Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 26th August to 1st September , 2018)

Nauradehi sanctuary 

 

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 26th August to 1st September , 2018)

Topic : Indus water treaty

Topic in syllabus: Current events of national and international importance.

Indus water treaty

Why in news:

India, Pak Agree To Tours On Both Sides Of Indus basin to resolve issues on the various hydroelectric projects, including the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the conclusion of the two-day high-level bilateral talks on the Indus Waters Treaty in Lahore, the first official engagement between India and Pakistan since Imran Khan became Prime Minister on August 18, the External Affairs Ministry said deliberations were held on further strengthening the role of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) for matters under the 1960 Treaty.

As per the provisions of the treaty, technical discussions were held on implementation of various hydroelectric projects under the provisions of Indus Waters Treaty including Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai(48 MW) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Both the countries agreed to undertake the Treaty mandated tours of both the Indus Commissioners in the Indus basin on both sides.

Indus Water Treaty

  • India and Pakistan signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory.
  • The water commissioners of Pakistan and India are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works, but Pakistan had been facing a lot of problems in timely meetings and visits.
  • The last meeting of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission was held in New Delhi in March during which both the sides had shared details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the 1960 treaty.
  • The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers. However, there have been disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the treaty.
  • Under the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty 1960, waters of the eastern rivers – Sutlej, Beas and Ravi – had been allocated to India and the western rivers – the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – to Pakistan, except for certain non-consumptive uses for India.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is correct regarding Indus Water treaty?

  1. The treaty was signed between India and Pakistan in 1965 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory.
  2. Under the provisions of the Treaty, waters of eastern rivers – Sutlej, Beas and Ravi – were allocated to India and western rivers – Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – to Pakistan, except for certain non-consumptive uses for India.

Choose the Correct Answer

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) both 1 and 2

d) none

 


Topic: Land immigration centre along Myanmar border opened

Topic in syllabus: Current events of national and international importance

india myanmar immigration opening

Why in news:

India has opened an immigration check-post in Mizoram along the border with Myanmar, a reflection of its growing closeness with the eastern neighbour.

  • The central government has designated Zokhawthar land check-post in Mizoram as an authorised immigration centre for entry into and exit from India with valid travel documents for all passengers to or from Myanmar.
  • The move came days after India and Myanmar opened the land border crossing at Zokhawthar-Rih. Zokhawthar is in Champhai district of Mizoram, while Rih is in Myanmar’s Chin province.
  • Zokhawthar will be the second immigration check-post in Mizoram along the Myanmar border, after Zorinpui in Lawngtlai district, which was opened in September last year.
  • Zokhawthar border trading post is one of the largest trading centres after the state capital Aizwal.
  • India shares a 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar which touches Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

 

Sample question:

Q. India has recently opened immigration check post along the border of Myanmar in which state?

a) Nagaland

b) Mizoram

c) Manipur

d) Assam

 


Topic: Innovation Cell and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)

Topic in syllabus: Social Sector initiatives

Innovation Cell and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)

Why in news:

Government has launched the Innovation Cell and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) at AICTE. Innovation cell is MHRD’s initiative and has been established at AICTE premises with a purpose to systematically foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country.

MHRD Innovation Cell (MIC)

Innovation cell is MHRD’s initiative established at AICTE with a purpose to systematically foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country. The primary mandate of Innovation Cell is to encourage, inspire and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas and processes resulting in innovative activities in their formative years fostered through Network of Innovation clubs in Higher Educational Institutions.

Major Programs

  • Network of Innovation Clubs (NIC)
  • Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)
  • Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2019
  • National Student Startup Policy (NSSP)

 

  1. Network of Innovation Clubs (NIC)
  • MIC will prescribe basic framework for the structure, formation, structure and smooth running of ICs and will soon share list of different activities which ICs need to undertake for the entire academic year.
  1. Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)
  • For India to emerge as a global innovation hub, the youth of our country, especially in higher education institutions (HEIs) need to play a crucial role to create a sustainable innovation ecosystem. Hence, ideally all HEIs should have a comprehensive and functional mechanism to convert research into innovations.
  • To ensure that Innovation is primary fulcrum of all HEIs, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India is introducing ‘Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)’ to systematically rank education institutions and universities primarily on innovation related indicators. ARIIA considers all major indicators which are commonly used globally to rank most innovative education institutions/ universities in the world.
  • ARIIA ranking will certainly inspire Indian institutions to reorient their mind-set and build ecosystems to encourage high quality research, innovation and entrepreneurship. More than quantity, ARIIA will focus on quality of innovations and will try to measure the real impact created by these innovations nationally and internationally.

ARIIA will primarily focus on 5 main parameters

IndicatorsWeightage
Budget Expenses and Revenue generated through Innovation and entrepreneurship

Development

20

 

Facilitating access to advance centres / facilities and entrepreneurial support system10
Idea to Entrepreneurship54
Development of Innovation Ecosystems Supported through Teaching & Learning10

 

Best innovative solutions Developed In-house for Improving Governance of Your Institution6

 

Total100

 

  1. Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2019
  • The third edition of World’s Biggest Open Innovation Model – Smart India Hackathon – 2019 launched on Wednesday, 29thAugust, 2018 at the hand of Shri Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Minister for HRD, Government of India, New Delhi.
  • Smart India Hackathon 2019 is a nationwide initiative to provide students a platform to solve some of pressing problems we face in our daily lives, and thus inculcate a culture of product innovation and a mindset of problem solving. In this new edition, students would have the opportunity to work on challenges faced within the public and private sector organizations, and NGOs in addition to government problems pooled from various union ministries. As like in previous editions, Smart India Hackathon 2019 would also have 2 sub-editions – Software edition (a 36-hour software product development competition) and Hardware edition (a 5 days long hardware product development competition).
  1. National Student Startup Policy (NSSP)

AICTE’s Student Start-up Policy:

  • AICTE crafted its Student Start-up Policy and was launched on 16th November 2016 at the hands of Honourable President of India. This policy is designed for the AICTE approved Institutions in accordance with Govt of India’s “Start-up India” Action plan, that was launched on 16th January 2016. AICTE’s Student Start up policy intends to guide AICTE approved institutions to promote student driven innovations and start-ups.
  • The policy aims at identifying the innovative and entrepreneurial potential of students and transforming them into start-up entrepreneurs. This can be done by developing an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions, other ecosystem enablers, different stakeholders, programs, market and society.

 

 Sample question:

Q. ARIIA programme of Government of India for ranking of educational institutions and universities will focus mainly on which of the following parameters?

a) Experience

b) Innovation

c) Technology

d) Infrastructure

 


Topic: National REDD+ Strategy

Topic in syllabus: Ecology and Environment

National REDD+ Strategy

Why in news:

Government releases National REDD+ Strategy

REDD+

  • REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.  
  • REDD+ aims to achieve climate change mitigation by incentivizing forest conservation.    The strategy seeks to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and also developing a roadmap for enhancement of forest carbon stocks and achieving sustainable management of forests through REDD+ actions. The National REDD+ Strategy will soon be communicated to the UNFCCC.
  • REDD+ activities will help in sustainable livelihood of local communities and also in conservation of biodiversity.  
  • India’s National REDD+ strategy is one of the tools to achieve   India’s commitment to Paris Agreement.  
  • REDD+ strategy will help the country to fulfill its NDC commitments and will also contribute to the livelihood of the forest dependent population
  • National Governing Council of REDD+ chaired by the Union Environment Minister at  the national level and two technical committees, headed by DG, Forest Survey of India and DG, ICFRE are being established for supporting the REDD+ implementation in the country. 
  • REDD+ actions at the State level will be coordinated by the committee headed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) & Head of Forest Force (HOFF) of the States.
  • Paris agreement on climate change also recognizes role of forests in climate change mitigation and calls upon country Parties to take action to implement and support REDD+.   India has communicated in its Nationally Determined Contribution under Paris Agreement, that it will capture 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of Carbon dioxide through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.   India’s first biennial update report to UNFCCC has revealed that forests in India capture about 12% of India’s total GHG emissions. Thus, forestry sector in India is making a positive cost effective contribution for climate change mitigation.
  • Complying with the UNFCCC decisions on REDD+, India has prepared its National REDD+ Strategy. The Strategy builds upon existing national circumstances which have been updated in line with India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, Green India Mission and India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is/are correct regarding REDD+?

  1. India has recently released National REDD+ Strategy
  2. India’s National REDD+ strategy is one of the tools to achieve   India’s commitment to Paris Agreement.

Choose the Correct Answer From The Codes Given Below:

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) both 1 and 2

d) none

 


Topic : India’s first biofuel powered flight

Topic in syllabus: Sustainable Development

biofuel powered flight

Why in news:

India’s first biofuel-powered flight that aims to reduce costs of air travel by replacing the costly aviation turbine fuel was successfully tested. A 72-seater SpiceJet aircraft, partially powered by biojet fuel, took off from Dehradun and landed at the Delhi airport.

Details of biofuel:

  • The biofuel is made partially from renewable resources such as agricultural residues, non-edible oils and bio-degradable fractions of industrial and municipal wastes.. Biofuel flights could make air travel cleaner and more efficient, thus drastically reducing the cost of airline operations by reducing the dependency on aviation turbine fuel.
  • The biofuel for this flight, developed by Dehradun-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum, was rigorously tested to ensure flight safety.
  • SpiceJet’s biofuel is a mix of the oil extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant and aviation turbine fuel. Five hundred farmer families in Chhattisgarh are involved in the production of the partially-refined biofuel used in this flight.
  • The biofuel-driven flight comes at a time when spiralling aviation fuel price has strained the finances of domestic airlines. 
  • While twenty five per cent of the right engine of the aircraft will have the biofuel mix, the left engine will run on aviation turbine fuel. The efficiency of the engine running on biofuel is expected to be slightly higher than that of the other engine.

Jatropha as biofuel

  • Biofuel development in India centres mainly around the cultivation and processing of Jatropha plant seeds which are very rich in oil (40%). The drivers for this are historic, functional, economic, environmental, moral and political.
  • Jatropha oil has been used in India for several decades as biodiesel for the diesel fuel requirements of remote rural and forest communities; jatropha oil can be used directly after extraction (i.e. without refining) in diesel generators and engines.
  • Jatropha has the potential to provide economic benefits at the local level since under suitable management it has the potential to grow in dry marginal non-agricultural lands, thereby allowing villagers and farmers to leverage non-farm land for income generation.
  • As well, increased Jatropha oil production delivers economic benefits to India on the macroeconomic or national level as it reduces the nation’s fossil fuel import bill for diesel production (the main transportation fuel used in the country); minimising the expenditure of India’s foreign-currency reserves for fuel allowing India to increase its growing foreign currency reserves (which can be better spent on capital expenditures for industrial inputs and production).
  • And since Jatropha oil is carbon-neutral, large-scale production will improve the country’s carbon emissions profile.
  • Finally, since no food producing farmland is required for producing this biofuel (unlike corn or sugar cane ethanol, or palm oil diesel), it is considered the most politically and morally acceptable choice among India’s current biofuel options; it has no known negative impact on the production of the massive amounts grains and other vital agriculture goods India produces to meet the food requirements of its massive population (circa 1.1 Billion people as of 2008).
  • Other biofuels which displace food crops from viable agricultural land such as corn ethanol or palm biodiesel have caused serious price increases for basic food grains and edible oils in other countries.
  • The Government is currently implementing an ethanol-blending program and considering initiatives in the form of mandates for biodiesel. Due to these strategies, the rising population, and the growing energy demand from the transport sector, biofuels can be assured of a significant market in India.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is not correct?

a) India’s first biofuel-powered flight that aims to reduce costs of air travel by replacing the costly aviation turbine fuel was successfully tested.

b) Biofuel used in the flight was a mix of the oil extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant and aviation turbine fuel.

c) Jatropha has the potential to provide economic benefits at the local level since it has the potential to grow in dry marginal non-agricultural lands, thereby allowing villagers to leverage non-farm land for income generation.

d) Biofuel development in India centres mainly around the cultivation and processing of Jatrophaplant leaves which are very rich in oil (40%)

 


Topic: Nauradehi sanctuary 

Topic in syllabus: Environment and Ecology

Nauradehi sanctuary 

Why in news:

Madhya Pradesh forest department has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the State’s Nauradehi sanctuary.

Cheetahs in India

  • Cheetah — is the fastest land animal.
  • India was once home to many cheetahs, but the last of them was killed in 1947 (in Chhattisgarh) and the cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952. It is the only large mammal to have been declared extinct in our country in recorded history.
  • NTCA is a statutory bodyunder the Union Environment Ministry.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradunhad prepared a ₹260-crore cheetah re-introduction project six years ago.
  • According to the earlier action plan, around 20 cheetahs were to be translocated to Nauradehi from Namibia in Africa. The Namibia Cheetah Conservation Fund had then showed its willingness to donate the felines to India.
  • However, the State was not ready to finance the plan contending that it was the Centre’s project.
  • Reintroducing this beautiful animal will ensure the restoration of our natural heritage. Most importantly, it will contribute towards the conservation of the dryland (grassland, scrubland and open forest) ecosystems that the cheetah inhabits.

IUCN status – In the 2015 update of the IUCN Red List, the Asiatic cheetah is considered regionally extinct in Iraq, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

The Asiatic cheetah has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1996.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which state has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the State’s Nauradehi sanctuary?

a) Maharashtra

b) Madhya Pradesh

c) Chhattisgarh

d) Rajasthan

 


Topic: O-SMART

Topic in syllabus: Disaster Management; Science and Technology

ocean smart

Why in news:

  • India is set to get more disaster warning systems along its coasts.  The new systems will keep an eye out for tsunamis and storm surges.
  • O-SMART(Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science) – is being piloted by the Union Earth Sciences Ministry.

Objectives:

  • O-SMART will provide economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal States, defense, shipping, ports, etc.

Other key missions –

  • strengthening of Ocean Services for fishermen,
  • setting up marine observatories for monitoring marine pollution,
  • setting up Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant (OTEC) in Kavaratti,
  • acquiring two coastal research vessels,
  • continuation of ocean survey and exploration of minerals and living resources,
  • technology development for Deep Ocean Miningand manned submersibles; and
  • the setting up six desalination plants in Lakshadweep.

Other facts:

  • India already has a tsunami warning system in place.
  • Implementation of O-SMART will help in addressing issues relating to Sustainable Development Goal-14, which aims to conserve use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development.  
  • This scheme (O-SMART) will also provide necessary scientific and technological background required for implementation of various aspects of Blue Economy.

 

Sample question

Q. What is O-SMART?

a) disaster warning system

b) digital payment interface

c) ocean navigation system

d) digital medical gadget