Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 8, 2018

Environment

Ganga Task Force

What

  • The GTF is a unit of the Territorial Army deployed in the services of the Ganga with the approval of Ministry of Defence for four years till December 2020.

Connect to GTF

  • It consists of three companies of over 100 men each to be stationed at Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi, with the battalion headquarters at Allahabad.
  • Their functions will include planting trees to check soil erosion, patrolling sensitive river areas for biodiversity protection, patrolling ghats, monitoring river pollution, and assisting during floods/natural calamity in the region
  • The jawans have also been trained by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to measure the health of the river.
  • In 2015, the government, through an executive order, had cleared the creation of such a force.
  • However, a defined mandate — such as to punish or imprison those found polluting the river — is being fleshed out in a forthcoming ‘Ganga Act,’ which is yet to be ironed out as a Bill and is under discussion.
  • The NMCG runs the ‘Namami Gange’ mission to clean the Ganga.
  • It has a 20,000-crore, Centrally-funded, non-lapsable corpus and consists of nearly 288 projects.
  • The NMCG’s thrust is on roping in the private sector to not only set up sewage treatment plants (STPs) but also maintain them

Bilateral Relations

19th India-Russia annual summit India, Russia sign S-400 missile deal after summit

What

  • India and Russia concluded the contract for five S-400 ‘Triumf’ missile systems, one of the biggest defence deals in recent times, after the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Amid fear of U.S warning

  • Despite the looming threat of US financial sanctions, India on Friday inked $5.43 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) deal for five advanced S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile squadrons with Russia.
  • The U.S. Embassy issued a statement warning that any waiver for the S-400 deal would be considered on only a “transaction-by-transaction basis.”
  • Significantly, the agreement for the estimated $5.43 billion (₹40,300 crore) S-400 system was not referred to by either leader in their press statements.

Connect to other agreements

  • Eight pacts, including on cooperation on India's ambitious human space mission project Gaganyaan were signed.
  • A crucial MoU was signed between Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROSCOSMOS' on joint activities in the field of human spaceflight programme Gaganyaan.

Connect to the S-400

  • The S-400 can take down enemies' aircraft in the sky from the surface itself
  • The deal will significantly empower the Indian Air Force against any threat
  • The deal will be seen as a confirmation of India's strategic autonomy
  • The $5.43 billion (over Rs 40,000 crore) deal is among India's largest defence deals ever made.

What is S-400

  • It is an air defence missile system that can take down enemies' aircraft in the sky from the surface itself.
  • The S-400 is known as Russia's most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system, capable of destroying destroying hostile strategic bombers, jets, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km.
  • The S-400 is an upgraded version of the S-300 systems. The missile system, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007.

Why does India want S-400

  • In the words of Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa, S-400 would be like a "booster shot" in the Indian Air Force's (IAF) arm.
  • India needs to be well-equipped against neighboring threats. Pakistan has over 20 fighter squadrons, with upgraded F-16s, and inducting J-17 from China in large numbers. China has 1,700 fighters, including 800 4-Gen fighters.

Which countries have it ?

  • China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the lethal missile system and Moscow has already started delivery of an undisclosed number of the S-400 missile systems to Beijing.
  • Last year Moscow signed a contract to sell the systems to Turkey, raising criticism from Ankara's NATO allies, notably Washington, which has threatened to block delivery of its F-35 stealth aircraft to Turkey.
  • Other than India, Russia is also negotiating with Qatar to sell its S-400 Triumf.

Defence

Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX)

What

  • The 3rd edition of Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX)

Where

  • commenced at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Connect to JIMEX-18

  • It is aimed to enhance interoperability, improve understanding and imbibe best practices between navies of two countries.
  • JIMEX 18 will be of eight days from 7 to 15 October 2018 and will comprise Harbour Phase and Sea Phase of four days each.

Connect to JIMEX

  • India and Japan maritime exercise JIMEX was started in January 2012 with special focus on Maritime Security Cooperation. It was held for first time was conducted off Japanese coast. The last (second) edition of JIMEX was conducted in Dec 2013 off Chennai coast, India.

Two phases in JIMEX-18

  • Harbour Phase of will include professional and social interactions between ship’s crews, operational planning for sea phase
  • Sea Phase will include anti-submarine warfare exercises, gun rings, VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) drills, coordinated operations in anti-submarine and antiair threat scenarios.
  • In this edition of exercise, Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) is represented by Kaga, an Izumo class helicopter destroyer, Inazuma – a guided missile destroyer and Escort Flotilla-4 (CCF-4).
  • Indian Navy will be represented by three indigenously designed and built warships – INS Satpura, multipurpose stealth frigate, INS Kadmatt, AntiSubmarine Warfare Corvette, Missile Corvette and INS Shakti

Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

IndiaSkills 2018, the Country’s biggest skill competition

What

  • IndiaSkills 2018, the Country’s biggest skill competition, concluded , with the winners being awarded by dignitaries.

Connect to IndiaSkills2018

  • IndiaSkills 2018 was the second edition of the nationwide competition organized by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India to identify, recognize, promote and reward the best talents in various skills.
  • 23 states actively participated in organizing the competitions at the state and regional levels in which over 50 thousand participants took part.
  • 450 participants took part in the 3-day national level competition organized in New Delhi.
  • Winners will be given more training, before they are sent to represent India at the 45th WorldSkills Competition at Kazan, Russia in 2019.
  • A number of Divayangs also participated in the competition and the winners will take part at the World level in Abilympics in China.

Minority Affairs

Mushaira to Celebrate 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

What

  • Ministry of Minority Affairshere organised “Mushaira”, based on the themes of teachings and principles of Mahatma Gandhi as a part of Central Government’s decision to commemorate 150th Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation.

Connect to the Mushaira

  • The Mushaira was organised at Dr Ambedkar International Centre, Janpath, New Delhi where famous Urdu poets enthralled the audience through their poetry and gave strong message of peace, humanity and unity.
  • A large number of people from political, social and other fields, intellectuals and youths were present and encouraged the performing poets.
  • These Mushairas will also be organised in Mumbai, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Ranchi and other cities in coming days.

NITI Aayog

Atal Innovation Mission & SIRIUS sign MoU for promotion of innovative cooperation between students of India & Russia

What

  • To promote innovative cooperation between students of India and Russia, a Memorandum of Understanding was exchanged between India’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and the Russian Federation’s SIRIUS Educational Foundation

Connect to the MoU

  • The MoU hopes to remove cultural and language barriers between students of Russia and India, share the best practices in the promotion of educational, scientific, innovative achievements, promote innovative cooperation, and search and develop talented youth of both countries fostering a knowledge driven innovation ecosystem in both the countries.

Connect to AIM-SIRIUS Innovation Festival 2018

  • To promote a spirit of collaborative innovation, young innovators of Atal Tinkering Labs and SIRIUS Educational Foundation came together at a four-day Indo-Russian ATL innovation boot-camp from October 1st to October 4th.
  • The boot-camp was organized by Atal Tinkering Labs, Atal Innovation Mission, with support from Department of Design, IIT Delhi.
  • The innovations developed across space technology, healthcare, smart mobility, clean energy and agricultural technology

Connect to Atal Innovation Mission

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is NITI Aayog’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in India.
  • AIM has been established to create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in a holistic manner through various initiatives at school, university and industry levels.
  • AIM also serves as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities in India, leveraging state of the art, advanced and affordable emerging technologies.

The Atal Innovation Mission has thus two core functions:

1. Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.
2. Entrepreneurship promotion: Wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs at Incubation Centres.

Connect to SIRIUS Educational Foundation

  • Fund “Talent and success” is an unitary, non-profit, non-standard educational organization.
  • The activities of the Foundation are aimed to identify and support children and young people who have shown outstanding abilities.
  • Providing assistance in obtaining general and additional education for such personalities, including education in the fields of arts, natural sciences, physical culture and sports.

Nobel Peace Prize

Congolese doctor, Yazidi activist get Nobel Peace Prize For efforts to end use of sexual violence as a weapon of war

Who

  • Denis Mukwege, a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by the Islamic State, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018.
  • They were honoured for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war
  • Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims.
  • Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others

Environment

ICMR recommends vaccine for lions Confirms Canine Distemper Virus killed Gir animals

What

  • The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has confirmed that the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) was responsible for lion deaths in the Gir forest of Gujarat and recommended that the remaining lions be vaccinated to prevent further outbreaks.
  • This goes against recommendations by wildlife biologists that wild animals shouldn’t be vaccinated.
  • The scientists of ICMR-NIV (ICMR-National Institute of Virology) have recommended the existing CDV vaccine, which should work as a protective intervention for Gir lions

Connect to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

  • The apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.
  • The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • ICMR’s 26 national institutes address themselves to research on specific health topics like tuberculosis, leprosy, cholera and diarrhoeal diseases, viral diseases including AIDS, malaria, kala-azar, vector control, nutrition, food & drug toxicology, reproduction, immuno-haematology, oncology, medical statistics, etc.
  • Its 6 regional medical research centres address themselves to regional health problems, and also aim to strengthen or generate research capabilities in different geographic areas of the country

Sources – PIB , The Hindu ,Livemint