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All rights are reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced for Commercial or any other purpose without the prior permission of IES GS

www.iesgeneralstudies.com

hyperloop 2020

APRIL 2019

Monthly Current Affairs for ESE 2020

&

Practice Questions

www.iesgeneralstudies.com www.adapala-academy.com

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Current affairs – ESE 2020 April 2019

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Contents 1. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES ....................................................................................................................... 5

1.1 Social development ............................................................................................................................................... 5

World Health Day .................................................................................................................................................... 5

State of World Population-2019 .............................................................................................................................. 5

The General Elections .............................................................................................................................................. 6

1.2 Economic Development ........................................................................................................................................12

Ways and Means Advances (WMA) ........................................................................................................................12

Project Sashakt .......................................................................................................................................................13

Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) ..........................................................................................................................13

World Economic Outlook 2019 ...............................................................................................................................14

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Small Finance Banks ...............................................................................................................................................15

Gig Economy ...........................................................................................................................................................15

Swiss challenge method .........................................................................................................................................16

RBI allows Foreign Investors to invest in Municipal Bonds .....................................................................................17

BCIM Economic corridor .........................................................................................................................................17

Country-by-Country Reports Agreement ................................................................................................................18

1.3 Industrial Development ........................................................................................................................................19

Technical Textiles ...................................................................................................................................................19

Virgin Hyperloop One .............................................................................................................................................19

2. ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT .......................................................................................................................................19

2.1 Environment .........................................................................................................................................................20

IUCN red list of threatened species ........................................................................................................................20

Earth Hour 2019......................................................................................................................................................21

Coral bleaching in the world’s southernmost coral reef .........................................................................................22

Earth Day ................................................................................................................................................................22

Bharat Stage VI .......................................................................................................................................................23

Committee on National Clean Air Program .............................................................................................................24

2.2 Energy ...................................................................................................................................................................25

Global coalition on clean and efficient cooling .......................................................................................................25

3. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY .................................................................................................26

EMISAT Satellite .....................................................................................................................................................26

World’s first 5G networks .......................................................................................................................................27

Cloud Honeypots ....................................................................................................................................................28

Virtual Reality Centre of Indian Navy .....................................................................................................................28

Kronos malware .....................................................................................................................................................29

4. KEY GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES....................................................................................................................................29

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme ................................................................................................29

Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) .........................................................................30

PARIVESH (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window

Hub) ........................................................................................................................................................................31

National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) Project .......................................................................................................32

Government e-Marketplace (GeM) ........................................................................................................................32

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Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) ....................................................................................32

SWAYATT initiative .................................................................................................................................................33

5. OTHER TOPICS .............................................................................................................................................................33

5.1 General Knowledge ..............................................................................................................................................33

Zayed medal ...........................................................................................................................................................33

Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First ...........................................................................................................34

The first photograph of a black hole .......................................................................................................................34

UNESCO Global Geoparks .......................................................................................................................................35

Mosquirix: World's First Malaria Vaccine ...............................................................................................................36

5.2 Material Science..............................................................................................................................................36

Super injection in Semiconductors .........................................................................................................................36

Solid state battery technology ................................................................................................................................36

5.3 Safety ..............................................................................................................................................................37

Novel fire extinguisher ...........................................................................................................................................37

PRACTICE QUESTIONS .....................................................................................................................................................38

1. Social development ................................................................................................................................................38

2. Economic development ..........................................................................................................................................40

3. Environment ...........................................................................................................................................................42

4. Energy.....................................................................................................................................................................43

5. Information and Communication Technology ........................................................................................................44

6. Government Initiatives ...........................................................................................................................................44

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1. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

1.1 Social development

World Health Day

April 7 of each year marks the celebration of World Health Day. This year’s World Health Day focuses

on equity and solidarity.

Theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.

Highlights:

● The celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority

area of concern for the World Health Organization.

● Over the past 50 years this has brought to light important health issues such as mental health,

maternal and child care, and climate change.

● The celebration is marked by activities which extend beyond the day itself and serves as an

opportunity to focus worldwide attention on these important aspects of global health.

State of World Population-2019

The State of World Population-2019 is released by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Key findings:

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● India’s population grew at an average of 1.2% annually between 2010 and 2019 which is more

than double the annual growth rate of China.

● Around half of India’s population has achieved the replacement fertility rates of 2.1 children

per women, which is the desired family size when the population stops growing.

● India registered an improvement in life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth in 1969

was 47 years, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019.

● According to the analysis, the absence of reproductive and sexual rights has major and

negative repercussions on women’s education, income and safety, leaving them “unable to

shape their own futures”.

● Early marriage continues to remain an obstacle to female empowerment and better

reproductive rights.

● The report highlights the threat to women’s and girls’ reproductive rights posed by

emergencies caused by conflict or climate disasters.

About UNFPA:

● It is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

● UNFPA is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.

● UNFPA is entirely supported by voluntary contributions of donor governments,

intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and foundations and individuals, NOT by

the United Nations regular budget.

● UNFPA works directly to tackle Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health, Goal 4 on education

and Goal 5 on gender equality.

The General Elections

The Election Commission of India

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority. The body administers

elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, and the offices of the President

and Vice President in the country. Appointment & Tenure of Commissioners

● The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

● They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

● They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme

Court of India.

● The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by

Parliament.

Functions of ECI:

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Advisory Jurisdiction & Quasi-Judicial Functions

● In the matter of post-election ineligibility of sitting members of Parliament and State

Legislatures.

● The cases of persons found guilty of dishonest practices at elections which come before the

Supreme Court and High Courts are also referred to the Commission for its opinion.

● The Commission has the power to prohibit a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of

his election expenses within the time and in the manner set by law.

Administrative Powers

● To decide the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies throughout the country on the

basis of the Delimitation Commission Act of Parliament.

● To organize and periodically amend electoral rolls and to register all qualified voters.

● To inform the dates & schedules of election and to scrutinize the nomination papers.

● To grant recognition to political parties & allot election symbols to them.

● To act as a court for settling disputes related to granting of recognition to political parties and

allotment of election symbol to them.

● ECI appoints the following-

● Chief Electoral Officer– to supervise the election work in the State/UT

● District Election Officer– to supervise the election work of a district

● Returning Officer–for each assembly and parliamentary constituency.

● Electoral Registration Officer– for the preparation of Electoral rolls for a parliamentary/

assembly constituency.

Ensuring the Fair play

● The Election Commission of India is considered the guardian of free and reasonable elections.

● It issues the Model Code of Conduct in every election for political parties and candidates so

that the decorum of democracy is maintained.

● It regulates political parties and registers them for being eligible to contest elections.

● It publishes the allowed limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political

parties, and also monitors the same.

● The political parties must submit their annual reports to the ECI for getting tax benefit on

contributions.

● It guarantees that all the political parties regularly submit their audited financial reports.

Other powers:

● The Commission can repress the results of opinion polls if it deems such an action fit for the

cause of democracy.

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● The Commission can recommend for disqualification of members after the elections if it thinks

they have violated certain guidelines.

● In case, a candidate is found guilty of dishonest practices during the elections, the Supreme

Court and High Courts consult the Commission.

● The Commission can postpone candidates who fail to submit their election expense accounts

timely.

The Parliament

The Parliament of the Union consists of the President, the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the

Rajya Sabha (The Council of States).

1.Rajya sabha - the council of states

● The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected indirectly by single transferable vote system.

● Rajya Sabha members can serve for six years, with one third of the council being elected every

2 years.

2. Lok sabha - house of the people

● The Prime Minister, runs the government, according to the political composition of the Lok

Sabha.

● The members of Lok Sabha elected directly by the adult citizens of India.

Rajya Sabha

Not more than 250 members (243 at present); 12 members are nominated by the President under Article 80 of the Constitution

Lok Sabha

543 members plus 2 members of the Anglo-Indian community, nominated by the President under Article 331 of the Constitution

State Legislatures

● India is a federal country, and the Constitution gives the States and Union Territories significant

control over their own government.

● The Vidhan Sabhas (legislative assemblies) are directly elected.

● In some states, there is a bicameral organisation of legislatures, with both an Upper and Lower

House.

● Two of the seven Union Territories viz., the National Capital Territory of Delhi and Pondicherry,

have also legislative assemblies.

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Reservation of Seats

● There are provisions to ensure the representation of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes

with reserved constituencies, where only candidates from these communities can stand for

election.

System of Election

We follow a first-past-the-post electoral system. I.e. for each constituency, the electors can cast their

vote for a single candidate (of their choice), the winner being the candidate who gets the most votes.

Scheduling of election

● The election process starts with the issue of notification for the Parliamentary Constituencies

and Assembly Constituencies.

● The scrutiny of the nominations is carried out on the day following the last date for

nominations.

● The campaign period is usually of 14 days or more, and the campaign comes to an end 48

hours before the close of the polls in the respective constituencies.

Model code of conduct

● The Model Code lays down broad guidelines as to how the political parties and candidates

should conduct themselves during the election campaign.

● The Model Code also prescribes guidelines for the ruling party to ensure that a level field is

maintained.

Electronic Voting Machine

● Electronic Voting Machines have been developed to facilitate easy polling and counting.

● The machines have been developed by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and

Bharat Electronics Corporation of India Limited (BEL).

VVPAT – Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail

● From 2013, a new system has been added in the EVM called Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.

● A printer is attached with the EVM which prints Sl.No., Name and Symbol of the candidate for

whom a voter has voted.

None Of The Above (NOTA) option in EVMS

● The electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their option by

pressing the button against NOTA.

Systematic Voters’ Education & Electoral Participation (SVEEP)

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● Comprehensive measures for voters’ education are taken up during the Special Roll Revision

process in the state.

● These measures will continue and are further augmented during the electoral process.

● Model polling stations are set up.

● Voter helplines, Voters’ Facilitation Centres, Web and SMS based search facilities are active for

assistance of voters.

ERMS:

The ERMS (Electoral Roll Management System) will cover the entire process of Electoral Roll

preparation for the state from Electoral Roll Revision data management to final Electoral Roll

publishing.

Salient Features -

● It’s a cluster of window/web based applications developed based web services.

● The following tools have been integrated for providing citizen services i.e. Search Facility and

Voter Slip(Online/Mobile based), and Tracking status of your application, Format 1 to 8

reporting module, Database Error finding module and Rationalizations of Polling Station etc.

Matdata (Voter)

● Matdata App was used for Voters’ facilitation. Any citizen can search details of enrollment in

Electoral Roll through EPIC Number or through Name by downloading the app on his mobile.

● He/She can also locate his/her Polling Station on Google Map.

● Further, all nearby Polling Stations near the location of the citizen can be seen on the GPS

enabled mobile.

Matdaan (Polling)

● Matdaan App was used for Poll Day Monitoring like Poll events, reaching of Polling Parties

reached, PS Image, Votes Cast, and Voters’ Images etc.

● This application has the feature of using it offline in case of non-connectivity of network.

● All data captured offline is synchronized with the centralized server as soon as the person using

the app comes in the coverage area.

● Through this app, we can find out Voter Turnout (VTR) gender-wise, age-wise and section-wise.

● Improvement of quality of image in the roll can also be done through this app as we get the

recent colour photograph of the voter against old / bad quality photograph in the roll.

Samadhan (Redressal)

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● This application provided the people / political party to lodge their complaints on the common

platform for all complaints received from all sources.

● Mobile app was available for the people so that they could submit complaints with

photographs / videos on the common platform.

● SMS is sent to complainant on receipt / disposal of complaint. Complainant can track status

and view ATR online through the android App.

Suvidha (Convenience)

● The ‘Suvidha’ software provided for standard forms for applying for different permissions.

● It also provided a checklist showing the mandatory and optional documents required for

different permissions.

● This made the task of person applying and accepting the application simple and transparent.

Sugam (Easy)

● This application was used for management of vehicles in the election right from the requisition

of vehicles to its payment / release.

Elecon

● The ELECON application was used for creating database of Police / Polling personnel,

generation of command / appointment letters, sending SMS regarding deputation / training,

tagging of patrolling party with force, generation of application for postal ballot, formation of

polling party / police party after randomization, for sending polling personnel / police force

from one district to another district etc.

E-COUNTING (counting)

Use of online E-Counting software for uploading table-wise/candidate-wise votes polled from the

counting hall was done. From android app in the mobile phone one can view the trend of counting /

result.

ETS

EVM Tracking Software (ETS) is used for tracking the availability, movement of EVM.

Webcasting

● Webcasting is a process where the entire poll day proceedings are captured as a video file, and

streamed live, for viewing at selected locations.

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1.2 Economic Development

Ways and Means Advances (WMA)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in consultation with the government of India has set the limits for

Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the first half of the financial year 2019-20

What is WMA?

The Reserve Bank of India gives temporary loan facilities to the centre and state governments

as a banker to government.

The scheme was designed to meet temporary mismatches in the receipts and payments of the

government.

This facility can be availed by the government if it needs immediate cash from the RBI.

The WMA is to be vacated after 90 days. Interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo

rate.

The limits for WMA are mutually decided by the RBI and the Government of India.

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The WMA for the Central Government:

The WMA scheme for the Central Government was introduced on April 1, 1997, after putting

an end to the four-decade old system of adhoc (temporary) Treasury Bills.

WMA Scheme for State Governments:

Under the WMA scheme for the State Governments, there are two types of WMA – Special and

Normal WMA.

Special WMA is extended against the collateral (mortgaging) of the government securities held

by the State Government.

After the exhaustion of the special WMA limit, the State Government is provided a normal

WMA. The withdrawal above the WMA limit is considered an overdraft.

The rate of interest on WMA is linked to the Repo Rate.

Project Sashakt

Under the aegis of Project Sashakt, 35 banks have signed an inter-creditor agreement (ICA), which

provides the framework to resolve assets through a bank-led resolution approach (BLRA). Under the

agreement, if the lead bank is unable to implement a resolution plan in 180 days, the assets will then

move to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) process.

What is Project Sashakt?

Project Sashakt was proposed by a panel led by PNB chairman Sunil Mehta.

Bad loans of up to ₹ 50 crore will be managed at the bank level, with a deadline of 90 days.

For bad loans of ₹ 50-500 crore, banks will enter an inter-creditor agreement, authorizing the

lead bank to implement a resolution plan in 180 days, or refer the asset to NCLT.

For loans above ₹ 500 crore, the panel recom­mended an independent asset management

company (AMC.The idea is to help consolidate stressed assets.

Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)

An APA is an agreement between a taxpayer and the tax authority determining the Transfer Pricing

methodology for pricing the tax payer’s international transactions for future years.

An APA provides certainty with respect to the tax outcome of the tax payer’s international

transactions.

What are the types of APAs?

A Unilateral APA is an APA that involves only the taxpayer and the tax authority of the country

where the taxpayer is located.

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Bilateral APA (BAPA) is an APA that involves the tax payer, associated enterprise (AE) of the

taxpayer in the foreign country, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and

the foreign tax authority.

Multilateral APA (MAPA) is an APA that involves the taxpayer, two or more AEs of the tax payer

in different foreign countries, tax authority of the country where the taxpayer is located and

the tax authorities of AEs.

World Economic Outlook 2019

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released biannual World Economic Outlook 2019.

Global projections:

The global growth will be 3.3% in 2019, down from 3.6% in 2018 and 4% in 2017.

Reasons for slow growth:

U.S.-China trade tensions

Macroeconomic stress in Turkey and Argentina

Tighter credit policies in China

Mounting debt levels

Increasing inequalities etc.

India’s projections:

India’s growth is projected to pick up to 7.3% in 2019 (2019-20) and 7.5% in 2020.

Reasons for improvements:

The continued recovery of investment and robust consumption.

A more expansionary stance of monetary policy and some expected impetus from fiscal policy.

Recommendations

Global level:

Greater multilateral cooperation to resolve trade conflicts

To address climate change and

To address risks from cyber security, and

To improve the effectiveness of international taxation.

India specific recommendations:

Continued implementation of structural and financial sector reforms in order to lower public

debt and aid growth.

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Enhancing governance of public sector banks

Reforms to hiring that would incentivize job creation.

Strengthening goods and services tax compliance and lowering subsidies.

Speed up the resolution of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) and a simplified bankruptcy

framework.

Laws around land reform to change, to expedite infrastructure development.

Small Finance Banks

Data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) show that the small finance banks, in total, saw their

deposits grow 31.6% in the third quarter (ended December) of this financial year, compared with the

second quarter.

What are Small Finance Banks(SFBs)?

The small finance bank will primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and

lending to unserved and underserved sections including small business units, small and marginal

farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.

What are the functions of SFBs?

Accept small deposits and disburse loans.

Distribute mutual funds, insurance products and other simple third-party financial products.

Lend 75% of their total adjusted net bank credit to priority sector.

Minimum 50% of loans should be up to 25 lakhs.

How are they different from other commercial banks?

They cannot open branches with prior RBI approval for first five years.

Cannot lend to big corporates and groups.

Other financial activities of the promoter must not mingle with the bank.

They cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking financial services activities.

Cannot be a business correspondent of any bank.

Gig Economy

Delhi has emerged as the top destination for migrant workers.

What is Gig Economy?

A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and

organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

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A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change

positions and instead focus on a lifetime career.

Highlights:

An estimated 56% of new employment in India is being generated by the gig economy companies

across both the blue-collar and white-collar workforce. The reasons are:

In the digital age, the worker need not sit at a fixed location—the job can be done from

anywhere.

In a gig economy, businesses save resources in terms of benefits like provident fund, paid leave

and office space.

Heightened migration and

Readily available job training.

Challenges

The gig economy is largely unregulated; therefore workers have little job security and few

benefits.

A gig-economy worker will have to upgrade his skills on his own at his own cost.

Swiss challenge method

Central Bank of India put up two non-performing assets (NPAs) worth Rs 251 crore for sale through

the Swiss challenge method.

What is Swiss challenge method?

A Swiss Challenge is a method of bidding, often used in public projects, in which an interested

party initiates a proposal for a contract or the bid for a project.

The government then puts the details of the project out in the public and invites proposals

from others interested in executing it.

On the receipt of these bids, the original contractor gets an opportunity to match the best bid.

It may entail two rounds of bidding for a distressed company or its assets.

Example: Assume that Company A wins the first round of bidding by a quoting a price of ₹5,000 crore

for a power plant. This will be made public and a second set of bids invited. If Company B quotes

₹5,500 crore, Company A will be offered a second opportunity to match it. If it refuses, Company B

would be declared the winning bidder. If Company A steps up, then it will bag the power plant at

₹5,500 crore.

Why is it important?

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The Swiss Challenge allows a seller to mix-and-match the features of both an open auction and

a closed tender to discover the best price for an asset.

The method can foster innovation, as contractors or developers may initiate projects.

RBI allows Foreign Investors to invest in Municipal Bonds

The Reserve Bank of India has eased norms for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) by allowing them to

invest in Municipal Bonds (Muni bond) under prescribed limits.

The limits for investing in Muni bond are same as that of FPI investment in State Development Loans

(SDLs), which is currently 2% of outstanding loans.

Municipal Bonds:

Municipal bonds are bonds issued by urban local bodies- municipal bodies and municipal

corporates (entities owned by municipal bodies) to raise money for financing specific projects

specifically infrastructure projects.

These Bonds has tax-free status if they conform to certain rules and their interest rates are

market-linked.

Bangalore Municipal Corporation was the first ULB to issue Municipal Bond in India in 1997.

In 2015, SEBI made fresh guidelines for the issue of municipal bonds for enabling the ULBs to

mobilize money.

These bonds are known as revenue bonds when raised for one project

‘Muni bond’ could help corporations directly raise funds without looking to State grants or

agencies such as World Bank and help in financing projects such as Smart Cities.

BCIM Economic corridor

China has said that the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor will not be a part of the Belt

& Road Initiative.

About BCIM Economic Corridor:

The BCIM economic corridor aims to connect Kolkata with Kunming, capital of the Yunnan

province.

It envisages formation of a thriving economic belt, focusing on cross-border transport, energy

and telecommunication networks.

Significance of BCIM:

India will benefit in terms of the development of the Kolkata port and the opening up of the

economic potential of the northeast states.

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It offers India an opportunity to create its own win-win relationship with China.

It can use the economic corridor for negotiating downstream industries to be located within

India.

With natural gas reserves of about 200 trillion cubic feet, the largest in the Asia-Pacific,

Bangladesh could become one of the major energy exporting countries.

Promotes tourism

It is pivotal for India’s ‘Act East’ Policy.

Access to several booming markets in Southeast Asia

Improvement of transport infrastructure and setting up of industrial zones.

About Belt and Road Initiative (BRI):

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and

Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving regional

integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.

Country-by-Country Reports Agreement

India has notified the inter-governmental agreement with the US for exchange of country-by-country

(CbC) reports on multinational companies regarding income allocation and taxes paid in order to help

check cross-border tax evasion. That is, the Companies headquartered in the US but having

operations and taxability in India now need not file country-by-country (CbC) reports in India. For such

international companies, filing CbC reports in the US would be sufficient. This will reduce the

compliance burden on their subsidiaries operating out of these countries.

About Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS):

BEPS is a term used to describe tax planning strategies that exploit mismatches and gaps that

exist between the tax rules of different jurisdictions.

It is done to minimize the corporation tax that is payable overall, by either making tax profits

‘disappear’ or shift profits to low tax jurisdictions where it is little or no genuine activity.

In general BEPS strategies are not illegal; rather they take advantage of different tax rules

operating in different jurisdictions.

BEPS is of major significance for developing countries due to their heavy reliance on corporate

income tax, particularly from multinational enterprises (MNEs).The BEPS initiative is an OECD

initiative, approved by the G20, to identify ways of providing more standardized tax rules

globally.

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1.3 Industrial Development

Technical Textiles

Technical Seminar was organized by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga

Rejuvenation on “Use of Technical Textiles in Water Resources Works” in New Delhi.

What are Technical textiles?

Technical Textiles are defined as Textile material and products manufactured primarily for their

Technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic and decorative characteristics.

Significance:

● The materials have provided innovative engineering solutions for several applications in civil

and geotechnical engineering, for infrastructure water resources projects.

● Various parts of India are subjected to floods and environmental degradation. In some of the

terrains, the flood management and control can rely on Technical Textiles tubes, containers

and bags.

● Technical Textiles have been found to perform better than concrete as water protection

component because of permeability, flexibility and ease of underwater placement.

Virgin Hyperloop One

The first Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) commercial project in the world may start between Mumbai

and Pune by 2025.

What is Hyperloop?

● Hyperloop is a system where magnetically levitating capsules are sent at high speeds through

low-pressure tubes, thereby potentially reducing transport time — of people and goods — by

more than 80%.

● The system consists of pods or capsules travelling at high speeds through low-pressure tubes

erected on columns or tunneled underground.

● The system is fully autonomous and sealed, so no driver-related error is anticipated. In a sealed

environment with almost no air resistance, the pods are expected to reach very high speeds.

● The Hyperloop technology can act as a beacon for the Mission 350 Plus initiative announced by

Government of India in July 2016 which aims to gradually introduce levitation based

technology.

2. ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

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2.1 Environment

IUCN red list of threatened species

Key Facts:

The hump-backed mahseer—a large freshwater fish also called the tiger of the water and found

only in the Cauvery river basin (including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers)—is now

“Critically Endangered”: more threatened than the tiger is.

Five other species also in threatened categories: two wild orchids, the Arabian scad (a marine fish)

and two wild coffee species found only in a few localities in the Western Ghats.

About IUCN red list of threatened species:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the

global conservation status of plant and animal species.

It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species. These

criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world.

Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).

Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be

threatened with extinction.

The IUCN system uses a set of five quantitative criteria to assess the extinction risk of a given

species, they are:

o The rate of population decline.

o The geographic range.

o Whether the species already possesses a small population size.

o Whether the species is very small or lives in a restricted area.

o Whether the results of a quantitative analysis indicate a high probability of extinction in the

wild.

Significance:

The Red List is indeed being used in many developing countries including India as a standard to

understand the conservation status of species

Funding and research when a species is included in the List.

Conservation managers use information from the Red List to understand threats to specific

species.

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Earth Hour 2019

The Earth Hour 2019 was observed on March 30 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm local time.

Theme: #Connect2Earth.

About Earth Hour:

● World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Earth Hour is an annual global celebration in which

people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about the future of our planet.

● It began in Sydney, Australia in 2007; the number of countries taking part in Earth Hour has

grown to over 180 countries and territories.

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● It aims to put the spotlight on the issues facing the planet, and to inspire millions across the

world to live more sustainably.

About World Wildlife Fund:

● The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization

founded in 1961, working in the field of wilderness preservation, and the reduction of

humanity's footprint on the environment.

● Headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.

● The group's mission is "to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to

build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature".

Coral bleaching in the world’s southernmost coral reef

● The corals off Lord Howe Island (600 km offshore from Sydney) were affected by elevated

temperatures, despite escaping severe bleaching that damaged the Great Barrier Reef in 2016

and 2017.

● Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures,

cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

● Increasing baseline temperatures caused by climate change, and local factors such as elevated

temperatures in the area this summer, caused the bleaching to occur.

What is Coral Bleaching?

Coral bleaching, whitening of coral that results from the loss of a coral’s symbiotic

algae(zooxanthellae) or the degradation of the algae’s photosynthetic pigment.

Bleaching is associated with the devastation of coral reefs, which are home to approximately

25 percent of all marine species.

Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22. The theme of Earth Day 2019 is “Protect Our

Species”.

● It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and

celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.

● Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern

environmental movement in 1970.

● Earth Day Network work to solve climate change, to end plastic pollution, to protect

endangered species, and to broaden, educate, and activate the environmental movement

across the globe.

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● The Earth Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio

Declaration (Earth Summit), to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just

balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future

generations of humanity.

Bharat Stage VI

Maruti Suzuki Ltd has launched its popular Baleno and Alto hatchbacks with engines compliant with

the Bharat State 6 emission norms, a year before the new norms will be introduced.

What are Bharat Stage norms?

● The Bharat Stage is standards instituted by the government to regulate emission of air

pollutants from motor vehicles.

● With appropriate fuel and technology, they limit the release of air pollutants such as nitrogen

oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides from

vehicles using internal combustion engines.

● Bharat Stage VI norms are two stages ahead of the present Bharat Stage IV norms in regulating

emissions. These norms are based on similar norms in Europe called Euro 4 and Euro 6.

Differences between two stages:

● The extent of sulphur is the major difference between Bharat Stage IV and Bharat Stage VI

norms.

● BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, the BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm

sulphur.

● BS VI can bring PM in diesel cars down by 80 per cent .

● The new norms will bring down nitrogen oxides from diesel cars by 70 per cent and in petrol

cars by 25 per cent.

● BS VI also make on-board diagnostics (OBD) mandatory for all vehicles. OBD device informs the

vehicle owner or the repair technician how efficient the systems in the vehicle are.

Impact on automakers:

● Compliance with BS-VI norms will require higher investment in technology to upgrade vehicles

in stock and making new vehicles.

Impact on buyers:

● Those who buy Bharat Stage VI-compliant vehicles will have to pay more since such vehicles

will cost automakers more and they will pass on the additional cost to the buyers.

● The Bharat Stage VI-compliant fuel too will be more expensive

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Committee on National Clean Air Program

The Union Environment Ministry has constituted a committee to implement the National Clean Air Program (NCAP). The committee aims to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20%-30% in at least 102 cities

by 2024. The committee will be chaired by the Secretary, Union Environment Ministry It ensures inter-ministerial organization and cooperation, sharing information and resolving issues

that could arise between ministries. The committee would also give overall guidance and directions to effectively implement the programs.

About NCAP: The NCAP is envisioned as a five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. There would be a

review every five years. The program aims to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution. Achieve a national-level target of 20-30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by

between 2017 and 2024.

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Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will execute this nation-wide programme in consonance with the section 162 (b) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1986.

The plan includes 102 non-attainment cities, across 23 states and Union territories, which were identified by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the basis of their ambient air quality data between 2011 and 2015.

Non-attainment cities are those which have been consistently showing poorer air quality than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. These include Delhi, Varanasi, Bhopal, Kolkata, Noida, Muzaffarpur, and Mumbai.

The plan proposes a three-tier system, including real-time physical data collection, data archiving, and an action trigger system in all 102 cities, besides extensive plantation plans, research on clean-technologies, landscaping of major arterial roads, and stringent industrial standards.

It proposes state-level plans of e-mobility in the two-wheeler sector, rapid augmentation of charging infrastructure, stringent implementation of BS-VI norms, boosting public transportation system, and adoption of third-party audits for polluting industries.

2.2 Energy

Global coalition on clean and efficient cooling

● It is a unified front that links action across the Kigali Amendment, Paris Agreement and

Sustainable Development Goals.

● Its objective is expected to inspire ambition, identify solutions and mobilize action to

accelerate progress towards clean and efficient cooling.

● Besides the UN, it is supported by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling

Efficiency Program and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

● It includes government officials from Chile, Rwanda, Denmark as well as leaders from civil

society, research and academia.

Background

Throughout the world, 2018 was the fourth hottest year, preceded by 2017, 2015 and 2016.

With increasing incomes and urbanisation, number of air conditioning units across the globe is

set to increase.

It recognizes the importance of cooling not only as a carbon emission and development issue

but as a larger social equity issue.

The adoption of passive cooling design strategies across sectors is need of the hour. Example,

thermally efficient built spaces, using insulation, shading, and enhanced natural ventilation

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

Renewable Energy (RE) companies have moved the Delhi High Court, seeking an exemption for

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under the goods and services tax (GST).

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RECs:

● RECs act as market-pull incentives that create demand for renewable energy installations.

● RECs are also known as green energy certificates or tradable renewable certificates are proof

that energy has been generated from renewable sources.

● Each REC represents the environmental benefits of 1MWh of renewable energy generation.

● Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) instituted in 2011, is a mandate that requires large

power procurers to source a pre-determined fraction of their electricity from renewable

sources.

● The REC market was introduced to facilitate RPO compliance by RE certificate procurement.

● The income generated from trading RECs will bolster independent projects.

3. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

EMISAT Satellite

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the EMISAT satellite on onboard the

PSLV-C45 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

What is EMISAT Satellite?

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● It is an electronic intelligence satellite for the Defense Research and Development Organization

(DRDO).

● The EMISAT satellite is aimed at electromagnetic spectrum measurement - so as to intercept

and analyze radar signals, find their location, identify the hostile radars based on their radio

frequency (RF) signature.

● It is an all-weather and all terrain condition satellite, which will allow it to work through clouds,

rain, forest and coastal areas.

● It has the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

Significance of Launch

● The mission was significant as this was the first time a PSLV has placed objects in three

different orbits.

● At the fourth stage three experimental payloads were deployed:

1. Automatic Identification System (AIS) for Maritime satellite applications capturing messages

transmitted from ships

2. Automatic Packet Repeating System (APRS) from AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite

Corporation), India - assists amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data

3. Advanced Retarding Potential Analyzer for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS) from Indian Institute of

Space Science and Technology (IIST) - for the structural and compositional studies of the

ionosphere.

● It is the first time it has been envisaged to provide a microgravity environment for research

organizations and academic institutes to perform experiments.

World’s first 5G networks

South Korea launched world’s first 5G mobile networks on April 3, 2019. Samsung Electronics rolls out

the Galaxy S10 5G, the world’s first available smartphone using the technology. Two hours later,

mobile carrier Verizon began rolling out its 5G services in Chicago and Minneapolis in USA.

Highlights:

● Experts say 5G will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity—20 times faster than

4G—allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second.

● The technology is crucial for the future development of devices such as self-driving vehicles

and is expected to bring about $565 billion in global economic benefits by 2034.

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Cloud Honeypots

● A honeypot is a system intended to mimic likely targets of cyber attackers for security

researchers to monitor cyber-criminal behavior.

● They serve no business function.

● Honeypots are used to trap, allowing time for defenders to analyze their threat parameters

and generate appropriate threat indicators to block an impending attack.

Virtual Reality Centre of Indian Navy

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba inaugurated the first ‘state-of-the-art’ Virtual Reality Centre

(VRC) at the Directorate of Naval Design (Surface Ship Group), New Delhi.

● This centre would provide major boost to the Indigenous warship design capabilities of Indian

Navy

● Providing impetus to self-reliance and greater fillip to warship construction under “Make in

India” initiative of the Indian government.

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About Virtual Reality:

● Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment.

About Augmented Reality (AR):

It is an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world

environments are augmented with superimposed computer-generated images over a user’s view of

the real-world, thus enhancing one’s current perception of reality.

Kronos malware

A British cybersecurity researcher has pleaded guilty for developing a malware named Kronos aimed

at stealing banking information.

● Kronos is a type of Trojan.

● Kronos first appeared online on a Russian underground forum in 2014.

Malware:

Malware is a generic term that can be used to refer to nefarious software, which has been specifically

designed to disrupt or damage a computer system.

Trojans:

● Trojans are commonly spread via email attachments, and once downloaded, can give attackers

free reign to snoop and steal sensitive information like financial data, emails, and passwords.

● Trojans are often bundled with legitimate but keep the original software intact to avoid

suspicion.

4. KEY GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme

Five years after its launch, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme has almost achieved

a total balance of ₹1-lakh crore.

Key facts:

Public sector banks have the lion’s share in total balance followed by regional rural banks and

private sector banks respectively.

The scheme focuses on rural areas with primacy given to women.

The average balance in PMJDY accounts has also been going up.

About PMJDY:

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The National Mission of Financial Inclusion named as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

seeks to integrate the poorest of the poor with bank accounts.

The scheme covers both urban and rural areas of India.

All bank accounts will be linked to a debit card which would be issued under the Ru-Pay

scheme.

Rupay is India’s own unique domestic card network owned by National Payments Corporation

of India and has been created as an alternative to Visa and Mastercard.

Every individual who opens a bank account becomes eligible to receive an accident insurance

cover of up-to Rs 1 Lakh for his entire family.

Life Insurance coverage is also available under PMJDY.

The scheme also provides incentives to business and banking correspondents who serve as link

for the last mile between savings account holders and the bank by fixing a minimum monthly

remuneration of Rs 5000.

Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA)

The Scheme is aimed at ensuring remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce as announced

in the Union Budget for 2018.

The umbrella scheme ‘PM-AASHA’ comprises three sub-schemes:

1. Price Support Scheme (PSS).

2. Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS).

3. Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS).

Price Support Scheme (PSS):

● Under the scheme, the physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and Copra will be done by

Central Nodal Agencies with the proactive role of the state governments.

● Further, in addition to NAFED, the Food Cooperation of India (FCI) will take up PSS operations

in states and districts.

● The procurement expenditure and losses due to procurement will be borne by the Union

Government as per norms.

Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS):

● Under the scheme, it is proposed to cover all oilseeds for which minimum support price (MSP)

is notified.

● In this, direct payment of the difference between the MSP and the selling/modal price will be

made to pre-registered farmers selling his produce in the notified market yard through a

transparent auction process.

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● All payments will be done directly into the registered bank account of the farmer.

● This scheme does not involve any physical procurement of crops as farmers are paid the

difference between the MSP price and sale or modal price on disposal in the notified market.

Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS):

● For oilseeds, the states will have the option to roll out Private Procurement Stockist Scheme

(PPSS) on pilot basis in selected districts and Agricultural Produce Market Committee’s (APMC)

of district involving the participation of private stockiest.

● The pilot district and selected APMC(s) will cover one or more crop of oilseeds for which MSP is

notified.

● Since this is similar to the PSS scheme, as it involves physical procurement of the notified

commodity, the scheme shall substitute PSS/PDPS in the pilot districts.

● The selected private agency shall procure the commodity at MSP in the notified markets during

the notified period from the registered farmers in accordance with the PPSS Guidelines,

whenever the prices in the market fall below the notified MSP and whenever authorised by the

state or UT government to enter the market.

PARIVESH (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-

window Hub)

● It is an environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ clearances.

● This Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System has been developed in

pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ and capturing the essence of Minimum Government

and Maximum Governance.

Features:

● “PARIVESH” is a workflow-based application, based on the concept of web architecture.

● It has been rolled out for online submission, monitoring and management of proposals

submitted by Project Proponents to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

(MOEFCC), as well as to the State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA).

● It seeks to give various types of clearances (e.g. Environment, Forest, Wildlife and Coastal

Regulation Zone Clearances) from Central, State and district-level authorities.

● The system has been designed, developed and hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest

and Climate Change, with technical support from National Informatics Centre, (NIC).

● The facility of Geographic Information System (GIS) interface for the Appraisal Committee will

help them in analyzing the proposal efficiently, automatic alerts (via SMS and emails) at

important stages to the concerned officers, committee members and higher authorities to

check the delays, if any.

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● It also enables project proponents, citizens to view, track and interact with scrutiny officers,

generates online clearance letters, online mailers and alerts to state functionaries in case of

delays beyond stipulated time for processing of applications.

National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) Project

● It is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) comes under the Digital India Programme.

● Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) is the ‘Nodal Ministry’ for its implementation in all

the 31 States/UTs with Legislatures.

● It aims to bring all the legislatures of the country together, in one platform thereby creating a

massive data depository without having the complexity of multiple applications.

Significance of project:

● Paperless Assembly or e-Assembly is a concept involving of electronic means to facilitate the

work of Assembly.

● It enables automation of entire law-making process, tracking of decisions and documents,

sharing of information.

● Through the cloud technology (Meghraj), data deployed can be accessed anywhere at any

time.

● The live webcasting of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV is also available on this application.

Government e-Marketplace (GeM)

GeM has witnessed a four-fold increase in the total value of transactions on the portal and doubling

of the number of sellers in the marketplace in the FY 2018-19.

About GeM:

● GeM is an Online Market platform was set up in 2016 to facilitate procurement of goods and

services by the government ministries, departments, public sector undertakings (PSU), etc.

● It has been envisaged as National Procurement Portal of India.

● It has been developed by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (Ministry of Commerce

and Industry) with technical support of National e-governance Division (Ministry of Electronic

and Information Technology).

● It functions under Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), Ministry of

Commerce and Industry.

● GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-marketplace that enables

procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.

Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA)

● Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ was launched in September, 2017.

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● Under Saubhagya free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in

rural areas and poor families in urban areas.

● Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency for the Saubhagya

scheme.

● The scheme aims to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country.

● All DISCOMs including Private Sector DISCOMs, State Power Departments and RE Cooperative

Societies shall be eligible for financial assistance under the scheme in line with Deen Dayal

Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

● Eligibility: The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the

scheme would be identified using SECC 2011 data.

Scope of the Scheme:

● Providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all unelectrified households in

rural areas.

● Providing Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) based standalone system for unelectrified households

located in remote and inaccessible villages / habitations, where grid extension is not feasible or

cost effective.

SWAYATT initiative

SWAYATT is an initiative to promote Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage Through eTransactions

on Government e Marketplace (GeM).

● This will bring together the key stakeholders within the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem to

Government e-Marketplace the national procurement portal.

● To promote inclusiveness by catapulting various categories of sellers and service providers.

● Take proactive steps to facilitate the training and registrations of such specific category of

manufacturers and sellers.

● To develop women entrepreneurship and encourage participation of MSME sector and Start-

ups in public procurement.

5. OTHER TOPICS

5.1 General Knowledge

Zayed medal

UAE awards PM Narendra Modi with ‘Zayed medal’ in recognition of efforts in giving “a big

boost” to bilateral relations between both the countries.

The ‘Order of Zayed’ is the highest civil decoration instituted by the UAE.

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It is awarded to Heads of Government/Head of State for their international relations with UAE.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the founding father of the United Arab Emirates.

Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has been conferred with the “Order of the Holy

Apostle Andrew the First,” the highest civilian award of Russia.

The order was presented to the Prime Minister of India for his distinguished contribution to the

development of a privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India and friendly ties

between the Russian and Indian people.

The Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First is awarded to prominent government and

public figures, prominent representatives of science, culture, art and various sectors of the

economy for “exceptional services that contribute to the prosperity, greatness, and glory of

Russia”.

The first photograph of a black hole

It was revealed by Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

What is Black hole?

A black hole is a region of space whose mass is so

large and dense that not even light can escape its

gravitational attraction. Because no light can escape, it is

black and invisible.

There’s a boundary at the edge of a black hole called

the event horizon, which is the point of no return — any

light or matter that crosses that boundary is sucked into the black hole.

Anything that crosses the event horizon is destined to fall to the very centre of the black hole

and be squished into a single point with infinite density, called the singularity.

Where are black holes found?

Supermassive black holes are found at the centre of most galaxies.

The one in our galaxy is called Sagittarius A* and is one of those the Event Horizon Telescope

has been attempting to photograph.

How black holes are formed?

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Stellar mass black holes form when a star with a mass greater than three times that of our sun

runs out of fuel. It explodes into a supernova and collapses into an extremely dense core that

we know as a black hole.

Supermassive black holes are believed to form at the same time as the galaxy is formed.

About Event Horizon Telescope (EHT):

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a large telescope array consisting of a global network of

radio telescopes and combining data from several very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI)

stations around the Earth.

The aim of the EHT project is to observe the immediate environment of supermassive black

holes, with an angular resolution high enough to resolve structures on the size scale of the

black hole's event horizon.

UNESCO Global Geoparks

UESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified

geographical areas where sites and landscapes of

international geological significance are managed

with a holistic concept of protection, education

and sustainable development.

At present, there are 147 UNESCO Global Geoparks

in 41 countries

In 2018 Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s

Island and Malpe beach in coastal Karnataka are

listed for UNESCO Global Geopark Network status.

Importance:

To enhance awareness and understanding of key

issues facing society in the context of the dynamic planet we all live on.

Mitigating the effects of climate change

Reducing the impact of natural disasters.

By raising awareness of the importance of the area’s geological heritage in history and society

today.

The creation of innovative local enterprises, new jobs and high quality training courses is

stimulated as new sources of revenue are generated through sustainable geotourism, while

the geological resources of the area are protected.

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Mosquirix: World's First Malaria Vaccine

The vaccine has been recommended by WHO for pilot introduction in selected areas of 3

African countries- Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

RTS,S, known by its trade name Mosquirix, uses antibodies to target proteins to enhance the

immune system and help prevent the parasite from infecting the liver.

About Malaria:

It is caused by the infectious Plasmodium.

It is spreaded by female Anopheles Mosquitoes .

Malaria is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality.

5.2 Material Science

Super injection in Semiconductors

A physical effect known as superinjection underlies modern light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and

lasers.

For decades this effect was believed to occur only in semiconductor heterostructures—that is,

structures composed of two or more semiconductor materials.

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have found superinjection

to be possible in homostructures, which are made of a single material.

Superinjection

If one places a semiconductor between two semiconductors with wider bandgaps and applies a

forward bias voltage, the concentration of electrons and holes in the middle layer can reach values

that are orders of magnitude higher than those in the outer layers.

New development:

● The physicists found that it is possible to achieve superinjection with just one material.

● In the case of silicon and germanium, superinjection requires cryogenic temperatures. But in

diamond or gallium nitride, strong superinjection can occur even at room temperature.

● This opens up new prospects for designing highly efficient blue, violet, ultraviolet, and white

LEDs, as well as light sources for optical wireless communication (Li-Fi), new types of lasers,

transmitters for the quantum internet, and optical devices for early disease diagnostics.

Solid state battery technology

New research out of a Columbia University Engineering team has uncovered a method to stabilize

solid electrolytes in lithium metal, a.k.a solid-state batteries.

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● Utilizing a boron nitride nano-coating can produce batteries that offer up to 10 times the

charge capacity of graphite based Li-ion batteries.

● In addition, ceramic electrolytes often used in solid-state battery design are non-flammable,

reducing safety concerns.

● Dendrite is a crystal-like build-up of lithium metal that typically starts at the anode and can

grow throughout the battery. This occurs as a result of high current charging and discharging,

where ions in the solid electrolyte combine with electrons to form a layer of solid lithium

metal.

● Dendrite built-up reduces the available electrolyte capacity of the battery, reducing its store of

charge.

Solution:

● A 5 to 10nm boron nitride (BN) nano-film isolates the lithium metal and the ionic conductor.

● Insulating the two layers prevents a dendrite build up or short circuit, but is thin enough to

maximize the battery’s energy density.

● The technology also uses a small amount of liquid electrolyte, but the design predominantly

uses a ceramic, solid-state design for maximum energy capacity.

● The BN layer is designed with built-in defects, allowing lithium ions to pass through to charge

and discharge the battery.

● Enables the use of very compact ceramic electrolytes, which offers greater capacity than

traditional lithium-ion batteries, reduces the fire hazard risk, and prolongs battery life.

Benefits of Solid-state battery technology:

● Up to six times faster charging

● 2-to-10 times the energy density

● Longer cycle life of up to 10 years

● No flammable components.

5.3 Safety

Novel fire extinguisher

Scientists have developed a novel fire extinguisher for use in space environments that sucks in the

flame as well as combustion product.

Highlights:

● VEM is based on the completely "reverse" operation of widely-used fire extinguisher, namely,

spraying extinguisher agent(s) into the firing point.

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● VEM is based on the suction of the combustible products and the flame with vacuum, and then

collecting them into a vacuum container to be isolated.

● It is useful for the special environments that are highly enclosed -- such as space vehicles and

submarines -- to prevent spreading the harmful combustion products such as fume, particulate

matters, and toxic gas component across the entire enclosed cabin.

PRACTICE QUESTIONS

1. Social development

Q.1 With reference to the Election Commission of India, consider the following statements: 1. It is a constitutional body 2. The body administers elections to the offices of the President and Vice President.

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3. The commission is headed by the prime minster of India Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 Only b. 2 Only c. 1 and 2 d. None of above Q.1 Answer: c) Explanation: The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. Q.2 Consider the below statements with reference to Functions of Election Commission of India:

1. To decide the territorial areas of the electoral constituencies throughout the country. 2. To organize and periodically amend electoral rolls and to register all qualified voters. 3. To inform the dates and schedules of election and to scrutinize the nomination papers. 4. To grant recognition to political parties and allot election symbols to them.

Select the correct answer code below: a. 1,2 and 3 b. 2,3 and 4 c. 1,3 and 4 d. 1,2, 3 and 4 Q.2 Answer: d) Q.3 The Parliament of India consists of:

1. President of India 2. Rajya Sabha 3. Lok Sabha 4. State Assemblies

Select the correct answer code: a. 1,2 and 4 b. 1,3 and 4 c. 1,2 and 3 d. 2,3 and 4 Q.3 Answer: c) Q.4 With reference to Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna, consider the below statements:

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1. It aims to financially support those who lost their jobs or rendered jobless 2. It is for Insured Persons (IP) covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.

Which of the above statements is/are INCORRECT? a. 1 Only b. 2 Only c. Both 1 and 2 d. Neither 1 nor 2 Q.4 Answer: d) Explanation: Both are correct options Q.5 With reference to Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme, consider the below statements:

1. The primary aim of this scheme is to provide poor people access to bank accounts. 2. Every individual who opens a bank account becomes eligible to receive accident insurance

coverage. 3. The scheme covers only rural areas of India.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 and 2 b. 1 and 3 c. 1,2 and 3 d. 2 and 3 Q.5 Answer: a) Explanation: The primary aim of this scheme is to provide poor people access to bank accounts. The scheme covers both urban and rural areas of India.

2. Economic development

Q.6 Which among the following publishes the World Economic Outlook? a. World Bank b. World Trade Organisation c. Asian Development Bank d. International Monetary Fund

Q.6 Answer: d) Q.7 Consider the below statements with reference to Small Finance Banks:

1. They can lend to big corporates and groups 2. They accept small deposits and disburse loans 3. They lend 75% of their total adjusted net bank credit to priority sector

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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a. 1 and 2 b. 2 and 3 c. 1,2 and 3 d. 1 and 4

Q.7 Answer: b) Explanation: Small Finance Banks cannot lend to big corporates and groups Q.8 Codes: (a) Both statement (I) and statement (II) are individually true and Statement (II) is the correct explanation of Statement (I) (b) Both Statement (I) and Statement (II) are individually true but Statement (II) is not the correct explanation of Statement (I) (c) Statement (I) is true but Statement (II) is false (d) Statement (I) is false but Statement (II) is true Statement (I): The Gig Economy in India facilitates workers with social security measures. Statement (II): It is a free market system in which temporary positions are common. Q.8 Answer: d) Explanation: The gig economy in India, with respect to workers does not have any social security, insurance, etc. Q.9 With reference to Project Sashakt, consider the below statements:

1. It is a strategy to deal with non-performing assets of public sector banks 2. It aims to strengthen the credit capacity, credit culture and credit portfolio of public sector

banks. Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 Only b. 2 Only c. Both 1 and 2 d. Neither 1 nor 2 Q.9 Answer: c) Q.10 Consider the below statements with reference to Swiss challenge method:

1. It is a method of bidding, often used in public projects, in which an interested party initiates a proposal for a contract or the bid for a project.

2. It is a method for built operate and transfer the projects at the latest technology available . 3. It is a method used by World Bank to ascertain quota limits of member countries.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 and 3

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b. 1 and 2 c. 1,2 and 3 d. 1 only Q.10 Answer: d) Explanation: Swiss challenge method is a method of bidding, often used in public projects, in which an interested party initiates a proposal for a contract or the bid for a project. The Swiss Challenge allows a seller to mix-and-match the features of both an open auction and a closed tender to discover the best price for an asset. Q.11 Consider the below statements with reference to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting:

1. Base erosion describes tax planning strategies that exploit mismatches and gaps that exist between the tax rules of different jurisdictions.

2. Profit shifting leads to minimization of corporation tax 3. It is a punishable offence in many countries

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 and 2 b. 1 and 3 c. 1,2 and 3 d. 2 and 3 Q.11 Answer: a) Explanation: Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) is done to minimize the corporation tax that is payable overall, by either making tax profits ‘disappear’ or shift profits to low tax. It is not an illegal activity.

3. Environment

Q.12 With reference to Coral Bleaching, consider the below statements: 1. It refers to whitening of coral that results from the loss of a coral’s symbiotic algae or the

degradation of the algae’s photosynthetic pigment 2. Rising sea temperatures can result in coral bleaching

Which of the above statements is/are INCORRECT? a. 1 Only b. 2 Only c. Both 1 and 2 d. Neither 1 nor 2 Q.12 Answer: d Q.13 With reference to Global coalition on clean and efficient cooling, consider the below statements:

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1. It is expected to mobilize action towards clean and efficient cooling in urban settlements. 2. This helps to reduce global warming by climate engineering techniques

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 Only b. 2 Only c. Both 1 and 2 d. Neither 1 nor 2 Q.13 Answer: a) It aims to support clean and energy efficient cooling systems. Q.14 Consider the below statements with reference to Genetic diversity:

1. It is the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. 2. It serves as a way for populations to adapt to changing environments

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 Only b. 2 Only c. Both 1 and 2 d. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.14 Answer: c) Explanation: Both are correct

4. Energy

Q.15 Consider the below statements with reference to Renewable Energy Certificates: 1. They are the proof that energy has been generated from renewable sources such as solar or

wind power. 2. It encourages the renewable energy generation by creating demand. 3. It is given to state power utilities, with sufficient renewable capacity

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 and 2 b. 2 and 3 c. 1 and 3 d. 1,2 and 3 Q.15 Answer: a) It presents an alternative for state discoms, with insufficient renewable capacity, to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) obligations

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5. Information and Communication Technology

Q.16 Consider the below statements with reference to EMISAT Satellite: 1. It is an all-weather and all terrain satellite 2. The satellite is aimed at electromagnetic spectrum measurement. 3. It is a RADAR satellite

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 and 2 b. 1,2 and 3 c. 2 and 3 d. 1 and 3 Q.16 Answer: a) Q.17 The world’s first 5G networks was launched in :

a. Japan b. China c. U.S.A d. South Korea

Q.17 Answer: d)

6. Government Initiatives

Q.18 With reference to Government e-Marketplace, consider the below statements: 1. It has been envisaged as National Procurement Portal of India. 2. It facilitate procurement of goods and services by the government ministries, departments,

public sector undertakings 3. It functions under NITI Aayog

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1 and 3 b. 1 and 2 c. 2 and 3 d. 1,2 and 3 Q.18 Answer: b) Explanation: Government e-Marketplace (GeM) functions under Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Q.19 With reference to SWAYATT initiative, consider the below statements:

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1. It promotes inclusiveness in Government e-Marketplace by launching various categories of sellers and service providers.

2. It promote women entrepreneurship 3. It promote startups in public procurement

Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1,2 and 3 b. 2 and 3 c. 1 and 3 d. 1 and 2 Q.19 Answer: a) Q.20 With reference to National e-Vidhan Application Project, consider the below statements:

1. It is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) comes under the Digital India Programme. 2. Paperless Assembly or e-Assembly is a concept involving of electronic means to facilitate the

work of Assembly. 3. It aims to eliminate the need of legislatures having to be present in the assemblies for the

sessions. Which of the above statements is/are correct? a. 1,2 and 3 b. 2 and 3 c. 1 and 3 d. 1 and 2 Q.20 Answer: d) It aims to make the sessions paperless and facilitates the live streaming of the sessions.

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