Daily Current Affairs: 22nd October 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.
‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti‘
Context: E-portal of CCRT known as ‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti’ has been launched by the Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC).
This portal will enable dissemination of cultural education through digital interactive medium into the classrooms all over the country.
For this initiative, CCRT has tied up with Routes 2 Roots, an NGO, for connecting seamlessly all the CCRT Regional Centres i.e., Guwahati, Udaipur and Hyderabad.
Apart from the online portal, a film ‘Rahas’ directed by Sunil Shukla was also released. Rahas is basically Raaslila of Chhattisgarh. Subsequently he released a book “Dewas ki Sanskritik Parampara” written by Shri Jeewan Singh Thakur. About CCRT CCRT, short for The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) is one of the premier institutions that is putting up efforts in the field of linking education with culture. It was established in 1979, pioneered by Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, and functions as an autonomous organization under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India. CCRT’s main objective is to make variety of training programmes for in-service teachers, teacher educators, educational administrators and students throughout the country. Further, it also organizes special training programmes for the physically and mentally challenged children. The CCRT has its headquarters in New Delhi and three Regional Centres at Udaipur in the west, Hyderabad in the south and Guwahati in the north-east to facilitate the widespread dissemination of Indian art and culture. The CCRT also implements some other important policies of the Ministry of Culture, e.g., awarding Scholarship to Young Artiste, Junior and Senior Fellowships focusing on “in-depth study/ research” in various facets of culture, these include New Emerging Areas of Cultural Studies.
US India Strategic Partnership Forum
Context: The members of US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) have planned to meet at New Delhi. What is it? The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is a non-profit organization established in 2017, with the primary objective of strengthening the India-US bilateral and strategic partnership through policy advocacy in the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation. USISPF plays a significant role in promotion of a robust and dynamic relationship between the two countries through policy advocacy leading to driving economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation to create a more inclusive society. What does it do? This US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is highly committed towards creating the most powerful strategic partnership between the U.S. and India. One of the most important part of this Forum is to promote bilateral trade. According to USISPF estimates India-US bilateral trade is projected to grow to USD 238 billon by 2025. The Six major pillars of USISPF includes:
- POLICY ADVOCACY: The forum engages with member companies through its 12 sector-specific committees which are focused on policy advocacy in order to further economic growth and commercial partnership between the U.S. and India.
- STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT: The forum further engages with the governments, business and other stakeholders in the U.S. and India, on areas that address challenges and create opportunities for its member companies.
- B-B-G OPPORTUNITIES: The forum aims to provide its member companies a platform to track opportunities at the state and federal level, explore new avenues for investment, and deepen engagement with relevant stakeholders.
- LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: The Forum aims to promote the interests of both countries by engaging with Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate in the U.S. and with Parliamentarians in India.
- INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT: The forum focuses on inclusive growth by combining corporate initiatives and government priorities.
- INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP: USISPF enables investments, technology transfer, and sustainable innovation and provides institutional support for start-ups through incubators, investor outreach platforms, and mentorship infrastructure.
15th Finance Commission report on Trade and Industry in Uttar Pradesh
Context: The 15th Finance Commission has met with the representatives of the Trade and Industry bodies in Uttar Pradesh. Key Highlights Uttar Pradesh was placed amongst the high achieving states in the country securing the 12th position in the 2017 evaluation and has jumped two positions from 14 in 2016. As per the Ease of Doing Business rankings, the State has been labelled as an “Achiever State” with a combined score of 92.8% in the score as calculated by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion(DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India which consisted of scores from the reform implementation score and feedback score. Tourism (pilgrimage) is vital sector for the State and economy of the State is based on sectors like tourism, handloom, handicraft, educational, hospitality, etc. According to the Tourism Statistics of 2018, the State ranks 3rd amongst all Indian States in attracting foreign tourists visits in the country (2017) and 13.2% of all foreign tourist visits were attracted by the State. The State ranks 2nd amongst all Indian States in attracting domestic tourists visits in the country in 2017 and 14.2% of all domestic tourist visits were attracted by the State. What are the key challenges put forward?
- During the period 2011-12 to 2017-18, the share of Secondary Sector in 2017-18 dropped to 22.8% from 26.7% in 2011-12 which may have strong implications on employment.
- In terms of regional backwardness, State has a large variation in terms of land, soil, rainfall and climate. Out of the four regions (Western, Central, Eastern and Bundelkhand), the regions of Eastern and Bundelkhand lags far behind in the race of overall development in key sectors of power, industrial development and transport.
- Power is another sector which plays an important role in economic infrastructure. As per data of 2016-17, the per capita power consumption is lowest (239.82 Kwh) in Eastern region.
- Industrial development in the State is not uniform.
- Transport is another key sector for economic infrastructure. Considering the length of pucca road under P.W.D. on the basis of per thousand sq.km. of area, the Eastern region occupies the top position with a figure of 1220.38 Km. while Bundelkhand region (498.35 Km.) is placed at the bottom.
Domestically manufactured solar PV
Context: MNRE has issued a clarification in respect of domestically manufactured solar PV cells.
A number of flagship programmes of MNRE such as KUSUM, have provisions for mandatory use of domestically manufactured solar PV cells. However, it was seen that some manufacturers have been importing semi – processed solar PV cells (generally called blue wafer) and making final Solar PV cells with little value addition in India.
The orders issued by MNRE w.r.t solar PV are : This is in reference to the schemes/ programmes being implemented by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, wherein it is mandatory to use domestically manufactured solar PV cells and domestically manufactured solar PV modules, and also in reference to the Manufacturing-Linked-PPA initiative by Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd (SECI).
A solar PV cell shall be considered to be domestically manufactured only if the same has been manufactured in India, using undiffused silicon wafer (generally called ‘Black Wafer’), classifiable under Customs Tariff Head 3818 and all steps / processes required for manufacturing solar PV cell from the undiffused silicon wafer have been carried out in India. If diffused silicon wafer (generally called ‘Blue Wafer’) is imported and the same is used as raw material for the manufacture of solar PV cells in India, such solar PV cells shall not qualify as domestically manufactured solar PV cells, for the purpose of MNRE’s Schemes / Programmes mandating use of domestically manufactured solar PV cells. The solar PV cell manufacturing facility required to be set-up under SECI’s Manufacturing-Linked-PPA initiative should manufacture solar PV cells from undiffused wafers. What is Solar PV? Solar Photovoltaic (PV) is basically a technology that converts sunlight (solar radiation) into direct current electricity by using semiconductors. When the sun hits the semiconductor within the PV cell, electrons are freed and form an electric current. The Solar PV technology is generally employed on a panel (hence solar panels). The PV cells can be made from a number of semi-conductor materials, Silicon being the most commonly used material today apart from other materials listed below:
- Monocrystalline Silicon
- Polycrystalline Silicon
- Amorphous Silicon
- Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
- Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS)
On an estimate, almost 90% of the world’s PV technologies, today, are based on some variation of silicon. In 2011, about 95% of all shipments by U.S. manufacturers to the residential sector were crystalline silicon solar panels.
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)
Context: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, has accorded its approval for 3 projects to be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian industry. Key Highlights The first two of the three projects include third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and the Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) for the T-72 and T-90 Tanks. The 3rd generation ATGM would enable ‘Fire and Forget’ and “Top Attack” capabilities to the troops in an armoured battle. Further, the APUs would allow the incorporation of various upgrades to Fire Control System and Night Fighting capabilities of the Tanks. Both of these projects are planned to be progressed under the ‘Make-II’ Category and will provide a major boost to indigenous research and development in the Private Sector. In addition to this, for the first time, the Ministry of Defence has offered complex Military equipment to be designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian private industry. What are third generation projects? The 3rd indigenous project pertains to discrete Electronic Warfare (EW) systems specifically for the mountain and High Altitude terrain. The Project would be designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by design cum production partner from the Indian industry. About Defence Acquisition Council It was in 2001 when the Government of India decided to set up an integrated Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in order to counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement. The DAC is headed by the Defence Minister and is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans.It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license. The major objective of the Defence Acquisition Council is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources. The key Functions of the DAC includes:
- Accord of Acceptance of Necessity to acquisition proposals;
- To categorize the acquisition proposals relating to ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’ and ‘Make’;
- To tackle the issues relating to Single vendor clearance;
- To make decisions regarding ‘offset’ provisions in respect of acquisition proposals above Rs. 300 crores;
- To make decisions regarding Transfer of Technology under ‘Buy & Make’ category of acquisition proposals; and
- To ensure Field Trial evaluation.
- To provide In-principle approval of 15 Year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan for Defence Forces;
QS Indian University Rankings
Context: The 2nd edition of the standalone rankings for India’s higher education institutions, the QS Indian University Rankings was recently released.
The rankings are released by The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) and Times Higher Education (THE), both of which are based in London. The rankings include public, private, higher education or deemed universities. How institutions are ranked in QS India rankings and how is it different from the QS World University Rankings? The main methodology that has been used to rank the institutes in India involves 8 indicators. These were:
- Academic reputation (weight of 30%),
- Employer reputation (20%),
- Faculty-student ratio (20%),
- The proportion of staff with a PhD (10%),
- Papers per faculty from Scopus database (10%),
- Citations per paper from Scopus database (5%),
- The proportion of international students (2.5%),
- The proportion of international faculty (2.5%).
These India rankings are different from that of the QS World University Rankings that were released earlier this year. In that list, IIT-Bombay was ranked the best Indian institution and IIT-Delhi as the second best. The major difference occur in different criteria used by two rankings — for example, while academic reputation is given a weight of 30% in the India University Rankings, its weight is 40% in the World Rankings. Key Highlights of the ranking
The list has been dominated by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), with 7 IITs figuring in the top 10 rankings.
Reserving its last year’s position, IIT-Bombay leads followed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
IIT-Delhi has now been ranked 3rd in the listing.
Delhi University, University of Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Science are the only other non-IIT institutions who are featured in the top ten.
A skin-on interface mimicking the appearance of human skin and its ability to sense has been developed by the researchers from the University of Bristol in partnership with Telecomm ParisTech and the Sorbonne University in France.
This is the for the first time that the uses of “realistic” artificial skins are being considered for augmenting devices.
The skin-on interface is made up of layers of silicone membrane which gives it a more natural touch than the hard casing of phones, and also an ability to detect gestures made by end-users. This interface has an artificial skin which allows the device it is on to “feel” the user’s grasp, including its pressure and location. Hence, it has an ability to detect interactions such as tickling, caressing, twisting and pinching.
The oldest known natural pearl in the world has been discovered by Abu Dhabi archaeologists working at a Neolithic site on Marawah Island, which is just off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The pearl so discovered has been dubbed as the ‘Abu Dhabi Pearl’ and it was found in layers that have been radiocarbon dated to 5,800-5,600 BCE, during the Neolithic period. Talking about the Island, Marawah is a low-lying island which is located off the coast of Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates and is a key center of archaeology. The island holds key archaeological importance as a number of sites dating from the Neolithic to the Islamic Period (12-13 AD) has been discovered here. In 2004, the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) discovered the oldest human skeleton ever found in the region amid the remains of Neolithic buildings and over 200 flint tools. Further, the DNA was extracted from teeth that were recovered from the site, and it was determined that the remains were about 7,500 years old.
Who was Taanaji Malusare?
Popularly remembered for the Battle of Singhagad that took place in the year 1670, he was a Maratha military leader and a close aide of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
In 1665, the Treaty of Purandar was signed between Jai Singh and Shivaji, which required the Maratha ruler to give up Fort Kandhana (later named Singhagad) to the Mughals.
Later, Taanaji was entrusted with a task of reconquering the fort Kondhana at any cost by the Shivaji. In the battle, Taanaji fought against Udaybhan Rathore, who was a formidable Rajput warrior, and the in charge of Fort Kandhana by Jai Singh.
According to legend, Shivaji, upon hearing the news of Tanaji’s demise during the battle, said ‘Gad ala pan Sinha gela’ (Although the fort was captured, a lion was lost). The fort was renamed as Singhagad (lion’s fort) by Shivaji to honour Tanaji.