Daily Current Affairs: 29th 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.
Context: A Pilot Project for ushering in ‘Industry 4.0’ in the country, is launched for implementation at the Modern Coach Factory (MCF), Raebareli. The Ministry of Railways and Department of Science & Technology have co-partnered with IIT Kanpur for taking up a unique project on ‘Industry 4.0’
What is Industry 4.0? Industry 4.0 is basically the subset of the 4th industrial revolution that concerns industry. According to the concept of 4th industrial revolution those areas are concerned which are not normally classified as industry, for example, smart cities. “Industry 4.0” refers to the concept of industries in which values has been added to machines with the help of wireless connectivity and sensors, and in which machines are connected to a system that can visualise the entire production line and make decisions on its own. It describes the trend towards automation and data exchange in the manufacturing technologies and processes which include: Cyber-physical systems (CPS); The internet of things (IoT); Industrial internet of things (IIOT); Cloud computing; Cognitive computing and Artificial intelligence (AI). What are the key components of Industry 4.0? A number of key technologies in Industry 4.0 can be summarised into four major components, which comprehensively defines the term “Industry 4.0” or “smart factory”. These includes:
- Cyber-physical systems
- Cloud computing
- Cognitive computing
The above mentioned components can be further classified into following technologies:
- Mobile devices
- Internet of Things (IoT) platforms
- Location detection technologies
- Advanced human-machine interfaces
- Authentication and fraud detection
- 3D printing
- Smart sensors
- Big data analytics and advanced algorithms
- Multilevel customer interaction and customer profiling
- Augmented reality/ wearables
- Fog, Edge and Cloud computing
- Data visualization and triggered “real-time” training
What are the challenges involved in the implementation of Industry 4.0?
There are a number of challenges involved in its implementation which can be classified into economic, social, political and organizational challenges. Huge economic costs and unclear economic benefits majorly figures the economic challenges while privacy concers, lack of trust and surveillance are among some of the key social challenges.
Context: Indigenously built submarine INS Khanderi has been recently commissioned by the Indian Navy. About the Submarine INS Khanderi is the 2nd of the Indian Navy’s Kalvari Class diesel electric attack submarines. The submarine has been built in India to the French Scorpene design and is the 2nd submarine of the Project-75.
The submarine has been built indigenously by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, and is considered as a lethal addition to Navy’s conventional submarine arsenal which is designed for silent and stealthy sub-surface operations. It is to be noted that INS Khanderi is the follow-on to INS Kalvari, which was the 1st of the French origin Scorpene class submarines which was indigenously constructed in India and commissioned in 2017. INS Khanderi was for the first time put out to sea in 2017. It has undergone comprehensive sea trials, torpedo and missile firings to validate her fighting capability. INS Khanderi was handed over to the Indian Navy on September 19, 2019. The 1st submarine was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 6, 1968 and was decommissioned on October 18, 1989 after 20 years of service to the nation. The name Khanderi is inspired by the dreaded ‘Sword Tooth Fish’ which is a deadly fish who hunt whilst swimming close to the bottom of the ocean. Khanderi is also name of an island fort which was built by great Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. About Project-75I Project 75I is a follow-on project of Project 75 for the Indian Navy. As per the guidelines of the project, Indian Navy intends to acquire 6 diesel-electric submarines, also featuring advanced air-independent propulsion systems to enable them to stay under water for longer duration and substantially increase their operational range. All the 6 submarines are planned to be constructed in Indian shipyards.
Context: About 20 countries, including India, Britain and France have signed an agreement at the UN in order to curb the prevalence of fake news on online platforms. The signatories of the agreement are committed to promote independently reported, diverse and reliable information on the internet under an accord which has been initiated by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which is a famous press freedom watchdog. The agreement focuses on underlining the responsibility of internet providers to promote trustworthy content and pluralism to escape the current information chaos. About Reporters Without Borders It is also known as the Reporters Sans Frontieres which is its original name. It is a non-profit organization, NGO with consultant status at the UN. It has its headquarters in Paris, France. Its main function is to conduct political advocacy on issues which are related to freedom of information and freedom of the press. Key publications released by RSF includes: World Press Freedom Index, Predators of Press Freedom and Press Freedom Barometer.
GLOBAL TIGER FORUM (GTF)
Context: India, Nepal and Bhutan has conducted a joint study that pointed that there were around 52,671 sq. km of tiger habitats in higher altitude or Himalayan region of India, Nepal and Bhutan.
A lion’s share of this habitat i.e., around 38,915 sq.km. lies in India.
The study highlighted that while India is home to the most number of tigers in the world, most of them are focused in Central India and the Western Ghats. The latest tiger survey, made public earlier this year estimated 2,967 tigers all over India.
In a series of previous years, tigers have been found in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal at elevations of 1765m, 3274 m and 2400 m respectively. The presence of tigers in Bhutan had been recorded at an elevation of 4,210 m. A number of potential high altitude tiger landscapes includes:
- Valmiki-Chitwan-Annapurna (India-Nepal);
- Manas-Royal Manas-Jigme Dorji (India-Bhutan);
- Neora Valley-Torsa-Buxa-Phibsu (India-Bhutan);
- Askot-Pithoragarh-Nandhaur-Suklaphanta (India-Nepal);
- Arunachal-Sikkim-bordering Bhutan (India-Bhutan).
About Global Tiger Forum (GTF) The Global Tiger Forum (GTF) is one and only inter-governmental international body which was established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the Tiger. The GTF is focused on saving the remaining 5 sub-species of Tigers distributed over 13 Tiger Range countries of the world by utilizing co-operative policies, common approaches, technical expertise, scientific modules and other appropriate programmes and controls. It was formed in 1993 on recommendations from an international symposium on Tiger Conservation at New Delhi, India. In 1994, the first meeting of the Tiger Range countries was held to setup the forum in which India was elected to the Chair.In 1997, the Global Tiger Forum became an independent organization. Bangladesh was Chair twice followed by Nepal. India was elected as Chair in March 2011 and was replaced by Bhutan in 2014. Also, the GTF has a General Assembly meeting every 3 years and Standing committee meetings at least once a year. GTF is headed by a Chairperson, usually a Minister from one of the Tiger Range countries for a fixed tenure of 3 Years. The Secretariat of GTF, headed by a Secretary General and is located in New Delhi, India. 13 Tiger Range Countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
PROMPT CORRECTIVE ACTIONS (PCA)
Context: Lakshmi Vilas Bank has been put under the Prompt Corrective Action framework by Reserve Bank of India due to high bad loans and insufficient capital. The gross NPA of Lakshmi Vilas Bank as a percentage of gross advances, increased to 17.30 per cent from 10.73 per cent in the year-ago quarter and 15.30 per cent in the preceding quarter. What is Prompt Corrective Action Framework? Prompt Corrective Action or PCA is a regulation framework under which banks who have a weak financial metrics are put under watch by the RBI. The PCA framework mark the banks as risky if they falls below certain norms on 3 parameters i.e., capital ratios, asset quality and profitability. PCA involves 3 risk threshold levels (lowest being #1 and #3 the highest) which is based on where a bank stands on these ratios.
- Those banks which has a capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) of smaller than 10.25% but greater than 7.75% fall under threshold 1.
- Those banks who have CRAR of greater than 6.25% but smaller than 7.75% fall in the 2nd threshold.
- In case a bank’s common equity Tier 1 (the bare minimum capital under CRAR) falls below 3.62%, it falls under the 3rd threshold level.
Further on the basis of net NPA, those banks which have a net NPA of 6% or more but less than 9% fall under threshold 1, and those with 12% or more fall under the 3rd threshold level. On the basis of profitability, banks who have a negative return on assets for:
- 2 consecutive years fall under threshold 1.
- 3 consecutive years fall under threshold 2.
- 4 consecutive years fall under threshold 3.
What is the importance of PCA? Since almost all the activities undertaken by a bank are funded by deposits which need to be repaid, it is essential that a bank must hold a sufficient amount of capital to continue its activities. Prompt Corrective Action Framework is intended to help create an alert system among the regulator as well as investors and depositors if a bank is heading for trouble. RBI can invoke a corrective action plan on breach of any of the risk thresholds mentioned above. Depending on the threshold levels, the RBI can place restrictions on dividend distribution, branch expansion, and management compensation. It is only in an extreme situation, that the 3rd threshold is breached, and in that situation the solution would be the identification of the bank as a likely candidate for resolution through amalgamation, reconstruction or winding up. Last year, a total number of 11 public sector banks were placed under the PCA framework of RBI owing to their sharp deterioration in finances and rising NPAs. The 11 banks which were on the RBI’s watch-list last year include
- Allahabad Bank,
- United Bank of India,
- Corporation Bank,
- IDBI Bank,
- UCO Bank,
- Bank of India,
- Central Bank of India,
- Indian Overseas Bank,
- Oriental Bank of Commerce,
- Dena Bank,
- Bank of Maharashtra.
Further, 5 banks which could be brought under the PCA are Andhra Bank, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Union Bank and Punjab & Sind Bank.
Context: The researchers at the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, have developed a technique that will trap and move tiny objects in the nanoscale using optical “tweezers” employing light.
What are optical tweezers?
These are scientific instruments that use a highly focused laser beam that provides an attractive or repulsive force, depending on the relative refractive index between particle and surrounding medium, to physically hold and move microscopic objects just like a tweezer.
They are capable to trap and manipulate small particles, typically order of micron in size, including dielectric and absorbing particles. This is a tool that can be used to pick and move small suspended particles even including cells. How this technique is beneficial? The optical tweezers which has been known for a very long time had a limitation when comes to nanosized particles as they are generally used in biology to hold and manipulate particles.
The recently development partly overcame this limitation with the development of “plasmonic tweezer” which works on the principle that “when a disc of noble metal, like gold, is illuminated with light, it creates an electromagnetic field around the disc which can attract and hold on to tiny particles.” The limitation is has been overcomed partially because the Plasmonic tweezers are limited by the fact that they are fixed in space and hence can only trap objects that come close to them.
INS ‘Nilgiri’ It is the first of the Indian Navy’s 7 new stealth frigates, recently commissioned at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai. It is also the first ship of Project17A frigates which is a design derivative of the Shivalik class stealth frigates with comparatively advanced stealth features and indigenous weapons and sensors. Integrated construction methodology has been used to build these frigates. As an advanced model, P17A frigates incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and ship manoeuvrability. Section 35A of Banking Regulation Act, 1949 RBI has place several restrictions on Mumbai-based Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank for 6 months. As part of the restrictions imposed, the bank cannot issue loans or open any fixed deposit accounts until February 2020. RBI has imposed the directions under sub-section (i) of Section 35A read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 vests power in the RBI to give directions to banks and can take action, “to prevent the affairs of any banking company being conducted in a manner which is detrimental to the interests of the depositors or in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the banking company”. Bathukamma It is a floral festival which is celebrated predominantly by the Telangana representing its cultural spiritand some parts of Andhra Pradesh. This festival is celebrated every year as per Shathavahana calendar starting Bhadrapada Pournami. Bathukamma is celebrated for 9 days during Durga Navratri. Largest Dry Dock of Indian Navy Termed as the ‘edifice of modern India’ – The Aircraft Carrier Dock at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai is the largest dry dock of Indian Navy measuring 281 meters in length, 45 meters in breadth and 17 meters deep has been commissioned recently. It is also the first dock which has been built in the sea unlike other conventional dock which are built on land. It is capable of servicing the 44,500 tonne aircraft carries INS Vikramaditaya and first indigenous carrier Vikrant. Gaint Exoplanet Astronomers have recently discovered a gas giant Jupiter-resembling exoplanet that’s orbiting a dwarf star GJ 3512, located about 30 light-years from our sun. The planet, known as GJ 3512 b, completes one orbit around the star in seven months making this a giant planet with a long-distance orbit around a very small star. The planet has a mass about 1/2 that of Jupiter.