Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (10th to 16th May, 2019)

National Institute of Nutrition stands by its report on no onion, garlic in its meals

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (10th to 16th May, 2019)

(Info graphic Summary at the end)

 

Topic : India signs ‘Christchurch Call to Action

Topic in Syllabus: International Affairs

 

Why in news?

India signs ‘Christchurch Call to Action

India recently signed the ‘Christchurch Call to Action’.

 

More about on news:

  • India signed on to a new global anti-terror initiative that is spearheaded by France and Australia.
  • The agreement came in the backdrop of the attacks on mosques on March 15 and is aimed at stopping abuse of the Internet by extremists.
  • The meeting held in Paris was attended by representatives of online giants like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.
  • Along with India, 26 countries including the UK, New Zealand, France, Canada, Ireland, Senegal, Indonesia, Jordan, and the European Union, have signed the Christchurch Call for Action.

 

What is the Christchurch Call for Action?

  • The initiative “outlines collective, voluntary commitments from governments and online service providers intended to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online and to prevent abuse of the internet as occurred in and after the Christchurch attacks
  • The signatories promised to implement laws related to regulating terrorist content online and curbing the spread of extremism while maintaining international human rights laws.
  • The Christchurch Call for Action is a rare global pledge that involves both governments and the private sector.

 

The document “Christchurch Call to Action” states that the governments/signatories should commit to:

  • Counter the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of societies to enable them to resist terrorist and violent extremist ideologies, including through education, building media literacy to help counter distorted terrorist and violent extremist narratives, and the fight against inequality.
  • Ensure effective enforcement of applicable laws that prohibit the production or dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and international human rights law, including freedom of expression.
  • Encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online, to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content.
  • Support frameworks, such as industry standards, to ensure that reporting on terrorist attacks does not amplify terrorist and violent extremist content, without prejudice to responsible coverage of terrorism and violent extremism.
  • Consider appropriate action to prevent the use of online services to disseminate terrorist and violent extremist content, including through collaborative actions.

 

The document “Christchurch Call To Action” draws in the online service providers to commit to:

  • Take transparent, specific measures seeking to prevent the upload of terrorist and violent extremist content and to prevent its dissemination on social media and similar content-sharing services, including its immediate and permanent removal, without prejudice to law enforcement and user appeals requirements, in a manner consistent with human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • Provide greater transparency in the setting of community standards or terms of service.
  • Outlining and publishing the consequences of sharing terrorist and violent extremist content;
  • Describing policies and putting in place procedures for detecting and removing terrorist and violent extremist content.

 

Sample Question:

Recently major global initiative called “Christchurch call to action” in news, which is related to

a). Religion conversion

b). Money laundering

c). Global warming

d). extremism and terrorism

 

Answer: d)

 


 

Topic :  Govt to use mobile app for 7th Economic Census

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Why in news?

Govt to use mobile app for 7th Economic Census

The Statistics Ministry has decided to use mobile phone application for conducting 7th economic census beginning next month, which will speed up the process of data collection and analysis.

 

More about on news:

  • The census will provide insights of all economic activities and ownership patterns of businesses across the country.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) partnered with CSC e-Governance services India Ltd (CSC SPV) to conduct the census.
  • The participants were trained on the key concepts and definitions, processes, digital platform and application to be used for the enumeration (data capture and supervision) in the field.

 

7th Economic Census -2019:

  • 7th Economic Census -2019 is being conducted by MoSPI to provide disaggregated information on various operational and structural aspects of all establishments in the country.
  • A comprehensive training strategy has been evolved to impart training to trainers engaged in the 7th Economic Census.
  • MoSPI has partnered with Common Service Centres, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as the implementing agency for 7th EC.
  • An IT based digital platform for data capture, validation, report generation and dissemination will be used in this Economic Census.
  • The fieldwork for the 7th EC will commence in June 2019.
  • The results of the exercise will be made available after verification and validation of the fieldwork.
  • The 7th economic census will be done using a mobile application.
  • There will be two rounds of supervision to ensure quality of the census.

 

Significance:

  • The ministry is also introducing geo-tagging which will help to find out the distribution of economic activity in a certain place.
  • Conducting 7th economic census is very unique and will set a precedent for the entire country for carrying out a large-scale survey work like this.

 

Background:

  • Six Economic Censuses (EC) have been conducted till date.
  • The first Economic Census was undertaken in 1977.
  • The Second EC was carried out in 1980 followed by the Third EC in 1990.
  • The fourth edition took place in 1998 while the fifth EC was held in 2005.
  • The Sixth edition of Economic Census was conducted in 2013.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to 7th Economic Census -2019

  1. The fieldwork for the 7th EC will commence in June 2020.
  2. The 7th economic census will be done using a mobile application.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 and 2

 

Answer: b)

 


 

Topic :  India to co-chair Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Why in news?

India to co-chair Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)

India is unanimously chosen as co-chair of the Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for the fiscal year 2020.

 

More about on news:

  • The decision was taken during the CG meeting of GFDRR held in Geneva, Switzerland
  • The CG Meeting was co-chaired by Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the European Union (EU) and World Bank.
  • Additionally, GFDRR in cooperation with the UNDRR and the EU is also organizing the 4th edition of World Reconstruction Conference (WRC) on May 13-14, 2019.

 

Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR):

  • The GFDRR is a global partnership that facilitates the developing countries to better understand the natural hazards and climate change and reduce their vulnerability towards them.
  • The Facility works on a grant-funding mechanism that supports disaster risk management projects across the globe.
  • The funding is managed by the World Bank.
  • It provides technical assistance, helps in capacity building and enables analytical work to help vulnerable nations improve resilience and reduce disaster risk.
  • The Facility is currently working with over 400 local, national, regional, and international partners.
  • GFDRR also works to implement the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction” by helping countries to integrate disaster risk management and climate change adaptation together towards development strategies and investment programs.

 

Significance for India:

  • India became member of CG of GFDRR in 2015 and expressed its interest to co-chair in last meeting of CG held in October 2018.
  • India’s candidature was backed by its consistent progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the country and its initiative to form a coalition on disaster resilient infrastructure.
  • This will give the country an opportunity to work with the member countries and organizations of GFDRR with a focused contribution towards advancing the disaster risk reduction agenda during the course of the year.
  • This is the first time that the country has been afforded the opportunity of co-chairing the CG meeting of GFDRR.
  • India would like to pursue a focused agenda and develop synergies with ongoing work streams of GFDRR.
  • Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (DRI) will be a central theme of engagement with the GFDRR partners and stakeholders.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).

  1. GFDRR is a global partnership that helps developing countries better understand and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.
  2. It is a grant-funding mechanism, managed by the WTO.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: a)

 


 

Topic :  India finds OECD index for services trade faulty

Topic in Syllabus: World Economy

 

Why in news?

India finds OECD index for services trade faulty

India has found problems with the current method under which the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranks countries based on their services trade policies, indicating the outcomes are biased and counter-intuitive.

 

More about on news:

  • India exported services worth USD 188 billion and its services imports amounted to USD 153 billion in 2017.
  • The largest services exports categories were other business and computer services and the largest import categories were transport and other commercial services.
  • India’s score on the STRI index in the 22 sectors is presented below along with the average and the lowest score among the 45 countries included in the STRI database for each sector.
  • In 2015 India lifted foreign equity limits from 26% to 49% in the insurance sector and foreign branches were permitted in reinsurance.
  • India has a STRI score above average in all sectors. Services trade through FDI is governed by the “Consolidated FDI Policy”.

 

Services Trade Restrictiveness Index:

  • Launched in 2014, the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI), computed by the OECD, is now available for 2018 for a total of 45 economies (36 OECD and the rest non-OECD) and 22 sectors.
  • The STRI helps to identify which policy measures restrict trade.
  • It provides policy makers and negotiators with information and measurement tools to improve domestic policy environment, negotiate international agreements and open up international trade in services.
  • It can also help governments identify best practice and then focus their domestic reform efforts on priority sectors and measures.
  • The STRI database is based on regulations currently in force. STRI indices take the value from 0 to 1, where 0 is completely open and 1 is completely closed.
  • The STRI Simulator enables policy makers and experts to explore the impact of a change at a detailed level for each measure, and to compare a specific country with a range of other selected countries in a particular sector.

 

The OECD STRI project includes:

  • An annual monitoring of the regulatory environment for services trade
  • An easily accessible STRI database of laws and regulations in force, which is updated, verified and peer-reviewed by regulators and trade officials on an annual basis.
  • Composite STRI indices for each country and sector in the STRI that quantify restrictions on foreign entry and the movement of people, barriers to competition, regulatory transparency and other discriminatory measures that impact the ease of doing business (see country and sector notes below).
  • Indices of regulatory heterogeneity that measures regulatory differences by country pair, sector and year.
  • Empirical analysis assessing the impact of services trade policies on economic performance and trade costs.

 

Sample Question:

Services Trade Restrictiveness Index released by

a). UNO

b). World economic forum

c). WTO

d). OECD

 

Answer: d)

 


 

Topic :  National Institute of Nutrition stands by its report on no onion, garlic in its meals

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Why in news?

National Institute of Nutrition stands by its report on no onion, garlic in its meals

The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) said that it stands by its findings certifying mid-day meals without onion and garlic provided by the AkshayaPatra Foundation (APF) in Karnataka schools as compliant with nutritional norms laid down by the State government.

 

More about on news:

  • In January, 2019, the Karnataka government had asked NIN to assess APF meals for nutritional compliance, food safety, taste and diversity of meals.
  • the Karnataka State Food Commission as well as activists that absence of onion and garlic from meals made the food unpalatable and resulted in children consuming less quantity of food.
  • APF provides food under the government’s mid-day meals programme at 2,814 schools in the State.
  • NIN’s response added that its report was based on computing macronutrients and micronutrients from menus suggested by the Karnataka government and those provided by APF.

 

National Institute of Nutrition (NIN):

  • National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) was founded by Sir Robert McCarrison in the year 1918 as ‘Beri-Beri’ Enquiry Unit in a single room laboratory at the Pasteur Institute, Coonoor, and Tamil Nadu.
  • NIN has attained global recognition for its pioneering studies on various aspects of nutrition research, with special reference to protein energy malnutrition (PEM).
  • Institute’s activities are broad-based, encompassing the whole area of food and nutrition.
  • The Institute has achieved close integration in its research activities between the laboratory, the clinic and the community.

 

Mandate of NIN:

  • Periodic Assessment of Nutrient intakes, Health and Nutrition status of the population for optimal health, and assist the Government and regulatory bodies in policy making
  • Establishment of Dietary Reference Intake values, Recommended Dietary allowances, Dietary guidelines for Indian population; and assessment of Nutrient Composition of Foods
  • Identify various nutrition deficiency disorders prevalent among different segments of the population
  • Conduct operational research for planning and implementation of National Nutrition Programmes in the country
  • Conduct surveys and study the risk factors of NCDs through multidisciplinary research
  • Conduct innovative basic science Research on nutrient interactions, requirements, responses etc
  • Identify and study food and environmental safety challenges for providing scientific input for policy and regulation
  • Development of human resource in nutrition and also provide evidence-based nutrition knowledge to the community.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)

  1. It is an Indian Public health, Nutrition and Translational research center located in Hyderabad.
  2. It Conduct innovative basic science Research on nutrient interactions, requirements, responses etc.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic :  MANAV- A citizen science based human atlas project

Topic in Syllabus: Science & Technology

 

Why in news?

MANAV- A citizen science based human atlas project

MANAV, A human atlas project was launched on 10 May 2019 by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) at the DBT office in New Delhi.

 

MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative

  • It is a project funded by DBT, which aims at creating a database network of all tissues in the human body from the available scientific literature.
  • The student community, who will be the backbone on assimilating the information, will be trained and imparted with skills to perform annotation and curation of information that will ultimately form the online network.
  • DBT has invested Rs 13 crore shared between two institutions in Pune – National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) and Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune. Besides, Persistent Systems Limited has co-founded the project and is developing the platform, and has contributed Rs 7 crore.
  • It is a project that involves scientific skill development for annotation, science outreach along with handling big data.
  • The programme will involve gaining better biological insights through physiological and molecular mapping, develop disease models through predictive computing and have a wholistic analysis and finally drug discovery.

 

Who can participate in this project?

  • The project can be signed up by students who are in their final year graduation and above.
  • Students from the fields of biochemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, botany, zoology, bioinformatics, health sciences, systems biologists, pharmacologists and data sciences can associate with this project.
  • Even participants having a science background but not necessarily involved in active scientific research can be part of this network.
  • The MANAV team has encouraged colleges and universities to register as teams and work in this project.
  • Initially, DBT will accommodate colleges that operate the DBT Star College scheme to register for this Human Atlas programme.
  • There is no restriction on the time period set for student participation.

 

Objectives:

  • Physiological and molecular mapping for better biological insight,
  • Develop disease models through predictive computing,
  • Major Objective of the initiative is to find out and capture human physiology in two stages – normal stage and disease stage,
  • At final stage, overall analysis and medicine discovery.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the followings are correct with respect to MANAV

  1. It is a project that involves scientific skill development for annotation, science outreach along with handling big data.
  2. It is a project funded by NITI Aayog.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: a)

 


 

Topic : DRDO Successfully Conducts Flight Test of High-Speed Expendable Aerial Target ‘Abhyas’

Topic in Syllabus: Security Issues

 

Why in news?

DRDO Successfully Conducts Flight Test of High-Speed Expendable Aerial Target 'Abhyas'

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday conducted successfully flight test of ‘Abhyas’, a high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT), which offers a realistic threat scenario for practice of weapon systems.

 

More about on news:

  • India’s state-run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has conducted tests of the “Abhyas” High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) drone from Interim Test Range (ITR) in Odisha state,
  • The flight test was conducted at the Interim Test Range, Chandipur, in Odisha.
  • It was tracked by various radars and electro-optic systems and proved its performance in fully autonomous waypoint navigation mode.

 

More about on Abhyas:

  • Abhyas is drone involving designed for autonomous flight with the help of an autopilot.
  • The configuration of Abhyas is designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine and uses indigenously developed MEMS based navigation system for its navigation and guidance.
  • The performance of the system was as per simulations carried out and demonstrated the capability of the drone to meet the mission requirement for a cost effective HEAT.
  • The Abhyas is launched from a mobile launcher with the help of two 68 mm booster rockets (being manufactured at ordinance factories). At the end of its launch phase the burnout booster rockets are jettisoned. Thereafter, the main gas-turbine engine powers the vehicle during cruise phase.
  • Abhyas’s radar cross-section (RCS) as well as its visual and infrared signatures can be augmented to simulate a variety of aircraft for air-defense weapon practices. It can also function as a jammer platform and decoy.
  • The HEAT system is utilized to do away with the post-launch recovery mode, which is time-consuming and difficult in a scenario as the sea.

 

Background:

  • The concept of Abhyas was proved and pre-project details were completed on January 2013.
  • The first experimental launch (minus the engine) was conducted in 2012.
  • The design of the fuselage is based is based on Lakshya, a high speed target drone system developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO.

 

High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT):

  • HEAT offers a realistic threat scenario for practice of weapon systems. It is designed for autonomous flying with the help of an autopilot.
  • It is designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine and uses indigenously developed MEMS based navigation system for its navigation and guidance.
  • The performance of the system was as per simulations carried out and demonstrated the capability of ABHYAS to meet the mission requirement for a cost effective HEAT.
  • The flight test was tracked by various RADARS & Electro Optic Systems and proved its performance in fully autonomous way point navigation mode.

 

Sample Question:

Recently DRDO successfully conducts Flight Test of ABHYAS, with respect to this consider the following statements

  1. It is designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine.
  2. It has a Luneburg lens in the nose cone which improves the radar cross-section of target for weapons practice.
  3. It has an Acoustic Miss Distance Indicator to indicate the distance it missed.

 

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 and 3 only

b). 1 and 2 only

c). 1 only

d). All of the above

 

Answer: d)

 


Info graphic Summary


 

10th to 16th may 2019 Info graph