Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - November 22, 2017

Economy

Information exchange with India passed by Swiss Parliamentary Panel

  • The Commission for Economic Affairs and Taxes of the Council of States approved the proposed pact with India as also with 40 other countries
  • The proposal will now be submitted for approval from the upper chamber of Swiss Parliament, the Council of States, in the winter session beginning November 27

Enlighten about the exchange work –

  • If an Indian has a bank account in Switzerland, the bank concerned will disclose the financial account data to authorities there
  • the Swiss authority will automatically forward the information to its peer in India who can then examine the person’s details
  • To help check cross-border tax evasion, nearly 100 countries, including India and Switzerland, have so far committed to adopt this global standard for the automatic exchange of information (AEOI)

Cyber Security

Steps taken by China to secure Internet and maintain Strict Censorship

  • China’s military launched a website inviting the public to report leaks and fake news, as well as illegal online activities by military personnel, the latest step in a push to ensure Communist Party control over the internet.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has made China’s “cyber sovereignty” a top priority in his sweeping campaign to bolster security.
  • Cases of military personnel illegally opening online social accounts and publishing unauthorised information should also be reported, it said.

Prizes/Awards

Indira Gandhi Peace Prize – Former PM Manmohan Singh

  • The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded to Manmohan Singh for his leadership of the country and his achievements during the momentous 10 years from 2004 to 2014.

Indira Gandhi Peace Prize

  • The international award named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi was instituted in 1986.
  • It is the prestigious award accorded annually by Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust to individuals or organisations in recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom.
  • The prize carries a cash award of 2.5 million Indian rupees and a citation.
  • The panel constituted by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust consists of prominent national and international personalities including previous recipients.
  • The recipients are chosen from a pool of national and international nominees.
  • The last two recipients have been the Indian Space Research Organisation and the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Girish Karnad conferred with 2017 Tata Literature Live Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Actor-playwright Girish Karnad (79) was conferred with 2017 Tata Literature Live Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution in field of theatre at the eighth edition of the Tata Literature festival held in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Other category winners

  • Big Little Book Awards: Nabaneeta Dev Sen.
  • Book of the year, non-fiction: ‘Age of Anger: A History of the Present’ by Pankaj Mishra.
  • Book of the year, fiction: Easterine Kire’s ‘Son of the Thundercloud’.

Girish Karnad

  • He is famously known for writing plays
  • His works translated into various Indian languages. Some of his critically acclaimed plays are Yayati (1961), Tughlaq (1964), Hayavadana (1971), Naga-mandala (1988) and Taledanda (1990).
  • He also had made his acting impact through several films and theatre shows.
  • His screen debut in Kannada movie “Samskara” had won first President’s Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema.
  • Some of his critically acclaimed Bollywood movies are Nishaant, Manthan, Swami, Pukar, Iqbal and Dor.
  • He is also known for his role of Swami’s father in the TV series “Malgudi Days” based on R.K.Narayan’s books.
  • He had served as Director of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi, National Academy of Performing Arts.
  • He is recipient of Jnanpith Award, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards.

Defence

42nd International Congress of Military Medicine held in New Delhi

  • The 42nd World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) was held in New Delhi.
  • It was organised by Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • The theme of this edition of World Congress is “Military Medicine in Transition: Looking Ahead.”
  • The five-day event was being organised for the first time in India. It was the largest medical conference ever organised by AFMS.
  • It was attended by around 350-400 foreign delegates from 80 countries.

International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM)

  • The ICMM is international inter-governmental organisation established in 1921 after
  • World War I to strengthen cooperation between the health services of the armed forces worldwide.
  • Its secretariat is at Brussels, Belgium and currently has 112 nations as members.
  • ICMM’s main objective is to ensure that medical services personnel have means to work together, using similar practices, in operations involving international cooperation.
  • It works towards achieving this by encouraging activities at which scientific and technical experience is shared, by developing contacts with scientific community, by promoting regional events.
  • This enables it to pool resources and work experience of military medicine, both in theatre of operations and in support role in case of crisis situations.

$500 milloin Israeli missile deal scrapped by Defence Ministy, wants DRDO to make in India.

  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided to cancel the $500 million deal for Spike ATGM with Israel and has asked the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to indigenously develop and produce a Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) for the Army.
  • In anticipation of this deal, Rafael had entered into a joint venture with Kalyani group for missile production in India.
  • The missile sub-systems manufacturing facility , based near Hyderabad.
  • The matter was eventually resolved earlier this month with Army headquarters agreeing to retract the RFP( Request for Proposal) for ATGM launchers and missiles.

Why was the deal cancelled?

  • The decision to cancel the deal was based on the consideration that importing a foreign ATGM at this stage would adversely impact the programme for indigenous development of the weapon system by DRDO.
  • Earlier, India had also rejected an offer from US-based Raytheon-Lockheed Martin for Javelin ATGM in favour of the Israeli weapon system.

Will DRDO be able to develop indigenous MPATGM?

  • DRDO has successfully produced the Nag and Anamika ATGMs.
  • It is confident about providing the Army with an MPATGM of 3rd generation missile technology, at par with Spike, within three to four years.
  • It won’t also need any transfer of technology.

Which technology is Indian Army currently using?

  • The Army is currently using 2nd generation ATGMs – Konkurs and Milan 2T which do not have night-fighting capabilities.
  • Moreover, the Army currently has a shortage of around 68,000 missiles, with no missiles held as War Wastage Reserves against a government stipulation to build up stocks to last for at least 10 days of intense fighting.

What is SPIKE?

  • Spike MR missile is a 3rd generation, fire and forget, top attack, ATGM with a range of 2.5 km, which can operate both during the day and night.

Renewable Energy

Committee for an institutional framework on Electric Vehicles(EVs)

  • The government is planning to set up a committee for an institutional framework on large-scale adoption of electric vehicles in India as a viable clean energy mode
  • Main Objective: to help bring down alarming levels of pollution in big cities

Steps taken by the NITI Aayog

  • According to officials, government think-tank NITI Aayog has sought comments from Ministries, including heavy industry, environment, road, transport and highways, and power on the issue
  • The Centre has recently invited proposals from cities with population of above 10 lakh for extending grants under FAME India scheme to promote large-scale adoption of EVs in multi-modal public transport

Particulars of the proposed panel

  • The panel will be tasked with issues related to electric mobility, including setting up of charging stations across the country and subsidising the cost of electric vehicles on a long-term basis

Agreements

Government inks Loan Agreement with World Bank for Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project

  • The objective Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project is to increase solar generation capacity through establishment of large-scale parks in the country.

Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project

  • The project consists of two components viz. (i) Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks and (ii) Technical Assistance.
  • It will help to establish large-scale solar parks and support government’s plan to install 100 Gigawatts (GW) of solar power out of total renewable-energy target of 175 GW by 2022.

World Bank

  • World Bank is one of five institutions created at Breton Woods Conference in 1944.
  • It is part of the United Nations system, but its governance structure is different.
  • Its headquarter are situated at Washington DC, US.
  • World Bank provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.
  • It comprises only two institutions viz. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA).
  • In contrast, World Bank Group comprises three more viz. International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Social

Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill

  • The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has decided to junk the recommendations of a parliamentary committee report which was the first ever government document to recognize the rights of transgender persons to partnerships and marriage, so that they were no longer criminalized under IPC Section 377, apart from offering other rights.
  • The ministry is set to re-introduce its original version of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, in the next session of Parliament.

Recommendations made by the Parliamentary panel

  • The parliamentary panel report had faulted the government’s Bill for its failure to address several crucial issues.
  • Noting that “Transgender persons remain at risk of criminalisation under Section 377”, it asked that the Bill must recognise their civil rights such as marriage, divorce, adoption, whether under personal or secular laws.
  • It had also recommended to accord legal recognition and protection from Section 377 to, if not all sexual minorities, at least transgender persons whose welfare comes under the Social Justice Ministry.
  • The panel had also asked for reservations, strong provisions against discrimination, penalties on government officials who subject transgender persons to any kind of violence, skill training to wean them off begging, and separate public toilets for them.
  • Going beyond rights and welfare, the panel report also addressed the issue of sexual identity. It asked for provisions that provide “penal action against abortions of intersex foetuses and forced surgical assignment of sex of intersex infants.”
  • Most importantly, it redefined several terms in the Bill. To recognise alternative family structures such as adoptions of transgender children by the the Hijra or Aravani communities, it defined family in the Bill as “a group of people related by blood, marriage or by adoption of a transgender person”.

Economy

World Economic Outlook report of IMF

  • The report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranks over 200 countries in terms of per capita GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP)
  • India has moved up one position to 126th in terms of per capita GDP of countries while Qatar remains the world’s richest on this parameter, as per IMF data.
  • Among BRICS countries, India has the lowest per capita GDP.
  • Singapore, Brunei, Ireland and Norway are top five countries.

What is PPP?

  • Purchasing power parity (PPP) between two countries is the rate at which the currency of one country needs to be converted into that of a second country to ensure that a given amount of the first country’s currency will purchase the same volume of goods and services in the second country as it does in the first.

Internal Security

A new surrender policy for militants in J&K

  • A fresh surrender policy has been framed by the government, the Army and the J&K Police.
  • The government has taken inputs from all security agencies to frame the fresh policy
  • They said local militants in Jammu and Kashmir could use the helpline if they want to come back.
  • Earlier, the surrender policy was limited to those who crossed the Line of Control into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the early 1990s and were stuck there.
  • The new surrender policy is considering provision of “passports and jobs to any local youth who gives up the gun” and “support for his full assimilation into society.”