Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 25, 2018

Cyber Security

Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)

A report by CERT-In
According to recent report by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), maximum number of cyber-attacks on official Indian websites are from China, US and Russia.
Report formed by
National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and other security agencies.
Enlighten about the report
China continues to intrude Indian cyberspace in significant way as cyber-attacks originating from China account for largest 35% of total number of cyber-attacks on official Indian websites followed by US (17%), Russia (15%), Pakistan (9%), Canada (7%) and Germany (5%).

Indian institutions attacked by these malicious activities on cyberspace include Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), National Informatics Centre (NIC), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Railways, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and some banks like Punjab National Bank (PNB), Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), State Bank of India
(SBI) and state data centres, particularly in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
Enlighten about Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)
CERT-In is nodal agency for information technology (cyber) security under aegis of Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Electronics and IT.
It was established in 2004. Its mandate is to protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities.
It also responds to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout country.
It also issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention.

Commerce

NCLT may receive new cases worth ₹70,000 crore

What

  • Many big corporate debtors, with loans collectively exceeding ₹70,000 crore, are likely to be headed to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) next week for resolution as the deadline set by the RBI for the banks to resolve the cases expires on August 27.

RBI direction

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a circular in February, mandated banks to identify projects with even a day’s default as stressed asset and conclude the resolution proceedings in 180 days.
  • The circular came into effect on March 1 and the 180-day deadline concludes on August 27.
  • The regulator’s circular had mandated the deadline for moving the NCLT if a stressed asset was not resolved.

Enlighten about NCLT

  • The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudicates issues relating to Indian companies.
  • The NCLT was established under the Companies Act 2013 and was constituted on 1 June 2016 by the government of India & is based on the recommendation of the justice Eradi committee on law relating to insolvency and winding up of companies.
  • The NCLT has eleven benches, two at New Delhi (one being the principal bench) and one each at Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

State Specific

Odisha State to partner Japan for 2018 edition of ‘Make in Odisha

Odisha aims to leverage its ports as part of a push to develop the State as a manufacturing hub in eastern India that could serve the larger South Asian regional market Japan would be the country-partner for the second edition of ‘Make in Odisha’ investors meet to be held in November.

Social Media

Centre wants Supreme Court to get tough with FB, YouTube

What

  • To curb circulation of online videos of sexual violence against women and children inadequate, the government is likely to seek “stricter directions” to service providers, such as Facebook and YouTube, from the Supreme Court.

Prompt action

  • The directions sought will include considerably reducing the time taken by the intermediary to comply with content removal requests under certain Sections of the IT Act to less than 10 hours from about 36 hours at present

Proactive monitoring tools

  • The government also wants that the service providers be asked to employ agencies for identification and removal of sexually violent content, particularly videos relating to child pornography and rape, besides deploying “proactive monitoring tools.”
  • The government is also keen on intermediaries sharing certain data with law enforcement agencies to identify the origin of such content.
  • The issue of tracing the origin of “unlawful” content is already a bone of contention between the government and WhatsApp, which was recently pulled up by the Centre after being misused to spread fake news.

Election Reforms

National Electoral Transformation (NETA)

Launched by

  • Former President Pranab Mukherjee

What

  • NETA mobile application allows voters to rate and review their political representatives.
  • This allows voters to rate and review the political representatives in their constituencies.

NETA app

  • The app aims to foster political accountability and transparency among leaders.
  • It is inspired by US’ approval system. Using it, voters can review and rate their elected representatives (MLAs, MPs and ministers) and hold them accountable as well.
  • It will also help to determine popularity of politicians and electoral candidates, using public polls.
  • This app is also seen as instrument to gauge voter sentiment across constituencies in the country.
  • It uses multiple mediums like the app, IVR calls, SMS and even offline activations with help of Aashawadi and Aanganwadi workers to gather data on evolving political inclinations.
  • This app was piloted during February 2018 bypolls in Rajasthan’s Ajmer and Alwar constituencies.
  • It was later used in Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections in May 2018. The app in its beta version has already seen over 1.5 crore voters rating and reviewing their local leaders.

Science and Technology

Bondi World’s first public blockchain bond named bondi Launched by World Bank

What

  • It will be created, allocated, transferred and managed by using blockchain technology.
  • Bondi is an acronym standing for Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument and also refers to tourist famous Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.
  • Funds raised from this bond will go towards sustainable development initiatives.

Enlighten about it

  • Bond-I is Ethereum blockchain bond denominated in Australian dollars, making it Kangaroo bond (referring to foreign bonds issued in Australia in local currency).
  • World Bank had chosen Commonwealth Bank of Australia (largest bank in Austria) was chosen as sole arranger for this bond.
  • The bond has two-year maturity and had raised Australian $100 million (US$73.16 million) after its issuance.
  • It was issued and distributed on blockchain platform that runs on an on private Ethereum network managed and operated by CBA and World Bank.
  • Funds raised through it will go towards endeavours tied to World Bank’s Reconstruction and Development division for sustainable development initiatives.
  • The launch of blockchain operated bond is of part of World Bank’s broader strategic focus to harness potential of latest technologies.
  • It had established Blockchain Innovation Lab in June 2017 to understand impact of blockchain and other disruptive technologies and harness their potential applications.

Enlighten about Blockchain Technology

  • Blockchain is decentralized incorruptible digital ledger for storing data across peer-to-peer network.
  • It decentralizes information without it being copied. Information is held on blockchain through shared database which can be accessed on real-time basis.
  • This database is not stored on physical servers but on cloud, which makes it easy to store unlimited data. Blockchain technology is not controlled by any single entity and has no single point of failure.
  • It is transparent and incorruptible. It is kind of self-auditing ecosystem of digital value and blockchain network automatically checks every transaction that happens in it.
  • The most popular application of technology so far has been cryptocurrency.
  • But it is not limited to, financial transactions and can be also used in smart contracts, supply chain management logistics, sharing economy, crowdfunding, governance, le storage and date management and Internet of Things (IoT).

Defence

The Stores, Proactive, Efficient and Expeditious Despatch of Extra Size/ Wt Consignment (SPEEDEX)

What

  • Indian Airforce has formally launched The Stores, Proactive, Efficient and Expeditious Despatch of Extra Size/ Wt Consignment (SPEEDEX) contract.
  • It was concluded in June 2018 between with Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd and Ashok Travel and Tours for air and surface component respectively.

SPEEDEX contract

  • The contract aims to overcome delay in piecemeal dispatch of consignment and to move operationally urgent stores by air and normal consignments by surface mode.
  • This will facilitate door to door pickup and delivery facility with fixed timelines, lesser than speed post. It will help to enhance IAF’s support maintenance activities and improve operational preparedness.
  • IAF had been using hired transport for movement of cargo to various IAF bases, which resulted in delay in dispatch of critically required stores.
  • Therefore, overcome this delay and reduce time taken for transportation of items and ensure early availability of stores to the field units this contract was formulated.

Defence

IAF Trans Himalayan Mountain Terrain Biking Expedition (The MTB)

What

  • To commemorate this event, IAF has launched a unique event in the form of Trans-Himalayan Mountain Terrain Biking Expedition (THE MTB).

Enlighten about the expedition

  • The team for the expedition consists of 18 Air warriors (12 riders and 06 support staff) which also includes two women officers.
  • The expedition started on 17 Aug 18 from Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in Ladakh for Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • DBO and Kibithu are the two forward most outposts of India in the North and in the East with DBO being the highest Airfield at 16614 feet.
  • The team will cover a distance of more than 4500 Km through mountain terrain of the states of J&K, HP, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Adventure ride that the team is undertaking involves camping and living outdoors, managing and surviving on their own in snow, rain and extreme climatic conditions throughout the expedition.
  • This is the first time that a mountain terrain biking expedition of such a magnitude is being undertaken by IAF.
  • The aim of this expedition is to promote spirit of adventure among Air Warriors to undertake daunting challenges and ‘Go Green’ initiative.

Report/Environment

A Report on Urban pollution Fourteen cities evaluated by the CSE for emission of greenhouse gases; Delhi fares the worst, while Bhopal emerges as the lowest polluter

What

  • An analysis of 14 Indian cities, including six megacities and eight metropolises, on how they fare when it comes to pollution and energy consumption from urban commuting, places Kolkata as the top-performing megacity.
  • Bhopal leads the list on the lowest overall emissions. Delhi fares the worst on the two counts.
  • The report titled ‘The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy’, compiled by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), was released

Enlighten about the report

  • In the study, with an aggregate of toxic emissions from urban commuting practices, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, the cities were ranked based on calculations of heat trapping (CO2).
  • The study took two approaches to rank the cities — one based on overall emission and energy consumption and the other on per person trip emissions and energy consumption.
  • Six megacities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) and eight metropolitan cities (Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi and Vijayawada) were evaluated.
  • In terms of overall emissions and energy consumption, Bhopal was followed by Vijayawada, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kochi and Jaipur. Kolkata, placed 7th overall, was better than the other five megacities as well as metropolitan cities like Pune and Ahmedabad.
  • Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai fared a little better than Delhi.
  • According to the report, though metropolitan cities scored better than megacities due to lower population, lower travel volume and lower vehicle numbers, they were at risk due to a much higher share of personal vehicle trips.

Motorisation

  • Kolkata provides a resounding message that despite population growth and rising travel demand, it is possible to contain motorisation with a well established public transport culture, compact city design, high street density and restricted availability of land for roads and parking
  • Mumbai, the report stated, had the highest GDP but a lower rate of motorisation compared with other megacities
  • Both Kolkata and Mumbai have grown with a unique advantage of a public transport spine well integrated with existing land use patterns
  • Chennai was the first city to adopt a non-motorised transport (NMT) policy in 2004 that aims to arrest the decline of walking or cycling by creating a network of footpaths, bicycle tracks and greenways

Sources – PIB The Hindu Indian Express