Saturday Session (1st Aug, 2015) On Current Affairs by Mr. Abhishek Juneja

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Mr. Abhishek Juneja

Current Affairs:

  • 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas at Gandhinagar, Gujarat
  • Palestine joins ICC to puruse war crimes by Israel
  • Terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine office at Paris, France
  • Sri-lanka: PM says they’ll implement 13th Amendment (born from Indo-Lanka accord in 1987), to give more powers to provinces, but Srilanka will continue to remain a unitary state.
  • Extremism: Shia militants (Huthis) takeover Yemen’s capital Sana’a
  • GDR is being used for blackmoney circulation
  • Outcome of “Gyan Sangam” seminar of Bankers- FinMin’s blueprint to reduce NPA
  • Creation of Niti Ayog to replace Planning Commission. Arvind Panagariya becomes first vice chairman.
  • Modi increases excise duty on petrol-diesel, to earn ~6000 crore rupees. Given the falling prices of crude oil, this hiked excise duty won’t bring inflation.
  • Kerala’s Idduki district becomes first in India to be linked with National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) for rural broadband
  • Social justice ministry launches Venture capital fund and Green biz.scheme for Schedules Castes.
  • Government launches “Make in NorthEast” Initiative- with focus on tea-processing, organic farming, spa-tourism etc.
  • Government launches “HRIDAY” heritage city development with 100% central funding.
  • Just when USA’s quantitative easing and fed tapering topics ceased, European Union comes up with its own version of Quantitative easing policy.
  • Government to sell 10% stakes in Coal India Limited. Plans to fetch 24,000 crores.
  • Modi launches ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’
  • Report of Shanta Kumar expert committee on TPDS-FCI reforms. Has recommended moving towards direct cash transfers due to large scale leakages in PDS-foodgrain supply chain.
  • Labour is a concurrent subject hence plethora of wage-laws in India. Government to release a new wage-code to streamline both unorgnized and organize sector wages.
  • Until now, India’s GDP was calculated with base year 2004-05. Base year changed to 2011-12. Subsequently 2012’13’s GDP growth rate is increased from ~4.7%to ~7%.
  • TRAI issues draft rules for full mobile number portability.
  • Article 371-J
  • Himmat App for Women safety.
  • SC refuses to hear pleas against Rajasthan ordiance which bars people below class8 education from contesting Panchayat elections.
  • Controversy surrounding Perumal Murugan’s book “Madhorubagan” (one part woman) in Tamilnadu.
  • New Chief Election Commissioner is H.S. Brahma.
  • New Censor Board Chief is Pahlaj Nihalani. Four categories of films: U, U/A, A, S.
  • Hamara Jal, Hamara Jeewan initiative by Water resources ministry.
  • Floating Solar Power plant at Kolkata
  • Prakash Path- LED bulb distribution scheme.
  • River interlinking projects to fix water shortage in Metros- For Delhi: Sarda and Yamuna; For Mumbai: Damanganga and Pinjal.
  • NRDC’s superabsorbent Hydrogel technology
  • China obtained 15 years deep-sea exploration rights of Indian Ocean from ISA (International seabed authority). Now it has sent a manned mission to search polimetalic nodules in Indian ocean.
  • Tamilnadu’s Jallikattu (Bull-taming sport) has been banned by SC for Animal cruelty.
  • Blooming of Neela Kurinji in Western Ghats after 12 years period.
  • Net Neutrality, VOIP, Airtel, Facebook. Net neutrality principle requires ISPs not to give advantage to one type of traffic over the other. Violation cases (1) Airtel’s decision to charge extra money on its mobile-internet users IF they use skype to make free calls over internet. Although later decision taken back. (2) Facebook launches initiative in India with help of Anil Ambani’s Reliance communication. We are 6th country in the world to be covered under facebook’s ‘free-internet’ scheme. Basic idea is- every reliance phone subscribe will get free internet access to facebook, wikipedia etc selected sites. Criticism: Neutrality principle is violated because other similar social networking sites / and knowledge sites will not get visitors. Because junta given ‘free internet’ only for a selected group of sites allied with Facebook. So in a way, facebook misusing its dominant position via this “zero-rating” business strategy.
  • Bombay
  • DRDO’s Agni-V tested. Range 5000 km. Three stage, solid propellant, launched from a Canister.
  • New Harrappan site found in Chandayan, housing plans found.
  • APEC – Asia Pacific economic cooperation- India will soon become its members and benefit from this free trade block.
  • In the 90s, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Croatia and Serbia armies had murdered each others civilans but in the latest ICC verdict absolves them of committing pre-planned genocides.
  • After Modi-Obama meeting, the proposed format of Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act (CLND 2010) is: (1) US nuclear suppliers will not be directly liable if there is any nuclear accident. (2) Their liability will covered from a Rs.1500 crore insurance pool. Government and Government-owned Insurance companies will contribute 50:50 money in this pool.
  • Islamic state(IS) was previously called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
  • China to give $50 Billion fund for Asian infrastructure investment bank and another $40 billion for Implementation of Silk Road Economic Belt — to integrate Asian and European Economies along the Eurasian corridor.
  • Next summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be held in Basharkostan, Russia. Putin will push for India’s full membership in this body. SCO was setup in 2001, as a counter to NATO.
  • SLR reduced from 22 to 21.5 in February.
  • The 14th Finance Commission chairman Y.V. Reddy recommends 42% shares from union taxes to state governments for 2015 to 2020.
  • Rockefeller Foundation announced the 100 Resilient Cities project with a $100 million worldwide. Bengaluru, Chennai, Surat
  • Under The Coinage Act 2011, RBI can issue all notes except Rs.1 note. Union Government planning to print new Rs.1 notes with Hindi & English signatures of new finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi. Although Bankers feels this is mere publicity stunt, because as such cost of printing Rs.1 note is more than the ‘face-value’ of Rs.1 note.
  • ICICI Bank launched India’s first digital bank called “Pockets”- it is a moble app cum e-wallet.This wallet uses a virtual Visa card to help you transfer money to any email id, mobile number, Facebook account, online shopping site, retail mall, Paying utility bills etc.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana guidelines revised. First priority will be given to villages under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). State governments will be required to maintain those roads, even beyond the default 5-year period.
  • ‘Brown money’ is the value of unused goods lying at people’s homes. Thanks to sites like olx and quikr, brown money trading has increased.
  • Social justice ministry celebrated Raahgiri day on 1st Feb 2015. Focus: Disabled peoples’ participation in cultural and sports activities. OnRaahgiri Dayare cordoned off for vehicle movement. The concept is inspired by “Ciclovia”. This weekly event held in Bagota, Columbia.
  • Digital lockers – to store each citizens birth certi, marksheets etc which he can use to fill online forms for job, passport etc.
  • To implement Bezbaruah report on safety of North East people- Government mooted following ideas: (1) transit camps and special hostels for them in big cities (2) NCERT to add NER history-culture-geography in class 6-12 textbooks. (3) 10,000 UGC fellowship for NER-students (4) more NER-people to be recruited in Delhi Police by relaxing physical and educational requirements.
  • Maharashtra Government gives field-trial approval for GM crops. Top countries with largest areas under GM-cultivation -Argentina, Brazil, US, India (4th). We are far ahead of China. India-GM the company Monsanoto enjoys near monopoly, while in China- GM developed through PSUs.
  • Geoengineering aims to fight climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or by increasing the reflectivity of the earth using artificial clouds or even space dust- to reduce the sun’s warmth and thereby Global warming. But now even CIA interested in geoengineering- to “weaponize” weather. Although it is nothing new, previously united kingdom wanted to produce artificial clouds to stop smooth flight of German bombers. Similarly During Vietnam war, America’s “operation Popeye” aimed to increase Rainfall in Vietnam to reduce the movement of North Vietnamese Army in the jungle.
  • PM launches ‘Soil Health Card scheme’ with gives slogan: “Swasth Dharaa. Khet Haraa.” – Healthy Earth. Green Farm. Card validity 3 years-then renew. Card to display soil fertility and recommend fertilizers accordingly. This will improve crop yields, prevent soil-water contamination due to excessive use of fertilizers and thus reduce Government subsidy bill.
  • Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) is now renamed to Jal Sadhana with tagline “Conserve water, Conserve life”. Will be monitored through mobile app “drishti”. Features (1) involve community at every stage (2) use remote sensing and satellite imageries (3) de-silting of water harvesting structures before monsoon-2015. (4) ensure every farm receives water.
  • Mridaparikshak’, is a MINILAB that can determine soil health using digital-mobile-soil-test kit. Developed by Bhopal centre of ICAR. It determines all the important soil parameters i.e. soil pH, EC, organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and micronutrients like zinc, boron and iron. Accordingly, farmer gets SMS info. on recommended fertilizer. System compatible with Soil health card system.
  • Silicene is world’s thinnest silicon material. Researchers used it to create One-atom-thin silicon transistors.
  • Spectrum is a frequencies band of electromagnetic waves or radio waves. Radio waves are used for communication and broadcasting. Example FM radio- 88 to 108 Mhz, Mobile services on providers 900-1800 MHz and so on. But Two operators cannot use the same frequency in the same region, else interference. Therefore, Government allocates spectrum among the service providers through auction. Ultra Wide Band (UWB) are popular for short and medium range communications. They use minimal spectrum, minimal power and don’t interfere with other communication services. Department of Space working on the main passive components of the Ultra Wide Band systems i.e. “antenna” and “filter”- on Silicon Substrate.
  • UK passes law for regulation of ‘3-parent-baby’ treatment. If mom has defective DNA for mitochondria, baby will suffer heart-liver-brain damage. Solution- insert healthy DNA code from another female into her egg, fertilize it with father’s sperm= 3 parent baby.
  • National Deworming day by health ministry. To protect kids from 1 to 19 age from intestinal worms. Albendazole tablets will be given to kids. These parasites can live throughout the body but prefer to live on intestinal wall. Main-species: helminth, roundworm, hookworm. They give diarrhoea, abdominal pain, weakness and anaemia.
  • Nanogold particle usages (1) bind it to drug molecule using sulphur. Then drug can be delivered to any part of body (2) if they’re delivered to cancer site and then Infrared light is emittedthey get excited, hot & kill cancerous cells because of “surface plasmon resonance” property. (3) can improve efficiency of solar cells (4) breaking down organic contaminants for water-purification.
  • Operation Raahat to rescue Indian citizens from Yemen. Reasons for conflict: Shia Huthis rebels have ousted Yemenis President AbdRabbu Mansour Hadi. Since these Huthis are allies of Iran (Shia), so Saudi Arab (Sunni monarchy) begins airstrike on those rebels in Yemen.
  • Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland et al many erstwhile pro-US parties now interested. Means US dominated IMF-World bank power waning.Earlier Japan was hesitant to join AIIB because itself dominates ADB (HQ Manila), but now Japanese MNCs lobbied and got Government to silent agree to join AIIB by June. The chiefs of IMF and ADB have voiced support for AIIB.
  • China has provides details its one belt one road initiative. It’ll have two components (1) Overland Silk Road (OSR) (2) Maritime Silk Road (MSR). Together they’ll cover Eurasia from the Pacific coast to the Baltic Sea. They’ll shift geo-economic power from US-EU towards Eurasia, led by China. In next 10 7ears, 4.4 billion people will be covered and it’ll generate trade above 2.5 trillion dollars with help of RCEP. Collectively Silk Road + RCEP will counter USA’s Asian Pivot + TPP.
  • Lee Kuan Yew: the founding father and first Prime Minister of Singapore (1959 to 1990) died.
  • Urjit Patel Committee on monetary policy reforms. (1) inflation targeting at CPI 2-6% i.e. @4% with band of 2%. Must get inflation below 6% by Jan 2016. (2) failure if inflation above 6% during 3 consecutive quarters of 2015 OR if inflation below 2% in 3 consecutive quarters of 2016. (3) RBI will have to explain Government in such case. if factors beyond RBI’s control, then it can raise monetary policy rates to combat inflation. (4) Monetary policy to be decided by a Monetary Policy Committee (4) among 3 functions of controlling- inflation, foreign exchange rate and interest rate, RBI will give first priority to inflation.
  • RBI says loans to sanitation, health care and drinking water facilities, renewable energy and incremental loans to exporters, will come under Priority sector lending. Plus RBI panel recommends both foreign banks above and below 20 branches, should have same PSL targets i.e. 40%.
  • Insurance bill passed to increase FDI limit from 26% to 49%.
  • Atal Pension Yojana Is for “citizens” in unorganized sector, who joined NPS but not any other social security scheme. Atal will give pension from 1000 to 5000 per month at 60 years age, depending on how much money subscriber contributed. Membership age limit 18 to 40 years. Union will contribute 50% of money given by subscriber or Rs.1000, whichever is less for first 5 years upto 2019-20.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana. Membership age: 18 to 50 with a bank account. Pay Rs.330 per year premium. Get 2 lakh accident cover from LIC. Various ministries can co-contribute premium for their respective beneficiaries. Common Publicity Expenditure will be borne by Government.
  • NSSO-2013: more than 5.5 crore MSME in India, mostly owned by SC, ST, OBC yet only 4% of them get institutional finance. Budget-2015 announced Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank to give them last mile credit delivery. It’ll first begin as a subsidiary of SIDBI and later converted to a full fledged bank through an act of parliament. If banks fails to meet priority sector lending norms, they’ve to deposit money in NABARD’s RIDF or SIDBI’s SEDF. RBI will pull out Rs.20,000 crores from such priority lending shortfall funds, and give it to Mudra.
  • Railways launches RuPay pre-paid debit card. Partners:  Union Bank of India and the National Payment Corporation of India. Utility: Buy tickets, do shopping, pay for IRCTC services. 1lakh accident insurance coverage.
  • Given the rising NPA problem, RBI mandates the banks to keep side emergency fund called “Counter cyclical capital buffer”.
  • Black money Bill And Benami Transactions Bill approved in cabinet. (1) stashing black money abroad = 3-10 years jail time, and penalty of 3 times the tax evaded or 90% of the undisclosed income. (2)  30% Tax on all foreign income. No exemption, or deduction. (3) Onus on the suspect to prove he’s not guilty. (4) if voluntary disclosure of blacck money hidden abroad then lenient punishment i.e. 30% tax + 100% penalty. (5) if foreign income/asset not disclosed in IT return then 10 lakh penalty, even if black money is not hidden in it. (6) Tax officials given more powers of investigation.
  • Rail budget 2015 announced “Kayakulp” council to transform Indian railways. Ratan Tata will head this body.
  • Parliament passes Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015. BenefitsGovernment monopoly ended over coal extraction. Foreign investment permitted.
  • 99th Amendment Act 2014 replaces collegium system with NJAC. A National Judicial Appointments Commission will select the judges for Supreme court.
  • States can setup legislative councils (Vidhan Parishad) only after Parliament approval. Following 7 states already have it: Andhra, Telangana, Bihar, J&K, Karnataka, Maharashtra and UP. Three states want to create upper house: Assam, Rajasthan and Odisha.
  • IT Act Section 66-A removed.
  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tables 19th Constitutional amendment bill. Provisionconvert presidential form of Government to parliamentary system. reduce presidential powers. President can have only 2 terms. Then can’t get re-elected.
  • Critically Endangered Great Indian Bustards (GIB) is the State bird of Rajasthan. Total 150 GIB live in India, out of them ~100 in Rajasthan alone, and remaining in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh. Thar desert of Rajasthan is the breeding ground for GIB. Officially its called “Desert National Park”.
  • Cyclone Pam ravaged Pacific nation Vanuatu (capital Port Vila).
  • India’s noted environmentalist Rajendra Singh (nick name “Waterman”) won Stockholm Water Prize 2015
  • Madhav Gadgil wins USA’s Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for 2015. He played key role in drafting National biodiversity act 2002. He was  chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP).
  • Roads, trains and power lines are called Linear infrastructure projects.
  • Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP). Capacity 9900 MW. Partners Areva (France) and NPCIL (India). It’ll be the largest power generating station in the world upon completion.
  • 3-dose ROTAVACvaccine : This is India’s first indigenously developed and manufactured rotavirus vaccine for children under 5, with help of US. Rotavirus kills ~80k kids every year in India.
  • Astra: Indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile. It can be launched from Sukhoi-30 MkI fighter aircraft. This is the smallest of the missiles developed by DRDO
  • Jeevan Dhara is Rajasthan’s first State-run human milk bank.
  • Health minister launches Mission ‘Indradhanush: for vaccination against 7 preventable disease by 2020. This diseases are diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B. plus our universal immunization program to include 3 more vaccines against rotavirus, rubella and polio. Every year 5% more kids will be covered. First phase main focus on most backward districts in four states of UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Cold storage and constant surveillance on vaccines.
  • ISRO Mars Orbitor Mission (MOM) is world’s first spacecraft to enter Mars orbit in first attempt. ISRO won Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
  • 1914: Canadian Authorities prevent Komagata Maru ship from unloading Passengers At Vancouver port. 19 Sikhs died. Punjab Govt. wants apology.
  • 1955: Bandung Conference @Indonesia. To promote economic and cultural cooperation among African and Asian nations. China, Japan and India played key role in the summit. 2015: Asian African Conference held at the same place in Indonesia. India’s statement- we’ve launch “Act East” and “Renew Africa Policy” to focus on both Asia and Africa.
  • (1) China planning to integrate Mongolia’s “Steppe road” and Russia’s “transcontinental railway plan” under China-Mongolia-Russia (CMR) economic corridor. (2) Same way, China plans to Integrate India’s ‘Spice Route’ and ‘Mausam’ projects within Bangladesh-ChinaIndia-Myanmar (BCIM). (3) China developing China Pak Economic corridor (CPEC). And finally 1+2+3 = CMR + BCIM + CPEC will be integrated in the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative.
  • Priority sector lending (PSL) basics covered in the PowerPoint L1/P5.pptx. Reserve Bank revises norms for priority sector lending: Medium enterprises, social infrastructure and renewable energy included. no more distinction between direct and indirect agriculture lending. internal breakup: 8% loan money must go to small and marginal farmers, 7.5% to micro-enterprises, 10% to weaker sections all this is to be done in a phased manner e.g. 7% now, 7.5% next year and so on. foreign banks will <20 branchs- their loans to exporters, will also be counted under PSL. at present, RBI assesses PSL performance on yearly basis, but now they’ll do it on quarterly basis (to prevent ‘march rush’).
  • Smart cities: Cabinet clears proposal for (1) 100 smart cities (48 k crore) (2) AMRUT mission for 500 cities, replacing JNNURM (50k crores). <–AMRUT–>Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 500 cities with population of over 1 lakh AMRUT will replace Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Union will not appraise each and every project, it will be left to the discretion of state governments. If previous JNNURM projects have complete 50% of work, then they too will be funded by AMRUT. <—>Smart cities: Each State will shortlist smart city aspirants. They’ll draft proposals & union will release funds in such manner that all States will get at least one such smart city. Total 100 smart cities planned. 10% bonus fund will be given depending on performance. Criticism: must focus on “RURBAN” mission first, to reduce migration towards cities. Otherwise better cities =more migration = again filth, congestion, slums =back to square one.
  • Tourism: <–PRASAD by tourism Ministry–>name: Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) 12 cities shortlisted. Tourism: <–HRIDAY by Urban development Ministry–>full name: Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme, aimed at revitalising the unique character of the heritage cities in India.
  • Indian origin MIT researcher Sangeeta Bhatia won 2015 Heinz Award for Technology ($2.5 lakh). She has developed artificial human microlivers for drug testing tissue engineering and disease detection.
  • Ayush-1) Ayurveda (“science if life”). Who?  Atharva Veda, Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita. How? Five elements and 3 humours — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vipreeta treatment= medicine + diet to antagonize diseases Vipreetarthkari treatment = medicine+ diet + activity to exert effects similar to the disease process.  Medicine= herbs.
    Ayush-2) Yoga (“to join” or “to unite”) is a physical and spiritual discipline. Who? Upanishads and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
    Ayush-3) Homeopathy: Who?  German physician Samuel Hahnemann, 18th century. How? Dilute a substance in logarithmic scale with alcohol or distilled water. Then drop this liquid on a sugar pill and give to patient. But Scientific community does not believe in this principle though.
    Ayush-4) Uniani. Who? 12th century Arabs and Persians. Later Freedom fighter and physician Hakim Ajmal Khan. How? herbal, animal and mineral drugs.
    Ayush-5) Siddha: Who? Tamilnadu’s “siddhars” or scientist-saints. How? checklist of eight signs and symptoms. Herbal drugs, internal and external treatment.  Although Research, teaching and practise is largely restricted to Tamil Nadu.
    Ayush-6) Naturopathy. How? special diets, mud packs, acupuncture, acupressure, magnet therapy, prayer and meditation
  • Jnanpith Award is the highest literary honour in India. 2014 award given to Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade. Famous novel: Kosala (Cocoon, 1963)
  • Kazi Nazrul Islam (KNI) Airport in West Bengal is India’s country’s first private greenfield
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2014 passed in Lok Sabha. Teens between 16-18 ages be tried as adults for heinous crimes such as murder and rape.
  • 119th Amendment bill 2013: was pending in Rajya Sabha since 2013. Finally passed. It operationalizes the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement. Land transfer to occur at West Bengal, Meghalaya, Tripura and Assam. India will get 2,777.038 acres and transfer 2,267.682 acres to Bangladesh. 90% fencing finished. But work delayed thanks to land acquisition, wildlife clearance and protests by locals. In 1974, India had transferred Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka.
  • Indo-French naval exercise (VARUNA) concluded at Panaji, Goa.

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