Oct. 31, 2018

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

KALANTAR
Kalantar, the Bengali mouthpiece of Communist Party of India (CPI) shuts down. From November 1, there will be no publication of Kalantar.

About:

  • Kalantar is a daily Bengali-language newspaper issued from Kolkata, India.

  • It is the organ of the West Bengal State Council of the Communist Party of India.
    • The header of the 'Kalantar' daily was designed by the film maker-artist Satyajit Ray.



Source : The Hindu
Media

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

LIVING PLANET REPORT 2018
According to the Living Planet report 2018 released by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), India’s soil biodiversity is in grave danger.

About:

  • The Living Planet Report, WWF’s flagship publication released every two years. The Living Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edition of the report.

  • It is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet.

Report summary:

  • We are living through the Great Acceleration – a unique event in the 4.5 billion-year history of our planet – with exploding human population and economic growth driving unprecedented planetary change through the increased demand for energy, land and water.

  • The key drivers of biodiversity decline remain overexploitation and agriculture. Indeed, of all the plant, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species that have gone extinct since AD 1500, 75% were harmed by overexploitation or agricultural activity or both.

  • Overexploitation and ever-expanding agriculture are driven by spiralling human consumption. Over the past 50 years our Ecological Footprint – one measure of our consumption of natural resources – has increased by about 190%.

  • Changing land use due to agricultural intensification and urban expansion is one of a number of key drivers of pollinator loss. Our food production depends heavily upon these pollinators.

  • The Living Planet Index (LPI), provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), shows an overall decline of 60% in the population sizes of vertebrates between 1970 and 2014 (figure 7) – in other words, an average drop of well over half in less than 50 years.

  • There is a urgent need for a new global deal for nature and people with clear, ambitious goals, targets and metrics, to reverse the devastating trend of biodiversity loss currently impacting the one planet we all call home.

  • India, along with Pakistan, China, several countries in Africa and Europe, and most of North America among countries whose soil biodiversity faces the highest level of risk.

  • The population of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have dwindled by an average of 60% from 1970 to 2014, and fresh-water species have declined by 83% in the same period.

  • Since 1960, the global ecological footprint has increased by more than 190%. Globally, the extent of wetlands was estimated to have declined by 87% since 1970.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

TECHNOLOGY FACILITY CENTER, JORHAT
Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) laid the foundation stone of ‘Technology Facility Center’ at Jorhat, Assam.

About:

  • The "Technology Facility Centre" (TFC), a new Science Centre, is located in the premises of the CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology (NEIST) in Jorhat, Assam.

  • The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will bear the cost of setting it up.

  • The new TFC will serve as a technical Center of Excellence for all the eight States of Northeast as well as the rest of India.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

GARDEN REACH SHIPBUILDERS & ENGINEERS (GRSE) LIMITED
Ministry of Defence has awarded contract for design, construction and supply of four Survey Vessels for Indian Navy to Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) Limited.

About:

  • Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), is one of India's leading shipyards. It builds and repairs commercial and naval vessels.

  • Location: It is located in Kolkata, West Bengal on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River.

  • Establishment: It was Founded in 1884 as a small privately owned company. The company was nationalised by the Government of India in 1960.

  • Status:
    • It is a government of India Undertaking under Ministry of Defence.

    • It was awarded the Miniratna status, with accompanying financial and operational autonomy in



  • Key highlights:
    • It built India’s first indigenous warship–the INS Ajay, in the year 1961.

    • It is first Indian shipyard to build 100 warships.



Source : PIB
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

CURRENCY SWAP
India and Japan Monday concluded a Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement for $75 billion, a 50% enhancement over their previous $50 billion currency swap agreement.

About:

  • Currency swap agreements involve trade in local currencies, where countries pay for imports and exports at pre-determined rates of exchange without the involvement of a third country currency like the US dollar.

  • Recent agreement:
    • This agreement will give India access to $75 billion of forex reserves as and when required by paying in rupees.

    • Oil prices and the strength of the dollar will remain exogenous factors, so if the requirement for dollars goes up, this pact will help.



  • Benefits:
    • It reduces the risk of volatility against the third currency, and does away with the charges involved in multiple currency exchanges. This move may help curb rupee volatility on account of imports from Japan.

    • The swap agreements will help address possible short-term liquidity mismatches, and supplement existing international financial arrangements.

    • Such a measure will also help India make an attractive investment destination for foreign investors.



  • Background: The rupee has been under pressure, depreciating by 15.7% in this calendar year. In the last three months the rupee has fallen by 7.4%, forcing the government to look at measures to stabilise its value.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

COMMERCIAL PAPERS (CPs)
With commercial papers (CPs) worth ₹1 lakh crore coming up for redemption by mid-November, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) are in a dilemma on how to tide over the liquidity crisis.

About:

  • Commercial Paper (CP) is an unsecured money market instrument issued in the form of a promissory note.

  • CPs are short-term instruments and the maturity period varies from seven days to up to one year.

  • The instrument was introduced in 1990 to enable highly rated corporate borrowers to diversify their sources of short-term borrowings, and also to provide an additional instrument to investors.

  • CPs can be issued by corporates, primary dealers, and financial institutions.

  • Eligible participants should have a minimum credit rating of A-2 at the time of the issuance of the CP. Banking companies, mutual funds, other corporate bodies, NRIs, individuals and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) can subscribe to CPs; they are also traded in the secondary market.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

FINANCIAL STABILITY AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (FSDC)
19th Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was held under the Chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. It reviewed the current global and domestic economic situation and financial sector performance.

About:

  • Background:
    • It was setup in 2010 by Indian Government as an executive body.

    • It replaced the High Level Coordination Committee on Financial Markets (HLCCFM).



  • Objective:
    • To strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability.

    • Enhancing inter-regulatory coordination.



  • Composition: It is chaired by the Union Finance Minister of India. The other 12 members are
    • Governor, RBI,

    • Chairman, SEBI,

    • Chairman, IRDA,

    • Chairman, PFRDA,

    • Minister of state responsible for the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA),

    • Secretary of Department of Electronics and Information Technology’,

    • Revenue secretary,

    • Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs;

    • Secretary, Department of Financial Services;

    • Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs,

    • Chief Economic Adviser and

    • Chairperson of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).



  • Sub-committee of FSDC:
    • A sub-committee of FSDC has also been set up under the chairmanship of Governor RBI.

    • It discusses and decides on a range of issues relating to financial sector development and stability including substantive issues relating to inter-regulatory coordination.



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

IMMIGRATION IN U.S.
President Donald Trump is planning to end the constitutional right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorised immigrants born in the United States.

About:

  • He claimed that he could terminate the provision of birthright citizenship by just signing an executive order, as a Constitutional amendment was not required to this effect.

  • He believes focusing on immigration will energise his supporters and help Republicans keep control of both the Hosue of Representatives and the Senate.

14th Amendment:

  • The 14th Amendment guarantees that right for children born in the US and the first line states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

  • Changing an amendment in the Constitution would require the support of two-thirds of the US. House of Representatives and the Senate and the backing of three-fourths of US state legislatures at a constitutional convention.

Important Info :

·         In the aftermath of the Civil War, radical Republicans in Congress sought to push through a series of constitutional protections for newly emancipated black slaves.

·         The 13th Amendment, which was ratified in 1865, outlawed slavery.

·         The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, assured citizenship for all, including blacks.

·         And the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, awarded voting rights to black men, stating those rights should not be denied based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

ANTARCTICA
China will build its first permanent airport in the South Pole which will provide logistical support to scientists and enhance airspace management in the resource-rich Antarctica.

About:

  • Chinese scientists will build a 4-kilometer-long, 50-meter-wide runway for fixed-wing aircraft in during the 25th expedition in the Antarctic.

  • The airport is expected to be located along the ice sheet, 28 kms from the China-built Zhongshan station in Antarctic

  • By this, China will join the S., Russia, Britain, Australia and New Zealand among others in having airfields in the Antarctic

  • Significance:
    • It is a significant move as Antarctic is rich in natural resources such as silver, gold, platinum and coal.

    • The establishment of the Permanent airport will help China gain management authority of airspace over the South Pole. It will provide logistical support to scientists and enhance airspace management in the Antarctic.

    • It will complete China's aviation security system in the Antarctic, including the communications and meteorological support systems.

    • Specifically, the airport will decrease the exposure time of researchers in the polar environment, as well as medical aid time.



  • Challenges:
    • The project faces many difficulties as around 99.5 per cent of the polar land is covered with accumulations of thick snow leading to a lack of hardness to build an airport

    • Also, the flat area in the Antarctic is not enough either, and some original districts have already been occupied by other countries.



Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 31, 2018

AADHAAR SEVA KENDRAS (ASK)
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will set up Aadhaar Seva Kendras (ASK) similar to the Passport Seva Kendras to ease the process of enrolment for Aadhaar.

About:

  • The ASKs will provide “appointment based Aadhaar enrolment and update services to any resident in safe environs through multiple stations working simultaneously”.

  • The objective of these new Kendras, “is to ensure that the residents seeking services need not have to wait in queue as they can book a prior appointment and visit the Kendra accordingly”

  • The ASKs will be supervised by UIDAI employees.

  • In the first phase, 114 ASKs will be established in 53 cities and towns including state capitals.

  • The ASKs will be “in addition to the centres operating in banks, post offices and in government premises”.

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Oct. 30, 2018

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

EARLY WARNING DISSEMINATION SYSTEM (EWDS), ODISHA
The Odisha government launched the Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS), the first-of-its-kind technology in India.

About:

  • Objective:
    • Its objective is to simultaneously warn coastal communities and fisherfolk about impending cyclone and tsunami through siren towers.

    • Fishermen fishing in deep sea can also be reached via mass SMS on their mobile phones through EWDS.



  • Working:
    • EWDS comprises technologies such as satellite-based mobile data voice terminals, digital mobile radio, mass messaging system and universal communication interface for interoperability.

    • Sirens will go off from 122 towers installed along the 480-km-long coast of the State if a button is pressed in the State emergency centre in Bhubaneswar.



  • Agencies involved: The EWDS, is a collaborative effort of the Central and State governments, has been implemented under the assistance of World Bank.

  • Parent program: It’s a part of the last-mile connectivity programme under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project.

  • Coverage: Six coastal districts —Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam — have been covered under the EWDS.

Source : The Hindu
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

CRIME AND CRIMINAL TRACKING NETWORK & SYSTEMS (CCTNS)
The Union Minister of State for Home inaugurated the two-day conference on “CCTNS--Good practices and Success Stories” organised by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB).

About:

  • Origin: The Project was launched in 2009 in the aftermath of Mumbai 26/11 attacks.

  • Objective: Improving policing and criminal justice system through e-governance.

  • Nodal implementing agency: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

  • Project components: A Timeline
    • 2009: CCTNS launched to computerize Police Processes (FIRs, Investigations, Challans) and inter-link all Police Stations to create a central database by deploying a Core Application Software (CAS) in each state.

    • 2015: Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) announced to integrate the CCTNS database with databases of e-courts, e-prisons, Forensics, Prosecution and Fingerprints of criminals to improve criminal justice system.

    • 2017: Digital Police Portal launched under CCTNS to enable citizens to register FIRs online and to offer 7 Public Delivery Services (like Address Verification of employees, tenants; Lost & Found Articles etc.)



Source : PIB
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

AIR POLLUTION IN DELHI
According to a report by Climate Trends, an Indian group working on environmental issues, Delhi tops the list of bad air quality nationally.

About:

  • As per figures compiled and released earlier this year by the World Health Organization (WHO), Fourteen out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India.

  • Climate Trends, an Indian group working on environmental issues picked up the same 14 cities to analyse the CPCB data in summer and winter months for a comparative analysis.

Key findings:

  • Delhi tops the List of bad air quality nationally.

  • Most cities, unlike Delhi do not have an emergency response plan to tackle air pollution.

  • Apart from Delhi, in most cities the online monitoring of Air Pollution was happening with less than 4 monitoring stations and Srinagar had none. Delhi has close to 40 monitoring stations that display data online every day.

  • India faces the highest air pollution-related mortality and disease burden in the world with more than 2 million deaths occurring prematurely every year, accounting for 25% of the global deaths due to poor air quality.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

AIR POLLUTION & CHILD HEALTH
A new WHO report on Air pollution and child health: Prescribing clean air examines the heavy toll of both ambient (outside) and household air pollution on the health of the world’s children, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Key findings of the report:

  • Air pollution affects neurodevelopment, leading to lower cognitive test outcomes, negatively affecting mental and motor development. Air pollution is damaging children’s lung function, even at lower levels of exposures.

  • Globally, 93% of the world’s children under 15 years of age are exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels (i.e. 1.8 billion of children under 15 years).

  • In low- and middle-income countries around the world, 98% of all children under 5 are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines. In comparison, in high-income countries, 52% of children under 5 are exposed to levels above WHO air quality guidelines.

  • More than 40% of the world’s population – which includes 1 billion children under 15 - is exposed to high levels of household air pollution from mainly cooking with polluting technologies and fuels.

  • About 600’000 deaths in children under 15 years of age were attributed to the joint effects of ambient and household air pollution in 2016.

  • Together, household air pollution from cooking and ambient (outside) air pollution cause more than 50% of acute lower respiratory infections in children under 5 years of age in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Air pollution is one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for almost 1 in 10 deaths in children under five years of age.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

MEGA FOOD PARK, SURAT
Union Minister for Food Processing Industries inaugurated the first Mega Food Park in Gujarat in Surat District. A second Mega Food Park has been sanctioned by the Ministry in Mehsana District of Gujarat.

About:

  • Objective: To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables.

  • Parent ministry of scheme: Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

  • Implementing agencies:
    • The Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act.

    • However, State Government, State Government entities and Cooperatives are not required to form a separate SPV for implementation of Mega Food Park project.



  • Funding: Under the Scheme, Government of India provides financial assistance upto Rs. 50 Crore per Mega Food Park project.

  • Cluster approach: The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on “Cluster” approach and envisages creation of state of art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri / horticultural zone for setting up of modern food processing units along with well-established supply chain.

Project Components:

  • Mega food park typically consists of supply chain infrastructure including
    • collection centres,

    • primary processing centres (PPC),

    • central processing centres (CPC),

    • cold chain and

    • around 30-35 fully developed plots for entrepreneurs to set up food processing units.



  • Collection Centres and Primary Processing Centres (PPC): These component have facility for cleaning, grading, sorting and packing facilities, dry warehouses, specialized cold stores etc.
    • Central Processing Centres (CPC): Includes common facilities like Testing Laboratory, Cleaning, Grading, Sorting and Packing Facilities, Dry Warehouses, specialized storage facilities etc.



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

TRAIN 18
Indian Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani unveiled the Train 18, the Indian-made trainset to the public. After mandatory safety checks, it will be inducted into the Railways in the coming months.

Train 18

  • The 16-coach, Indian-made trainset was completed at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory (ICF).

  • Train 18 has world class amenities such as on-board Wi-Fi to GPS-based passenger information system, ‘touch-free’ bio-vacuum toilets, LED lighting, mobile charging points etc.

  • It doesn’t have a locomotive to pull the coaches, rather it is a self-propelled, semi-high-speed trainset that will soon replace the box cars of the inter-city Shatabdis. It can reach a maximum speed of 160 km per hour.

  • About 80% of the design, technology and manufacture of Train 18, a predecessor to ‘Train 20’, is Indian.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

ADENOVIRUS
An ongoing outbreak of adenovirus has killed nine people, mostly under age 18, at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, New Jersey.

About:

  • Adenoviruses are a group of common viruses that infect the lining of your eyes, airways and lungs, intestines, urinary tract, and nervous system.

  • Effect:
    • They can cause colds, pneumonia, gastrointestinal illness, conjunctivitis and urinary infections.

    • While deaths from adenoviruses are rare, they pose a greater risk to people with weakened immune systems, such as the children.



  • Strains: There are dozens of strains; the one involved in this outbreak is adenovirus 7.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

INDIA-JAPAN RELATIONS
The 13th India Japan Annual Bilateral Summit was held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

About:

  • Japan has agreed to provide loans of about 316 Billion Yen for seven major infrastructure projects in India. These include
    • Project for the Construction of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail,

    • Project for Renovation and Modernization of Umiam-Umtru Stage-III Hydroelectric Power Station,

    • Delhi Mass Rapid Transport System Project (Phase 3),

    • North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project,

    • Project for the Construction of Turga Pumped Storage,

    • Project for the Construction of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road and

    • Project for Sustainable Catchment Forest Management in Tripura.



  • India and Japan also concluded a 75 billion dollar Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement with a view to enhance financial and economic cooperation.

  • A Letter of Intent was also exchanged in which 57 Japanese companies conveyed their decision to make an investment of about 2.5 billion US Dollars in India.

  • An agreement was signed for establishing a 2+2 mechanism in which the defence and foreign ministers of both the countries could interact on furthering cooperation.

  • An agreement was signed for having greater cooperation and exchange of information in Maritime domain awareness between the Navies of two nations.

  • Japan announced joining the International Solar Alliance (ISA) by submitting the instrument of ratification. Including Japan, 71 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement (ISA FA) and 48 countries have ratified it.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

JAIR BOLSONARO
Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician often compared to Donald Trump, was elected president of Brazil in recent elections.

About:

  • The far-right politician has been called “Trump of the Tropics.”

  • Bolsonaro’s victory swings Latin America’s largest nation swiftly to the right and representing a significant break in voters’ support for the leftist party that dominated past elections.

  • A former army captain, Bolsonaro has capitalized on Brazil’s political and economic turmoil by promising to “quebrar o sistema” — or “break the system.”

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Oct. 30, 2018

JAVA SEA
All 189 passengers and crew aboard Boeing-737 MAX, an Indonesian Lion Air jet are likely to have died when the airliner crashed into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta.

About:

  • The Java Sea lies between the Indonesian islands of Borneo to the north, Java to the south, Sumatra to the west, and Sulawesi to the east.

  • Karimata Strait to its northwest links it to the South China Sea.

  • It is an extensive shallow sea on the Sunda Shelf.

Source : The Hindu
Location in News

Oct. 29, 2018

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

SWACHH NYAYALAYA PROJECT
A ₹700-crore project named Swachh Nyayalaya Project, to have clean courts, right from the Supreme Court, High courts to the 3,388 lower courts, has been proposed.

About: 

  • Objective: The project is on the lines of the Centre's flagship scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Its objective is to have clean courts, right from the Supreme Court, High courts to the 3,388 lower courts. 

  • Features: It would involve general clean up in terms of maintenance, in terms of house-keeping issues, providing toilets, washrooms and dealing with issues of garbage disposal. 

  • Implementing agencies: It would be undertaken by NITI Aayog and the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation along with the justice department. 

  • The project would be inaugurated on the occasion of Law Day on November 26 by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. 

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

OXYTOCIN
Recent data submitted in Delhi High Court by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) showed that it had not seized a single ampoule of oxytocin in 2016-17 and 2017-18. This came amid repeated assertions by the central government about the “rampant misuse” of oxytocin in India.

About:

  • Oxytocin, often called the ‘love hormone’, is a hormone secreted by Pituitary gland. It is released naturally in human bonding activities such as sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. 

  • The Oxytocin drug in debate, is a synthetic version of a human hormone. 

  • It is used by doctors in Humans to facilitate childbirth and reduce postpartum bleeding.

  • World Health Organization (WHO) recommends it as the drug of choice in postpartum haemorrhage. 

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

VISHAKA GUIDELINES
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a PIL petition to extend Vishakha guidelines against sexual harassment in workplace to religious institutions (i.e. ashrams, madrasas and Catholic institutions).

Plea to include religious institutions: 

  • The petition has been filed by advocate Maneesh Pathak in the background of recent instances such as cases of priests being accused of sexual abuse in Kerala and of self-styled gurus like Daati Maharaj, Baba Ram Rahim and Asaram Bapu.

  • The petition said religious institutions also have women employed there other than those working on a voluntary basis.

  • Extending the Vishakha Guidelines to these religious institutions, would assist in reducing sexually related crimes against women at religious places by gurus or leaders of that particular institution.

  • It said the government should do a background verification of religious leaders, especially “new upcoming babas” or “heads of those madrasas” and churches.

  • It also sought directions to the Centre to provide adequate measures for women safety at religious places by conducting periodic checks by State women panels.

Important Info :

The Vishakha guidelines introduced by the Supreme court in 1997 were evolved into a parliamentary law called the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013. 

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

ASHRAFS
Recently more than 3,000 people Attended the ‘Ashraf Sangamam 2018,’ the get-together of the All Kerala Ashraf Collective at the Kozhikode beach in Kerala.

About: 

  • Although Islam does not recognize any castes, Muslim communities in South Asia apply a system of social stratification. 

  • It developed as a result of ethnic segregation between the foreign conquerors (Ashraf) and the local converts (Ajlaf), as well as influence of the indigenous Hindu culture.

  • Ghaus Ansari (1960) named the following four broad categories of Muslim social divisions in India:
    • ASHRAF, who claim foreign-origin descent from Balochs, Afghans, Arabs etc. e.g. Sayyid, Mughal, Baloch, Pathan, and Sheikh

    • Converts from upper castes e.g. Muslim Rajputs

    • Converts from other "clean" castes e.g. Darzi, Dhobi etc.

    • Converts from untouchable castes which are considered clean by Muslims and part of Ummah e.g. Bhangi



  • The non-Ashrafs are categorized as ‘AJLAF’.

  • The untouchable Hindu converts are also categorized as ‘ARZAL’. They are relegated to menial professions such as scavenging and carrying night soil.

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

GROWTH RATE OF STATES
Andhra Pradesh has achieved the number one rank in the country with an average growth of 10.5% during the last four years.

About: 

  • Andhra Pradesh has surpassed many developed States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat following a “focused approach” and setting high targets for itself. 

  • While Telangana has slipped to the second place, Karnataka is ranked third, Maharashtra is ranked sixth and Punjab is placed 14th

  • Gujarat, which is considered the most developed State, registered a growth of 10.5% in 2014-15. But it slipped to 10.1 in 2016-17. The data pertaining to 2017-18 is not available. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

WTO DISPUTE SETTLEMENT MECHANISM
The World Trade Organisation's dispute settlement body has set up a panel to examine the US complaint against certain export-subsidy measures by India as both the sides failed to resolve the issue at consultation level.

About:

  • Settling disputes is the responsibility of the Dispute Settlement Body (the General Council in another guise), which consists of all WTO members.

  • The Dispute Settlement Body has the sole authority to establish “panels” of experts to consider the case, and to accept or reject the panels’ findings or the results of an appeal.

  • It monitors the implementation of the rulings and recommendations, and has the power to authorize retaliation when a country does not comply with a ruling.

  • Either side can appeal a panel’s ruling. Each appeal is heard by three members of a permanent seven-member Appellate Body set up by the Dispute Settlement Body and broadly representing the range of WTO membership. Members of the Appellate Body have four-year terms. 

Source : Economic Times
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

TAXIBOTS
Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is set to be the first airport in the country to commence commercial use of TaxiBots.

About: 

  • TaxiBots are semi-robotic tow trucks to help airlines reduce use of Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) during taxiing. 
    • An aircraft can be steered with both its engines off with the help of a TaxiBot, which lifts and holds the aircraft’s nose wheel and transports it from the terminal to runway and back. 

    • This can help airlines save jet fuel (ATF), one of the largest expenses for an airline, accounting for nearly 30% of total operational costs. 



  • SpiceJet and Jet Airways will carry out a live test with these tow trucks in coming days, following which the aviation regulator DGCA will grant approval for their use. These have been introduced by a firm named TaxiBot India. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

MOTHS
A recent study by scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has revealed that Moths are pollinators to a number of flowering plants in the Himalayan ecosystem.

About: 

  • Under the project titled “Assessment of Moths (Lepidoptera) As Significant Pollinators in the Himalayan Ecosystem of North Eastern India”, scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) collected moth samples from different ecosystem. 

  • The study was carried out in states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal. 

  • The analysis of proboscis, a long and thread-like organ used to suck flower sap, of a dozen moth species’ revealed the presence of pollen grains of several flowering plants.  

  • On observing the proboscis under scanning electron microscope, it was revealed that these structures are not only meant for sap sucking, but are morphological designed for pollination. 

  • The study was unique, as scientist are looking at a new group of insects (moths) as pollinators. Usually bees, wasps and butterflies are considered as prominent pollinators. 

Important Info :

Moths? 

  • Moths comprise a group of insects related to butterflies, belonging to the order Lepidoptera. 
  • In India, estimates put the number of moth species at nearly 12,000. 
  • to Researchers, almost two-thirds of common large moth species have declined over the last 40 years in some parts of world mainly due to light pollution (an increase in artificial light in moth habitats). 
Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

AMUR FALCONS
Since 2010, Umru village on the Assam-Meghalaya border is witnessing a flock of Amur falcons – the world’s longest travelling raptors – every winters.

About: 

  • Scientific name: Falco amurensis.

  • They are small raptors of the falcon family. Raptors are birds that hunt invertebrates and vertebrates including other birds.

  • Their diet consists mainly of insects, such as termites. They have red feet.

  • Distribution: They breed in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China, wintering in Southern Africa.

  • Migration Journey: They have one of the longest migration routes, flying almost 22,000 km up and down their breeding and wintering grounds.
    • They start their journey from South – eastern Siberia and northern China.

    • Then en-route, in the month of October to November, a large number of Amur falcons arrive in the northeast India, especially near the Doyang reservoir in Wokha district of Nagaland in Nagaland for roosting (sleeping/resting).
      • On their return flight they fly over Bangladesh and Myanmar after entering India but skip Nagaland.



    • And then they travel to Africa which is their final destination. In Africa they go to Somalia, Kenya and South Africa.



  • IUCN status: Least Concern.

  • Protection:
    • They are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

    • The Nagaland government hosted the first Amur Falcon Conservation Week from November 8 to 10.



Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Oct. 29, 2018

MADAN LAL KHURANA
Former Delhi Chief Minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Madan Lal Khurana passed away at the age of 83 after a “prolonged illness”.

About: 

  • Madan Lal Khurana was the Chief Minister of Delhi from 1993 to 1996. 

  • In addition to holding posts including national vice-president and Delhi president within the BJP, he also served as Union Tourism Minister and Union Minister of Parliamentary affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. 

  • He also served as the Governor of Rajasthan. 

Source : The Hindu
Person in News

Oct. 28, 2018

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

HRIDAYNATH AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Renowned music director Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Hashmi, better known as “Khayyam”, was conferred this year’s prestigious Hridaynath Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Hridaynath Award for Lifetime Achievement:

  • Background: The award was established in 2011 by Hridayesh Art, a Mumbai- based socio-cultural organisation.

  • Named after: The award is named after Hridaynath Mangeshkar, an India music director and the younger brother of Indian music legends Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

  • Cash prize: The award comprises a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh and a memento.

  • Objective: To recognize successful individuals from various fields across the country.

  • List of recipients:
    • 2011: Lata Mangeshkar

    • 2012: Asha Bhosle

    • 2013: Amitabh Bachchan

    • 2014: Hariprasad Chaurasia

    • 2015: AR Rahman

    • 2016: Vishwanathan Anand

    • 2017: Javed Akhtar

    • 2018: Khayyam



Khayyam:

  • Mohammed Zahur "Khayyam" Hashmi, better known as Khayyam, is an Indian music director.

  • Awards Received: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2007); Padma Bhushan (2011).

Source : The Hindu
Awards

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

WORLD’S SMALLEST OPTICAL GYROSCOPE
Scientists have developed the world’s smallest optical gyroscope. The new gyroscope, described in Nature Photonics, is 500 times smaller than the current best device.

About:

  • Optical gyroscope is a device that helps vehicles, drones and handheld electronic devices know their orientation in 3D space.

  • Originally, gyroscopes were sets of nested wheels, each spinning on a different axis.

  • However, today’s cellphones have microelectromechanical sensor, which measures changes in the forces acting on two identical masses that are oscillating and moving in opposite directions.

  • These MEMS gyroscopes are limited in their sensitivity, so optical gyroscopes have been developed to perform the same function but with no moving parts and a greater degree of accuracy using a phenomenon called the Sagnac effect.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

BANDIPUR TIGER RESERVE.
‘Save Bandipur’ campaign, to protest the proposals to construct elevated highways through the Bandipur national park and lifting the ban on night traffic, is gaining momentum.

About:

  • Status: In 1974, it was established as one of the first 9 Tiger Reserves under Project Tiger. In 1985, by including adjacent areas, it was enlarged and named as Bandipur National Park.

  • Location: Tiger Reserve is situated in two contiguous districts (Mysore and Chamarajanagar) of Karnataka. It is located at the tri-junction area of the States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

  • Bandipur Tiger Reserve is surrounded by
    1. Nagarahole Tiger Reserve (Tamil Nadu) in the North West (Kabini Reservoir separates the two)

    2. Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (Tamil Nadu) in the South and

    3. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) in the South West



  • Together these 4 areas are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

  • Rivers: The park is situated between Kabini riverin the north and the Moyar river in the south. The Nugu river runs through the park.

Ban on night traffic:

  • In 2009, Karnataka High Court banned night traffic (between 9 pm and 6 am) on two national highways passing through Bandipur –
    • NH-67 (linking Karnataka with Tamil Nadu) and

    • NH-212 (linking Karnataka with Kerala).



  • Kerala is arguing for removing the restriction on NH-212 as the alternate hilly road to divert the NH-212 traffic is longer by 30 km and adds to fuel consumption.

  • Arguments in favour of Ban by environmentalists:
    • Night traffic led to road kills of more than 200 animal species in Bandipur. Ban has reduced Roadkill by nearly 6 times.

    • Night traffic adversely impacted the life cycle of these species.

    • Tamil Nadu never contested the decision. Infact, it imposed a similar ban on night traffic through its Mudumalai tiger reserve.

    • With more than 100 tigers and 1,800 elephants, Bandipur is a success stories of conservation.

    • Roads proposed under the Bharatmala project will connect Bangalore to different places in Kerala without affecting protected forests.



Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

RAILWAYS TRESPASSING
On October 19, 2018 at least 60 people died and over 70 were injured after being run over by a train near Amritsar.

About:

  • The tragedy struck as a group of people celebrating Dasara Festival gathered on the rail track to watch the burning of a Ravana effigy and were hit by a train from Jalandhar to Amritsar. The Railways said people on the track were trespassing.

  • Reasons for death on Railways Track:
    • As per official statistics, nearly 50,000 people died on the track from 2015 to 2017. Acc. to government, these deaths were largely because of trespassing, violating safety instructions, avoiding overbridges, using mobile phones while crossing the track.

    • As per the available data, accidents at unmanned level crossings accounted for 16.23% of the total train accidents in 2016-17. As of July this year, there were 2,869 unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge.



  • Steps taken for preventing trespassing:
    • A nationwide awareness campaign has been launched against trespassing, after the Amritsar accident. As per the rules, trespassing on the railway premises, including the track, is a punishable offence under Section 147 of the Railways Act, 1989.

    • Additionally, Railway Protection Force personnel are deployed on locations vulnerable to trespass. Railways also erected boundary walls or fences at identified locations that were liable to trespass.

    • The Railways is also working on how to use technology to deploy warning systems at unmanned level crossing gates. For example, it is testing a satellite-based system, in partnership with the RDSO (Ministry of Railways) and ISRO.



Source : The Hindu
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

DEFENCE ACQUISITION COUNCIL (DAC)
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave approval for the Mid Life Upgrade of 17 Dornier Aircraft of Indian Coast Guard (ICG). The upgrades will be carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the aircraft manufacturer of India.

About:

  • Established in: 2001

  • Composition:
    • Chairman: Defence Minister.

    • Members: Minister of State for Defence, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Defence Secretary, Secretary Defence Research & Development, Secretary Defence Production, Chief of Integrated Staff Committees HQ IDS, Director General (Acquisition).

    • Member Secretary: Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence.



  • Objectives:
    • Overall guidance of the defence procurement planning process.

    • Ensuring expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces.



  • Key Functions:
    • In-principle approval of 15 Year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan for Defence Forces and

    • Categorization of the acquisition proposals relating to 'Buy', 'Buy & Make' and 'Make'.



Source : PIB
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE (ED)
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has appointed Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Sanjay Kumar Mishra as interim Director of the Enforcement Directorate for three months.

About:

  • Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

  • ED enforces the following laws –
    • Foreign Exchange Management Act,1999 (FEMA): A Civil Law, with officers empowered to conduct investigations into suspected contraventions of the Foreign Exchange Laws and Regulations and impose penalties on those adjudged to have contravened the law.

    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA): A Criminal Law, with the officers empowered to conduct investigations to trace assets derived out of the proceeds of crime and to arrest and prosecute the offenders.



Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

ADIP-RVY SCHEME
In an ADIP Distribution Camp in New Delhi, Aids & Assistive Living Devices were distributed to Divyangjans & Senior Citizens in BPL category for free of cost by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment Department.

About:

  • The distribution camp was organized by the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), a PSU working under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in close association with District Administration, South Delhi.

  • The main objective of the Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing / fitting of aids / appliances (ADIP) scheme is to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation.

  • The aids and appliances supplied under the Scheme shall conform to BIS specifications to the extent possible.

  • The scheme is implemented through implementing agencies such as the NGOs, National Institutes under this Ministry and ALIMCO.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

AGALEGA ISLANDS
Recently, Prime Minister of Mauritius faced tough questions in the Parliament over Indian involvement in the Agalega islands project on the issue of costs and whether it would involve a military component.

About:

  • Agalega archipelago consists of two sparsely populated islands located about 965 km north of mainland Mauritius in Indian Ocean. It has a population of around 300.

  • India and Agalega archipelago project:
    • The MoU for the project was signed in 2015 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. It is to commence in February 2019 and end in 2021.

    • Under this, India agreed to provide approximately $87 million to build an airport terminal, extend its runway and refurbish jetties.

    • The project has been awarded to AFCON construction group and RITES engineering consultancy.



  • Comment: After facing resistance over placing its helicopters in the Maldives’ Addu Atoll and the virtual cancellation of its project to develop the Assumption Island in the Seychelles earlier this year, India is taking all steps to ensure that this project does not run into trouble.

Source : The Hindu
Location in News

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

ELECTORAL BOND SCHEME 2018
State Bank of India (SBI) in the 6th phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorised Branches w.e.f. 01.11.2018 to 10.11.2018.

About:

  • Government of India notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 in January 2018.

  • Features:
    • As per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.

    • Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the Lok Sabha or the State Legislative Assembly, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.

    • The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible Political Party only through a Bank account with the Authorized Bank.

    • It may be noted that Electoral Bonds shall be valid for 15 calendar days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period.



Source : PIB
Location in News

Current Affairs
Oct. 28, 2018

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION (NCDRC)
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India along with National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) jointly organized a Conference in New Delhi to review the functioning of the State Commissions and District Fora.

About:

  • Status: NCDRC, India is a quasi-judicial commission.

  • Origin: It was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.

  • Head Office: New Delhi.

  • Governance: It is headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India.

  • Powers:
    • Under Section 21 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, NCDRC will have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint valued more than one crore.

    • It will also have Appellate and Revisional jurisdiction from the orders of State Commissions or the District fora as the case may be.



  • Appeal: Any person aggrieved by an order of NCDRC, may Appeal against such order to Supreme Court of India within a period of 30 days.

The Recent conference discussed about increasing pendency of cases in various consumer fora including national commission and suggested that the vacancies in these commissions should be filled up expeditiously.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance
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