Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (13th to 20th November, 2018)

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (13th to 20th November, 2018)

 

Topic: Literacy levels in rural India suffer due to migration, finds UNESCO study

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Why in news?

UNESCO report says that 80% of seasonal migrant children in 7 cities lacked access to education, and 40% were likely to end up in work. Literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration, the UNESCO global education monitoring report 2019 has observed, bringing out the educational challenges thrown up by migration.

 

More about news:

  • According to report, In India, 10.7 million children aged 6 to 14 lived in rural households with a seasonal migrant in 2013. About 28% of youth aged 15 to 19 in these households were illiterate or had not completed primary school, compared to 18% of the cohort overall,
  • About 80% of seasonal migrant children in seven cities lacked access to education near work sites, and 40% are likely to end up in work rather than education, experiencing abuse and exploitation.
  • The report says that the construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants.
  • A survey in Punjab state of 3,000 brick kiln workers in 2015-16 found that 60% were inter-State migrants.
  • Between 65% and 80% of all children aged five to 14 living at the kilns worked there seven to nine hours per day.
  • About 77% of kiln workers reported lack of access to early childhood or primary education for their children.
  • Inter-State migration rates have doubled between 2001 and 2011. “An estimated 9 million migrated between States annually from 2011 to 2016.
  • It also warns of the negative impact on education for children who are left behind as their parents migrate: “Test scores were lower among left-behind children aged 5-8.”

 

Literacy rate in rural India:

  • Literacy rate in rural areas was pegged at 71 per cent, compared to 86 per cent in urban areas, while among the age group of seven years and above, male literacy rate was found higher than the female literacy rate, according to NSSO survey.
  • Among the age group of seven year and above, the male literacy rate was registered at 83 per cent vis-a-vis the female literacy rate of 67 per cent
  • in rural areas, nearly 4.5 per cent of males and 2.2 per cent of females completed education level of graduation and above, while in urban areas 17 per cent of males and 13 per cent of females completed this level of education
  • Adult literacy (age 15 years and above) rate in India was around 71 per cent. For adults also, literacy rate in rural areas was lower than that in urban areas. In rural areas, adult literacy rate was 64 per cent compared to 84 per cent in urban areas.

 

India has taken steps to address the issue:

  • The Right to Education Act in 2009 made it mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children. National-level guidelines were issued, allowing for flexible admission of children, providing transport and volunteers to support with mobile education, create seasonal hostels and aiming to improve coordination between sending and receiving districts and states.
  • Some State governments have also taken steps for migrant children’s education. It, however, observes that most interventions are focused on keeping children in home communities instead of actively addressing the challenges faced by those who are already on the move.
  • A pilot programme used on brick kiln sites from 2010-2011 in Rajasthan to track the progress of out-of-school children did not improve learning in any substantial way. Teachers on the sites cited culture, language, lifestyle, cleanliness and clothing as major barriers between them and the kiln labour community. Teacher and student absenteeism were rampant.
  • The report sees the growth of slums and informal settlements — where schools are often scarce — due to migration as a challenge. “18% of the students displaced by a riverfront project in Ahmedabad dropped out and an additional 11% had lower attendance.
  • The report shows there is only one urban planner for every 1, 00,000 people in India, while there are 38 for every 1, 00,000 in the United Kingdom.

 

Sample Question:

Recently UNESCO published global education monitoring report, with respect to that consider the following statements

  1. According to report, In India, 10.7 million children aged 6 to 14 lived in rural households with a seasonal migrant in 2013.
  2. UNESCO report says that 80% of seasonal migrant children in 7 cities lacked access to education, and 40% were likely to end up in work.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c) both 1 and 2

 


Topic:The world just redefined the kilogram

Topic in Syllabus: Science and Technology

 

Why in news?

The 26th meeting of the General Conference on Weights and Measures

(CGPM) was held Palais des Congrés, Versailles, France.

 

More about news:

  • Recently Scientists have changed the way the kilogram is defined. Researchers meeting in Versailles voted to get rid of it in favour of defining a kilogram in terms of an electric current.
  • The world’s standard definition of the kilogram (kg), the Ampere (A), the Kelvin (K), and the mole has been changed, after representatives from 60 countries voted to redefine the International System of Units (SI) for weight, current, temperature and amount of chemical substance.
  • The decision, made at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles, France, which is organized by BIPM, means that all SI units will now be defined in terms of constants that describe the natural world.
  • This will assure the future stability of the SI and open the opportunity for the use of new technologies, including quantum technologies, to implement the definitions.
  • The kilogram, the SI unit for mass, is one of four fundamental units that are being redefined, the others being the ampere (current), the Kelvin (temperature) and the mole (amount of substance).

 

New definitions:

  • The kilogram’s definition is set to change and the new definition of the kilogram uses a measurement from another fixed value from nature, Planck’s constant (h).
  • It will be replaced by the Planck constant – the fundamental constant of quantum physics.
  • While the stability of the IPK could only be confirmed by comparisons with identical copies, a difficult and potentially inaccurate process, the Planck constant is ready for use everywhere and always.
  • The kilogram’s definition will now be based on a concept of physics called the Planck constant. The changes come into effect on May 20, 2019.

 

Advantages of new definitions:

  • The new system, now that it’s been adopted, will allow anyone with a Kibble balance to check their weights anytime and anywhere.
  • The new definition of the second helped ease communication across the world via technologies like GPS and the Internet.
  • The change in the kilogram will be better for technology, retail and health.
  • For most people, everyday life will carry on as normal despite the redefinitions.
  • The new measure for kilogram will provide utmost accuracy in work.

 

General Conference on Weights and Measures:

  • The General Conference on Weights and Measures is the supreme authority of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures the inter-governmental organization established in 1875 under the terms of the Metre Convention.
  • The CGPM is made up of delegates of the governments of the Member States and observers from the Associates of the CGPM.
  • Under its authority, the International Committee for Weights and Measures executes an exclusive direction and supervision of the BIPM.
  • It discusses and examines the arrangements required to ensure the propagation and improvement of the International System of Units (SI).

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to recent definition of Kilogram

  1. The researchers meeting in Versailles voted to get rid of it in favour of defining a kilogram in terms of an electric current.
  2. The change in the kilogram will be better for technology, retail and health.
  3. The General Conference on Weights and Measures is the supreme authority of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures the inter-governmental organization.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a). 1 and 3 only

b). 2 and 3 only

c). 1 and 2 only

d). All of the above

Answer: d) all of the above

 


Topic: Isro’s GSLV-MkIII-D2 rocket places GSAT-29 in Orbit

Topic in Syllabus: Science and Technology

 

Why in news?

ISRO’s heavy-lift rocket GSLV-MkIII-D2 on Wednesday successfully injected into orbit the country’s latest communication satellite GSAT-29, intended to meet the communication needs of people in remote areas in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir.

 

More about on news:

  • The 3,423 kg GSAT-29 carries Ka and Ku band high throughput transponders, which will provide communication services to remote places in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir, besides aiding the Centre’s Digital India programm
  • ISRO scientists had termed the launch crucial for the space agency as the rocket would be used for the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 and the country’s manned space missions.
  • Cyclone Gaja had clouded the launch plans but with it changing course and conducive weather conditions prevailing, the rocket blasted off on schedule.
  • The launch vehicle is the 67th launch mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota and the 33 communication satellite built by ISRO.
  • The satellite was placed in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit 17 minutes after launch.

 

Significance:

  • The satellite would be placed in its final Geostationary Orbit using the on-board propulsion system and it may take a few days after separation from the launcher to reach the orbital slot.
  • The success of GSLV MkIII-D2 marks an important milestone in Indian space programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites.
  • The success of this flight also signifies the completion of the experimental phase of GSLV Mark III.
  • With declaring GSLV MKIII operational, Chandrayaan-2 and Gaganyaan missions will be launched by this heavy-lifter.

 

GSLV Mk III:

  • GSLV Mk III is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO.
  • The vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage.
  • GSLV Mk III is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is about twice the capability of GSLV Mk II.
  • The two strap-on motors of GSLV Mk III are located on either side of its core liquid booster.
  • The first developmental flight of GSLV Mk III, the GSLV-Mk III-D1 successfully placed GSAT-19 satellite to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on June 05, 2017 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

 

GSAT-29:

  • GSAT-29 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3423 kg, is a multi-beam, multiband communication satellite of India, configured around the ISRO’s enhanced I-3K bus.
  • This is the heaviest satellite launched from India.
  • GSAT-29 carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders which will bridge the digital divide of users including those in Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern regions of India.
  • It also carries Q/V-band payload, configured for technology demonstration at higher frequency bands and Geo-stationary High Resolution Camera. carried onboard GSAT-29 spacecraft.
  • An optical communication payload, for the first time, will be utilized for data transmission.

 

Sample Question:

ISRO’s heavy-lift rocket GSLV-MkIII-D2 successfully injected into orbit, with respect to that consider the following statements

  1. The success of GSLV MkIII-D2 marks an important milestone in Indian space programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites.
  2. GSLV Mk III is a two-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO.
  3. GSAT-29 is the heaviest satellite launched from India.

Choose the correct answer from the above statements

a). 1 only

b). 1 and 2 only

c). 1 and 3 only

d). All of the above

Answer: c) 1 and 3 only

 


Topic: Union Agriculture Minister launches NCDC’s new scheme to promote young entrepreneurs in cooperatives

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Why in news?

To cater to the needs and aspirations of the youth, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has come up with a youth-friendly scheme ‘Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme” for attracting them to cooperative business ventures.

 

More about on scheme:

  • The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC.
  • It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members.
  • This scheme is expected to meet the needs of today’s youth.

 

Eligibilty:

  • The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others.
  • The scheme envisages 2% less than the applicable rate of interest on term loan for the project cost up to Rs 3 crore including 2 years moratorium on payment of principal.

 

Significance:

  • NCDC has created a dedicated fund with liberal features enabling youth to avail the scheme.
  • The Central Government has been encouraging ‘Start-Ups’ for ease of doing business, non-conventional opportunities are emerging and are being encouraged.
  • The conducive environment is being leveraged by private and corporate sectors and ‘Hub Start-ups’ are being promoted.
  • The newly launched scheme would encourage cooperatives to venture into new and innovative areas.

 

Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)

  • The NCDC has the unique distinction of being the sole statutory organisation functioning as an apex financial and developmental institution exclusively devoted to cooperative sector.
  • It supports cooperatives in diverse fields apart from agriculture and allied sectors.
  • It is an ISO 9001:2015 compliant organization and has a distinctive edge of competitive financing.
  • It has extended financial assistance of Rs 63702.61 crore during 2014-2018 (as on November 13), 220% more than Rs 19850.6 during 2010-14.
  • The NCDC on its remarkable performance since 2014 stated that the NCDC had an excellent track record and would provide the required handholding for making the scheme a success.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme

  1. The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC.
  2. It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members.
  3. The funding for the project will be up to 90% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a). 1 only

b). 1 and 2 only

c). 1 and 3 only

d). All of the above

Answer: b) 1 and 2 only

 


Topic: Govt launches upgraded version of AirSewa digital platform for air passengers

Topic in Syllabus: Schemes and Programmes

 

Why in news?

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has introduced the upgraded version of AirSewa 2.0 web portal and mobile app to provide superior user experience with enhanced functionalities to air travellers.

 

More about on news:

  • The web portal and application will help to capture air travellers’ feedback for policy interventions
  • The focus is now on improving the quality of services so that passengers who are travelling have a safe and comfortable experience.
  • Air passengers face issues like flight delays, problem in refunds, long queues, inadequate facilities at airports and complaints of lost baggage.
  • Further upgrades of AirSewa are also being planned which would include DigiYatra registration, airport maps, BHIM payment integration and grievance escalation and transfer.

 

AirSewa 2.0 features:

  • Major improvements include features such as secure sign-up and log-in with social media, chatbot for travellers support, and improved grievance management, including social media grievances, real-time flight status and details of flight schedule.
  • The improved version operates through an interactive web portal as well as through a mobile app for both android and iOS platforms.
  • The focus is on improving the quality of services so that passengers who are travelling have a safe and comfortable experience.

 

AirSewa web portal:

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation launched AirSewa web portal and mobile app in November 2016 to address this need.
  • The AirSewa 1.0 was received well, with around 30,000 app downloads and around 75,000 web portal hits since its launch.
  • It has helped significant number of air passengers to get their concerns resolved with 92 % closure rate for grievance solutions. In addition to grievance redressal, AirSewa also provides real-time flight status and flight schedules.

 

Sample Question:

With respect to AirSewa 2.0, consider the following statements

  1. The upgrade and improved version of AirSewa operates through an interactive web portal as well as through a mobile app for both android and iOS platforms and will offer passengers a convenient and hassle-free air travel experience.
  2. The web portal and application will help to capture air travellers’ feedback for policy interventions.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both 1 and 2

d). Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c) both 1 and 2

 


Topic: NITI Aayog sets up Himalayan State Regional Council

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance

 

Why in news?

NITI Aayog has constituted the ‘Himalayan State Regional Council’ to ensure sustainable development of the Himalayan region.

 

More about on news:

  • The Council has been constituted to review and implement identified action points based on the Reports of five Working Groups, which were established along thematic areas to prepare a roadmap for action.
  • The council, which will be chaired by VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog, will consist of Chief Secretaries of the 12 Himalayan States as well as secretaries of central ministries, among others.
  • It will review and implement identified action points based on the reports of five working groups.
  • The Council will also act as the nodal agency for sustainable development in the Himalayan region which has 12 States, including Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Recognizing the uniqueness of the Himalayas and the challenges for sustainable development, Five Working Groups were constituted by NITI Aayog on June 2, 2017.

 

These Working Groups were tasked with preparing a roadmap for action across five thematic areas namely,

  • Inventory and Revival of Springs in Himalayas for Water Security,
  • Sustainable Tourism in Indian Himalayan Region,
  • Shifting Cultivation: Towards Transformation Approach,
  • Strengthening Skill & Entrepreneurship (E&S) Landscape in Himalayas, and
  • Data/Information for Informed Decision Making.

 

The terms of reference of the Council:

The terms of reference of the Council states that it shall monitor the implementation of action points for Central Ministries, Institutions and 12 Himalayan State Governments in Indian Himalayan Region

  • River basin development and regional cooperation.
  • Spring mapping and revival across Himalayas in phased manner for water security.
  • Develop, implement and monitor tourism sector standards as well as bring policy coherence.
  • Strengthen skill & entrepreneurship with focus on identified priority sectors, among other action points.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are correct with respect to Himalayan State Regional Council.

  1. It will review and implement identified action points based on the reports of five working groups.
  2. The Council will also act as the nodal agency for sustainable development in the Himalayan region which has 10 States.
  3. Himalayan State Regional Council is constituted by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Choose the correct answer from the above statements

a). 1 only

b). 1 and 3 only

c). 1 and 2 only

d). All of the above

Answer: a) 1 only 

 


Topic: NITI Aayog organizes South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure

Topic in Syllabus: International Affairs

 

Why in news?

NITI Aayog partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to host a South Asian regional conference at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi.

 

More about on news:

  • The two day conference on “Urban Infrastructure: New Approaches to Public & Private Partnerships and Municipal Finance Innovations”, being held on November 15-16
  • In the inaugural address, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant emphasised upon the need to ensure adequate return on investments in infrastructure through properly structured Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and de-risking of projects.
  • The Conference aims to review overall issues and assess the sustainability of PPPs and urban finance in South Asia, specifically India, while broadening the knowledge base and engaging on international best practices.
  • Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been one such option that enables governments to optimally share the risks associated with a project’s life cycle.
  • The conference will emphasize the need to ensure adequate return on investments in infrastructure through properly structured Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and de-risking of projects.
  • The main objective of the conference is to discuss the key issues, perspectives and the way forward in the Urban Infrastructure.

 

South Asian regional conference:

  • The South Asian regional conference is a first of its kind, with participation from across the South Asian region including leaders from the government, industry, research organizations, academia, think tanks and civil society.
  • The Conference aims to review overall issues and assess the sustainability of PPPs and urban finance in South Asia, specifically India, while broadening the knowledge base and engaging on international best practices.
  • Components of the Conference include keynote and breakout sessions, panel discussions, presentation and a variety of stakeholder consultations.

 

India’s current Urban Infrastructure position:

  • Countries need to explore innovative models to implement infrastructure projects. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been one such option that enables governments to optimally share the risks associated with a project’s life cycle.
  • In India alone, until 2040, estimated investments of around $4.5 trillion are required in the infrastructure space.
  • With respect to urban needs, the population in South Asia is expected to grow by around 250 million till 2030, while that in India is expected to reach around 590 million during the same period.
  • There are an estimated 98 million people who reside in the slums of Indian cities and are disproportionately deprived of access to basic services and infrastructure. These gaps need to be addressed to enable cities to grow equitably in an environmentally responsible way.
  • The countries need to explore innovative models to implement infrastructure projects. While public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been one such option that enables governments to optimally share the risks associated with a project’s life cycle, however, for making government procurement more dynamic, it is imperative to focus on wider options.
  • Further, to implement urban infrastructure in India, a deeper deliberation is required on the means of democratising the governance at the city level with a view towards providing greater operational and fiscal autonomy to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

 

Sample Question:

Recent South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure 2018 held at

a). Bangalore

b). Chennai

c). New Delhi

d). Hyderabad

Answer: c)

 


Topic: Union Minister inaugurates Mega Food Park in Aurangabad District in Maharashtra

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Why in news?

Union Minister for Food Processing Industries recently inaugurated the second Mega Food Park in Maharashtra. Promoted by M/s Paithan Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd.

 

More about on news:

  • A 3rd Mega Food Park has been sanctioned by the Ministry in Maharashtra and is under implementation in Wardha District while the first Park was inaugurated on 1st of March 2018 in Satara district.
  • The Paithan Mega Food Park Park has been set up in 102 acre of land at a cost of Rs. 124.52 crore.
  • The Park also has a common Administrative building for office and other uses by the entrepreneurs and 3 PPCs at Paithan, Alephata and Kannad having facilities for primary processing and storage near the farms.

 

Benefits from this Mega food park:

  • This Mega Food Park will benefit the people of Aurangabad District as well as nearby Districts of Nasik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Buldhana, Jalna, Bid and Ahmednagar.
  • Park will benefit the farmers, growers, processors and consumers of Maharashtra and adjoining areas immensely and prove to be a big boost to the growth of the food processing sector in the State of Maharashtra.
  • Park will leverage an additional investment of about Rs. 250 crore in 25-30 food processing units in the park and would eventually lead to a turnover of about Rs. 450-500 crore annually.
  • The Park will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers in the CPC and PPC catchment areas.

 

Mega Food Park Scheme:

  • The Mega Food ParksScheme aims to provide a mechanism to bring together farmers, processors and retailers and link agriculture production to the market so as to ensure maximization of value addition, minimization of wastages and improving farmers’ income
  • Government provides financial support to establish the mega food parks in the country.
  • The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model
  • It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure like roads, electricity, water, ETP facilities etc. at Central Processing Centre (CPC)
  • Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. State Government/State Government entities/Cooperatives applying for setting up a project under the scheme are not required to form a separate SPV.
  • The financial assistance for Mega Food Park is provided in the form of grant-in-aid at 50% of eligible project cost in general areas and at 75% of eligible project cost in NE Region and difficult areas (Hilly States and ITDP areas) subject to maximum of Rs. 50 crore per project.

 

Sample Question:

With respect to Mega Food Park Scheme, consider the following statements

  1. Mega Food Parks Scheme launched by the government in 2010 provides financial assistance upto 50 crores to setup modern infrastructure facilities for food processing.
  2. The primary objective of the Scheme is to provide modern infrastructure facilities for the food processing along the value chain from the farm to the market with a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model.
  3. The park shall provide common facilities such as electricity, water and effluent treatment besides specialized services such as warehousing, cold storage, logistics and backward integration through the network of primary processing centres and collection centres.

Choose the correct answer from the above statements

a). 1 and 3 only

b). 2 and 3 only

c). 1 and 2 only

d). All of the above

Answer: b) 2 and 3 only