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Prelims bits

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Prelims bits

Prelims bits

Polity  &  Governance : 

Meghalaya to have State Water Policy:

  • The Meghalaya Cabinet has approved a draft water policy to address water usages, issues of conservation and protection of water sources in the State.
  • With this, Meghalaya will become the 1st state in India to ensure conservation of water and have its own State Water Policy.
  • The policy’s objective is to recognise water resources as a common pool resource, to provide hygienic water for drinking, domestic needs, sanitation and livelihood development.

Reservation of Limboo and Tamang Communities:

Context:

  • A proposal for reservation of seats for Limboo and Tamang communities in Sikkim Legislative Assembly is under consideration of the Government of India.
  • Article 371F(f) and Article 332 of the Constitution of India govern reservation of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim and the issue of seat reservation for Limboo and Tamang communities is being considered under these provisions of Constitution of India.

Economy :

Silk Samagra

Context:

  • Tamil Nadu, which has been ranked among the leading silk producing States in the country, will receive about Rs 6.22 crore under the Silk Samagra — an Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry (ISDSI).

About Silk Samagra:

  • It is initiated by the Central Silk Board.
  • The scheme comprises four major components viz. (i) Research & Development, Training, Transfer of Technology and Information Technology Initiatives, (ii) Seed Organizations, (iii) Coordination and Market Development and (iv) Quality Certification Systems (QCS) / Export Brand Promotion and Technology Up-gradation.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to maintain Breeders stock, Breed improvement through R&D Projects, Development of mechanized practices, Technology translation through Sericulture Information Linkages and Knowledge System (SILKS) Portal, Mobile Application for Stakeholders and for seed quality monitoring etc.

New Code on Wages

Context:

  • The Code on Wages Bill, 2019 Introduced in Lok Sabha.
  • The bill will amalgamate the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

 Key highlights:

  • Coverage: The Code will apply to all employees. The central government will make wage-related decisions for employments such as railways, mines, and oil fields, among others. State governments will make decisions for all other employments.
  • Wages include salary, allowance, or any other component expressed in monetary terms. This does not include bonus payable to employees or any travelling allowance, among others.

Floor wage:

  • According to the Code, the central government will fix a floor wage, taking into account living standards of workers. Further, it may set different floor wages for different geographical areas.  Before fixing the floor wage, the central government may obtain the advice of the Central Advisory Board and may consult with state governments.
  • The minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage. In case the existing minimum wages fixed by the central or state governments are higher than the floor wage, they cannot reduce the minimum wages.

North East Venture Fund (NEVF)

About North East Venture Fund (NEVF):

  • Set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi) in association with Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (M-DoNER).
  • It is the first dedicated venture capital fund for the North Eastern Region.
  • Objective: to contribute to the entrepreneurship development of the NER and achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns through long term capital appreciation by way of investments in privately negotiated equity/ equity related investments.
  • The investment under this schemer ranges from Rs. 25 lakh to Rs.10 crore per venture, which is long term in nature with investment horizon of 4-5 years.

Aadhaar Seva Kendra’ (ASKs):

Context:

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has operationalized 1st ‘Aadhaar Seva Kendra’ (ASKs) in Delhi and Vijayawada.
  • ASKs seek to provide more touch points to public for availing Aadhaar enrolment and updation services.

About UIDAI:

  • Established as an attached office of the erstwhile Planning Commission, UIDAI is now a statutory authority under the provisions of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 under the aegis of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

What are Core Investment Companies (CICs)?

Context:

  • The Reserve Bank has constituted a working group that will review the regulatory and supervisory framework for core investment companies.
  • The six-member working group is to be headed by Tapan Ray, non-executive chairman, Central Bank of India and former secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • The terms of reference of the working group include examination of the current regulatory framework for CICs in terms of adequacy, efficacy and effectiveness of every component thereof and suggest changes therein.

What are Core Investment Companies (CICs)?

  • CICs are non-banking financial companies with asset size of ₹100 crore and above which carry on the business of acquisition of shares and securities, subject to certain conditions.
  • CICs, which are allowed to accept public funds, hold not less than 90% of their net assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures, debt or loans in group companies.

Society & Human Development :

STRIDE scheme

Context:

  • UGC announces new Initiative – Scheme for Trans-disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy (STRIDE) to boost research culture in India.

Key features:

  • STRIDE will provide support to research projects that are socially relevant, locally need-based, nationally important and globally significant.
  • STRIDE shall support research capacity building as well as basic, applied and transformational action research that can contribute to national prioritiers with focus on inclusive human development.
  • STRIDE shall support creation, development and integration of new ideas, concepts and practices for public good and strengthening civil society.

Shodhganga:

  • It is a digital repository for research scholars across Universities and Institutes to deposit, re-use & share their Theses & Dissertations in digital formats including scanned documents.
  • It is in open access to the world-wide academic community.

Maratha Reservation issue

Context:

  • The Bombay High Court has upheld the constitutional validity of reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs in Maharashtra, but directed that it be slashed from the present 16 per cent to 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

Background:

  • The Marathas who are almost one-third of Maharashtra’s population are not a homogeneous community. Historically, they evolved from the farming caste of Kunbis who took to military service in medieval times and started assuming a separate identity for themselves. Even then they claimed hierarchy of 96 clans.
  • But the real differentiation has come through the post-independence development process, creating classes within the caste:
  • A tiny but powerful section of elites that came to have control over cooperatives of sugar, banks, educational institutions, factories and politics, called gadhivarcha (topmost strata) Maratha.
  • The next section comprising owners of land, distribution agencies, transporters, contracting firms, and those controlling secondary cooperative societies, is the wadyavarcha (well-off strata) Maratha.
  • The rest of the population of Marathas comprising small farmers is the wadivarcha (lower strata) Maratha.

Kaushal Yuva Samwaad:

  • Commemorating World Youth Skills Day on July 15, 2019 and celebrating 4th Anniversary of the Skill India Mission, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has announced launch of “Kaushal Yuva Samwaad” (A Youth Dialogue).
  • Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is aimed at creating an open dialogue with the youth across all skill training centres to hear their views, ideas, opportunities and recommendations which could help the Ministry in scaling the existing programs and improve overall efficiency of its projects.

Operation Milap:

  • The operation Milap under which children are rescued was launched in December 2014.
  • Under this project, the Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Delhi Police develops information, rescues the trafficked or kidnapped person and arrests the kidnappers.
  • The rescued children are counselled and also given requisite medical attention.

Jan Jagrukta Abhiyaan:

  • It is a campaign to be launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Delhi to sensitize and mobilise the community on measures for prevention and control of Vector Borne Diseases (VBDs) like Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya.

IR , Defence & Security :

Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)

Context:

  • Army’s first Integrated Battle Groups to be structured by end of next month.

 What are IBGs?

  • IBGs are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of hostilities.
  • Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts.
  • They need to be light so they will be low on logistics and they will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.
  • An IBG operating in a desert needs to be constituted differently from an IBG operating in the mountains.

Securitypedia:

  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched Securitypedia, an online encyclopaedia as a one stop repository of information on security related practices across the globe.
  • It contains extensive information on technical learning, CISF manuals, case studies, technical compendium, etc.

Kargil Vijay Diwas:

Context:

  • Indian Army declared the Kargil mission successful on July 26, 1999; since then the day has been celebrated annually as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
  • India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of the Line of Control.

UKIERI Mobility Programme

Context:

  • India and UK have joined hands together for UKIERI Mobility Programme: Study in India which will allow UK students to visit India for higher studies.

About the UK India Education & Research Initiative (UKIERI) Mobility Programme: Study in India:

  • It will be a bilateral pilot programme which will support UK universities to collaborate with Indian partners to send UK students to India as part of their studies.
  • It provides flexible grants to UK higher education institutions (HEIs) and their Indian partner institutions to design and deliver academically rigorous short-term mobility opportunities in India for undergraduate students from UK HEIs.

NAM

Context:

  • Ministerial meeting of Coordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was held recently in Caracas, capital of Venezuela.
  • Theme for 2019– Promotion and Consolidation of Peace through Respect for International Law.
  • Issues raised by India at NAM Meet included- Climate change, Digital Technologies and Terrorism.

Suggestions by India:

  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) needs to be re-examined and revise its methodology.
  • The grouping needs to undertake a new journey.

About NAM:

  • Founded in 1961 in Belgrade.
  • It was created by the heads of Yugoslavia, India, Egypt, Ghana and Indonesia.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War as an organization of States that did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union, but sought to remain independent or neutral.
  • The movement represented the interests and priorities of developing countries. The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955

Strum Ataka:

  • India has signed a deal with Russia for acquiring Strum Ataka anti-tank missile for its fleet of Mi-35 attack choppers of Indian Air Force (IAF).

Garuda VI:

What is it?

  • It is a bilateral air exercise between Indian Air Force and French air force. The latest edition is being held in France.
  • It is aimed at enhancing interoperability level of French and Indian crews in air defence and ground attack missions.

Manghdechhu hydropower project:

  • The Mangdechhu hydroelectric project is a 720MW run-of-river power plant built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag District of central Bhutan.
  • Mangdechhu is one of the ten hydroelectric projects planned under the Royal Government of Bhutan’s initiative to generate 10,000MW hydropower by 2020 with support from the Indian Government.

World Food Programme

Context:

  • Coffee Table Book commemorating 50 years of partnership with UNWFP towards food and nutrition security in India has been launched.
  • The book showcases key milestones achieved by the Government of India in its efforts to make the nation free from hunger and malnutrition and WFP’s role in this endeavour.

About WFP:

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
  • The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.

Port integrity campaign

Context:

  • Maritime Anti-Corruption Network starts port integrity campaign in India.

 What is it?

  • The campaign, which aims to reduce and (in the long term) eliminate integrity issues and bottlenecks to trade during operations in Indian ports, is a collective action of MACN, the Government of India, international organizations, and local industry stakeholders.
  • The main activities of the campaign include implementation of integrity training for port officials and the establishment of clear escalation and reporting processes.

About MACN:

  • Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) is a global business network of over 110 companies working to tackle corruption in the maritime industry.
  • Established in 2011 by a small group of committed maritime companies.

Operation Thirst:

What is it?

  • It is an all- India drive launched by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to curb menace of selling unauthorised packaged drinking water in railway stations.

Red Corner notices:

Context:

  • Based on Red Corner notices, 27 accused persons extradited to India till 1st April 2019.

What is it?

  • Red Notice is issued by Interpol and is meant to facilitate quick location and arrest of a person abroad and providing the information to the national agency / authority on whose request the Notice was issued. The Red Notice is not a pre-requisite for and may not necessarily lead to the extradition of a fugitive offender for which there is a separate legal process to be followed.

Nag- Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM):

Context:

  • Indian Army has successfully conducted summer user trials of NAG, 3rd Generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM).

 Key facts:

  • The NAG missile is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile, which has top attack capabilities that can effectively engage and destroy all known enemy tanks during day and night.
  • It uses an imaging infrared seeker in lock-on-before-launch mode.
  • It is launched from NAG missile carrier (NAMICA) which is capable of carrying up to 6 combat missiles.
  • Range: Minimum-500 metres and Maximum- 4 kilometres.
  • Developed by DRDO.

Geography, Environment & Biodiversity:

International Tiger Day: 29 July

Context:

  • Global Tiger Day, often called International Tiger Day, is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation, held annually on 29 July.
  • It was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit.
  • The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.

Dracaena cambodiana:

Context:

  • A group of researchers has discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in the Dongka Sarpo area of West Karbi Anglong, Assam.
  • This is for the first time that a dragon tree species has been reported from India.
  • The Dracaena seeds are usually dispersed by birds. But due to the large fruit size, only a few species of birds are able to swallow the fruits, thus limiting the scope of its natural conservation.

Chrysomallon squamiferum:

What is it?

  • It is a scaly- foot snail found at only three spots in the Indian Ocean.

Why in News?

  • It has become the first species to be officially declared threatened due to deep-sea mining.

Key facts:

  • Chrysomallon squamiferum is found at three hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.
  • It was added by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to its updated Red List of Endangered Species on July 18, 2019.

Gharial

Context:

  • Odisha renews effort to revive gharial population.

Key facts:

  • Critically Endangered— IUCN Red List.
  • The male gharial has a distinctive boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot.
  • Habitat— foremost flowing rivers with high sand banks that they use for basking and building nests.
  • Gharials once inhabited all the major river systems of the Indian Subcontinent, from the Irrawaddy River in the east to the Indus River in the west. Their distribution is now limited to only 2% of their former range

Coral Rehab Programme

Why in News?

  • The National Centre for Coastal Research’s (NCCR) proposal of dropping ‘melted plastic rocks or slabs’ on the seabed for growing coral reefs and address the problem of disposal of plastic waste has drawn criticism from the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) Marine National Park, which has been implementing coral rehabilitation programme since 2002.

About the Coral Rehabilitation Programme:

  • The GoM Marine National Park has been implementing the corral rehabilitation programme since 2002.
  • It has so far covered eight sq km areas in GoM region, where coral reefs suffered bleaching and degradation due to climate change and high temperature.
  • The program employs ‘concrete frame slabs’ method.
  • Corals would start growing in 60 days using the concrete frames as sub-state. The acropora coral species grow by 10 to 12 cm per year on these slabs.

Science & Technology :

Hyperbola-1:

Context:

  • iSpace, a Chinese startup, has launched first commercial rocket of China- Hyperbola-1– into the Earth’s orbit.
  • Hyperbola-1 is carrying the CAS-7B CubeSat (microsatellite). It is an amateur radio mission which is developed by the Beijing Institute of Technology.
  • Hyperbola-1 is also carrying a satellite for Aerospace Science and Technology Space Engineering Development Co. Ltd.

About Hyperbola-1:

  • It is around 68,000 pounds (31 metric tons) with three lower stages burning pre-packed solid propellants, and a liquid-fueled upper stage for a final orbital injection maneuver.
  • This rocket is able to deliver up to 573 pounds (260 kilograms) of payload mass to a 310-mile-high (500-kilometer) sun-synchronous polar orbit.

CARE4U app:

Context:

  • IIT Kharagpur team develops app CARE4U for elderly people.

Key features of the app:

  • The android-based app will connect the caregiver to the elderly person.
  • The app has a record of medical histories, allergies’ account, an SOS button, real time location tracking and so on.
  • The network-based fall detection algorithm in the app installed on the phone of the elderly can detect whether the elderly has fallen down.
  • If there is a fall, it automatically calls the caregiver and emergency services along with the exact location of the elderly person.
  • CARE4U can also detect emotions and whenever the elderly opens the app, the phone takes his picture and a mood index is calculated. This detects whether the person is sad or not and automatically updates the caregiver with the time stamp.

Kala Azar

Context:

  • Study warns Kala azar patients can infect others even after treatment. Research showed that patients with the condition can be a source of infection for others in their community.

 Background:

  • Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).
  • This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world. Elimination is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the sub-district level.

Kala-azar:

  • What is it? Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar, black fever, and Dumdum fever, is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality.
  • Spread: Caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus, migrates to the internal organs such as the liver, spleen (hence “visceral”), and bone marrow.

PUNCH mission

Context:

  • NASA has selected an US based Indian researcher to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun.

About PUNCH (Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere):

  • It is focused on understanding the transition of particles from the Sun’s outer corona to the solar wind that fills interplanetary space.
  • It will consist of a constellation of four microsatellites that through continuous 3D deep-field imaging, will observe the corona and heliosphere as elements of a single, connected system.
  • The mission is expected to be launched in 2022

MISC:

JATAN

  • Human Centres Design and Computing Group has developed JATAN: Virtual Museum software which is used for creating the digital collections in various museums and digital archival tools that are used in background for managing the National Portal and Digital Repository for Indian Museums.

Jagannath Rath Yatra:

  • Popularly known as the ‘Festival of Chariots’, Rath Yatra festival in honour of Puri’s Lord Jagannath is grand celebration.
  • The festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, his sister Goddess Subhadra and elder brother Balabhadra.
  • All the three deities of the temple – Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra – travel in three different chariots during this festival. The chariots are called Nandighosha, Taladhwaja, and Devadalana respectively.

Kerala Champions Boat League:

  • The Champions Boat League (CBL) has been conceived by tourism officials in Kerala on the model of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to transform the state’s legendary and historically-significant ‘vallamkali’ (snake boat races) into a world-class sporting event.
  • The snake boat, or ‘chundam vallam’ is essentially a long canoe that can seat up to 100 rowers and can have a length between 100 and 138 feet in length. While the front portion of the boat tapers with a pointy end, the rear end can rise up to a height of 20 feet — the entire wooden structure resembling a snake with its raised hood, hence the name.

Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Awards:

  • SRISTI (Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions) celebrates the creativity and innovation of young technological students by recognising their outstanding projects with Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Awards.
  • These Awards celebrate the spirit of student innovation in all the fields of engineering, science, technology and design through extremely affordable/frugal solution or the ones pushing the technological edge.

National Translation Mission (NTM):

  • It is a scheme launched in 2008 which is being implemented through the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore.
  • Objective: to establish translation as an industry in general and to facilitate higher education by making knowledge texts accessible to students and academics in Indian languages.
  • Under the scheme, the books of knowledge texts mostly text books of various subjects prescribed in Universities and Colleges are being translated in all Languages of the 8thSchedule of the Constitution of India.

Group ‘A’ Status to Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) Service:

Context:

  • Cabinet approves Grant of Organized Group ‘A’ Status to Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) Service and and consequential benefits of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU).

Impact:

  • This will end stagnation, improve career progression of the officers and keep up their motivational level. Eligible officers of RPF will get benefitted.

Kharchi Puja

  • The annual “Kharchi Puja” and festival is meant to cleanse the sins of mortal souls.
  • Originally a Hindu tribals’ festivity, it is now observed by all communities and religions.
  • The festival features 14 deities – Shiva, Durga, Vishnu, Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartik, Ganesha, Brahma, Abadhi (God of water), Chandra, Ganga, Agni, Kamdev and Himadri (Himalaya).
  • This year the Kharchi Puja mela will be celebrated with the theme of ‘Nesha Mukta Tripura and Save Water’.