Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 21, 2017

National Day

Police Commemoration Day

  • The Police Commemoration Day is observed on October 21st every year.
  • The day commemorates the sacrifices of ten policemen while defending our borders with China in 1959.
  • Indian Police personnel were responsible for manning the 2,500 mile long border of India with Tibet until the autumn of 1959.

Trade

Anti – dumping duty investigation against PTFE resin started by U.S

  • The U.S. has initiated anti-dumping duty investigations against import of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin from India and China, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • The PTFE is mostly used as a non-stick coating for utensils.
  • The probe is being started to determine whether imports of PTFE resin from China and India are being dumped in the U.S.
  • On the other hand in the countervailing investigation, it will determine whether Indian producers of PTFE resin are receiving unfair government subsidies.

Why Anti Dumping Duty probe is undertaken by the countries?

  • Countries initiate anti-dumping probes to determine if the domestic industry has been hurt by a surge in below-cost imports.
  • As a counter-measure, they impose duties under the multilateral WTO regime.
  • Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry.
  • They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.

State Specific

Rajasthan to shield public servants from probe

  • The government in Rajasthan has promulgated an ordinance providing for prior sanction for investigation against public servants, judges and magistrates for acts done “in discharge of official duties”.
  • The ordinance has virtually shielded public servants from police investigations
  • It gone a step ahead by restraining the public and the media from disclosing the identity of government officials until the sanction to proceed with the probe is obtained.
  • The sanctioning authority may take up to six months for taking a decision.
  • While amending Sections 156 and 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the ordinance lays down that if the sanctioning authority does not take a decision within six months, the prosecution sanction would be deemed to have been issued.

Infrastructure development

The Logistics Data Bank’s (LDB) services to be extended to all major ports in India

  • Logistics Data Bank was begun to help track containers, reduce transaction costs

Enlighten about LDB project

  • As part of the LDB project, each container is attached to a Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID) tag and tracked through RFID readers
  • This, in turn, helps importers and exporters to track their goods in transit
  • It helps reduce the overall lead time of container movement, besides bringing down transaction costs that consignees and shippers incur
  • LDB project covers the entire movement through rail or road till the Inland Container Depot and Container Freight Station.

Objective and implementation

  • The LDB project was unveiled in July 2016 as an important ‘ease of doing business’
  • The project is implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle called Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Logistics Data Services Ltd. (DLDSL) — jointly (50:50) owned by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Trust and Japanese IT services major NEC Corporation

Economy

Banks can now sell most of the small savings schemes

  • In order to encourage savings, the government has allowed banks, including top three private sector lenders, to accept deposits under various small savings schemes like National Savings Certificate (NSC), recurring deposits and monthly income plan
  • Until now, most of the small savings schemes were sold through post offices

Schemes now accessible through banks

  • According to a recent government notification, banks can also sell National Savings Time Deposit Scheme 1981, National Savings (Monthly Income Account) Scheme 1987, National Savings Recurring Deposit Scheme 1981 and NSC VIII issue
  • So far, these banks were allowed to receive subscription under Public Provident Fund, Kisan Vikas Patra-2014, Sukanya Samriddhi Account, Senior Citizen Savings Scheme-2004

The potential impact of this decision

  • These schemes have a higher interest rate than that offered by banks on normal savings account

Science & Technology

Government sets up expert group for suggestions on artificial intelligence policy

  • The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY) has set up an internal expert committee to advise the government on a policy on artificial intelligence (AI).

Seven-point strategy on AI

  • The government recently had drawn up a seven-point strategy that would form the framework for India’s strategic plan to use AI.
  • The strategy includes developing methods for human machine interactions; creating a compCLt workforce in line with AI and R&D needs, ensuring safety and security of AI systems; understanding and addressing the ethical, legal and societal implications of AI, measuring and evaluating AI technologies through standards and benchmarks, among others.

Enlighten about Artificial intelligence

  • Artificial intelligence is branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans.
  • In contrast to normal hardware and software, AI enables a machine to perceive and respond to its changing environment.
  • The artificial intelligence market is estimated to touch $153 billion in 2020 and expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (cagr) of 45.4% from 2016 to 2022.
  • It is also widely seen as major challenge in generation of employment as many companies are likely to depend more on it to cut down on human resources.
  • Globally too, there is a growing interest in artificial intelligence.
  • In 2016, White House had initiated work on Preparing for the future of artificial intelligence; in UK, the House of Commons committee on S&T had looked at robotics and artificial intelligence while in 2017, State Council of China had started work on next generation artificial intelligence development plan.

Space

Dawn Mission Extended at Ceres

  • NASA has authorized a second extension of the Dawn mission at Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
  • During this extension, the spacecraft will descend to lower altitudes than ever before at the dwarf planet, which it has been orbiting since March 2015.
  • The spacecraft will continue at Ceres for the remainder of its science investigation and will remain in a stable orbit indefinitely after its hydrazine fuel runs out.

Enlighten about it –

  • A priority of the second Ceres mission extension is collecting data with Dawn’s gamma ray and neutron spectrometer, which measures the number and energy of gamma rays and neutrons.
  • This information is important for understanding the composition of Ceres’ uppermost layer and how much ice it contains.
  • The spacecraft also will take visible-light images of Ceres’ surface geology with its camera, as well as measurements of Ceres’ mineralogy with its visible and infrared mapping spectrometer.
  • The extended mission at Ceres additionally allows Dawn to be in orbit while the dwarf planet goes through perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, which will occur in April 2018.
  • At closer proximity to the Sun, more ice on Ceres’ surface may turn to water vapor, which may in turn contribute to the weak transient atmosphere detected by the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory before Dawn’s arrival.

Enlighten about Dawn mission

  • NASA’s Dawn mission will study the asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, celestial bodies believed to have accreted early in the history of the solar system.
  • The mission will characterize the early solar system and the processes that dominated its formation.
  • Dawn is the only mission ever to orbit two extraterrestrial targets. It orbited giant asteroid Vesta for 14 months from 2011 to 2012, then continued on to Ceres, where it has been in orbit since March 2015.

Defence

1TS Ship Visit JAKARTA, INDONESIA

  • IN Ships Tir, Sujata, Shardul, and ICGS Sarathi are visiting Jakarta, Indonesia from 18 to 22 Oct 17.
  • The visit is aimed to expose the trainees to the conduct of IN warship in foreign waters, port familiarisation and foster bridges of friendship between the two countries.
  • Comprises six indigenously built ships, namely, Indian Naval Ships Tir, Sujata, Shardul, Indian Coast Guard Ship Sarathi and two Sail Training Ships, viz. INS Sudarshini and INS Tarangini.