Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 2, 2018

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog ranks 108 aspirational districts on development progress

  • 49 key performance indicators have been mapped across five areas: Health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic Infrastructure

Enlighten about the 1st delta ranking of aspirational districts

  • Dahod district in Gujarat has been ranked first among 108 ‘aspirational districts’ by the NITI Aayog on the basis of incremental development over two months from March 31 this year. West Sikkim district stood second.
  • The NITI Aayog has ranked 108 districts on the basis of the improvements in five developmental areas that they have made from March 31 to May 31 this year.
  • The Transformation of Aspirational Districts Programme was launched by the Prime Minister that aims to develop some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.
  • Begusarai in Bihar (ranked 100) and Kupwara in Jammu & Kashmir (ranked 101) are the worst performers according to data released by the NITI Aayog.
  • The Districts started entering data from April 1, 2018 in the Champions of Change Dashboard and 108 districts out of total 112, participated in this ranking
  • The purpose of this ranking is to spur a sense of competition among the dynamic teams in the districts.
  • The knowledge partners of NITI Aayog – Tata Trusts, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and ID Insights - are expected to provide data on 13 survey indicators and have validated values for 29 data-points.
  • The next ranking will take into account these inputs and will be released soon thereafter
  • The ranking is also a tool to identify sectors and indicator specific challenges so that Team India, which is driving this programme, can take immediate corrective measures.
  • The districts started entering data from April 1, 2018 in the “Champions of Change” dashboard. 108 districts out of total 112 participated in this ranking.

Enlighten about Aspirational Districts

  • Launched by the Hon’ble PM in January, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme aims to quickly and effectively transform these districts.
  • The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement.
  • With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
  • This program focusses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy.
  • Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus.
  • Districts are prodded and encouraged to first catch-up with the best district within their state, and subsequently aspire to become one of the best in the country, by competing with, and learning from others in the spirit of competitive & cooperative federalism.

Dashboard for real time monitoring

  • NITI Aayog in partnership with the Government of Andhra Pradesh has created a dashboard for monitoring the real-time progress of the districts.
  • District Information Officers underwent training on March 23, 2018 on how to enter data to the dashboard and generate MIS (Management Information System) reports.
  • On April 1, 2018 districts will start entering data. Beginning May 2018, districts will be ranked based on progress made (‘delta ranking’) on a real-time basis.
  • The dashboard will be open to the public to monitor the progress of the aspirational districts.

State Specific

Enlighten about The Bhakti saint, Ramanujacharya The statue of the Bhakti saint marking a millennium will be the world’s second tallest

  • The world’s second tallest statue of a seated figure, at 216 feet (to be inaugurated soon)
  • Where - Shamsabad (Hyderabad)
  • it is a tribute to the Bhakti saint, Ramanujacharya.
  • Currently, the Great Buddha of Thailand is the tallest statue, at 302-feet.
  • Once the Ramanujacharya statue is unveiled, it will become the second tallest

Enlighten about the saint

  • The saint lived 1,000 years ago and travelled widely, spreading the message of equality
  • Ramanuja (traditionally, 1017–1137 ) was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and one of the most important exponents of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism
  • He was born in a Tamil Brāhmin family in the village of Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.
  • His philosophical foundations for devotionalism were influential to the Bhakti movement


Golden Globe Race


  • Commander Abhilash Tomy of the Indian Navy, a well-known sailor, is participating in the historic Golden Globe Race (GGR), which commenced from the Les Sables d’Olonne harbour in western France on Sunday.
  • He is the only invitee from Asia to the prestigious GGR.
  • There are 18 participants, including one woman sailor, in the race.

Enlighten about Golden Globe Race (GGR)

  • The participants are required to sail around the world, single-handed and non-stop.
  • The uniqueness of the race is that boat designs and technology newer than 1968 is not permitted, so the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite communication or modern navigational aids is forbidden
  • Participants will rely on traditional means of navigation, such as physical maps and observing stars, as they sail through the high seas in a 30,000-mile journey.
  • The sailors are provided with a satellite phone for medical emergencies.
  • The GGR is being conducted by U.K.-based sailing pioneer Sir Robin Knox Johnston to commemorate 50 years since the world’s first solo non-stop circumnavigation by him on-board the Indian-built boat Suhaili, in 1968.

About Commander Tomy

  • He is the only Indian to complete solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in 2012-13, on-board the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Mhadei, and has covered 53,000 nautical miles under sail.
  • He is representing India in the indigenously built sailing vessel Thuriya, a replica of Suhaili.
  • The race is expected to end at Les Sables d’Olonne in April 2019.

Agni-V to be part of nuclear arsenal soon With a range of 5,000 km, it will act as a deterrent

  • India’s longest-range ballistic missile, Agni-V, will be inducted into the nuclear arsenal very soon
  • The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) with a range of over 5,000 km can reach most parts of China.

Enlighten about the missile

  • The missile features the latest technologies for navigation and improved accuracy.
  • Earlier variants of the Agni family of long-range missiles have already been deployed.
  • The Agni series of missiles constitute the backbone of India’s nuclear weapons delivery, which also includes the Prithvi short-range ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft.
  • The submarine-based nuclear arsenal, which assures second strike capability in the face of the proclaimed no-first-use policy, is taking shape.
  • While one nuclear ballistic missile has been inducted, more submarines and longer range submarine-launched ballistic missiles are under various stages of development.

RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise) INS Sahyadri - Adjudged runner-up in an innovation competition during the harbour phase of the exercise

INS Sahyadri

  • Indigenously built stealth frigate, INS Sahyadri, which is participating in RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise), the world’s largest international maritime exercise, has been adjudged runner-up in an innovation competition during the harbour phase of the exercise.

Rim of the Pacific Exercise

  • The 26th edition of RIMPAC, hosted by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), commenced in the middle of last week off the Hawaii coast with the participation of about 25,000 personnel and more than 45 surface ships and submarines from 25 countries.
  • INS Sahyadri presented the ‘idea of integrating yoga into our daily life as technology for well-being during extended deployments for ships

Enlighten about RIMPAC

  • The Rim of the Pacific Exercise, is the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise.
  • RIMPAC is held biennially during June and July of even-numbered years from Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • It is hosted and administered by the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet, headquartered at Pearl Harbor, in conjunction with the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and Hawaii National Guard forces under the control of the Governor of Hawaii.
  • The US invites military forces from the Pacific Rim and beyond to participate.
  • With RIMPAC the United States Pacific Command seeks to enhance interoperability between Pacific Rim armed forces, ostensibly as a means of promoting stability in the region to the benefit of all participating nations.

Enlighten about RIMPAC 2018

  • In RIMPAC-2018 - 26 countries are participating, including India.
  • The exercise will be held from June 27 to August 2, 2018 and around Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
  • The theme for this year’s RIMPAC exercise is “Capable Adaptive, Partners.”
  • Four countries Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating for first time.
  • US had withdrawn invitation of Chinese navy response to China’s continued illegal militarisation of islands in disputed South China Sea

Ministry of Water Resources

Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) celebrates 50th foundation day

Enlighten about WAPCOS

  • It was incorporated as a Public Sector Enterprise in 1969 by the Government of India.
  • It is a techno-commercial organization under the aegis of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • WAPCOS has done Survey & Investigation/Pre-Feasibility/DPRs for more than 550 Projects in Irrigation, Water Resources and Agricultural etc.
  • The company has contributed in development of over 15 Million Ha irrigation potential; more than 200 projects in ports and inland navigation; over 500 projects in water supply and sanitation, rural and urban development, roads and highway engineering,
  • EIAs for over 250 projects in the fields of irrigation, hydro/thermal power, ports and harbours in India and abroad.

WAPCOS – an Indian Multinational

  • The company has successfully completed/on-going consultancy assignments in countries covering Asia, Africa, Middle East, and the Pacific Islands and is operating in more than 45 Countries, at present.
  • It has grown into a true Indian multinational with footprints across the globe in line with Government of India’s flagship programmes on “Skill India” and “Make in India”.
  • The company has successfully undertaken some of the most challenging projects in inhospitable circumstances around the world; e.g. Afghan-India Friendship (Salma) Dam Project, Afghanistan.
  • WAPCOS today has emerged as one of India’s best performing “Mini Ratna-I” CPSE.

National Doctors Day – 1 July

  • The National Doctors' Day is celebrated on July 1 all across India to honour the legendary physician and the second Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy.
  • He was born on July 1, 1882 and died on the same date in 1962, aged 80 years.
  • Dr Roy was honoured with the country's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna on February 4, 1961.
  • The celebration of the Doctors' Day is an attempt to emphasise on the value of doctors in our lives and to offer them our respects by commemorating one of their greatest representatives.
  • India has shown remarkable improvements in the medical field and July 1 pays a perfect tribute to all the doctors who have made relentless efforts towards achieving this goal irrespective of the odds.

Sources – PIB, The Hindu , Business Standard , NITI Aayog website