Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 31, 2018

Human Resource Development

3rd edition of World’s Biggest Open Innovation Model - Smart India Hackathon- 2019 launched For the 1st time, Private industry/organisations and NGOs can also send their problem statements to students under SIH-2019


  • The third edition of World’s Biggest Open Innovation Model - Smart India Hackathon 2019 was launched by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar

Organising Partners

  • MHRD, AICTE, Persistent Systems and i4c have joined hands to make a hat trick with their highly popular and innovative Smart India Hackathon initiative (SIH).

What is SIH-2019

  • It 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.

Enlighten about SIH 2019

  • In this new edition of SIH-2019 over 1 Lakh+ students from around 3000 institutions will have the opportunity to work on challenges faced within the Public Sector Organizations and the Union Ministries.
  • And for the 1st time, it will also include problem statements from industry as well as NGOs.
  • Students would get a chance to create world class solutions for some of the top organizations in the world, it would also be a chance for organizations to meet the brightest young minds and brand themselves from hiring perspective.
  • The students from IISc, IITs, NITs and AICTE/UGC approved institutions will also compete to creatively solve problems and offer technical solutions.
  • Like its prequel, 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).

Some more benefits to join SIH are as follows:

  • Opportunity to brand your organization nationally
  • Recognition and visibility for your organization across all technical institutions in India
  • Young techies from all over the country offer out-of-the-box solutions to your problems
  • Be part of World’s biggest Open Innovation Movement
  • Opportunity to work with some of the best talent in the country
  • Technology Students across India compete to creatively solve problems and offer technical solutions
  • Harness expertise of lakhs of students from IISc, IITs, NITs and AICTE/UGC approved institutions

Enlighten about Smart India Hackathon 2017 and Smart India Hackathon 2018

Smart India Hackathon 2017

  • SIH 2017 saw problem statements coming from 29 union ministries of India.
  • Out of the top ideas from this edition, 20 projects were mentored and creatively developed.
  • They are now ready for handover to the concerned ministries and deployment.

Smart India Hackathon 2018

  • It involved 27 union ministries and 17 state governments and for the first time introduced a special Hardware edition.
  • The ministries are now in the process of shortlisting some of the best ideas from the 200+ winning teams (under both software and hardware editions) and the process of mentoring and developing full-fledged solutions will soon be kick started


Google for India event Project Navlekha


  • Search engine giant Google


  • To make online content relevant for more Indian users especially in local languages.

Enlighten about some facts

  • India is second largest population of internet users in the world hence it is the important market for Google
  • The amount of online content in Indian languages is only 1% of what is available in English.

Enlighten about Project Navlekha

  • Navlekha is word derived from Sanskrit meaning “a new way to write.”
  • This project aims to bring 135,000 local language publishers online by making web hosting smooth and simple.
  • It will allow local publishers who do not have websites to make their offline content t for online publishing in less than a minute.
  • It also comprises tool that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to allow publishers to simply scan documents or PDFs and create instant web pages on the platform.
  • Google will help these publishers to receive training and support and a branded page domain

Bilateral Relations

Horizon 2020

Collaboration Partners

  • Union Government and European Union (EU)

Implementing agencies

  • India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and EU have committed Euro 15 million (Rs. 240 crore).

Enlighten about Horizon 2020

  • Under this project, cost-effective and affordable influenza vaccine will be developed.
  • It aims at advancing the efficacy, safety, duration of immunity, and reactivity against an increased breadth of influenza strains. Rs. 240 crore fund has been earmarked for research and innovation actions under this project.
  • The vaccine will be developed by EU-India consortia by bringing together multi-disciplinary stakeholders who represent any part of chain from lab to market.
  • It will comprise minimum of three applicants from Europe and minimum three applicants from India.

Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

ICAR organizes two-day conference on Motivating & Attracting Youth in Agriculture (MAYA)


  • There are emerging challenges of empowering the youth to improve their skills and to enable them to stay in the agricultural enterprise in rural situation.


  • To address these issues, certain economic models are to be created in the villages for developing certain youth entrepreneurs in rural areas who can be a guide to others in the villages.

Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA)

  • Realizing the importance of rural youth in agricultural development especially from the point of view of food security of the country, ICAR had initiated a program on “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) during 2015-16.
  • Under this scheme, special efforts are being taken up to attract the rural youth under the age of 35 years in agriculture so that the increase in the migration of rural youth towards cities is controlled.

Mission for Youth in Agriculture

  • Youth should to be trained as employer rather than employment seeker.
  • The farmers in India need one stop solution for all their problems like a multi-speciality hospital.
  • Dr MS Swaminathan, the father of green revolution in India, addressed online and said that youth have potential to revolutionize agriculture in India.

Enlighten about the conference

  • The two day conference provides an opportunity to all stakeholders to interact and discuss various options and avenues for not only attracting youth to agriculture but even motivating them towards entrepreneurship in agriculture and allied fields.
  • More than 200 participants including farmers from various states, senior research, development and policy related officials/managers from national and regional organizations, NGOs, the private sector, education and training institutions, and other members of civil society participated to discuss ways to motivate and attract youth in agriculture (MAYA).
  • The regional conference has attracted participants from Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Human Resource Development

Innovation Cell and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) launched To foster culture of innovation in Higher Education Institutions


  • HRD Ministry has launched the Innovation Cell and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)


  • 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.


  • 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.

Fact check

  • India has already been improving on global stage in terms of Innovation ranking from 86th place, 5 years ago, to 57th place this year.

Enlighten about 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 (ICs) 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.
  • 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.

Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)

  • To promote innovation - Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) has also been launched .
  • It will encourage healthy competiveness among Higher Educational Institutions.
  • 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.
  • This ecosystem will encourage, inspire and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas and processes resulting in innovative activities in their formative years.
  • 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.

Commerce & Industry

6TH RCEP Ministerial Meeting begins in Singapore

  • The meeting consisting of 10 ASEAN countries and six ASEAN FTA partners namely, India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The meeting is being held on 30th-31stAugust 2018.
  • India has been constructively engaged in the RCEP negotiations with an aim to work towards a high quality, balanced and inclusive outcomes that take into consideration sensitivities and interests of member countries.
  • The Ministers will give guidance to the Trade Negotiating Committee of RCEP to enable negotiations move forward.

On 1stSeptember 2018, Suresh Prabhu will take part in the

  • 6th East-Asia Economic Ministers’ Meeting(EAS-EMM) will be held on 1st September 2018
  • It will be attended by Trade and Economic Ministers of 10 ASEAN countries and 8 Dialogue Partners of ASEAN including India, China, US, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Ministers will deliberate on the current global economic situation and exchange views on promotion of rule-based multilateral trading system and its importance to the stability and effective functioning of the global economic order.
  • This will be followed by the 15thIndia-ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) which will take stock of the current level of trade and economic engagement between India and ASEAN.
  • During the meeting the Indian Commerce Minister will take up the issue of initiating the review meeting of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement with a view to enhancing utilization of the bilateral FTA for mutual benefit.


  • It is amongst the fastest growing markets in the world and presents substantial trade and investments opportunities for India.
  • ASEAN has emerged as the second largest trade partner of India in 2017-18 with bilateral trade valued at US$ 81.33 billion, comprising 10.58% of India’s total trade with the world.

Enlighten about Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • It is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six Asia-Pacific states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • The free trade agreement is scheduled and expected to be signed in November 2018 during the ASEAN Summit and Related Summit in Singapore, after the first RCEP summit was held on 14 November 2017 in Manila, Philippines.
  • RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement which includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India


Indian Naval ship Sahyadri reaches Darwin, Australia for exercise KAKADU 2018


  • INS Sahyadri entered the Port of Darwin, Australia on 29 Aug 18 to participate in Exercise KAKADU 2018.

Exercise KAKADU

  • It was started in 1993, is the premier multilateral regional maritime engagement exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
  • The exercise is held biennially in Darwin and the Northern Australian Exercise Areas (NAXA).
  • Exercise KAKADU derives its name from Kakadu National Park, which is a protected area in the northern territory of Australia, 171 km south-east of Darwin. KAKADU 2018,
  • The 14th edition of the exercise, is scheduled from 29 Aug – 15 Sep 18 and would see participation from 23 warships, one submarine, 45 aircraft, 250 marines and approx 52 foreign staff from over 25 different countries.
  • Indian Navy’s participation in KAKADU 18 provides an excellent opportunity to engage with regional partners and undertake multinational maritime activities ranging from constabulary operations to high-end maritime warfare in a combined environment, aimed at enhancing interoperability and development of common understanding of procedures for maritime operations.

Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Environment Minister Releases India’s National Redd+ Strategy


  • Release of ‘National REDD+ Strategy India
  • 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.
  • A 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.

Enlighten about REDD+

  • It simply 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.

Paris agreement

  • 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.


Government of India and ADB Sign $375 Million Loan to Improve Irrigation Efficiency in Madhya Pradesh


  • Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $375 million loan agreement to contribute to double farming incomes in Madhya Pradesh by expanding irrigation networks and system efficiency.
  • The Madhya Pradesh Irrigation Efficiency Improvement Project will develop 125,000 hectares of new, highly efficient and climate resilient irrigation networks and improve water use efficiency in more than 400 villages, benefiting over 800,000 people in Madhya Pradesh.

Enlighten about the project

  • The Project will support the efforts of Government of Madhya Pradesh for irrigation expansion and modernization plan by maximizing irrigation efficiency and water productivity
  • The ADB funds will be used to develop a large-scale pressurized and automated irrigation system for boosting irrigation efficiency
  • The Project will support institutional innovations through introduction of a design-build-operate contracting approach.
  • The project will focus on two large irrigation systems. At the first of these—the Kundalia irrigation project
  • The project will also help farmers to adopt micro-irrigated agriculture including high-value crops.
  • For the second large irrigation system, the existing Sanjay Sarovar Irrigation Project, the project will prepare a comprehensive modernization feasibility study and other preparatory work for a soundly designed project.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • It is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966,which is headquartered at Manila, Philippines.
  • From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members' capital subscriptions.
  • ADB releases an annual report that summarizes its operations, budget and other materials for review by the public.
  • ABD is an official United Nations Observer.
  • Japan and United States hold the largest proportion of shares at 15.607%. China holds 6.444%, India holds 6.331%, and Australia holds 5.786%.
  • ABD is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.

Sources – The Hindu , Indian Express , Vikaspedia , PIB