • The Union Government has recently launched e-Rashtriya
(CCTNS) is a Mission Mode Project initiated in 2009 Kisan Agri Mandi (e-RaKAM) portal to provide a digital
under the National e-Governance Plan of Government platform for farmers to sell agricultural produce. It is a first
of India. of its kind of initiative that leverages technology to connect
• The core objective of CCTNS is to connect all 16,000 farmers from the villages to the biggest markets of the world
police stations so that sharing of information among through internet.
• The portal aims to bring together the farmers, PSUs, civil
Police Stations, Districts, State/UT headquarters and
supplies and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling
other Police Agencies can be facilitated.
and buying process of agricultural products.
• It also meant to improve delivery of citizen-centric
• It has been developed by state-run-auctioneer MSTC Limited
services through effective usage of ICT. and CRWC (Central Railside Warehouse Company) Limited.
• Under this initiative, e-RaKAM centres are being developed
NHAI launches mobile app MyFASTag and throughout the country in a phased manner to facilitate
farmers for online sale of their produce. The farmers will be
FASTag Partner paid through e-Payment directly into their bank accounts
• The National Highways
under this initiative.
Authority of India (NHAI)
has launched two mobile Survey of India launches web portal Nakshe
apps, namely MyFASTag and FASTag Partner to facilitate • The Survey of India (SOI) has launched new web portal called
the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection Nakshe to make open series maps available to Indians for
(ETC) project. free. The portal was launched by Union Ministry for Science
• MyFASTag is a consumer application that will facilitate & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences.
consumer to purchase or recharge FASTags on it. It also Features of Nakshe portal
helps to keep track of transactions and provides for online • It will offer free download of 3,000 Topographic maps or Open
grievance redressal. Series Maps (OSM) in a pdf format on 1:50,000 scale through
• FASTag Partner is a merchant application which will allow Aadhaar enabled user authentication process.
agencies like Common Services Centre (CSC), banking • The maps are meant for development activities in the country,
partners and vehicle dealers to sell and enroll FASTag. and can be also used to plan scientific expeditions, research
and planning development projects.
About  FASTags • Topographic maps comprise natural and man-made
FASTag is a radio frequency identification device that geographical features including terrain or topography.
enables cashless transaction at toll plazas without stopping
The Survey of India, the principal mapping agency of the
the vehicle at the toll plazas. It makes toll payments directly
country is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. Origin
from the pre-paid account linked to it. This system aims
of the Survey of India is traced back to Year 1767. It is the
to remove logistic inefficiencies at toll plazas and has the
oldest scientific department in India and one of the oldest
potential to save time and fuel bills.
survey establishments in the world.
Science & Technology
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Government launches Cyber Physical Systems


programme
• The Department of Science and Technology (DST) of Union
Ministry of Science & Technology has launched Cyber
Physical Systems (CPS) programme dealing with self-
driven cars, autonomous unmanned vehicles and aircraft
navigation systems. The programme is still at a nascent
stage in which Rs. 3,000-crore has been conceived for
it and will first take root in some of the Indian Institutes of
Technology (IITs).
• The thrust of the CPS initiative is to break silos in academia
and encourage greater synergy between the university Key facts about cyber attack
scientists and industry. Under it, centres of excellence would • This cyber attack is considered as the biggest ransomware
be developed at the IITs and universities. Moreover, there attack of its kind. As per security software company Avast,
will be dedicated courses on the subject. its researchers have observed more than 75,000 attacks
worldwide in 99 countries including the UK, Russia, Ukraine,
About Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) India, China, Italy, and Egypt.
• The cyber attack has crippled many hospitals, schools and
• CPS is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the
universities in Europe and Asia. Britain’s National Health
deployment of computer-based systems that do things
Service (NHS) is among badly affected.
in the physical world. For example, self-driven cars
• Other affected high profile victims are international shipper
produced by Google and Tesla.
FedEx Corp, Spain’s telecommunications company Telefonica,
Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina, Germany’s railway
operator Deutsche Bahn etc.
• According to Avast, the countries such as Russia, Ukraine and
Taiwan are the top targets around the world.
• Hackers have spread ransomware known as WannaCry,
WanaCrypt0r 2.0, WannaCry and WCry, through emails.
• The files in the infected computers gets locked up in such
a way that the user cannot access them anymore. It then
• It is a mechanism controlled or monitored by computer- demands payment in cryptocurrency Bitcoin to retrieve the
based algorithms, tightly integrated with the internet and locked files.
its users.
• Autonomous unmanned vehicles (UAVs) and aircraft
navigation systems and smart grids also qualify as CPS.
ISRO termed launch of navigation satellite
IRNSS-1H unsuccessful
• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) termed launch
of navigation satellite IRNSS-1H onboard of PSLV-C39 was
Massive ransomware cyber-attack hits nearly unsuccessful as heat shield did not separate as a result of
100 countries around the world which satellite did not complete the 4th stage.
• A global cyber attack has crippled nearly hundred countries, • The IRNSS-1H was being sent to back up and replace the
including India. A cyber gang called Shadow Brokers, is held functions of satellite IRNSS-1A as its three rubidium atomic
responsible for this massive cyber attack. The organisation clocks on board had stopped functioning.
has carried out the attack by stealing a hacking tool called
‘Eternal Blue’ from the National Security Agency (NSA),
  The atomic clocks are used to find
America’s powerful military intelligence unit.
satellite’s position with an accuracy of as close
• The hacking tool Eternal Blue gives unprecedented access
to all computers using Microsoft Windows. It was developed
as 0.5 metre.  
by NSA to gain access to computers used by terrorists and • IRNSS-1H was India’s first satellite actively built by
enemy states. consortium of private firms led by Bengaluru-based Alpha
Design Technologies.
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• The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is
an independent regional system developed by ISRO. The
navigation system offers wide services like terrestrial and
marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking
and fleet management visual and voice navigation for drivers.
• It was named “Navic” (Navigation with Indian Constellation)
by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Malpelo plate: A new tectonic microplate


discovered off the coast of Ecuador
• Researchers from US-based Rice University have found new
tectonic microplate which is located west of the Galapagos
Islands off the coast of Ecuador in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
It is wedged in-between the Nazca, Cocos, and Caribbean
minor plates. It is linked to a nearby oceanic ridge along the
Ring of Fire.

  Microplates are tectonic plates with an • Using CRISPR system, scientists can remove, add or alter
area less than 1 million km2  specific DNA sequences in the genome of higher organisms.
It has two components, a single-guide RNA (sgRNA) that
contains a sequence that can bind to DNA, and Cas9 enzyme
which acts as a molecular scissor that can cut specific DNA
sequence. In order to selectively edit a desired sequence in
DNA, the sgRNA is designed to find and bind to the target.

Govt. launches low-cost hearing screening


device SOHUM
• The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has recently
launched SOHUM, an indigenously developed low-cost
hearing screening device for newborns. The Sohum aims to
make this battery-operated non-invasive screening device
available across the country to minimise or reverse the
hearing loss damage.
• A tectonic plate is essentially a part-crust, part-mantle that is
• The device uses brain-stem auditory evoked response. It
pushed around by the convecting currents of superheated
measures auditory brain waves via three electrodes placed
rock (magma) beneath them. There are total eight major
on the baby’s head. When stimulated, electrodes detect
tectonic plates, ten minor tectonic plates.
electrical responses generated by the brain’s auditory
• The interactions at the edges of moving plates cause the system. If there is no response, it indicates child cannot
most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on the Earth. hear. Once it is detected at quite an early age, measures
can be taken to prevent other problems such as impaired
Scientists successfully used CRISPR to repair a communication skills and even possible mental illness.
genetic mutation in human embryos • The innovative medical device has been developed by
• Scientists for the first time have successfully repaired a the School of International Biodesign (SIB) startup Sohum
Innovation Labs India Pvt. Ltd under Department of
genetic mutation in human embryos by using a gene-editing
Biotechnology (DBT).
tool called CRISPR-Cas9.
• SIB is a flagship Program of the DBT aimed to develop
• Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, scientists
innovative and affordable medical devices as per India’s
were able to repair mutation in the MYBPC3 gene which unmet clinical needs and to train the next generation of
causes a common heart condition called hypertrophic medical technology innovators in India. It is implemented
cardiomyopathy, which is marked by thickening of the heart jointly at All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and
muscle. IIT Delhi in collaboration with International partners.
Science & Technology
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Indian scientists discover supercluster of large supercluster of galaxies, which they have named as
Saraswati.
galaxies named Saraswati
• It is a supercluster having 42 clusters. It is located about
4000 million light years away from us and lies in the Stripe 82
region of Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).
• It is not the first supercluster to be discovered by Indians.
Professor Somak ray Chaudhury has earlier discovered
Shapley Supercluster (named after American astronomer
Shapley who first coined the term Cluster).

About  Supercluster
• A supercluster is a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters.
It bound by gravity consisting of tens of thousands of
galaxies.
• Recently, a group of scientists from Inter University Centre • Galaxies are made of billions of stars and planets and
for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Indian Institute grouped into clusters. These clusters of galaxies, in
of Science Education and Research (IISER), both located turn, are grouped together to form superclusters. The
in Pune, Maharashtra; NIT Jamshedpur and Newman Milky Way, the galaxy in which earth is located is part of
College (Thodapuzha) announced the discovery of a very a supercluster called the Laniakea Supercluster.

Ministry of Railways What is Cloud Computing?


launches RailCloud SERVICES SERVICES
to optimise server Shared resources
among a community
Outsource the elements of
infrastructure like Virtualization,
management of users Storage, Networking,
Load Balancers
• The Ministry of Railways Public Cloud laaS
(Infrastructure as
has launched RailCloud, a a Service)
Core hosting operating
virtual server with an inbuilt Service that is controlled system and optional building
and exclusive to the user block services that allow you
security system that will to run your own applications
Private Cloud
enable faster connectivity at PaaS
(Platform as a
a reduced cost. It works on Service)
Ability to move workloads
popular Cloud Computing between private and Consumed as a
service only for the
public platform
system, an emerging applications needed
Hybrid Cloud
technology for faster and SaaS
(Software as a

on demand commensurate Pros+ Cons- Service)

Scale and cost Lock-in to service


deployment of server Choice and Agility Security (Hacking)

resources. Encapsulated change management Lack of control and ownership


Next Generation Architectures Reliability
• RailCloud has been
developed by rail PSU RailTel as part of Railways strategic RailCloud. It serves as a platform for resolution of service-
IT initiative, IR-OneICT. It can accommodate bigger data related grievances and for serving former railway employees.
and more applications within same server space.
• RailCloud technology allows server and storage space to About  Cloud Computing
scale up and down as per the demand. This makes the • Cloud computing is a method for delivering information
system suitable to meet the higher demand at peak hours technology (IT) services in which resources are retrieved from
with less expenditure. the Internet through web-based tools and applications, as
• It is also equipped with security features as per the latest opposed to a direct connection to a server.
Government guidelines. It also covers all management related • Rather than keeping files on a proprietary hard drive or local
and other services like human resources, signal assets, freight storage device, cloud-based storage makes it possible to save
and logistics, health and hospital and energy among others. them to a remote database. As long as an electronic device has
• Along with RailCloud, the Nivaran-Grievance Portal access to the web, it has access to the data and the software
was also launched. It is the first IT application on the programs to run it.
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Airsewa 2.0 to be launched breeding mosquitoes of the Culex species (mainly Culex
• The Ministry of Civil Aviation has invited suggestions for tritaeniorhynchus).
designing AirSewa 2.0. AirSewa 2.0 will be an upgraded • There is no transmission from person to person and therefore
version of the AirSewa. patients do not need to be isolated. Also one can get JE from
• AirSewa is operated through an interactive web portal and a animals other than domestic pigs & Wild birds or from insects
mobile app. other than mosquitoes.
• It was launched in 2016 to make air travel convenient by • This disease is most prevalent in Southeast Asia, South Asia
providing the following services: and East Asia.
w Grievance redressal mechanism; and • Although individuals of any age may be affected, but JE
w Providing information on flight status/schedule information, primarily affects children.
airports etc. • Treatment: There is no specific therapy. Intensive supportive
therapy is indicated.

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute


Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) Recent Missions of ISRO
• In June 2017, ISRO launched three satellite missions namely
In the backdrop of Gorakhpur hospital deaths, the terms
Japanese encephalitis (JE) and Acute encephalitis syndrome GSAT-17, PSLV-C38 and GSLV Mk III-D1.
(AES) were in news.
Name About It
About Encephalitis
GSAT-17 • GSAT-17 is India's latest communication
• It is an inflammation and swelling of the brain which is caused
satellite.
w either by an infection invading the brain (Infectious
• It was launched into a Geosynchronous
Encephalitis) or
Transfer Orbit (GTO) on June 29, 2017 from
w through the immune system attacking the brain (Post-
Kourou, French Guiana by Ariane-5 VA-238.
infectious or Autoimmune Encephalitis).
●• It is designed to provide continuity of services
• The infection is mainly caused by VIRUS. Rarely bacteria,
on operational satellites in C-band, Extended
fungus and parasites can also cause it.
C-band and S-bands.
• Arboviruses – viruses transmitted through insect bites – are
PSLV-C38 • PSLV-C38/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission
among the most common causes of viral encephalitis, and
include was launched on June 23, 2017 from Satish

w Japanese encephalitis viruses and Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR,


Sriharikota.
w tick-borne encephalitis viruses.
• It launched the 712 kg Cartosat-2 series
About Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) satellite for earth observation and 30 co-
• It is characterized by an acute onset of fever and clinical passenger Nano satellites together.
neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, • This was the seventeenth flight of PSLV in
disorientation, delirium, or coma. 'XL' configuration (with the use of solid strap-
• The most common causes of acute viral encephalitis on motors).
are Japanese encephalitis virus, West Nile virus (WNV),
GSLV Mk • GSLV Mk III-D1 launched GSAT-19 on June
Chandipura virus (CHPV) etc.
III-D1 05, 2017 from the Satish Dhawan Space
• AES is reported mainly from Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar
Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
Pradesh and Tamil Nadu which contributes approximately
• D1 in the GSLV-Mk III-D1 means the first
80% of cases.
developmental flight.
About: Japanese Encephalitis (JE)
• It is a brain infection caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese About GSAT
encephalitis virus (JEV). • The GSAT series of geosynchronous satellites is a system
developed by ISRO.
• JEV (a virus from the family FLAVIVIRIDAE) is transmitted
to humans through bites from infected rice field • It’s objective is to make India self-reliant in broadcasting
services.
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About GSLV MK III


• It is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by Cloud Seeding project to be implemented
ISRO. The vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid • Recently, Karnataka and Maharashtra Government were
booster and a cryogenic upper stage. planning to initiate cloud seeding on the backdrop of
• It is capable of placing the 4 tonne class satellites of the failed monsoon to avoid drought situation.
GSAT series into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits.
• Cloud seeding is a common term for one form of weather
• The powerful cryogenic stage of GSLV Mk III enables it
modification. It is used for a variety of reasons, including:
to place heavy payloads into Low Earth Orbits of 600 km
altitude. w Increasing the amount of rainfall produced from clouds,
• Significance: w Reducing hail from thunderstorms, and
w Launching of GSLV Mk III finally makes India self-sufficient w Eliminating fog that reduces visibility at busy airports.
in launching heavier communication satellites. Until now, • Modern cloud seeding dates back to the late 1940's,
India had to rely on foreign rockets such as the French springing from a discovery at the General Electric (GE)
Ariane 5 which costs about INR 400 crore for each launch.
labs in Schenectady, New York in 1946
w The multi-billion international satellite market is a big
attraction. A successful launch of GSLV Mk III could give
India significant cost advantages in this market.
w It is a demonstration of Indian indigenous space technology
particularly of its cryogenic engines.
w Finally, a heavier satellite launch vehicle also means
enhanced capacity to undertake deep space exploration
in a more serious manner.

EBLM J0555-57Ab: Smallest Star in the


Universe discovered
• Researchers from University of Cambridge in the U.K.have
discovered the smallest star known to science. It is called
EBLM J0555-57Ab. • How does cloud seeding work?

• The star is part of a binary system, orbiting its parent star w Cloud seeding does not create new clouds.
EBLM J0555–57A. w It increases the amount of rainfall by 10-15% from
• Size: It is so small that it barely qualifies as a star. It is only existing clouds by adding tiny particles called ice
slightly larger than Saturn. It’s size just enables hydrogen nuclei to the clouds. Inside the seeded clouds, water
fusion to occur in its core, forming helium. This criterion allows vapour freezes onto the particles. These heavier frozen
it to be classified as star. particles fall towards the ground as rain.

• Gravitational pull: With a size just slightly larger than that of w Cloud seeding materials are released via ground-
Saturn, the gravitational pull at its stellar surface is about 300 based and/or airborne systems.
times stronger than what humans feel on Earth. w The most common cloud seeding materials are silver
• The star was identified by WASP. iodide and dry ice.
• Why is cloud seeding so attractive?
Do You Know?
w Cloud seeding is a highly portable and flexible technology.
Binary Star System It does not require construction of large, permanent and
• It consists of two stars orbiting around their common costly structures, such as dams or water conveyance
barycenter. systems.
• The barycenter is the centre of mass of two or more bodies
w Projects can be mobilized quickly and operations can
that are orbiting each other, or the point around which they
be regulated.
both orbit.
Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) w Studies have indicated no significant environmental
• It is an international consortium of several academic impacts.
organisations performing an ultra-wide angle search for w Further, the benefit/cost ratios associated with most
exoplanets using transit photometry. cloud seeding projects are typically very favourable.
• No Indian academic institution is its part.
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Encephalophone: Scientists created a hands- India dedicates South Asia Satellite to its
free musical instrument neighbours
• Scientists have created Encephalophone, a hands-free • ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09)
musical instrument that allows people to play music with their successfully launched the South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) into
thoughts. its planned Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
• Encephalophone is based on brain-computer interfaces • It has 12 Ku band transponders which India's neighbours
using an old method, called electroencephalography, which can utilise to increase communications. Each country will get
measures electrical signals in the brain. access to at least one transponder through which they could
• It collects brain signals through a cap that transforms specific beam their own programming.
signals into musical notes. • The satellite will facilitate DTH television, very small
• It is coupled with a synthesiser, allowing the user to create aperture terminal (VSAT) links, tele-education, telemedicine
music using a wide variety of instrumental sounds. and disaster management support. It will provide critical
communication links in times of disasters such as
Significance: earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and tsunamis.
• This instrument may be used to rehabilitate patients with
motor disabilities such as stroke, spinal cord injury and
amputation.

Government launches Bharat QR code


• BharatQR code, the world's first interoperable payment
acceptance solution, was launched as part of efforts
to move towards less-cash economy at an insignificant
cost.
• Developed by National Payments Corporation of India
(NPCI), Mastercard, and Visa, it's code would require
merchants to only display one QR code instead of multiple
ones.
• It will make payments seamless for buyers as they just
have to scan to pay for transactions instead of swiping
their credit/debit cards.

About QR code (Quick Response code)


• It is a two-dimensional (matrix) machine-readable bar
code made up of black and white squares. This code can
be read by the camera of a smartphone.
• It is used for storing URLs or other information that link
directly to text, emails websites, phone numbers, etc.
It is capable of 360 degrees (omni-directional), high BRABO: First ‘Made in India’ Industrial Robot
speed reading. QR Code can store up to 7089 digits as
compared to conventional bar codes which can store
launched
• TAL Manufacturing Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of
maximum of 20 digits.
Tata Motors has launched India’s first industrial-articulated
• It encodes same amount of data in one-tenth the space
robot and it goes by the name “BRABO”. The robot is
of a traditional bar code. QR code carries information
indigenously developed for micro, small and medium
both horizontally and vertically. It has error correction
enterprises (MSMEs) in India.
capability and data stored in it can be restored even if it
• This is the first time that an industrial robot has been
is partially damaged or get dirty.
conceptualised, designed and manufactured in India.
Science & Technology
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• BRABO which stands for 'Bravo Robot', is meant to


LaFond’s Discoveries
complement the human workforce and perform repetitive,
high volume, dangerous and time consuming tasks from • The last canyon systems off the Visakhapatnam coast
raw material handling to packaging of finished products. It were discovered in 1963 by American geologist E.C.
can increase productivity by 15-30 percent, with a payback LaFond of U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory, who
period of 15 to 18 months. It is 30-40 percent cheaper than was carrying out marine studies at Andhra University,
its rivals around the world. Visakhapatnam.
• It is significant as global industrial robotics market is • Prof. LaFond then discovered three canyon systems in
expected to reach US $79.58 billion by 2022. Andhra Pradesh.

NASA scientists found lost Chandrayaan-1 LHS 1140b: Another planet in habitable zone
orbiting Moon discovered
• NASA scientists have found India’s first lunar probe,
Chandrayaan-1, which was considered lost. The ISRO lost
communication with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009,
almost a year after it was launched on October 22, 2008.
• Scientists at NASA have been able to detect NASA’s Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Indian Space
Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-1 in lunar orbit with a
ground-based radar.
• Chandrayaan-1 is very small and cuboid in shape, about 1.5
metres in length on each side. Although the interplanetary
radar has been used to observe small asteroids several
million miles from the earth, researchers were not certain that
an object of this size could be detected as far away as the
moon. • Scientists have discovered a new Earth-like planet orbiting a
• To find a spacecraft 380,000 km away, scientists used red dwarf star about 40 light-years away.
NASA’s 70-metre antenna at NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space • Using European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s HARPS
Communications Complex in California to send out a powerful instrument at La Silla, and other telescopes around the
beam of microwaves towards the moon. Then the radar world, an international team of astronomers discovered the
echoes bounced back from lunar orbit were received by the exoplanet orbiting in the habitable zone around the faint star
100-metre Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. LHS 1140b.

New canyon system found near Kovvada,   Red dwarfs are much smaller and cooler
Andhra Pradesh than the Sun 
• Scientists of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO)
have found three new canyons forming a major canyon • Although the super-Earth LHS 1140b is ten times closer to its
system in the depths of Bay of Bengal close to Kovvada in star than the Earth is to the Sun, it only receives about half as
Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh. much sunlight from its star as the Earth and lies in the middle
• Canyon systems are generally formed by flow of river water of the habitable zone.
into the sea and they could be as old as the river system. The • This seething ocean of lava could feed steam into the
new canyon system is very huge and probably formed by the atmosphere long after the star has calmed to its current,
river Kandivalasa. steady glow, replenishing the planet with water. The
• The depth of the canyon varies from about 90 metres from astronomers estimate the age of the planet to be at least five
the starting point to about 2,500 metres at the deepest point, billion years.
and it extends to about 50 to 70 km deep into the sea and the • This super-Earth may be the best candidate yet for future
width varies from 50 metres to 2 km. observations to study and characterise its atmosphere, if one
• As per the findings, the depth is more than the Grand Canyon exists.
of U.S., which is about 1,857 metres.
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Weather Forecasting Scientists ‘unmask’ Do You Know?
superbug-shielding protein
• Gondwanaland is the name given to an ancient
• Australian scientists have mapped the molecular structure of
supercontinent. Around 335 to 250 million years ago,
a protein that shields superbugs from antibiotics.
Gondwanaland and Laurasia joined together to form the
• The protein, EptA, allows some strains to shrug off colistin, an supercontinent Pangaea, which existed until approximately
antibiotic used when all other treatments fail. 215 to 175 million years ago.
• The shape of protein was mapped using technique called X-ray • Gondwanaland then separated from Laurasia in the
crystallography which is mainly used for determining the atomic breakup of Pangaea, drifting farther south after the split.
and molecular structure of a crystal.
• According to the World Health Organization, drug-resistant
infections kill 700,000 people each year. This figure is predicted ISRO successfully launched record 104
to rise 10 million by 2050 justifying warnings of so-called satellites in a single mission
antibiotic apocalypse.

Scientists claim discovery of Zealandia a


submerged continent in Pacific Ocean
• A continent two-thirds the size of Australia has been found
beneath the south-west Pacific Ocean.
• Known as Zealandia, the land mass of 4.5 million square
kilometres is 94 per cent under water and only its highest
points - New Zealand and New Caledonia - poke above
the surface.
• The Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO) in a historic
feat launched record 104 satellites through Polar Satellite
Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C37 in one go. The 104 satellites
included India’s Cartosat-2 and two nano-satellites.
• With this launch, ISRO successfully created a world record
of inserting the highest number of satellites into space in
a single launch. Previously, Russia had launched highest
number of satellites (37 satellites) in a single mission in
2014. The ISRO’s previous personal record was of sending
20 satellites in one go.

Key Highlights of Payloads of PSLV-C37


• Cartosat-2 Series satellite (India): It is weighing 714 kilograms
and meant for earth observation. It has a sharp resolution to
provide quality earth images to its customers.
• Besides, two other nano-satellites, namely INS-1A and INS-
1B were from India. These are technology demonstration
satellites. The total number of Indian satellites launched by
PSLV now stands at 46.
• Other 101 payloads of the launch were from foreign customers
including 96 from the US and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan,
the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
• The total weight of all the 104 satellites carried on-board
• Zealandia is believed to have broken away from Australia PSLV-C37 was 1378 kg.
about 80 million years ago and sank beneath the sea • All foreign nano-satellites were released into their orbits using
as part of the breakup of the super-continent known as quadrapacks. The quadrapack is a container that carries 3 to
Gondwanaland. 4 nano-satellites that weighs between 1.7 kilogram and 4.7
kilogram each.
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Huge dead zone discovered in the Bay of Existence of lost continent under the Indian
Bengal Ocean confirmed
• Scientists from the Council of Scientific and Industrial • Scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand in South
Research’s National Institute of Oceanography have Africa discovered the existence of a “lost continent” under
discovered a huge dead zone in the Bay of Bengal. Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.
• They reported that though some amount of oxygen does exist • This discovery was made by Professor Lewis Ashwal along
in the Bay of Bengal, the concentrations are lesser than that with his colleagues while studying the breakup process
what standard techniques could detect. The area, estimated of the continents to develop a better understanding of the
to be around 60000 square km, is reported to contain little or geological history of the planet.
no oxygen. • The continent is supposedly a leftover piece from the ancient
supercontinent Gondwana, which broke apart about 200 million
years ago, leading to the creation of landmasses that are
recognised today as Africa, Antarctica, Australia, the Arabian
Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and the South America.
• The lost continent seems to be a tiny part of the ancient
continent that broke off from the island of Madagascar when
the other parts broke off and formed the Indian Ocean.
• While studying the mineral zircon, which is generally found
in rocks thrown up by lava during volcanic eruptions, the
researchers found that the remnants of this mineral date
back to almost three billion years, which is too old to belong
to Mauritius, as the island has no rock older than nine million
years old.

Note
• The oxygen level is stated to be around 10000 times lesser Zircons are minerals that are generally found in granites
than the amount found in the air-saturated surface waters. The from the continents and contain traces of uranium, lead
microbes present in the Bay of Bengal are in fact capable of and thorium. They survive geological process very well and
removing all the nitrogen from the water but traces of oxygen therefore comprise a rich record of geological processes and
stop them from doing so. can be dated accurately.
• The area is also said to host microorganisms, which remove
a large amount of nitrogen from the ocean. Though there
is some evidence of nitrogen-removing microorganisms GJ 536 b: Super-Earth orbiting around red
existing in other well-known dead zones well, they are dwarf star discovered
reported to work at a much slower rate. The complete • A team of scientists led by Alejandro Suarez Mascareno from
removal of nitrogen could affect the nitrogen balance in the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) has discovered
marine life and also the rate of their productivity. a super-Earth orbiting around a red dwarf star which is at
32.7 light years away. The planet was detected in a joint
effort between the IAC and the Geneva Observatory.
About Dead Zones • The research was carried out using the HARPS (High
• Dead zones are large areas in the ocean that have low Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Seeker) spectrograph on the
oxygen concentration.  The marine life in these areas 3.6M ESO Telescope at La Silla in Chile.
mostly suffocates and dies or if they are mobile like the
fish, then they leave the area. 
  Planets that are up to 15 times the mass of
• Dead zones can be found in virtually every oceanic
body including Baltic Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Western
Earth, classified as super-Earths. 
coasts of North and South America, Coast of Namibia • This exoplanet is named as GJ 536 b. It is around 5.4
and Western coast of India. times the mass of Earth and has a short orbit period of just
8.7 days.  It can be observed from both the Northern and
Southern Hemispheres.
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Sunway TaihuLight declared as world's fastest Chandrabhaga: A Lost Ancient River found in
supercomputer Odisha
• Sunway TaihuLight of China has been declared as the world’s • Scientists from Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur)
fastest supercomputer in the latest edition of the semi-annual claimed to have found evidence confirming the existence of
TOP500 Supercomputer list. a mythical Indian river, Chandrabhaga.
• It is the eighth time in a row that a Chinese-made computer
has been topped the list. It is also the first time a Chinese
supercomputer has won without any U.S. processors or
technology.

• The ancient river is said to have flowed about 2 kilometers


away from the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, a UNESCO
• The TOP500 list is considered one of the most authoritative world heritage site, built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern
rankings of the world’s supercomputers. It is compiled on Ganga Dynasty in 1255 CE.
the basis of the machines’ performance on the LINPACK • The river holds an important position in ancient Indian
benchmark by experts from U.S. and Germany. literature as most mythical stories around Konark including
• Sunway TaihuLight is designed by the National Research pictorial presentations like palm-leaf drawings, sketches and
Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology. old photographs indicate towards its presence close to the
temple.
• It is located at the National Supercomputing Center in the
city of Wuxi, in Jiangsu province, China. • Scientists used images from US satellites- Landsat and
Terra and from NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour’s ‘Radar
• It is capable of performing 93 million-billion calculations per
Topography Mission’.
second, which is almost three times as fast as the second-
• These satellite images and Google Earth images together
ranked Tianhe-2.
combined showed a ‘sinusoidal’ trace, characteristic of
a typical palaeochannel passing north of the Sun Temple,
Top 5 Rankings of Supercomputers as per TOP500 list
extending approximately parallel to the coast.
Rank Name Country Rmax (PFLOPS)
1 Sunway TaihuLight China 93 Note
2 Tianhe-2 China 33.863 The term Palaeochannel means remains of an inactive river/
stream, which has been either filled or buried by younger
3 Titan U.S. 17.590
sediment. According to scientists, palaeochannel is
4 Sequoia U.S. 17.173 characterized by swampy lands covered with water hyacinth
5 Cori U.S. 14 plants.

Note
Scientists from Israel created world’s first
The performance of supercomputer is measured in water-wave laser
PFLOPS (petaflop per seconds, i.e., quadrillions of • The researchers from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
calculations per second) on the LINPACK  Benchmarks. led by Professor Tal Carmon, have created the world’s first
The LINPACK Benchmarks are a measure of a system's floating ‘water-wave laser’ that emits a beam through the interaction
point computing power. of light and water waves.
Science & Technology
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• The researchers had created a device in which an optical • It is a decentralized database, or “digital ledger”, of
fibre delivers light into a tiny droplet of water and octane. transactions that everyone on the network can see.
The energy is emitted by the droplet when light waves and • Each digital record or transaction in the thread is called
water waves pass through each other many times (about one a block (hence the name), and it allows either an open or
million times) inside the droplet. controlled set of users to participate in the electronic ledger.
• This water-wave laser may be used in ‘lab-on-a-chip’ • Each transaction is recorded in the ledger after verification
devices to study cell biology and test new drug therapies. It by the network participants, mainly a chain of computers,
can be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound called nodes.
waves and water waves. Besides, it also offers scientists an • Blockchain can only be updated by consensus between
opportunity for studying the interaction of light and fluid at a participants in the system, and when new data is entered, it
smaller scale. can never be erased.

Do You Konw? What are the benefits?


• It becomes very useful when there is a lot of data that is
A typical laser can be created when the electrons in atoms shared across multiple parties with no trust mechanism
become excited by energy absorbed from an outside source among the participants.
causing them to emit radiation in the form of laser light.
• Blockchain eliminates huge amounts of recordkeeping,
which can get very confusing when there are multiple parties
involved in a transaction.
RBI to develop Blockchain Technology based
platform What are its application?
• The Institute for Development and Research in Banking • Blockchain is the backbone technology on which bitcoins
Technology (IDRBT), an arm of the Reserve Bank of India run.
(RBI), is developing a model platform for blockchain • But bitcoin is just one of the applications for the technology,
technology. whose use is being tested across industries. It is witnessing
• Currently, most people use a trusted middleman such a lot of traction within India, in sectors such as banking and
as a bank to make a transaction. But blockchain allows insurance.
consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the
need for a third party.
Cassini–Huygens Mission Ended
About Blockchain Technology • The Cassini–Huygens mission ended on September 15,
2017 when Cassini was commanded to fly into Saturn's
upper atmosphere and burn up. It was launched in 1997.
• Its objective was to send a probe to study the planet Saturn
and its system, including its rings and natural satellites.
Cassini was the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the
first to enter its orbit.

About Mission
• The Cassini–Huygens mission commonly called Cassini, was
a collaboration between
w NASA,
w European Space Agency (ESA) and
w Italian Space Agency (ASI).
• It comprised NASA's Cassini probe, and ESA's Huygens
lander which would landed on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.
The craft were named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and
Christiaan Huygens.
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Government launches Cyber Swachhta Kendra UK became the First country to approve
in New Delhi 3-parent technique
• The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology • United Kingdom became the first country in the world to
(MeitY) launched Cyber Swachhta Kendra, a new desktop approve the 3-parent technique. A 3-parent baby to contain
and mobile security solution for a secure cyber space in the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from three persons. This
country. The new solution will notify, enable cleaning and technique allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have
secure systems of end-users to prevent further infections. healthy babies by replacing a mother's faulty mitochondrial
The centre is operated by the Indian Computer Emergency DNA (mDNA) with another woman's mDNA.
Response Team (CERT-In).
• In this technique, Mitochondria are structures in cells which
• These Kendras will work in coordination with the internet
generate vital energy and contain their own set of genes called
service providers (ISPs) and industries. Besides, these
mDNA.
Kendra will also enhance awareness among citizens
• The technique involves in vitro fertilization of both the mother's
regarding botnet and malware infection along with measures
to be taken to secure their devices. egg and a donor's egg with the father's sperm. Before these
two fertilised eggs begin dividing into an embryo, the unhealthy
• The Cyber Swachhta Kendra is part of the government of
mother’s egg nucleus is replaced with egg's nucleus of a
India’s Digital India initiative under the Ministry of Electronics
healthy donor.
and Information Technology (MeitY). Besides, three citizens
oriented tools were also launched. They are • As Mitochondrial diseases are passed through the mother
USB Pratirodh: It is a desktop security solution to protect from and cause symptoms ranging from poor vision to diabetes
USB mass storage device threats. and muscle wasting.This gives the doctors with a fertilised
egg with a healthy donor mitochondria and the mother's DNA
M-Kavach: It is an indigenously developed mobile application
to address the security threats in mobiles. in the nucleus.This fertilised egg with the donor’s healthy
mitochondria will be implanted in the mother’s uterus.
App Samvid: It aims to protect systems by preventing threats
from malicious applications and allowing installation through Possible Consequences
white listing.
• The technique has been criticised because of the ethical
dimensions involved in the process.
About  CERT-In • Some of the biologists argue that the technique involves
the destruction of life. They maintain that the technique
Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)
is not foolproof as it is not sure that every fertilised egg
is a government mandated nodal agency for information
is healthy. Hence, the undesirable eggs are destroyed
technology (IT) security, established in 2004 under the
before they reach the mother’s womb.
aegis of Department of Information Technology , Ministry
of Electronics and IT. • There are apprehensions among the scientific community
that the technique may open the way to creation of
It has been designated under Section 70B of Information designer babies. A designer baby is a genetically
Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 to serve as the national engineered baby with specially selected traits such as
agency to perform the following functions in the area of gender, appearance, intelligence, etc.
cyber security: • Though the designer baby technology is aimed at
• Collection, analysis and dissemination of information on developing a healthy human being, it is vulnerable to
cyber incidents. misuse with far-reaching social, economic and political
• Forecast and alerts of cyber security incidents. consequences.
• Emergency measures for handling cyber security
incidents. Note
• Coordination of cyber incident response activities.
• Issue guidelines, advisories, vulnerability notes and The first baby with this technique was born in Mexico in
whitepapers relating to information security practices, September 2016. But the country has no explicit legal stance
procedures, prevention, response and reporting of cyber on this issue so far.
incidents.
Science & Technology
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VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) Qubits:


VoLTE is a technology update to the LTE protocol used by • Just as a bit is a basic unit information in the digital world,
mobile phone networks. a quantum bit a.k.a. qubit (pronounced “cue bit”) is a unit of
information in the quantum world.
Issues with LTE • A digital bit can be either a 0 or a 1, but a qubit can also be both
• Under LTE, the infrastructure of telecom players only allows 0 and 1 at the same time (a property called superposition).
transmission of data while voice calls are routed to their older • Following two principles enables quantum computers to
2G or 3G networks. Thus, under LTE, one can’t access his/ manipulate enormous combinations of states at once.
her 4G data services while on a call. w Superposition of states.
• This leads to problem of slow internet speeds and poor voice w Entanglement.
clarity.
Entanglement
Working of VoLTE • It is an extremely strong correlation that exists between
quantum particles — so strong, in fact, that two or more
• VoLTE is an Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
quantum particles can be inextricably linked in perfect
specification which enables a variety of services to operate
unison, even if separated by great distances.
seamlessly on the network rather than having to switch to
different applications for voice or video.
Superimposition
• It allows voice calls to be ‘packaged’ and carried through
• It means the ability of a quantum system to be in multiple
LTE networks. This would mean 4G data accessibility even
states at the same time — that is, something can be “here”
during calls.
and “there,” or “up” and “down” at the same time.

Benefits • Because of superposition, a phenomenon known as


“Quantum Parallelism” allows exponentially many such
• Call quality is superior to 3G or 2G connections as far more
computations to take place simultaneously, thus vastly
data can be transferred over 4G than 2G or 3G.
increasing the speed of computation.
• Once on VoLTE, users will receive a new set Rich
Communication Services (RCS) which include video calling, Benefits and Applications
file transfer, real time language translation and voice mail
They run faster, can process a vast number of calculations
services.
simultaneously and can do intensive number-crunching tasks
• Connecting calls will be much faster than it is today.
much more efficiently than the fastest comparable computers.
• VoLTE services offer much-improved battery life compared These are the most important applications currently known:
with using an over-the-top Voice over IP service such as
• Cryptography: perfectly secure communication.
Skype.
• Searching, especially algorithmic searching (Grover's
Note: In India, Jio was the first player to offer VoLTE services algorithm).
followed by Airtel, which has launched its VoLTE services in • Factorising large numbers very rapidly (Shor's algorithm).
Mumbai in September 2017. • Simulating quantum-mechanical systems efficiently.

Quantum Computing Internet of Things (IoT)


• Quantum computing means storing and processing • The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated
information using individual atoms, ions, electrons, or computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects,
photons. animals or people that are provided with  identifiers and the
• It involves application of quantum Physics to computer ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-
science. to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
• Quantum physics is the branch of physics that deals with the • The Internet of Things can be a person with a heart monitor
world of atoms and the smaller (subatomic) particles inside implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an
them. automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire
• A quantum computer does not operate on bits (values either pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that
0 or 1), but instead on quantum bits, a.k.a. qubits. can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to
transfer data over a network. 
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Big Data
• Big Data is a term that describes the large volume of data Miscellaneous
both structured and unstructured that overruns a business on
• NASA has launched world’s lightest satellite ‘KalamSat’
a day-to-day basis. It describes any voluminous amount of
weighing only 64 grams designed by 18-year-old boy
structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the
Rifath Sharook from Tamil Nadu. The tiny satellite has
potential to be mined for information.
been named after the former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
• It can be characterized by 3Vs: the extreme volume of data,
KalamSat is a 3-D printed satellite. This is the first time that
the wide variety of types of data and the velocity at which the
3-D printing technology is used to make satellites.
data must be processed.
• Big data usually includes data sets with sizes beyond the • The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services
ability of commonly used software tools to capture, curate, (INCOIS) of the Ministry of Earth Sciences inaugurated the
manage, and process data within a tolerable elapsed time. Ocean Forecasting System for Indian Ocean countries
Comoros, Madagascar, and Mozambique. It was unveiled
at the third Ministerial Meeting of Regional Integrated
Net Neutrality Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Asia and Africa
• Net neutrality is the principle that individuals should be free
(RIMES) held at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
to access all content and applications equally, regardless of
The Ocean Forecast System will offer, high wave alerts,
the source, without internet service providers discriminating
port warnings, forecast, oil spill advisory services along
against specific online services or websites.
the ship routes in addition to tsunami and storm surge
• In other words, Net neutrality (also known as network neutrality)
warnings and help in search and rescue operations.
is the principle that Internet service providers and governments
INCOIS has been developing Ocean Forecast System
should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating
for the Indian Ocean countries and already has provided
or charging differentially by user, content, site, etc.
these operational services to Maldives, Sri Lanka and
Seychelles.
Light Fidelity Technology (Li-Fi) • Indian scientists have discovered Nasikabatrachus
• Light Fidelity (LiFi) is a bidirectional technology that uses light bhupathi, a new species soiled-dwelling species of
emitting diodes (LEDs) to transmit data wirelessly.  It was first purple frog that has a snout-shaped nose, just like a pig
demonstrated in 2011 by German physicist Harald Haas. in Western Ghats. It has been named after the Indian
• Li-Fi uses LEDs and visible light band range between 400 and herpetologist S. Bhupathy.
800 THz (780–375 nm) of the electromagnetic spectrum to The discovery is significant as it constitutes additional
transmit data wirelessly as an alternative to short-range radio. evidence in favour of the continental drift theory. The
• In this, the LED bulbs are attached with a chip; and the output Purple frog is inhabitant of Seychelles, and discovery of
intensity of light from the bulb is modulated at nanosecond Nasikabatrachus bhupathi in India suggests that Indian
intervals to generate stream of binary codes (bit 1, if light is on, subcontinent was part of ancient landmass of Gondwana
or bit 0, if light is off). A light-sensitive receiver in the receiving before splitting from Seychelles 65 million years ago.
device detects the signals and the signal is demodulated into • Scientists in the United Kingdom (UK) have developed the
electronic form. world’s smallest surgical robot called Versius. The robot
• The technology enables to transmit data at terabytes per can mimic human arm and can be used to carry out a
second speeds that is more than 100 times the speed of Wi-Fi. wide range of surgical procedures. It can be controlled by
The technology offer solutions to overcome the problems of a surgeon using a console guided by a 3D screen in the
capacity limit and inefficiency in using Wi-Fi. operating theatre.
• In Wi-Fi, the base stations transmitting radio waves works at • Software giant Microsoft has launched Project Brainwave,
about 5% efficiency only and most of the energy is used to a deep learning acceleration platform for real-time artificial
cool the stations whereas Li-Fi works by using energy-efficient intelligence (AI). This system architecture reduces latency,
LED bulbs. since its Central Processing Unit (CPU) does not need to
process incoming requests.
• By using the Li-Fi technology, every LED bulb in a house or office
can be converted as a hotspot to transmit data. The technology The system has been architected to yield high actual
can also be usable with street and traffic lights. Besides, traffic performance across a wide range of complex models, with
management can also be made simple by converting traffic batch-free execution. It can handle complex, memory-
lights into Li-Fi based access points. Similarly, street lights can intensive models such as Long Short Term Memories
also be converted as wireless hotspots for data transmission. (LSTM), without using batching to juice throughput.
4
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Chapter Defence in News

Project Yash Vidya initiated


Defence Procurement Fund to be created • Indian army has signed an MoU with Yashwantrao Chavan
• Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on defence Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU), Nasik on Project
in its latest report has asked the Ministry of Finance Yash Vidya.
(MoF) to create a “non-lapsable capital fund for defence • Under this, the university has designed a Bachelor’s degree
procurements” in consultation with the Ministry of Programme for the Army Personnel.
Defence (MoD). • Personnel completing it will be awarded a Diploma in Self-
Empowerment and a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts or Commerce
• The MoD had sought an 'in-principle' approval of MoF for by the university. This will enable them with academic
creating such a fund with the objective of preventing the qualifications for better future.
unspent amount in a financial year from being returned to
the MoF because defence purchases generally tend to India’s First Private Sector Small Arms
have long procurement cycles. Manufacturing Plant Inaugurated
• According to recent report of PSC, MoD is no longer • India's first private sector small arms manufacturing plant
seeking the fund because of following reasons: has been inaugurated in Madhya Pradesh which will supply
world class weapons to the armed forces in sync with the
w The limited utility of such a fund.
country's defence indigenization programme.
w Rules governing its creation which state that the
• The plant, a joint venture between India's Punj Lloyd and
Government should have surplus funds (which is not
Israel Weapon Systems, will produce four products – X95
so in the prevailing fiscal situation).
carbine and assault rifle, Galil sniper rifle, Tavor assault rifle
w Assurance from the MoF for additional funds. and Negev Light Machine Gun (LMG).
• India is the largest buyer of Israel's military hardware and the
latter has been supplying various weapon systems, missiles
Union Government approved Defence
and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years.
Innovation Fund (DIF) • The joint venture company, Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems,
• Union Government informed Parliament that it has
will help the armed forces replace their weapons with
approved a scheme of Defence Innovation Fund (DIF).
sophisticated and high precision products, boosting Make in
• The fund has objective to provide funding to R&D India campaign.
institutes industry and even individual innovators to carry
out innovative development in Defence.
Strategic Forces Command Joint operational
• The implementing agency of this fund will be Defence
doctrine for Tri-Services unveiled
Innovation Organisation (DIO).
• A joint doctrine providing for deeper operational synergies
among the Army, Navy and Air Force was recently unveiled
About  DIO with an aim coherently deal with all possible security threats
facing India including conventional and proxy wars.
• It is a ‘not for profit’ company registered under
section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. • The document listed a range of security threats facing the
country including transnational threats, proxy war in Jammu
• It would be funded by two Defence Public Sector
and Kashmir and left-wing extremism in various parts of the
Undertakings (DPSUs), namely Hindustan
country and indicated that surgical strikes could be a key
Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics
feature in counter-terror operations.
Limited (BEL).
• The response to terror provocations could be in the form of
• Headquaters: Bengaluru.
'surgical strikes' and these would be subsumed in the sub-
conventional portion of the spectrum of armed conflict.
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• The joint doctrine proposes joint training of personnel,
unified command and control structure besides pushing for
a tri-service approach for modernization of the three forces.
• The doctrine will facilitate establishment of a broad
framework of concepts and principles for joint planning
and conduct of operations across all the domains such
as land, air, sea, space and cyber-space. The doctrine
mandates the steps initiated for establishment of the
'Defence Cyber Agency', 'Defence Space Agency' and
'Special Operations Division'
• According to it, the Special Forces operations will be
conducted by specially selected troops of the Army, Navy
and Air Force who are trained, equipped and organized to
operate in hostile territory in all dimensions - land, air and
sea.
• The doctrine talks about the coordination with relevant
agencies like RAW, Intelligence Bureau and Intelligence
organizations of the para-military forces as part of the Joint
Intelligence Committee under the National Security Adviser,
is an imperative to the intelligence structure. About SIPRI
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
About Strategic Forces Command (SFC)
is an international institute based in Stockholm, Sweden,
The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) sometimes called dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms
Strategic Nuclear Command, forms part of India’s Nuclear control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI
Command Authority (NCA). It is responsible for the provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on
management and administration of the country’s tactical open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the
and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile. It was created on interested public.
January 4, 2003.

Reliance Defence signs warship repair pact


India becomes world’s fifth largest military with US Navy
spender • Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd signed an agreement
• India's military expenditure grew around 8.5 per cent in 2016, with the US Navy for undertaking service, maintenance and
making it the world's fifth largest spender at $55.9 billion, repair of Seventh Fleet of US Navy at the Reliance Shipyard
according to figures released by the Stockholm International at Pipavav in Gujarat.
Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). India’s military spending • This is for the first time that an Indian shipyard has been
has averaged an annual increase of 10% during the past selected by the US Navy for repair and maintenance work.
three years. • The deal follows a logistics pact signed on 30 August 2016
• The US remains the world's largest military spender between India and US called LEMOA.
registering a growth of 1.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016
to $611 billion. China is second on the list spending $215 About LEMOA
billion, an increase of 5.4 per cent. Interestingly, Pakistan • The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
did not figure in the list of top 15 spenders and it spent $9.93 (LEMOA) is a tweaked India-specific version of the
billion. logistics support agreement (LSA), which the US has
• Total global military expenditure in 2016 rose by 0.4% over with several countries for military to military co-operation.
2015 in real terms, according to the new figures from SIPRI. • LEMOA gives access to both countries, to designated
military facilities on either side for the purpose of
• Military expenditure in Western Europe has increased for the
refueling and replenishment. It does not provide for the
second consecutive year. Falling oil revenue forced many
establishment of any bases.
oil-exporting countries to reduce military spending.
Defence in News
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China Successfully tested 5th-generation Women to be inducted in Corps of Military


fighter jet FC-31 Gyrfalcon Police (CMP)
• China has recently successfully tested the latest version of • Indian Army announced the decision to admit 800 women
its fifth-generation stealth fighter jet J-31; renamed as the FC- into the Corps of Military Police in non-officer ranks over the
31 Gyrfalcon. It has stealth capabilities, improved electronic next few years. It is the military police of the Indian Army.
equipment and a larger payload capacity. It is manufactured • Their key task is Policing the Cantonments and Army
by Shenyang Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of the Aviation Establishments. It is also trained to handle prisoners of
Industry Corp of China (AVIC). war, regulate traffic and handle basic telecommunication
equipment such as telephone exchanges.
  At this time, US F-35 is the world’s most • They can be identified by their red berets and white belts.
technically advanced fighter plane.  They also wear a black brassard with the letters MP imprinted
in red.
• The First section of Indian Corps of Military Police was raised
Key Features of FC-31 Gyrfalcon in 1939 during the World War 2.
• FC-31 Gyrfalcon has a maximum take-off weight of 28 metric
tons, flight radius of 1,250 km, and top speed of Mach 1.8 (i.e. List of Important Indian Defence Exercises
1.8 times the speed of sound).
• It can easily carry 8 tons of weapons, hold six missiles in its Exercise Name Partner Country Force
internal weapons bay, plus another six under its wings.
 Malabar United States Naval
• It also has been equipped with an electro-optical targeting
 Yudh Abhyas United States Army
system and helmet-mounted display.
 Red Flag United States Air force

Russia and India signed defence deal on S-400  Varuna France Naval
Air Defence Systems  Ajeya Warrior United kingdom Army
 Garuda Shakti Indonesia Army
 Indra Dhanush United Kingdom Air Force
 Nomadic Elephant Managolia Military
 Hand In Hand China Military
 Mitra Shakti Sri Lanka Army
Slinex Sri Lanka Navy
 Simbex Singapore Navy
 Maitree Thailand Military
Indra Russia Army
• India and Russia have signed a defence deal worth nearly Rs
39,000 crore to purchase five state of the art S-400 ‘Triumf’ Ausindex Australia Maritime
air defence systems.
Khanjar Kyrgyzstan Naval
• Besides, India also announced to collaborate in making
four stealth frigates and setting up a joint production facility Konkan UK Naval
for making Kamov helicopters under Make in India project. Surya Kiran Nepal Army
Moreover, India and Russia will built four stealth frigates
Ekuverin Maldives Military
which are to be improved versions of Krivak or Talwar class
stealth frigates. Two frigates will be built in Russia and other Sahyog Kaijin Japan Coast Guards
two will be constructed at an Indian shipyard with Russian IBSAMAR South Africa , Brazil Naval
cooperation.
LAMITYE Seychelles Military
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Recently Launched/Commissioned/Decommissioned Defence Equipment

Particulars Descriptions
Tejas
• Tejas is the world’s smallest, light weight, multi-role combat aircraft in its
class amongst modern supersonic aircraft.
• It is a single seat, single jet engine developed by Hindustan Aeronautics
Limited for the Indian Navy and the Air Force. The aircraft has delta wing
configuration, with no tailplanes or foreplanes, features a single vertical
fin.
• This Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is constructed of aluminum-lithium alloys,
carbon-fiber composites, and titanium. LCA integrates modern design
concepts and the state-of-art technologies such as relaxed static stability,
fly-by-wire Flight Control System, Advanced Digital Cockpit, etc.

Advanced Area Defence (AAD)


• AAD is a an endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming
targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 km.
• The weapon system radars track the target and provide the initial guidance
to the interceptor which could precisely home on to the target and destroy it
in endo-atmospheric layer.
• The engagement and destruction can be tracked by a number of electro-optical
tracking systems using infrared imagery. Radars and telemetry stations track the
target and the intercept till the destruction of the target.

BrahMos
• The Brahmos is a supersonic cruise missile developed by a joint-venture
between Russia’s Mashinostroyenia and India’s Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO).
• It operates on ‘fire and forget principle’ and is capable of being launched
from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land targets. It is capable of
carrying a warhead of 300 kilogram and has top supersonic speed of Mach 2.8
to 3 (that is roughly three times the speed of sound).
• It is a two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet
liquid propellant. It is hailed as the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in
operation.

Swathi • Swathi is a Weapon Locating Radar (WLR). It has been developed by Defence
Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
• It provides fast, automatic and accurate location of all enemy weapons like
mortars, shells and rockets firing within its effective zone of coverage and
simultaneously handles multiple projectiles fired from different weapons at
different locations.
• The system is capable of adjusting the fire of its own artillery weapon
also. The weapon includes 81 mm, 105 mm, 120 mm or higher calibre
free flying rockets. Thus, WLR has two roles to perform i.e. Weapon
Location Mode for enemy artillery and Direction of Own Artillery Fire
(DOOAF) Mode for own artillery.
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INS Viraat • The world’s oldest serving aircraft carrier INS Viraat was decommissioned by
the Indian Navy at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, Maharashtra, after nearly six
decades of service.
• INS Viraat holds Guinness Books of record of being the longest serving
warship in the world. Also, it was the last serving British-built ship in the
country. It was originally commissioned by the British Navy as HMS Hermes
on November 18, 1959.
• It was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1987. It had played a major
role in Operation Jupiter in 1989 in the Sri Lankan peace keeping operation.
It also had participated in the standoff Operation Parakram in 2001-20012
when India and Pakistan were engaged in a standoff post the Parliament
terror attack.
SAAW • Recently, the Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) has
successfully flight tested Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from Indian Air
Force (IAF) aircraft at integrated test range in Chandipur, Odisha.
• SAAW is an indigenously designed and developed 120 kilogram class smart
weapon which is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up
to a range of 100 kms. It is one of the world class weapons systems that can
be used to destroy runways, aircraft hangers, bunkers and other reinforced
structures.

Agni-V • Agni-V is three-stage solid propellant Intercontinental ballistic missile


(ICBM) indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO). Unlike other missiles of Agni series, Agni-5 is the most
advanced having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation
and guidance, warhead and engine.
• Once this missile is inducted in service, India will join the exclusive club of
countries having ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000 - 5,500km) along
with the US, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.
• It is about 17 metre long, 2 metre wide and has launch weight of around 50
tonnes. It is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 kilometres with nuclear
warhead carrying capacity of more than 1 tonne. Thus, it has hitting range of
most northern parts of China and other parts of Asia, Europe and Africa.
• It carries Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV)
payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads
at different targets. It also incorporates advanced technologies involving ring
laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.
Rustom-II • RUSTOM–II is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle (UAV) which weighs two tonnes. It is multi-mission UAV which can
conduct Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the armed
forces. It has an endurance of 24 hours.
• It can also be used as an unmanned armed combat. It is capable to carry
different combinations of payloads like Medium Range Electro Optic (MREO),
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Long Range Electro Optic (LREO).
• It can also carry Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence
(COMINT) and Situational Awareness Payloads (SAP) to perform missions
during day and night.
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Netra
• The IAF has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early
Warning and Control System (AEW&C), Netra, which has been developed by
the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
• It will detect and track aircraft, missiles, ships and vehicles, and provide
command and control to direct friendly forces.
• It consists of active electronically scanned radar, secondary surveillance
radar, electronic and communication countermeasures, LOS (Line of
Sight) and beyond-LOS data link, voice communication system.
• With this India, joins group of other countries such as United States, Russia and
Israel which have developed the AEW&C system.

Arihant
• INS Arihant is nuclear submarine capable of carrying nuclear tipped ballistic
missiles. Thus it belongs to class referred to as Ship Submersible Ballistic
Nuclear (SSBN). Its design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine.
• INS Arihant weighs 6000 tonnes and is 112 metre long.
• It is powered by 83 MW pressurised light water nuclear reactor with enriched
uranium fuel.
• It will be armed with the K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km. Later it
will be armed with much longer range K-4 missiles (3,500 km range) currently
being developed by DRDO.

Ayush
• Indian Coast Guard Ship Ayush is the last in the series of 20 Fast Patrol
Vessels (FPVs), designed and indigenously built by Cochin Shipyard
Limited. FPVs are intended to help secure Indian waters by patrolling within
the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and help in fisheries protection.
• ICGS Ayush is equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry, communication
and navigational equipment. The ship is an ideal platform for undertaking
multifarious close-coast missions like surveillance, search and rescue,
interdiction and maritime law enforcement.
• The special features of the ship include an integrated bridge system (IBS),
machinery control system (MCS) and an indigenously built gun mount with
fire control system.

Astra
• It is an active radar homing (ARH) beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile
(BVRAAM). It has been developed by the Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO).
• Range: It is capable of engaging targets at varying range i.e. short-range
targets (up to 20 km) as well as long-range targets (up to 80–110 km).
• Active radar homing (ARH) is a missile guidance method in which a missile
contains a radar transceiver (in contrast to semi-active radar homing, which
uses only a receiver) and the electronics necessary for it to find and track its
target autonomously.
• BVRAAM is capable of engaging at ranges of 37 km or beyond. It is achieved
using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer
motor.
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Nag
• Nag is India’s indigenously developed 3rd generation Anti Tank Guided
Missile (ATGM). It works on "fire-and-forget" principle.
• It is one of the five missile systems developed by the DRDO under the
Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
• NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier) is a tank destroyer built for the army.

Dhruv
• Dhruv is a utility helicopter development and manufactured by Hindustan
Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). It is designed to meet the requirement of both military
and civil operations.
• Dhruv has been indigenously designed and developed by the HAL and is
powered by the Shakti engine jointly developed with Turbomeca of France.
• There are more than 200 of these helicopters in service with the armed forces.
• Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has signed a contract for 41 indigenously
developed Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALHs) for the Army and Navy.

Muntra
• The DRDO has rolled out Muntra, India's first unmaned remotely operated
tank.
• It has been launched in three variants namely: Muntra-S, Muntra-M, Muntra-N
for surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear
and biological threat respectively.
• It is also likely to be used in Naxal-hit areas.

INS Kiltan
• Indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette INS Kiltan was
commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Eastern Naval Command (Naval
Dockyard) in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
• It is India’s first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fibre
composite material resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight
and maintenance costs. The ship is well equipped to fight in Nuclear,
Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions.
• It is third of four Kamorta-class corvettes being built under Project 28.
• It is also first major warship to have undertaken sea trials of all major weapons
and sensors as a pilot project.
• The stealth corvette derives its name from one of islands in Aminidivi group of
strategically located Lakshadweep and Minicoy group of islands.
5
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Chapter Environment & Wildlife

Uninhabited Lakshadweep island Parali-I


NGT declares close vicinity of Ganga as No- vanishes
development Zone
• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has declared ‘No-
Development Zone’ along an area of 100 meters from
the edge of the Ganga river in the stretch between
Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Unnao (Uttar Pradesh).
• The Green Court has also banned dumping of waste of any
kind within 500 meters from the edge of River Ganga.
• In addition, Rs. 50,000 environment compensation will
be imposed on anyone who dumps waste in the river.
• The NGT also directed all authorities concerned to
complete various projects including setting up of a
sewage treatment plant and cleaning drains within two
years.
• Parali-I, the one of the biodiversity-rich uninhabited islands
of Lakshadweep has vanished due to coastal erosion and
About  National Green Tribunal (NGT) another four such territories in the sea are shrinking fast,
• The National Green Tribunal was established under claims a new study.
the National Green Tribunal Act 2010, for effective • The affected five uninhabited islands namely Parali I, II and
and expeditious disposal of cases relating to III, Bangaram and Thinnakara are the part of 36 islands of
environmental protection and conservation of Lakshadweep.
forests and other natural resources • The assessment related to geo-morphological changes
• Principal Bench of the NGT has been established in associated with each island for period of 45 years was
the New Delhi, with regional benches in Pune, Bhopal, carried out using geospatial techniques such as Remote
Chennai and Kolkata. Each Bench has a specified Sensing system and Geographic Information System (GIS)
geographical jurisdiction covering several States in a to confirm the claim.
region. • The detailed study has recommended a bio protection
• The Chairperson of the NGT is a retired Judge of strategy using mangroves, in addition to the conventional
the Supreme Court. Other Judicial members are physical protection measures from coastal erosion.
retired Judges of High Courts. Each bench of the • Due to increase in global temperature the sea level is rising,
NGT will comprise of at least one Judicial Member as a result islands and coastal areas are facing erosion and
and one Expert Member. Expert members should inundation.
have a professional qualification and a minimum
of 15 years’ experience in the field of environment/
forest conservation and related subjects. Largest volcanic region on Earth found in
• NGT has not been vested with powers to hear Antarctica
any matter relating to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, • Recently, researchers from the University of Edinburgh
1972, the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and various in Britain have discovered the largest volcanic region on
laws enacted by States relating to forests, tree Earth, two km below the surface of the vast ice sheet in west
preservation etc. Antarctica. This West Antarctic rift system now consists of 91
• The present Chairperson of NGT is Justice (Retd.) previously unknown active volcanoes, addition to the exiting
Swatanter Kumar. 47 volcanoes that were discovered earlier.
Environment and Wildlife
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• Their height ranges from 100 to 3,850 meters. India ratifies 2nd commitment period of Kyoto
• The West  Antarctic rift system stretches 3,500 km from Protocol
Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula. • India has recently ratified the second commitment period
(2013- 2020) of the Kyoto Protocol that commits countries to
contain the emission of Greenhouse gases (GHGs). In this
regard, India deposited its Instrument of Acceptance of the
Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.
• With this, India became the 80th country to ratify the second
commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

About  Kyoto Protocol


• The Kyoto Protocol is an international greenhouse gases
emissions reduction treaty linked to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

• It commits its Parties by setting internationally binding


GHGs emission reduction targets. It was adopted in
Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 and entered into force in 2005.

• Kyoto Protocol places obligations on developed nations


to undertake mitigation targets to reduce emissions
and provide financial resources and technology to
developing nations.

• The first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol


was from 2008-2012.
• Before this discovery, East Africa’s volcanic ridge was rated • The amendment includes new commitments for parties
as the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world. to the Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a
• However, eruption of one of these volcanoes could further second commitment period and a revised list of GHGs
destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets. It all depends on to be reported on by Parties.
how active are these volcanoes, which needs to be determine
as quickly as possible. Do You Know?
India being a developing country has no mandatory mitigation
Government launches Gaj Yatra campaign to obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
protect elephants
• The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has launched
a nationwide campaign Gaj Yatra to protect elephants. It was Note:
launched on the occasion of World Elephant Day observed Andorra, Palestine, South Sudan, the United States and
on August 12. The campaign aims to create awareness Canada (withdrew in 2012) are the only UNFCCC Parties that
about elephant corridors to encourage free movement in are not part of the Kyoto Protocol.
their habitat.
• The campaign is planned to cover 12 elephant range states
across the country. It is 15 months campaign that will be led Snow leopard no longer endangered
by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). • The International Union for Conver-
• The ministry also released the All India Census 2017 vation of Nature (IUCN) has
Report on elephants and Agreed Points of Action on downgraded conservation status of
Trans-Boundary Conservation of Elephants by India and snow leopard from ‘endangered’ to
Bangladesh. ‘vulnerable’. However, serious threats
• The mascot of the campaign is ‘Gaju’, which was released by from poaching and habitat destruction
the Ministry in 2012. of the species remains. The snow
leopard was declared endangered in 1972.
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• It was changed after three-year assessment process by • It brings together experts from India and US to develop
international experts. technologies, tools and methods of forest management to
• Snow leopard (Scientific name: Panthera uncial) is a native meet technical challenges of managing forests for health of
to the mountain ranges of Himalayas, and Russia’s Altai ecosystem, biodiversity, carbon stocks and livelihood.
mountains. It inhabits in alpine and subalpine zones at
elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m. Remarks:
• It is threatened by poaching for their fur, habitat destruction Government is committed to increase forest cover from 24%
by infrastructure developments and climate change. to 33% of geographical area and creating an additional
carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in
Classification of Conservation status forests, as reflected in Internationally Nationally Determined
• Endangered Species: According to IUCN, species are Contributions (INDCs).
considered ‘endangered,’ if they are fewer than 2,500 and
experiencing high rate of decline.
• Vulnerable Species: Species are fewer than 10,000 and its
population has declined at least 10% over three generations.
NGT fixes norms for camping along Ganga
• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has prohibited all
camping activity on beaches along the Ganga which fall
Government launches Wood is Good within 100 meters from the middle of the river during lean
Campaign season flow from Shivpuri to Rishikesh, a hub for eco-tourism
and river rafting. The judgment came on a petition filed by
environment activist Vikrant Tongad who highlighted how
unregulated camping was leading to pollution in the river
and adjoining areas.

Key facts of the ruling


• NGT bench gave this rule by relying on various studies conducted
by the Uttarakhand government and the Wildlife Institute of India
(WII).
• It held that river rafting is one of the significant components of
eco-tourism, it needs to be encouraged but with a clear mandate
so that it does not cause any environmental and biodiversity
degradation.
• The portion of the identified beaches which majorly fall outside
• The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and
the restriction of 100 meters should alone be used for effective
Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched ‘Wood is Good
camping activity i.e. putting up of tents, providing of toilets and
Campaign’ under Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-
such other requirements of basic necessity.
Plus) programme. It was launched on sidelines of two-
• While the remaining part of the beach, should not be permitted
day conference on “Sustainable landscapes and forest
to be used for any effective activity except a casual use for the
ecosystems: Theory to Practice” in New Delhi.
purpose of walking and such activity which is not dependent
• The purpose of campaign is to promote wood as climate- upon requirement of any other permanent or temporary
friendly resource and substitute to materials like steel and infrastructure.
plastic as it is carbon neutral unlike others materials which
leave carbon footprint in their production.
Union Environment Ministry Launched
• Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus) is joint
Prakriti Khoj
programme of United States Agency for International
• Union Environment Ministry has recently launched ‘Prakriti
Development (USAID) and MoEFCC to strengthen capacity Khoj’. It is an online environmental quiz competition to
for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and be conducted at the national level with the objective of
Forest Degradation) implementation in India. generating interest among school children about the science
related to environment.
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• The quiz is planned in two phases.


w Phase 1: Under this, children of schools under the Nation- United States withdraws from Paris Climate
al Green Corps (NGC) programme of the Ministry will get Agreement
an opportunity to participate in this environmental quiz. • U.S. President Donald Trump announced that United
w Phase 2: After this, based on the feedback received from
States would be pulling out of the Paris Climate
the participants, the second phase of the quiz will be
Agreement.
open to students from all schools across the country in
the year 2018. • The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions
About National Green Corps (NGC) Programme mitigation, adaptation and finance.
• It was initiated by environment Ministry in 2001-02 for
• The language of the agreement was negotiated by
creating environmental awareness among children by
formulating “Eco-clubs” in schools across the country. representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference
of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by
• There are around 1,00,000 Eco-clubs across the
country, making it one of the largest conservation consensus on 12 December 2015.
networks, • As of June 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the
• In eco-clubs, students are involved in various kind of agreement, 148 of which have ratified it.
activities such as cleanliness drives, carrying out waste
segregation, composting using bio-degradable wastes, Salient features of the Paris Climate Agreement:
subsisting the concept of three R’s, viz, Reduce, Reuse • It calls for “holding the increase in the global average
and Recycle; Nukkad Nataks etc. temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to
1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Black Carbon (BC) may eject from Aeroplanes: • The agreement acknowledges “the importance of averting,
Study minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated
According to a study by a team of scientists from Indian Institute with the adverse effects of climate change. However, this
of Science (IISc) and ISRO, Aeroplanes may be ejecting provision “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability
significant amount of black carbon (BC).
or compensation,” as wealthy nations do not want to be held
financially liable for climate change, insisted on.
About  Black Carbon
• The agreement requires all countries to submit updated
• It is a solid form of mostly pure carbon.
plans for reducing their greenhouse gas pollution through
• It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil
2025 or 2030.
fuels, biofuel, and biomass
• The deal requires a global “stocktake” — an overall
• Properties:
assessment of how countries are doing in cutting their
w It absorbs solar radiation (light) at all wavelengths.
emissions compared to their national plans – starting in
It is the most strong light-absorbing component of
2023, every five years. The deal requires countries to
particulate matter (PM).
monitor, verify and report their greenhouse gas emissions
w Chemically, BC is a component of fine particulate
using the same global system.
matter (PM ≤ 2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter).
w BC stays in the atmosphere for only several days • The agreement sets up a “Capacity-Building Initiative
to weeks, whereas carbon dioxide (CO2) has an for Transparency” to help developing countries meet a
atmospheric lifetime of more than 100 years. new requirement that they regularly provide a national
• Impact: “inventory report” of human-caused emissions, by source,
and track their progress in meeting their national goals.
w It causes human morbidity and premature mortality.
w It is a climate forcing agent (i.e. a Forcing Agent that • The agreement, which takes effect in 2020, calls on
can cause Climate Change). It warms the Earth by nations to establish “a new collective quantified goal” of
absorbing sunlight. at least $100 billion a year in climate-related financing by
2020.
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Goa declares coconut palm as State Tree • The zooxanthellae convert sunlight into food, providing corals
• Goa government has passed an amendment restoring the with up to 90 per cent of their energy needs. They also give
coconut in the list of trees and also according it the status of corals much of their colour.
State tree. What is coral bleaching?
• In 2016, Goa government amended the Goa Daman and • Bleaching occurs when stressful conditions, such as heat,
Diu (Preservation of) Trees act 1984 to drop the tree status cause this relationship to break down, resulting in the corals
accorded to the coconut tree. By this it was considered as a expelling their zooxanthellae. This leaves the coral tissue
palm (grass) and thus no permission will be required by the mostly transparent, revealing the coral's bright white skeleton.
forest department before cutting a coconut tree. • This loss of their symbiotic algae means bleached corals are
• Coconut Development Board is a statutory body functioning essentially starving.
under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture,
Government of India. It came into existence in 1981, with its Are all bleached corals dead?
Headquarters at Kochi in Kerala. It was established for the • Bleached white corals are not dead. These corals are under
integrated development of coconut production and utilization. stress from unusually hot conditions.
• If the heat stress does not persist for too long, the corals can
recover and regain their colour. If the heat stress persists for a
Northernmost Corals of the World Bleached month or more, the stressed corals will eventually die and be
• According to researchers, about 30% of the coral reef off the covered in algae.
coast of Tsushima island in Japan (the world’s northernmost
coral reef) has suffered bleaching.
Supreme Court stayed Uttarakhand HC order
granting Human Status to Ganga & Yamuna rivers
• The Supreme Court recently stayed the Uttarakhand High
Cour's landmark judgement, giving the same rights to the
Ganga and Yamuna as those of living entities.
• It was for the first time any court in India recognized a non-
human as a living entity. The HC Division Bench gave a
landmark judgment while hearing a Public Interest Litigation
(PIL) petition filed in 2014.
• Ganga and Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams are declared
as legal persons or living persons in order to protect the
recognition and the faith of society. It means they will have
the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights,
duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve
and conserve them.
• Recognizing these rivers as a living entity, grants them new
legal identity and all rights laid out in the Constitution of India.
Thus, they have the right to be legally protected and not be
harmed and destroyed. Earlier in March 2017, New Zealand
Tsushima Island Parliament passed a bill declaring 145 km long Whanganui
• It is an island of the Japanese archipelago situated in the River as ‘legal person’, making it first River in the world to get
Korea Strait, approximately halfway between the Japanese this status.
mainland and the Korean Peninsula.
Importance
• At a latitude, it is located between Honshu (middle island) and
Kyushu (southern island) of the Japanese mainland • Recognising a river as a living entity means that if someone
pollutes it, the law will prescribe a punishment equal to harming
Corals and Coral Bleaching a human being.
What are corals? • Ganga Administration Board to be formed for its upkeep and
• Corals are animals which live in a symbiotic relationship with maintenance.
microscopic algae called zooxanthellae (which live within the Note: Earlier, the Allahabad High Court had ruled that 'Ram
coral tissue). Lalla' in Ayodhya was a Juristic person with legal rights.
Environment and Wildlife
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Government launches survey on Gangetic • The Bharat Stage standards, based on European regulations
were first introduced in 2000. Since then, various stages
Dolphins
Bharat Stage compatible fuel and modified vehicles were
• The Union Government has
introduced throughout the country.
launched the first ever
• Each stage specifies a certain limit on the pollutants released.
across-the-river survey in
Higher the Bharat Stage goes lesser it emits pollutants. BS-
River Ganga to determine
I, BS-II and BS-III stages were launched in 2000, 2005 and
the population of aquatic
2010 respectively.
life, including that of the
endangered Gangetic
Dolphin. About BS-IV fuels
• The survey will create a baseline scientific data for the Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) fuels contain far less sulphur than
government to take suitable measures to improve quality of BS-III fuel. Sulphur in fuel makes it dirtier and lowers the
the Ganga’s water. efficiency of catalytic converters, which control emissions.
• Besides populace count, it will help in knowing distribution The BS-IV vehicles release less pollutants Carbon Monoxide
pattern of aquatic life in river, extent of threat level faced (CO), Hydrocarbon (HC), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Sulphur
by them and their habitat conditions. It will also ascertain oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) compared to BS
number of ghariyals and turtles. III complaint vehicles.
• The Ganges River dolphin or Susu, lives in one of the most
densely populated regions of the world. One of the main
threats to the species is loss of habitat due to creation of
dams and irrigation projects. The Ganges river dolphin has
Kanha Tiger Reserve becomes first in India to get
been recognized by the Government of India as its National official mascot
Aquatic Animal. • Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya
Key facts about the survey Pradesh became first tiger reserve
• The first of its kind survey is being conducted by National in India to officially introduce a
Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) through Wildlife Institute of mascot named Bhoorsingh the
India (WII) under Namami Gange programme. Barasingha, to create a better
• The first leg of the census was launched on March 1, 2017 connect with its visitors, especially
from Narora in Uttar Pradesh to Bijnor to establish the number the younger generation.
of the Gangetic dolphin. In next phase, it will be launched in
• The mascot aims to present the hard ground swamp deer
the Allahabad to Varanasi stretch in Uttar Pradesh.
(Barasingha) as the spirit of the reserve and spread awareness
• It will find out stretches where dolphin is habitating, what are
to save it from possible extinction. It will also create a unique
the conditions there and the level of threat the long-snouted
identity for Kanha, and also spread awareness and allow the
species is facing in a particular belt.
younger generation to connect with wildlife.
• The study to figure out fish species composition in the 2525
km-long stretch of River Ganga has also been started from
Harshil in Uttarakhand.
India launches Stage II of HCFC Phase Out
Management Plan
Government launches BS-IV grade fuels across
• The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate
the country Change (MoEFCC) has launched Stage II of HCFCs Phase
• Government has
Out Management Plan (HPMP) for the 2017-23 period. It
launched Bharat aims to phase out use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs),
Stage-IV (BS-IV) grade harmful ozone-depleting substances (ODS) by switching
transportation fuel over to non-ozone depleting and low global warming
across the country to potential technologies.
keep carbon emission in
check. • Under the Montreal Protocol, the accelerated phase out of
• The launch came days after the Supreme Court banned sale Hydrochlorofluorcarbons (HCFCs) is underway with aim to
and registration of BS-III vehicles from 1 April, 2017. It sets complete phase out by 2030 of these chemicals that result in
target of ushering in BS-VI fuel by April 2020 by skipping BS-V ozone depletion and aid global warming.
fuel.
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• India is undertaking phase-out of HCFCs through the But, as per EIA Notification, 2006, any project specified in
implementation of HPMP. The Stage-I of HPMP has been category ‘B’ will be treated as category A, if it is located in
already implemented in the country and has successfully whole or in part within 10 km from the boundary of protected
met all the ODS phase-out targets, including those of HPMP areas notified under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and
Stage-I. inter-State boundaries.
• INO project is India's most ambitious basic science project
Key facts proposed to come up in Bodi west hills of Theni district of
• Under HPMP, India has secured $44.1 million from Multilateral Tamil Nadu. It aims at building a world-class underground
Fund for implementation of Montreal Protocol for phasing out laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 meter.
8,190 MT of HCFC.
• Its mandate is to conduct basic research on the elementary
• More than 400 enterprises, including Micro, Small and Medium
particle called neutrino. It is jointly supported by Department
Enterprises (MSMEs) in foam manufacturing sector and 6 large
of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science &
air-conditioning manufacturing enterprises will be supported
Technology (DST), with DAE acting as the nodal agency.
for conversion to non-HCFC technologies from HCFCs.
• Energy efficiency, building codes, cold chain development
with non-HCFC alternatives and development of standards Neutrinos are subatomic particles produced by the decay of
for new non-ODS and low Global Warming Potential (GWP) radioactive elements and are elementary particles that lack
alternatives will be promoted. an electric charge.

WCCB conducted Operation Thunderbird and


About Montreal Protocol
Operation Save Kurma
• The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has successfully
Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for coordinated Operation Thunderbird from January 30 to
the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international February 19, 2017 in its fight to end poaching of India’s wildlife
treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing animals.
out the production of numerous substances that are
• It also had convened Operation Save Kurma, a species specific
responsible for ozone depletion.
operation on turtles between 15 December 2016 and 30
• On October 15, 2016, 197 Parties to the Montreal January 2017.
Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment to
phase down production and consumption of About Operation Thunderbird
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide. HFCs are
• It is code-name of INTERPOL’s multi-national and multi-
widely used alternatives to ozone depleting substances
species enforcement operation for wildlife protection.
such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and
It has resulted in huge seizures of 2,524 live species of
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are already subjects to
scheduled animals, 9 wild animal carcasses, 19.2 kg
control under the Protocol.
elephant ivory, 1 tiger skin, 1 organ pipe coral, 1 jar snake
venom, 8 leopard skins and 1 Indian Mujtac skin.
• The operation brought about a unanimous approach
NGT suspends environmental clearance for
by the state enforcement agencies in the fight against
Neutrino project wildlife crime in the country.
• The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)
suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to
the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO). It has asked About Operation Save Kurma
the project proponent to make a fresh application. NGT
• It was species specific operation on turtles. Under it total
suspended the EC after petitioner submitted that the INO
of 15,739 live turtles were recovered from 45 suspects,
project was just 4.5 km away from Mathikettan Shola National
having inter-state linkages.
Park in Idukki district (Kerala) and one kilometre from Kerala-
Tamil Nadu border and falls under category ‘A’ project in the • The operation brought about awareness among the
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). enforcement agencies to focus on the existing trade
routes and major trade hubs in the country, which will be
• The Environment Ministry had categorised INO project as
specifically focused in future.
a Category ‘B’ project, for which an EIA is not necessary.
Environment and Wildlife
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Final roadblock for Ken-Betwa link cleared


About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
• Wildlife Board has cleared the Ken Betwa river link project.
• WCCB is statutory multi-disciplinary body under the Now, the government is all set to start the work once the
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate funding pattern is decided. Since the project requires
Change to combat organized wildlife crime in the country. diversion of forest land of Panna Tiger Reserve, it was
It was established in June 2007 by amending the Wildlife
required a clearance by the Wildlife Board.
(Protection) Act , 1972, a special Act to protect the wildlife
and fauna in the country. • The clearance has finally come with certain conditions
• It is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related which include integration of nearby sanctuaries including
to organized wildlife crime and disseminate it to state and Rani Durgavati and Ranipur with the Panna Tiger Reserve to
other enforcement agencies for immediate action. compensate loss of tiger habitat and complete ban of fresh
mining lease in the area.

India’s first-ever floating elementary school


opens in Manipur
• India’s first floating elementary school named Loktak
Elementary Floating School was inaugurated at Langolsabi
Leikai of Champu Khangpok floating village on Loktak
Lake in Manipur. The first of its kind school aims to provide
education to drop outs students as well as illiterate adults.
• Currently, it provides education to around 40 children
from Class I-III by engaging two local teachers. It was
opened under the initiative undertaken by All Loktak Lake
Fisherman’s Union with the support of an NGO People
Resources Development Association (PRDA).

About Loktak lake

• Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in northeast About  Ken and Betwa Project
India. It is referred as the lifeline of Manipur and plays • The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh
an important role in the economy of Manipur. It is famous (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under
for the phumdis (also known as “phumshongs”), the a historic agreement that marks the first such project in
heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking
matter at various stages of decomposition floating over it. project.
• The project envisages construction of a dam across river
Ken in Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh to irrigate
6.35 lakh hectare area of land, drinking water purposes
and generation of 78 MW hydropower.
• The project will provide irrigation facilities for 6,35,661
hectares of land in Panna, Chhattarpur, Tikamgarh
districts in Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba and
Jhansi districts in Uttar Pradesh.

• Keibul Lamjao National Park is one of Phumdis in the lake.


El Salvador becomes world’s first country to
It is only floating national park in world and is last natural ban metal mining
refuge of endangered Sangai deer. • El Salvador, Central America’s smallest nation, have
• It was designated as a wetland of international importance passed a law that bans all mining for gold and other metals,
under the Ramsar Convention in 1990. Later it was also making the country the world’s first to impose such a broad
listed under the Montreux Record in 1993. prohibition on the extraction of minerals.
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• The new law bans all exploration, extraction and 2. Second Generation Biofuels: They are produced from non-food
processing of metals both in open pits and mines. It bans crops such as wood, organic waste, food crop waste and specific
the use of cyanide and mercury for mining. It does not biomass crops, therefore eliminating the main problem with first
apply to quarrying or the mining of coal, salt and other generation biofuels. The common second generation biofuels are
non-metallic resources. grasses like Switchgrass, Myscanthus, Indiangrass etc.
• El Salvador is one of the most densely populated countries 3. Third Generation Biofuels: They are based on specially engineered
and the second-most environmentally degraded in Central energy crops such as algae as its energy source. The algae are
America, after Haiti, which makes it especially sensitive to cultured to act as a low-cost, high-energy and entirely renewable
the potential impact of large mining projects. feedstock.
4. Fourth Generation Biofuels: They are aimed at not only producing
sustainable energy but also a way of capturing and storing CO2.
India’s First 2nd Generation Ethanol Bio-
Biomass materials, which have absorbed CO2 while growing,
refinery to be set up in Bhatinda are converted into fuel using the same processes as second
• India's first 2nd generation ethanol bio-refinery will be set generation biofuels. This process differs from second and third
up by Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) at Bhatinda generation production as at all stages of production the carbon
in Punjab at a cost of Rs 600 crore. The project shall also dioxide is captured using processes such as oxy-fuel combustion.
help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which
currently is being burnt after harvesting.
• The Bio-refinery at Bhatinda is the first step towards Majuli Island to be First Carbon Neutral
achieving 10% blending of ethanol in petrol. Besides, oil District by 2020
PSUs, in line with vision laid down by Government of India, Majuli island in Brahmaputra river is all set to combat climate
are planning to set up 12 second generation ethanol bio- change and becomes the first carbon neutral district of India.
refineries across 11 States viz. Punjab, Haryana, U.P., M.P, In this regard, Assam government has launched ‘Sustainable
Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Action for Climate Resilient Development in Majuli’ (SACReD,
Andhra Pradesh. Majuli) to make river island Majuli country’s first ever Carbon
Neutral district by 2020.
About Bio-fuels
Important facts regarding the project
• A biofuel is a fuel that is produced through contemporary
• It aims to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse
biological processes, such as agriculture and anaerobic
emissions.
digestion, rather than a fuel produced by geological
• It is part of the French Development Agency assisted Assam
processes such as those involved in the formation of fossil
Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation (APFBC).
fuels, such as coal and petroleum, from prehistoric biological
• Mitigation through forestry activities and biodiversity conservation
matter.
will be the starting points for the carbon neutral agenda followed by
• They reduce greenhouse gas emission and are basis for energy other interventions over the next three years.
security as alternative to fossil fuels.
• There are two methods currently brought into use to convert World’s First Halophyte Garden inaugurated at
biomass into liquid bio-fuel: Vedaranyam
(a) Sugar crops or starch are grown and through the pro- • The world’s first Garden of Halophytes (naturally occurring
cess of fermentation, ethanol is produced. salt-tolerant plants) was inaugurated at the coastal town of
(b) Plants are grown that naturally produce oil like jatropha Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.
and algae. These oils are heated to reduce their viscos-
• The garden has been set up by M. S. Swaminathan Research
ity after which they are directly used as fuel for diesel
Foundation (MSSRF) founded by eminent agriculture scientist
engines. This oil can be further treated to produce bio-
Prof M. S. Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution.
diesel which can be used for various purposes
It will have over 1,600 species belonging to 550 genera and
117 families of Halophytes plants. Initially, it will comprise
Generations of Biofuels
halophytes occurring along the coasts of India including the
1. First Generation Biofuels: They are produced directly from food
Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
crops by abstracting the oils for use in biodiesel or producing
• Halophytes are salt-tolerant or salt-resistant plants and
bioethanol through fermentation. Crops such as wheat and sugar
can thrive and complete their life cycles in soils or waters
are the most widely used feedstock for bioethanol while rapeseed
containing high salt concentrations.
oil has proved a very effective crop for use in biodiesel.
Environment and Wildlife
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Important Terms/Protocols related to Environment


UNFCCC • An important distinction between the Kyoto Protocol and
• The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate the UNFCCC is that while the Convention encouraged
Change (UNFCCC) is one of the three “Rio Conventions”, industrialised countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the
adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” held in Rio de Janeiro Protocol commits them to do so.
(Brazil) from June 3 to 14, 1992. • Developing Countries do not have binding commitments
• Its sister Rio Conventions are the UN Convention on under the Kyoto Protocol.
Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat • COP-18 in Doha, Qatar in December 2012 adopted an
Desertification. amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, under which the Kyoto
• Preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate Protocol has been extended for a second commitment
system by reducing the emission of the anthropomorphized period of eight years.
Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), is the ultimate aim of the • New commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
UNFCCC. who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment
• The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. The 195 period, will continue from 1  January 2013 to 31 December
countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties 2020 (called as Phase Two of Kyoto Protocol). During the
to the Convention. second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce
GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels
• All United Nations members Including India, except South
in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the
Sudan are the members of UNFCCC.
composition of Parties in the second commitment period is
• Niue, the Cook Islands and the European Union are the
different from the first.
other Members of the Convention on Climate change.
• The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11
• UNFCCC is having its secretariat at Bonn, Germany.
December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.
IPCC • The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called
the leading international body for the assessment of climate as the “Marrakesh Accords.”
change. • Currently, there are 192 Parties (191 States and 1 regional
• It was established by the United Nations Environment economic integration organization) to the Kyoto Protocol to
Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological the UNFCCC.
Organization (WMO) in 1988 “to provide the world with a • The total percentage of Annex I Parties emissions is 63.7%.
clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in • The US did sign the Protocol but it never ratified the protocol
climate change and its potential environmental and socio- and thus the US has no mandatory reduction targets. Canada
economic impacts”. also pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2011 during the COP
• These are commissioned by the governments of 195 17 in Durban.
countries, essentially the entire world. • Under the rules of the Kyoto Protocols target implementation,
• The IPCC itself is a small organization, run from Geneva with Industrialized countries must meet their targets primarily
a full time staff of 12. All the scientists who are involved with through national measures. However, the Kyoto Protocol
it do so, on a voluntary basis. offers them an additional means of meeting their targets by
way of three market-based mechanisms called “ The Kyoto
Kyoto Protocol mechanisms”. The mechanisms are: Joint implementation
• The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol adopted in 1997 during the (JI) where, Clean development mechanism (CDM) and the
COP-3 in Kyoto, Japan. Emissions trading – known as “the carbon market”.
• Kyoto Protocol sets binding targets for 37 industrialized
What is Joint Implementation?
countries and the European community for reducing
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Joint Implementation allows a country with an emission
reduction or limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol
• The target under the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce GHGs
(Annex B Party) to earn emission reduction units (ERUs) from
emission to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels
an emission-reduction or emission removal project in another
over the five-year period 2008-2012 (Now called as the first
Annex B Party, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can
commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol).
be counted towards meeting its Kyoto target.
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What is Emissions Trading?


Emission Trading allows countries that have emission units to Miscellaneous
spare - emissions permitted them but not “used” - to sell this
• In the latest Conference of Parties (CoP 22) of the
excess capacity to countries that are over their targets.
UNFCCC held at Marrakech (Morocco), more than 190
What is CDM? countries negotiated to prepare the fine print for Paris
CDM allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission- deal. It sought to make the rules that would help in the
limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) implementation of the Paris Agreement. Besides, Parties
to implement an emission-reduction project in developing to Conference adopted Marrakech Action Proclamation
countries. for Our Climate and Sustainable Development.

What is COP? Note: CoP23 to be held in Bonn (Germany) from 6 to


17 Nvember, 2017 and will be presided over by the
• COP is the conference of the parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change. Government of Fiji.

• It is the highest decision making body for UNFCCC and it • Mexico was recently hit by the strongest earthquake in
meets annually. First COP took place in 1995 in Berlin. a century. The earthquake struck on 7 September in the
“Gulf of Tehuantepec” off the southern coast of Mexico,
Green House Gases near state of Chiapas with a Mercalli intensity of IX
• The gases which absorb the infrared radiation and trap the (Violent). On the moment magnitude scale it measured
heat in the atmosphere. They act as a transparent medium 8.1. Around 100 people died due to it. It also generated
for the sunlight coming from the Sun to the planet earth’s a tsunami with waves of 1.75 metres above tide level.
surface but as the shortwave energy (mainly in the visible
• The Gulf of Tehuantepec lies above the convergent
and UV portion of the electromagnetic spectrum) heats
boundary where the Cocos Plate is being subducted
the earth’s surface, longer-wave (infrared) energy (heat) is
below the North American Plate at a rate of 6.4 cm/yr.
radiated back to the atmosphere. Certain gases absorb this
energy, thereby allowing less heat to escape back to space, Hurricane Irma, a “Cape Verde type hurricane”, has
and ‘trapping’ it in the lower atmosphere, these gases are badly affected Caribbean island and the state of Florida
known as Greenhouse Gases. in U.S. It is an Atlantic hurricane that originates from a
tropical wave that has passed over or near the Cape
• Greenhouse Gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide,
Verde islands after exiting the coast of West Africa.
methane, nitrous oxide, the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs),
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and • Cape Verde is an island country spanning an
sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic
Ocean. It is located 570 km west of the Cape Verde
REDD and REDD+ Peninsula (or Cap-Vert; it is a peninsula in Senegal, and
• Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Deg- the westernmost point of the continent of Africa).
radation (REDD) is an effort to create a financial value for
the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for devel- • After pouring record rains on Texas, Tropical Storm
oping countries to reduce emissions from forested lands Harvey made a second landfall to strike Louisiana.
and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable develop- It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the
ment. United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-
• “REDD+” goes beyond deforestation and forest degrada- year drought in which no hurricanes.
tion, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable • Typhoon Hato struck South China in August 2017.It is
management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon the strongest cyclone to hit southern China in 53 years.
stocks.
In Philippines it is known as Tropical Storm Isang, was
• REDD focuses upon Reducing emissions from deforesta- a strong tropical cyclone that struck South China in
tion and Reducing emissions from forest degradation while
August 2017. Developing as the thirteenth named storm
REDD+ includes activities under REDD along with the activi-
and the fourth typhoon.
ties of Conservation of forest carbon stocks.
6
Article : Union Budget
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Chapter Current Economy

SEBI approved REITs and InvITs


• REITs, InvITs have received Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI’s) approval to raise funds via bonds.
• This was done by approving amendment to REITs and InvITs regulations to facilitate growth of such instruments.
• SEBI had in 2014, notified the REITs and InvITs Regulations, allowing setting up and listing of such trusts. Since then, however,
only two InvITs have got listed on the stock exchanges so far and not a single REIT has been listed in the country.

About Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)


• They are like mutual funds in the stock market in the field of real estate sector.
• Working:
w REITS sells units to investors. This money is invested in real estate projects to earn rental income.
w This income is then distributed to unit holders and the units are listed and traded on stock markets like any other equity
share.

About Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)


• It is a modified REITS type structure for infrastructure projects.
• It will attract long term finance from foreign and domestic sources including the NRIs
• An InvIT would be a trust with parties such as sponsor, investment manager, trustee and project manager

NITI Aayog's Three Year Action Agenda About UJALA


• Union finance minister unveiled the NITI Aayog's Three Year • UJALA stands for Unnat Jivan by Affordable LEDs and
Action Agenda. Appliances for All.
• In 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had advised • The scheme was launched in 2015. It replaced the Bachat
the NITI Aayog to prepare Fifteen Year Vision, Seven Year Lamp Yojana.
Strategy and Three Year Action Agenda documents. • Objective of this scheme: Urging the people to use LED bulbs in
place of incandescent bulbs, tube lights and CFL bulbs.
• Accordingly, the present document is being published which
• Benefits of LED bulbs: In their life cycle duration, LED bulbs are
recommends policy changes and programmes from 2017-18
more efficient, long lasting and economical.
to 2019-20 (which are the last three years of the Fourteenth
• Implementing agency: Energy Efficiency Services Limited
Finance Commission).
(EESL). It is a public sector body under the Ministry of Power.
• It has been prepared as an integral part of the exercise
It has been formed as a joint venture of state-run power
leading to the Vision and Strategy document (Work on them
companies.
is already in advance stage).
• Earlier, in April 2017, the draft form of the Action Agenda
was circulated to all members of the Governing Council
inviting their comments, which have been included in the
final document.

EESL launched UJALA Scheme in Malaysia


• Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has launched
UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) Scheme in
the State of Melaka, Malaysia. Under it each household will
MALACCA, officially MELAKA is a state in Malaysia located in the
get 10 high quality LED bulbs at affordable price.
southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca.
• Earlier in May 2017, UJALA was launched in ‘United
Kingdom’.
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Task force on employment and exports Google Tez app launched
constituted • Google has launched a new app, Google Tez in India in the
• Government has constituted a new task force to recommend presence of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.
measures to increase employment by promoting labour- • It is a mobile wallet based on the Unified Payments Interface
intensive exports. (UPI) platform built by the National Payments Corporation of
• The task force will be led by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv India (NPCI).
Kumar. It will submit its report by November 2017. It will also
• It permits users to transfer money without the recipient’s bank
suggest ways to enhance the availability of data on trade
account details. The UPI ID of the recipient is used as a proxy
such that it is globally reliable.
for the account number and IFSC code, thereby simplifying the
money transfer.
Union Cabinet approved Dairy Processing and • It is different from digital wallets as it does not require money to
Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) be stored in the app to make digital payments. It works as an
• Union Cabinet has approved the implementation of the extension of one’s bank account.
scheme ‘DIDF’.
• The fund was announced in the Union Budget 2017-18.
• Major activities of DIDF: The project will focus on B. N. Srikrishna Panel on Personal Bankruptcy
w building an efficient milk procurement system by setting • Government of India has set up an advisory panel under
up of chilling infrastructure and electronic milk adulteration Justice B. N. Srikrishna to take forward the process of putting
testing equipment. in place a bankruptcy regime for individuals.
w creation / modernization / expansion of processing • It will advise and “provide professional support“ to the
infrastructure and manufacturing facilities for Value Added
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, which is drafting
Products for the Milk Unions/ Milk Producer Companies.
the norms for filing bankruptcy by individuals and help them
• Implementing bodies: The project will be implemented by
start afresh, a clause that is contained in the law but is yet to
w National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and
be operationalised.
w National Dairy Development Cooperation (NDDC).
• Funding: It has been approved with an outlay of Rs 10,881 • While the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), enacted by
crore during the period from 2017-18 to 2028-29. Parliament last year, provides for individuals to be declared
• Benefits from DIDF: It will play a major role in modernizing bankrupt, so far, action has been confined to the corporate
the dairy infrastructure, increasing productivity, doubling sector and start-ups.
farmer’s income and generate direct and indirect
employment opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and
unskilled manpower. Regional Vocational Training Institute for
Women (RVTI-W) founded
• The foundation stone for the first Regional Vocational Training
GST: Recent Developments
Institute for women (RVTI-W) has been placed in Hyderabad.
• The Union Finance Minister has constituted a Group of
Ministers (GOM) and a Committee on Exports on GST. • RVTI (W) comes under Union Ministry of Skill Development
and Entrepreneurship.

Headed By Objective • In 1976, National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) for


Women, at New Delhi along-with two regional vocational
GOM Bihar Deputy To monitor and resolve the
training institutes called RVTI, at erstwhile Bombay and
Chief IT challenges faced in the
Bangalore were established.
Minister, implementation of GST.
Sushil Modi. • MSDE is currently running 17 such institutes across the

Committee country.
Revenue To recommend to the GST
on Exports Secretary, Council suitable strategy for • NVTI and RVTIs are imparting vocational training to women
Hasmukh helping the export sector in as required by the local industry and also providing need
Adhia. the post-GST scenario. based training to become self-entrepreneur.
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Union Cabinet renamed SAMPADA Scheme • Four thematic sub-indexes are: Capacity, Deployment,
• Union Cabinet has approved the renaming of SAMPADA Development and Know-how.
(Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development • Five distinct age groups are: 0–14 years; 15–24 years; 25–54
years; 55–64 years; and 65 years and over.
of Agro-Processing Clusters) as “Pradhan Mantri Kisan
Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)”. India’s ranking:
• Earlier in May 2017, Union Cabinet approved a new scheme • India (103) ranks at the top of the bottom quartile of the
by the name of SAMPADA for the period 2016-20 coterminous Index. Last year India was placed at 105.
with the 14th Finance Commission cycle, with an allocation of • Among the BRICS countries, India is ranked the lowest.
Rs. 6,000 crores. • Among the South Asian countries, India is ranked lower
• It is an umbrella scheme incorporating: than Sri Lanka & Nepal and Higher than Bangladesh &
w Ongoing schemes of the Ministry like Mega Food Parks, Pakistan.
Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Reasons for India’s poor ranking:
Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, etc. • India’s youth literacy rate is still only 89%, well behind the rates
w New schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing of other leading emerging markets as well as the lower-middle
Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, income group’s average.
Creation / Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation • India also ranks poorly on labor force participation (118), due
Capacities. to one of the world’s largest employment gender gaps.
• Ultimate objective is to give a renewed thrust to the food
processing sector in the country. About  World Economic Forum (WEF)
• Expected benefits of this scheme are: • It is a Swiss non-profit foundation which engages the
w Creation of modern food processing infrastructure with foremost political, business and other leaders of society
efficient supply chain management from farm gate to re- to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
tail outlet. • It was established in 1971 and is headquartered in
w Providing better prices to farmers which is a big step Geneva, Switzerland.
towards doubling of farmers’ income.
w Creation of huge employment opportunities especially in
HDFC bank added as Domestic Systemically
the rural areas.
w Reducing wastage of agricultural produce.
Important Banks (D-SIBs)
w Enhancing the export of the processed foods. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has added HDFC Bank in
the list of Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).
State Bank of India and ICICI Bank continue to be in that
India rank 103 in Global Human Capital Index category.
• Recently, Global Human Capital Index 2017 was published by
Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF). It assesses the About D-SIBs
degree to which countries have optimized their human capital • Systemically important bank or a bank that is ‘too big to
for the benefit of their economies and of individuals’ themselves. fail’ is one whose failure will have nationwide or worldwide
• It ranks 130 countries on a scale from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) repercussions. A bank failure is a scenario in which the bank
across or financial institution is unable to pay its depositors or fulfil its
financial obligations.
Top 10 countries are:
• RBI uses a methodology to determine whether a bank
Rank Country Rank Country is systemically important or not on the basis of its size,
interconnectedness, substitutability and complexity. Such banks
1 Norway 6 Germany
are called domestic-systemically important banks (D-SIB).
2 Finland 7 New Zealand
• Following the global financial crisis of 2008, RBI had started
3 Switzerland 8 Sweden listing D-SIBs from August 2015.
4 United states 9 Slovenia • RBI prescribes higher capital requirements — in terms of
additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET 1) capital — for such
5 Denmark 10 Austria
entities.
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Government inaugurated Hunar Haat What is Strategic Disinvestment?
• Union Minister for Minority Affairs inaugurated “Hunar Haat” • Strategic sale of a PSU is different from the ordinary
in Puducherry. disinvestment. This is because in the case of strategic sale,
• It is being organised by Ministry of Minority Affairs from 24th the control and a significant proportion of a PSU’s share
to 30th September, 2017 to provide market and opportunity to goes to a private sector strategic partner.
master artisans from across the country.
• The ministry has organized it earlier also at different places About  DIPAM
and will be keep on organized in coming days at Mumbai, New • In 2016, the Department of Disinvestment was renamed
Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad etc. as Department of Investment and Public Asset
Management (DIPAM).
PM Modi inaugrated Deendayal Hastkala • DIPAM advises the Union Government in the matters of
Sankul the financial restructuring of PSUs and also for attracting
• The PM Modi inaugurated Deendayal Hastkala Sankul in investment through capital markets.
Varanasi. It is a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts. • It deals with all matters relating to the sale of Union
• The project was first announced by the Union Finance Minister Government’s equity through private placement or offer
in the Budget 2014-15. for sale or any other mode in the erstwhile Central PSUs.
• Objective: To facilitate the weavers/artisans/exporters in
promotion of handlooms/handicrafts in both domestic and
international markets.
Parliament passed Banking Regulation
• It consists of five blocks: Marts-cum-Office, Convention hall-
(Amendment) Bill, 2017
cum-Exhibition, Food court-cum-Guest House, Shopping • Recently Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was
Arcade and Crafts Museum. passed by both the Houses of Parliament.
• It seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 to insert
• The Crafts Museum in the Sankul will preserve the traditional
provisions for handling cases related to stressed assets.
handloom/handicrafts products of Varanasi.
• In case of a default in loan repayment, the Union Government
can authorise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue
Union Cabinet approves new mechanism to directions to banks for initiating proceedings under the
speed up strategic disinvestment Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired • The RBI may specify committees (whose members will be
by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved revision appointed or approved by it) to advise banks on resolution of
in the procedure and mechanism for strategic disinvestment. stressed assets.

• The proposal regarding this was forwarded by the Department About NPA
of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM). • Non-performing assets (NPAs) are loans given by banks,
where the borrower defaults on repayment. According to the
Key Highlights of proposal
Reserve Bank of India (RBI), loans are classified as NPAs after
• Setting up an Alternative Mechanism (AM):  It will decide on
90 days from the default date.
the matters relating to terms and conditions of the sale from
• How serious is the problem?
the stage of inviting of Express of Interests (EoIs) till inviting
(i) Over the last decade, NPAs as a proportion of total loans
of financial bid.
extended by banks have increased from 2.3% in 2008 to
• Empowering the Core Group of Secretaries (CGD): It will enable 7.5% in 2016 (Rs 6.11 lakh crore or 4.5% of GDP).
CGD to take policy decisions with regard to procedural At these levels, India’s NPAs are higher than other
(ii)
issues and consider deviations as necessary from time to emerging markets.
time for effective implementation of decisions of CCEA • Impact of NPAs: A rise in NPAs adversely affects the lending
capacity of banks thereby impacting credit availability,
What is Disinvestment? investment and economic growth.
• Disinvestment involves the sale of Government’s share
in the Public-Sector Undertakings. In disinvestment, the Process of dealing with NPA’s
government sells only a part of the equity which is essentially • To recover the outstanding amount, banks may restructure
less than 51% so that ownership and management rights can loans (such as change the repayment schedule) or choose to
be possessed by the Government itself. initiate action under RBI schemes.
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• These schemes allow for various options including: 4. Meeting the disinvestment target: The sale of HPCL could
(i) Conversion of debt into equity meet more than a third of the disinvestment target for 2017
(ii) Takeover a company’s management by contributing almost Rs. 30,000 crore to the exchequer.
(iii) Collective decision making by banks on a recovery plan
• There may be cases where the defaulter is unable to repay the
loan despite restructuring. National Trade Facilitation Action Plan
(i) Banks may also take legal action by: (NTFAP) released
(ii) Approaching Debt Recovery Tribunals, • Union Minister of Finance released the National Trade
(iii) Taking possession of the collateral (SARFAESI Act), or Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP).
• Taking action under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, • The TFA contains provisions for:
2016. w Expediting the movement, release and clearance of
• In case banks cannot recover a part of the loan, the goods, including goods in transit.
unrecovered amount will have to be written off as a loss. w Ensuring effective cooperation between customs au-
thorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance
Do You Know? issues.
• Stressed assets are loans where the borrower has defaulted w Technical assistance and capacity building in this area.
in repayment or where the loan has been restructured w The requirement to implement the TFA is directly linked
(such as by changing the repayment schedule). to the capacity of the country to do so.
• Non-performing assets (NPA) stood at Rs. 6.4 lakh crore
About Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)
by March, 2017.
• Trade facilitation means the simplification, modernization and
harmonization of export and import processes
• WTO members concluded negotiations at the 2013 Bali
Union Cabinet approved Consolidation of Oil Ministerial Conference on the TFA which entered into force
Majors in February 2017 following its ratification by two-thirds of the
The Union Cabinet has given in-principle approval to the sale WTO membership.
of the government’s 51 per cent equity in Hindustan Petroleum
Corporation (HPCL), the country’s second largest fuel retailer to
Agri Udaan: Food & Agribusiness
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the country’s largest
oil producer. HPCL will remain a separate entity, as a subsidiary
Accelerator 2.0 released
of ONGC. • National Academy of Agricultural Research Management
(NAARM) has announced the launch of Agri Udaan.
What is the Rationale behind this move? • It is the second edition of a food and agribusiness accelerator
1. Strengthening public sector undertakings (PSU’s): It is a follow programme for incubating and mentoring selected Agri
up to the budget 2017 where government announced its startups.
vision of strengthening central PSUs through consolidation, • Agencies involved:
mergers and acquisitions. Infact this decision may be
w It will be managed by ICAR-NAARM’s technology incubator,
followed by mergers between oil majors (refiner Indian Oil
a-IDEA along with IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation.
Corporation (IOC) merging with exploration PSU Oil India Ltd.
w It is funded mainly through the Department of Science and
or another oil marketer Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd
Technology.
(BPCL) merging with gas utility GAIL).
• Working of the scheme:
2. In line with international scenario: Most Asian economies
have just one national oil company integrated across the w Under this scheme, anyone can apply, provided he or she
value chain, whereas India has 18 PSU oil firm.  has a powerful idea that can turn them into an Agri-based
entrepreneur.
3. Creation of oil giant for boosting energy security: This
bigger integrated oil company would be better placed w The shortlisted people will undergo a capacity building
to compete globally for resources and absorbing (CB) workshop in ICAR-NAARM.
international oil price shocks thereby contributing to • NAARM was established by the Indian Council of
energy security (As of June 2017, India imports 80 per Agricultural Research (ICAR) at Hyderabad, in 1976,
cent of its crude oil demand). to address issues related to agricultural research and
education management.
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New version of NHB Residex released Note:
• On the occasion of the National Housing Bank (NHB) entering
• Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI): It is
its 30th year, the new version of NHB RESIDEX was released.
an offshoot of erstwhile state-run investment firm Unit trust
• NHB RESIDEX is the country’s first official housing price index
of India (UTI).
(HPI). It captures movements in the prices of residential real
• Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): These are essentially Index
estate prices.
Funds that are listed and traded on exchanges like stocks.
• Components of RESIDEX:
Being an index fund means this basket of stocks reflects
w Housing Price Index@Market Prices: It is based on actual the composition of an Index, like S&P CNX Nifty or BSE
market information.  Sensex. It’s trading value is based on the net asset value
w Housing Price Index@Assessment Prices: It is based on the of the underlying stocks that it represents.
information furnished by banks and other lending agencies.
• Benefits of NHB RESIDEX
w It helps buyers and sellers to check and compare prices GeM Samvad to be established
before entering a transaction.
• An MoU was signed between Government e-Marketplace
w It helps lenders in credit evaluation. (GeM) SPV and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for
w Government agencies can monitor trends in micro and macro establishing GeM Samvad.
markets and predict future behaviour of the housing market.
• Under this initiative, GeM & the Indian industry will create a

About National Housing Bank (NHB) GeM-Industry Forum for:

• National Housing Bank (NHB) is an apex financial institution for w Seeking inputs on the technical specifications of products
housing. Its key objectives are: & services to be procured by the Government agencies,
w Improving the quality of products/services procured es-
w Registering, regulating and supervising Housing Finance
pecially from the MSMEs,
Company (HFCs) at regional and local level.
w Organizing annual Public Procurement Convention of all
w Providing financial and other support to such
stakeholders and
institutions.
w Setting up GeM Resource Centres at CII Regional Offices.
w Co-ordinating with other Regulators.
• Parent agency: NHB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reserve About Government E-Marketplace (GeM)
Bank of India (RBI). • GeM is an online marketplace that was launched in 2016.
• It was established in 1988 under the National Housing Bank • Objective: To ensure that public procurement of goods and
Act, 1987.
services in India (done by government bodies) worth more than
Rs. 5 lakh crore annually is carried out through the online platform.
Bharat 22: A new ETF announced • Benefits of GeM:
• Union Finance Ministry announced a New Exchange Traded • Transparency: GeM eliminates human interface in vendor
Fund (ETF) by the Name “BHARAT 22”. registration, order placement and payment processing to
• Bharat 22 consists of 22 stocks of CPSE's, PSB's & strategic a great extent.
holding of SUUTI. This index will be rebalanced annually. • Efficiency: Direct purchase on GeM can be done in a matter
• ICICI Prudential AMC will be the ETF Manager and Asia Index of minutes.
Private Limited (JV BSE and S&P Global) will be the Index Provider. • Secure and safe: GeM is a completely secure platform and
all the documents on GeM are e-Signed at various stages
Significance: by the buyers and sellers.
• Compared to energy heavy CPSE ETF, it is a diversified • Savings to the Government: The transparency, efficiency
portfolio with 6 sectors (Basic Materials, Energy, Finance, and ease of use of the GeM portal has resulted in a
FMCG, Industrials & Utilities). substantial reduction in prices on GeM.
• It will be used as a vehicle for further disinvestment of shares.
• It has been developed by Directorate General of Supplies
• Large Investors prefer investing in ETFs due to it being: Low
and Disposal (DGS&D) with technical support of National
cost & Less risky; Highly Liquid assets; Transparent Investment
E-Governance Division (NEGD) and Ministry of Electronics and
and traded at Real Time Market Price.
Information Technology.
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Do You Know? Union Finance Ministry launched Aayakar


Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal (DGS&D) is an
Setu
• Union Finance minister has launched a new taxpayer service
organization under Ministry of Commerce & Industry. It was
module by the name of ‘Aaykar Setu’.
established in 1951. It is the nodal organization for hosting
• It compiles various tax tools and important links to various
Government e-Market (GeM).
processes within the Income Tax Department in a single
module.

Operation Clean Money (OCM) 2.0 launched • Why it has been launched?

• In the second phase of “Operation Clean Money” (OCM), w To provide better services to taxpayer and
the Income Tax Department (ITD) has identified 5.5 lakh w To reduce the direct physical interface between assesses
new persons (Their tax profiles have been found to be and tax assessing authorities.
inconsistent with the cash deposits made by them during the
demonetization period).
• Key strategies under it are: Increase awareness about tax
Heli-Taxi service to be launched in Bengaluru
obligations; Promote voluntary compliance by e-delivery of • Recently, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that
services; Collect timely and accurate third party information Bengaluru will get India’s first dedicated helicopter-taxi (heli-
from Reporting Entities; Increase collaboration among taxi) service.
government agencies and Effective deterrence for habitual • The service will be operated by Thumby Aviation Private
offenders. Limited and is expected to take off in three months.
• Phases: • Initially, the services will be between Bengaluru’s Kempegowda
w Phase 1: It was launched in January 2017 which involved International Airport (KIA) and Electronics City with a travel
e-verification of large cash deposits made during 9th time of around 15 minutes (journey time by a normal taxi is 90-
November to 30th December 2016.  180 minutes).
w Electronic City is an industrial park in Anekal taluk of
w Phase 2: It was launched in May 2017, under which the
Bangalore, having some 200 IT/ITES companies.
high risk cases will be handled by selecting appropriate
• In the Sao Paulo city of Brazil, there are 300 helicopters
enforcement action (verification, search, survey,
operating as heli-taxis.
scrutiny).
• Operation clean money portal: It was launched in May 2017
with following features: Union Government launched Mission
w Enabling Citizen Engagement: Citizens can support the
Fingerling
operation by taking pledge.
• The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare has
w Enabling Transparent Tax Administration by sharing
launched Mission Fingerling, a programme to enable holistic
information and reports.
development and management of fisheries sector in India.
• The mission aims to achieve the target to enhance fisheries
About Operation Clean Money production from 10.79 mmt (2014-15) to 15 mmt by 2020-21
• Income Tax Department (ITD) has initiated Operation under the Blue Revolution.
Clean Money to address the problem of black money.
Significance
The operation was launched post-demonetization.
• Fish Fingerling production is the single-most important critical
• Initial phase of the operation involves e-verification of large
input visualised to achieve fish production targets under the
cash deposits made during 9th November to 30th Dec. 2016.
Blue Revolution.
• Data analytics has been used for comparing the • The implementation of this program will supplement the
demonetisation data with information in ITD databases. requirement of stocking materials in the country up to a large
• In the first batch, around 18 lakh persons have been extent, which is a much needed input to achieve the enhanced
identified in whose case, cash transactions do not fish production.
appear to be in line with the tax payer’s profile. • This will converge in the production of 20 lakh tonnes of fish
annually, which will in turn benefit about 4 million families.
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New series WPI, IIP released with base year Significance of Move
2011-12 • The move will bring all the key macroeconomic indicators
IIP, WPI, CPI (Consumer Price Index), national accounts
The government has released new-look index of industrial on a common base of 2011-12, making the comparisons
production (IIP) and the wholesale price index (WPI) , which easier.
have been built on the new series of data. It has objectives • Though the new series will be able to capture the current
of greater accuracy and improved synchronisation leading to state of affairs of the economy by replacing the old basket
better policies. of goods with a contemporary one, but it will still not be
able to reduce the volatility in the indices.
Salient Features of New Series of IIP
• IIP, a measure of the factory output, has undergone revision
• Base year: The base year of IIP will be 2011-12 instead of
of its series after 13 years. The old series being used has
earlier 2004-05.
become obsolete, part of the IIP basket is no longer in pro-
• The new series of IIP will include 809 manufacturing products duction, many of the contemporary products are not being
and 55 mining products that are re-grouped into 521 item tracked by it and many products are under weighed.
groups. • Base change is essentially done to change the basket of
• The new series of IIP will include technology items like goods and this change in IIP series would make it closer
smartphones, tablets, LED television, etc. to the current production structure. However, economists
• A technical review committee has also been established believe the problem of volatility would still persist in the IIP
to identify new items by ensuring that the series remains indices.
relevant. The committee is slated to meet at least once a
year. About  Wholesale Price Index (WPI)
Salient Feature of New WPI Series • Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is computed by the Office
of the Economic Adviser in Ministry of commerce &
• Base year: The base year for WPI will be 2011-12.
Industry, Government of India.
Rationalisation of Items :
• It was earlier released on weekly basis for Primary
(i) The number of items covered in the new series of the WPI
Articles and Fuel Group. However, since 2012, this
has increased from 676 to 697. Overall, 199 new items
practice has been discontinued. Currently, WPI is
have been added and 146 old items have been dropped.
released monthly.
(ii) Under the primary articles, new vegetables and fruits like
• WPI series in India has undergone six revisions in
radish, carrot, cucumber, bitter gourd, mosambi (sweet
1952-53, 1961-62, 1970-71, 1981-82, 1993-94 and
lime), pomegranate, jackfruit, and pear have been
2004-2005 so far. The current series (2011-12) would
added.
be the seventh revision.
(iii) Under the mineral group, new items like copper
concentrate, lead concentrate and garnet have been All Primary Fuel and Manufactured
Sector
commodities Articles Power Products
added and other items like copper ore, gypsum, kaolin,
Weights
dolomite, and magnesite have been dropped. 100 22.61756 13.15190 64.23054
(%)
(iv) Under the manufacturing items, 173 new items including
conveyer belt, rubber tread, steel cables, tissue paper, About  Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
and wooden splint have been added, while 135 items like • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which
khandsari, poppadom, and video CD players have been shows the groups of the economy in a stipulated period
taken out. of time. It is computed and published by the Central
Rationalisation of weightage : Statistical Organisation (CSO) on a monthly basis.
• Under the new series of WPI, weight of manufactured items • IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth
has decreased to 64.2 per cent from 64.9 per cent in old rate of industry groups classified under broad sectors,
series. namely, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity. Use-
• Similarly, the weight of fuel and power has decreased to 13.1 based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods
percent from 14.9 per cent. On the other hand, the weight and Intermediate Goods.
of primary items have increased to 22.6 percent from 20.1 • 8 core sectors industries constitute 38% share in IIP.
percent. Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Product, Steel,
Cement and Electricity are known as Core Industries.
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Union Budget 2017-2018 Farmers and Agriculture Sector


• Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Union Budget • Farmer credit fixed at record level of Rs 10 lakh crore which will
2017-18 on February 1, 2017. This is the first time when ensure adequate flow to underserved areas.
the Union Budget is presented in the first day of February. • Coverage under Fasal Bima Yojana scheme will be increased
Conventionally the Union Budget used to be presented on from 30% of cropped area in 2016-17 to 40% in 2017-18 and
the last working day of February. 50% in 2018-19 for which a budget provision of ` 9000 crore
• It was also the first time in independent India that the unified has been made.
Budget was presented in the Parliament. The Railway • Coverage of National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) will be
Budget was separated from General Budget in 1924 on the expanded from the current 250 markets to 585 APMCs.
recommendations of Acworth Committee.
Rural Population
• Earlier, Government had decided to merge Rail Budget with • Government to undertake a Mission Antyodaya to bring one
the Union Budget from budget year 2017-18. The merger crore households out of poverty and to make 50,000 Gram
of Railway Budget with General Budget was based on the Panchayats poverty free by 2019 on the 150th birth anniversary
recommendation of the committee headed by Shri Bibek year of Gandhiji.
Debroy (Member of NITI Aayog).
• MGNREGA allocation to be the highest ever at ` 48,000 crores
in 2017-18. The budget provision under Mahatma Gandhi
National Rural Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in 2016-17 was of
`38,500 crores.
• Allocation for Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin increased
from ` 15,000 crores in Budget Estimates (BE) 2016-17 to ` 23,000
crores in 2017-18 with a target to complete 1 crore houses by 2019
for the houseless and those living in kutcha houses.
• Govt. intends to achieve 100% village electrification by 1st
of May 2018. An increased allocation of ` 4,814 crores has
been proposed under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti
Yojana in 2017-18.

Youth: Reaping Demographic Dividend


• SWAYAM platform, leveraging IT, to be launched with at least
350 online courses. This would enable students to virtually
attend courses taught by the best faculty, access high quality
reading resources; participate in discussion forums; take tests
and earn academic grades.
• National Testing Agency to be set up as an autonomous
10 Themes of Budget 2017-18 and self-sustained premier testing organisation to
Farmers : Committed to double the income in 5 years conduct all entrance examinations for higher education
Rural Population : Providing employment & basic institutions.
infrastructure; • India International Skills Centres (IISC) will be established
Youth : Energising them through education, skills and jobs; (about 100 in number) across the country. These centres
The Poor and the Underprivileged : Strengthening the would offer advanced training and also courses in foreign
systems of social security, health care and affordable languages.
housing;
Infrastructure: For efficiency, productivity and quality of life; Poor and Underprivileged
Financial Sector : Growth and stability by stronger institutions; • Mahila Shakti Kendra will be set up at village level with
Digital Economy : For speed, accountability and an allocation of ` 500 crores in 14 lakh Integrated Child
transparency; Development Services (ICDS) Anganwadi Centres.
Public Service : Effective governance and efficient service • Under Maternity Benefit Scheme ` 6,000 will be transferred
delivery through people’s participation;
directly to the bank accounts of each pregnant women who
Prudent Fiscal Management: To ensure optimal deployment
undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.
of resources and preserve fiscal stability;
• Two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to be
Tax Administration: Honouring the honest.
set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.
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• The allocation for Scheduled Castes has been increased • No cash transaction above ` 3 lakh would be permitted.
by 35% compared to 2016-17. The allocation for Scheduled • The limit of cash donation which can be received by a
Tribes has been increased to ` 31,920 crores and for Minority charitable trust is reduced from ` 10,000 to ` 2000.
Affairs to ` 4,195 crores.
Public Service Delivery
Infrastructure
• Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) will be promoted in Public
• For transportation sector as a whole, including rail, roads,
Distribution System (PDS) and other government entitlement
shipping, budget provided ` 2,41,387 crores in 2017-18.
disbursement. Chandigarh and eight districts of Haryana
• A Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be created with a corpus
have become kerosene free.
of Rs.1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years.
• Unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge lines will be • A Centralised Defence Travel System has been developed
eliminated by 2020. through which travel tickets can be booked online by soldiers
• For 2017-18, the total capital and development expenditure and officers.
of Railways has been pegged at ` 1,31,000 crores.
• Proposed to feed about 7,000 stations with solar power in the Prudent Fiscal Management
medium term. • Fiscal deficit for 2017-18 is targeted at 3.2% of GDP and
• SMS based Clean My Coach Service has been started. Government remains committed to achieve 3% in the
• A new Metro Rail Policy will be announced with focus on following year.
innovative models of implementation and financing, as well as • Revenue Deficit of 2.3% in BE 2016-17 stands reduced to
standardisation and indigenisation of hardware and software. 2.1% in the Revised Estimates. The Revenue Deficit for next
• Under the BharatNet Project, by the end of 2017-18, high year is pegged at 1.9%, against 2% mandated by the Fiscal
speed broadband connectivity on optical fibre will be Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003.
available in more than 1,50,000 gram panchayats, with wifi
• The total expenditure in Budget for 2017-18 has been placed
hotspots and access to digital services at low tariffs.
at ` 21.47 lakh crores.
Financial Sector
• Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to be abolished
Tax Proposals
in 2017-18. • For individual assesses between income of Rs. 2.5 lakhs to
• A Computer Emergency Response Team for Financial Sector Rs. 5 lakhs to 5% from the present rate of 10%.
(CERT-Fin) will be established. • It created a new category for the rich by proposing to levy
• The shares of Railway PSEs like IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON will a surcharge of 10 per cent on individuals with net taxable
be listed in stock Exchanges. income between ` 50 lakh and ` 1 crore.
• Proposed to create an integrated public sector ‘oil major’: By • Existing surcharge of 15% on individuals with net earning
this move the CPSEs can be integrated across the value more than Rs. 1 crore will be continued.
chain of oil industry.
• Financial Inclusion: Lending target under Pradhan Mantri
Mudra Yojana has been doubled to 2.44 lakh crores. Priority Five Associate State Banks, Bharatiya Mahila
will be given to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes and Women Bank merged with SBI
The State Bank of India (SBI) has merged its operations with
Digital Economy its five associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank. Five
• Aadhar Pay, a merchant version of Aadhar Enabled Payment associate banks are-
System, will be launched shortly. This will enhance digital 1. State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur
inclusion in rural and semi-urban areas, bridge digital divide 2. State Bank of Hyderabad
and will foster financial inclusion. It will allow people for digital 3. State Bank of Mysore
transaction without mobile phones. 4. State Bank of Patiala
• A Mission will be set up with a target of 2,500 crore digital 5. State Bank of Travancore
transactions for 2017-18 through Unified Payment Interface
(UPI), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, Aadhar Pay, Impacts of Merger
Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and debit cards. • The move will make SBI as one of the top 50 banks in the
world.
• Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India will
be set up by replacing the existing Board for Regulation and • The merged behemoth will have an asset base of about Rs
Supervision of Payment and Settlement System. 37 lakh crore, 22,500 branches, 58,000 ATMs, and 50 crore
customers.
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Advantages of Merger • The FFS emanates from the Start-up India Action Plan, an
• Increased domestic and global presence, and networking of initiative of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP).
SBI all over India. The expertise of SIDBI would be utilized to manage the day to
day operations of the FFS.
• SBI can become one of the anchor banks to finance large
infrastructure projects like dedicated freight corridor, solar
energy, Sagarmala etc. Vodafone-Idea Merger : Creating World’s
• It will reduce duplication as SBI and its associates target the Second Largest Teleco
same clients with similar products. • Kumar Mangalam Birla-led telecommunications major Idea
• It will consolidate resources and infrastructure, reducing Cellular has agreed to merge with the Vodafone India, the
the cost on operations, human resource and technological Indian unit of the UK headquartered Vodafone Plc.
solutions like reducing managerial positions, overlapping bank • The merger will create world’s second largest (after China Mobile)
branches, reduce inter-banking transaction cost etc. and India’s largest telecom company by overtaking Bharti Airtel
Ltd.

PAU Bt 1 and F1861: New GM Cotton


developed indigenously
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana has claimed
Fund of Funds : New push to Start Up India developing country’s first genetically-modified (GM) varieties of
cotton – PAU Bt 1 and F1861.
approved
• The Union Cabinet has approved proposals to tweak Fund of The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) also has
Funds of Start-ups (FFS) rules to enable greater flow of resources. identified three Bt cotton varieties – F1861, PAU Bt 1 and RS2013
• The Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs) supported by FFS for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
shall invest at least twice the amount of contribution received The PAU Bt 1 variety was completely developed at PAU, whereas
from FFS in Start-ups. the F1861 and RS2013 were converted to Bt version by Central
Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur.
Background:
All three varieties carry the Cry1Ac gene obtained from Bt
• Fund of Funds for Startups is set up at Small Industries
(Bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria. It imparts resistance against
Development Bank of India (SIDBI) .
bollworm cotton pest.
• It will contribute to various Alternative Investment Funds (AIF),
registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Bt Cotton
which would extend funding support to Startups.
The genetic modification of cotton involves introduction of
• The corpus of FFS is Rs.10,000 crore which shall be built up
the Bt bacterial gene that codes for a protein which kills the
over the 14th and 15th Finance Commission cycles subject to
bollworm cotton pest. Cotton is the only GM crop allowed to
progress of the scheme and availability of funds.
be cultivated in India.
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TAMRA Portal Launched
About East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC)
With an aim to double mining contribution to GDP, the Ministry
of Mines launched Transparency, Auction, Monitoring and • The East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC) is India’s
Resource Augmentation (TAMRA) Portal and Mobile Application first coastal economic corridor along its eastern coast,
to ensure transparent award of statutory clearances for mining stretching about 2,500 kilometers from Kolkata in the
operations. north to Kanyakumari in the south.
Objectives of TAMRA • It is a multimodal, regional maritime corridor that can
• The main objectives of TAMRA portal are to speed up mining play a vital role in unifying the large domestic market, as
activity in India and facilitate all the stakeholders to track the well as integrating the Indian economy with the dynamic
status of the statutory clearances associated with blocks for global value chains of Southeast and East Asia
getting mines to reach till operationalisation for the same.
• The Corridor is expected to spur development on India’s
• To compress the timeline for statutory and other clearances eastern coast in line with the Government of India’s
as it is expected to help minimise the gestation period for Make in India policy to stimulate manufacturing, and Act
starting production. It will help to establish a participative and East policy to integrate the Indian economy with Asia’s
informative network among all stakeholders. dynamic global production networks.

Component corridors of ECEC:


ADB, India sign $375 Million Assistance for • Visakhapatnam–Chennai Industrial Corridor
East Coast Economic Corridor • Chennai–Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC)
• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government • Odisha and West Bengal Industrial Corridor
of India recently signed $375 million in loans and grants The Government of India has chosen to partner with the
to develop the 800-kilometer Visakhapatnam-Chennai (ADB) in developing ECEC.
Industrial Corridor, which is the first phase of a planned
2,500-kilometer long East Coast Economic Corridor
(ECEC).
Economic Survey 2016-17 released
The Economic Survey for 2016-17, was tabled in the Parliament
• The loans comprises $500 million multi tranche facility
by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 31st January. The survey
to build key infrastructure in the four main centres along
was prepared by the finance ministry's chief economic adviser
the corridor -Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Amaravati, and
Arvind Subramanian. The survey projects the economy to grow
Srikalahasti (Yerpedu) in Andhra Pradesh.
in the range of 6.75% to 7.25% in fiscal year 2017-18 in the
post-demonetisation year. It says that the adverse impact of
demonetisation on GDP growth will be transitional.

Key Highlights of Economic Survey 2016-17


Growth
• India’s economic growth has been pegged at 6.5 per cent for
the current fiscal, down from 7.6 per cent recorded in the last
financial year.
• However, it is expected to rebound in the range of 6.75-7.5 per
cent in 2017-18.
Fiscal Deficit
• Implementation of wage hike, muted tax receipts to put
pressure on fiscal deficit in 2017-18.
• Need for fiscal prudence for both centre and states for fiscal
health of the economy.
• Fiscal windfall from low oil prices to disappear in 2017-18.
Monetary Policy
• The sharp rise in prices in 2017-18 may cap monetary easing
headroom.
• Interest rates seen lower in 2017-18 due to demonetisation.
Current Economy
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Government Debt 1. To enable passage of Budget by Parliament before 31st


Government debt to GDP ratio in 2016 seen at 68.5 per cent March.
down from 69.1 per cent in 2015. 2. The ministries will not have to wait for passage of budget
Demonetisation till mid-May to plan their expenditure and they can avail the
allocation on 1st April.
• Demonetisation to affect growth rate by 0.25-0.5 per cent, but
to have long-term benefits. 3. Vote of account can be eliminated and leaving the
Parliament with time for non-budget legislative process and
• Demonetisation may affect supplies of certain agricultural
effective discussion. More time for discussion means more
products like sugar, milk, potatoes and onions.
comprehensive outcomes.
• Re-monetisation will ensure that the cash squeeze is eliminated
4. Earlier, budget was introduced in February , starts implementing
by April 2017.
in June so actual work start during monsoon and with onset of
• Supply of currency should follow actual demand and not be
rain many project come to a halt. A month shift will the work in
dictated by official estimate of desirable demand.
progress better.
• Government windfall arising from unreturned notes should be
deployed towards capital spending.
Banks
Merger of Rail Budget with General Budget
• The Union Government has merged Rail Budget with the
• It suggests setting up public sector asset rehabilitation agency
Union Budget from budget year 2017-18.
to take charge of large bad loans in banks.
• The merger of Railway Budget with General Budget is based
• Central agency with government backing could overcome
on the recommendations of the Committee headed by Shri
coordination and political issues on bad loans.
Bibek Debroy, Member, NITI Aayog and a separate paper on
Taxation ‘Dispensing with the Railway Budget’ by Shri Bibek Debroy
• Income Tax net could be widened gradually by encompassing all along with Shri Kishore Desai.
high income earners.
• Reasons for merger:
• Tax administration could be improved to reduce discretion
w Separate budget had failed to be useful for railway sec-
and improve accountability.
tor and had become a mechanism to announce populist
• Income tax rates and real estate stamp duties could be
measures. Each year new trains and new lines are an-
reduced.
nounced without taking into consideration of the resourc-
• GST, other structural reforms should take the trend growth rate
es of Railway.
to 8-10 per cent.
w Scrapping separate budget will reduce the media atten-
• Efforts to collect taxes on disclosed and undisclosed wealth
tion and the announcement of populist measures.
should not lead to tax harassment.
w Railways can't afford to wait for annual changes. It needs
Universal basic income to react more swiftly and with greater flexibility.
• Universal Basic Income (UBI) proposal a powerful idea, but w It had to pay annual dividend of Rs. 10,000 crore to Gov-
not ready for implementation. ernment on Gross Budgetary support. Railways will get
• UBI is an alternative to plethora of state subsidies for poverty exemption from payment of dividend to General Reve-
alleviation. nues.
• UBI would cost between 4 and 5 per cent of GDP. w The presentation of a unified budget will help present
a holistic picture of the financial position of the Govern-
Black Money
ment.
• India's overall tax to GDP is about 5.4 percentage points less
w It would facilitate multimodal transport planning between
than that of comparable countries.
highways, railways and inland waterways.
• In India today, roughly 5.5 per cent of earning individuals are
• Now onwards a single Appropriation Bill, including the
in the tax net. This statistic gives an idea of the gap that India
estimates of Railways, to be prepared and presented by
needs to cover to become a full tax-paying democracy.
Ministry of Finance to Parliament and all legislative work
connected therewith will be handled by Ministry of Finance.
Date of Budget presentation advanced • However, the Ministry of Railways will continue to function
as a departmentally run commercial undertaking. Besides,
The Union Government for the first time had advanced the
a separate Statement of Budget Estimates and Demand for
date of presentation of Union by one month this can be due to
Grant will be created for Railways.
following reasons:
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Electronics Development Fund (EDF) to
Promote Electronics Manufacturing About Payment Bank
• The Centre is targeting an investment of about ` 2,200 crore • The Payment Bank is a type of bank which is a non-full
by 2019 in start-ups working on new technologies in the service niche or differentiated bank. A bank licensed as
electronic sector under the Electronics Development Fund a Payments Bank can only receive deposits and provide
(EDF). remittances. It cannot carry out lending activities. Thus,
Payment Banks can issue ATM/debit cards, but can not
• The EDF is a ‘fund of funds’ that works with venture capitalists
issue credit cards as they are not empowered to carry
to create funds, known as ‘daughter funds,’ which provide risk
out lending activities.
capital to companies developing new technologies in the area
• Payments banks can accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh per
of electronics, nano-electronics and IT.
account from individuals and small businesses. Besides,
• The EDF would put in 10% of the capital in ‘daughter funds’ 25% of its branches must be in the un-banked rural area.
and the rest would be invested by venture capitalists.
• The banks must maintain Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR),
• A targeted investment of ₹2,200 crore by the government will minimum 75% of demand deposits in government bonds
help mobilise `₹22,000 crore for the ‘daughter funds,’ which will of up to one year and maximum 25% in current and fixed
then invest primarily in start-ups. deposits with other scheduled commercial banks for
• The aim of the EDF is to move from a government-funded operational purposes and liquidity management.
model to private-funded model where a start-up can raise
money from the market. GAAR, POEM came into effect from April 1, 2017
• The fund is an attempt to develop the electronics system General Anti-avoidance Rules (GAAR) and Place of Effective
design and manufacturing sector in the country to achieve net Management (POEM) have been implemented from April 1, 2017.
zero imports by 2020 (Target of Digital India Mission).
About GAAR
• GAAR Stands for General Anti-Avoidance Rules. It seeks
India Post gets Payments Bank Licence to prevent companies from routing transactions through
• India Post has recently received payments bank licence other countries to avoid taxes. The rules are framed
from the Reserve Bank of India to start rollout of banking mainly to minimize and check avoidance of tax.
operations commercially under the permit. • Under GAAR, it will be ensured whether the transaction
• India Post Payments Bank is the third entity to receive was done in the normal course of business or conducted
payments bank permit after Bharti Airtel and Paytm. simply with the intention to avoid taxes.
• India will be the 17th nation in the world to have laws that
Advantages of having India Post as Payment Bank aim to close tax loopholes. At present, GAAR is in force
in nations like Australia, Singapore, China and the U.K.
India post can significantly contribute to financial inclusion due
to following added advantages it has got:
• Reach: Vast presence even in remote areas, India Post About Place of Effective Management (POEM)
has strong network of 140000 post office which cover even • Place of Effective Management (POEM) requires foreign
remotest area of the country. companies in India and domestic firms with overseas
• Experience: Post offices and postmen are well versed in subsidiaries to pay local taxes based on where the
financial matter because they are already dealing in such business is effectively controlled. It will not apply to
companies having a turnover or gross receipts of Rs 50
matter from long time.
crore or less in a financial year.
• Faith of customer: Migrant labour can send money home
• This would help target shell companies or holding
using services of Post offices as payment bank. People have
companies, incorporated overseas to evade taxes by
faith in post offices because they used them for transferring
showing their residency as a tax haven even though the
remittances back home through money order. management and effective decision-making takes place
in India.
Current Economy
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Ease of Doing Business Ranking released Economic Freedom Index: India Slips to 143 rank
• Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have jointly topped the ease India ranked a dismal 143 in an annual index of economic
of doing business ranking while Gujarat has slipped to the freedom by a top American think-tank (The Heritage Foundation),
third position in the list prepared by the World Bank and behind its several South Asian neighbours including Pakistan, as
Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven”.

• Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana occupied the


Causes of low Index according to Heritage Foundation
fourth, fifth and sixth slots, respectively in the index based • The state maintains an extensive presence in many areas
on degree of implementation of DIPP's 340-point Business through public-sector enterprises.
Reform Action Plan. • A restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment discour-
• These rankings were provided in the report titled 'Assessment ages the entrepreneurship that could provide broader private-
of State Implementation of Business Reforms 2016' which was sector growth.
prepared by World Bank in association with the Department • India is a significant force in world trade, the report noted,
but corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, and poor
of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
management of public finance undermine overall development
• The exercise is aimed at promoting competition among
states with a view to improve business climate to attract Global Scenario
domestic as well as foreign investment. • The world average score of 60.9 is the highest recorded in
the 23-year history of the index.
Top Five States/UTs • Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand topped the index.
State Score(%) 2016 Rank 2015 Rank • Among South Asian countries, only Afghanistan (163) and
Maldives (157) were ranked below India.
Andhra Pradesh 98.78 1 2
• Bhutan (107), Sri Lanka (112), Nepal (125), Bangladesh (128)
Telangana 98.78 1 13 and Pakistan (141) surpassed India in economic freedom.

Gujarat 98.21 3 1 • Forty-nine countries – the majority of which are developing


countries, but also including countries such as Norway and
Chhattisgarh 97.32 4 4 Sweden – achieved their highest-ever index scores.
Madhya Pradesh 97.01 5 5

Bottom Five States/UTs


About  Economic Freedom Index
The Index of Economic Freedom is an annual index and
State Score(%) 2016 Rank 2015 Rank ranking created by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall
J&K 0.30 31 29 Street Journal. It has been published since 1995 to measure
the degree of economic freedom in the world’s nations.
Chandigarh 0.30 31 24

Meghalaya 0.30 31 30
OALP: New Hydrocarbon Exploration
Andaman & 0.30 31 25 Licensing Policy to boost oil output
Nicobar Island
announced
Lakshadweep 0.30 31 - • The Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has
announced new Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) for
oil and gas exploration. The new policy will allow bidders to
About DIPP’s Business Reform Action Plan carve out areas where they want to drill.
The Action Plan includes reforms on 58 regulatory • It will help energy hungry India and world’s third-largest
processes, policies, practices, or procedures spread oil consumer to attract greater foreign investment to boost
across 10 reform areas spanning the life cycle of a typical output.
business. These are mainly single window clearance, tax • It will enable a faster survey and coverage of the available
reforms, labour and environment reforms, dispute resolution geographical area which has potential for oil and gas
and construction permit. discovery.
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About  Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) Miscellaneous


• Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) gives an option Demonetisation
to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to • Demonetisation is a process by which a series of currency
select the exploration blocks on its own, without waiting not be a legal tender. The series of currency will not
for the formal bid round from the Government. acceptable as valid currency.
• This is not the first time when Indian currency is
• Under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a bidder
demonetised In India. The first instance was in 1946 and
intending to explore hydrocarbons like oil and gas,
the second in 1978 when an ordinance was promulgated
coal bed methane, gas hydrate etc., may apply to the
to phase out notes with denomination of Rs 1,000, Rs
Government seeking exploration of any new block (not
already covered by exploration). 5,000 and Rs 10,000.

• OALP was introduced vide a Cabinet decision of Pros of Demonetisation


the Government, as part of the new fiscal regime • Help Curb Black money
in exploration sector called HELP or Hydrocarbon • Curbed currency counterfeiting and terror financing
Exploration and Licensing Policy. • Transparency in financial transactions by digitisation
Online transaction mean more transparency because
Financial Intelligence Unit can track all online transactions.
Electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipt Now there will be more transparency in real estate sector.
(E-NWR) System Launched • Promoting cashless economy
Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution While it is practically impossible to have a 100% cashless
launched the Electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWR) economy, the proportion of hard cash in the economy will
System. It will ensure management of Negotiable Warehouse decrease and economy will get more digitized. This will
Receipts (NWRs) in electronic form. result in greater transparency.
• Curbed use of excessive cash in election
Benefits:
Cons of Demonetisation
• Removes chances of any tempering and possibility of any
• Inconvenience to people: Burden in exchanging notes to
multiple financing.
common people.
• Facilitates an easy pledge financing by banks and other
financial institutions. • Loss to common People : Many people have fake currency

• Allows smooth trading on various trading centres like that it unintentional or earned by hard work and they are
commodity exchanges, electronic National Agriculture Markets using it wihout knowing it.
(e-NAM) and other electronic platforms. • Slump in demand: MSME sector and informal sector has
highly affected by the move.
About Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (NWRs):
• Decrease in growth rate: Even Economic Survey accepted
• Warehouse Receipts are documents issued by warehouses
that economic growth will slow down in short run.
to depositors against the commodities deposited in the
warehouses • Short term inflation : Due to shortage of money in the market,

• Warehouse Receipts may be either non-negotiable or a short-term cost push inflation will occur.
negotiable.
• NWRs allow transfer of ownership of that commodity without
RBI Monetary Policy Rates (As on 31 October, 2017)
having to deliver the physical commodity. Repo Rate 6.00%
• The term ‘negotiable warehouse receipt’ is defined in the Reverse Repo Rate 5.75%
Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007 (WDR
Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Rate 6.25%
Act).
• Benefits of NWRs: NWRs issued by registered warehouses help Bank Rate 6.25%
farmers to seek loans from banks against NWRs and this way Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) 4%
NWRs become a prime tool of trade.
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) 19.5%
• Dinesh Rai committee submitted its report in 2015 for
strengthening NWRs.
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Terms used in Economics


Bank Rate Non-Performing Assets
Bank rate is the rate charged by the Reserve Bank of India A non-performing asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which
for lending funds to commercial banks. It influences lending the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a
rates of commercial banks. Higher bank rate will translate to period of 90 days.
higher lending rates by the banks. In order to curb liquidity,
the central bank can resort to raising the bank rate and vice
Monetary Policy
versa.  Monetary policy is the macroeconomic policy laid down by
the Reserve Bank of India. It involves management of money
Gross Domestic Product supply and interest rate and it is the demand side economic
GDP is the final value of the goods and services produced policy used by the government of a country to achieve
within the geographic boundaries of a country during a macroeconomic objectives like inflation, consumption,
specified period of time, normally a year. GDP growth rate growth and liquidity.
is an important indicator of the economic performance of a
country. 
Purchasing Power Parity
Purchasing Power Parity aims to determine the adjustments
Gross National Product needed to be made in the exchange rates of two currencies
Gross National Product (GNP) is Gross Domestic Product to make them at par with the purchasing power of each other.
(GDP) plus net factor income from abroad.  It measures It is the expenditure on a similar commodity must be same
the monetary value of all the finished goods and services in both currencies when accounted for exchange rate. It is
produced by the country's factors of production irrespective used worldwide to compare the income levels in different
of their location. It includes taxes but does not include countries. 
subsidies.
Repo Rate
Wholesale Price Index Repo rate is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India lends
Wholesale Price Index (WPI) represents the price of goods at money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of
a wholesale stage i.e. goods that are sold in bulk and traded funds. For RBI point of view it is called as short term lending
between organizations instead of consumers. WPI is often and from banks point of view it is short term borrowing.
used as a measure of inflation.
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)
Inflation It is the ratio of total deposits of a commercial bank which
Inflation is the percentage change in the value of the Wholesale it has to keep with itself in the form of liquid assets. Liquid
Price Index (WPI) on a year-on year basis. It effectively assets may consist of cash in hand, gold, reserves with
measures the change in the prices of a basket of goods and RBI, excess reserves, government securities and other
services in a year. It occurs due to an imbalance between encumbered securities, etc.
demand and supply of money, changes in production and
distribution cost or increase in taxes on products. When
Sovereign Risk
economy experiences inflation the price level of goods and Any risk arising on chances of a government failing to make
services rises and the value of currency reduces.  debt repayments or not honouring a loan agreement is a
sovereign risk.
Liquidity
Liquidity means how quickly one can get his cash in hand.
Service Tax
In simpler terms, liquidity is to get your money whenever you Service tax is a tax levied by the government on service
need it. It might be emergency savings account or the cash providers on certain service transactions, but is actually
lying with you that you can access in case of any unforeseen borne by the customers.
happening or any financial setback.
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Reverse Repo Rate Base Rate


Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of Base rate is the minimum rate set by the Reserve Bank of India
India borrows money from commercial banks within the below which banks are not allowed to lend to its customers. It is
country. It is a monetary policy instrument which can be used decided in order to enhance transparency in the credit market
to control the money supply in the country. An increase in and ensure that banks pass on the lower cost of fund to their
reverse repo rate means that commercial banks will get more customers. Loan pricing will be done by adding base rate and
incentives to park their funds with the RBI, thereby decreasing a suitable spread depending on the credit risk premium. 
the supply of money in the market.
Cash Reserve Ratio
Recession Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is a specified minimum fraction
Recession is a slowdown or a massive contraction in of the total deposits of customers, which commercial banks
economic activities. A significant fall in spending generally have to hold as reserves either in cash or as deposits with the
leads to a recession. central bank. 

Marginal Standing Facility Depreciation


Marginal standing facility is a window for banks to borrow The monetary value of an asset decreases over time due to
from the Reserve Bank of India in an emergency situation use, wear and tear or obsolescence. This loss is measured as
when inter-bank liquidity dries up completely.  depreciation.

Exchange Rate Equated Monthly Instalment


Exchange rate is the price of one currency in terms of another EMI or equated monthly instalment, as the name suggests, is
currency.  Exchange rates can be either fixed or floating. one part of the equally divided monthly outgoes to clear off an
Fixed exchange rates are decided by central banks of a outstanding loan within a stipulated time frame. 
country whereas floating exchange rates are decided by the
mechanism of market demand and supply.  Microeconomics
Microeconomics is the study of individuals, households
Ease of Doing Business and firms' behaviour in decision making and allocation of
Ease of doing business is an index published by the World resources. It generally applies to markets of goods and
Bank. It is an aggregate figure that includes different services and deals with individual and economic issues.
parameters which define the ease of doing business in a
country.  Ponzi scheme
A Ponzi scheme is an investment plan in which the operator
Foreign Exchange Reserves or the operating company pays returns to investors from the
Forex reserves are foreign currency assets held by the central new capital coming in from new investors instead off the
banks of one country. profits of the business. The investors get attracted to these
schemes because of the unusual high rate of return offered
Deflation within shorter time spans compared to other conventional
When the overall price level decreases so that inflation rate investment options.
becomes negative, it is called deflation. It is the opposite of
the inflation. Demant Account
The way in which a bank keeps money in a deposit account,
Balance of Payment the depository company converts share certificates into
According to the RBI, balance of payment is a statistical electronics form and keeps them in a Demat Account.
statement that shows the transaction in goods, services
and income between an economy and the rest of the world; Vostro Account
changes of ownership and other changes in that economy's When a foreign bank is opened in India with Indian currency,
monetary gold, special drawing rights (SDRs), and financial it is known as Vostro account. eg. Standard Chartered Bank
claims on and liabilities to the rest of the world, and Unrequited in India.
transfers.
7
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Chapter Miscellaneous

Awards and Honours


Nobel Prize 2017
The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in the fields of literature, medicine, physics, chemistry, peace,
as is the Prize in Economic Sciences. It is regarded as the most prestigious award in the world. The prize ceremonies take place
annually on 10 December, the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel, in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the peace prize,
which is held in Oslo, Norway).

Winners of Nobel Prize 2017


Category Recipient Given for (in the words of Nobel Foundation)
Physics Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish Decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation
and Kip S. Thorne of gravitational waves

Chemistry Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution
Frank and Richard Henderson structure determination of biomolecules in solution
Physiology or Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash Discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian
Medicine and Michael W. Young rhythm
Literature Kazuo Ishiguro In novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss
beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world
Peace International Campaign to Abol- Drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences
ish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts
to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons
Economics Richard H. Thaler Contribution to Behavioural Economics

Ramon Magsaysay Award 2017


• Six individuals and organizations have been selected for Ramon Magsaysay award 2017.
• Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s most prominent civilian honour and is often regarded as Asian Nobel Prize. It is awarded
by the New York City based Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Philippines government.

Winners of Ramon Magsaysay Award 2017


Awardees Nationality Awarded For
Philippine Educational Theatre Philippines Creating platform for protest when dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared
Association (PETA) martial law
Gethsie Shanmugam Sri Lanka Counselling war-widows and orphans to overcome their nightmares during
three decades of civil war and conflict
Yoshiaki Ishizawa Japan Helping in preservation of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple
Tony Tay Singapore Leading an organisation which cooks 6,000 meals a day for the destitutes,
elderly, migrant workers etc.
Lilia de Lima Philippines Opening of hundreds of job-generating export processing zones across
the country
Abdon Nababan Indonesia Leading a campaign to return state-controlled forest land to indigenous
communities
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National Sports & Adventure Awards 2017 • This year the MAKA trophy has been conferred on Punjabi
University, Patiala. The awardee will receive award money of
President of India conferred National Sports & Adventure
10 lakh rupees.
Awards 2017 in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award Rashtriya Khel Protsahana Purashkar


• The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar is given to the
• The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is given for the
corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and
spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field
individuals who have played a visible role in the area of
of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
sports promotion and development.
Apart from a medal and a citation, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
awardee receives a cash prize of 7.5 lakh rupees. • The entity recommended for award were Kendriya
Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Odisha Industrial Infrastructure
• The name of awardee includes Sardar Singh (Hockey) and
Development Corporation (IDCO), The Golf Foundation and
Devendra Jhajharia (Para-Athletics).
Reliance Foundation in various categories.
Arjuna Awards
• The Arjuna Award is given for consistently outstanding Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2016
performance for four years. The awardee receives statuettes,
• Veteran filmmaker and actor Kasinadhuni Viswanath has
certificates and cash prize of 5 lakh rupees.
recently been conferred Dadasaheb Phalke award for the
• The name of awardees include Vennam Jyothi Surekha year 2016.
(Archery), Khushbir Kaur (Athletics), Arokia Rajiv (Athletics),
• Dadasaheb Phalke award is conferred by the Union
Prashanti Singh (Basketball), L. Debendro Singh (Boxing),
Government for outstanding contribution to the growth and
Harmanpreet Kaur (Cricket), Cheteshwar Pujara (Cricket),
development of Indian Cinema. The Award was established
Oinam Bembem Devi (Football), Shivsankar Prasad
in 1969 to commemorate the birth centenary year of father
Chawrasia (Golf), S.V. Sunil (Hockey), Jasvir Singh
of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke.
(Kabaddi), P.N. Prakash (Shooting), A. Amalraj (Table
• The award consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus),
Tennis), Saketh Sai Myneni (Tennis), Satyawart Kadian
a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs and a shawl. It is given on
(Wrestling), Mariyappan T. (Para-Athletics) and Varun Singh
the basis of recommendations of a committee of eminent
Bhati (Para-Athletics).
personalities set up by the Government of India.
Dronacharya Awards First Awardee: Devika Rani (1969)
• The Dronacharya Award is conferred on coaches for Some Previous Awardees: Manoj Kumar (2015), Shashi Kapoor
producing medal winners at prestigious international sports (2014), Gulzar (2013)
events. The awardee receives statuettes, certificates and
cash prize of 5 lakh rupees. Man Booker International Prize 2017
• The name of awardees include R. Gandhi (Posthumously) • Israeli author David Grossman has won the Man Booker
(Athletics), G.S.S.V. Prasad (Badminton- Lifetime), Braja International Prize 2017 for his novel A Horse Walks into a Bar.
Bhusan Mohanty (Boxing-Lifetime), P.A. Raphael (Hockey-
• With this, he has become the first Israeli author to win the
Lifetime), Sanjoy Chakraverthy (Shooting-Lifetime) and
Man Booker International Prize. He will share the £50,000
Roshan Lal (Wrestling-Lifetime).
($64,000) award money with his translator Jessica Cohen.
Dhyan Chand Award • The Man Booker Prize is world’s most prestigious English-
• The Dhyan Chand Award is conferred for life time contribution language literary award. It was launched in 1969 and
to sports development. The awardee will receive statuettes, presented by the Man Group. The international edition of
certificates and cash prize of 5 lakh rupees.
the Man Booker Prize was introduced in 2005. The award
• The name of awardees include Bhupender Singh
aims at promoting the finest literary work in fiction by
(Athletics), Syed Shahid Hakim (Football) and Sumrai Tete
rewarding the best novel of the year written in English and
(Hockey).
published in the United Kingdom. From 2016, the prize is
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy awarded for a single work of fiction that has been translated
• The trophy is given to the overall top performing university in into English and published in the United Kingdom.
inter-university tournaments.
Miscellaneous
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Pulitzer Prize 2017 • The National Film Awards is one of the most prominent film
• Colson Whitehead has recently won 2017 Pulitzer Prize award ceremonies in India. It was established in 1954 and
for fiction, for the novel “The Underground Railroad”. The been awarded annually since then. Winners in different
novel is about an escaped slave that combined liberating categories of these awards are selected by the national
imagination and brutal reality. panel of Juries appointed by Union Government.

• The Pulitzer Prize is an annual award for achievements in


newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, Pierre L’enfant Awards 2017
and musical composition in the United States. It was • Bhubaneswar has recently become the first Indian city
established in 1917 by provisions in will of American- to win Pierre L’enfant International Planning excellence
Hungarian newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. The award-2017 instituted by the American Planning
award is administered by Columbia University in New Association (APA). The city has been chosen for its good
York City. and advanced town planning and engaging its residents
• The Prizes are awarded annually in 21 categories. Each in the planning process.
winner of 20 categories receives a certificate and a • The award is named after Pierre L’enfant, a French-
US$15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service born American architect and civil engineer who
category of the journalism is awarded a gold medal. designed the layout of the streets of Washington, D.C.

UN Public Service Award 2017 Abel Prize 2017


• West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has received • Yves Meyer, a French mathematician has won the
the highest prize in United Nations Public Service Award prestigious 2017 Abel Prize for his outstanding role in the
for Kanyashree Prakalpa (Girl Child) scheme in The Hague, development of the mathematical theory of wavelets (small
Netherlands. waves or ripples). This theory is used for applications
• Kanyashree Prakalpa is an initiative of the West Bengal ranging from image compression to the detection of
government to improve the lives and the status of the gravitational waves from the merging of black holes. The
adolescent girls. The scheme provides financial help to the theory also allowed scientists to create unique wavelet
girls from disadvantaged families to pursue higher studies. transforms suited to specific signals.
It also aims to prevent child marriage. Earlier, it had also • Abel Prize is awarded annually by the Norwegian Academy
received the appreciation from the UNICEF. of Science and Letters to outstanding mathematicians.
The award is named after Norwegian mathematician
Niels Henrik Abel. The award which was established by the
64th National Film Awards 2016
Government of Norway in 2001, is often described as the
• The 64th National Film Awards for year 2016 were presented mathematician’s Nobel Prize.
recently by President Pranab Mukherjee. Marathi film
Kasaav won the award in the Best Feature Film category and
Fireflies in the Abyss won in the Non-Feature Film Category. Saraswati Samman 2016
Telugu drama film Sathamanam Bhavathi directed by Satish • Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail has been
Vegesna was selected as the Best Popular film providing selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016 for
wholesome entertainment. novel Hawthan. Hawthan, his work of fiction presenting the
• The winners in feature films category were chosen by cultural map of the traditional potter community of Goa was
jury headed by Filmmaker Priyadarshan and winners in published in 2009.
non-feature category were chosen by jury, headed by • Saraswati Samman is an annual award bestowed upon
nationally acclaimed cinematographer and writer Raju Indian citizen for his outstanding literary work written in any
Misra. Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII of Constitution
• Akshay Kumar won Best Actor award for film Rustom whereas and published during last 10 years.
Surabhi Lakshmi chosen as Best Actress for Minnaminungu.
• The award is considered to be among the highest literary
Besides, Zaira Wasim selected a Best Supporting actress
awards in India. It was established in 1991 by the K. K. Birla
for film Dangal.
Foundation. It carries cash prize of 15 lakh rupees, a citation
and a plaque of goddess Saraswati.
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89th Academy Awards 2017 years by an Indian citizen. The award carries monetary
award of 2.5 lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque.
• The 89th edition of Academy Awards commonly referred as
Oscars, was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los
Angeles. The award was presented in 24 categories by the Grammy Awards 2017
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), • The 59th Annual Grammy Awards 2017 were announced
including Best Picture of 2016. by the Recording Academy in Los Angeles, California. The
• Musical drama La La Land won the most number of awards ceremony recognized the best recordings, compositions,
totalling to six at the ceremony after it was nominated into and artists of the eligibility year from October 1, 2015 to
14 categories. It was followed by Moonlight and Arrival with September 30, 2016.
each being nominated in eight categories. • In this edition of awards, British singer Adele won the
most awards in 5 different categories. She also created
List of Major Awards and Winners history by becoming first artist to win the top three
Best Picture: Moonlight categories twice (for first time in 2012).

Best Actress: Emma Stone (La La Land) • Grammy Awards are the recording industry’s most
prestigious award presented annually by the National
Best Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) of
Best Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land). At 32, he
the United States to recognize outstanding achievement
became youngest director to win Oscar
in the mainly English-language music industry.
• Remarks: Indian tabla player Sandeep Das on 13
Krishi Karman Awards 2015-16 February 2017 won the 59th annual Grammy Award
• The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has for the Best Global Music category. He won the award
recently selected Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura
for the cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble ‘Sing Me
for the Krishi Karman awards for their record performance in
Home’.
the production of food grains during 2015-16. Apart from
these states, Meghalaya would get commendation prize
for total food grain production and would be given a cash SASTRA Ramanujan Award 2016
award of Rs 1 crore. • Kaisa Matomaki (from Finland’s University of Turku) and
• Tamil Nadu has been chosen in large category (production Maksym Radziwill (from McGill University, Canada) have
more than 10 million tonnes), Himachal Pradesh in medium been jointly won the 2016 SASTRA-Ramanujan award for
category (1 to 10 million tonnes) and Tripura in small mathematics for their revolutionary collaborative work on
category (less than 1 million tonnes). short intervals in number theory.
• Krishi Karman awards were instituted in 2010-11 by the • Their mathematical work dwells on properties of numbers
Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to reward in short intervals. The two mathematicians worked with
the best performing States in the production of food grains Fields medalist Terence Tao in making a breakthrough
and individual crops of rice, wheat, pulses and coarse on the Chowla conjecture.
cereals.
• It is an annual award bestowed on young mathematicians
for his outstanding contributions to areas of mathematics
Vyas Samman 2016 influenced by the Indian mathematician Srinivasa
• Renowned Hindi Scholar, litterateur and playwrighter Surendra Ramanujan. It was established by Shanmugha Arts,
Verma was selected for the prestigious Vyas Samman 2016. Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA)
• He was chosen for this award for his novel Kaatna Shami University. The age limit for the prize is 32 years.
Ka Vriksha Padmapankhuri Ki Dhaar Se which was
published in 2010.
• The Vyas Samman award was instituted by the K.K. Birla
Jnanpith Award 2016
Foundation in 1991. It is awarded annually to outstanding • Veteran Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh has been conferred
literary work in Hindi, authored and published in past 10 52nd edition of Jnanpith Award (2016), India's highest
literary award.
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• He has been awarded for his poetic idiom and experiments Besides, seven personalities were awarede with Padma
with various poetic forms which mark his greatness as Bhushan and 75 persons were awarded Padma Shri.
creative talent. With this, Ghosh has become the 6th Bengali
author to win this award after Mahashweta Devi, Tarashankar
Bandopadhayay, Ashapurna Devi, Subhash Mukhopadhaya Dan David Prize
and Bishnu Dev. • Indian astrophysicist Shrinivas Kulkarni has recently won
• Jnanpith award is one of the highest literary awards in India the prestigious Dan David prize for his contributions made
and was instituted in 1961. The award is given to any Indian in the field of astronomy. Shrinivas Kulkarni, a professor of
citizen who writes in any of the languages mentioned astrophysics and planetary science at California Institute
in VIII Schedule of Constitution of India. At present, 22 of Technology in Pasadena, is a pioneer in the field of time-
languages are mentioned in the constitution of India. The domain astrophysics.
award carries a citation, prize money of 12 lakh and bronze
replica of Godess Saraswati. • The Dan David Prize is given by Dan David Foundation
which was established in 2000 by the late Dan David, an
international businessman and philanthropist.
ICC Awards 2016
• The International Cricket Council (ICC) have announced
the winners of the 2016 ICC awards. India’s Ravichandran UN Messenger of Peace
Ashwin wins the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC • United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres
Cricketer of the year award. Ashwin has won both the ICC has bestowed the UN Messenger of Peace upon Malala
Cricketer of the Year and the ICC Test cricketer of the Year Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She was
award 2016.
described as a symbol of the most important thing in the
• India’s Virat Kohli has been named the captain of ICC ODI world 'education for all'. With this, she became youngest
team of the Year. Kohli is accompanied by two Indians ever UN Messenger of Peace.
(Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja) in the team.
• The UN Messenger of Peace title is bestowed by United
• The ICC awards were handed to the cricketers based on
Nations upon distinguished individuals, selected from the
their performances in the 12-month period between 14
fields of art, literature, music and sports or other fields of
September 2015 and 20 September 2016.
public life. It was established in 1997.

Padma Awards 2017


• The list of Padma award 2017 winners comprises of 7 26th Bihari Puraskar 2016
Padma Vibhushan, 7 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri • Eminent Rajasthani writer Satya Narayan has been
Awardees. 19 of the awardees are women and the list also chosen for the 26th Bihari Puraskar, 2016 by the K K
includes 5 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, Birla Foundation. He will be awarded a cash prize of
PIOs and 6 Posthumous awardees. Rs 2 lakhs, besides a citation and a plaque. Narayan
• Padma Awards is one of the highest civilian Awards of India was selected for his Hindi book titled ‘Yeh Ek Dunia’
instituted in the year 1954. It is given in three categories, which was published in 2010.
namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma
• Bihari Puraskar is a literary award instituted by K. K.
Shri. These are awarded for exceptional and distinguished
Birla Foundation. The award is named after the famous
service to the nation.
Hindi poet Bihari and is awarded to an outstanding
• The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day work published in Hindi or Rajasthani by a Rajasthani
every year. These awards are conferred by the President of writer.
India at ceremonial functions which to be held at Rashtrapati
Bhawan usually around March/ April every year.
Women Transforming India Awards
• This year, seven personalities were awarded with Padma
• Women Transforming India Awards 2017 were presented
Vibhushan which include Sharad Pawar, Murli Manohar Joshi, to 12 top women change makers across India.
P.A. Sangma (Posthumous), K.J. Yesudas, among others.
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• These were launched by NITI Aayog in 2016, in AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards 2017
partnership with the UN in India and MyGov. Its objective • All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and
is to recognize the transformational impact of work Engineering Council of India (ECI), felicitated the award
undertaken by women across the country. winners of the first “AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakrma
• The six winners are Laxmi Agarwal, Saeena Hussain, Awards”.
Kamal Kumbhar, Subasini Mistry, Arunima Sinha and • Awards were given to honour innovative work of students
Jamuna Tudu. displaying exceptional skills in different Engineering
streams.

Persons in News

Arjan Singh • Article 148 of constitution deals with appointment and


• Marshal of the Indian Air Force (MIAF) Arjan Singh, died at removal of CAG. CAG is appointed by the President of
98 following a cardiac arrest. India following a recommendation by the Prime Minister.
He/she holds the office till the age of 65 years or at the
• For his distinguished service in commanding the IAF
expiry of 6 years’ term, whichever is earlier.
during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, he was awarded
the Padma Vibhushan.
• In 1966, Chief of Air Staff rank was upgraded to that of an Ashwani Lohani
Air Chief Marshal, thus he became the first IAF officer to be • Air India Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)
promoted to air chief marshal. Ashwani Lohani has been appointed chairman of the
• In 2002, he became the first and only officer of the Indian Air Railway Board.
Force to be promoted to five-star rank as Marshal of the Indian • Railway Board reports to the Parliament of India through the
Air Force (MIAF), equal to the army rank of Field Marshal. Ministry of Railways headed by the Railway Minister of India.

Dipak Misra Rajiv Kumar


• Justice Dipak Misra was sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice • Rajiv Kumar takes charge as the new Vice Chairman of
of the Supreme Court of India. He made and subscribed NITI Aayog. He replaces Arvind Panagariya.
to the oath of office before the President. He will have a
• NITI Aayog is a policy think-tank to provide advice to
tenure of about 14 months till October 2, 2018.
the central and the state governments. It was created on
• Article 124 of the Constitution of India provides for the January 1, 2015 by an executive order by replacing the
manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court (SC). planning commission (which ceased to exist).
But there is no specific provision in the Constitution for
appointing the Chief Justice.
J.Y. Pillay
• J.Y. Pillay, an Indian-origin veteran civil servant, was
Rajiv Mehrishi appointed as Singapore’s acting President until a new
• The outgoing Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi has been head of state is sworn in later this month.
appointed as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India
• He took over from Tony Tan Keng Yam who recently
(CAG).
completed a six-year term.
Miscellaneous
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Raj Shah Who is eligible to run for the President?


• US President Donald Trump has appointed Indian- • A person who is 35 years of age
American Raj Shah as Deputy Assistant to the President • An Indian National
and Principal Deputy Press Secretary; a key position in his • Must have a support of 50 MPs/MLAs (these can’t be
communications team. nominated members)
• Must not hold any Office of Profit (Any Constitutional
Nawaz Sharif position, which may further give rise to a conflict of interests
• Recently, Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualified PM in discharging of duties.)
Nawaz Sharif from holding public office on account
of concealment of assets in his nomination papers for Who elects the President?
the 2013 General Elections which were revealed in the Article 54 of the Indian Constitution states that The President
Panama Leaks. shall be elected by the members of an electoral college
• Subsequently Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected as PM. consisting of the
• Elected members of both Houses of Parliament; and
• Elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the
Neeru Chadha States/UTs.
• Neeru Chadha has become the first Indian woman to
The nominated members of Parliament, Legislative Assemblies,
become member of International Tribunal for the Law of
and members of Legislative Council don’t vote in the Presidential
the Seas (ITLOS).
election.
• ITLOS governs the laws on international waters and is
one of the dispute settlement mechanisms under the
UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It was M. Venkaiah Naidu
established in 1996 and is headquartered in Hamburg, • M. Venkaiah Naidu has been elected as the 13th Vice-
Germany. It is composed of 21 members who are elected President of India by defeating Gopalkrishna Gandhi in
for 9-year term. the recently concluded Vice-President elections.
• Articles 63 of Constitution of India states that there shall be
a Vice–President of India.
Prasoon Joshi
• Article-66 deals with election of Vice President.
• Government has removed Pahlaj Nihalani as Central Board
of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson and appointed Qualification, conditions to become Vice-President:
Prasoon Joshi as its chairperson for a period of three years. It is almost same as that of President except one difference:
• CBFC is a statutory body under the I&B Ministry For a person to be president, he must be qualified for election
which Works in accordance with the provisions of as a member of the Lok Sabha. But for a person to be Vice–
the Cinematograph Act, 1952, and Cinematograph president, he must be qualified for election as a member of
(Certification) Rules, 1983. Its task is to regulate the the Rajya Sabha.
public exhibition of films to ensure healthy entertainment
and education to the public.
• Shyam Benegal Committee had submitted its report to
B. R. Barwale
• Recently, B.R. Barwale (widely regarded as the father of
the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in 2016. Its
Indian seeds industry) died.
objective was to recommend guidelines for certification of
films by CBFC. • He revolutionised farming practices by producing
cheaper and higher-yield seeds in the Marathwada
region of India.
Ram Nath Kovind • He played an important role in bringing Bt cotton into the
• Ram Nath Kovind was declared as India’s 14th President country. Mahyco formed a 50:50 venture with Monsanto
after defeating former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. Investments to form Mahyco Monsanto Biotech and
He will be the second Dalit President of India after late introduced Bt cotton varieties in 2002.
President K.R. Narayanan and first from Uttar Pradesh.
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Maryam Mirzakhani • Pakistan has alleged that Jadhav was a serving officer in
• Maryam Mirzakhani, the first & only woman and only the Indian Navy and deputed to the Research and Analysis
Iranian to win the fields medal, died due to cancer at the Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency. However,
age of 40. Union Ministry of External Affairs had acknowledged
• She was an Iranian-born mathematician. In 2014, she was that Jadhav served with the Navy but has no link with
awarded the Fields Medal for her original contributions to government since his premature retirement from Indian
the field of geometry esp. symmetry of curved surfaces Navy. He was commissioned in Navy as officer in 1991 and
such as spheres. retired from the services in 2013.
• Fields Medal is awarded to two to four mathematicians, • Research and Analysis Wing is the primary foreign
under the age of 40, who have made important
intelligence agency of India which was established in 1968
contributions to the field.
following the intelligence failures of the Sino-Indian and
Indo-Pakistani wars.
KK Venugopal
• RAW is under the direct command of Prime Minister
• Senior advocate and constitutional expert K. K. Venugopal
and reports on an administrative basis to the Cabinet
has been appointed as 15th Attorney General of India.
Secretary of India, who then reports to the Prime
He succeeds Mukul Rohatgi as the Government’s top law
Minister.
officer. Earlier, in the Morarji Desai’ government (1977-79),
he had served as Additional Solicitor General of India
• Attorney General for India is the Indian government’s chief Anshu Jamsenpa
legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court
• Anshu Jamsenpa, a native of Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh
of India. He is appointed by the President of India under
has become the first Indian woman to scale Mount Everest
Article 76(1) of the Constitution and holds office during the
for the record fifth time.
pleasure of the President. He is part of Union Executive.
• She has scaled Mount Everest twice in this season on 16th
May 2017 and 21st May 2017 that too taking only a gap of
Achal Kumar Joti 5 days between the two climbs. With this feat, she became
• Former IAS officer and Election commissioner Achal Kumar first woman to climb the peak “double” twice.
Joti has been recently appointed as the 21st Chief Election
Commissioner (CEC). He succeeded Nasim Zaidi and will
Emmanuel Macron
retire in early next year.
• Emmanuel Macron has been elected as the youngest
• Election commission is multi member body and
President of France at the age of 39. He is also the
currently has three members including Chief Election
Commissioner. They have fixed tenure of 6 years or till first President outside of France’s two traditional main
age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. In case of difference parties.
of opinion amongst the Chief Election Commissioner and • Macron defeated Marine Le Pen of National Front (NF), a
Election Commissioner, the matter is decided by the far-right opponent by securing about 19.3 million votes,
Commission by majority. while she secured about 10.4 million votes. Macron has a
highly promising agenda of political and economic reform

Kulbhushan Jadhav for France and the European Union. Unlike his opponent
Marine Le Pen, who threatened to pull out of the European
• Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national and alleged RAW
(Research and Analysis Wing) agent has been recently Union, Macron holds a business-friendly vision of European
sentenced to death by Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial. integration.

• He was arrested in March 2016 by Pakistani security forces Note: Elysee Palace has been the official residence of the
on charges of spying in the restive Balochistan province President of France since 1848.
after he reportedly entered from Iran.
Miscellaneous
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Moon Jae-in Remarks


• Moon Jae-in, the Democratic Party candidate, has been
Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were sworn
appointed as President of South Korea by securing 41.08%
in as Deputy Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh. They were
of total votes. He replaced the ousted President Park Geun- administered the oath to the office and secrecy by Governor
hye, who was impeached from office in March 2017 after Ram Naik at oath taking ceremony held in Lucknow.
corruption charges was levelled against her. Park was the
first female President of South Korea.
• He is a former human rights lawyer and a liberal who favours Trivendra Singh Rawat
engagement with North Korea and has challenged the • Uttarakhand BJP chief and Former RSS pracharak Trivendra
deployment of US missile defense system in South Korea. Singh Rawat was sworn in as ninth Chief Minister of
Moon is a strong proponent of the “Sunshine Policy”, which Uttarakhand.
aimed to improve relations between the two Koreas from • This is for fifth time BJP has formed government in
1998 to 2008. He was the son of refugees who fled North Uttarakhand. The party formed its first government in the
Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. state when it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000.
First Chief Minister of Uttarakhand: Nityanand Swami
Leila Seth
• Justice Leila Seth, the first woman Chief Justice of a High Justice (Retd.) P. N. Bhagwati
Court, has recently passed away in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
• Recently, former Chief Justice of India Prafullachandra
She also had the distinction of becoming the first woman to
Natwarlal Bhagwati who is considered as a pioneer of
top the London Bar exam as well as the becoming the first
Judicial Activism has recently passed away.
female judge of the Delhi High Court.
• He along with Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer introduced the
• In 1991, she was made as the Chief Justice of the Himachal
concepts of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and absolute
Pradesh High Court. She had also served as member of
liability to the Indian judicial system.
the 15th Law Commission of India (1997 to 2000).
• He made the famous ruling that there was no need for a
• Besides, she was also a member of the Justice JS Verma
person to have any Locus Standi to approach the court on
committee which was mandated to take a relook at the
the issue of fundamental rights.
criminal laws for crime against women after the December
16, 2012 gang rape incident. The committee’s work
resulted in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, that David R Syiemlieh
widened the definition of rape and made the punishment • David R. Syiemlieh has been appointed as the Chairman of
more stringent. the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) by President
Pranab Mukherjee.
Yogi Adityanath • Syiemlieh, a UPSC member, has took over charge on 4
• Yogi Adityanath, BJP’s firebrand leader and a Five-time January, 2017 and will remain the head of the organisation
Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur was recently sworn till his retirement on January 21, 2018 or till further orders.
in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. His real name
is Ajay Singh Bisht.
• Born in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, he had
Donald Trump
renounced his family at the age of 21 and became a • Business Tycoon Donald John Trump has been elected the
disciple of Mahant Avaidyanath, then the head priest of 45th President of the United States.
Gorakhnath Math. He was the youngest member of the • In 1971, he took charge of his family's real estate and
12th Lok Sabha at the age of 26. He is also the founder of construction firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, which was later
the Hindu Yuva Vahini. renamed The Trump Organization.
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• During his business career, Trump has built, renovated, • Rawat, prior to his appointment as Army chief, was serving
and managed numerous office towers, hotels, casinos, as the Vice Chief of Army Staff. He superseded two senior-
and golf courses. most Lt. Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.
• As of 2016, Forbes listed him as the 324th wealthiest
person in the world and 113th richest in the United States, Fidel Castro
with a net worth of $4.5 billion.
• Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary and politician who
governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959
Edappadi K Palaniswamy  to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008, died on
• Edappadi K Palaniswamy, a senior leader of the All India 25th November 2016 at the age of 90.
Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) recently
• Politically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, he
sworn in as the 13th chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
also served as the First Secretary of the Communist
• He was elected as the leader of AIADMK Legislature Party
Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. He established
after incumbent V. K. Sasikala was convicted by the Supreme
the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere
Court in the 20-year old disproportionate assets case.
after leading an overthrow of the military dictatorship
of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and taking over as prime
Anil Baijal minister of Cuba.
• Former Union Home Scecretary Anil Baijal has been
appointed as the new Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.
• Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, was home secretary in Edouard Philippe
2004 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He • Edouard Philippe, the Mayor of the French port city Le
retired from government service in 2006 as secretary of Havre and a member of the Les Républicains party, has
Ministry of Urban Development. been recently appointed as the Prime Minister of France
by the President Emmanuel Macron.
Jayalalithaa Jayaram
• Jayalalithaa Jayaram, an Indian actress-turned-politician, Ajay Tyagi
died in office on December 5, 2016 at the age of 68 years
• Senior bureaucrat Ajay Tyagi recently has been appointed
after suffering from a major cardiac arrest.
as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board
• She was a five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu. She was of India (SEBI). He is 1984 batch IAS (Indian Administrative
also the General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Services) officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre.
Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party. She was sworn-in
• SEBI is the statutory regulator for the securities market in
as the chief minister for a record fifth term on 23 May 2016.
India. It protects the interests of investors in securities,
promote the development of securities market and
B.S. Dhanoa regulate the securities market. It was given statutory
• Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa has been appointed as powers through the SEBI Act, 1992.
the new Air Force chief. It has basically three functions:
• He is a Kargil war veteran and is a proud recipient of Ati (i) Quasi-legislative (drafts regulations in its legislative
Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2015, Yudh Seva Medal capacity),
(YSM), Vayusena Medal (VM) in 1999, among others. (ii) Quasi-judicial (passes rulings and orders in its judicial
capacity) and
(iii) Quasi-executive (conducts investigation and enforce-
Bipin Rawat
ment action in its executive function).
• Government has appointed Bipin Rawat as the new Army
Establishment: 1988, Headquarters: Mumbai
Chief.
Miscellaneous
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Places in News
Mosul Norway
• The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on July 10, 2017, • Recently, Norway became the first nation in the world to start
announced that all districts of Mosul (Iraq's second largest switching off its FM (Frequency Modulation) radio network
city after Baghdad) had been cleared of Islamic State of in a leap to digital technology. The shutdown of the FM
Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as ISIL or Arabic acronym network which was introduced during 1950s began in the
Daesh) fighters, after more than two years. northern city of Bodoe.
• The recapture of Mosul is likely to end the group's self-styled • By the end of this year, all national FM broadcasts will be
caliphate in areas seized in 2014. However, ISIL would still closed in favour of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) which
be capable of fighting a guerrilla-style insurgency in Iraq. carries less hiss and clear sound throughout the large
• Islamic States (also known as ISIS, Daesh or ISIL) is a nation of 5 million people cut by fjords and mountains.
Jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria influenced by
the Wahhabi movement. It aims to establish a caliphate,
or Islamic state in Sunni majority regions of Iraq and
Finland
Syria. This militant group has been designated a terrorist • Recently, Finland has become the first country in Europe
organisation by the United Nations and many individual to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income,
countries. amounting to €Euro 560 ($587), in  a unique social
Headquarters of ISIS : Al- Raqqa (Syria);  Leader: Abu Bakr experiment  which is hoped to cut government red tape,
al-Baghdadi reduce poverty and boost employment.

  The average private sector income in Finland


Barren Island
is 3500 Euros per month. 
• Recently, India’s only live volcano at Barren Island in
the Andaman and Nicobar has become active again. It was
confirmed by scientists from Goa based National Institute of • The two-year trial with 2,000 randomly picked citizens
Oceanography (NIO). who receive unemployment benefits kicked off on 1st
• After lying dormant for 150 years, Barren Island volcano January, 2017.Those chosen will receive €560 every
last actively erupted in 1991 and since then it is showing month, with no reporting requirements on how they
sporadic activity. The volcanic island is part of Andaman spend it. The amount will be deducted from any benefits
Islands. they already receive.

Rio de Janeiro Barmer


• The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural • The district administration of Rajasthan’s Barmer district has
Organization (UNESCO) has recently accorded World recently launched a unique scheme of providing Rs 2,500
Heritage Status to Rio de Janeiro (nicknamed as Marvelous per month to every family that will use lavatory in regular
City), Brazil. In the UNESCO world heritage list, the city basis. It is an extraordinary move to stop open defecation
has been categorised as “Carioca Landscapes between and ensure that people use lavatory regularly.
Mountain and Sea”. • Cairn India in collaboration with Rural Development
• The city also had hosted 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Organisation (RDO) and district administration has
Summer Olympics. launched this unique scheme in Baytu and Gida
• The World Heritage Sites are accorded by UNESCO panchayats. It aims to encourage Swachh Bharat Mission
having special cultural or physical significance. The World and make use of lavatory a must.
Heritage Sites list is maintained by International World • The scheme has been launched in two panchayats. It is
Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World for the first time in India, this scheme has been launched
Heritage Committee. The committee comprises of 21 to encourage the beneficiaries of these two panchayats
UNESCO member states which are elected by the General so that villagers develop a habit of using lavatory
Assembly. regularly.
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Patna Majuli
• Recently, the 350th Prakash Parvwas celebrated in Patna, the • Recently, the Guinness World Records has officially
capital city of Bihar where Takht Sri Patna Sahib Gurudwara designated Assam’s Majuli as the largest river island in
(the birthplace of Shri Guru Gobind Singh ji) is located. the world. The island is situated in the Brahmaputra River.
• Year 2017 marks the 350th birth anniversary of the Shri Majuli which covers an area of around 880 sq km has
Guru Gobind Singh Ji, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and toppled previous record held by Brazil’s Marajo island in
philosopher. the Amazon river.
• This fluvial riverine island is formed by the Brahmaputra
river system and is surrounded by Subanisri river in the
Tirupati North, main Brahmaputra river on the South and kherkatia
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 3 January 201 Suli (split channel of Brahmaputra river) in northeast.
inaugurated the 104th Indian Science Congress at the Sri
• Majuli island is mostly inhabited by Mishing tribal people.
Venkateswara University in Tirupati. About 14,000 scientists
Apart from them, there are inhabitants from the Deori and
and scholars from across the country had participated in
SonowalKacharis tribes. On the island languages spoken
the event including Six Nobel Prize winners from different
are Mising, Assamese, and Deori.
countries.
• Majuli island has a rich and diverse agricultural tradition. As
• The theme of the event was 'Science and Technology for
many as 100 varieties of rice grown organically. Besides,
National Development'.
it is home of many rare and endangered avifauna species
• The Indian Science Congress Association is a premier including migratory birds. It is also been the nerve centre
scientific organisation of India. The association meets of Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture initiated by saint-
annually in the first week of January. More than 30000 reformer Srimanta Sankardeva in 15th century. The island
scientists are the members of the association. has approximately 65 satras (monasteries adhering) to
Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal Vaishnavism.

Important Books and Authors


Book title Author
Gandhi in Champaran D.G. Tendulkar

Flaming Tresses of Draupadi Veerappa Moily

Matoshree Sumitra Mahajan

Sita: Warrior of Mithila Amish Tripathi

The Golden House Salman Rushdie

Akhada: The Authorized Biography of Mahavir Singh Saurabh Duggal

Veerapan: Chasing the Brigand K. Vijay Kumar

An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India Dr. Shashi Tharoor

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad Twinkle Khanna

Death under the Deodars: The Adventures of Miss Ripley-Bean Ruskin Bond

Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond William Dalrymple

60 Indian Poets Jeet Thayil

Democrats and Dissenters Ram Chandra Guha

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Arundhati Roy


Miscellaneous
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Current Sports
Australian Open 2017 French Open 2017
The Australian Open is a major tennis tournament held French open, the second grand slam tennis tournament
annually and chronology the first of the four Grand Slam of the year 2017 concluded recently in the Roland Garros
tennis event of the year. Stadium in Paris, France.

Australian Open 2017 Results French Open 2017 Results


Category Winner Runner-up Category Winner Runner-up
Men’s Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Men’s Rafael Nadal (Spain) Stan Wawrinka
Singles (Switzerland)  (Spain) Singles (Switzerland)
Women’s Serena Williams (USA) Venus Williams
Women’s Jelena Ostapenko Simona Halep
Singles (USA)
Singles (Latvia) (Romania)
Men’s Henri Kontinen Mike Bryan and
Men’s Ryan Harrison (US) Santiago Gonzalez
Doubles (Finland) and John Bob Bryan (USA)
Doubles and Michael Venus (Mexico) and Donald
Peers (Australia)
(New Zealand) Young (United States)
Women’s Bethanie Mattek-Sands Andrea
Women’s Bethanie Mattek- Ashleigh Barty and
Doubles (USA) and Lucie Hlavakova
Doubles Sands (US) and Casey Dellacqua
Safaova(Czech (Czec Republic)
Lucie Safarova (Both from Australia)
Republic) and Peng
(Czech Republic)
Shuai (China)
Mixed Rohan Bopanna Anna-Lena Gronefeld
Mixed Abigail Spears Sania Mirza
Doubles (India) and Gabriela (Germany) and Robert
Doubles (USA) and Juan (India) and Ivan
Dabrowski (Canada) Farah (Colombia)
Sebastián Dodig (Croatia)
Cabal (Colombia)

Wimbledon 2017 US Open 2017


The 2017 Wimbledon Championship tennis tournament was The 2017 US Open Championship tennis tournament recently
the 131st edition and the “50th in the Open Era”. concluded. It was the 137th edition.

Wimbledon 2017 Results US Open 2017 Results


Category Winner name Category Winner name
Men’s singles Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Men’s singles Rafael Nadal
Note: It was his 8th Wimbledon title, a
(Spain)
record; he is the Oldest male player to
win Wimbledon. Women's Sloane Stephens (US)
Women's Garbine Muguruza (Spain) Singles Note: It was her first grand slam title.
Singles Men's Doubles Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands)/
Men's Doubles Lukasz Kubot (Poland) / Marcelo Melo Romania Horia Tecau (Romania)
(Brazil)
Women's Martina Hingis (Switzerland)/ Chan
Women's Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) / Elena
Doubles Yung-jan (Taiwan)
Doubles Vesnina (Russia)
Mixed Doubles Jamie Murray (United Kingdom) / Mixed Doubles Martina Hingis (Switzerland)/ Jamie
Martina Hingis (Switzerland) Murray (United Kingdom)
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Women's Cricket World Cup 2017 • Winners:


• Recently, 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup concluded. w Australia has won six titles, England has won four titles
Indian Women's Cricket Team reached the final of the and New Zealand has won one title.
2017 World Cup and lost by nine runs. w India (twice) and the West Indies (once) have reached
the final without going on to win.
About the recent tournament:
• It took place in England from 24 June to 23 July 2017.
• It was the eleventh edition of the Women's Cricket World
Mission XI Million
• Union government informed parliament about Mission XI
Cup,
Million.
• It was the third edition to be held in England (after the 1973
• It is a joint programme of the
and 1993 tournaments).
w Union Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports,
• It was the first World Cup in which all participating players
w All India Football Federation (AIFF) and
were fully professional. i.e. contracts were provided to them.
w Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
• Eight teams qualified to participate in the tournament. • Objective: To popularise football across the country.
• England won the final against India at Lord's. It was their • Target: To reach 11 Million boys and girls across the
fourth world cup. country for promotion of football by 30th September 2017.
• Player of the series: Tammy Beaumont (England). Her full
name is Tamsin Tilley Beaumont.
Target Olympic Podium committee
Mithali Raj: Achievements reconstituted
• Mithali Raj became the leading women run-getter in One- • The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has
Day Internationals during the 2017 Women’s cricket World reconstituted Target Olympic Podium (TOP) committee
Cup. She broke the record of Charlotte Edwards (England). with objective of identifying and supporting potential
• Key highlights of her career: medal prospects for 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games
under TOP scheme.
w As of July 14, 2017, she is the only female cricketer to
surpass the 6,000 run mark in ODIs. • The committee will be headed by Abhinav Bindra, Olympic
Gold Medalist. Its members are Anil Khanna, Prakash
w She is the first player to score 7 consecutive 50s in ODIs.
Padukone, Karnam Malleshwari, P. T. Usha, Murlidhar
w Awards received by her:
Raja, Anjali Bhagwat, Rekha Yadav, Dr. S.S. Roy and Inder
2003: Arjuna Award. Dhamija.
2015: Padma Shri. • Target Olympic Podium Scheme was formulated within the
overall ambit of National Sports Development Fund (NSDF)
About Women's Cricket World Cup
with the objective of identifying and supporting potential
• Administrator: International Cricket Council (ICC)
medal prospects for 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.
w Until 2005, it was administered by the International
Women's Cricket Council (IWCC).
w But IWCC merged with ICC and thus it is organized by Union Government constitutes Committee
ICC. to frame National Sports Code
• The first World Cup was held in England in 1973, two years • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has constituted
before the inaugural men's tournament. 2017 world cup was committee to frame comprehensive National Sports
the eleventh edition. Development Code across sports disciplines. It will be
• Venue: World Cups played to date have been held in five headed by Injeti Srinivas, the Sports Secretary.
different countries, with India and England having hosted • The committee will study the existing sports governance
the event three times. frame work, issues relating to sports governance in
• Since 2005 World Cups have been hosted at regular four- the country, recent developments related to sports
year intervals. Next women’s world cup will be held in New governance, including court judgments and international
Zealand in 2021. best practices, and make recommendations on bringing
out a comprehensive National Sports Development Code
across sports disciplines.
Miscellaneous
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K Srikanth Wins Australian Open Super Video gaming to be featured as a full sport
Series Badminton Title at the 2022 Asian Games
• Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth has clinched Australian • As an interesting initiative, Video gaming will be introduced
Open Super Series Badminton title by defeating reigning as a full and medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games to be
Olympic and All England champion Chen Long in summit held at Hangzhou, China. According to the Olympic Council
clash held in Sydney. of Asia (OCA), the decision to include e-sports was taken to
• With this win, Srikant became the fifth player in the world reflect the rapid development and popularity of this new form
to take part in three successive Super Series finals by of sports participation among the youth.
reaching the summit clash in Singapore, Indonesia and • It will be included as a demonstration sport at the 2018
Australia. Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia. For this, OCA
has entered into collaboration with Alisports, a unit of
China’s Alibaba Group, to bring e-sports to the games.
Oorja: CAPFs Under-19 Football Talent Hunt However, no details have come out on the details of the
Tournament-2017 video games that would be included.
• The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) has conducted • Asian Games, also known as Asiad, is a pancontinental
‘Oorja’- CAPFs Under-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament multi-sport event, which is considered as the second-
2017, throughout the country from May 1-15, 2017. The biggest sporting competition in the world after the Olympics
tournament was jointly organized by CAPF under the in the number of athletes involved.
aegis of All India Police Sports Control Board.
• The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) conducted
the tournament in Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra
Kerala hosts country’s first ever transgender
Pradesh, Goa and the Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar athletic meet
Haveli and Daman & Diu. • State of Kerala has recently conducted the country’s first-ever
• Mission XI Million is a grassroots programme transgender one-day athletic meet in Thiruvananthapuram.
designed to encourage children to play football. It is • The event saw the participation of 132 participants
school contact programme aimed at improving the belonging to 12 districts of the state. The event was jointly
football ecosystem and enlarge the talent pool for the organised by Kerala sports council and Sexual Gender
national team. Minority Federation of Kerala. In the competition, six events
were conducted, namely, 100 metres, 200 metres, and 400
Note: India to host FIFA Under-17 World Cup in October
metres running; 100x 4 relay race, high jump and shot put.
2017.

Jhulan Goswami named Highest Wicket- Winners of 2017 All England Championship
Taker in Women’s One-Day Internationals Title of Badminton
• Indian cricketer Jhulan Goswami has become the highest • Malaysian badminton player Lee Chong Wei has won the
wicket-taker in women’s one-day internationals. Goswami 2017 All England Championship Title of Badminton in the
men’s singles event. In the final match he defeated China’s
has so far taken 181 wickets in 153 matches.
Shi Yuqi by 21-12, 21-10 score. It was his overall fourth title
• She has broken the world record held by Australia fast
in men’s singles event and had earlier won in 2010, 2011
bowler Cathryn Fitzpatrick who has taken 180 wickets.
and 2014.
Jhulan achieved this feat with the wicket of No.11
• Women’s Single: Tai Tzu-ying (China) won the title by
batsman Raisibe Ntozakhe of South Africa.
defeating Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) by 21-16, 22-20
• Jhulan is a right arm fast bowler who made her one- score.
day debut back in 2002. She is regarded as one of the
• All England Open Badminton Championships is one of the
fastest bowlers in the women’s cricket. Her best bowling
most prestigious and oldest badminton tournaments of the
figures is 6 for 31. So far, she has two five-wicket hauls in world. The first tournament was held in 1898 in Guildford,
ODIs. She has awarded with Arjuna Award in 2010 and since then it is played annually.
Padma Shri in 2012.
• Prakash Padukone (in 1980) and P Gopichand (in 2001)
have won this prestigious title in Men’s Singles category.
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Heena Sidhu, Jitu Rai win ISSF World Cup • While chasing down a score of 265 runs, Gujarat’s Parthiv
Patel (143 runs) and Munprit Juneja (54 runs) helped team
mixed team 10m gold in Gabala
to achieve the target on the final day. It was the highest
• Indian pair of shooters Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu have
successful run-chase in the final of the Ranji Trophy history.
recently clinched the gold medal beating Russia 7-6 in
• Gujarat had previously played in the finals during the 1950-
mixed team 10m air pistol final event of the International