Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 30th September to 6th October, 2018)

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Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 30th September to 6th October, 2018)

 

ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION (PREVENTION AND CONTROL) AUTHORITY

Topic: GS III : Ecology and Environment

 

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Why in news?

Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has been reconstituted by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change after the end of its tenure on October 3 2018.

About EPCA

  • It is a body which has been constituted with an objective of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing and controlling the environmental pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR).
  • It has been constituted in response to the Supreme Court order in 1988 for assisting Supreme Court in various environment related matters in NCR.
  • The reconstituted EPCA has been made broad based with 1 chairman and 19 other members.

Functions of EPCA

  • It exercises powers to issue directions wrt complaints relating to violation of orders pertaining to standards for the quality of environment, emissions, prevention of environmental accidents, handling hazardous elements etc.
  • It shall take up matters either suo-motu or on basis of complaints in the field of environment.
  • It is also responsible for implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR as per the pollution levels.
  • It also has powers to issue direction wrt to maintenance of ambient noise standards.

 

Sample Question:

With reference to the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA), consider the following statements:

  1. EPCA is a Supreme Court mandated body for the National Capital Region under the section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  2. It acts only on the basis of complaints made by any individual, representative body or organization functioning in the field of environment.
  3. It is mandated to deal with environmental issues pertaining to the National Capital Region which may be referred to it by the Central Government.

Which of the given statements is/are not correct?

a) 2 and 3

b) Only 1

c) Only 2

d) All are correct


 

JIMEX 2018

Topic: GS III : Security Issues

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Why in news?

JIMEX was conducted at Vishakhapatnam.

What is JIMEX?

  • It is a bilateral Maritime Exercise between India and Japan which aims to enhance interoperability, improve understanding and imbibe best practices of both countries.
  • It began in 2012 and the present edition is the third one with last edition conducted in 2013 at Chennai.
  • In the exercise Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces (JMSDF) ships Kaga and Inazuma – a guided missile destroyer are participating.
  • The IN will be represented by three indigenously designed and built warships and a Fleet Tanker namely – INS Satpura (multipurpose stealth frigate), INS Kidmatt (anti-sumarine warfare corvette), INS Shakti (the fleet tanker).
  • The exercise will include professional and social interactions between ship’s crews, sports fixtures and operational planning for the Sea Phase.
  • The Sea Phase would include Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercises, VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) Drills, Gun Firings, Cross Deck Helo Operations and coordinated operations in Anti-Submarine/ Anti-Air threat scenarios.

Significance of JIMEX 2018

  • It is indicative of an upswing in the Indo-Japanese defence relations.
  • It also points towards the continued efforts of both Governments to work closely to enhance safety and security of the global commons in keeping with ‘rule based order’.

 

Sample Question:

With reference to the maritime exercise JIMEX, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a biennial trilateral maritime exercise between Japan, India and Maldives.
  2. It is aimed to enhance interoperability, improve understanding and imbibe the best practices of each other.
  3. It is carried out in Harbour Phase as well as Sea Phase.

Which of the given statements is/are correct?

a) All are correct

b) 1 and 2

c) 2 and 3

d) 1 only


 

EXERCISE AVIAINDRA – 18

Topic: GS III : Security Issues

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WHY IN NEWS?

Exercise Aviaindra – 18 was conducted at Lipetsk, Russia.

DETAILS OF THE EXERCISE

  • It is a bi-annual Air force level exercise between Russian Federation and India. The first exercise was conducted in 2014.
  • The exercise was focussed towards anti-terrorist operations in bi-lateral scenario. It would further enhance the co-operation and understanding of concepts of operations.
  • The aim of the exercise was to learn best practices from one another and it also includes simulator training. 
  • The exercise also included briefing on Aerospace safety and anti-terrorist air operations.

 

Sample Question:

Q. Exercise Aviaindra 18 has started between which of the following countries?
a)  Japan & India
b)  Russia & Japan
c) China & Pakistan
d) India & Russia

 

SAMUDRA MAITRI

Topic: Ecology and Environment

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WHY IN NEWS?

India has launched a massive operation to provide assistance to Tsunami hit Indonesia.

  • India has dispatched two naval ships and one aircraft with relief material to Indonesia after their acceptance of international aid over a telephonic conversation.
  • India has sent medical personnel and relief material to carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

TSUNAMI IN INDONESIA

  • Indonesia has been hit by two earthquakes. First one was on 5th August which hit has hit Lombok Island of 6.1 magnitude which triggered a tsunami.
  • The second earthquake had hit Sulawesi which also triggered a damaging Tsunami. The magnitude of the earthquake was 7.5 on richter scale.

Significance:

  • India’s access to the strategic island of Sabang at the northern tip of Sumatra and close to the Malacca Strait, where India is likely to invest in the port and an economic zone.
  • Ease in the resolution of the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone shared by the two nations in the Andaman Sea.
  • Need to combat and eliminate “illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing” and recognized transnational organized fisheries crime as one of the emerging crimes which needs to be tackled on an urgent basis.
  • Strengthening defence and security ties in order to jointly combat terrorism and organized crime.
  • People to People ties: Appeasement of the Muslims in both India (third largest muslim population)and Indonesia (largest muslim population) and Indian diasporain Indonesia (around 129000)
  • Countering China: India together with Indonesia can aim at China’s aggressive stance on the South China Sea. This is significant as both India and Indonesia do not have a direct stake in this dispute. But both are concerned about China’s territorial expansionism and its reluctance to abide by global norms. Where India is worried about the security of the sea lanes of communication in the larger Indo-Pacific area, Indonesia has been concerned about Chinese maritime intrusions near the Natuna islands, which it claims as part of its exclusive economic zone, as well as Chinese attempts in the past to include the island chain in its territorial maps. This will also allow nations to emerge as major maritime powers to ensure a stable maritime order in the region, one that is under stress because of China’s rapid rise and America’s growing reluctance to be the sole guarantor of regional security.
  • Another step in India’s “Act East” policy of encouraging greater engagement with, and integration between, India and South-East Asia and further India’s entry into  bodies like ASEAN which India has already been trying from long against China’s diplomacy to cement s position as a ‘net security provider’ in the Indian Ocean

 

Sample Question:

Q. Which Operation did India has launched to help tsunami-hit Indonesia.
a) Operation Sagar Shakti
b) Operation Sagar Maitri
c) Operation Samudra Maitri
d) Operation Samudra Shakti


 

PURCHASING MANAGERS INDEX (PMI)

Topic: GS III – Indian Economy

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WHY IN NEWS?

Recently, Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI strengthened slightly in September to 52.2 up from 51.7 in August.

WHAT IS PURCHASING MANAGERS INDEX?

  • It is an indicator of economic health for manufacturing and services sectors. It provides information about current business conditions to company decision makers, analysts and purchasing managers.
  • The Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in over 400 industrial companies.
  • The manufacturing sector is divided into eight broad categories: Basic Metals, Chemicals & Plastics, Electrical & Optical, Food & Drink, Mechanical Engineering, Textiles & Clothing, Timber & Paper and Transport. 

 

What is the reason for the lack of correlation?

  • A sample of 500 companies for PMI is too small to be representative of what is happening at the aggregate level.
  • Also, as these companies tend to be the bigger ones, SMEs are under-represented in PMI, whereas IIP is more comprehensive.
  • The responses in PMI are of an ‘either or’ variety and is not graded to any number, which inherently marks 2% positivity and 20% positivity as same.
  • Also, PMI has only one component, namely “output” (with a weight of 25%) which can be directly related with IIP.
  • Also, even with the PMI new orders increasing, it would not necessarily mean that output would increase in a subsequent period.
  • Exclusion of the PSUs is another significant aspect as there is a very high contribution by this segment, especially in capital goods and infra areas.

What is preferable?

  • Hence, it may be said that the PMI is not a leading indicator of the state of industry which is better represented by IIP growth.
  • While the IIP growth calculation has its challenges, it is to be noted that the number is used for GDP calculations to account for the unorganised sector.
  • But nonetheless, there is room for both concepts in the set of economic indicators that have to be tracked continuously.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements about ‘Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)’

  1. It is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector
  2. The PMI is based on new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment
  3. A PMI of more than 50 represents contraction of the manufacturing sector when compared to the previous month

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 Only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 2 and 3
  4. All of the above

 


 

ATAL INNOVATION MISSION

Topic: Employment

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Why In news?

Recently Atal Innovation Mission & SIRIUS sign MoU for promotion of innovative cooperation between students of India & Russia

Objective of MoU

  • To remove cultural and language barriers between students of Russia and India
  • Share the best practices in the promotion of educational, scientific, innovative achievements, promote innovative cooperation
  • Search and develop talented youth of both countries fostering a knowledge driven innovation ecosystem in both the countries.

Atal Innovation Mission

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country, based on a detailed study and deliberations on innovation and entrepreneurial needs of India in the years ahead.
  • AIM also serves as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities in India, leveraging state of the art, advanced and affordable emerging technologies.

Core Function of Atal Innovation Mission

It has two core function

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs
  • Innovation promotion: To provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated

Pillars to achieve its objective

  • Atal Tinkering Labs – to promote creative, innovative mind set in schools
  • Atal Incubators – promoting entrepreneurship in universities and industry
  • Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges – to promote technology driven innovations and product creation for social and commercial impact

 

Sample Question:

 Consider the following statements regarding NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).
1. It is a flagship programme of Government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide in schools, universities and industry.

2. Recently, additional 1500 Schools have been selected for the establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) which will give a major boost to realize the vision of the mission to ‘Cultivate One Million children in India as the Innovators of tomorrow’.
3. The ATLs are designed to spur the spark of creativity and go beyond regular curriculum and textbook learning.

Which of the above statement is true?
a. 1 and 2
b. 2 and 3
c. 1 and 3
d. 1, 2 and 3

 


 

MONETARY POLICY AND MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE

Topic: Indian Economy

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WHY IN NEWS?

Recently, Monetary Policy Committee of RBI kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.5% and changed stance from ‘neutral’ to ‘calibrated tightening’.

MORE FROM THE NEWS

  • The current policy stance implies that in the current rate cycle, there is no scope for a rate cut.
  • MPC also decided to keep the policy rate under LAF unchanged at 6.5% and consequently Reverse Repo Rate at 6.25%, Marginal Standing Facility and Bank Rate at 6.75%.
  • The MPC stance at calibrated tightening of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium term target for consumer price index inflation at 4% with a band of +/-2%, while supporting growth.
  • Reasons for unchanged rates –
    • Recent projections for headline inflation being lower than the earlier estimates, mainly due to deceleration in food prices.
    • providing allowance for the last two hikes in the space in two months to play out their impact
    • interest rate instrument is to be used only for inflation management and the exchange rate has to be handled separately through intervention and other short- and long-term measures
    • muted growth concerns arising from tighter global and local financial market conditions and rising oil prices and trade tensions
    • Highly elevated rates prevailing in the money markets and corporate debt segments, partly because of the domino effect on the non-banking financial companies sector.
    • real interest now being more than 2%

WHAT IS MONETARY POLICY?

  • It is a macroeconomic policy laid down by the Central Bank which involves management of money supply and interest rate and is demand side economic policy used by the government of a country to achieve macroeconomic objectives like inflation, consumption, growth and liquidity.
  • India’s monetary policy is laid down by RBI in order to meet the requirements of different sectors of the economy and to increase the pace of economic growth.
  • Monetary Policy is of two types – Expansionary Monetary Policy and Contractionary Monetary Policy.
  • Monetary Policy is developed with objectives of – economic growth, price stability, exchange rate stability, generating employment, equal income distribution etc.
  • Various tools to regulate Monetary Policy in India are –
    • Quantitative Credit Control Methods – These methods are designed to control the overall volume of credit created in an economy. These tools are – Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR), Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Bank Rate, Repo rate, Reverse Repo Rate and Open Market Operations.
    • Qualitative Credit Control Methods – These tools not only control value of loans but also the purpose for which these loans are assigned by the commercialisation banks.

MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE (MPC)

  • MPC is a committee of Reserve Bank of India headed by its Governor. The Committee is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rates (repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level.
  • MPC has six members – RBI Governor (Chairman), the RBI Deputy Governor in charge of monetary policy, one official nominated by the RBI board and the remaining three members represent the Government of India.
  • The three Central Government Representatives are nominated by a search cum selection committee who hold the office for a period of four years and will not be eligible for re-appointment. The Committee meets for at least four times a year.
  • The Governor has a casting vote and doesn’t enjoy veto power and the decisions are taken on the basis of majority voting.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)?

1. It decides the RBI’s benchmark interest rates.

2. It is a 12-member body including the Governor of RBI and is reconstituted every year.

3. It functions under the chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 2 and 3 only


 

GLOBAL SKILL PARKS

Topic: Indian Economy

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Why in news?

  • Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sign $ 150 Million Loan Agreement to support India’s First Global Skills Park in State of Madhya Pradesh
  • It is the First Multi-Skills Park in India, to enhance the quality of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) System in the State and create a more skilled workforce.

Objectives

  • The Project will help improve the quality and relevance of the State’s TVET programs
  • It will help impart advanced job-ready skills training of international standards that can meet the employment needs of the State’s emerging sectors.
  • The Project will engage international TVET partners to support advanced training at the GSP who will bring global best practices in TVET management, training infrastructure, industry cooperation, and quality assurance.

Other Important Facts

  • The new GSP campus, which will be established in Bhopal will consist of core Advanced Training Institutes including the Center for Occupational Skills Acquisition and the Center for Advanced Agricultural Training as well as other support services focusing on entrepreneurship, training of trainers, and skill-related research.
  • The campus will have training facilities focusing on skills for manufacturing, service, and advanced agricultural jobs, benefitting about 20,000 trainees and trainers.
  • The Project will also help in modernizing 10 industrial training institutes across the state by renovating training infrastructure and upgrading skills courses to align with industry and market needs.

 

Sample Question:

Global Skills Park (GSP) to be established in Madhya Pradesh is set to be financed by:

a) BRICS Bank

b) Asian Development Bank

c) World Bank

d) None of these.


 

RASHTRIYA VAYOSHRI YOJANA CAMP 

Topic: Indian Society

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WHY IN NEWS?

Recently, Assistive Aids and Appliances distributed to Senior Citizens under 58th Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana Camp, a scheme of Social Justice & Empowerment Department for Senior Citizen under BPL category

BACKGROUND

  • As per the Census figures of 2011, the population of senior citizens in India is 10.38 crore. More than 70% of the population of senior citizen lives in rural areas of the country.
  • A sizeable percentage (5.2%) of the senior citizens suffers from some sort of disabilities related to old age.
  • Projections indicate that the number of elderly populations will increase to around 173 million by 2026.
  • The Government has hence devised the Central Sector Scheme to provide Physical aids and Assisted Living Devices for such senior citizens suffering from age related disabilities/ infirmities, who belong to BPL category.

ABOUT THE SCHEME

  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana’ is a central sector scheme fully funded by the central government.
  • Under this scheme physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens will be distributed in Camp mode.
  • The expenditure for implementation of the scheme will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund”. The Scheme duration is for period of the 3 years ie. upto 2019-20.
  • It will be implemented through the sole implementing agency – Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age-related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability will be provided with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested. 

 

Sample Question:

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) is a Central Sector Scheme. Consider the following statements regarding the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY):
1. Under this Scheme, aids and assistive living devices are provided to senior citizens belonging to BPL category who suffer from age-related disabilities.
2. The aids and assistive devices viz. walking-sticks, elbow-crutches, walkers, tripods/quad-pods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures and spectacles are provided to eligible beneficiaries.
3. The Scheme is being implemented by the “Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)”, a Public Sector Undertaking under this Ministry.

Which of the above statement is true?
a. 1 and 2
b. 2 and 3
c. 1 and 3
d. 1, 2 and 3