Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (26th June to 2nd July, 2019)
(Info graphic Summary at the end)
Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment
The Union Government, Government of Kerala and the World Bank have a signed a Loan Agreement of USD 250 million for the “First Resilient Kerala Program”.
- It aims to enhance Kerala’s resilience against the impacts of natural disasters andclimate change.
- It is part of Union Government’s support to Kerala’s ‘Rebuild Kerala Development Programme’ aimed at building a green and resilient Kerala.
- It is the first of two Development Policy Operations aiming to mainstream disaster and climate resilience into critical infrastructure and services.
- State partnership is a key pillar of the Bank’s new Country Partnership Framework for India.
- Through such partnerships, the Bank will support select States striving to bring about systemic improvements in the way development initiatives are planned and executed.
It aims to support the State with:
- Improved river basin planning and water infrastructure operations management, water supply and sanitation services
- Resilient and sustainable agriculture, enhanced agriculture risk insurance
- Improved resilience of the core road network
- Unified and more up-to-date land records in high-risk areas
- Risk-based urban planning and strengthened expenditure planning by urban local bodies
- Strengthened fiscal and public financial management capacity of the state.
Development Policy Financing (DPF)
- It is an initiative of World Bank that aims to help the borrowers to achieve sustainable poverty reduction through a program of policy and institutional actions, for example, strengthening public financial management, improving the investment climate, addressing bottlenecks to improve service delivery, and diversifying the economy.
- This represents a shift away from short-term macroeconomic stabilization and trade liberalization reforms of the 1980s-90s towards more medium-term institutional reforms.
- This could be a loan, grant or credit which provides rapidly-disbursing financing to help a borrower address the actual or anticipated development financing requirements and promote policy reform.
Which one of the following groups of items is included in India’s foreign-exchange reserves? (2013)
(a) Foreign-currency assets, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and loans from foreign countries
(b) Foreign-currency assets, gold holdings of the RBI and SDRs
(c) Foreign-currency assets, loans from the World Bank and SDRs
(d) Foreign-currency assets, gold holdings of the RBI and loans from the World Bank
Topic in Syllabus: Schemes & Programmes
Rolling out its water conservation plan under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, the Centre said it would focus its time-bound, mission-mode campaign on 1,592 “water-stressed” blocks in 257 districts
Sanchay Jal, BehtarKal Campaign:
- It is a campaign for rainwater harvesting and water conservation.
- The plan would rely largely on mass awareness programmes.
- It will also involve focused implementation and convergence of existing water conservation schemes under the NREGS, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, and PMKSY’s per-drop-more-crop (micro-irrigation) programme.
- The teams of officers from the central government will visit and work with district administration in 1592 water stressed blocks in 256 districts, to ensure five important water conservation interventions. These will be:
- Water conservation and rainwater harvesting,
- Renovation of traditional and other water bodies/tanks,
- Bore well recharge structures,
- watershed development and intensive afforestation..
Need of the Hour:
- India’s water availability is estimated to decline to 1,341 cubic meter per capita per year by 2025 (from 5,177 cubic meter per capita per year in 1951).
- But there are also examples of states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and others that have undertaken efforts to resolve it.
- The United Nations, under its sustainable development goals, expects all countries to provide clean drinking water to every household by 2030.
- At present, only 8% of the total rainwater in the country is harvested — one of the many reasons why it needs to become a people’s movement.
With reference to ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’, consider the following statements :
- It was launched on July 1, 2019.
- It is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the DDWS. .
- Under this campaign,teams of officers from the central government will visit and work with district administration in 1592 water stressed blocks in 256 districts, to ensure five important water conservation interventions.
Which of the above statements are correct?
(a) Only 1 and 2
(b) Only 2 and 3
(c) Only 1 and 3
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance
Rahimatpur police station in Satara district in western Maharashtra has emerged as the State topper in a survey based on the ‘SMART’ policing concept
The Quality Council of India (QCI), which executed the survey, assessed 87 shortlisted police stations across the country on a number of parameters like performance in controlling crime, infrastructure of the police building, mess and optimal use of technology, and citizen feedback.
The other vital parameters included approachability and discipline of the police personnel, storage of manual records in the police station as well as the station head officer’s (SHO’s) declaration of the budgetary process.
- (S-Sensitive and Strict; M-Modern with mobility; A- Alert and Accountable; R- Reliable and Responsive; T- Trained and Techno-savvy)
- The Prime Minister of India had introduced the concept of SMART Police during the 49th Directors General/ Inspectors General Annual Conference at Guwahati in 2014.
- A SMART Police Station should be citizen friendly and clean.
- Basic amenities for visitors, waiting area, toilets, drinking water, Receptionist whom the visitors can meet.
- Rest room for constables, including separate room for women constables.
- Natural lighting and ventilation, solar lighting, energy saving features.
- CCTV, Safe & secure Armoury, Record Room, Communication Room for wireless, computers etc.
- Automated kiosks for filing of complaints by public (with a back-end system for tracking follow up action).
Which district police station in Maharashtra has topped in the SMART Policing survey conducted by quality council in India ?
Topic in Syllabus: International Affairs
- Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following the group’s annual general meeting in the US.
- The kingdom’s accession came as the global money laundering watchdog celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first meeting held in Paris in 1989.
- Saudi Arabia had received an invitation from the FATF at the beginning of 2015 to join as an “observer member“.
The FATF is the global standard-setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
To set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Established in: 1989.
Headquarters: Paris, France.
- The FATF currently comprises 37-member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations (the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC, and the European Commission).
- While India, Russia and China are members, Pakistan is only an associate member of Asia Pacific Group-FATF.
What is blacklist and grey list?
- FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their AML/CTF regimes, but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is commonly known as grey list and latter as blacklist.
- Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether.
Which of the following is a member of FATF other than G7 members?
a) Saudi Arabia
• Saudi Arabia has become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following the group’s Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida on Friday.
• The Kingdom’s accession comes as the FATF celebrates its 30th anniversary of its first meeting held in Paris in 1989.
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Society
The second edition of NITI Aayog’s Health Index was recently released in its report titled ‘Healthy States, Progressive India: Report on Rank of States and UTs’.
NITI Aayog’s Health Index :
The Index ranks the States and Union Territories based on 23 health-related indicators which include :
- neonatal mortality rate
- under-five mortality rate
- proportion of low birth weight among new-borns
- progress in treating tuberculosis and HIV
- full immunisation coverage
- improvements to administrative capability and public health infrastructure
- proportion of districts with functional Cardiac Care Units
- proportion of specialist positions vacant at district hospitals
The report has ranking in three categories – larger States, smaller States and Union Territories, to ensure comparison among similar entities.
The Health Index does not capture other related dimensions, such as non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases and mental health.
It also does not get uniformly reliable data, especially from the growing private sector.
- Kerala continued to top the list for the best performing State in the health sector among the 21 large States.
- Kerala was followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- Uttar Pradesh retains the worst performer tag in the index.
- Among the UTs, Chandigarh jumped one spot to top the list with a score of (63.62).
- Among the 8 Empowered Action Group States, only 3 States (Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh) showed improvement in the overall performance.
- Some States and Union Territories are doing better on health and well-being even with a lower economic output.
- In contrast, others are not improving upon high standards, and some are actually slipping in their performance.
- In the assessment during 2017-18, a few large States showed less encouraging progress.
- This reflects the low priority their governments have accorded to health and human development since the first edition of the ranking for 2015-16.
- The disparities are very evident in the rankings, with the populous and politically important Uttar Pradesh being in the bottom of the list.
- For the Health Index concept to encourage States into action, public health must become part of the mainstream politics.
- The Centre has paid attention to tertiary care and reduction of out-of-pocket expenses through financial risk protection initiatives such as Ayushman Bharat.
- But several States lag behind when it comes to creating a primary health care system with well-equipped PHCs (Primary Health Centres) as the unit.
- Neglect of such a reliable primary care approach affects States such as Bihar where infant and neonatal mortality and low birth weight are high.
- Special attention is needed to raise the standards of primary care in low performing states such as Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Assam and Jharkhand.
- State governments now have greater resources at their command under the new scheme of financial devolution.So, States, in partnership with the Centre, must use the funds to upgrade and transform the primary health care.
The “Performance On Health Outcomes” index is made up of indicators in following domains as in
a. Health outcomes,
b. Governance and information, and
c. Key inputs and processes
d. All of the Above
Topic in Syllabus: Indian History
A statue of Ranjit Singh, who ruled Punjab for almost four decades (1801-39), was inaugurated in Lahore
Maharaja Ranjit Singh:
- Ranjit Singh was born on November 13, 1780 in Gujranwala, now in Pakistan. At that time, Punjab was ruled by powerful chieftains who had divided the territory into Misls.
- Ranjit Singh overthrew the warring Misls and established a unified Sikh empire after he conquered Lahore in 1799.
- He was given the title Lion of Punjab (Sher-e-Punjab) because he stemmed the tide of Afghan invaders in Lahore, which remained his capital until his death.
- His general Hari Singh Nalwa built the Fort of Jamrud at the mouth of the Khyber Pass, the route the foreign rulers took to invade India.
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh is remembered for the possession of the Koh-i-Noor diamond which he left to Jagannath Temple in Odisha and was given to him by Shuja Shah Durrani of Afghanistan.
- At the time of his death, he was the only sovereign leader left in India, all others having come under the control of the East India Company in some way or the other.
- The maharaja was known for his just and secular rule; both Hindus and Muslims were given powerful positions in his darbar.
- The Sikhs take pride in him for he turned Harimandir Sahib at Amritsar into the Golden Temple by covering it with gold. Right at the doorstep of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is a plaque that details how in 1830 AD, the maharaja did sewa over 10 years.
- He is also credited with funding Hazoor Sahib gurudwara at the final resting place of Guru Gobind Singh in Nanded, Maharashtra.
- He combined the strong points of the traditional Khalsa army with western advances in warfare to raise Asia’s most powerful indigenous army of that time. He also employed a large number of European officers, especially French, to train his troops.
- He appointed French General Jean Franquis Allard to modernise his army.
In His Honour:
- In 2016, the town of St Tropez unveiled the maharaja’s bronze statue as a mark of respect.
- His throne is displayed prominently at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London
- . Exhibitions on his rule are frequent in western countries home to the Punjabi diaspora.
- Last year, London hosted an exhibition that focused on the history of the Sikh Empire and the international relations forged by the maharaja
Which river separated the territories of Ranjit Singh and the British?
Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment
- The Mahatma Gandhi Information Technology & Biotech Park (MGIT-BP) has been inaugurated in Côte d’Ivoirein Grand-Bassam
- The MGIT-BP is being built with India’s assistance through EXIM Bank Lines of Credit of US$ 20 million.
- MGIT-BP is a dedicated Free Trade Zone (FTZ) for IT & Biotechnology.
- The MGIT-BP project consists of two parts:
- Firstly, architectural concept and design for the buildings of FTZ and construction of main building to host IT enterprises.
- Secondly, supply and commissioning of equipment which included, Computer Assembly Plant, VSAT with Satellite Earth Station, Networking Lab, Human DNA Lab, Data Storage Area Network, an Audio-Visual Lab and a power generator.
Free Trade Zone (FTZ):
- A free-trade zone (FTZ) is a class of special economic zone.
- It is a geographic area where goods may be landed, stored, handled, manufactured or reconfigured and re-exported under specific customs regulation and generally not subject to customs duty.
- Free trade zones are generally organized around major seaports, international airports, and national frontiers—areas with many geographic advantages for trade
About Cote d’Ivoire:
- Côte d’Ivoire is a West African country with beach resorts, rainforests and a French-colonial legacy. Abidjan, on the Atlantic coast, is the country’s major urban center
- Capital: Yamoussoukro
- Currency: CFA franc, West African CFA franc
Which of the below category does SEZ covers:
a. Free trade zones (FTZ),
b. Export processing Zones (EPZ),
c. Industrial estates (IE)
d. All of the Above
Topic in Syllabus: Science & Technology
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a new planet, the tiniest of its finds so far.
About L 98-59:
- It is between the sizes of Mars and Earth and orbits a bright, cool, nearby star.
- The planet is called L 98-59b because it sits in a nearby star system called L 98-59.
- It is 35 light-years from our solar system in the southern constellation Volans.
- It is around 80% of Earth’s size and about 10% smaller than the previous smallest planet discovered by TESS.
- Apart from L 98-59b, two other worlds orbit the same star.
- The two other worlds in the system, L 98-59c and L 98-59d.
- These planets add to humanity’s still-small catalog of exoplanets similar in size to Earth.
- An exoplanet is a planet that orbits a star other than the Sun.
- Exoplanets are also called extrasolar planets. Since 1988, more than 3000 exoplanets have been found.
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)
- NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (with seed funding from Google) will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky.
- TESS will survey 200,000 of the brightest stars near the sun to search for transiting exoplanets.
- TESS was launched in 2018, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
TESS employs the transit method to detect exoplanets:
- The transit method of detecting exoplanets looks for dips in the visible light of stars and requires that planets cross in front of stars along our line of sight to them.
- Repetitive, periodic dips reveal a planet or planets orbiting a star.
Which of the following methods has led to the most discoveries of massive planets orbiting near their parent stars?
A) detecting the starlight reflected off the planet
B) detecting the infrared light emitted by the planet
C) detecting the gravitational effect of an orbiting planet by looking for the Doppler shifts in the star’s spectrum
D) detecting the shift of the star’s position against the sky due to the planet’s gravitational pull
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy
The Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das has launched a Complaint Management System (CMS) for lodging complaints against banks and NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies) on its website
The online portal aims at improving customer experience in timely redressal of grievances.
Complaint Management System:
CMS, a software application accessible on desktop as well as on mobile devices, which designed to file complains online and it sends acknowledgment receipts directly to the customers’ mobile numbers.
The public can use the portal (https://cms.rbi.org.in), to lodge complaints against any regulated entity with a public interface such as commercial banks, urban cooperative banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) which would be directed to the appropriate office of the Ombudsman/Regional Office of the RBI.
RBI also plans to introduce a dedicated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for tracking the status of complaints.
The processing of complaints has been digitalized with the launch of CMS in the offices of Banking Ombudsman (BO) and Consumer Education and Protection Cells (CEPCs) of RBI.
- The application improves transparency by keeping the complainants informed through auto-generated acknowledgements and enabling them to track the status of their complaints and file appeals online against the decisions of the Ombudsmen, where applicable.
- Complainants can also voluntarily share feedback on their experience in obtaining redressal.
Sustaining the confidence of consumers in banks and other financial service providers (FSPs) through prompt and effective grievance redressal, together with empowering customers through education is pivotal for maintaining trust in the banking system.
RBI has launched CMS system to lodge complaint against which of the following entities?
a. Urban co-operative banks
c. Commercial banks
d. All of the above
Info graphic Summary