Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - November 8, 2017

Defence

NIRBHAY Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile successfully flight tested

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted flight test of its indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’ from test range at Chandipur, Odisha.
  • It was the fifth experimental test of Nirbhay missile system. It achieved all mission objectives completely from lift-off till the final splash, boosting the confidence of all scientists associated with the trial.

NIRBHAY Missile

  • It is India’s first indigenously designed and developed Long Range Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile.
  • It has blended missile and aeronautical technologies which allows it to take off vertically like missile and cruise horizontally like an aircraft.
  • It is two stage missile powered by solid rocket motor booster developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL)
  • It has operational range of 1000 km and can carry warheads of up to 300 kg including nuclear warheads. It can be launched from various kind of platforms
  • It has capability to loiter and cruise at 0.7 Mach, at altitudes as low as 100m.
  • It is terrain hugging missile which keeps on encircling the area of its target for several minutes and then hits bull’s eye’ on an opportune time.
  • It is difficult to detect by enemy’s radars. It is capable to engage several targets in a single flight.
  • The guidance, control and navigation system of missile is configured around indigenously designed Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) and MEMS based Inertial Navigation System (INS) along with GPS system.

United Nations

UN-India Partnership Fund: India to contribute additional $100 million

  • India has pledged additional US $100 million towards UN-India Partnership Fund to significantly scale up its support to sustainable development projects across the developing world.
  • This contribution will be in addition to US $10.582 million, India is contributing to various other UN programmes.
  • The first project from fund is being executed in partnership with seven Pacific Island countries.

India-UN Development Partnership Fund

  • The fund was set up as partnership between India and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) on 9 June 2017 i.e. on occasion of the World Oceans Day.
  • It is managed by UNOSSC. It aims to support Southern-owned and led, demand-driven and transformational sustainable development projects across developing world.
  • UN agencies will implement Fund’s projects in close collaboration with partnering governments.
  • It prioritises projects reducing poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality, and expanding access to clean water and energy and livelihoods.
  • It mainly focuses on transformational sustainable development projects in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States.
  • The projects under the fund are implemented by UN agencies in close collaboration with partnering governments.

Geographical Indicator (IPR)

Seven commodities granted Geographical Indication Tag

  • Seven commodities were granted Geographical Indication (GI) this year by the Indian patent office.
  • It includes Banaganapalle mangoes (Andhra Pradesh), Tulaipanji rice (West Bengal), Pochampally Ikat (Telangana), Gobindobhog rice (West Bengal), Durgi stone carvings and Etikoppaka toys (Andhra Pradesh) and Chakshesang shawl (Nagaland). In 2016-17, as many as 33 items got GI registration.

Geographical Indication (GI)

  • The Geographical Indication (GI) is name or sign used on certain products which correspond to specific geographical location or origin.
  • It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods having special quality and established reputation.
  • These goods and products having tag are recognised for their origin, quality and reputation and gives it required edge in the global market.
  • It also ensures that none can use their name, giving them exclusivity. The registration of a GI is valid for 10 years after which it needs to be renewed.
  • GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.
  • At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • In India, GI tag is governed by Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999.
  • This Act is administered by Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also Registrar of Geographical Indications.

Government Agreements

OHEPEE Project: Government inks $ 119 Million Loan Agreement with World Bank

  • The Union Government has inked US$ 119 million Financing Agreement with World Bank for IBRD loan for the Odisha Higher Education Programme for Excellence & Equity (OHEPEE) Project.
  • The OHEPEE Project aims is to improve the quality of ‘students’ equitable access to selected institutions and enhance governance of the higher education system in Odisha. The closing date for project is

Project Component

  • Improving quality of and students’ equitable access to selected institutions of higher education.
  • It includes Institutional Development Plan (IDP) Grants (performance–based Financing)
  • Enhancing governance of higher education system. It includes improvement of governance in colleges and improvement of financial and procurement management and accounting in all government and government-aided colleges

Space News

Proxima Centauri may host planetary system: Study

  • Scientists have detected dust belts around Proxima Centauri, a finding that indicates presence of elaborate planetary system hosted by closest star to solar system.
  • These new observations were made by Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile.

Enlighten about it –

  • The new observations reveal emission from clouds of cold cosmic dust surrounding star.
  • It revealed glow coming from cold dust in region between one to four times as far from Proxima Centauri as Earth is from Sun.
  • It also reveals presence of even cooler outer dust belt and may indicate presence of system of planets.
  • These structures are similar to much larger belts in solar system and are also expected to be made from particles of rock and ice that failed to form planets.

Proxima Centauri

  • It is closest star to Sun around 4.25 light years away from the Earth. It is faint red dwarf lying just four light years away in southern constellation of Centaurus.
  • It hosts an Earth-like habitable planet — Proxima Centaur b — orbiting within (Proxima Centauri) its habitable zone which was discovered in 2016.

ALMA Observatory

  • Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) Observatory is array of radio telescopes being deployed in Chile.
  • is composed of 66 high precision antennas that allow scientists to unravel important astronomical mysteries, in search of our Cosmic Origins. One of its goals is to image black hole.
  • It is an international partnership of European Southern Observatory (ESO), US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with Chile.

Paradise Papers

Government reconstitutes Multi-Agency Group probe into Paradise Papers revelation

  • The Union Government has reconstituted Multi-Agency Group (MAG) to investigate cases relating to ‘Paradise Papers’ data disclosure which is also probing the Panama Papers leak.
  • It will be led by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman and will have representatives from Enforcement Directorate, RBI and Financial Intelligence Unit.
  • The MAG was constituted in April 2016 to investigate legality of money stashed in offshore entities by Indians named in Panama Papers by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
  • The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.
  • Founded in 1997 by the respected American journalist Chuck Lewis, ICIJ was launched as a project of the Center for Public Integrity, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers: cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power.

Global laws against tax avoidance

  • Laws specifying general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) are in force in countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong
  • There is FATCA in the US
  • In Europe, anti-tax avoidance measures in the pipeline include a blacklist of offshore tax havens and a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB)for the EU, meant to block transfer of profit to low-tax jurisdictions
  • India’s Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010 envisages creation of an economically efficient, effective direct tax system, proposing GAAR to prevent tax avoidance
  • GAAR came into effect on April 1, 2017. India introduced this retrospective clarification to the I-T Act to ensure that cross-border transactions of assets would be taxable if they derive, directly or indirectly, their value substantially from assets located in India

Environment & Ecology

COP23

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is hosting the 23rd annual conference at Bonn, Germany.

What’s in the COP 23?

  • The conference named as COP23 is being held to further the provisions of the Paris Agreement, and achieve results in the execution guidelines.
  • While the aim of the event is much larger, nations attending the COP23 are scheduled to finalise the rulebook of the Paris Agreement.
  • This process was started in Marrakesh 2016 meet. These rules will dictate how the Agreement would be monitored and executed.
  • It will change the famous 1997 Kyoto Protocol by 2020.
  • The rulebook will include new international standards for measuring carbon emissions.
  • These standards will ensure comparison of efforts made by various countries. However, a few negotiators, like the US, deny the impacts of climate change and argue that the efforts cost a huge amount of resources.

Paris Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement is meant to make sure that the average surface temperature all over the world does not rise above two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial times.
  • To achieve this goal, countries have promised under the Paris Agreement to take a variety of self-determined actions to restrain the current rate of global warming.

About UNFCCC

  • The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, which marked the beginning of the international community’s first concerted effort to confront the problem of climate change.
  • Known also as the Rio Convention, the UNFCCC established a framework for action to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994, and nearly all of the world’s nations—a total of 195—have now signed on.