Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 31, 2017

National Day

31 October: Rashtriya Ekta Diwas

  • Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) is observed every year across India on 31 October to commemorate birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel who had played important role in unifying the country.
  • Observance of day provides an opportunity to re-affirm inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand actual and potential threats to unity, integrity and security of our country.
  • To mark this occasion various activities and events are being organised across ministries and departments all over the country.
  • Besides, Run for Unity was organised in New Delhi from the National Stadium.
  • The idea of Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was mooted by PM Narendra Modi in October 2014 to mark the birth anniversary of Independent India’s first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Enlighten about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

  • He was born on 31 October, 1875 at Karamsand, Gujarat and died on 15 December 1950 in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • He is known as Iron Man of India or Bismarck of India. By profession, he was barrister (lawyer) and had successfully practiced law.
  • Later he left law practice and joined the Indian national movement under leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • In India’s independence struggle, he played a major role in organizing peasants’ movements on Gandhian principles in Bardoli and Kheda in Gujarat and during the Quit India movement.

World Day

October 31: World Cities Day

  • The United Nations’s World Cities Day (WCD) is observed every year on October 31 to promote international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.
  • The theme selected for this year is “Innovative Governance, Open Cities”.

North East Developmet

The North Eastern Council to be reoriented

  • The North Eastern Council (NEC) will be reoriented and developed as a state-of-the-art resource center for the North Eastern States with necessary resources, knowledge, and skill to execute the innovative and strategic vision for the region.
  • Wherein it could lay down the roadmap for each of the separate States and areas based on specific requirements, specific attributes and specific needs.
  • Also take up the leading role of promoting the bamboo industry as well as food processing entrepreneurship.

Enlighten about North Eastern Council

  • The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura
  • The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament with the intention to give special focus to the development of North Eastern Region

Law Commission

Law panel demands more autonomy for tribunals

Recommendations from the Law Commission of India

  • The commission has recommended that a Committee led by the Chief Justice of India should be in charge of the appointments of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Judicial Members of the various central tribunals
  • The Commission has suggested a common nodal agency, possibly under the Law Ministry
  • To both monitor the working of the tribunals and to ensure uniformity in the appointment, tenure and service conditions
  • Currently, tribunals function under the very government department which may be a litigant before them, and probably, against which they may have to pass orders

Important recommendation

  • The Commission recommended the restoration of the High Courts’ power of judicial review over the decisions of the tribunals

Why are tribunals important?

  • The tribunals perform an important and specialised role in justice mechanism
  • They take a load off the already over-burdened courts
  • They hear disputes related to the environment, armed forces, tax and administrative issues

Government Schemes

Sustaining Jalyukut Shivar project success – challenges before Maharashtra govt.

  • The Maharashtra government’s flagship Jalyukta Shivar project for drought mitigation is no longer restricted to villages.
  • The government has decided to implement the project in smaller cities to tide over the problem of water scarcity across Maharashtra.

Jalyukta Shivir Project

  • Jalyukta Shivar has brought 21 lakh hectares of land under assured irrigation and created 15.74 TMC water storage capacities.
  • Villagers also contributed through physical labour.

The Challenges

  • At the end of three years, the biggest challenge before the state government is to sustain almost 2 lakh projects that have been completed in 11,494 villages.
  • The caution comes in the wake of villages overlooking the maintenance aspect after becoming water reliant.

Environment

India to host UN Summit on Conservation of Migratory Species in 2020

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced that India will host next Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Conference of Parties 13 (CMS COP13) in year 2020.
  • CMS COP is also known as a Global Wildlife Conference.

Enlighten about it –

  • The announcement was made during 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 12 (COP12) to CMS held in Manila, Philippines.
  • It was held from 23 to 28 October 2017 and was attended by over 500 delegates from more than 91 countries participated in the summit which is held once in three years.
  • The theme of the CMS COP12 was “Their Future is Our Future – Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People”.
  • This was for first time the summit was held in Asia. The CMS COP12 was also the largest-ever meeting in the 38-year history of the convention.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

  • CMS is an international treaty concluded under aegis of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), concerned with conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.
  • It is commonly abbreviated as Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or the Bonn Convention.
  • CMS aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.
  • It was signed in 1979 in Bonn (hence the name), Germany and entered into force in 1983.
  • Its headquarters are in Bonn, Germany. Since its entry into force, its membership has grown steadily to include over 120 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

National

Home Ministry set to take over Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to move a proposal before Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for taking over Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
  • BCAS, currently under the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is responsible for laying down standards, policies and measures with regard to security of all commercial flights.
  • Multiple security agencies working at airports, including immigration officials, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security personnel, local police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) are bound by regulations passed by BCAS.

Enlighten about it –

  • The decision is based on security audit conducted by team of experts from MHA, IB, CISF and BCAS which had recommended change.
  • Once CCS gives its approval, CISF will assume larger role in airport security.
  • The new set-up will help in better coordination and monitoring, since CISF, IB and state intelligence all report to MHA.
  • It will also speed up issue of security clearances for airlines and airports as in the past, there have been inordinate delays in granting clearances due to differences between MHA and MoCA on grounds that airlines and airports have not complied with norms despite guidelines.
  • The move may also result in increase in passenger security fee since CISF will be deployed at all 98 airports across country.

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)

  • It was set up as a cell in Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 1978, after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in September 1976.
  • BCAS was reorganised as an independent department under MoCA in April 1987, as follow-up to Kanishka bombing in June 1985.
  • It is currently headed by a commissioner of security.

Agriculture

India emerging as a leader among milk producing nations

  • Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister said India is emerging as a leader among milk producing nations at Pashu Arogya Mela in Semwapur, Motihari.

Rashtriya Gokul Mission

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission, 2014 is a focussed project under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development.
  • It’s objective is to conserve and propagate indigenous breeds in an organized and scientific manner.

Progress update

  • 1250 MAITRI centres are being set up to facilitate artificial insemination for cattle on the doorstep.
  • One Gokul Gram (Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres) will have 500 animals with high genetic quality, out of which 300 will be reproductive animals. The Gokul Grams will rear Lal Sindhi, Sahiwal and Gir breeds along with Bachaur.

Indigenous animals

  • Indigenous animals are more suitable for the country particularly suitable for climate and environment of their reproductive areas.
  • They are endowed with qualities of heat tolerance, resistance to diseases and the ability to thrive under extreme climatic stress and less than optimal nutrition.

Bilateral Relations

India and US Hold 11th Trade Policy Forum Meeting in Washington D.C

Issues Discussed US concerns

  • Market access issues ground handling operations, import regulations relating to poultry, export of pork to India.
  • Price controls on medical devices

India concerns

  • Easing of procedure for export of Indian mangoes and pomegranates and market access for table grapes from India.
  • H-1B and L-1 visas.
  • Issue of mismatch between U.S. visa and U.S. social security regimes, wherein Indian professionals making social security contributions do not receive their due benefits upon their return to India

Greater opportunities for US exports to India

  • Draft Pharmaceutical Policy addresses many of the US concerns and sought comments from industry stakeholders on the draft policy.
  • National IPR Policy 2016, lays down the roadmap for future development in the field of IPRs, and is a major step towards strengthening the IPR ecosystem in India, including improvements in procedures, timelines and resolution of disputes.
  • India desires to address the concerns of providing affordable healthcare to its citizens and balancing it with the need to introduce high end technology.
  • American manufacturers of medical devices are encouraged to establish manufacturing facilities in India.

Defence

Army finalises plan to modernise weapons

  • The army is set to launch a fresh hunt for 7 lakh assault rifles, 44000 light machine guns (LMGs) and 44600 carbines to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons.

Reason

  • fault lines found in the entire range of small arms except the AK-47
  • Our casualties in counter-terror operations can be reduced by half if soldiers are provided better assault rifles

Reason for delay

  • Army’s failure to finalise the specifications
  • single-vendor situation

Some terminologies

  • RFI (request for information) is a process whose purpose is to collect information about capabilities of various vendors.
  • A lightweight rifle developed from the sub-machine gun, which may be set to fire automatically or semi-automatically.
  • A light machine gun (LMG) is a machine gun designed to be employed by an individual soldier, with or without an assistant, as an infantry support weapon.
  • Light machine guns are often used as squad automatic weapons.
  • A carbine is a long arm firearm but with a shorter barrel than a rifle or musket.
  • Many carbines are shortened versions of full-length rifles, shooting the same ammunition, while others fire lower-powered ammunition, including types designed for pistols.

Set up centres under all High Courts for vulnerable victims: SC

  • The Supreme Court while lauding the Delhi High Court for setting up vulnerable witnesses deposition complexes has asked other High Courts in the Country to follow suit in consonance with guidelines postulated in Sakshi v. Union of India and Ors.
  • This case pertained to the rape of a deaf, dumb and mentally challenged minor girl.

Reason

  • Victims often end up being ill-treated by the very system they had approached in the hope of justice.
  • Delay and intimidating questions during trial in a hostile environment lead to fewer convictions.

Guidelines

  • A screen or some arrangement by which the victim does not see the body or face of the accused.
  • Reducing cross-examination questions to writing and handing them over to the judge to be put to the victim in a language that is clear and not embarrassing.
  • Sufficient breaks for victims of child abuse or rape while testifying.

Internatonal Relatons

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni visit to India

Background

  • The period from 2012 to 2016 marked a difficult bilateral phase as the marines issue- fatal shootings of two Indian fishermen in 2012 by Italian marines became a national debate in Italy.
  • The case is now with the International Court of Justice is expected to be completed by 2018.

Issues to be discussed

  • India’s global push for the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership and bilateral trade are likely to be on the agenda
  • Italy’s support for India’s candidature at the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016
  • Italian support at the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) meeting that begins on Monday in Buenos Aires, where India has been pushing for stringent measures against Pakistan on terror funding issues.

Health Care

Faster, cheaper urinary tract infection(UTI) test

  • UTI second most common infectious disease that affects millions of people globally each year.
  • These resistant bacteria not only cause long lasting infection but also reduce effectiveness of the available antibiotics.

Problems with present testing method

  • Has 48-hour wait for urine test report
  • It delays treatment
  • Leads to inappropriate use of antibiotics
  • Gives rise to multidrug-resistant pathogens

The new test strip contains 15 common antibiotics and helps in identifying the antibiotic sensitivity of the bacteria and deciding the most appropriate medicine to be used for the patient.

Advantages

  • The test does not require any other specialised equipment, dedicated space/lab or trained personnel.
  • As the strip already has the panel of antibiotics, it is easier, faster and cheaper.
  • Minimises the irrational use of antibiotics

Science & Tech

World’s fastest, shortest laser pulse created

  • Scientists from ETH Zurich in Switzerland have successfully created the world’s shortest X-ray laser pulse with duration of just 43 attoseconds (1×10−18 of a second).
  • This laser pulse is the shortest controlled event that has ever been created by humans.

Laser

  • Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
  • It is highly coherent, unidirectional beam of perfectly monochromatic light.
  • It has greater energy than normal light. It is used in range of application like sensors, optical communication sources etc.

Applications

  • Using this laser pulse, researchers can now observe in high detail how electrons movement within molecule and fully understand dynamics during chemical reaction.
  • This laser can also help in attosecond spectroscopy, by contributing development of more efficient solar cells by observing the process of excitation through sunlight up to the generation of electricity step by step.
  • Moreover, a detailed understanding of charge transfer pathway using it can also help in optimizing the efficiency of next generation of photosensitive elements.
  • Using this laser pulse, chemical reactions can also be directly manipulated by altering course of reaction even chemical bonds can be broken by stopping charge shift at certain location in molecule.