HINDU NOTES-DECEMBER 2 and 3 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-DECEMBER 2 and 3 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, MAINS 2019, MASTER 2019, PIB notes, premium magazines, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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NGT imposes ₹25 crore fine on Delhi govt for failing to curb air pollution

News

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Delhi government to deposit an environmental compensation of ₹25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for failing to curb air pollution in the Capital.

Beyond News

  • A Bench said in case the State government failed to comply with the orders, a sum of ₹10 crore per month will be levied.
  • Further, the Chief Secretary has been directed to prepare an action plan identifying the name of the persons responsible to execute and supervise the plan, and in case of failure, to bear the consequences.
  • The tribunal further, said that a performance guarantee of ₹25 crore has to be provided by the State government and in case of non-compliance of orders, the amount will be forfeited.

India, U.S. Air Forces to begin joint drill

News

  • The Air Forces of India and the U.S. will begin a 12-day military exercise in Kalaikunda and Panagarh air bases in West Bengal with an aim to enhance operational coordination.

Beyond News

  • The ‘Ex Cope India-18’ will be the fourth edition in the series of bilateral drills between the Indian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force.
  • This is for the first time, the exercise is being held at two Air Force bases.
  • The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure and undertake mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing operational capability.
  • The U.S. has sent a fleet of F15 C/D and C-130 military aircraft. The IAF is participating with the Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, C-130J and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft.

India to host G-20 summit in 2022

News

  • Prime Minister announced that India will host the G-20 summit in 2022.

Beyond News

  • The G-20 is a grouping of the world’s 20 major economies.
  • Italy was to host the international forum in 2022.
  • Modi invited G-20 leaders to India in 2022, which also marks the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.
  • G-20 members comprise Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the U.S. Collectively, the G-20 economies account for nearly 90% of the gross world product, 80% of world trade, two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.
  • Spain is a permanent guest invitee.

India, U.S. to review defence deals

News

  • India and the U.S. will review the progress of their expanding defence cooperation as well as discuss the issue of sanctions waiver for the arms purchases from Russia during Defence Minister’s six-day visit.

Beyond News

  • Defence Minister will hold talks with her counterpart, James Mattis.
  • The Ministers are expected to review the progress of several defence deals in the pipeline as well as the developments in the region.
  • Discussion are in an advanced stage for the purchase of 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters for the Indian Navy through the Foreign Military Sales route and also Predator armed drones for which the U.S. has already given in-principle approval.
  • India would also like to get some clarity on the waiver for sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
  • India has signed or approved several big-ticket defence deals with Russia recently including a $5.43-bn deal for S-400 long-range air-defence systems.
  • At the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the DIU and the Indian Defence Innovation Organisation Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX) which will look into joint projects for co-production and co-development through the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Nations urged to tackle ‘urgent threats’ at UN climate talks

News

  • With the direst warnings yet of impending environmental disaster still ringing in their ears, representatives from nearly 200 nations gathered in Poland to firm up their plan to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Beyond News

  • The UN climate summit comes at a crucial juncture in mankind’s response to planetary warming. The smaller, poorer nations that will bare its devastating brunt are pushing for richer states to make good on the promises they made in the 2015 Paris agreement.
  • In Paris three years ago, countries committed to limit global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.
  • But with only a single degree Celsius of warming so far, the world has already seen a crescendo of deadly wildfires, heatwaves and hurricanes made more destructive by rising seas.
  • In Katowice, nations must agree to a rulebook palatable to all 183 states who have ratified the Paris deal.
  • G20 leaders agreed a final communiqué after their summit in Buenos Aires, declaring that the Paris Agreement was “irreversible”.
  • Even solid progress in Katowice on the Paris goals may not be enough to prevent runaway global warming, as a series of major climate reports have outlined.
  • Even the most strident climate warnings spiralling temperatures, global sea-level rises, mass crop failures  are something that many developed nations will only have to tackle in future.
  • Poorer nations argue that rich countries, which are responsible for the vast majority of historic carbon emissions, must help others to fund climate action.
  • But wealthy states, led by the US, have so far resisted calls to be more transparent in how their contributions are reported something developing nations say is vital to form ambitious green energy plans.

Train 18 crosses 180 kmph speed limit during trial run

News

  • India’s first locomotive-less train, known as Train 18, breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run.

Beyond News

  • When this ₹ 100-crore indigenously designed train is made operational, it will become the country’s fastest train.
  • If all things go well, Train 18 will replace the current Shatabdi Express a day train. Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided the rest of Indian Railways’ system such as tracks and signals permit.
  • The ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
  • On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled (engine-less) train was flagged off here by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.
  • With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express.
  • It has aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.
  • The train sports an advanced regenerative braking system which saves power.
  • The fully air-conditioned train offers better passenger comfort and safety, as all equipment are fixed under the carriage, so that more space is available on board.

NASA probe on course to reach asteroid Bennu on Dec 3

News

  • A NASA spacecraft designed to bring a small sample from asteroid Bennu to Earth is on course to arrive at its destination on December 3.

Beyond News

  • Launched in September 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS REx) spacecraft has been slowly approaching Bennu.
  • The spacecraft will spend almost a year surveying the asteroid with five scientific instruments with the goal of selecting a location that is safe and scientifically interesting to collect the sample.
  • The spacecraft will briefly touch Bennu’s surface around July 2020 to collect at least 60 grams (equal to about 30 sugar packets) of dirt and rocks.
  • It might collect as much as 2,000 grams, which would be the largest sample by far gathered from a space object since the Apollo Moon landings.

The spacecraft will then pack the sample into a capsule and travel back to Earth, dropping the capsule into Utah’s west desert in September 2023, where scientists will be waiting to collect it.

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HINDU NOTES-DECEMBER 1 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-DECEMBER 1 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2019, PIB notes, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Blue whales across the world are singing a little flat

News

  • Blue whales around the world are singing a little flat, increase in their population and climate change may be to blame.

Findings

  • The study, found that there is a seasonal variation in the whales’ pitch correlated with breaking sea ice in the southern Indian Ocean.
  • Researchers also extended the mysterious long-term falling pitch to related baleen whales and rules out noise pollution as the cause of the global long-term trend.
  • Blue whales have been dropping pitch incrementally over several decades, but the cause has remained a mystery.
  • The study found the same mysterious long-term trend of falling pitch in fin whales and Madagascan pygmy blue whales.
  • Pitch, or the perception of how high or low a note sounds, is a result of the frequency of the sound wave, usually measured in hertz.
  • The study used data from the southern Indian Ocean to rule out noise pollution as the cause of the pitch change.
  • The research suggests the pitch drop is an anatomical consequence of singing less loudly.
  • The whales’ calls could be quieter due to growing numbers of whales or changes in the ocean due to climate change, according to the study.
  • The research also uncovers a seasonal counterpoint in the calls of Antarctic blue whales, potentially related to the noise of melting sea ice.
  • The study found that blue whale calls in the southern Indian Ocean increase in pitch during the summer.
  • The pitch could be increasing as whales sing louder to be heard over breaking sea ice.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

U.S. proposes changes in H-1B application process

News

  • The S. government is proposing to change H1B rules in a way that will advantage those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities over regular H1B applicants and in a way that could potentially bring down the costs for sponsoring companies.
  • This will have a significant impact on Indians because 74% of H1B petitions were on behalf of India-born workers in the fiscal year 2018.

Beyond News

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an unofficial draft version of the rule, titled ‘Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens,’ in the Federal Register.
  • The proposed rule will require potential H1B petitioners to electronically register with USCIS (a DHS department) during a designated period, prior to petitions being filed, and changes the order in which the advanced degree lottery and general H1B lottery are conducted, ostensibly to increase the chances of advanced (U.S. masters and higher) degree holders getting H1Bs and reducing the paperwork of sponsors.
  • Only those H1B sponsoring employers who get selected from the list of registered petitioners will be required to actually submit H1B petitions, for both regular and advance degree categories.
  • Under the proposed rule, advanced degree registrations will be selected first up to a cap of 20,000 and then the regular H1Bs, up to a cap of 65,000, are selected from all the unselected registrations.
  • Because the unselected registrations will also include those advanced degree registrations that did not get selected in the exclusive advanced degree lottery, there is a higher probability that advanced degree holders will be selected in larger numbers in the aggregate.
  • Between fiscal years 2015 and 2017, new initial H1B approvals dropped for the top seven Indian IT firms, as per the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan research organization.

G20 summit: India presents 9-point agenda on fugitive economic offenders

News

  • India presented a nine-point agenda to G20 member nations calling for strong and active cooperation among them to comprehensively deal with fugitive economic offenders.

Beyond News

  • The agenda was presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the second session of the G20 Summit on international trade, international financial and tax systems.
  • India also called for joint efforts by G-20 countries to form a mechanism that denies entry and safe havens to fugitive economic offenders.
  • Principles of United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNOTC), especially related to ‘International Cooperation’ should be fully and effectively implemented.
  • India suggested the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) should be called upon to assign priority and focus to establishing international cooperation that leads to timely and comprehensive exchange of information between the competent authorities and financial intelligence units.
  • India also advocated setting up of a common platform for sharing experiences and best practices including successful cases of extradition, gaps in existing systems of extradition and legal assistance.
  • It said the G-20 forum should consider initiating work on locating properties of economic offenders who have a tax debt in the country of their residence for its recovery.

Six new antibodies to combat Zika

News

  • Researchers, have developed six Zika virus antibodies which may help diagnose as well as treat the mosquito-borne disease that has infected over 1.5 million people worldwide.

Beyond News

  • The antibodies may have the dual utility as diagnostics capable of recognising Zika virus subtypes and may be further developed to treat Zika virus infection.
  • Zika is spread mainly by mosquitos. Most infected people experience no symptoms or mild symptoms such as a rash, mild fever and red eyes.
  • The recent Zika virus outbreak is a health crisis with global repercussions.
  • Antibodies could be key to diagnosing and treating Zika virus.
  • An antibody is a Y-shaped protein made by the immune system. When a virus invades the body, antibodies bind to antigens associated with the bug, marking it for the immune system to destroy.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Defence Acquisition Council approval: New frigates to get BrahMos

News

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), approved procurements worth ₹ 3000 crore which include BrahMos cruise missiles for the two stealth frigates to be procured directly from Russia and armored recovery vehicles for the Army’s Arjun tanks.

Beyond News

  • The indigenously designed BrahMos Missile is a tested and proven supersonic cruise missile and will form the primary weapon on-board these ships.
  • In October 2016, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for four Krivak or Talwar stealth frigates – two to be procured directly from Russia and two to be built by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and the commercial deals were signed recently.
  • The basic structures of two frigates are already ready at Yantar shipyard in Russia and will be finished now following the $1 bn deal. Last week, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) signed a $500 mn deal with Rosoboronexport of Russia for material, design and specialists assistance to build two frigates in India.
  • BrahMos, which is a joint venture between India and Russia, has already been inducted on all frontline warships of the Indian Navy.
  • The DAC also approved the procurement of Armoured Recovery Vehicles (ARVs) for the Army’s Arjun main battle tanks.
  • These are designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and would be manufactured by Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). The ARVs ensure efficient and speedy repair and recovery of tanks during combat.

Drone surveys are also a good way to monitor shallow water, megafauna species because they are not intrusive.

News

  • Consumer-grade drones are effective tools for monitoring marine species across multiple sites in the wild.

Findings

  • Drone surveys are also a good way to monitor shallow water, megafauna species because they are not intrusive, the technology opens up doors to explore a range of conservation issues.
  • On the other hand, more traditional monitoring methods such as boat surveys or gill nets are more invasive and have the potential to harm individuals or alter their movement patterns.
  • To assess the effectiveness of the drones, researchers placed fake sharks underwater at two sites with different water clarity. Drone footage allowed researchers to identify all of the decoys at both sites.
  • The team evaluated multiple sites, demonstrating that drones can be used to assess environmental variables that may be responsible for population differences between locations.
  • The researchers also showed that drones are effective at sites with varying degrees of water clarity.
  • In field testing, researchers were also able to make species-level identifications of lemon, nurse and bonnethead sharks, as well as southern stingrays and spotted eagle rays.
  • The drone footage also allowed researchers to identify sea turtles, though they had difficulty differentiating between hawksbill and green sea turtles.

Tiger numbers on the rise

tiger periyar

News

  • At a time when tiger deaths dominate national news, a new study offers hope for wild tiger populations across countries by showing that under optimal conditions, tiger numbers can triple in 18 sites across the world, including eight in India.

Findings

  • These are Anamalai-Vazhachal (in Tamil Nadu-Kerala), Sathyamangalam (Tamil Nadu), Balaghat (Madhya Pradesh), Achanakmar (Chattisgarh), western Rajaji and Nandhaur (Uttarakhand), Manas (across Assam-Bhutan) and Valmiki (across Bihar-Nepal).
  • Currently, these regions support an estimated 62 tigers which could rise to 287 over the next 30-50 years: an increase of more than four times in India alone.
  • The results reveal that while the 10 tiger-range countries currently support 165 tigers, they could harbour 585 individuals. This rise could happen over 15-20 years in three sites including Uttarakhand’s Western Rajaji where natural prey is adequate, and over 30-50 years in the other areas where prey numbers would need to first recover.
  • This new assessment could guide planning for tiger recovery globally and help inform more effective, integrated approaches to tiger conservation.
  • Tackling growing incidents of human–tiger conflict in these areas would be crucial to aid this increase.
  • It also adds that the goal of doubling tiger numbers from about 3,200 to about 6,000 by 2022 may have been an “ambitious goal” that the signatories of the Global Tiger Recovery Program took on.
  • This study affirms the need for tiger-range governments to take a holistic, long-term view towards tiger recovery which must include plans for revival of prey animals and other wildlife at the site- level.

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HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 30 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 30 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2019, Prelims UPSC, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Editorials are covered separately. HINDU NOTES are available free date wise| CLICK HERE

PM Modi, Trump, Abe discuss major issues of global interests on G20 sidelines

News

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met for their first trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit to discuss major issues of global and multilateral interests.

Beyond News

  • The meeting assumed importance in the wake of China flexing its muscles in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
  • The meeting was a convergence of vision between the three nations.
  • Trump appreciated India’s growth story during the meet.
  • The leaders emphasised the importance of cooperation among the three countries on all major issue of global and multilateral interests such as connectivity, sustainable development, counterterrorism and maritime and cyber security.
  • They shared their views on progressing a free, open, conclusive and rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, based on respect for international law and peaceful resolution of all differences.
  • The trilateral meeting took place at a time when China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and with Japan in the East China Sea. Both the areas are said to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources.
  • China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the waterway, which includes vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year.
  • The U.S. has been conducting regular patrols in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation in the area where Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
  • Modi, Mr. Trump and Mr. Abe also agreed to cooperate in various ways and together with other countries.
  • They also agreed on the importance of meeting in “Trilateral Format” at multilateral conferences.

India has highest number of children and adolescents living with HIV in South Asia: UNICEF report

News

  • An estimated 120,000 children and adolescents aged 0-19 were living with HIV in India in 2017, the highest number in South Asia, according a report by UNICEF which warned that around 80 adolescents will be dying of AIDS every day globally by 2030 if progress in preventing transmission is not accelerated.

Findings

  • The report noted that South Asia has made substantial progress in reducing HIV risks and vulnerability among children, adolescents, pregnant women and mothers.
  • In India, an estimated 120,000 children and adolescents aged 0-19 were living with HIV in 2017. In Pakistan, this number was 5,800, followed by Nepal (1,600) and Bangladesh (less than 1,000).
  • In 2017, the estimated number of children under 5 years old newly diagnosed with HIV was 43% lower than the comparable estimate in 2010 a decline greater than the 35% recorded globally.
  • The estimated share of those aged 0-14 living with HIV who had been initiated on lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) was 73% in 2017, an increase of nearly 50 percentage points from 2010.
  • More than half of those children known to be dying of AIDS won’t reach the age of five, the report reveals.
  • Prevention and infection treatment efforts, Fore noted, are still missing the mark, specifically when it comes to HIV transmission from mothers to babies.
  • The number of mother-to-child infections have fallen by around 40% in the last eight years, but girls still account for two-thirds of all adolescent HIV infections, and rates of infection among older children are the slowest to decline, according to current data.
  • Further, the report cites a global target reduction in the number of HIV-infected children by 2030 to 1.4 million, while the projected number today of 1.9 million, shows that the world is off-track by around 500,000.
  • Currently, three million persons 19 years and younger, are infected with HIV worldwide. Two million new infections could be averted by 2030, if global targets are met this means providing adequate access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services, and testing and diagnoses.
  • The major shortfalls show slow progress in prevention among the young, and a failure to address the key drivers of the epidemic. Many infected children and adolescents are unaware of their illness, and even when tested HIV-positive, rarely adhere to proper treatment.
  • The UNICEF vision for an AIDS-free generation entails upscaling family-centered testing to help identify children living with HIV who have not been diagnosed, and greater use of digital platforms to improve education when it comes to HIV and AIDS contraction and prevention.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Less human intervention leads to rich wildlife in Siruvani

News

The 13-odd km road connecting Chadivayal and Siruvani has been remaining unusable due to extensive damages caused due to south west monsoon.

 But less human intervention following the road damages have become a bliss for the wildlife in the area.

Beyond News

  • With tarmac swept away due to landslips at several places on the stretch, fresh pug marks of carnivore animals like tiger, leopard and hyena are left in muddy portions of the road.
  • Forest Department, pug marks of adult tigers, cubs, leopard, hyena and sloth bear were seen at several parts on the road.
  • Though tiger was sighted in Pooluvampatti forest range in the past, the fresh pug marks found on Chadivayal Siruvani road has reaffirmed the presence of the carnivore in the forest.
  • Forest Department officials were of the opinion that tigers sighted in Pooluvampatti range in the past were those that had come from the Kerala side. With several pug marks were found on the Chadivayal Siruvani road, Forest Department officials suggest that a tiger territory might be existing in the area.
  • The sloppy areas of the forest has abundant population of Sambar deer and barking deer, favourite preys of tiger. There had been sightings of tiger in the area in the past which is very close to Kerala forests. The presence of tiger demands increased surveillance and protection.
  • Another road to Siruvani from Kerala side also witnessed large scale damages in the south west monsoon. Thereby preventing entry of intrusion of human beings into the wild.

’Mini human placenta’ may help prevent reproductive disorders

News

  • Scientists have successfully created ‘mini-placentas’ that can provide a window into early pregnancy and help transform our understanding of reproductive disorders such as still-birth and miscarriage.
  • The placenta supplies all the oxygen and nutrients essential for growth of the foetus. It may also be used for screening the safety of drugs.

51 pilot whales die in another mass stranding in New Zealand

News

  • Fifty-one pilot whales died in another mass stranding in New Zealand, less than a week after 145 pilot whales and nine pygmy killer whales perished in two other, unrelated strandings.

Beyond News

  • In the latest stranding, up to 90 pilot whales beached themselves at Hanson Bay on the remote Chatham Islands.
  • Up to 40 of the whales had refloated themselves but another 50 had died on the beach. The department said one beached whale remained alive, which staff decided to euthanize due to its poor condition.
  • The Chatham Islands sit about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of New Zealand’s main islands and are home to about 600 people.
  • Last weekend, 145 pilot whales died on Stewart Island. By the time conservation workers arrived there, about 75 of the whales were already dead and they decided to euthanize the others by shooting them due to their poor condition and remote location.
  • They could be caused by the whales navigating incorrectly, trying to escape from predators, or some of them suffering injuries or illness.
  • Whale strandings are most common in New Zealand during the Southern Hemisphere spring and summer.

Lioness found dead in Gujarat’s Gir forest

News

  • A lioness was found dead in Gujarat’s Gir forest, taking the death toll of big cats since September to 30.

Beyond News

  • The carcass of the lioness, aged between 9 and 12 years, was found at the Tulsishyam Range of the forest near the border of Amreli district.
  • Prior to this, 29 lions, including cubs, have died in and around the Gir forest during the last three months due to infighting, pneumonia, Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and Protozoa infection.
  • As many as 23 big cats had died in Gir in a short span of three weeks in September.

Wild animals leave farmers a wary lot

News

  • Farmers in Wayanad district in Kerala are spending sleepless nights guarding their paddy crop inside, or on the fringes of, the forests of the hill district.

Beyond News

  • In the dark, many farmers look for elephants and other wild animals from enclosures set up in their farms or treetops.
  • Usual strategies to scare them away are not effective these days. As the animals have grown accustomed to the sight of fire and the sounds of firecrackers and drums, they raid the fields fearlessly.
  • A herd of elephants destroyed paddy that was nearing harvest on two acres of my field in a month.
  • As many as 153 farmers, including 93 tribal farmers, have cultivated paddy on 200 acres of the 250 acres of land under the Chekadi Padashekharam. Nearly 30 acres of paddy crops have been destroyed by wild animals this season.
  • Hundreds of farmers who live near the forests under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the South and North Wayanad Forest Divisions face a similar fate.
  • To curb wild animal attacks, the three-tier local administrative bodies and the Forest Department have dug trenches and installed electric fences running to several kilometres on the forest borders. But the animals enter human habitats and farms after destroying them.
  • However, the department has submitted a comprehensive project that costs Rs.574 crore to the government to mitigate the man-animal conflict in the district.

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HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 29 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 29 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, hindu notes, MAINS 2019, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Fragile climate puts food security at risk, UN report

News

  • Feeding a hungry planet is growing increasingly difficult as climate change and depletion of land and other resources undermine food systems, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization said.

Findings

  • Population growth requires supplies of more nutritious food at affordable prices, but increasing farm output is hard given the “fragility of the natural resource base” since humans have outstripped Earth’s carrying capacity in terms of land, water and climate change.
  • About 820 million people are malnourished. The FAO and International Food Policy Research Institute released the report at the outset of a global conference aimed at speeding up efforts to achieve zero hunger around the world.
  • Food security remains tenuous for many millions of people who lack access to affordable, adequately nourishing diets for a variety of reasons, the most common being poverty. But it’s also endangered by civil strife and other conflicts.
  • In Yemen, where thousands of civilians have died in airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition, the aid group Save the Children says 85,000 children under 5 may have died of hunger or disease in the civil war.
  • The FAO estimates that global demand for food will jump by half from 2013 to 2050. Farmers can expand land use to help make up some of the difference, but that option is constrained in places like Asia and the Pacific and urbanisation is eating up still more land that once may have been used for agriculture.
  • Increasing farm output beyond sustainable levels can cause permanent damage to ecosystems, , it often causes soil erosion, pollution with plastic mulching, pesticides and fertilizers, and a loss of biodiversity.
  • China destroys 12 million tons of tainted grain each year, at a loss of nearly $2.6 billion, the report said.

Global warming increasing death, disease risk: Study

News

  • Climate change is putting an increasing proportion of the global population at risk of heat-related death and diseases, and causing significant loss of work hours in vulnerable areas like India, sub-Saharan Africa, and South America, according to a study.

Findings

  • The rising vulnerability to the heat-related risks of climate change is mirrored by increased exposure to higher temperatures.
  • Researchers also note promising trends in key areas for health, including the phase-out of coal, the deployment of healthier, cleaner modes of transport, and health system adaptation.
  • Present day changes in heat waves and labour capacity provide early warning of the compounded and overwhelming impact on public health that is expected if temperatures continue to rise.
  • As a result of increasing temperatures caused by climate change, vulnerable populations (adults over 65 years old, people living in cities, and people with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases) are exposed to heat stress, increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.
  • Rising temperatures are a risk in occupational health, and as temperatures regularly increase above physiological limits, sustained work becomes more difficult or impossible.
  • In 2017, 153 billion hours of labour were lost due to heat exposure, an increase of 62 billion hours relative to 2000.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

UAE following Indian laws to provide aid to Kerala: Ambassador

News

  • India has laws to accept foreign aid and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is working to fulfil the regulations to deliver assistance to the floods-hit Kerala, according to UAE Ambassador.

Beyond News

  • In August, a reported ₹700 crore UAE government aid to Kerala for flood reliefled to a  controversy after the Ministry of External Affairs said the Centre would not allow any financial assistance from foreign governments in line with an existing policy.
  • There is a legal system. There are agreements signed between the UAE and India. And there is a legal system and we believe in our judicial system. They trust our judicial system and they leave it up to them to decide what to do what not to do.
  • On the fluctuating global oil prices, UAE Ambassador said the price was determined by international demand and by different markets, and dispelled India’s concerns over fuel shortages.
  • Modi, who is in Argentina for a G20 summit, is expected to raise the issue of oil price volatility. India imports $16 bn worth of oil from the UAE of the total bilateral trade of $53 bn.
  • The two countries have significantly expanded bilateral engagement in recent years and India is the first country with which the UAE has signed a strategic partnership agreement.

Maharashtra Assembly approves 16% quota for Marathas

News

  • The Maharashtra Assembly unanimously passed a Bill proposing 16% reservation for Marathas in government jobs and education.
  • With this, 85% of the State’s population will be entitled to constitutional benefits under Article 15(4), 16 (4) of the Constitution.

Beyond News

  • The approval of the Bill will also see the reservation limit go up from the current 52%to 68%, thus crossing the 50% ceiling set by Supreme Court.
  • This is a compelling extraordinary situation demanding extraordinary solutions within the constitutional framework, suggesting it “expedient” to provide for 16% reservation to the Marathas.
  • Members of both Houses, cutting across party lines, walked up to the Chief Minster and thanked him for the decision.
  • The Government of Maharashtra has considered the report of the commission. On the basis of exhaustive study of the Commission, including employment, education, social status, economical status, living conditions, the government is of the opinion declaring Marathas SEBC.
  • While retaining the principle of creamy layer for the purpose of reservation to the Socially Economically Backward Class under the Act, the Bill urged that reservation be made available to only those persons found “below” the layer.
  • The draft Bill while giving a backdrop for the community, which constitutes 30% of state’s population, said the presence of Marathas in position of academic excellence is “very marginal”. On an average 4.30% academic and teaching posts are occupied by persons of Maratha community, and lack of conventional degree is keeping them in employments such as mathadis, hamals, dabbawallas, etc.
  • Around 70% are residing in kuchha homes, only 35.39% o them have personal tap water, 31.79% rely on traditional sources of firewood. While 2,152 Maratha farmers have committed suicide as against total suicides numbered 13,368 between 2013-18.

44 violations by foreigners in Andamans: Home Ministry

News

  • As many as 44 violations by foreigners have taken place in recent past in restricted areas of Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Beyond News

  • The Restricted Area Permit (RAP), which allows people from visiting certain locations with permission, may be reimposed in the Andamansfollowing the recent killing of an American by inhabitants on North Sentinel Island, a highly reclusive and protected tribe.
  • The RAP for foreigners and Indians was recently liberalised by the Centre.
  • A delegation of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) will visit Andamans and Nicobar Island, a Union Territory, , to assess the situation arising after the killing of American John Allen Chau by the Sentinelese tribes a couple of weeks ago.
  • The Home Ministry submitted a report to the NCST, where it said there were 44 violations by foreigners in the Islands, other than RAP violations.
  • Government was considering reimposing RAP in the island. The official said the North Sentinel Island is a prohibited zone and Chau had gone there illegally.
  • Though RAP was withdrawn in 29 islands, any tourist is required to take permission from the Forest Department and the administration of the Andamans as it is protected under two other Acts protection of aboriginal people and forest Acts.

U.S. suspended a total of $3 billion in security assistance to Pakistan this year: sources

News

  • The U.S. has suspended $3 billion in security assistance to Pakistan this year after it failed to rein in terrorist groups, a figure which is much higher than the $1.3 billion quoted by the Trump administration earlier, according to sources.

Beyond News

  • The $3 billion amount was calculated in the latest compilation of all figures coming from various funding streams from different fiscal years, PTI has learnt.
  • Not been made public yet, the suspended figure of $3 billion is much higher than the $1.3 billion quoted by President Donald Trump this month and $ 1.66 billion reported by the Pentagon last week.
  • The U.S. President this month said that Pakistan did not “do a damn thing” for the U.S. despite billions of dollars in American aid for the South Asian nation.
  • Over the past several years, senior U.S. officials had been accusing Pakistan of playing a double game with the U.S. and not taking satisfactory action against terrorist groups like Haqqani networks, the Taliban and Lashkar-a-Taiba.
  • Since then, senior administration officials assert no security aid has been given to Pakistan. Among this also includes the coalition support fund.

Early this month, Mr. Trump charged Pakistan of harbouring Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda leader, and asserted that his country will not give any financial aid to Pakistan.

  • Trump told White House reporters last week that he wants to have a better relationship with Pakistan, but would not revoke suspension of aid unless he sees changes in the approach of Pakistan towards terrorist organisations.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

ISRO’s PSLV-C43 successfully places HysIS, 30 foreign satellites in respective orbits

News

  • Nearly three minutes after its lift-off, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) workhorse, the PSLV, carrying 31 satellites, soared in a trajectory crossing the path of the Sun and sped to inject the country’s Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS), dubbed ‘Sharp Eye’, in its intended orbit.

Beyond News

  • In the course of the next one hour, the team at the Mission Control waited for the PSLV C-43 to come up on the other side of the Equator to insert 30 small commercial satellites from various countries into the orbits requested by the customers.
  • The HysIS is is an Earth observation satellite primarily to assist in a wide range of applications in agriculture, forestry, geological environments, coastal zones, among others.
  • The 30 satellites are one each from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, Malaysia, Netherlands and Spain, and 23 from the USA.
  • The heart of the system required for the HysIS satellite is basically an optical imaging detector chip. This chip has been indigenously designed by the Space Application Centre of the ISRO and fabricated at semi-conductor lab at Chandigarh.
  • Once the second firing of the engine was completed, the 30 satellites were injected into an orbit between 504.19 km and 506.55 km. The final separation sequence started at 1 hour and 49 minutes and ended 1 hour 53 minutes after the lift-off. This was the ISRO’s third longest mission that lasted nearly two hours. Two earlier missions crossed the two-hour mark.
  • This is the 13th flight of the core-alone version and 45th launch of the PSLV.

Brazil loses ‘1 mn football pitches’ worth of forest

News

  • Deforestation in Brazil has reached such epic proportions that an area equivalent to one million football pitches was lost in just one year.
  • Between August 2017 and July 2018, deforestation increased by almost 14%, with an area of 7, 900 sq km of forest cleared, according to the governmental institution of special investigations.

Beyond News

  • The Amazon rainforest represents more than half of Earth’s remaining rainforest and covers an area of 5.5 million sq km, about 60% of which is in Brazil.
  • But it is under threat from illegal logging as well as farming, in particular from soybean plantations and pasture land for cattle.
  • Between 2004 and 2012, deforestation in Brazil was slowed through controls imposed at a government level as well as by the private sector.

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HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 24 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 24 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2019, PIB notes, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Oceans are heating much faster: study

News:

  • The world’s oceans have absorbed more heat than previously thought over the last quarter of a century, scientists said, leaving the earth more sensitive still to the effects of climate change.

Findings:

  • Oceans cover more than two thirds of the planet’s surface and play a vital role in sustaining life on the earth.
  • According to scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),the world’s oceans have absorbed 90% of the temperature rise caused by man-made carbon emissions.
  • But new research used a novel method of measuring ocean temperature.
  • It found that for each of the last 25 years, oceans may have absorbed heat energy equivalent to as much as 150 times the amount of electricity mankind produces annually.
  • That is between 10-70% higher than previous studies showed.
  • Whereas those studies relied on tallying the excess heat produced by known man-made greenhouse gas emissions, a team of U.S.-based scientists focussed on two gases found naturally in the atmosphere: oxygen and carbon dioxide.
  • Both gases are soluble in water, but the rate at which water absorbs them decreases as it warms.
  • By measuring atmospheric oxygen and CO2 for each year, scientists were able to estimate how much heat oceans had absorbed on a global scale.
  • The authors calculated that oceans had warmed somewhere in the range of 10-70%.

Rising sea levels threatening historic lighthouses

News

  • Rising seas and erosion are threatening lighthouses around the U.S. and the world.
  • Volunteers and cash-strapped governments are doing what they can, but the level of concern, like the water, is rising.

Findings

  • New Jersey’s East Point Lighthouse has been lighting up Delaware Bay for the better part of two centuries. But those same waters that the lighthouse helped illuminate might bring about its demise.
  • It’s a threat affecting lighthouses around the country and the world, including those in low-lying areas being inundated by water, as well as those on bluffs or cliffs being eroded by storms and rising sea levels.
  • Globally, sea levels have been rising over the past century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the rate has increased in recent decades.
  • Rising seas have already forced the relocation of several lighthouses. In 1999, the National Park Service moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, North Carolina, 2,900 feet inland, at a cost of $11.8 million. In 1993, the Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island, Rhode Island, was moved 300 feet inland.
  • Around the world, encroaching seas are drawing nearer to the Orfordness Lighthouse in Suffolk, England; the Troubridge Island Lighthouse in South Australia; and the Kiipsaar Lighthouse in Estonia.

Accumulating in ocean floors

News

  • Tiny, extremely fine fibres, that come from waste waters of washing machines, are accumulating on sea floors and may adversely affect marine life, a study warns.

Beyond News

  • Researchers analysed the amount of coloured fibres which vary between 3 to 8 millimetres (mm) and are extremely fine, with less than a 0.1 mm diameter in south European marine floors, from the Cantabrian Sea to the Black Sea.
  • The results, show the dominance of cellulosic fibres over synthetic polymers, and highlight that several oceanographic processes pile and transport microfibres to marine hollows.
  • The findings could help design effective management strategies to reduce the emission of microfibres with a potential negative effect on the marine ecosystems.
  • Researchers analysed soil samples from 42 and 3,500 metres deep in 29 stations in southern European seas. The results show that higher densities of fibre are found in the Cantabrian Sea, followed by the Catalan seas and the Alboran Sea, respectively, while lower densities are in the western Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
  • The findings also confirm previous studies which detected microfibres that were ingested by deep water organisms in a natural environment.
  • The main type of microfibre they found in marine floors is the natural cellulose (cotton, linen) and regenerated cellulose (rayon of viscose), coming from clothes and industrial textiles mainly.
  • Some of these synthetic microfibres are made of plastic, which does not degrade shortly, it can contain chemical additives, which can be easily incorporated to the trophic network.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Centre looks abroad for ideas to manage Ganga basin

News

  • The Centre is in talks with experts from Germany, Laos, Austria and Egypt, among others, to evolve a Ganga River Basin Management Plan.

Beyond News

  • Though it already has a preliminary draft from a consortium of seven Indian Institutes of Technology, it is the process of soliciting wider consultation from countries that have such river basin management plans.
  • There is already a draft ‘Ganga law’ in the anvil that is meant to ensure the health and ecological viability of the river. This, however, is still being deliberated by various ministries and, according to officials, is being readied for the approval of the Union Cabinet before the year ends.
  • An early draft of the Ganga River Basin Management Plan analysed the river in terms of environmental quality and pollution; water resources management; fluvial geomorphology; ecology and biodiversity; socio-economic and socio-cultural; policy, law and governance and geo-spatial database management.
  • Based on these, seven important missions were identified for focused interventions: “Aviral Dhara”, “Nirmal Dhara”, “Ecological Restoration”, “Geological Safeguarding”, “Disaster Management”, “Sustainable Agriculture”, and “Environmental Knowledge-Building and Sensitisation.”
  • Separately, the government is mulling another draft bill to manage all rivers basis the basins they encompass. These had led to differences among states on who had a greater say on rivers that were shared in common.
  • The inter-State basins to be covered under the proposed legislation are Brahmaputra, Barak and other rivers in the North East; Brahmani-Baitarini; Cauvery; Ganga; Godavari; Indus; Krishna; Mahanadi; Mahi; Narmada; Pennar; Subarnarekha and Tapti.
  • Each authority will have a governing council, to be made of the chief ministers and water ministers of the basin States. Every year the council would be chaired by one of the chief ministers.

Multiple reasons behind premature births in India

News

  • A recent study that analysed nearly 8,000 women in India who gave birth between 2004 and 2005 and 2011 and 2012 (India Human Development Survey) has pointed out that there is a strong association between adverse birth outcomes and sanitation access, gender-based harassment and physical labour.

Finding

  • About 14.9% and 15.5% of the study group experienced preterm birth and low infant birth weight respectively.
  • The researchers found that spending more than two hours per day fetching water was associated with low birth weight while open defecation or sharing latrine within the building was associated with greater chances of low birth weight or preterm birth.
  • Another shocking find of the study was that harassment of women and girls in the community was also associated with both preterm birth and low infant birth weight.
  • Interventions that reduce domestic responsibilities related to water and sanitation and changed social norms related to gender-based harassment may reduce rates of preterm birth and low infant birth weight in India.
  • Though there were limitations due to self-reported behaviours and small sample size, the study was able contribute to the limited evidence related to sanitation infrastructure and other social factors that play a role in preterm birth and low infant birth weight.

India, Pakistan Armies hold flag meeting in Poonch

News

  • The Indian and Pakistan Armies held a brigade commander-level meeting in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen ceasefire, a defence official said.

Beyond News

  • The flag meeting at the Poonch-Rawlakote crossing point on the Line of Control comes after several ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the recent past during which five Indian security men were killed and seven others were injured.
  • The two delegations discussed increasing confidence-building measures, maintaining the peace along the the Line of Control and preventing infiltration from the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the official said.
  • The meeting came on a day when security forces shot dead six Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants during an encounter in a forested area in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
  • The meeting was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere, and ended with both sides assuring to adhere to norms of the 2003 Ceasefire agreement and the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) level talks of May 29.
  • The armies also decided to work towards improving the situation along the LoC.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Scientists mull stratospheric barrier to curb warming

News

  • Spraying sun-dimming chemicals high above the earth to slow global warming could be “remarkably inexpensive”, costing about $2.25 billion a year over a 15-year period, according to a study.

Findings

  • Some researchers say the geo-engineering technique known as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) could limit rising temperatures that are causing climate change.
  • As yet unproven and hypothetical, it would involve the use of huge hoses, cannons or specially designed aircraft to spray large quantities of sulphate particles into the upper layer of the atmosphere to act as a reflective barrier against sunlight.
  • Total costs to launch a hypothetical SAI effort 15 years from now would be $3.5 billion, scientists said, adding that average annual operating costs would be about $2.25 billion a year over 15 years.
  • Discounting other methods of deployment because of cost and feasibility, the research assumes a special aircraft can be designed to fly at an altitude of about 20 km and carry a load of 25 tonnes.
  • After direct input from several aerospace and engine companies, the scientists said they have developed a design that could be suitable and could be ready to be deployed in 15 years, aiming to cut the rate of temperature change in half.

There are some risks.

  • Scientists have said SAI could cause droughts or extreme weather in other parts of the world, harm crop yields as well as potential public health and governance issues.
  • It also does not address the issue of rising carbon dioxide emissions, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

Lunar lander faces crucial test

News

  • The Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander’s sensors are set to undergo a crucial test in the next few days as the mission races towards a planned take-off in around two months.

Beyond News

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to fly the sensors on an aircraft over its artificial lunar site at Challakere to see how they will function and guide the Chandrayaan-2 landing craft when it starts descending on the lunar terrain.
  • The orbiter carrying the lander and a rover is scheduled to be sent to the Moon from Sriharikota on January 31 and expected to reach there sometime in February 2019.
  • The test on ground, called the Lander Sensor Performance Test or LSPT, will be conducted at ISRO’s new R&D campus in Chitradurga district, about 200.
  • The highly autonomous or pre-programmed mission uses a large number of sensors. Among them are those that help the lander to precisely assess its height from the landing spot; decide its speed and help it to steer clear of any boulders or uneven surface.
  • The lander is being developed and tested by the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru. For the test, a prototype module carrying the sensors will be flown on one of ISRO’s two small aircraft. As the plane descends from around 7 km to about 1 km over the artifical terrain, the sensors must show how they will guide the soft landing of the lunar craft at the right spot, speed and position.
  • About two years back, ISRO had started readying a part of the Challakere site to resemble lunar craters and had conducted a few preliminary sensor tests. Features of the lander have since been modified and the upcoming tests will also validate the new design.

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HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 23 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 23 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2019, Prelims UPSC, The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Editorials are covered separately. HINDU NOTES are available free date wise| CLICK HERE

India, China set for post Wuhan boundary talks

News

  • National Security will be in Chengdu, China, for boundary talks with foreign minister and state councilor Wang Yi, to build on the Wuhan informal summit in April between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beyond News

  • The 21st round of talks between the two Special Representatives (SRs), which will mainly take place, is unlikely to yield any major breakthrough on the resolution of the boundary question, especially as India goes into election mode till the middle of next year.
  • The two senior officials are also expected to prepare for a meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting in Argentina capital Buenos Aires.
  • The talks, which are taking place amid a terror attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, are likely to sharpen the focus on “regional situation,” which includes Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • The Foreign Secretary had affirmed that talks on the resolution of border differences would be based on principles and parameters anchored in a 2005 agreement.
  • India and China have a border dispute along the western, central and eastern sectors of their 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Analysts say that during the SR dialogue, a discussion on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to keep the borders calm is expected to feature prominently.
  • For the first time, cadets from the Indian and Chinese military academies, as well mid-level officers, will meet each other regularly.

Causing disproportionate harm to attacker while defending oneself amounts to culpable homicide: SC

News

  • Use of fatal force or causing disproportionate harm to overpower an aggressor in self-defence amounts to culpable homicide and not murder, the Supreme Court has held.

Beyond News

  • A Bench reiterated in a recent judgment that the “law on the aspect of causing disproportionate harm and exceeding right to private defence is amply clear. In cases of disproportionate harm leading to death of the aggressor, sentence under Section 304 Part I (of the Indian Penal Code) is the appropriate sentence”. This provision deals with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
  • Self-defence is one of the exceptions to the offence of murder defined in Section 300 of the Code. The apex court has described the right to self-defence as a “very valuable right” with a “social purpose”.
  • However, a retaliation that overwhelms the imminent threat posed by the aggressor, though done in self-defence, amounts to a crime in itself.
  • The judgment came in a case dating back to 1991 concerning a fatal quarrel between two Punjab Home Guard volunteers over the repayment of a loan of ₹100.

With Kovind in town, Australia launches vision 2035 for India

News

  • The Government of Australia has begun to implement a vision document that will shape bilateral ties with India till 2035.

Beyond News

  • The announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding implementing “India Economic Survey” was made in the backdrop of the ongoing visit to the country by President Ram Nath Kovind.
  • Australia has agreed to implement some important recommendations of the survey over the next twelve months that will include India-AustraliaFood Partnership, expansion of mining business and greater aviation connectivity.
  • The India Economic Survey is a report authored by former Australian envoy Peter Varghese and was released earlier this year.
  • The report made wide-ranging recommendations to transform India-Australia ties by firming up ties between Australia and Indian States.
  • On the sidelines of the visit by President Kovind, Australia and India concluded five agreements, including one between the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute based in Ranchi, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation, Canberra.
  • An agreement between the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Guntur, and the University of Western Australia, Perth, for cooperation in agricultural research and education was also signed.

Modi lays foundation stone for city gas work in 122 districts

News

  • Prime Minister laid foundation stones to mark the beginning of work for CNG supply to automobiles and piped cooking gas to kitchens in 129 districts of 18 states, covering over a quarter of India’s population.

Beyond News

  • Keen to cut emissions through a greater share of environment friendly natural gas as auto and cooking fuel, Prime Minister also launched the tenth round of bidding for award of city gas licenses in 124 new districts, which have been clubbed into 50 Geographical Areas (GAs).
  • Downstream regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) had just a few weeks back awarded licenses for 78 out of the 86 GAs put on offer in the 9th round of bidding.
  • Of the GAs awarded in the 9th round, Mr. Modi laid foundation stones for work in 65 GAs, made up of 129 districts, while leaving out the ones in election-bound states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana due to the model code of conduct.
  • The license winners of 61 GAS out of these 65 GAS organised functions in their respective areas, which were connected to Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital through video conferencing, where the prime minister formally launched the city gas works.
  • With an annual consumption of 142 million standard cubic meters per day, the share of natural gas in India’s energy mix is just 6.2 per cent. This compares to a world average of 24 per cent. Gas accounts for 25 per cent share in Gujarat’s energy mix.
  • Gas is an environment-friendly fuel which is cheaper than not just liquid fuels such as petrol and diesel but is also cheaper than subsidised LPG.
  • PNGRB had offered 106 GAs in the previous eight bid rounds, of which 56 were awarded. 35 GAs were authorised by the government prior to incorporation of PNGRB.
  • In the tenth bid round for giving licences to retail CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas to household kitchens, 50 geographical areas or GAs spread over 124 districts in 14 states, covering 24 per cent of India’s population and 18 per cent of its area, are being offered.
  • In the ninth bid round, 86 GAs spread over 174 districts in 22 states and union territories and covering 26 per cent of India’s population and 24 per cent of its area was offered. Of these, 78 GAs have been awarded to companies like Adani Gas, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Torrent Gas.
  • First CNG station or a piped natural gas connection in the GAs awarded in the previous round will take at least 1-2 years to become operational.

India, Pak. commit to Kartarpur corridor

News

  • In a rare sign of concord between the two countries, the letters were exchanged on the same day, with Pakistan’s government informing the Indian High Commission in Islamabad that Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone for the corridor on the Pakistani side on November 28.

Beyond News

  • A Cabinet meeting in Delhi proposed building a passage for the pilgrims accessible “365 days and 24 hours. Hours later, the Cabinet decision was conveyed by Ministry of External Affairs in a letter to the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.
  • The Cabinet also decided that preparations for the 550th anniversary of the founder of the Sikh faith will be overseen by Home Minister, which will include the setting up of a “centre for interfaith studies” in Amritsar, University Chairs in U.K. and Canada for the study of Guru Nanak, and a railway train connecting holy sites for the community.
  • The Kartarpur Sahib corridor was first proposed in 1999 when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore, as a long-standing demand from the Sikh community for easy access to the revered shrine across the border where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

NASA’s InSight on track for Mars touchdown

News

  • NASA’s InSight spacecraft is on track for a soft touchdown on the surface of the Red Planet on November 26.

Beyond News

  • InSight will hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at 19,800 kph and slow down to eight kph about human jogging speed before its three legs touch down on Martian soil.
  • That extreme deceleration has to happen in just under seven minutes.
  • Launched on May 5, Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander marks NASA’s first Mars landing since the Curiosity rover in 2012.

India to study marijuana-derived drugs

News

  • Three major science administrators in India The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Indian Council for Medical Research and the Department of Biotechnolgy are getting together to promote research in herbal drugs, some of which involve deriving new drugs from marijuana.

Beyond News

  • Researchers will test whether strains of marijuana grown at the CSIR-IIIM campus in Jammu could be effective in the treatment of breast cancer, sickle-cell anaemia as well as be “bio-equivalent” (similar in make-up and effect) to marijuana-derived drugs already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA)
  • Marijuana (or hemp), more formally parts of the cannabis super-family, is illegal for commercial cultivation though it grows as weed in several parts of the country. Uttarakhand, Jammu and as of this month Uttar Pradesh have allowed restricted cultivation of the plant for medical research.
  • There is an unmet need for terminal cancer patients and because of restrictions we have lost 50-60 years of valuable research into the properties of these plants.
  • The studies into the therapeutic potential of marijuana is part of a larger governmental thrust to making new drugs derived from herbs and plants that find mention in Ayurvedic and other traditional-medicine knowledge systems.
  • The U.S. FDA this year approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

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HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 22 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 22 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, Editorials, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2019, PIB notes, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

Editorials are covered separately. HINDU NOTES are available free date wise| CLICK HERE

An endangered tribe

News

  • The Sentinelese, a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans, have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders.

Importance

  • Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago. Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.
  • The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation.
  • Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.
  • The Sentinelese have been fiercely hostile to outside contact. But in 1991 they accepted some coconuts from a team of Indian anthropologists and administrators.
  • Some researchers argue that the Sentinelese have been mostly left alone even from colonial times, unlike other tribes such as the Onges, Jarawas and Great Andamanese, because the land they occupy has little commercial attraction.
  • From 1901 to 1921 they were estimated to be 117 people. In 1931, the number dropped to 50, a figure used for the 1961 Census too. In 1991 their head count was put at 23. Census 2001 counted 39 inhabitants.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

India, Australia ink five pacts as Kovind meets PM Morrison

News

  • India and Australia signed five agreements to boost investments and enhance cooperation in key sectors like disability, agricultural research and education as President Ram Nath Kovind met Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison in Sydney.

Beyond News

  • Kovind, the first-ever Indian head of state to visit Australia, arrived in Sydney on the second leg of his two nation trip.
  • The first agreement was for cooperation in the area of disability and to deliver services to the differently-abled. The second one was between Invest India and Austrade to facilitate bilateral investment.
  • The third agreement was signed between the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute, Ranchi, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation, Canberra, to foster scientific collaboration and innovation.
  • The fourth one between the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, Guntur, and the University of Western Australia, Perth, for cooperation in agricultural research and education while the last one was between the Indraprashta Institute of Information Technology, New Delhi, and the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane for a joint Ph.D agreement.
  • The fund is designed to help researchers solve challenges shared by both nations, including energy storage, marine science and plant genomics.

E-registration must for jobs in 18 countries

News

  • Passport holders with “non-Emigration Check Required (non-ECR)” status will soon have to get themselves registered with the Ministry of External Affairs before taking up jobs abroad.

Beyond News

  • The rule, which takes effect on January 1, is said to be aimed at the welfare of Indians going abroad. It applies to jobs in 18 countries, including the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations, which have the largest number of expats.
  • The non-ECR category of passengers include Indians paying income tax and those with educational qualification above matriculation. As of now only ECR category passport holders were required to get emigration clearance from the office of the Protector of Emigrants to seek employment abroad.
  • Those failing to register at least 24 hours prior to actual departure will be off-loaded at the airports.
  • For all other visa categories, there is no change in existing procedures.
  • Officials say the objective of the directive is to protect workers with higher educational qualification from not getting into blue collar jobs. Previously only ECR stamped passport holders had to go through the mandatory e-migrate registration since 2015.
  • Statistics available with the Ministry of External Affairs showed that UAE is one of the five top destination countries for Indians taking up employment. Nearly 1.5 lakh Indians had taken up employment in that country last year. This was followed by Saudi Arabia (78,611); Kuwait (56,380); Oman (43,332) and Qatar (24,759).
  • Incidentally Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the top labour-sending State with 88,450 Indian emigrants registering with the e-migrate system. This was followed by Bihar (69,426); Tamil Nadu (38,341); West Bengal (36,599) and Rajasthan (32,184).

The other countries where registration is required are Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand and Yemen.

Navy makes formal request for 24 MH-60R helicopters from U.S.

News

  • India made a formal request to the U.S. for the purchase of 24 MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) for the Navy in a deal estimated at $2 billion.

This is among a series of defence procurements and inductions from the U.S. and Russia in last two months.

Details of the deal

  • India issued a Letter of Request (LoR) on November 15 for purchase of 24 MRH from the U.S. Government.
  • Deal through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of U.S. Estimated to cost around $2 billion.
  • MH-60R is the mainstay of the U.S. Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability.
  • It is capable of carrying out anti-ship, anti-submarine, electronic warfare, net-centric over-the-horizon offensive and defensive roles.
  • Over 300 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters worldwide with over 600,00 flight hours accumulated.

Beyond News

  • The Navy is presently facing a critical shortage of helicopters with several frontline warships flying with empty helicopter decks. These helicopters are being procured as replacement for 15 Sea King ASW helicopters de-inducted from service in 1991 and one Sea King 42B MRH lost in accident. The current MRHs in service, Sea King 42Bs, were inducted in the 1980s.
  • In August, ahead of the inaugural India-US 2+2 dialogue, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement.
  • Given the urgency of helicopters, the U.S. is likely to take off some MH-60R helicopters from the flight deck of their newest aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford.
  • In the last two months, India signed multi-billion dollar deals with Russia for S-400 long range air defence systems and four stealth frigates while shortlisting Russia for the Army’s shoulder fired air defence missiles deal. At the same time, the Army inducted the first batch of artillery guns from the U.S. and South Korea. The deals also come in the backdrop of U.S. threatening sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law.
  • This procurement will help in partially mitigating shortage of helicopters on frontline warships and bridge the Navy’s operational void in integral air Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability, the official stated.
  • The MH-60R which is in service with the U.S. is a modern and proven multi-mission platform capable of carrying out anti-ship, anti-submarine, electronic warfare, net-centric over-the-horizon offensive and defensive roles required for the Navy.

Food adulterers in Maharashtra will face life sentence

News

  • Maharashtra government would make food adulteration a non-bailable offence and provide for life-term to the offenders.

Beyond News

  • The government would amend the existing law, to provide for life imprisonment to offenders.
  • Amendments to the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Maharashtra Amendment) Act will be tabled in the House before the ongoing winter session of State legislature ends.
  • The Minister said amendments to the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 1969 will be tabled before the end of the session.
  • Apart from making the offence non-bailable, the law will also provide for life-imprisonment to the guilty.
  • Earlier, those found guilty of food adulteration could face imprisonment of six months but the government now plans to amend the Act, which will provide for life imprisonment to them.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Water release from dams didn’t lead to Kerala floods: IIT-M-Purdue University study

News

  • The devastation wrought by the Kerala floods of August could not be attributed to the release of water from dams, says a computer-simulation of flood storage and flow patterns by a team of researchers.

Findings

  • Scientists, say that the odds of such floods were “0.06%” and no reservoir management could have considered such scenarios.
  • Previous analyses of the Kerala floods had not incorporated a simulation of water flows and relied only on measurements of water levels at dam sites.
  • Kerala has 39 major dams. and they are maintained by the Kerala State Electricity Board and the Water Resources Department.
  • All 39 dams in the State had reached their full reservoir level, and were incapable of absorbing the torrential volumes in August leaving dam-managers with no choice but to release them.
  • The scientists analysed different scenarios with combinations of reservoir storages (85%, 75%, 150% and 25%) at different time periods (end of June and end of July), along with different soil moisture conditions, which has a bearing on river flows.
  • Scientists found was that in the hypothetical scenario that there were no dams in the Pamba River Basin (PRB) there are 17 dams and barrages the “peak discharge” at locations downstream of the Idukki reservoir would have been “reduced by 31%.” This, however, wasn’t a reduction enough to have prevented the inundation.
  • For future planning, authorities must put in place an “integrated flow management” system, that is, view dams as critical to managing floods and not merely a fount for producing electricity.
  • Additionally, weather forecasting agencies ought to be giving more quantitative forecasts of the likelihood of water volumes rather than descriptions of ‘extreme events’ regarding expected water levels during possible floods.

Human ancestor fossil discovered in Kutch

News

  • Scientists have discovered a fossilised upper jaw of an eleven million-year-old human ancestor in Kutch, Gujarat.
  • The find significantly extends the southern range of ancient apes in the Indian Peninsula.

Findings

  • Apes, or hominoids, are a group of primates from Africa and Southeast Asia that includes the gibbons and the great apes: chimps, orangutans, gorillas, and humans.
  • Ancient ape remains from Miocene deposits in the Siwaliks of India and Pakistan have been key for understanding the evolution of great apes and humans.
  • Researchers, examined an ape jaw fragment excavated from the Kutch basin, in the Gujarat state of western India, about 1,000 km south of the Siwaliks deposits.
  • X-ray computed-tomography revealed details of the preserved canine and cheek teeth, such as the tooth enamel and root structure.
  • The ape mandible belonged to an adult individual of the Sivapithecus genus, but the species could not be identified.
  • Researchers dated the specimen to the basal Late Miocene, around 11 to 10 million years ago based on previous mammalian fossil findings in the site.
  • The finding is the first Miocene ape fossil to be discovered so far south in the Indian peninsula, and extends the southern range of ancient apes in the subcontinent by about 1,000 km.

Cyclone Gaja: T.N. govt seeks about ₹15,000 cr aid from Centre

News

  • The Tamil Nadu government sought about ₹15,000 crore as Central assistance towards relief and rehabilitation activities in Cyclone Gaja affected districts in the State.

Beyond News

  • Over one lakh electric poles had been uprooted and a significant number of power sub-stations damaged, with reports suggesting that many parts are still without power.
  • Cyclone Gaja had crossed the Tamil Nadu coast early on November 16 between Nagapattinam, about 300 km from Chennai, and nearby Vedaranyam.
  • It had claimed 46 lives and left a trail of destruction in over ten districts, including Nagapttinam, Thiruvarur, Puthukottai and Thanjavur which suffered severe damage.
  • The Tamil Nadu government has already released a sum of ₹1,000 crore for immediate relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas.

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HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 21 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 21 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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India offers many roads, says President Kovind

News

  • India and Vietnam “share a vision for the Indo-Pacific” and will launch their first “Bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue”, announced President Ramnath Kovind during a visit to Hanoi, as he took a broad swipe at China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” in an address to the National Assembly.

Beyond News

  • President said Vietnam and India concurred on the “South China Sea” as a “critical component” of the Indo-Pacific, which is the area of another flashpoint with Beijing, that has a territorial dispute with Hanoi over the Spratly Islands in the SCS.
  • President met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong, during the first leg of his two-nation tour to Vietnam and Australia, and the two sides signed four agreements in areas of communications, education, trade and investment.
  • President at the meeting, the Vietnamese leader expressed thanks for 11 high-speed patrol vessels bought by Vietnam under a $100 million Line of Credit that was extended by India in 2014.
  • While India wants the figure used for defence purposes, Vietnam has been keen to use it for infrastructure, informed sources said, with the added caution against allowing Vietnam’s foreign debt to exceed 50% of GDP.
  • The tussle is seen as the outcome of countries in the region “hedging” their positions so as not to be caught in the middle of recent US-China tensions as well.

U.S. suspends $ 1.66 bn security aid to Pakistan

News

  • The United States has suspended USD 1.66 billion in security assistance to Pakistan, following President Donald Trump’s directive early this year.

Beyond News

  • USD 1.66 billion of security assistance to Pakistan is suspended,” Col Rob Manning, spokesman of the Department of Defense told reporters in an email response to questions.
  • No further breakdown of the suspended security assistance to Pakistan was provided.
  • Pakistan and Central Asia during the previous Obama administration, the blocking of military assistance to Pakistan, which began is a strong signal of American frustration.
  • While Pakistan has suffered terribly from terrorism by Islamic extremists, Islamabad has also enabled extremists groups that attack its neighbours.
  • After years of dithering, in recent years Pakistan’s security forces have moved strongly against the extremists that threaten the Pakistani state.
  • Similarly, if Pakistan would take strong measures against groups which act against India, Pakistan would harvest huge economic benefits from better economic ties with India.

ICMR releases guidelines for antibiotics’ judicious use

News

  • To ensure judicious use of antibiotics in healthcare facilities, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) released, Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines to advise hospitals in setting up Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes (AMSP) for the purpose.

Beyond News

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health challenge, and with very few new antibiotics in the pipeline, it is important to use the existing drugs judiciously. Since inappropriate use of antibiotics is rampant in India, there is an urgent need to improve antibiotic use in hospitals, which can be achieved through implementation of good AMS programmes.
  • These guidelines provide guidance for setting up structure and processes of Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes in healthcare institutions.
  • It will help discuss essential elements of antimicrobial stewardship, diagnostic stewardship besides providing information on tools that can be used to measure progress.
  • The National Health Policy, 2017, terms antimicrobial resistance as one of the key healthcare issues and prioritises development of guidelines regarding antibiotic use, limiting over-the-counter use of antibiotics and restricting the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock.
  • Hospital-based programmes dedicated to improving antibiotic use have been helpful in improving the quality of patient care and safety through increased infection cure rates, reducing treatment failures, and increasing the frequency of correct prescription for therapy and prophylaxis.

India, 15 other African countries account for 80% of world’s malaria cases: WHO

News

  • India and 15 other countries in sub-Saharan Africa accounted for almost 80 per cent of the malaria cases reported globally last year, according to a WHO report which notes that a whopping 25 billion people in India were at the risk of contracting the mosquito-borne disease.

Findings

  • The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 2018 World Malaria Report, said that India was the only country to report progress in reducing its malaria cases in 2017 as compared to 2016.
  • It said five countries to account for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide were Nigeria (25 per cent), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 per cent), Mozambique (5 per cent), India and Uganda (4 per cent) both.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) is part of the United Nations that focusses on global health issues. This organisation was established on April 7, 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It has been working on issues such as smallpox and polio eradication, reproductive health, childhood immunisation, maternal morbidity rates and AIDS. The WHO remains firmly committed to the principles set out in the preamble of its Constitution. This Constitution was adopted by the International Health Conference held in New York in 1946.
  • The objectives of the organisation include working towards universal health coverage, developing international health regulations, increasing access to medical products, and preventing non-communicable diseases among others.

Pakistan issues over 3,800 visas to Indian pilgrims to visit Nankana Sahib near Lahore

News

  • Pakistan has issued over 3,800 visas to Indian pilgrims for participating in the 549th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib near Lahore from November 21-30.

Beyond News

  • Pakistan High Commission said this was the largest number of visas issued for Sikh pilgrims in recent years.
  • High Commissioner said this was a “special gesture” from Pakistan to the Sikh pilgrims who are expected to travel to Sikh holy places in Pakistan that are associated with the founder of the faith.
  • Pakistan has also issued visas to Sikh pilgrims from other parts of the world.
  • Earlier, a controversy broke out after Indian High Commissioner was prevented from entering Gurdwara Panja Sahib near Islamabad.
  • However, Pakistan said it remained committed to “preserving sacred religious places and extending all possible facilitation for the visiting pilgrims of all faiths”.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Astronomers expect rare gamma-ray burst

News

  • In a second only to the Big Bang event, astronomers have identified a “nearby” star system with the potential to produce a gamma-ray burst, one of the most energetic events in the universe.

Findings

  • According to a research, scientists revealed they have located the first of this rare star system in our galaxy, just 8,000 light years from earth, Xinhua news agency reported.
  • A gamma-ray burst from a star like this has the capacity to strip the earth of its Ozone layer, thankfully it was too far away, the scientists said.
  • The system was nicknamed Apep. Two of Apep’s stars are of the Wolf-Rayet variety meaning they are massive and reaching the end of their life.
  • These stars could explode into supernovae at any time, and could result in a cataclysmic gamma-ray event combining with the system’s extreme conditions.

Nearly 400 paramilitary men killed in action in 2015-17: Ministry of Home Affairs

News

  • Nearly 400 paramilitary personnel were killed in firing from across the border with Pakistan and in terrorist and insurgency violence in the country in the last three years.

Beyond News

  • The highest number of personnel killed was from the Border Security Force (BSF). It lost 167 persons between 2015 and 2017.
  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost 103 personnel, mostly while fighting Naxalites and militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • While the BSF lost 62 personnel in 2015, 58 in 2016 and 47 in 2017, the CRPF lost nine personnel in 2015, 42 in 2016 and 52 in 2017.
  • As many as 48 personnel of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) were killed in action in the last three years of whom 16 were killed in 2015, 15 in 2016 and 17 in 2017. The SSB guards the Indo-Bhutan and Indo-Nepal border. The force is also deployed in internal security duties.
  • Altogether 35 personnel of the Assam Rifles, which guards the India-Myanmar border and fights militants in the Northeast, were killed in action in the last three years.
  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has lost two personnel in action in the last three years one each in 2016 and 2017. There were no casualties in 2015 from the CISF, which guards, airports, nuclear installations, metro services and other sensitive locations.

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HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 20 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-NOVEMBER 20 2018 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Literacy levels in rural India suffer due to migration, finds UNESCO study

News

  • Literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration, the UNESCO global education monitoring report 2019 has observed, bringing out the educational challenges thrown up by migration.

Findings

  • In India, 10.7 million children aged 6 to 14 lived in rural households with a seasonal migrant in 2013. About 28% of youth aged 15 to 19 in these households were illiterate or had not completed primary school, compared to 18% of the cohort overall.
  • About 80% of seasonal migrant children in seven cities lacked access to education near work sites, and 40% are likely to end up in work rather than education, experiencing abuse and exploitation.
  • The construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants.
  • Inter-State migration rates have doubled between 2001 and 2011. An estimated 9 million migrated between States annually from 2011 to 2016.
  • It also warns of the negative impact on education for children who are left behind as their parents migrate: Test scores were lower among left-behind children aged 5-8.
  • The report, however, acknowledges that India has taken steps to address the issue.
  • Some State governments have also taken steps for migrant children’s education. It, however, observes that most interventions are focused on keeping children in home communities instead of actively addressing the challenges faced by those who are already on the move.
  • The report sees the growth of slums and informal settlements where schools are often scarce due to migration as a challenge. 18% of the students displaced by a riverfront project in Ahmedabad dropped out and an additional 11% had lower attendance.
  • The report shows there is only one urban planner for every 1,00,000 people in India, while there are 38 for every 1, 00,000 in the United Kingdom.

Delhiites’ life expectancy reduced by 10 years due to pollution: report

News

  • If air pollution levels in the Capital adhered to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, a typical Delhiite would live 10 years longer, a report released by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute stated.

Findings

  • The report, said the average Indian would live 4.3 years longer if the country’s air quality met the WHO standards, which are more stringent than that of the Indian government.
  • In comparison, the average resident of Beijing and Los Angeles would lose six years and one year respectively due to high pollution, the report also said.
  • The concentration of fine particulate matter had increased by an overall 69% in India in the past two decades. The sustained exposure to particulate pollution used to reduce life expectancy by 2.2 years in 1998.
  • As of 2016, the average life expectancy at birth could have gone up from 69 years to 73 years if the WHO standards were complied with.
  • This would be a greater gain than that from solving the problems of unsafe water and poor sanitation, the report added.
  • The AQLI reveals that the average person on the planet is losing 1.8 years of life expectancy due to particulate pollution exceeding the WHO guideline — more than devastating communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, behavioural killers like cigarette smoking, and even war.
  • Apart from India, China and Bangladesh were the other countries witnessing a large loss in life expectancy due to pollution, the report further stated.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

India, Russia to build stealth frigates

News

  • India  signed a $500 mn deal with Russia to locally manufacture two stealth frigates with technology transfer.
  • The agreement was signed between Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and Rosoboronexport of Russia.

Beyond News

  • The $500 mn deal is for material, design and specialists assistance from Russia for the two ships. Balance work will be done by GSL, and it will have a whole lot of Indian equipment including BrahMos missiles.
  • The cost of the engines for the ships which would come directly from Ukraine and the cost of constructing them at GSL are in addition. While the ships are built by Russia, the engines are supplied by Zorya Nashproekt of Ukraine. Four gas turbine engines, gear boxes and specialist support will cost around $50 mn per ship, the source stated.
  • In October 2016, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for four Krivak or Talwar stealth frigates two to be procured directly from Russia and two to be built by GSL. Of late, GSL has maintained a good track record. It has delivered 28 ships ahead of schedule in the last four years.
  • India recently signed a $1 bn deal with Russia for direct purchase of two frigates. The basic structures of the two frigates are already ready at Yantar shipyard in Russia and will be finished now.
  • After the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded approval for the deal, GSL was selected for the project in February 2017. Following this GSL completed the price negotiations with Russia as well as the Defence Ministry and the Indian Navy. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has already cleared the deal.
  • India had earlier procured six frigates weighing 4000 tonnes of the same class in two different batches, the Talwar class and the upgraded Teg class. The four ships to be built will weigh 300 tonnes more than the earlier ones and will be armed with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, Navy officials had said earlier.
  • Russia was declared the lowest bidder in the Army’s Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) deal and last month India signed a $5.43 bn deal for five S-400 long range air defence regiments. The series of deals with Russia come in the backdrop of looming US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law.

China launches twin BeiDou navigation satellites

News

  • China sent two new satellites of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) into space on a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province.

Beyond News

  • The satellites entered a medium earth orbit more than three hours later and will work with 17 other BDS-3 satellites already in space. They are also the 42nd and 43rd satellites of the BDS satellite family, Xinhua news agency reported.
  • With the successful launch, the basic BDS constellation deployment is complete. China plans to provide navigation services with the BDS-3 to countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative by the end of this year.
  • Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper constellation, the BeiDou system started serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.
  • China plans to launch another six BDS-3 satellites to the medium earth orbits, three satellites to the inclined geosynchronous earth orbit and two satellites to the geostationary earth orbit from 2019 to 2020. The system will provide first-class services around the globe by the end of 2020.

BASIC nations push for ‘climate finance’

News

  • Ahead of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP), Environment Ministers and top climate change negotiators from Brazil, South Africa, China and India (BASIC) convened in Delhi and said the countries as a group would continue to push for developed countries on their earlier commitment to providing $100 billion annually from 2020.

Beyond News

  • So far only a fraction of these monies have actually been provided, the BASIC group stated.
  • This year’s edition of the COP the 24th such meeting will see representatives from at least 190 countries, think-tanks, and activists converge in Katowice, Poland from December 2 to 14 to try to agree on a Rule Book that will specify how countries will agree to take forward commitments taken at the 21st COP in Paris in 2015.
  • At that meeting, countries had agreed to take steps to limit global warming to 2C below pre-industrial levels.
  • A key aspect to make this possible is climate finance, but countries so far aren’t agreed on what constitutes climate finance: do investments made by private companies in developed countries in new green technology count? Does improving efficiency in a thermal plant count?
  • Ministers reiterated that public finance is the fulcrum of enhanced climate ambition by developing countries and urged developed countries to fulfil their climate finance commitments.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

NASA picks ancient Martian river delta for rover landing

News

  • NASA has picked an ancient river delta as the landing site for its uncrewed Mars 2020 rover, to hunt for evidence of past life on the earth’s neighbouring planet.

Findings

  • Even though the Red Planet is now cold and dry, the landing site, Jezero Crater, was filled with a 500-meter deep lake that opened to a network of rivers some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago.
  • The delta is a good place for evidence of life to be deposited and then preserved for the billions of years that have elapsed since this lake was present.
  • Experts believe the 45-km wide basin could have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and other signs of microbial life.
  • At least five different kinds of rocks, including “clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life,” are believed to lie in the crater, just north of the Martian equator, the US space agency said in a statement.
  • Carbonate rock is produced by the interaction of water, atmospheric gases and rock, and leaves clues about habitable environments.
  • Scientists have debated where to land the rover for the past four years, and whittled down their decision from more than 60 possible sites.
  • The $2.5 billion rover is planned to launch in July 2020, and land in February 2021.
  • Mars 2020 is designed to land inside the crater and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis, perhaps by the later 2020s.
  • But first, the rover has to make it to the surface intact and upright, dodging a field of boulders, sand traps and the edges of the delta.
  • Mars 2020 will use the same sky crane landing that successfully delivered NASA’s unmanned Curiosity rover to a location called Gale Crater on Mars back in 2012.

Coast Guard vessel joins Ennore clean-up operation

News

  • The Indian Coast Guard continued clean-up operations at the Kamarajar Port in Ennore, where nearly two tonnes of oil leaked into the sea while being transferred from a merchant ship.

Beyond News

  • The Coast Guard’s dedicated pollution-control vessel, Samudra Pehredar, arrived at the port after being summoned from Visakhapatnam to help in the clean-up operations.
  • The merchant ship MT Coral Stars is unlikely to be allowed to leave the port till the clean-up is completed. A fine might be imposed on the company operating the ship, but those issues will be dealt with after the oil is cleaned up.
  • Oil industry sources claimed that over 80% of spilt oil had been removed. The port and TNPCB have asked that the cleaning be speeded up since rain has been forecast. Meanwhile, there is no issue with availability of fuel or LPG stocks as bottling plants have enough stock of LPG and crude oil is received from the Chennai port.
  • The Coast Guard also issued a notice under Section 356 (J) of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 to Atlantic Shipping Pvt Ltd, Chennai, that had chartered the ship.
  • The Coast Guard has advised the shipping company to undertake all the remedial actions mentioned in the notice.

‘Robo-nose’ could replace sniffer dogs

News

  • Scientists have developed an artificial “robot nose” device made from living mouse cells that could be used instead of dogs to sniff out narcotics and explosives.

Beyond News

  • The researchers developed the prototype based on odour receptors grown from the genes of mice that respond to target odours.
  • The receptors were identified in the 1990s, but there are significant technical hurdles to produce all these receptors and monitor the activity so that we can use that in an artificial device.
  • “E-noses” that exist now use various chemical compounds to detect smells instead of receptor stem cells.
  • Human, dog and mouse genomes contain around 20,000 genes, which contain instructions to create proteins that smell, taste, feel, move and do everything that our bodies do. About 5% of mouse genes have been identified as instructions to make odour receptors.
  • In contrast, humans only use about 2%of their genes to make odour receptors.

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