June 30, 2019

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

PAROLE
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief convicted of rape and murder, has applied to the Haryana government for parole.

About:

  • What is it? Parole is a system of releasing a prisoner with suspension of the sentence. The release is conditional, usually subject to behaviour, and requires periodic reporting to the authorities for a set period of time.

  • Objective: Parole is considered a reformative process, and was introduced with a view to humanising the prison system.

Comparison with Furlough:

  • A broadly similar but subtly different concept is furlough, which is given in case of long-term imprisonment.

  • While furlough is seen as a matter of right, to be granted periodically irrespective of any reason and merely to enable the prisoner to retain family and social ties, parole is not a matter of right and may be denied to a prisoner even when he makes out a sufficient case.

Important Info :

Indian scenario: 

  • In India, parole and furlough are covered under the Prison Act of 1894.
  • Prisoners convicted of multiple murders or under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act are not eligible for parole.
  • Since prison is a subject of the state, the Prison Act of the particular state government defines the rules under which parole is granted. State governments have their own Prisoner Release on Parole Rules.
Source : Indian Express
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

NIRBHAYA FUND
According to official data, only 20% of Nirbhaya Fund has been used by States until 2018.

Key findings:

  • The States and UTs have utilised less than 20% of the budget allocated to them under the Nirbhaya Fund for safety of women by the Central government between 2015 and 2018.

  • Of the ₹854.66 crore released by the Centre, a mere ₹165.48 crore has been spent by various States and UTs on different schemes launched by the Centre as well as other schemes for which the local governments sought funds.

  • The top five States/ UTs ranked in terms of utilisation of money across various schemes under the Nirbhaya Fund were: Chandigarh (59.83%), Mizoram (56.32%), Uttarakhand (51.68%), Andhra Pradesh (43.23%) and Nagaland (38.17%).

  • The worst five States/UTs include: Manipur, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep – which didn’t spend even a single penny – and were followed by West Bengal (0.76%) and Delhi (0.84%).

Important Info :

Do you know?

  • The Nirbhaya Fund was set up by the UPA-II in the aftermath of the gang rape of a paramedical student in a moving bus in New Delhi in December 2012 with an initial corpus of ₹1,000 crore.
  • Though the Fund was instituted in 2013, its disbursement gathered pace only from 2015.
  • The Fund supports schemes for safety of women.
  • The key schemes under which the States have been allocated money include Emergency Response Support System, Central Victim Compensation Fund, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, One Stop Scheme, Mahila Police Volunteer, and Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme.
Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

PUNCH MISSION
Dipankar Banerjee, an Indian solar physicist from Indian Institute of Astrophysics has been selected as a Co-Investigator of PUNCH mission by NASA.

About:

  • Full Name: PUNCH stands for “Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere,”

  • Mission Objective:
    • It will image regions beyond the Sun’s outer corona.

    • it will image and track the solar wind and also the coronal mass ejections – which are huge masses of plasma that get thrown out of the Sun’s atmosphere. The coronal mass ejections can affect and drive space weather events near the Earth.



  • Features: PUNCH will consist of a ‘constellation’ of four suitcase-sized microsats that will orbit the Earth in formation and study how the corona, which is the atmosphere of the Sun, connects with the interplanetary medium.

  • Timeline: The mission is expected to be launched in 2022.

  • Agencies involved: NASA has selected Texas-based Southwest Research Institute to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun.

Important Info :
  • The team also plans to observe the Sun using joint observations from PUNCH and Indian mission Aditya, which is underway. 
  • India is planning to send up its own satellite Aditya-L1, a mission to study the Sun’s corona, and Prof. Banerjee is the co-Chair of the Science Working Group.
Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

FAST RADIO BURSTS (FRBs)
A team of international astronomers have determined for the first time the precise source of a single/ one-off fast radio bursts (FRBs).

About:

  • The signal has been named FRB 180924 - they're named for the date of detection - and it originated in the outskirts of a Milky Way-sized galaxy roughly 3.6 billion light-years from Earth.

  • Pinning it down could help scientists finally understand what causes these one-off FRBs.

  • It's only the second fast radio burst ever to have been traced to a location. The first, called FRB 121102, is a special case, because it bursts repeatedly. Locating the source of one-off FRB presented a much more difficult challenge.

Important Info :
  • Fast radio bursts are intense bursts of radio emission that have durations of milliseconds and exhibit the characteristic dispersion sweep of radio pulsars.
  • FRBs flash for only a micro-instant but can emit as much energy in a millisecond as the Sun does in 10,000 years.
  • The first was discovered in 2007 ad so far over 80 have been detected.
  • Exactly what creates these high-energy surges of long waves at the far end of the electromagnetic spectrum remains the subject of intense debate, though scientists now agree they originate in far away galaxies.
Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

ALIALI JHIA
Odisha-based Navaratna Company NALCO has been selected for President's award for utilisation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund in social development.

About: 

  • In 2015, NALCO started "Aliali Jhia", a new scheme on the line of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao to promote the education of Girls of BPL families.

  • Under this scheme, 416 girls from BPL families of 66 villages of Anugul, Damanjodi and Potangi area in Anugul and Koraput districts have been adopted by Company.

  • These girls are reading in 45 different schools. NALCO is bearing all the expenditure for education and promotion of talent from 8th to 10th class.

Important Info :

National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO)? 

  • it is a Navratna CPSE under Ministry of Mines.
  • It was established in 1981, with its registered office at Bhubaneswar.
  • As one of the largest integrated primary producer of aluminium in Asia, NALCO’s presence encompasses the entire vale chain from bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminium smelting, power generation to downstream products. 
Source : All India Radio
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

INTERNATIONAL BOXING ASSOCIATION (AIBA)
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped Olympic status from the troubled world boxing body AIBA.

About:

  • Name: The International Boxing Association or AIBA, originally the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur.

  • What is it? It is a sport organization that sanctions amateur (Olympic-style) boxing matches and awards world and subordinate championships.

  • Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

Important Info :

Recent development:

  • AIBA has been involved in multiple corruption scandals including on several editions of the Summer Olympic Games. AIBA is also near bankruptcy with debts of about 17 million US Dollars.
  • In this background, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended AIBA's Olympic status. As a result, the IOC will now organize qualifying and final tournaments for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Source : All India Radio
Sports

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

DRAGONFLY MISSION
US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that it will send a multi-rotor vehicle called 'Dragonfly' to Saturn moon Titan (Saturn's largest moon).

About: 

  • Objective: Dragonfly will fly to dozens of promising locations on Titan looking for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth.

  • Features: Dragonfly has eight rotors and flies like a large drone.

  • Significance: This will be the first time Nasa will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet.

  • Duration: The mission will be launched in 2026 and arrive in 2034.

  • Background: Dragonfly took advantage of 13 years' worth of Cassini (a joint mission between Nasa, ESA and Italy that studied Saturn) data to choose a calm weather period to land, along with a safe initial landing site and scientifically interesting targets.

Important Info :

Titan? 

  • Location: Titan orbits Saturn, which orbits the Sun at a distance of about 886 million miles, about 10 times farther from the Sun than Earth orbits. 
  • Size: Titan, with a diameter of 5,150 km, is Saturn’s largest moon and the second largest moon in the solar system after Jupiter's moon Ganymede. It is bigger than planet Mercury. 
  • Surface composition: Titan is an icy moon with a surface of rock-hard water ice, but Titan also likely has a liquid water ocean beneath its surface. 
  • Atmosphere: Titan is the only moon in the solar system known to have a substantial atmosphere, which is mostly nitrogen like Earth’s. 
  • Orbiting Solo: Titan has no known moon, but it’s possible for a moon to have moons. 
Source : Times of India
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

RIVER POLLUTION IN GOA
According to a study conducted by the Marine Science Department of Goa University, iron ore mining in Goa has adversely impacted the sediments of major rivers in the state.

About: 

  • Researchers carried out detailed assessments of the impact of mining on the sediment cores of the three rivers- Bicholim, Mandovi and Terekhol.

  • The study revealed that the Bicholim river is strongly polluted with iron and manganese and moderately polluted with lead and chromium, while the Mandovi river is moderately polluted with manganese and lead.

  • The Terekhol river, though unpolluted in the past, is getting polluted with copper and chromium in the recent years because of human interference.

  • In March 2018, after the Supreme Court quashed the second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases, the five-decade-old mining industry in the state came to a standstill.

Source : All India Radio
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

STATISTICS DAY
Statistics Day was celebrated on june 29, 2019 on the birth anniversary of Prof. P C Mahalanobis. The theme of this year's Statistics Day is Sustainable Development Goals.

Contribution of PC Mahalanonobis to Statistics: 

  • PC Mahalanonobis (1893 –1972) was an Indian scientist and applied statistician. He is referred to as the chief architect of Indian statistical system as well as father of statistical science in India.

  • He established the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in 1931 in Kolkata. The institute founded the journal Sankhya, along the lines of Karl Pearson’s Biometrika. In 1959 it was made an autonomous body of Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation.

  • Post-independence, as the honorary statistical adviser to the cabinet, he helped in the establishment of Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), the National Sample Survey (NSS) and the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI).

  • His most important contributions are related to Large-Scale Sample Surveys. He introduced three key concepts to the theory and practice of sample surveys which are: Pilot surveys, Optimum survey design and Inter Penetrating Network of sub-samples technique (IPNS)

  • He also advocated the usefulness of sampling methods. He was elected Chairman of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Statistical Sampling in 1947, and held this post until 1951.

  • In 1936 he introduced a statistical measure named the Mahalanobis distance. It is widely used in cluster analysis and classification techniques.

  • In 1926, he analysed 60 years’ data related to floods in Orissa, which led to the construction, after three decades, of the Hirakud dam on the Mahanadi.

  • He was one of the members of the first Planning commission of free India. The Mahalanobis model, was employed in the Second Five Year Plan, which worked towards the rapid industrialisation of India.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
June 30, 2019

ASEAN's OUTLOOK ON INDO-PACIFIC
India welcomed the ASEAN’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific by saying that it sees important elements of convergence with its own perspective on the region.

About:

  • The ten member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has adopted the ‘ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific’ after more than a year of negotiations in the recently concluded (20th to 23rd June 2019) ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) held in Bangkok, Thailand.

  • Key features:
    • It views Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean regions not as contiguous territorial spaces but as a closely integrated and interconnected region.

    • It views the Indo-Pacific a region of dialogue and cooperation instead of rivalry, besides envisaging development and prosperity for all.



Important Info :

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)?

  • History: ASEAN was established in 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration). 
  • Secretariat: Jakarta. 
  • Membership: 10 countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). 
Source : All India Radio
International

June 29, 2019

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

SMALL SAVINGS SCHEMES
According to a recent notification issued, the Government of India has reduced the interest rates on small savings schemes, including the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) and the Public Provident Fund (PPF).

About:

  • The Finance Ministry said that interest rates for small savings schemes will be reduced by 10 basis points for July-September quarter of the ongoing financial year.

  • New rates will be applicable till September 30.

  • The move is aimed at matching the softening of interest rates in the banking sector since the RBI cut its benchmark policy rate thrice during the year

Interest rates on small savings schemes:

  • The rate for the Kisan Vikas Patra scheme has been modified to 7.6%, which will mature in 113 months, compared with the earlier 7.7% which matured in 112 months.

  • The girl child savings scheme Sukanya Samriddhi Account will fetch a lower return of 8.4% as compared with 8.5%.

  • The rate for the five-year Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) has been reduced to 8.6% from 8.7%.

  • The five-year National Savings Certificate (NSC) rate has also been reduced to 7.9% from 8%.

  • Deposits in the Public Provident Fund (PPF) will fetch 7.9% compounded annually, down from the 8% earlier.

  • While the interest rate on savings deposits has been kept at 4% compounded annually, the rate for one, two, and three-year time deposits has been reduced to 6.9% from 7%, compounded quarterly.

Source : Livemint
Economy

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

ARUNA SUNDARARAJAN COMMITTEE
Union Telecom Minister has formed a committee to spell out revival plans for Telecom sector.

About: 

  • Mandate: To review levies, including spectrum usage charge (SUC), and promote ease of doing business in the telecom sector.

  • Composition: The committee will be headed by Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan.

  • Background:
    • The telecom sector has been undergoing financial stress for a long time.

    • The reduction of levies and fees, including licence fee, SUC and universal service levy, has been a long-standing demand of the industry, along with review of the definition of aggregated gross revenue.



Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

LADAKH SINGHEY KHABABS SINDHU FESTIVALS
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Sayta Pal Malik inaugurated the Ladakh Singhey Khababs Sindhu Festivals at Leh.

About: 

  • Ladakh Singhey Khababs Sindhu Festivals is a tourist's promotional festival in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. 

  • It is celebrated on the bank of Indus River at Leh. The festival presents the Indus River as a symbol of the multi-dimensional cultural identity of India that got its name from the Indus River. 

  • It is celebrated every year since 1997 for 3 days in the month of June. 

  • Folk songs and dances are performed and local handicrafts and ethnic foods are being exhibited before the tourists during the festival. 

Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

PAYMENT SECURITY MECHANISM FOR DISCOMS
The government approved the proposal for the implementation of a payment security mechanism for the purchase of electricity by distribution companies from generating firms.

About:

  • The power ministry has made it mandatory for discoms to open and maintain the adequate letter of credit (LC) as payment security mechanism under power purchase agreements for buying electricity from generating firms from the 1st of August this year.

  • As Per the order, National, Regional and State Load Dispatch Centres are directed to dispatch power only after they are told by the power generating company and the Discoms that an LoC for the desired quantum of power has been opened.

  • The independent power producers have been demanding to put in place a payment security mechanism to reduce stress in the sector.

Important Info :

Background:

  • The Power Purchase Agreements have the provision regarding maintenance of adequate Payment Security Mechanism mainly in the form of Letters of Credit by the Distribution Licensees/ Procurers of Power.
  • A robust Payment Security System requires adequacy and validity of Letter of Credit to cover the payments due on account of drawal of power.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

GO TRIBAL CAMPAIGN
Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, Smt. Renuka Singh launched the “Go Tribal Campaign” by Tribes India at an event in New Delhi.

About: 

  • Bodies involved: The campaign was launched by Tribal Affairs Ministry and TRIFED in association with Amazon Global. 

  • Objective: The collaboration aims to create awareness and promote tribal arts and crafts as well as aid in socio-economic welfare of over 700 Indian tribes. 

  • The event also saw the global Launch of “Tribes India” through Amazon Global Selling, under which Tribes India and Amazon Global Marketing will launch TRIBES India products globally through Amazon.com

Important Info :

TRIFED is an organization under Ministry of Tribal Affairs and is engaged in marketing development of tribal products including tribal art and craft under the brand name “TRIBES INDIA”.

Source : All India Radio
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (NCVET)
Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship informed Rajya Sabha about the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET).

About: 

  • Type: A non-statutory regulatory body. 

  • Composition: it is headed by a Chairperson and has Executive and Non-Executive Members. 

  • History: 
    • The Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) notified the establishment of NCVET, through a Government Notification dated 05.12.2018.

    • It was established by merging the functions of National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and National Skill Development Agency (NSDA).



  • The primary functions of NCVET will include:
    • Recognition and regulation of awarding bodies, assessment bodies and skill related information providers;

    • Approval of qualifications developed by awarding bodies and Sector Skill Councils (SSCs);

    • Indirect regulation of vocational training institutes through awarding bodies and assessment agencies;

    • research and information dissemination;

    • grievance redressal.



Source : PIB
Education

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

EDUCATION QUALITY UPGRADATION AND INCLUSION PROGRAMME (EQUIP)
The Department of Higher Education of HRD Ministry has finalized and released a five-year vision plan named Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP).

About: 

  • Background: This was done in accordance with the decision of the Prime Minister for finalizing a five-year vision plan for each Ministry.

  • Goals: It sets the following goals for higher education sector –
    • Double the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education

    • Position at least 50 Indian institutions among the top-1000 global universities

    • Accreditation of all institutions as an assurance of quality

    • Promote Research & Innovation ecosystems for positioning India in the Top-3 countries in the world in matters of knowledge creation

    • Double the employability of the students passing out of higher education

    • Promote India as a global study destination

    • Achieve a quantum increase in investment in higher education



  • Way ahead: The proposal would now be taken for inter-departmental consultations and appraisal through the EFC mechanism before being taken to Cabinet for approval.

Source : Times of India
Education

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

FIRST RESILIENT KERALA PROGRAM
The Government of India, the Government of Kerala and the World Bank signed a Loan Agreement of USD 250 million for the First Resilient Kerala Program.

About:

  • Background: The 2018 floods and landslides in Kerala led to severe impact on property, infrastructure, and lives and livelihoods of people. One sixth of the State’s population - about 5.4 million people - were affected while 1.4 million were displaced from their homes.

  • Parent Program: The New Program is part of the Government of India’s support to Kerala’s ‘Rebuild Kerala Development Programme’ aimed at building a green and resilient Kerala.

  • Program Objective: To enhance the State's resilience against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.

  • Strategy: The Program aims to support the State with –
    • improved river basin planning and water infrastructure operations management, water supply and sanitation services

    • resilient and sustainable agriculture, enhanced agriculture risk insurance

    • improved resilience of the core road network

    • unified and more up-to-date land records in high risk areas

    • risk-based urban planning and strengthened expenditure planning by urban local bodies

    • strengthened fiscal and public financial management capacity of the state



Important Info :

This Program represents the First ‘State Partnership’ of the World Bank in India.

Source : PIB
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

NATIONAL INVESTMENT AND MANUFACTURING ZONE (NIMZ)
Minister of Commerce and Industry informed Rajya Sabha that Government has granted final approval to three NIMZ – one in Kalinganagar, Jajpur district of Odisha, another in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh and a third in Sangareddy district (erstwhile Medak district) of Telangana.

About:

  • Parent act: National Investment & Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) are one of the important instruments of National Manufacturing Policy, 2011.

  • Objective: NIMZs are envisaged as large areas of developed land with the requisite eco-system for promoting world class manufacturing activity.

  • Present status: So far, three NIMZs namely Prakasam (Andhra Pradesh), Sangareddy (Telangana) and Kalinganagar (Odisha) have been accorded final approval.

Important Info :

NIMZs vs SEZs:

  • The main objective of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is promotion of exports, while NIMZs are based on the principle of industrial growth in partnership with States and focuses on manufacturing growth and employment generation.
  • NIMZs are different from SEZs in terms of size, level of infrastructure planning, governance structures related to regulatory procedures, and exit policies.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 29, 2019

DIPHTHERIA
This season’s first death due to diphtheria in Delhi has caused an alarm, with doctors assessing their preparedness.

About:

  • Cause: Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria, a bacterium.

  • Health impact: One type of diphtheria affects the throat and sometimes the tonsils. Another type causes ulcers on the skin; these are more common in the tropics (places where all 12 months have mean temperatures of at least 18 °C).

  • Vulnerable groups: Diphtheria particularly affects children aged 1 to 5 years. In temperate climates diphtheria tends to occur during the colder months.

  • Vaccine: The diphtheria vaccine is among the oldest vaccines in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme.

  • Indian scenario: Cases in the country have been going up over the last few years after showing a remarkable reduction in 2015. In 2015, as per WHO data, India reported 2,365 cases. However, in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the numbers rose successively to 3,380, 5,293 and 8,788.

Source : Indian Express
Health

June 28, 2019

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL)
The new Supreme Court roster allows top 5 judges to hear Public Interest Litigation (PIL) matters.

About: 

  • Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi has notified a new roster of work which said top five judges of the Supreme Court will be hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) matters.

  • Earlier, fresh PIL matters were notified to be heard only by the CJI and the second senior-most judge after the CJI.

  • According to the fresh roster uploaded on the apex court website, the CJI will deal with the PIL matters and it would be his discretion to assign PIL cases to other top four judges — S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra and R.F. Nariman.

Comment:

  • According to experts, the change is significant since it undoes a move by former chief justice Dipak Misra, whose tenure was marked by a controversy related to assignment of cases.

  • After an unprecedented press conference by the next four top judges, Misra had in 2018 set in place the procedure of the Chief Justice hearing all PILs.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

L 98-59b
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a new planet named L 98-59b.

About: 

  • Size: L 98-59b is around 80% Earth’s size. It is between the sizes of Mars and Earth. It is the tiniest of Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) finds so far. 

  • Location: It orbits a bright, cool, nearby star named L 98-59. The host star, is about one-third the mass of the Sun and lies about 35 light-years away. 

Important Info :
  1. Apart from L 98-59b, two other worlds orbit the L 98-59. L 98-59c and L 98-59d, are respectively around 1.4 and 1.6 times Earth’s size.
  2. While L 98-59b is a record for TESS, even smaller planets have been discovered in data collected by NASA’s Kepler satellite, including Kepler-37b, which is only 20% larger than the Moon.
  3. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is an all-sky survey mission that will discover thousands of exoplanets around nearby bright stars. TESS was launched in April 2018 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

ONE NATION ONE RATION CARD
While addressing the meeting of state food secretaries, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution announced that the government is moving towards One Nation One Ration Card.

About:  

  • The national portability of Ration cards will ensure all beneficiaries especially the migrants in getting access to Public Distribution System (PDS) across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.

  • This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.

Present status:

  • Integrated Management of PDS (IMPDS) is a system that is already operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura wherein a beneficiary can avail his share of food grain from any district in the State.

  • In the recent meeting, other states also assured that IMPDS will be implemented at the earliest.

  • There will also be creation of a Central Repository of all Ration Cards to help national level de-duplication.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

MARATHA RESERVATION
The Bombay High Court upheld the Maharashtra government’s decision to provide reservation to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.

About:

  • The Bombay High Court upheld the Maharashtra government’s decision to provide reservation to the Maratha community under the SEBC Act, 2018.

  • However, the court ruled that the 16 % quota granted by the state is not “justifiable” and reduced it to 12 % in education and 13 % in government jobs, as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).

  • The addition of 12-13 % Maratha quota will take the total reservation in the state to 64-65 %. In the Indra Sawhney case, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court had ruled that total reservation for backward classes could not go beyond 50 %.

Important Info :

Arguments by Court:

  • In exceptional circumstances, the limit of 50% reservation can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration.
  • While the backwardness of the community was not comparable to SCs and STs, it was comparable to several other backward classes, which find place in the list of Other Backward Classes pursuant to the Mandal Commission.
  • The state government had the “legislative competence” to enact the SEBC Act.
Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

75 STUDENT SATELLITES MISSION 2022
The Indian Technology Congress Association (ITCA) has a project titled Seventy-five by 75 to celebrate the nation’s 75th birthday.

About: 

  • Under its ‘75 Student Satellites Mission 2022’, Up to 75 tiny satellites built by students of Indian universities could fly to the skies between late next year and 2022 in batches.

  • Students of participating institutions would come from different disciplines and get to build nano satellites weighing between 3 and 12 kg. They may demonstrate a novel concept, science experiment, or technology in orbit.

  • The ITCA has roped in around 40 engineering colleges to form a consortium. It is also in the midst of discussing launch contracts with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Global Scenario of Student Satellites:

  • In the last three to five years, other countries launched about 3,500 student satellites that demonstrated innovative technologies; another 2,500 could be in the offing. Indian universities have so far built and launched only nine satellites of fleeting lifespans.

  • A student satellite, depending on its payload, can cost between ₹30 and ₹50 lakh and ₹5 and ₹6 crore.

Important Info :

The Indian Technology Congress Association (ITCA) is a technology promotion body based in Bengaluru.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

M-15
The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways informed Lok Sabha about the use of Methanol to reduce Green House Emissions.

About:

  • In May 2018, the Government of India notified mass emission standards for flex-fuel Methanol M15 or M100 and Methanol MD 95 vehicles.

  • M-15 is a blend of 15 % methanol and 85 % Gasoline.

  • Use of blended fuel M-15 in BS-IV cars can result in lowering down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 5 to 10 % thereby improving air quality.

  • M-15 fuel blending is available as an option and there is no proposal to make such blending mandatory in the near future.

Source : PIB
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

SECOND INTERNATIONAL SME CONVENTION
The Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) is organizing an international convention on the theme “Indian MSMEs, Global Aspirations” in New Delhi to observe the International MSME Day.

About:

  • Background: It is the second edition of the International SME Convention. The first was held in April 2018.

  • Bodies involved: The Ministry of MSME is organizing this convention in association with India SME Forum. UNIDO and UNDP are the Institutional Partners.

  • Theme: Indian MSMEs, Global Aspirations.

  • Objectives of the International SME Convention: To boost the international competitiveness of the Indian MSMEs by making them aware of global market demand, ease of export financing for exports; and developing strategies to penetrate new markets.

Important Info :

Target for MSMEs: 

During the convention, Union Minister for MSME said that the government has set the following targets – 

  • Raising the contribution of MSME sector to the country's GDP to 50 % from the present 29 %. 
  • To ensure that MSME sector gave employment to at least 15 Crore people against the 11.1 Crore at present. 
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

WORLD BANK’S PROGRAM TO ELIMINATE TB (IN INDIA)
India has signed a loan agreement worth 400 million dollar with the World Bank to help treat and eliminate Tuberculosis from the country.

Features of Agreement: 

  • The World Bank supported program will support the government's National Strategic Plan to end TB in India by 2025.

  • Coverage: It will cover 9 States of India.

  • Timeline: The $ 400 Million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 19-year maturity which includes a 5-year grace period.

  • Strategy of the Program:
    • To provide financial incentives to private sector care providers for reporting cases of TB and ensuring that their patients complete the treatment regimen.

    • To provide Direct Benefit Transfers to patients for acquiring the critical nutrition needed during treatment.

    • To strengthen the detection, treatment and monitoring of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis and track progress in the detection of additional drug resistance.



Important Info :

In India, around 5 lakh people died every year due to Tuberculosis.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

DRAFT NATIONAL LOGISTICS POLICY
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry reviewed the draft National Logistics Policy and the proposed action plan for implementation of the policy.

Background: View of the Economic Survey 2017-18

  • India’s logistics sector is highly defragmented and complex with involvement of more than 20 government agencies, 40 PGAs, 37 export promotion councils, 200 shipping agencies and 36 logistic services.

  • The Indian logistics sector provides livelihood to more than 22 million people and improving the sector will facilitate 10 % decrease in indirect logistics cost leading to the growth of 5-8% in exports.

  • The worth of Indian logistics market would be around USD 215 billion in next two years compared to about USD 160 billion currently.

The draft National Logistics Policy:

  • It has been prepared by the Department of Logistics, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in consultation with the Ministries of Railways, Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Civil Aviation.

  • Aim is to reduce the logistics cost from the present 14% of GDP to less than 10% by 2022.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 28, 2019

RAMESH CHAND WORKING GROUP
The Government of India has decided to constitute a Working Group for the revision of the current series of Wholesale Price Index (Base 2011-12).

About: 

  • Chairman of the Working Group: Ramesh Chand (Member, NitiAayog). 

  • Nodal office: The Office of Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade will be the nodal office for the Working Group and will process the report / recommendation of the Group for further necessary action. 

  • Need of revision of WPI: The current series of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) with 2011-12 as base year was introduced in May 2017. Since 2011-12, significant structural changes have taken place in the economy. 

  • The Terms of Reference of the Working Group are: 
    • To select the most appropriate Base Year for the preparation of a new official series of Index Numbers of WPI and Producer Price Index (PPI) in India. 

    • To review commodity basket of the current series of WPI. 

    • To review the existing system of price collection in particular for manufacturing sector. 



Source : PIB
Economy

June 27, 2019

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

PAYMENTS DATA
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has clarified that payment system providers need to store entire payments data in a system only in India.

About: 

  • Following clarifications sought by Payment System Operators (PSOs), RBI has released frequently asked questions (FAQ). 

  • In this, RBI clarified that the entire payment data shall be stored in systems located only in India. 

  • In case the processing is done abroad, the data should be deleted from the systems abroad and brought back to India within one business day or 24 hours from the payment processing, whichever is earlier.

  • The data should include end-to-end transaction details and information pertaining to payment or settlement transaction that is gathered/transmitted/processed as part of a payment message/instruction.

  • The data could be pertaining to customer data like name, mobile number, Aadhaar number; Payment-sensitive data like beneficiary account details; payment credentials like OTP, PIN and, transaction data such as originating and destination system information amount.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

HOUSING FINANCE COMPANIES (HFCs)
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started monitoring the liquidity position, asset-liability gap and repayment schedules of housing finance companies (HFCs) on a daily basis after the liquidity crisis hit these firms, resulting in defaults.

About:

  • The RBI does not regulate the housing finance companies. These are regulated by the National Housing Bank (NHB).

  • But the RBI is of the view that the since the liquidity crisis of the HFCs could have a spillover effect on the other segments in the financial sector, including banks, and hence, could affect financial stability, it was necessary to monitor these entities on a regular basis

  • For this purpose, a general manager in National Housing Bank has been asked to be in regular communication with a chief general manager in the department of non-banking supervision (DNBS) of the RBI.

  • Background: The non-banking financial sector, particularly the mortgage lenders, are fighting a crisis of confidence with banks having stopped lending to these entities since the debt default by IL&FS in September last year.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

UNSC NON-PERMANENT SEAT
India has won the unanimous support of all countries in the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group at the United Nations in support of its bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term in 2021-22.

About:

  • The development is particularly significant given that Pakistan and China, both countries with which India has had diplomatic challenges at the UN, supported the move.

  • The 55-member Asia-Pacific Group gets to nominate one of its members for the June 2020 elections to a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.

  • No challenges to India’s candidacy are expected with regard to acquiring the support of other UN members. India will need the vote of two-thirds of the 193 UN General Assembly members to win a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.

  • India has already held a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for seven terms: 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012.

Important Info :

Background: 

  • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members out of a total of 10, for a two-year term.
  • These 10 seats are distributed among the regions thus: 3 for African countries; 2 for Asia-Pacific countries; one for Eastern European countries; two for Latin American and Caribbean countries; two for Western European and other countries.
  • There is an informal understanding between Africa and Asia to reserve one for an Arab country.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH
Pakistan will unveil a life-size sculpture of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on June 27, on the eve of 180th death anniversary of the Sikh ruler, in Lahore.

About: 

  • The statue has been located in an open space outside the Mai Jindian Haveli in Lahore Fort, close to the building that houses the Ranjit Singh samadhi. The haveli is named after Ranjit Singh’s youngest queen. 

  • The life-size statue, pictures of which were released on social media, shows Maharaja Ranjit Singh, riding his favourite Arabic horse Kahar Bahar. The Arabic horse was gifted to him by Dost Muhammad Khan, the founder of the Barazkai dynasty. 

  • In 2003, a 22-feet tall bronze statue of Ranjit Singh was installed in the Parliament of India. Not only in India but in a French town called Saint Tropez, that had military links with Punjab, installed a bronze bust of Ranjit Singh in 2016. 

Important Info :

Maharaja Ranjit Singh? 

  • Maharaja Ranjit Singh ruled over Punjab for close to 40 years in the early 19th century from 1801-1839. 
  • Popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had a long association with Lahore. Lahore was the capital of the Sikh Empire under the leadership of Ranjit Singh and is also his final resting place.
  • Before he took reigns of the Sikh empire, factionalism was rife in Lahore with different warring misls (groups) ruling different parts of the city.
  • He captured Lahore in the year 1799 and unified all the warring misls into one empire. He also protected Lahore from invading Afghans and was responsible for the restoration of Mughal architecture in the city. 
Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

WORLD DRUG REPORT 2019
The latest World Drug Report was released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26 June).

Key highlights of report:

  • In 2017, an estimated 271 million people, or 5,5 % of the global population aged 15-64, had used drugs in the previous year.

  • The most widely used drug globally continues to be cannabis, with an estimated 188 million people having used the drug in 2017.

  • Globally, some 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders.

  • Prevention and treatment continue to fall short with only one in seven people with drug use disorders receiving treatment each year.

  • Most of the world's opioids are produced in Afghanistan (263,000 hectares of poppy seed production) with Myanmar (37,300 hectares) coming in as the second largest producer.

Important Info :

Do You Know? 

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment conducted the National Survey on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use in 2018.
  • According to the survey, about 3.1 crore individuals use cannabis products and 2.26 crore people use opioids.
Source : UN
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

NEW NATIONAL RUBBER POLICY
The Minister of Commerce and Industry informed Lok Sabha about the New National Rubber Policy.

About:

  • The Department of Commerce brought out the National Rubber Policy in March 2019.

  • The National Rubber Policy includes several provisions to support the Natural Rubber (NR) production sector and the entire rubber industry value chain.

  • The Policy covers new planting and replanting of rubber, support for growers, processing and marketing of natural rubber, labour shortage, grower forums, external trade, Centre-State integrated strategies, research, training, rubber product manufacturing and export, climate change concerns and carbon market. 

Important Info :

Do you know?

  • Natural Rubber (NR) is a commercial plantation crop from the tree species, Hevea brasiliens is grown in tropical humid climatic conditions.
  • India is currently the sixth largest producer of NR and the 2nd largest consumer of NR globally. Around 40% of the total NR consumption in India is at present met from import of rubber.
  • Traditional rubber-growing states comprising Kerala and Tamil Nadu account for 81% of production.
  • The Rubber Act, 1947 provides for the development of the rubber industry under the control of the Union.
  • The Rubber Board, headquartered at Kottayam, Kerala, is under the administration of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

MOTION OF THANKS
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi replied to the motion of thanks on the President’s address, in Rajya Sabha. He thanked the members of the Upper House for participating and contributing towards the debate.

About: 

  • Under Article 87 of the constitution, President of India specially addresses both Houses of Parliament together at the beginning of the
    • first session of each year.

    • first Session after each general election when the reconstituted Lok Sabha meets for the first time.



  • The President’s speech essentially highlights the government’s policy priorities and plans for the upcoming year.

  • The discussion on the Address takes place a few days and is initiated by a Motion of Thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member. Members who have to move and second the Motion are from the ruling party.

  • The notice of such a Motion is received through the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

  • The Chairman allots time for the discussion of the Address under article 87(2) in consultation with the Leader of the House.

  • Although article 86(1) does not contain any provision for allotment of time for discussion of the matters referred to therein, nonetheless a rule has been made enabling the Chairman to allot time for the discussion of such Address also.

  • Notices of amendments to the Motion of Thanks can be given only after the President has delivered the Address.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

POLAVARAM
The Union Environment Ministry gave two years of extension to construction works related to Polavaram Multipurpose Project.

About:

  • Polavaram Project, is an under-construction multi-purpose irrigation project.

  • Features: The Project envisages construction of Earth-cum-Rock fill dam across river Godavari. The maximum height of the dam is 48 m.

  • Location: It is being constructed on the Godavari River in the West Godavari District and East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh. Its reservoir spreads into parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha States also.

  • Status: In the year 2014 the Government of India declared the Polavaram project a National project. The Polavaram Project Authority was constituted by the Union Cabinet in May 2014.

  • Significance for Andhra Pradesh: It will irrigate nearly 3 lakh ha of land, generate hydel power with installed capacity of 960 MW and provide drinking water facilities to 540 enroute villages covering 25 lakh populations.

Location in News

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

INDIAN FOOTWEAR, LEATHER & ACCESSORIES DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (IFLADP)
The Minister of Commerce and Industry informed Lok Sabha about the Indian Footwear, Leather & Accessories Development Programme(IFLADP).

About: 

  • Type: IFLADP is a Central Sector Scheme.

  • Implementation period: It has been approved for implementation by the Central Government with an approved expenditure of Rs. 2600 crore over the three financial years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

  • Sub-schemes under IFLADP are:
    • Human Resource Development (HRD) sub-scheme

    • Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS) sub-scheme

    • Establishment of Institutional Facilities sub-scheme

    • Mega Leather, Footwear and Accessories Cluster (MLFAC) sub-scheme

    • Leather Technology, Innovation and Environmental Issues sub-scheme

    • Promotion of Indian Brands in Leather, Footwear and Accessories Sector sub-scheme

    • Additional Employment Incentive for Leather, Footwear and Accessories Sector sub-scheme



Important Info :

Leather sector has been identified as one of the focus sectors under Make in India programme of the Government of India. 

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
June 27, 2019

CYBER COORDINATION CENTRE (CyCord)
Minister of State for Home Affairs informed the Rajya Sabha about the Cyber Coordination Centre (CyCord) portal.

About: 

  • Cyber Coordination Centre (CyCord) portal was launched by Prime Minister of India in December, 2018 at DGPs/IGPs Conference.

  • Primary objective of the Cyber Coordination Centre is to provide a platform   to the  Law  Enforcement  Agencies and other stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate their efforts to resolve cyber crime, and for other cyber related issues like sharing case studies/research findings, experience sharing, formulation of research problems, finding solutions to complex cyber issues, etc. 

Source : PIB
Defence & Security
Load More...