Daily Current Affairs: 23rd September 2019: The Hindu+PIB
The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.
As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.
ADITYA L1 MISSION
Context: A plan has been set up by Indian Space Research Organization in order to study the Sun in early 2020 with the help of Aditya L1 Mission.
About ADITYA L1
It is notably the first mission of India that will study the Sun. The project has been approved and the satellite is planned to be launched during 2019 – 2020 timeframe by PSLV-XL from Sriharikota
Mission objectives: The mission will study the outer most layers of the sun, the corona and the chromospheres and will collect data about coronal mass ejection, which will aid in the space weather prediction.
Background of Mission:
Initially conceived as a 400kg class satellite carrying one payload, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), it was known as the ADITYA-1 Mission and was planned to launch in a 800 km low earth orbit.
Since the satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses. Therefore, the Aditya-1 mission has now been revised to “Aditya-L1 mission” and it is planned to be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1, which is 1.5 million km from the Earth.
Also, the satellite is going to carry additional 6 payloads with enhanced science scope and objectives as compared to single payload of Aditya-1.
What are Lagrangian Points and Halo Orbits?
Lagrangian points are those locations in space where the combined gravitational pull of two large masses roughly balance each other. The balance of gravitational pull is so perfect at these points that any tiny mass placed at that location will remain at constant distances relative to the large masses.
In all, there are five such points in Sun-Earth system denoted as L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. These points holds a key importance as the spacecrafts can be parked at these points in order to make observations.
Since these points are highly stable, dust and asteroids tend to accumulate in these regions. Asteroids that surround the L4 and L5 points are called Trojans.
A halo orbit is a periodic three-dimensional orbit near the L1, L2 or L3. Halo orbits can be thought of as resulting from an interaction between the gravitational pull of the two planetary bodies and the Coriolis and centrifugal accelerations on a spacecraft.
GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2019
Context: Global Peace Index 2019 has been released on the occasion of the International Day of Peace on September 21, also known as the World Peace Day.
The Global Peace Index (GPI) is a report produced by the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP). It ranks 163 independent states and territories comprising approximately the 99.7% of the world’s population, according to their levels of peacefulness.
The Index measures the state of peace using 3 thematic categories i.e.,
- The level of Societal Safety and Security;
- The extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict;
- The degree of Militarisation.
Key Highlights of the Index
- It is for the first time in a span of 5 years that the index has shown an improvement.
- Iceland is holding tight on its position as themost peaceful countryin the world since 2008.
- Other countries in top 5 includes New Zealand, Portugal, Austria andDenmark.
- Bhutanhas recorded thelargest improvementof any country in the top 20, i.e., an improvisation of 43 places in the last 12 years.
- Afghanistan has replacedSyria (now at second last position in GPI) and is now theleast peaceful countryin the world
- Other bottom 5 countries comprising the least peaceful nations includes South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq (It is to be noted that this is the for the first year since the inception of the index that Yemen has been ranked amongst the five least peaceful countries).
- TheMiddle East andNorth Africa region remained the world’s least peaceful region being home to 4/10 least peaceful countries in the world, with no country from the region ranked higher than 30th on the GPI.
- Europe remains the most peaceful regionin the world.
- Largest improvements in peace in2019 GPIis shown byUkraine, Sudan, Egypt, North Macedoniaand Rwanda.
- Largest deteriorations has been shown byNicaragua, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Iran,and Brazil.
- Countries that has emerged out as the top gainers in ranking areRwanda (+24), North Macedonia (+23), Jordan (+20), Indonesia (+14), andGreece (+14)
- The countries who are the top losers in GPI 2019 areNicaragua (-54),Burkina Faso (-26), Sierra Leone (-18), Namibia (-18),andMorocco (-13).
CORPORATE TAX RATE
Context: According to the Moody’s Investor Service, the cut in corporate tax raises the government’s fiscal risks while headwinds from cyclical factors pose threat to near-term growth.
Corporate tax rate announced by the government, which was cut from 30%, as part of the stimulus measures to revive slowing economic growth.
Moody’s Investor Service does not expect the corporate tax rate cut to revive growth to the extent that stronger tax buoyancy compensates for the loss of revenue.
Advantages of lower corporate tax rate
- There is a possibility that India may come closer to Asian peers.
- It provides support to the business environment and competitiveness.
- It enables firms to generate higher post-tax incomes.
- Commodity and IT services companies to benefit most from the tax rate cut.
Challenges posed due to lower corporate tax rate
- Financial Stress is one of the most important challenge faced due to lower corporate tax rate.
- It will also lead to weak corporate sentiments.
- It will also lead to a slow flow of credit in financial sector.
- It further aggravates risks for government to meet fiscal deficit target.
National Intelligence Grid
Context: The NATGRID, a robust intelligence gathering mechanism which related to immigration, banking, individual tax payers, air and train travels, is likely to be operational by January 2020.
What is it?
The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID is the integrated intelligence grid that connects databases of core security agencies of the Government of India to collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be readily accessed by intelligence agencies. It was first proposed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008.
The project was initially started in 2009 with a budget of Rs 2,800 crore as an online database specifically designed for collecting and combining the scattered pieces of information and putting them on one platform.
Key points to remember
The NATGRID will have the information related to all immigration entry and exit, banking and financial transactions, credit card purchases, telecom, individual tax payers, air flyers, train travellers besides others in order to generate intelligence inputs.
In the initial first phase, 10 users agencies and 21 service providers will be connected with the NATGRID.
The 10 agencies which will connected to the NATGRID are:
- Intelligence Bureau (IB);
- Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW);
- Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI);
- Enforcement Directorate (ED);
- Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI);
- Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU);
- Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT);
- Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC);
- Directorate General of Central Excise and Intelligence (DGCEI);
- Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
Initially, none of the state agencies will be provided with the direct access to the NATGRID data.
NATGRID’s data recovery centre has been constructed in Bengaluru and its headquarters is about to be completed in Delhi.
“Aquifer Storage & Recovery for Sustainable Agriculture” (ASRA)
Context: A new research titled ‘Aquifer Storage & Recovery for Sustainable Agriculture’ (ASRA) is carried out at Rajgir-based Nalanda University in Bihar.
The research is being carried out by the School of Ecology and Environment Studies in order to create a model of “Aquifer Storage and Recovery” (ASR) technology with the help of floodwaters to provide an opportunity to farmers to raise their income. The research has been carried out with support from the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research. Objective: The research is aimed at helping farmers of south Bihar in raising their income through agriculture and allied activities with the help of assured irrigation from reuse of water stored beneath the surface during episodes of high rainfall, run-offs and water logging. The research is primarily focused on providing drinking water security with appropriate safeguards along with the converging water solutions that primarily address the irrigation needs of an agrarian community. A comprehensive aquifer map for recharge and estimation of the potential injection of surface water into the selected aquifer is also to be delivered by the project.
What is it? Expense ratio is that part of a mutual fund scheme that is concerned with the expenses which are related to management of the fund. It is generally helpful in meeting the administrative, management and other operating expenses of the scheme. These includes salaries to be paid to fund managers, commissions to distributors and other marketing costs. As per Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations, all the expenses incurred while managing a particular scheme have to be borne out of the scheme only. How much is it? In 2018, the SEBI Board has capped the maximum total expense ratio or TER at 2.25% for open-ended equity schemes, as compared to earlier 2.75% charged earlier by some of them. To understand the significance of this minor cut, let us consider an example. At present, if the assets under management (AUM) of a particular scheme is in excess of Rs. 50,000 crore then the TER has been capped at 1.05%. But earlier, any scheme with an AUM of more than Rs. 300 crore could charge 1.75%. Therefore, for larger schemes, the expense ratio was brought down by almost 70 basis points which according to SEBI’S own estimates, would lead to investors saving around Rs 1,300-1,500 crore in commissions. Is it standardized? No! SEBI has allowed a higher TER for garnering flows from beyond the top cities of the country as a fund house has to put in more efforts and money to increase the overall penetration level of mutual funds to the far corners of the country. In addition to lowering the cap for maximum TER, the SEBI allowed for an extra 30 basis points for retail flows from beyond the top 30 cities. SEBI has mandated that the additional expense will be limited only to retail flows and will not be allowed for flows from corporates and institutions.
Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE)
It is the oldest and the most important advisory body of the Govt. of India in the field of education. It provides a forum for the widespread consultation and examination issues related to educational and cultural development.
It was established for the first time in 1920 and was dissolved in 1923 as an economic measure. Finally, it was revived in 1935 and has been in existence since then.
The Board consists of nominated members who represents various interests in addition to elected members from Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and the representatives of the Govt. of India, State Governments and the Union Territories Administrations.
National Safety Awards and the Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar
These awards has been given away by the Minister of Labour for the Performance Year 2017.
The Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar was instituted in 1965 and is presented to employees of factories, plantations, and ports for outstanding suggestions made by them that have resulted in safety, improved working conditions, increased productivity or higher efficiency.
Instituted in 1965, the National Safety Awards are presented to the management of factories and ports for the best safety performance.
These awards are operated by the Directorate General, Factory Advice and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) which is an attached office of the Union Ministry of Labour & Employment. Its main objective is to assist the Ministry in formulating the national policies on occupational safety and health in factories and docks.
DGFASLI has its headquarters in MUMBAI.
GLOBAL GOALKEEPERS GOALS AWARD 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be honoured with the 2019 ‘Global Goalkeeper Award’ by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in recognition to his leadership and commitment to the Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan.
This will be the 4th annual Goalkeepers ‘Global Goals Awards’ that will be instituted on September 24.
These annual awards are presented to the leaders and individuals, in five different categories, for their contributions and efforts in achieving the SDGs.
The 5 categories in which these awards are presented includes:
- Progress Award (for age 16-30 years)
- Changemaker Award (for age 16-30 years)
- Campaign Award (for age 16-30 years)
- Goalkeepers Voice Award (any age group)
- Global Goalkeeper Award (any age group)
The last category i.e., the Global Goalkeeper Award is a special recognition that celebrates a political leader who has demonstrated his/her commitment to the Global Goals through impactful work in their country or globally.
COMMON DIGITAL PLATFORM FOR ISSUANCE OF ELECTRONIC CERTIFICATES OF ORIGIN
The platform has been launched by the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry in New Delhi. The platform will be a single access point for all exporters, for all FTAs/PTAs and for all agencies concerned.
If agreed to by the partner countries, the Certificates of Origin will be issued electronically which can be in paperless format. It also provides the administrative access to Department of Commerce for reporting and monitoring purposes.