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Question and Answer
Q. 397. Logistics Sector
The Logistics Sector has been granted Infrastructure status. The need for integrated Logistics sector development has been felt for quite some time in view of the fact that the logistics cost in India is very high compared to developed countries. High logistics cost reduces the competitiveness of Indian goods both in domestic as well as export market. Development of logistics would give a boost to both domestic and external demand thereby encouraging manufacturing and 'job creation'. This will in turn be instrumental in improving country's GDP.
It will enable the Logistics Sector to avail infrastructure lending at easier terms with enhanced limits, access to larger amounts of funds as External Commercial Borrowings (ECB), access to longer tenor funds from insurance companies and pension funds and be eligible to borrow from India Infrastructure Financing Company Limited (IIFCL).
Q. 396. Waste to Energy
Waste to Energy
Recently, a Workshop on “Waste to Energy” – Swachchata Se Swachh Urja was organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as a part of “Swachchata Hi Sewa” campaign.
There is a huge amount of waste generated in a country and there is an urgent need to convert the waste into energy. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is planning to install a number of plants to convert these wastes into energy. A framework will be worked on for energy thus generated by these plants and subsequently rates will fixed for them. Citizens will also be educated on effective waste management so that it would be easier for the industries to process the waste. An effective waste management will help in creating a cleaner and greener India.
The focus is on energy generation from urban, industrial and agricultural waste/residues, municipal solid wastes, vegetable and other market wastes, slaughterhouse waste and industrial wastes and effluents. These initiatives will not only support generation of energy from the waste but also help in reducing pollution. It will also address the issue of burning of paddy straw by producing bio-CNG.
Three major waste to energy projects of 52 MW, based on Municipal Solid Waste(MSW) have already been installed and running successfully in Okhla, Ghazipur and Narela-Bawana in Delhi which help in converting solid waste to electricity.
In addition, under Swachcha Bharat Mission, about 40 projects with installed capacity of 344 MW supported by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs are under various stages of commissioning.
In Uttarakhand, a new biofuel conversion plant piloted in Kashipur can convert all kinds of agricultural waste into bioethanol. This unique technology has many benefits over other biofuel plants that convert sugarcane or corn into biofuel. At this plant, agricultural waste is converted into ethyl alcohol or bioethanol – which can be used as biofuel, to replace imported fuel.
Agricultural waste is a by-product that is used in some places as fodder for animals. But a majority of farmers do not realize potential of agricultural waste — the waste is thrown into ditches and fire set to it. This practice only adds to air pollution and is harmful for the environment in general.
Ethanol production from natural materials isn’t a novel concept in itself. Before this, technology to convert sugarcane and corn maize into ethanol existed. This kind of ethanol is called first generation ethanol (1G ethanol). Converting agricultural waste into ethanol is a fairly new technology – and this ethanol is called second generation or 2G ethanol.
Currently, the total capacity of 1G ethanol plants installed in the country comes up to only 2.5 billion litres of fuel production. Oil-based industries, on the other hand, have a demand of 5 billion litres annually. But the answer isn’t to build more 1G ethanol plants. Ultimately, such an increase to meet the demand would impact the sugar market, livestock that depend on bagasse (the leftovers after extracting sugarcane juice) for food, and land used for sugarcane production. But 2G ethanol comes from agricultural waste – which is available in plenty and is a natural by product that does not need to be specially produced. This is the best example of recycling and reusing, and there’s no need to burn away more waste.
Q. 395. National Nutrition Strategy
NITI Aayog has launched the National Nutrition Strategy. The nutrition strategy envisages a framework wherein the four proximate determinants of nutrition: uptake of health services, food, drinking water & sanitation and income & livelihoods – work together to accelerate decline of under nutrition in India. Currently, there is also a lack of real time measurement of these determinants, which reduces the capacity for targeted action among the most vulnerable mothers and children.
Supply side challenges often overshadow the need to address behavioural change efforts to generate demand for nutrition services. This strategy, therefore, gives prominence to demand and community mobilisation as a key determinant to address India's nutritional needs.
The Nutrition Strategy framework envisages a Kuposhan Mukt Bharat - linked to Swachh Bharat and Swasth Bharat. The aim is to ensure that States create customized State/ District Action Plans to address local needs and challenges. This is especially relevant in view of enhanced resources available with the States, to prioritise focussed interventions with agreater role for panchayats and urban local bodies.
The strategy enables states to make strategic choices, through decentralized planning and local innovation, with accountability for nutrition outcomes. With a benefit to cost ratio of 16:1 for 40 low and middle-income countries, there is a well recognized rationale, globally, for investing in Nutrition. The recently published NFHS-4 results reflect some progress, with a decline in the overall levels of under nutrition in both women and children. However, the pace of decline is far below what numerous countries with similar growth trajectories to India have achieved. Moreover, India pays an income penalty of 9% to 10% due to a workforce that was stunted during their childhood.
Q. 394. Domestic Systemically Important Banks
Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs)
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has included HDFC Bank in the list of 'too big to fail' lenders. With the inclusion of HDFC Bank in the list, there are now three 'too big to fail' financial entities, SBI AND ICICI, in the country.
Too big to fail
When a financial entity like a bank becomes systemically so important that their failure is expected to disrupt the financial/banking system and the economy as a whole then that entity is termed as too big to fail. In an event that such a bank fails the government steps in to save it.
RBI categorises such banks as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). These banks have, according to RBI, assumed systemic importance due to their:
Lack of substitutability and
The failure of these banks can cause significant disruption to the essential services provided by the banking system, and in turn, can disrupt the overall economic activity. These banks are considered Systemically Important Banks (SIBs) as their continued functioning is critical for the uninterrupted availability of essential banking services to the real economy.
What does it mean for the banks?
Apart from protection from the RBI in the times of distress, the D-SIBs will be subjected to higher levels of supervision so as to prevent disruption of financial services in the event of any failure.
These banks will have to maintain a core capital requirement in addition to a capital conservation buffer.
Moreover, expectations of government support amplifies risk-taking, reduces market discipline, creates competitive distortions and increases probability of distress in future.
Q. 393. Navika Sagar Parikrama
Navika Sagar Parikrama is a project wherein a team of women officers of the Indian Navy would circumnavigate the globe. The circumnavigation will be on an Indian-built sail boat INSV Tarini. This is the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust on women power.
The expedition has been aptly titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’. It is aimed at promoting women empowerment in the country and ocean sailing by the Indian Navy. The expedition would inspire the youth of our nation to develop an understanding of the sea and instil a spirit of adventure and camaraderie.
The voyage of Navika Sagar Parikrama will begin from Goa in September 2017. The journey will finish around March 2018. The entire distance will be covered in five legs and it will have stop overs at four ports for replenishment of ration and repairs. The ports are: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttelton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands) and Cape Town (South Africa)
Additional aims of the Expedition are as follows:-
Nari Shakti: In consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential, the expedition aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform. This would also help to discard the societal attitudes and mind-set towards women in India by raising visibility of participation by women in challenging environment.
Environment and Climate Change: The expedition aims at harnessing the use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources which affects the life of women.
Make in India: The voyage also aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.
Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave Data Observation: The crew would also collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.
Marine Pollution: The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
Interaction with Local PIOs: Since the expedition aims to promote Ocean Sailing and the spirit of adventure, the crew would interact extensively with the local PIOs at the various port halts.
Q. 392. National Anti-profiteering Authority
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the creation of the National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) under GST. The apex body is mandated to ensure that the benefits of the reduction in GST rates on goods or services are passed on to the ultimate consumers by way of a reduction in prices.
The "anti-profiteering" measures enshrined in the GST law provide an institutional mechanism to ensure that the full benefits of input tax credits and reduced GST rates on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers. This institutional framework comprises the NAA, a Standing Committee, Screening Committees in every State and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).
Affected consumers who feel the benefit of commensurate reduction in prices is not being passed on when they purchase any goods or services may apply for relief to the Screening Committee in the particular State. However, in case the incident of profiteering relates to an item of mass impact with 'All India' ramification, the application may be directly made to the Standing Committee.
In the event the NAA confirms there is a necessity to apply anti-profiteering measures, it has the authority to order the supplier / business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed by it along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services. If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund. In extreme cases, the NAA can impose a penalty on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.
The constitution of the NAA shall bolster confidence of consumers as they reap the benefits of the recent reduction in GST rates, in particular, and of GST, in general.
Q. 391. Moscow Declaration
Health ministers, NGOs, and private sector representatives from 120 countries have adopted the Moscow Declaration, committing themselves to eliminating additional deaths from HIV co-infection by 2020 and achieving synergy in coordinated action against TB and non-communicable diseases. A co-infection is when a person suffers from two infections at the same time.
The Moscow declaration has emphasised the need for fixing multisectoral responsibility towards ending TB by 2035. This framework is critical to creating an enabling operational environment for multisectoral action, fast-tracking priority interventions, monitoring overall progress, and accelerating advocacy at all levels within different sectors. All these efforts are necessary to achieve committed milestones and the targets to end the TB epidemic.
India is among the signatories to the declaration. India has also committed to move to a daily drug regimen. It has also committed to tackle multi-drug resistant TB as a national public health crisis. A national inter-ministerial commission will be set up by 2018 to achieve fast-tracking universal access to health care through all state and non-state care providers by adopting WHO-recommended TB diagnostics, drugs, technologies and standards of care, and ensuring attention to high-risk groups and vulnerable populations such as migrants, refugees and prisoners.
In less than a year, the TB report card will be reviewed by the UN General Assembly in 2018 during a high-level meeting.
Q. 390. BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise
The First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) was conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in October 2017 in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).
This Exercise was a platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among the BIMSTEC member countries. The main focus of the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 was on testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental interaction/dialogue/agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response. The exercise was meant to create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member countries. The exercise helped to strengthen the effective utilization of the Search & Rescue Teams for Disaster Relief & Emergency Response, including Emergency Rapid Assessment Teams and Management of mass casualties especially in situations involving breakdown of infrastructure and communication.
India has been at the forefront of DRR efforts by hosting the South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise (SAADMEx) and the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR). India has also offered its expertise and capabilities in DRR such as the South Asia satellite, GSAT-9, and the Tsunami Early Warning Centre to other countries. Disaster Management was one of the important Agenda items the BIMSTEC.
The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people, constituting around 22% of the global population with a combined GDP of US $2.7 trillion economy. Majority of the BIMSTEC countries are situated in the South Asian Region (SAR), prone to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, avalanches and drought.
Q. 389. Nobel Prize for Physics
The 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics has been conferred to three scientists namely Rainer Weiss, Barry C Barish & Kip S Thorne under the LIGO Project for their discovery of gravitational waves. The discovery has been made 100 years after Einstein's General Relativity predicted it.
The direct detection of Gravitational waves arrives from the merger two large Black holes in a distant galaxy a Billion of light years away. Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. This is a new vista in Astronomy since Gravitational Waves are an entirely new way of observing the most violent events in space.
This is a proud moment for India also, since the discovery paper has 39 Indian authors/scientists from nine institutions. Indian scientists have made seminal contributions to this field which contributed towards the principles behind the LIGO Detector.
An opportunity for India taking leadership in this field has opened up with the LIGO-India mega-science project that was granted ‘in principle’ approval by the Union Cabinet on Feb 17 2016. LIGO-India brings forth a real possibility of Indian scientists and technologists stepping forward, with strong international cooperation, into the frontier of an emergent area of high visibility and promise presented by the recent GW detections and the high promise of a new window of gravitational-wave astronomy to probe the universe. LIGO-India is being jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Q. 388. Yakshagana
Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form that combines unique blending of music, extempore dialogues, phenomenal dancing moves, rich make-up and intrinsically designed costumes. This theatre style is mainly found in Tulunadu and some parts of Malenadu region of Karnataka and Kerala. Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk to dawn. Its stories are drawn from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other Hindu epics. Yakshagana evolved as a dance form during the Bhakti Movement.
Narahari Tirtha, a disciple of Madhvacharya, is said to be the first person to introduce Yakshagana in Udupi. He was also the founder of Kuchipudi. An inscription dating around 1556 CE has been evidence that Yakshagana existed from a long time. This inscription has been the first written evidence to cite about this dance form. The inscription was found at the Lakshminarayana Temple in Kurugodu, Bellary. Another evidence was found at Ajapura, present day Brahmavara. The manuscript is said to have mentioned about Yakshagana in the form of poem that was authored by Ajapura Vishnu.
Researches and Experts have placed the origin of the Yakshagana approximately in the period of 11th and 16th Century CE. Yakshagana became an established art form during the time of Parthi Subba, who was a Yakshagana poet.
Q. 387. NDVI
To determine the density of green on a patch of land, researchers must observe the distinct colors (wavelengths) of visible and near-infrared sunlight reflected by the plants.Vegetation appears very different at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. In visible light , vegetated areas are very dark, almost black, while desert regions (like the Sahara) are light. At near-infrared wavelengths, the vegetation is brighter and deserts are about the same. By comparing visible and infrared light, scientists measure the relative amount of vegetation. Nearly all satellite Vegetation Indices employ this difference formula to quantify the density of plant growth on the Earth The result of this formula is called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).
Q. 386. FoSCoRIS
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a nationwide online platform, 'FoSCoRIS' , to bring in transparency in food safety inspection and sampling. FSSAI has asked states to adopt this system as it would help eliminate discrepancy and make food safety officers accountable.
The web-based 'FoSCoRIS' system will help verify compliance of food safety and hygiene standards by food businesses as per the government norms. The new system will bring together all key stakeholders: food businesses, food safety officers (FSOs), designated officers, state food safety commissioners on a nation-wide IT platform. The data related to inspection, sampling and test result will be shared seamlessly by all the officials.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards , 2006 which consolidates various acts & orders that have hitherto handled food related issues in various Ministries and Departments. FSSAI has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
Q. 385. National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants
National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants
Government of India established the “National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP)” authorizing Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology as the Certification Agency for ensuring production and distribution of quality tissue culture planting materials.
The purpose of National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP) is to ensure production and distribution of quality tissue culture planting materials. NCS-TCP is a unique quality management system, first of its kind in the world which ensures recognition of Tissue Culture Production Facility for the production of quality planting material and certification of end products.
With increasing demand for agricultural, forestry, plantation and horticulture crops, the demand for high quality, high yielding, disease free planting stock has been increased significantly over the last two decades. Conventional propagation method which includes sowing of seeds, propagation by cutting, layering etc suffers from the inherent limitations in the number that can be produced, non-uniformity of quality and incidence of diseases. Plant Tissue Culture has emerged as an important biotechnology and commercially viable tool to multiply elite varieties of high quality, disease free and high yielding plants rapidly in the laboratory irrespective of the season of the year. In India the tissue culture Industry is growing at a rate of 15% per annum.
Plant tissue culture is a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant cells, tissues or organs under sterile conditions on a nutrient culture medium of known composition. Plant tissue culture is widely used to produce clones of a plant in a method known as micro-propagation. Different techniques in plant tissue culture may offer certain advantages over traditional methods of propagation, including:
The production of exact copies of plants that produce particularly good flowers, fruits, or have other desirable traits.
To quickly produce mature plants.
The production of multiples of plants in the absence of seeds or necessary pollinators to produce seeds.
The regeneration of whole plants from plant cells that have been genetically modified.
The production of plants in sterile containers that allows them to be moved with greatly reduced chances of transmitting diseases, pests, and pathogens.
The production of plants from seeds that otherwise have very low chances of germinating and growing, i.e.: orchids and Nepenthes.
To clear particular plants of viral and other infections and to quickly multiply these plants as 'cleaned stock' for horticulture and agriculture.
Plant tissue culture relies on the fact that many plant cells have the ability to regenerate a whole plant (totipotency). Single cells, plant cells without cell walls (protoplasts), pieces of leaves, stems or roots can often be used to generate a new plant on culture media given the required nutrients and plant hormones.
Q. 384. BHUVAN
BHUVAN is a platform developed by the ISRO. It is a well known national geo-portal, which is being widely, used by the Government, public, NGOs and Academia. Bhuvan is developed with a clear focus of addressing Indian requirements of satellite Images and theme-oriented services to enable planning, monitoring and evaluation of stakeholder’s activities in governance and development. Bhuvan provides nation-wide seamless image base, thematic datasets for many natural resources, transport network, Digital Surface Model, hydrologic base from basin to watershed. Bhuvan services include visualisation of remote sensing data (India-centric), free satellite data download, geophysical products, host of thematic services and customised application tools for Government data collaboration and enabling G-governance. It also renders near real-time data and information support towards management of natural disasters in the country.
Some of the basic statistics of Bhuvan usage indicates that the portal is gaining importance in the country. In less than 6 years of its existence, it has more than 70,000 registered users; 800 GB of data is transacted per month and it witnesses 60 Million hits per month. About 4.6 lakh satellite data products, including derived products, have been downloaded by users.
The customised application tools and datasets are being used by more than 30 Central Ministries and about 20 State Governments in various sectors, which include, land & water resources, agriculture, forestry, watershed, urban & infrastructure development, environment, de-centralised planning, asset geo-tagging & mapping, including monitoring of G-governance programmes.
BHUVAN Vs Google Earth
Bhuvan is designed, developed, deployed and managed by a small team of scientists within ISRO. It primarily focuses on societal-benefits and is not a commercial venture. On the contrary, Google Earth is a commercial enterprise with a large investment & large resource base an
d makes a huge business through advertisements and products.
Google has a definite business model (in positioning & maintaining very high resolution satellite images) that is directly dealt with satellite operators/ services providers. The business model that is being operated is not in the public domain.
Google Earth does provide very high to high resolution remote sensing data (World-wide) for visualisation with advanced value added services, but does not provide India specific seamless multi-thematic GIS data sets, free satellite data downloads and customised application tools for government data collaboration.
Thus, Bhuvan and Google Earth are two different platforms developed for different purposes and objectives.
Q. 383. Geographical Indications tag
Banganapalle mangoes of Andhra Pradesh and Tulapanji rice of West Bengal are among the seven commodities that have been granted Geographical Indications this fiscal year by the Indian patent office. The other five products which have received this tag this year include Pochampally Ikat of Telangana; Gobindobhog Rice of West Bengal; Durgi Stone Carvings and Etikoppaka Toys of Andhra Pradesh; and Chakshesang Shawl of Nagaland.
A Geographical Indication (GI) is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness. Award of GI tag gives protection to the producer of those genuine products, which commands premium pricing in the domestic and international markets. Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003. GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement as: "Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin."
Q. 382. The Ninth Gorkha Rifles
The Ninth Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army comprising Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin. The regiment was initially formed by the British in 1817, and was one of the Gurkha regiments transferred to the Indian Army after independence as part of the tripartite agreement in 1947. This Gorkha regiment mainly recruits soldiers who come from the Chhetri (Kshatriya) and Thakuri clans of Nepal. Domiciled Indian Gorkhas are also taken, and they form about 20 percent of the regiment's total strength. The Ninth Gorkha Rifles is one of the seven Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army.
Recently, the Ninth Gorkha Rifles, commemorated it’s 200 years of selfless service and sacrifice to the Nation with Bicentenary Celebrations held from 08 to 11 November 2017 at 39 Gorkha Training Centre, Varanasi Cantonment.
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