Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (7th to 13th February, 2019)

Government envisages to develop the National Gas Grid

 

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (7th to 13th February, 2019)

(Infographic Summary at the end)

 

Topic: India and Norway launch initiative to combat Marine Pollution

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

India and Norway launch initiative to combat Marine Pollution

Why in news?

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change recently signed a letter of Intent establishing the India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative together with the Norwegian ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

More about on news:

  • In January, 2019, the Indian and Norwegian governments agreed to work more closely on oceans by signing a MoU and establishing the India-Norway Ocean Dialogue during the Norwegian Prime Minister’s visit to India in January.
  • A joint Task Force on Blue Economy with government officials, researchers and experts as well as private sector was established to develop sustainable solutions within strategic areas of the blue economy, such as maritime and marine sector in addition to energy sector.
  • In partnership, Norway and India will share experiences and competence, and collaborate on efforts to develop clean and healthy oceans, sustainable use of ocean resources and growth in the blue economy.
  • Both the governments launched the first Joint initiative under this new partnership.
  • The India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative will combat marine pollution, which is one of the fastest growing environmental concerns.
  • Through a range of implementing partners, this initiative will seek to support local governments in implementing sustainable waste management practices, develop systems for collecting and analyzing information about sources and scope of marine pollution and improve private sector investment.
  • This Support will also be directed towards beach clean-up efforts, awareness raising campaigns and pilot project using plastic waste as fuel substitution for coal in cement production and developing frameworks for deposit schemes.

 

Sample Question:

Recently India and Norway launch initiative to combat Marine Pollution, with repcet to that consider the following statements

  1. The India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative is the first Joint initiative and it takes forward the commitments made under the MoU.
  2. The India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative will support local governments in implementing sustainable waste management practices, develop systems collecting and analyzing information about sources and scope of marine pollution and improve private sector investment.
  3. The initiative will also support beach clean-up efforts, awareness-raising campaigns and pilot project using plastic waste as fuel substitution for coal in cement production and developing frameworks for deposit schemes.

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 and 3 only

c). 1 and 3 only

d). All of the above

Answer: d)

 


 

Topic: Government has reconstituted the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR)

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance

 

Government has reconstituted the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR)

Why in news?

Recently Government has reconstituted the Council of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), New Delhi for a period of three years.

 

More about on Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR):

  • The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which had been established by an Administrative Order of the then Ministry of Education.
  • The body, over many years, has provided financial assistance to the historians and direction to the research scholars in their multifarious topics of historical research through established historians and scholars of the country.
  • The ICHR has a rich corpus of funds which has been continued to be deposited with UCO Bank at Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi.
  • It is the only academic institution which chose to keep its deposit with a non-state bank of India
  • ICHR disburses funds for carrying out research to Indian as well as foreign scholars on their applications for fellowships, grants, and symposia, made to the Indian Council of Historical Research or through the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

 

Objectives:

The objectives of the ICHR, as enunciated in the initial pamphlet published by the Department of Education, Government of India in 1972, are as under:

  • to bring historians together and provide a forum for exchange of views between them;
  • to give a national direction to an objective and scientific writing of history and to have rational presentation and interpretation of history
  • to promote, accelerate and coordinate research in history with special emphasis on areas which have not received adequate attention so far;
  • To promote and coordinated a balanced distribution of research effort over different areas.
  • To elicit support and recognition for historical research from all concerned and ensure the necessary dissemination and use of results.

 

Composition of the Council is as follows:

  • An eminent historian nominated by the Government of India who shall be Chairman of the Council
  • Eighteen historians nominated by the Government of India
  • A Representative of the U.G.C
  • Director-General of Archaeology
  • Director, National Archives
  • Four persons to represent Government who shall be nominated by the Government of India and which shall include one representative each of the Ministry of Education, the Department of Culture and the Ministry of Finance; and Member Secretary.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the followings are correct with respect to Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR)?

  1. ICHR is an statutory body
  2. It was established by an Administrative Order of the then Union Ministry of Education and Social Welfare.
  3. ICHR disburses funds for carrying out research to Indian as well as foreign scholars on their applications for fellowships, grants, and symposia made to ICHR or through HRD Ministry.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

a). 1 and 2 only

b). 1 and 3 only

c). 2 and 3 only

d). All of the above

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic: Cultural Heritage Youth Leadership Programme (CHYLP)

Topic in Syllabus: Schemes & Programmes

 

Cultural Heritage Youth Leadership Programme (CHYLP)

Why in news?

The scheme for Cultural Heritage Youth Leadership Programme (CHYLP)  envisaged enriching awareness of Indian culture and heritage amongst the youth in order to promote, understand and develop fondness for India’s rich cultural heritage, with a view to develop appropriate leadership qualities amongst youth.

 

More about on programme:

  • The focus of the programme was to be on less privileged children residing in backward areas by interacting with them in vernacular languages for their better understanding.
  • Intermittently programme was given to Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), an autonomous organization working under the purview of Ministry of Culture.
  • CCRT organized workshops for the scheme. However, to accelerate the process, Museum Division of this Ministry arranged visits of children of unprivileged section of society to museums so that these children may get an opportunity to gain the knowledge relating to the Indian History and Culture and Science.

 

Objective:

  • The objective of the Scheme is to enrich the awareness of culture amongst youth, in order to promote cultural awareness; mutual understanding and respect, as also to develop a love for India’s rich heritage, with a view to developing appropriate leadership qualities amongst youth.
  • The focus of the programme will be on the less privileged children residing in backward areas.
  • Usage of vernacular languages for propagation, will be made to the extent possible, for carrying out these activities.

 

Scope:

Financial assistance will be provided to the “Approved Implementing Agencies” and “Existing Eligible Institutions” for the following activities:-

  • Distribution of existing audio-visual (AV) materials related to culture, amongst eligible institutions; to arouse their interest in culture and heritage.
  • Production of new AV material, including publications, related to culture.
  • Supporting visits to monuments, museums, science centres, science cities and other specified places/events by students of under-privileged schools.

 

Eligibility:

  • Approved Implementing Agencies’:
    • Any cultural institutions under the Ministry of Culture or a voluntary organization (such as registered societies, trusts etc.) may apply for being included in the list of approved implementing agencies.
    • Such inclusion in the list may be on a long term basis or for a specific term/activity, as approved by the Expert Appraisal Committee.
    • A list of ‘approved implementing agencies’ as amended from time to time, will be uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Culture.
    • Approved Implementing Agencies can establish their own decentralized mechanism to work directly with the schools/colleges/youth organizations and to ensure that participation of young person’s receives the encouragement that it deserves.
  • ‘Eligible institutions’:
    • Any school, college or a voluntary organization in the cultural field working directly with the children (such as Registered Societies, Trusts etc.) may apply for inclusion in the list of ‘eligible institutions’ for conducting visits to museums/art galleries/monuments (or a combination thereof) and/or for viewing/ participation in theatre/dance/music performances etc.
    • Inclusion in the list of ‘eligible institutions’ would generally be for a specific activity/year, though in special circumstances, the EAC may permit the inclusion on a longer term basis.
    • In addition to this, the ‘approved implementing agencies’ may identify and work with schools/colleges that fulfill the eligibility conditions without making a reference to the EAC for their inclusion in the list, provided all other conditions are met.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements regarding Cultural Heritage Youth Leadership Programme (CHYLP)

  1. The scheme for CHYLP envisaged enriching awareness of Indian culture and heritage amongst the youth in order to promote, understand and develop fondness for India’s rich cultural heritage, with a view to develop appropriate leadership qualities amongst youth.
  2. The focus of the programme is to be on less privileged children residing in backward areas by interacting with them in vernacular languages for their better understanding.
  3. The Nodal ministry for the programme is Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 1 and 3 only

c). 1 and 2 only

d). All of the above

Answer: c)

 


 

Topic: Cabinet approves establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for Conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Geography

 

Cabinet approves establishment of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for Conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for establishment of RashtriyaKamdhenuAayog for Conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.

 

More about on commission:

  • The cabinet has approved the proposal for establishment of ‘Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog’ for conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny.
  • The setting up of this commission will “lead to conservation, protection and development of cattle population in the country including development and conservation of indigenous breeds.”
  • It will result in increased growth of livestock sector which is more inclusive, benefitting women, and small and marginal farmers.
  • The Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will work in collaboration with Veterinary, Animal Sciences or Agriculture University or departments or organizations of the Central/state government engaged in the task of research in the field of breeding and rearing of cow, organic manure, biogas etc.
  • The creation of this commission will provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country and for ensuring proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.

 

Background:

  • The creation of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog for the conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny will provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country and for ensuring proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.
  • It is in pursuance of the announcement of setting up of the Aayog in the Union Budget 2019-20.

 

Impact:

  • The setting up of RashtriyaKamdhenuAayogwill lead to conservation, protection and development of cattle population in the country including development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
  • It will result in increased growth of livestock sector which is more inclusive, benefitting women, and small and marginal farmers.
  • The RashtriyaKamdhenuAayogwill work in collaboration with Veterinary, Animal Sciences or Agriculture University or departments or organizations of the Central/State Government engaged in the task of research in the field of breeding and rearing of cow, organic manure, biogas etc.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the followings are correct with respect to Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog

  1. The setting up of Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will lead to conservation, protection and development of cattle population in the country including development and conservation of indigenous breeds.
  2. It will provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes in the country.

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)

 


 

Topic: Government envisages to develop the National Gas Grid

Topic in Syllabus: Economy – Infrastructure

 

Government envisages to develop the National Gas Grid

Why in news?

Recently Government has envisaged to develop the National Gas Grid.

 

More about on news:

  • At present about 16,788 Km natural gas pipeline is operational and about 14,239 Km gas pipelines are being developed to increase the availability of natural gas across the country.
  • These pipelines have been authorized by Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) and are at various stages of execution.
  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) is the authority to grant authorization to the entities for the development of City Gas Distribution (CGD) network in Geographical Areas (GAs) as per PNGRB Act, 2006.
  • PNGRB identifies GAs for authorizing the development of CGD network in synchronization with the development of natural gas pipeline connectivity/ natural gas availability.

 

The aims and objectives of National Gas Grid are as under:

  • To remove regional imbalance within the country with regard to access of natural gas and provide clean and green fuel throughout the country.
  • To connect gas sources to major demand centres and ensure availability of gas to consumers in various sectors.
  • Development of City Gas Distribution Networks in various cities for supply of CNG and PNG.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the aims and objectives of National Gas Grid are correct?

  1. To remove regional imbalance within the country with regard to access of natural gas and provide clean and green fuel throughout the country.
  2. To connect gas sources to major demand centres and ensure availability of gas to consumers in various sectors.
  3. Development of City Gas Distribution Networks in various cities for supply of CNG and PNG.

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: d) 

 


 

Topic: Cabinet approves establishment of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India through International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

International Financial Srvices Centres Authority Bill 2019

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved establishment of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India through International Financial Srvices Centres Authority Bill, 2019.

 

More about on news:

  • The first IFSC in India has been set up at GIFT City, Gandhinagar, and Gujarat.
  • An IFSC enables bringing back the financial services and transactions that are currently carried out in offshore financial centers by Indian corporate entities and overseas branches / subsidiaries of financial institutions (FIs)to India by offering business and regulatory environment that is comparable to other leading international financial centers in the world like London and Singapore.
  • It would provide Indian corporates easier access to global financial markets.
  • IFSC would also compliment and promote further development of financial markets in India.

 

Need of the authority:  

  • Currently, the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors in IFSC are regulated by multiple regulators, i.e. RBI, SEBI and IRDAI.
  • The dynamic nature of business in the IFSCs necessitates a high degree of inter-regulatory coordination.
  • It also requires regular clarifications and frequent amendments in the existing regulations governing financial activities in IFSCs.
  • The development of financial services and products in IFSCs would require focussed and dedicated regulatory interventions.
  • Hence, a need is felt for having a unified financial regulator for IFSCs in India to provide world class regulatory environment to financial market participants.
  • Further, this would also be essential from an ease of doing business perspective.
  • The unified authority would also provide the much needed impetus to further development of IFSC in India in-sync with the global best practices.

 

Following are the main features of the Bill:

 

Management of the Authority: 

  • The Authority shall consist of a Chairperson,
  • one Member each to be nominated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),
  • the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI),
  • the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)
  • the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority(PFRDA)
  • two members to be dominated by the Central Government and
  • Two other whole-time or full-time or part-time members.

 

Functions of the Authority: 

  • The Authority shall regulate all such financial services, financial products and FIs in an IFSC which has already been permitted by the Financial Sector Regulators for IFSCs.
  • The Authority shall also regulate such other financial products, financial services or FIs as may be notified by the Central Government from time to time.
  • It may also recommend to the Central Government such other financial products, financial services and financial institutions which may be permitted in the IFSCs.

 

Powers of the Authority:

  • All powers exercisable by the respective financial sector regulatory (viz. RBI, SEBI, IRDAI, and PFRDA etc.) under the respective Acts shall be solely exercised by the Authority in the IFSCs in so far as the regulation of financial products, financial services and FIs that are permitted in the IFSC are concerned.

 

Processes and procedures of the Authority:

  • The processes and procedures to be followed by the Authority shall be governed in accordance with the provisions of the respective Acts of Parliament of India applicable to such financial products, services or institutions, as the case may be.

 

Grants by the Central Govt.: 

  • The Central Govt. may, after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf, make to the Authority grants of such sums of money as the Central Government may think fit for being utilized for the purposes of the Authority.

 

Transactions in foreign currency:

  • The transactions of financial services in the IFSCs shall be done in the foreign currency as specified by the Authority in consultation with the Central Govt.

 

Significance:

  • The establishment of a unified financial regulator for IFSCs will result in providing world-class regulatory environment to market participants from an ease of doing business perspective.
  • This will provide a stimulus for further development of IFSCs in India and enable bringing back of financial services and transactions that are currently carried out in offshore financial centres to India.
  • This would also generate significant employment in the IFSCs in particular as well as financial sector in India as a whole.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the followings are correct with respect to International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019.

  1. International Financial Services Centres Authority shall regulate all financial services, financial products and FIs in an IFSC which has already been permitted by the Financial Sector Regulators for IFSCs.
  2. The first IFSC in India has been set up at Chennai.

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: Delhi government launches ‘zero fatality corridor’ project on Burari-Bhalaswa stretch

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance

 

Delhi government launches ‘zero fatality corridor’ project on Burari-Bhalaswa stretch

Why in news?

The Delhi government recently launched its annual road safety action plan rolling out a ‘zero fatality corridor’ project for reducing the number of fatal incidents on the outer ring road stretch between Burari and Bhalaswa Chowk.

 

More about on news:

  • Delhi witnessed 1,691 road crash fatalities last year and the government is adopting a new approach to tackle this
  • The zero fatality corridor pilot project is aimed at reducing deaths to near zero levels on this particular stretch.
  • The three-km stretch between Burari Chowk and Bhalaswa Chowk, having four black spots, witnessed 67 deaths due to road accidents in 2016 and 2017.
  • This will undertake a scientific investigation of high number of road crashes on the stretch.

 

Significance:

  • The project will entail a scientific study to reduce the conflict involving pedestrians and cyclists on one hand and the cars and heavy vehicles on the other.
  • The action plan also calls for commissioning road safety audit of top 20 accident prone zones in the city.
  • Such zones are places around 500 metre diameter having three fatal or total 10 accidents.
  • It also provides for a Road Safety Fund to be maintained through 50 per cent of the fine money realized by the Transport department’s enforcement wing and traffic police.
  • It is estimated to be around Rs 90 crore annually. The fund will be used to implement road safety measures including infrastructure development and improvements.
  • The Save LIFE Foundation’s ZFC model is well-known for reducing road crash deaths by 30 per cent on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
  • It attempts to reduce road crash deaths through a 360-degree intervention, panning road engineering, police enforcement, rapid emergency care and road-user engagement, said a government statement.

 

Sample Question:

The ‘zero fatality corridor’ project is launched by

a). Karnataka

b). Tamil Nadu

c). Maharashtra

d). New Delhi

Answer: d)

 


 

Topic: National Productivity Week

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

National Productivity Week

Why in news?

Recently National Productivity Council (NPC) is celebrating its 61st Foundation Day on 12th February.

 

More about on news:

  • NPC observes foundation day as Productivity Day and the National Productivity Week from February 12-18, 2019.
  • This year theme “Circular Economy for Productivity & Sustainability”.
  • This year theme represents a unique opportunity for circular business model for Make à Use à Return.
  • It presents an opportunity for long term economic prospects and regeneration of materials.
  • Transitioning to an efficient circular economy will benefit industry and all stakeholders now and in future.
  • The inaugural session will deliberate upon contribution of circular economy to the Government’s aim of sustainable economic growth.
  • Apart from celebration at New Delhi, the 13 Regional Directorate of NPC at Kolkata, Chennai, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar and Chandigarh will organise seminars, workshop in coordination with State Governments, State PSUs and Businesses.
  • The 23 Local Productivity Councils spread across the country are also organizing workshops.

 

Significance of the circular economy:

  • The circular economy follows the principle of preservation and enhancement of natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows.
  • The other principles suggest optimizing of resource yields by circulating products, components, and materials at their highest utility at all times, in both technical and biological cycles.
  • Circular economy has the potential to increase productivity and create jobs, whilst reducing carbon emissions and preserving valuable raw materials. It provides for a way of creating value.
  • It works by extending product life span through improved design and servicing and relocating waste from the end of the supply chain to the beginning – in effect, using resources more efficiently by using them over and over.
  • The challenge lies in building circular economy knowledge and capacity.
  • To integrate circular economy principle in strategy and process, NPC has been in forefront enhancing of such efforts in enhancing productivity.
  • Through observation of this week, it aims at collaboration with business and policy makers so as Circular Economy opportunities can be highlighted.

 

National Productivity Council (NPC):

  • NPC is a national level autonomous organization under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry to promote productivity culture in India.
  • It was established as a registered society on 12th February 1958 by the Government with aim to stimulate and promote productivity and quality consciousness across all sectors in the country.
  • It is a tri-partite non-profit organization (NGO) with equal representation from government, employers and workers’ organizations.
  • It also has representatives from technical and professional institutions including members from local productivity councils and chamber of commerce on its Governing Body.
  • It also implements the productivity promotion schemes of Government and carry out programmes of Tokyo based Asian Productivity Organization (APO), an inter-governmental body of which India is founder member.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements with respect to National Productivity Week

  1. NITI Aayog is observes foundation day as Productivity Day and the National Productivity Week
  2. This year theme “Circular Economy for Productivity & Sustainability”.
  3. It presents an opportunity for long term economic prospects and regeneration of materials.

Choose the correct answer from the above

a). 1 only

b). 2 and 3 only

c). 1 and 3 only

d). All of the above

Answer: b)


Infographic Summary


Prelims Infographics 1 - Feb13th

Prelims Infographics 2 - Feb13th