Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - November 16, 2017

Government Initiatives

Government launches National Power Portal

  • The Union Ministry of Power launched National Power Portal (NPP), a Centralized Platform for Collation and Dissemination of Indian power sector information.
  • The system has been conceptualized, designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • It can be accessed at http://npp.gov.in.
  • Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is nodal agency for implementation and operational control of NPP. ‎

Enlighten about National Power Portal (NPP)

  • NPP is centralised system for Indian Power Sector.
  • It will facilitate online data capture, input (daily, monthly, annually) from generation, transmission and distribution utilities in country.
  • ‎It will also disseminate Power Sector Information (operational, capacity, demand, supply, consumption etc) through various analysed reports, graphs, statistics for generation, transmission and distribution at all India, state, regional level for central, state and private sector.
  • NPP is integrated with associated systems of CEA, Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and other major utilities.
  • It will serve as single authentic source of power sector information to apex bodies, utilities for purpose of analysis and planning, monitoring and for public users.
  • The NPP Dashboard has been designed and developed to disseminate analyzed information about sector through Geographic Information System (GIS) enabled navigation and visualization chart windows on capacity, generation, transmission, distribution at national, state, DISCOM, town, feeder level and scheme based funding to states.
  • ‎The Dashboard will act as single point interface for all Power Sector applications launched previously by Power Ministry like TARANG, UJALA, GARV, URJA, VIDYUT PRAVAH, MERIT. ‎
  • The system will be available 24×7 and ensures effective and timely collection of data. It will standardized data parameters and formats for seamless exchange of data between NPP and respective systems at utilities.

Important Personalities

Cornelia Sorabji: Google’s Doodle honours India’s first woman advocate

  • Search engine giant Google doodle celebrated the 151st birthday of Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to practice law in India and England.
  • She was pioneer who helped open up higher education as well as the legal profession to women.
  • She was first woman to graduate in law from India as early as 1892 and first Indian national to attend British University.

Cornelia Sorabji

  • Cornelia was born on November 15, 1866 in Nashik in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency of colonial India.‎
  • She was the first woman to study law at Oxford University and Bombay University.
  • In India, she took the LLB exams under the Bombay University to get law degree, one which she was denied in Oxford.‎
  • She was first woman to practice law in India and England. ‎
  • Her career in law was not free from trials and tribulations.
  • She was barred from practising her profession in both Britain and India.
  • Even after clearing the law examination in Allahabad High Court in 1899, she was not acknowledged as barrister.

Her contributions include:

  • She took cause of purdahnashins, veiled women who were forbidden to interact with men outside their families.
  • ‎She helped widowed purdahnashins get their rightful share of the property, helped them pursue education and secure employment.
  • She succeeded in pursuing the government to appoint Lady Assistants to the courts to help women litigants.

Autobiographies

  • She had published two autobiographies viz. India Calling: The Memories of Cornelia Sorabji, ‎India Recalled, a biography of her parents.
  • She died on July 6, 1954.

Economy

Government launches BHARAT-22 Exchange Traded Fund

  • The Union Government launched BHARAT-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) managed by ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund targeting an initial amount of about Rs. 8,000 Crore.
  • Bharat 22 Index comprise of 22 stocks including those of central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), public sector banks (PSBs) and its holdings under the Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).

Enlighten about it

  • ETF has been created Index S&P BSE BHARAT-22 INDEX. It is unique blend of shares of key CPSEs, Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and also Government owned shares in blue chip private companies.
  • It is well-diversified ETF spanning six sectors — basic materials, energy, finance, industrials, FMCG and utilities with a 20% cap on each sector and a 15% cap on each stock.
  • The sector wise weightage in the Bharat 22 Index is basic materials (4.4%), energy (17.5%), finance (20.3%), FMCG (15.2%), industrials (22.6%), and utilities (20%).
  • This combination makes the Index broad-based and diversified. It has retirement fund as separate category of Investors.
  • The banking segment includes stocks from State Bank of India (SBI), Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda (BoB), Indian Bank, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation. The energy segment includes Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BP), and Coal India.
  • The BHARAT-22 ETF is expected to benefit long term and retail investors by providing an opportunity of participation in equity stocks of Government run companies and earn stable returns. It will help to speed up Government’s disinvestment programme budgeted to raise a record Rs 72,500 crore in the FY 2018.

Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)

  • ETF is index funds that offer the security of a fund and liquidity of stock listed and traded on exchanges.
  • Much like index funds they mirror the index, commodity, bonds or basket of assets.
  • They are similar to mutual funds in a certain manner but are more liquid as they can be sold quickly on stock exchanges like shares.
  • The ETFs trading value is based on the net asset value of the underlying stocks that it represents.
  • Their price changes daily as they are traded throughout the day.

Asia- Pacific

15th Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team Conference held in India

  • The 15th Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT) Conference was held in New Delhi. It is first ever conference to be held in India and South Asia.
  • It was organised by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under the aegis of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
  • The theme of conference was “Building Trust in the Digital Economy”. 300 delegates from 21 economies especially from Asia Pacific region, USA, Europe, Industry, Academia, Government and Media attended the conference.

Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT)

  • APCERT is coalition of CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Team) and CSIRTs (Computer Security Incident Response Teams) located in Asia Pacific region.
  • It operational mandate is to contribute to the Internet security with in the region, based on information sharing, trust and cooperation. Currently, APCERT consists of 30 Operational Members from 21 economies and 3 Supporting Members.
  • It aims to help create a safe, clean and reliable cyber space in the Asia Pacific Region through global collaboration.

10th South Asia Economic Summit held in Nepal

  • The 10th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES-2017) was held in Kathmandu, Nepal with theme “Deepening Economic Integration for Inclusive and Sustainable Development in South Asia”.
  • The 3-day summit was organised by National Planning Commission and Ministry of Commerce of Nepal and South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, Nepal.

South Asia Economic Summit

  • South Asia Economic Summit is like Davos- World Economic Forum event in South Asia.
  • It was started in 2008.
  • It brings together stakeholders from government, research, private sector, academics and civil society to generate innovative and actionable ideas for consideration by region’s policymakers and SAARC.

Defence

Sagar Kavach: Joint security exercise between Odisha and West Bengal

  • The Governments of Odisha and neighbouring West Bengal conducted joint security exercise named ‘Sagar Kavach’ to further tighten the existing coastal security mechanism along the 630 km long coastline.
  • It was security exercise to check efficacy of security parameters and preparedness of various security forces like Indian Navy, Marine police force, Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Forest Department, Fisheries and district administration.

Enlighten about the exercise

  • In the exercise, they had organised simulated terror attack named ‘red force’ at random place along Odisha or West Bengal coast and check effectiveness of marine policing.
  • The participants in drill were personnel from Indian Navy, ICG at Paradip and Haldia, 18 marine police stations in Odisha and 12 police stations of West Bengal.
  • Moreover, teams of Customs and port officials, fisheries department officials will also take part in the drill. The drill re-valuated xisting Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) mechanisms.

Minority Affairs

Hunar Haat

  • The fourth Hunar Haat exhibition was recently organised by the Ministry of Minority Affairs at India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
  • Hunar Haats are organised by Ministry of Minority Affairs under USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme.
  • The USTTAD scheme aims at preserving & promoting the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the Minority communities. This is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry.

Significance of Hunar Haats:

  • Hunar Haats have become a successful mission to provide employment and income generation opportunities with platforms for marketing the products of master artisans, craftsmen and culinary experts belonging to the minority communities.
  • It envisages at boosting the skill of craftsmen, weavers and artisans who are already engaged in the traditional ancestral work

Social

Accessible India Campaign

  • On the occasion of Children’s Day, the winners of ‘Drawing and Painting Competition on Accessible India Campaign’ were awarded at a felicitation event organised by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) under M/o Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Enlighten about the Campaign

  • The aim of the Campaign is to make a barrier free and conducive environment for Divyangjans all over the country.
  • The campaign has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.

Implementation:

  • For creating universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, the campaign has been divided into three verticals:
    Built Environment; Transport and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.
  • The Built Environment Accessibility component of Accessible India Campaign entails following targets:
    - Completing accessibility audit of at least 25-50 most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them fully accessible by the end of this year;
    - Making 50% of all the government buildings of NCT and all the State capitals fully accessible by December 2018;
    - Completing accessibility audit of 50% of government buildings and making them fullyaccessible in 10 most important cities/towns of States not covered in targets (i) and (ii) by December 2019.

Solar Energy

International Solar Alliance

  • A Curtain Raiser Event for the Founding Ceremony of the International Solar Alliance was recently held at Bonn, Germany.

Enlighten about the International Solar Alliance (ISA):

  • The ISA is a treaty-based alliance of 121 prospective solar-rich Member Nations situated fully or partially between the Tropics, and aims at accelerating development and deployment of solar energy globally.
  • The ISA was jointly launched on 30 November 2015 by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and then-President of France, H.E. François Hollande, on the side lines of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 21 (CoP21) at Paris, France.

Significance of ISA:

  • More than 120 countries are geographically located in the tropics, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, either fully or partially.
  • These places get ample sunlight throughout the year, making solar energy an easily available resources.
  • These countries also happen to be ones where maximum growth in energy demand is expected in the coming years, considering that these are areas where current production is woefully short of requirement.
  • The ISA is an effort to ensure that as these countries rapidly ramp up their electricity production, they should predominantly use solar energy and avoid fossil fuels.
  • ISA will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation on 6 December 2017. 44 countries have already signed the ISA treaty, and many more are set to join.

Intellectual Property Rights

Rasogolla hits sweet spot, gets GI tag

  • The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry and Intellectual Property India has presented the Geographical Indication Tag status to Banglar Rasogolla of West Bengal and Mamallapuram stone sculptures of Tamil Nadu.
  • The sculptures from Mamallapuram were known to be carved in stone with characteristics of intricate designing chiselled finely, keeping with the spirit of the surrounding Pallava art and architecture.
  • The description includes cave architecture, rock architecture, structural temples, open sculptures, relief sculptures and painting/portrait sculptures.

Rasgolla:

  • According to one of the documents submitted by West Bengal citing historical evidence, Rasogollas invented in the Nadia district of West Bengal are 60 years old (lower end time frame).
  • Haradhan, a confectioner of village Phulia is named as the inventor. West Bengal has given half-a-dozen historical evidences to back its claim.