Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 19, 2018

Science & Technology

Plants may soon create own fertilizer from thin air Through transferring a key trait of nitrogen-fixing bacteria into plants

WHAT

  • It may soon be possible to engineer plants that can develop their own fertilizer by using atmospheric nitrogen to create chlorophyll for photosynthesis

WHOM

  • The researchers from Washington University in St. Louis engineered a bacteria that uses photosynthesis to create oxygen during the day, and at night, uses nitrogen to create chlorophyll for photosynthesis.

BENEFITS

  • It could eliminate the use of some human-made fertilizer, which has a high environmental cost.

This discovery could have a revolutionary effect on agriculture and the health of the planet

Bacteria to fix nitrogen

  • There are no plants that can fix nitrogen from the air, there is a subset of cyanobacteria that is able to do so.
  • The bacteria used in this research, Cyanothece, is able to fix nitrogen because it has a circadian rhythm.
  • Cyanothece photosynthesise during the day, converting sunlight to the chemical energy they use as fuel, and fix nitrogen at night, after removing most of the oxygen created during photosynthesis through respiration, researchers said.

Synechocystis

  • The research team took the genes from Cyanothece, responsible for this day-night mechanism, and put them into another type of cyanobacteria, Synechocystis, to coax it into fixing nitrogen from the air too.

Defence

Ex Pitch Black 2018

WHAT

  • The Indian Air Force for the first time is participating with fighter aircraft in Exercise Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18), which is scheduled from 24 Jul 18 to 18 Aug 18 in Australia.

Enlighten about the exercise

  • Ex Pitch Black is a biennial multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
  • The IAF contingent consists of 145 air-warriors including Garud team, 04 X Su-30 MKI, 01 X C-130 and 01 X C-17.
  • In Australia, the IAF will participate in the mega exercise, which will involve over 100 aircraft from around the globe.
  • The exercise will provide unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment.
  • Participation in multinational air exercise assumes importance in view of the continued engagement of the IAF with friendly foreign countries.

Chandrayaan-II Mission(Updates)

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to deploy a rover on the lunar surface through Chandrayaan-2 mission.
  • The instruments on Rover will conduct in-situ analysis of elements such as Na, Mg, Al, Si, etc; in the vicinity of landing site.
  • Mining and extracting Helium-3 deposits is not planned

Enlighten about GSLV-F10/Chandrayaan-2 Mission

Enlighten about Chandrayaan-2

  • India's second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.
  • After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover.
  • The mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
  • The Chandrayaan-2 weighing around 3290 kg and would orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon.
  • The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
  • GSLV-F10/Chandrayaan-2 Mission is planned during second half of 2018.

Cabinet Decisions

MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and "National Board of Accountants and Auditors, Tanzania

Objective

  • To establish mutual co-operation framework in the areas of Member Management, Professional Ethics, Technical Research, Continuing Professional Development, Professional Accountancy Training, Audit Quality Monitoring, Advancement of Accounting Knowledge, Professional and Intellectual Development.

Impact

  • The MoU will develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the best interest of ICAI members, students and their organizations.
  • The MoU will provide an opportunity to the ICAI members to expand their professional horizons

Enlighten about the MoU

  • There is a huge potential for ICAI and its members to help develop the Accountancy and Auditing profession in Africa.
  • ICAI's association with NBAA, Tanzania will help in indirect employment generation for Indian CAs through recognition and acceptability amongst Tanzania based employers.
  • It is also likely to build a positive image for Indian Chartered Accountants currently working in African market and those intending to move to the African & Tanzania market.

MoU between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance, Bahrain

Objective

Bahrain to work together to strengthen the accounting, financial and audit knowledge base within Bahrain.

Enlighten about the MoU

  • ICAI will provide technical assistance to BIBF by reviewing the current curriculum of BIBF related to accounting and finance;
  • The MoU will provide an opportunity to the ICAI members to expand their professional horizon and simultaneously ICAI will become an entity to aid strengthen building of local national capabilities.
  • Since Bahrain does not have a local professional accountancy Institute and it is the ICAI which has the collaboration with BIBF, this in turn is likely to build positive impact for Indian Chartered Accountants currently working in Bahraini markets and those intending to move to this country relatively easier.

Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) signed in 2010 between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ireland approved again by the Cabinet

Objective

  • For promotion of mutual co-operation framework for the advancement of accounting knowledge, professional and intellectual development, advancing the interests of their respective members and positively contributing to the development of the accounting profession in Ireland and India.
  • The MRA will provide opportunities to members of both the parties to be exposed to best practices of either country and thus expand their scalability to cater to demand of newer markets.

Enlighten about MRA

  • A mutual recognition agreement (MRA) is an international agreement by which two or more countries agree to recognize one another's conformity assessments.
  • A mutual recognition arrangement is an international arrangement based on such an agreement.
  • MRAs have become increasingly common since the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995.
  • They have been forged within and among various trade blocs, including APEC and the European Union.
  • MRAs are most commonly applied to goods, such as various quality control MRAs.
  • However, the term is sometimes applied to agreements on the recognition of professional qualifications as well.

Enlighten about The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, viz.
  • The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 for regulating the profession of Chartered Accountancy in the country.
  • The Institute, functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India.
  • The ICAI is the second largest professional body of Chartered Accountants in the world, with a strong tradition of service to the Indian economy in public interest.
  • The affairs of the ICAI are managed by a Council in accordance with the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988.
  • The Council constitutes of 40 members of whom 32 are elected by the Chartered Accountants and remaining 8 are nominated by the Central Government generally representing the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders.

Memorandum of Understanding amongst BRICS Nations on the Regional Aviation Partnership

  • The Union Cabinet has today approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) amongst BRICS Nations on the Regional Aviation Partnership Cooperation viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • The objective is that BRICS countries would benefit from the establishing of an institutional framework to cooperate in the field of civil aviation.

Among the areas of cooperation, following areas have been identified:

  • Public Policies and best practices in regional services;
  • Regional Airports;
  • Airport infrastructure management and air navigation services;
  • Technical cooperation between regulatory agencies;
  • Innovation;
  • Environment Sustainability; including deliberation of global initiatives;
  • Qualification and Training;
  • Other fields as mutually determined

The MoU signifies an important landmark in the civil aviation relations between India and other BRICS Member States and has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges amongst the BRICS Nations.

Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

Government increases sugarcane FRP by Rs 20 per quintal to Rs 275

    The decision to hike the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane for the 2018-19 marketing year was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) had recommended Rs 20 per quintal hike in the FRP of sugarcane at Rs 275 per quintal for the next season. Currently, the FRP is set at ₹255 a quintal at a 9.5% recovery rate. With farmers increasingly switching to higher sugar-yielding cane varieties, the new FRP will now be linked to a 10% recovery rate.

Recovery rate

  • The recovery rate for sugar represents the amount of sugar that can be extracted from cane; thus, if 10 kg of sugar is produced from 100 kg of cane, it has a 10% recovery rate.
  • The FRP, which is the minimum price that sugar mills have to pay to sugarcane farmers, is Rs 255 per quintal for the 2017-18 season.
  • The CACP is a statutory body that advises the government on the pricing policy for major farm produce. Usually, the government accepts the CACP recommendations.
  • The increase is also likely to result in states like Uttar Pradesh, which do not follow the centrally-announced FRP, raising their own advisory prices.
  • Major sugarcane producing states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana fix their own sugarcane price called 'state advisory prices' (SAPs), which are usually higher than the Centre's FRP.

Enlighten about India’s Sugar Industry

  • India's sugar production is estimated to rise by 10 per cent to touch a new record of 35.5 million tonnes in the next marketing year
  • Sugar production in India, the world's second largest producer after Brazil, is estimated to reach a record 32.25 million tonnes in the current 2017-18
  • The sugar sector is an important agro-based sector that impacts the livelihood of about 5 crore sugarcane farmers and their dependents and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills, apart from those employed in various ancillary activities including farm labour and transportation.

Enlighten about Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP)

  • The FRP has been determined on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and after consultation with State Governments and other stake-holders.
  • Recommended FRP has been arrived at by taking into account various factors such as cost of production, overall demand-supply situation, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade prices of primary by-products, and likely impact of FRP on general price level and resource use efficiency

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , live mint ISRO official website,