Sept. 30, 2018

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

DUCKWORTH-LEWIS-STERN SYSTEM
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the new version of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) System that comes into effect from September 30, 2018.

About:

  • The Duckworth–Lewis (D/L) method is a mathematical formula used to calculate the target score for the team batting second in a limited overs cricket match interrupted by weather (e.g. Rain) or other circumstances.

  • Nomenclature: The D/L method was devised by two English statisticians, Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis. After their retirements, Professor Steven Stern became the custodian of the method. In 2014, it was renamed the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (or DLS method).

  • History: It was first used in international cricket in 1997 and was formally adopted by the ICC in 1999.

Working:

  • Each team in a limited-overs match has two resources available with which to score runs (overs to play and wickets remaining).

  • The target is revised proportionally in the combination of these two resources to set a statistically fair target for the second team's innings, which is the same difficulty as the original target.

Recent update:

  • This is the third version but second update of the DLS System since its introduction into international cricket in 2014

  • It is based on information from 700 ODIs and 428 T20 Internationals, which comprise over 240,000 outcomes of individual deliveries.
    • This has been carried out following a detailed ball-by-ball analysis of scoring patterns, including in the Powerplays, in all limited overs internationals played during the previous four years.



Source : All India Radio
Sports

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

RAILWAY PROTECTION FORCE (RPF)
Senior IPS officer Arun Kumar has been appointed as Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF).

About:

  • Functions: It has the primary duty of protection of railway property, passenger area, and passengers. RPF is NOT responsible for ALL aspects of railways security as it shares its duties with the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the District Police.

  • Power: It has the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute criminals.

  • Administration: RPF is under the control of Ministry of Railways. It is headed by the Director General (DG).

Background:

  • The Railway Security Force (RSF) was established in

  • The Railway Protection Force Act, 1957 renamed RSF to Railway Protection Force (RPF) and expanded the force’s legal powers (thus it’s a statutory body).

  • In 1980s it was transformed into an ‘Armed Force of the Union’ by giving enhanced powers.

Source : Indian Express
Person in News

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

GURUPRIYA BRIDGE
Presence of Security Forces has increased in the erstwhile cut-off areas of Balimela reservoir in the Malkangiri district after the inauguration of Gurupriya Bridge. This has led to decline of Naxalism activities in the region.

About:

  • In July 2018, Odisha Chief Minister inaugurated the Gurupriya bridge in Maoist affected Malkangiri district to connect 150 villages again to mainland Odisha.

  • The villages had got cut off from the mainland in 1972 because of the Balimela reservoir created due to a hydel project. Due to this, villagers had to depend on boats to travel to other parts of the district.

  • The bridge will help the government’s in its fight against Maoists, as due to extreme remoteness, the region became a safe haven for Maoists.

Important Info :

The Balimela Reservoir is located in Malkangiri district (Odisha) on the river Sileru which is a tributary of the Godavari river.

Source : The Hindu
Location in News

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

DARK MICROBIAL MATTER
According to new study, “Dark microbial matter” — uncultured microbes whose characteristics have never been described — could be dominating nearly all the environments on the earth.

About:

  • Microbial dark matter comprises the vast majority of microbial organisms that biologists are unable to culture in lab due to lack of knowledge or ability to supply the required growth conditions.

  • It is possible that these microbes can’t grow on their own in culture because they die if they are removed from their intricate relationships with each other or their particular environment.

Recent study:

  • Researchers from the University of Tennessee in the U.S. have published a study in the journal mSystems, the first to estimate the population of dark microbial matter.

  • to it, a quarter of the microbes on earth could come from the roughly 30 phyla of microbes that have never been cultured.

  • The study can be a valuable tool in fields such as medicine, where scientists have described cases of culture-resistant pathogens.

Important Info :

In biology, a phylum (Plural: Phyla) is a level of taxonomic classification between kingdoms and classes.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

PLANT SPECIES IN IUCN THREAT CATEGORIES
In a recent study published in the journal Current Science, scientists identified the threat status of 59 Indian plant species based on criteria used by the IUCN.

About:

  • The study initiated in 2012 to assign threat status to select plants, is published in Current Science.

  • S.K. Barik, Director of Lucknow's CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute and other experts from several institutes identified the threat status of 59 Indian plant species based on criteria used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • They prioritized 59 plant species that are at risk of “elimination” if the threat levels they face are not assessed soon.

  • The study revealed that 10 species are critically endangered, 18 endangered, six vulnerable, five near threatened and one species each are data deficient and least concern.

  • It also altered the threat level of palm Bentinckia nicobarica (reported only from the Great Nicobar Island). It is currently listed as endangered; however, the new study suggests it is critically endangered based on its distributional attributes.

  • It is hoped that IUCN will take this assessment into account while updating their Red List.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

BLACK SPOTTED TURTLES
Acc. to a recent report by TRAFFIC, an international network monitoring trade in wildlife, India accounts for 29% of black spotted turtles seized from across seven countries in South Asia.

About:

  • Scientific name: Geoclemys hamiltonii.

  • Common name: Spotted Pond Turtle, Black Pond Turtle, Black Spotted Turtle, Hamilton's Terrapin.

  • Range and Distribution: It is native to South Asia (Bangladesh; India; Nepal; Pakistan). In India, it is distributed across the north, northeast and a few parts of central India.

  • IUCN status:

  • Conservation Actions: Listed on CITES Appendix I.

  • Physical description: it is a medium-sized freshwater turtle having a black shell with yellow streaks.

TRAFFIC Report:

  • The report titled ‘Black Spotted Turtle Trade in Asia II: A Seizure Analysis’ records seizures of 10,321 specimens in 53 instances across seven countries between 2014 and 2016.

  • The highest number of seizures occurred in India, accounting for a total of 3,001 (29%) specimens. Of the 53 seizures across these seven countries, 38% (or 20) seizures were from India.

  • States of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are used as trade routes even though they completely fall out of the distribution range of the species.

  • Chennai has been identified as a major transit hub for its illegal international trade
    • The highly trafficked specie was once smuggled for its meat and is now sought after as an exotic pet.



Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

INSTITUTIONS OF EMINENCE
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is planning to apply for the next list of institutes of eminence, after it couldn’t be included in the first list released in July 2018.

Background:

  • After no Indian University found a place in World University Rankings in 2017, the government proposed to set up Institutions of Eminence in India.

  • A notification in this regard was released by University Grants Commission (UGC) in September, 2017, which proposed to establish 20 such world class institutes (10 public and 10 private) in the country to provide quality education to Indian students.

Benefits of status:

  • Autonomy: The IOEs will enjoy greater autonomy in terms of deciding their fee structure and course duration & structure. They will be exempt from approvals of government or UGC for academic collaborations with foreign institutions.

  • Funding: The 10 public institutions selected, will also get Rs 1,000 crore each from the HRD Ministry to achieve world-class status. No financial assistance will be offered to the private institutions.

Eligibility for applying for Institutes of Eminence (IoT) Tag:

  • The educational institutes selected, need to be a good mix of Central Universities as well as Arts, Management and Technical Institutes.

  • To get the status, they should be among: (1) Top 50 in the National institution Ranking Framework in their category; (2) Top 500 in internationally recognised rankings like the Times Higher Education World University Rankings or Q.

  • Following Public Institutes that are eligible to apply under Institutes of Eminence are as follows: (1) Central Universities, (2) Government-owned and controlled Deemed to be Universities, (3) institutions of National importance such as IITs, NITs, etc. and (4) State Universities set up under a law made by Legislative Assembly of a State.

Institutes selected:

  • In July 2018, the HRD Ministry granted ‘Institutions of Eminence’ status to three public and three private institutes.

  • Private institutes selected: Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and BITS Pilani.

  • Public institutes selected: IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

  • The move came as part of a scheme of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry to select 20 IoEs — 10 public and 10 private — which will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.

Source : The Hindu
Education

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA (PTI)
N. Ravi, Publisher and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, was elected as Chairman of the Press Trust of India (PTI)

About:

  • Press Trust of India (PTI) is the largest news agency in India employing over 400 journalists and 500 part-time correspondents located in most of the district headquarters in the country.

  • It is a non-profit cooperative. It was registered in 1947 and started functioning in 1949.

  • It is headquartered in New Delhi. Its corporate office is located in New Delhi and registered office in Mumbai.

Important Info :

A news agency is an organization that gathers news reports and sells them to subscribing news organizations, such as newspapers, magazines and radio and television broadcasters.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Associated Press (AP) are the prominent global news agencies having offices in most countries of the world and cover all areas of information.

Source : The Hindu
Person in News

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

NATIONAL LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY OF INDIA (NALSA)
Under the tenure of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the executive-chairman, in the last 8 months, NALSA organised 927 legal service camps across the country benefitting 43 lakh people.

About:

  • History: NALSA was formed in 1995 under the authority of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987.

  • Mandate: To provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalat’s for speedy resolution of cases so as to reduce the burden of judiciary. Other functions of NALSA include spreading legal literacy and awareness, undertaking social justice litigations etc.

  • Administration: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is patron-in-chief of NALSA while second senior-most judge of Supreme Court of India is the Executive-Chairman. There is a provision for similar mechanism at state and district level also headed by Chief Justice of High Courts and Chief Judges of District courts respectively.

  • Location: New Delhi.

Important Info :

Article 39 A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society, to promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 30, 2018

SULAWESI
Nearly 400 people were killed in the earthquake and the tsunami it caused, which hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

About:

  • Sulawesi is an island in

  • It is situated east of Borneo, west of the Maluku Islands, and south of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The Strait of Makassar runs along the western side of the island and separates the island from Borneo.

  • Within Indonesia, it is smaller than Sumatra and larger than Java Island.

Source : The Hindu
Geography-Location in News

Sept. 29, 2018

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

AVINASH SABLE
Avinash Sable broke Gopal Saini’s 37-year-old 3,000m steeplechase national record on his way to win the gold at the Open National Athletics Championship.

About:

  • Sabale (representing Services) clocked 8:29.80 seconds to go past the mark of 8:30.88 seconds, which was set by Gopal Saini in Tokyo in 1981

  • The steeplechase is an obstacle race in athletics. 3000 metres steeplechase is the most common format.

Source : Indian Express
Sports, Person in News

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

ALEXA
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister launched All India Radio’s streaming Services on Amazon’s Alexa Smart Speakers in New Delhi.

Eco and Alexa:

  • Amazon Echo is one of a range of hands-free speakers and devices that can be controlled with one’s voice.

  • The voice-controlled Amazon "personal assistant" on these devices is called Alexa, who will perform various tasks for you and control various systems. In short, Alexa is a voice enabled platform led by artificial intelligence.

  • As well as being available on Echo devices, Alexa is now becoming available on a lot of third-party devices plus the Alexa app on Android phones.

Working of Alexa:

  • When a person speaks to Alexa, a recording of what one asked Alexa is sent to Amazon's cloud which is processed and responded to request. Alexa updates through the cloud automatically and learns all the time.

  • Alexa is able to play music, provide information, deliver news and sports scores, tell you the weather, control your smarthome and even allow Prime members to order products they've ordered before.

AIR Streaming Services on Alexa:

  • 17 channels of All India Radio (AIR), including Vividh Bharati, FM Gold, FM Rainbow and North eastern Services are being live streamed on Alexa.

  • Benefits: By this, All India Radio (AIR) will get an additional platform for global and domestic audiences. Indian Diaspora around the world will benefit from this initiative by listening to the programmes in All India Radio.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR DATA ANALYTICS (CEDA)
Union Electronics and IT Minister unveiled a Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics (CEDA) to fast-track the adoption of data analytics in the government to improve delivery of services to citizens.

About:

  • Mandate: To provide world class data analytics services to the Government departments such as Data Quality Assurance Services, Custom-built Data Analytics Solutions and implement knowledge repository to share best practices in across the government.

  • Agencies involved: It has been jointly setup by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and National Informatics Centre Services Incorporated (NICSI).

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

PARAKRAM PARV
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated ‘Parakram Parv’ at the Jodhpur Military Station.

About:

  • The Indian Armed Forces are observing 'Parakram Parv' from 28-30 September 2018 to mark the second anniversary of the surgical strike which were conducted in 2016 across Line of Control.

  • Parakram Parv is being celebrated to showcase the courage, valour and sacrifice of Indian Armed Forces in general and Special Forces in particular.

  • The main event is being celebrated at India Gate Lawns, Rajpath in New Delhi. Similarly, 53 locations in 51 cities across the country will be showcasing the events highlighting valour of Indian Armed Forces.

  • Visitors will get the opportunity to see captured weapons used by terrorists that have been brought from Jammu and Kashmir and other Military equipment like artillery guns.

Source : PIB
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

METHANOL AS COOKING FUEL
Public sector Assam Petrochemicals Limited is set to introduce – in a first in India – methanol as cleaner, cheaper alternative to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

About:

  • The pilot project involving 500 burners and stoves, each fuelled by a 1.2-litre canister of methanol, will be launched on October 5. The company hopes to go for commercial production after almost two months of monitoring the project
    • Countries such as China and Israel are going big on methanol as cooking fuel besides powering trains and vehicles. Methanol is clean and green fuel besides being 30% cheaper than LPG.



Important Info :

Assam Petro-chemicals Limited (APL) was set up in 1971 to utilize the huge reserve of Natural Gas in the Upper Assam oil fields and also to meet the requirement of increasing national demand for Methanol and Formalin.

It is India’s first natural gas-based petrochemicals company i.e. the first Indian company to manufacture petrochemicals in India using natural gas as feedstock.

It was set up by the State Government of Assam with joint participation of Assam Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (AIDC). It is headquartered in Assam’s Namrup town.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

DIGIVAARTA
Union Electronics and IT Minister launched DigiVaarta mobile application to spread awareness among public (esp. merchants and traders) about digital payments

About:

  • DigiVaarta has been launched to spread awareness amongst the common public on digital payment topics such as BHIM, Aadhar Enabled Payment Systems (AePS), Bharat QR, and Security Do’s and Don’ts to begin with.

  • The initiative aims to enable citizen-government dialogue and engage citizens in educational and outreach programmes.

  • The technology underlying DigiVaarta is SAMWAD – a platform for intuitive and interactive communication – supported by Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion (CDFI).

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

HIGH LEVEL ADVISORY GROUP FOR TRADE
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has approved the constitution of a high-level advisory group (HLAG) to address the ongoing challenges in the global trade scenario.

Mandate:

  • To make specific implementable recommendations to facilitate the formulation of future trade policies.

  • To examine the prevailing international trade dynamics, including the rising protectionist tendencies, non-engagement by some countries on Doha Development Agenda etc.

Composition:

  • The HLAG will be chaired by Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Member Surjit Bhalla.

  • Other members will include S. Jaishankar (Former Foreign Secretary) and Sanjeev Sanyal (Principal Economic Advisor, Government of India)

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

#LOOREVIEW CAMPAIGN
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM – U), has partnered with Google to launch the Loo Review campaign.

About:

  • Objective of the joint campaign – to be run throughout October and November 2018 – is to increase the awareness and ease of locating public toilets across India.

  • The campaign aims to encourage Local Guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps, and use the hashtag #LooReview for the chance to be featured on Google Local Guides’ social channels.

  • The feedback provide by local guides through the Loo Review campaign will press upon the Urban Local Bodies to take proactive steps to improve public toilet facilities across the country.”

500+ cities in India with more than 30,000 toilets with the name of “SBM Toilet” are currently live on Google Maps.

Important Info :

Local Guides are people who share reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps to help people explore the world.

Source : PIB
Sanitation

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

HEPATITIS E VIRUS
The World’s first human case of Rat Hepatitis E has been detected in Hong Kong.

Recent discovery:

  • According to University of Hong Kong (HKU) researchers, a Hong Kong man has developed the world’s first ever human case of the rat version of the hepatitis E virus.

There had previously been no evidence that the rat HEV disease can infect humans to cause clinical infection. This discovery has “major public health significance”.

Important Info :

Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV): a small virus, with a positive-sense, single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome.

The virus has at least 4 different types: genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Genotypes 1 and 2 have been found only in humans. Genotype 3 and 4 viruses circulate in several animals (including pigs, wild boars, and deer) without causing any disease, and occasionally infect humans.

 

The virus is shed in the stools of infected persons, and enters the human body through the intestine. It is transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water.

Usually the infection is self-limiting and resolves within 2–6 weeks. Occasionally a serious disease, known as fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure) develops, and a proportion of people with this disease can die.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 29, 2018

HIGH LEVEL COMMITTEE ON CSR
A High-Level Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been constituted to review the existing framework and guide the roadmap for a coherent policy on CSR.

About:

  • Composition: The HLC on CSR has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Injeti Srinivas, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA)

  • Mandate: To review the existing CSR framework as per Act, Rules and Circulars issued from time to time and recommend guidelines for better enforcement of CSR provisions.

  • Timeline: The Committee shall submit its report to the government within three months from the date of holding its first meeting.

Background:

  • The provisions of section 135 of Companies Act, 2013 pertaining to CSR came into force in 2014. The existing provisions fully empower the Board of a Company to decide on their CSR Policy, approve projects and oversee implementation.

  • The Ministry had earlier set up a High-Level Committee on CSR in 2015 which made several recommendations, including review of CSR framework after three years which is almost over.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance, GS-4

Sept. 28, 2018

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

KOLKATA FLOOD FORECASTING SYSTEM
India’s first flood forecasting and early-warning system has been launched in Kolkata.

About:

  • This was launched by Kolkata Municipal Corporation, with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

  • It will provide real-time data on rainfall intensity, temperature, air quality and other climate-related parameters.

  • This is expected to help policy-makers make informed decisions during disasters.

Source : The Hindustan
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

RAJNI KANT MISHRA
Union Government appointed Rajni Kant Mishra as the Director-General of the Border Security Force (BSF) in place of K.K. Sharma, who is superannuating on September 30.

Border Security Force (BSF):

  • The Border Security Force (BSF) is the primary Border guarding force of India and has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.

  • It was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965.

  • It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service.

Important Info :

Border Security Force (BSF) is one of the 7 recognized Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the other 6 being Assam Rifles (AR), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

Source : The Hindu
Internal Security, Person in News

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

ELEPHANT BIRD
The elephant bird of Madagascar has regained its title as the largest bird that ever lived.

About:

  • Elephant birds are members of the extinct family Aepyornithidae, that once lived on the island of

  • They became extinct, perhaps around 1000-1200 AD, for reasons that are unclear, although human activity is the suspected cause.

  • These were large flightless birds similar to Ostrich and Kiwi.

  • Elephant birds comprised the genera Mullerornis, Vorombe and Aepyornis.

  • Recently, scientists determined that ‘Vorombe titan’ specie reached weights of 730 kg, making it the world's largest bird, slightly larger than the much older Dromornis stirtoni of Australia, another flightless bird that disappeared from the Earth 20,000 years ago.

Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

UN CHAMPIONS OF THE EARTH AWARD
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kochi International Airport were awarded UN's highest environmental honour, the 'Champions of the Earth' award, along with four others environmental changemakers.

About:

  • The annual Champions of the Earth prize is the UN’s highest environmental honour.

  • It recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations from the public and private sectors and from civil society whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment.

  • It was launched in 2005 by United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment).

  • Champions of the Earth recognizes laureates in the following 5 categories: (1) Lifetime Achievement, (2) Policy Leadership, (3) Action and Inspiration, (4) Entrepreneurial Vision and (5) Science and Innovation.

Winners of the 2018 Champions of the Earth Awards:

 

Category

Laureate(s)

1

Entrepreneurial Vision

Cochin International Airport

(awarded for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy)

2

Policy Leadership

Emmanuel Macron, President of France and

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

(awarded for their efforts regarding the International Solar Alliance)

3

Lifetime achievement award

Joan Carling

4

Science and Innovation

Beyond Meat and

Impossible Foods

5

Inspiration and Action

China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme

 

Young Champions of the Earth:

  • In 2017, on similar lines, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched Young Champions of the Earth, a new initiative to spot young, talented people between the ages of 18 and 30 and support their inspiring ideas to save the environment.

  • Under it, Seven Young Champions – selected from every global region – will receive $15,000 each in seed funding and intensive mentoring to help them implement their ideas.

Important Info :

Tulsi Tanti (Founder of Suzlon Energy Ltd) and Vinod Khosla (founder of Sun Microsystems) from India have earlier won the UN Champions of The Earth Award in the Entrepreneurial Vision Category.

Source : All India Radio
Environment

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

NATIONAL TOURISM AWARDS 2016-17
On the occasion of World Tourism Day, the Union Minister for Tourism presented the National Tourism Awards 2016-17.

National Tourism Awards:

  • Since the early 1990s, Union Ministry of Tourism annually presents National Tourism Awards to various segments of the tourism industry to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promoting tourism.

  • These awards are presented to State Governments/UTs, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organizations in recognition of their performance in their respective fields.

  • This year, a total of 77 awards were presented to the tourism industry stakeholders, State Governments, central agencies and individuals.

Voluntary Scheme for Approval of Operational Motels:

  • On the occasion, tourism minister informed that Ministry of Tourism has formulated a voluntary scheme for Approval of Operational Motels, with effect from 25th September 2018.

  • Its objective is to recognize the Motel segment as a component of the overall tourism product, and set standards of facilities and services of Motels.

Important Info :

World Tourism Day is celebrated annually on 27th September, to coincide with the anniversary of adoption of the statutes of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The theme for World Tourism Day 2018 is “Tourism & Digital Transformation”.

India will be the host country for official World Tourism Day celebrations for the UNWTO, in 2019.

Source : PIB
Education, Awards

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

SMART TRAINS
Indian Railways unveiled the maiden smart coach at the Modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareli as part of launching 100 Smart Trains in a pilot project to improve the safety of commuters and to boost efficiency.

Features of ‘Smart Trains’:

  • The black box, which has been introduced for the first time by Indian Railways, will act as a coach control unit with communication interfaces to provide information on passengers and coach condition on real-time basis.

  • AI-powered CCTVs will help those in the control room to keep a tab on untoward incidents and on the behaviour of on-board staff.

  • Under the Internet of things-based system, the sensors will monitor the wheels, bearing and hard spots on the track, and will provide data through GPS/GPRS to the control room to avoid accidents.

  • The Passenger Information and Coach Computing Unit (PICCU), an industrial grade computer, will monitor the coach maintenance and passenger interface.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

UNDERSTANDING DIGITAL PAYMENTS
NITI Aayog launched ‘Understanding Digital Payments’, India’s First Online Course on Digital Payments targeted at Middle Management.

About:

  • This course titled ‘Understanding Digital Payments’ is an initiative by NITI Aayog. It has been designed especially for India by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) a specialized UN Agency in ICT in consultation with NITI Aayog and Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

  • The course is targeted at mid-level officers in Government of India who are engaged in different training/teaching institutions to enhance their understanding of issues related to Digital Payments such as standards, security issues, consumer protection aspects etc.

  • This is being offered free of cost and is hosted by ITU Academy online.

  • The course duration is two weeks (1st to 15th October 2018) and will be delivered by experts from ITU.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

PUNCH TANTRA
Union Minister for Tribal Affairs introduced the World Boxing Champion Ms. Mary Kom as the Brand Ambassador of “Tribes India” and also launched the “Punch Tantra” Diwali collection.

Punch Tantra:

  • The Punch Tantra range of tribal artefacts includes handlooms and handicrafts specially introduced for the coming Diwali and festival season.

  • These are inspired and promoted by the World Boxing Champion Mary Kom. As the name of the collection suggests, the “punch” of Mary Kom represents the hard work and dedication of the tribal master craftpersons in creating such master prices of art and craft.

Important Info :

In March 2018, Union Ministry for Tribal Affairs launched ‘e-Tribes: Tribes India’ as an initiative for digital commerce for Tribals. This includes e-commerce portal of TRIFED, www.tribesindia.com and M-commerce, android app ‘Tribes India’.

The launch of e-commerce site will help to eliminate intermediaries & bring artisans directly in touch with buyers. With this, more than 55 thousand tribal artisans connected to TRIFED will get access to local as well as International markets.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directions on applicability of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in case of premature dissolution of state assembly. Earlier, the restrictions came into force only after the announcement of the election schedule by ECI.

Directions on applicability of MCC:

  • Neither the caretaker state government nor the Central Government will announce any new schemes and projects or undertake any of the activities prohibited under the MCC.

  • All other prohibitions including use of resources for any non-official purposes and combining of official visit with electioneering work will apply on all Ministers and other authorities of the caretaker governments.

  • It also citied earlier Supreme Court orders that the caretaker government should merely carry on the day-to-day government and desist from taking any major policy decision.

Important Info :

Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for political parties and candidates is a set of norms evolved with the consensus of political parties and enforced by the Election Commission of India.  It helps the ECI to conduct free and fair elections and to provide a level playing field between contestants so that ruling party doesn’t misuse its position to gain an unfair advantage

It is not under a law, it is not even under conduct rules in short it has no statutory backing.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
Sept. 28, 2018

RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI COMMITTEE
Centre has constituted an eight-member search committee, to be headed by former Supreme Court judge, Ranjana Prakash Desai, to recommend the chairperson and members of Lokpal.

About:

  • The step comes after the Supreme Court’s order to appoint Lokpal at the earliest.

  • This search committee was appointed by the selection committee, which comprises Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Lok Sabha Speaker, leader of the largest Opposition party and eminent jurist Mukul Rohatgi.

Important Info :

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, passed in 2013, envisages establishment of anti-graft body Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in States to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants. The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Sept. 27, 2018

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

NATIONAL DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS POLICY-2018
Union Cabinet has approved the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP-2018), in place of the existing National Telecom Policy-2012, to provide broadband access to every citizen at 50 Mbps speed by the year 2022.

Objectives to be achieved by 2022:

  • Universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen;

  • Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022;

  • Creating 4 million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector;

  • Attract investments of USD 100 billion in the Digital Communications Sector;

  • Expand IoT ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices;

  • Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals;

  • Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India's GDP from ~ 6% in 2017; and

  • Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017;

Strategy: The policy advocates –

  • Establishment of a National Digital Grid by creating a National Fibre Authority;

  • Establishing Common Service Ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects;

  • Creating a collaborative institutional mechanism between Centre, States and Local Bodies for Common Rights of Way, standardization of costs and timelines; and

  • Facilitating development of Open Access Next Generation Networks.

Name change of bodies:

  • The name of Telecom Commission will be changed to Digital Communications Commission.

  • The name of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will be changed to Digital Communications Regulatory Authority of India.

Comment:

  • The policy has been launched in the background of world witnessing modern technological advancements in the Telecom Sector such as 5G, loT, M2M etc.

  • This policy will form the main pillar of Digital India.

Important Info :

The Telecom Commission was set up by the Government of India via a Resolution in 1989.

It consists of a Chairman, four full time members and four part time members. The Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is the ex-officio Chairmen of the Telecom Commission.

It is responsible for: (1) Formulating the policy of DoT for approval of the Government; (2) Preparing the budget for the DoT and (3) Implementation of Government's policy in all matters concerning telecommunication.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

ASTRA
Astra, the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), was successfully test fired by the Indian Air Force from Su-30 aircraft, as a part of the series of final pre-induction trials.

About:

  • Astra 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).

  • It is the first indigenous air-to-air BVR missile.

Important Info :

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.

Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM)?

·         It is an air-to-air missile that is capable of engaging at ranges of 37 km or beyond.

·         This range has been achieved using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer motor.

·         In addition to the range capability, the missile must also be capable of tracking its target at this range or of acquiring the target in flight. Systems in which a mid-course correction is transmitted to the missile have been used.

Source : PIB
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

POLICE REFORMS
Union Home Ministry has notified new rules for merging police forces in six Union Territories.

About:

  • On September 25, “The NCT of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Chandigarh (Police Service) Rules, 2018”, were notified.

  • Under it a new police Service will be constituted for the 6 UTs consisting of persons appointed to the Service under rule 6 and 7.

  • 533 posts will be covered under the new rules including Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) and Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP).

  • According to it, Non-IPS officers could be posted in any of the six UTs and will be at the direct disposal of Home Ministry (Earlier these postings were decided by the respective UT administrators).

  • The rules will come into play upon promotion or direct recruitment of inspectors to the post of ACPs. Half of the posts at ACP rank will be filled through direct recruitment and the other half through promotion.

  • The post/grade/service eligible for induction into the entry grade for the new service would include personnel currently employed as inspectors.

Comment:

  • It is the first step towards the creation of a central police cadre allowing for the posting of police personnel across the country irrespective of the force they are initially inducted into.

  • A central pool allowing inter-transferability would also ensure that local police personnel do not fall prey to serving vested interests in their home services.

  • Local police personnel in smaller locations such as Daman & Diu would be able to learn modern policing methods from the capital city and go back home to employ these effectively.

Source : The Hindu
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

SUGAR SECTOR
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a comprehensive policy to deal with excess sugar production in the country.

Salient Features of Package:

  • The package includes a production subsidy that is 2.5 times higher, at ₹13.88 per quintal for each quintal of cane crushed in the 2018-19 season, at an estimated cost of ₹4,163 crore.

  • Centre will also provide assistance to mills trying to export sugar by compensating expenditure towards internal transport and other charges during the sugar season 2018-19. The transport subsidies for exports amount to ₹1,375 crore.

  • The measures involve total assistance of over 5500 crore rupees to support the sugar sector.

  • The assistance shall be provided only to those mills which fulfill the conditions stipulated by the department of food and public distribution.

Comment:

  • Record harvests over the last two years have led to sugar production levels far above domestic consumption, resulting in a crash in prices and a liquidity crisis in the industry.

  • The recent package is the fourth time in the last five months, that the Centre has approved incentives to help the cash-starved sugar mills clear thousands of crore in arrears of payment to cane farmers.

Fair and remunerative price (FRP)?

 

·         Price of sugarcane is fixed by the centre/State, while the price of sugar is market determined.

·         Fair and remunerative price (FRP) is the minimum price at which rate sugarcane is to be purchased by sugar mills from farmers.

·         The FRP is fixed by Union government on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

·         Recommended FRP is arrived at by taking into account various factors (cost of production, demand-supply situation, domestic & international prices, inter-crop price parity etc.

·         FRP assures margins to farmers, irrespective of whether sugar mills generate a profit or not.

·         Besides FRP, some states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, UP and TN announce a State Advised Price (SAP), which is generally higher than the FRP.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

JAN DHAN DARSHAK
Union Finance Ministry Launched a Mobile Application named “Jan Dhan Darshak” as a part of financial inclusion (FI) initiative.

About:

  • The mobile app has been jointly developed by Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance and National Informatics Centre (NIC).

  • It will help the people in locating a nearby Financial Service Touch Point (Bank branches, ATMs, Post Offices) based on current location in the Country.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX NETWORK
Union Cabinet has approved a proposal to convert Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) into a government-owned company.

About GSTN:

  • GSTN has been jointly registered by the Central and State Governments as a not-for-profit Company under Section 8 of the Companies act, 2013 (under new companies Act, not for profit companies are governed under section 8).

  • It was incorporated in

  • It has been set up primarily to provide IT infrastructure and services to the Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of the GST.

Recent decision:

  • Currently, the Centre and states together hold 49 % stake in the GSTN. The remaining 51 % is held by five private financial institutions.

  • The restructured GSTN, with 100% government ownership shall have equity structure between the Centre (50%) and the States (50%).

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

INDIAN MEDICAL COUNCIL (AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE, 2018
Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 was promulgated which dissolves the Medical Council of India (MCI) and replaces it with a seven-member Board of Governors.

Salient features:

  • Objective of the ordinance is to enhance governance and quality of medical education.

  • The ordinance dissolves the Medical Council of India (MCI) and replacing it with a seven-member Board of Governors (BoG) led by NITI Aayog Member Dr. V.K. Paul. The BoG will continue to perform till a council is constituted.

  • The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017 is still pending in parliament.

National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017

  • The bill would replace the existing apex medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body named National Medical Commission.

  • Structure of commission: The commission will have government nominated chairman and members. A search committee under the Cabinet Secretary will select the board members. There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.

  • It provides for the constitution of Four autonomous boards under the National Medical Commission which would be entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners.

  • To get practicing licences all medical graduates will have to clear a common entrance exam and licentiate exam.

  • No permission would be required to add new seats or to start postgraduate courses.

  • The deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF AYURVEDA (AIIA)
Minister of State for AYUSH Shri Shripad Naik laid the foundation stone of second phase of All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA).

About:

  • Location: New Delhi.

  • Establishment: The Institute was dedicated to the Nation by PM Modi in October, 2017.

  • Parent ministry: AIIA is an autonomous institute under the Ministry of AYUSH.

  • It is the first medical institute under Ministry of AYUSH to hold the status of NABH accreditation.

 

Functions: It is setup along the lines of AIIMS. Its key functions are –

 

  • To bring synergy between the traditional wisdom of Ayurveda and modern diagnostic tools and technology.

  • The hospital will provide outpatient services and free medicines.

  • It will also house a panchakarma clinic, kriya kalpa, diabetic retinopathy clinic, kshara evum anushastra karma and an infertility clinic.

AYUSH Sports Complex, Pharmacy Unit, Central Library, Panchakarma Wing, International Guest House, Residential Complex, Boy’s and girl’s hostel etc. are some of the salient features of Phase II construction.

Important Info :

NABH is an acronym for National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers.

It is a constituent board of Quality Council of India Certification, set up to establish and operate accreditation programme for healthcare organizations.

NABH was established in year 2006.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

RESERVATION IN PROMOTIONS
Supreme Court has declined to refer its 2006 verdict on quotas in promotions for SC/ST to a seven-judge bench.

M Nagraj Case (2006):

  • Reservation in promotions were allowed since 1955 till the supreme court held it unconstitutional in 1992. In 1995, law was amended to allow it. This was subsequently challenged in Supreme Court.

  • In 2006, the supreme court in M Nagraj case said that before framing any law, the state will have to satisfy the test of: (1) backwardness, (2) inadequate representation and (3) overall efficiency.

  • It also held that states were bound to provide quantifiable data on the backwardness of SCs/STs before providing them quota in promotions.

  • Relying on the 2006 judgement, several high courts struck down reservations in promotion.

  • The Centre has alleged that the verdict in the M Nagraj case 2006 had put unnecessary conditions in granting quota benefits to the SC and ST employees and sought its reconsideration by a larger bench.

Supreme court verdict (September 2018):

  • The Supreme Court said, its 2006 verdict putting conditions for granting benefits of quotas in job promotions for SC/ST employees need not be referred to a seven-judge bench.

  • It also turned down the Centre's plea that overall population of SC/ST be considered for granting quota for them. i.e. states need not collect quantifiable data on backwardness of SC/ST for giving quota in job promotion to SC/ST employees.
    • Comment: The judgement will boost efforts to provide “accelerated promotion with consequential seniority” for scheduled castes/scheduled tribes members in government services.



Source : All India Radio
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Sept. 27, 2018

LIVE STREAMING OF COURT PROCEEDINGS
Supreme Court has agreed to allow live-streaming and video recording of court proceedings. The necessary rules for balancing rights of public and protecting dignity of litigants will be placed soon.

Arguments given by Supreme court:

  • Supreme Court observed that "Sunlight is the best disinfectant". Live-streaming of court proceedings will effectuate the "public right to know" and bring in more transparency in judicial proceedings.

  • This would help people residing in distant places to witness court proceedings, which they otherwise could not have due to logistical issues and infrastructural restrictions.

  • Live-streaming of proceedings would be the true realisation of the “open court system” in which courts are accessible to all.

Conditions laid down:

  • The court will examine the cases where the parties may have genuine reservations and may claim right of privacy and dignity. For this, a just regulatory framework must be provided for.

  • The final decision whether to live-stream a case or not lies with the court, especially in sensitive ones. The decision cannot be appealed.

  • Live-streaming will start as a pilot project in the Supreme Court for cases of constitutional and national importance.

Source : All India Radio
Polity & Governance
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