Daily Current Affairs: 8th 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.
Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (TAP)
Context: India will be announcing the launch of the second phase of the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for Africa at the Partners Conference in Geneva.
In its second phase, the programme will be covering five additional countries, namely Mali, Ghana, Togo, Zambia and Tanzania. After this, the Cotton TAP programme will now cover 11 African countries including the C4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali). To add to the knowledge, India had implemented a Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) for cotton in 6 African countries, namely – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda from 2012 to 2018. It is to be further noted that Mahatma Gandhi has been chosen as the icon for the World Cotton Day and to mark the celebration of the first World Cotton Day, India is going to gift a replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s Charkha to the World Trade Organization. A live demonstration of the Charkha has been arranged a by Pitta Ramulu, who is a National Award winning weaver from India. A glimpse of textile industry of India This industry is the only industry that has generated huge employment for both skilled and unskilled labour in textiles, after agriculture. It offers direct employment to over 35 million in the country. It is worthy to mention that India is first in global jute production and shares 63% of the global textile and garment market. India is also second in global textile manufacturing and also second in silk and cotton production. As for now, 100% FDI is allowed via automatic route in textile sector. Production India is the world’s second largest producer of fibre with cotton being the the major fibre produced. Other fibres produced in India include silk, jute, wool, and man-made fibers, of which 60% of the Indian textile Industry is cotton based.
- Cotton: It is the second most developed sector in the Indian Textile industries after man-made fibres that account for 62% of the India’s total production. As of 2013, there are a total of 1,962 cotton textile mills in India, with about 18% are in the private sector and the rest in the public and cooperative sector.
- India exports yarn to Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka among other countries and has the 2nd largest installed capacity of spindles in the world after China, but its trade in garments is only 4% of the world’s total.
- Jute: India is the largest producer of raw jute and jute goods and the 2nd largest exporter after Bangladesh. The main markets for jute are the United States, Canada, Russia, United Kingdom and Australia.
- The jute or the golden fibre in India is mainly produced in the Eastern states of India like Assam and West Bengal.
- Wool: India is the world’s 7th largest producer of the wool with a total production of 1.8% of the world’s total wool.
- Silk: India is the 2nd largest producer of silk in the world and produces about 18% of the world’s total silk. The main types of silk produced in India includes Mulberry, Eri, Tasar, and Muga. Further, silk is also one of the major labour-intensive sector.
Chattogram and Mongla port
Context: A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) wherein Bangladesh allowed the use of its Chattogram and Mongla Ports for movement of goods to and from India through its territory was signed and exchanged by India and Bangladesh.
The SOP so adopted was part of the official visit of H.E Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of People`s Republic of Bangladesh to India on 5th October 2019. About the Agreement The agreement and SOP provides permission for the movement of goods in Bangladesh through waterways, rail, road or multi-modal transport. A total of 8 routes has been provided under the Agreement which would enable access of North East Region (NER) via Bangladesh. These proposed routes include:
- Chattogram/Mongla Port to Agartala (Tripura) via Akhura (and vice versa)
- Chattogram/Mongla Port to Dawki (Meghalaya) via Tamabil (and vice versa)
- Chattogram/Mongla Port to Sutarkandi (Assam) via Sheola (and vice versa)
- Chattogram/Mongla Port to Srimantpur (Tripura) via Bibirbazar (and vice versa)
What is the significance of this agreement? With the conclusion of the Standard Operating Procedure on Chattogram and Mongla ports, there would be a reduction in distance, time and logistic cost for transport of goods and is believed to be a win win situation for both the economies. As part of SOP, 3 landlocked states of India i.e., Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura will be able to access the open sea trade routes from Chattogram and Mongla ports via Indian ports. Tripura will be connected to Chattogram Port through the Maitree Setu located on Feni river at Sabroom in South Tripura and Ramgarh in Bangladesh. Also to be noted is the fact that the cargo transportation through IBP waterway route from Kolkata/ Haldia to North East is limited to 2000 ton vessels, but now, larger ships carrying cargo destined for North East can call at Chattogram and Mongla ports which will significantly increasing trade volumes and will reduce the logistic costs. What will be the commodity to be exchanged? The expected cargo to North East from various parts of India includes construction material, iron & steel, fertilizer, consumer goods, POL, cement etc, while food grains, fruits, organic products, tea, fish, jute etc are the expected cargo to be transported from the North East to various parts of India through Chattogram and Mongla ports. What does the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade say? As per the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, Dhubri (India) and Pangaon (Bangladesh) have been added to the Port of Calls (PoCs) in addition to the 5 Ports of Call (POC), and both countries have agreed to add for more POCs in each country. Further, dredging has commenced under an MOU which was signed by the two countries on development of fairway in selected stretches of Bangladesh waterways in which G/o India will bear the 80 % of the project expenditure and the balance by Govt. of Bangladesh.
Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan
Context: Namami Gange launches the Ganga Aamantran Abhiyaan – a unique social awareness initiative in order to connect with the people. About the Initiative The ‘Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan’ is a top historic exploratory open-water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga River which is being planned between 10th October 2019 to 11 November 2019.
The expedition will start at Devprayag and will cnd at Ganga Sagar, thus covering the entire stretch of over 2500 kms of the Ganga River. This is the first ever effort by National Mission for Clean Ganga to raft across the entire stretch of the river and is also the longest ever social campaign which is being undertaken through an adventure sporting activity to spread the message of River Rejuvenation and Water Conservation on a massive scale. The expedition will encompass the 5 Ganga basin states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal with stops at Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Sonepur and Kolkata. A 9-member team of swimmer and rafters from the three Services of the Indian Armed Forces led by acclaimed international open-water swimmer Wg Cdr Paramvir Singh who is the only person to have swum the entire length of Ganga from Devprayag to Gangasagar in 2015 and would be joined by 3 members from NDRF, 2 members each from WII and CSIR-IITR. The expedition will commence on 10th October 2019, at Devprayag, where Bhagirathi and Alaknanda merge to mark the beginning of Ganga.
Context: eDantseva website and mobile application has been recently launched by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
Braille booklet and Voice over on Oral Health Education for the visually impaired individuals, along with the oral health posters for pregnant women and children were also launched by the Union Minister. What is it? eDantseva is the first ever national digital platform on oral health information and knowledge dissemination and marks an essential milestone as it will reach out to more than one billion people with one click in the form of a dedicated website and mobile application. What are its features? e-DantSeva has in it information about the National Oral Health Program, along with a detailed list of all the dental facility and colleges, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material. It also comprises a unique feature called the ‘Symptom Checker’, which provides information on symptoms of dental/oral health problems, solution to prevent these, the treatment modes, and also directs the user to find their nearest available dental facility in both public and private sectors. GPRS route/images/satellite images of the facility for easier access to the general population has also been provided by the website. What about Braille booklet and Voice over? Braille, which is the primary reading method for the visually impaired people to access information and education independently is being highly promoted with the dissemination of Printed Braille oral health books along with the voice-over among visually impaired individuals that will provide them with the opportunity to read and hear about the essentials and importance of oral health. About National Oral Health Programme National Oral Health Programme (NOHP) was undertaken in its current form in 2014 with an aim to improve oral health because oral health is the basic expectation of all Indians. NOHP assess needs, monitors outcomes, decreases disparities, improves access to care and ultimately improves oral health. The Center for Dental Education and Research (CDER), AIIMS, New Delhi functions as the National Center of Excellence for Implementation of NOHP. This programme crystallizes Indian Dental Association (IDA)’s aim for optimal oral health by 2020 and addresses the ‘silent epidemic of oral diseases’ by a number of its initiatives.
Indian Technical And Economic Cooperation
Context: 55th Anniversary of India’s flagship capacity building programme – The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme – has been recently celebrated by the Development Partnership Administration Division of External Affairs Ministry. About ITEC Programme The programme was launched by the Ministry of External Affairs in 1964 as a completely GoI-funded Programme. This programme is essentially bilateral in nature but, in recent years, ITEC resources have also been used for cooperation programmes conceived in regional and inter-regional context such as Economic Commission for Africa, Commonwealth Secretariat, UNIDO and Group of 77. The nodal division which is responsible for the handling of all the capacity building programmes is the Division of Development Partnership Administration (DPA) in the Ministry of External Affairs. What are the components of ITEC Programme? The ITEC Programme has following main components:
- To provide training (including both civilian and defence) in India of nominees from ITEC partner countries;
- To look up to the projects and project related activities such as feasibility studies and consultancy services;
- To take care of deputation of Indian exports abroad;
- To organize Study Tours;
- To arrange Gifts or Donations of equipment at the request of ITEC partner countries;
- To provide aid for Disaster Relief.
Context: According to a statement released by the Union Minister of Environment, India will shift to Bharat Stage Six or BS-VI vehicular emission norms from BS-IV by April 2020. About Bharat Stage Norms These are the automotive emission norms which the automotive manufacturers have to comply in order to sell their vehicles in India. These norms are applicable to all two-wheelers, four-wheelers and the construction equipment vehicles.
These emission standards are instituted by the Government of India in order to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines and Spark-ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles. Objective: The major objective of these emission standards is to regulate the output of air pollutants from the internal combustion engine equipment. In other words, the higher the fuel standard a vehicles complies with, the lesser will be the pollution caused by it. These emission standards are set by the Government of India based on the European regulations with the standards and timeline for the implementation of these standards being set by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and Climate Change (MoE&FCC). What are the benefits of BS-VI emission standards over BS-IV? The major benefits of BS-VI over BS-IV lies in 3 major parameters i.e, the Sulphur Content, NOx Emissions and the Particulate Numbers. The major difference is in the amount of sulphur in the fuel which is highly reduced from 50 parts per million to just 10 ppm in BS VI fuel for both Gasoline and Diesel. Further, BS VI norms will address one of the inherent flaws in the European emission standards which permits diesel cars to emit more particulate matter and nitrogen oxide. NOx emission from diesel cars are expected to come down by approximately 70% and from cars with petrol engines by nearly 25%. Further, BS VI will sets limit on Particulate Number (PN) for engines, which is a reference to direct injection engines that emits more particulates but are more efficient and release less CO2.
2019 NOBEL PRIZE IN MEDICINE
Two Americans and a British Scientist have been awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or medicine for discovering how the body’s cells sense and react to oxygen levels. Their work has paved the way for new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and other diseases. The awardees includes William G. Kaelin; Gregg L. Semenza; and Peter J. Ratcliffe.
They jointly received award for their discoveries of ‘how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability’. They further established the basis for understanding of how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function. It is the 110th prize which has been awarded in this category since 1901. The three scientists will share the Nobel Prize sum of 9 million Swedish kronor (approximately 9 lakh 14 thousand USD).
ASIA ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT AWARD 2019
UNEP has selected Senior IFS officer Ramesh Pandey for the 4th Edition of the prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Award 2019. The award recognizes the excellence in enforcement by government officials and institutions combating trans-boundary environmental crimes, such as illegal trade in wildlife, chemicals or waste, in Asia. This years’ award will be given in 5 categories:
- Gender Leadership
There will also be a separate category for Africa-Asia cooperation in the area of illegal trade in wildlife.
The 2019 award has been presented by the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the UNDP, the UN office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, USAID, Freeland Foundation and Government of Sweden.
Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI)
As part of its new Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) with Switzerland, India has received the first tranche of details about the financial accounts of its residents in Swiss banks. India figures among the 75 countries with which Switzerland’s FTA has exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on AEOI. AEOI, the automatic exchange of Financial Information regime kicked off between Switzerland and India from September 1, 2019. This is the first time that India has received details from Switzerland under the AEOI framework, which provides for exchange of information on financial accounts that are currently active as well as those accounts that were closed during 2018. The next wave of exchange will take place in September 2020.
GREEN CHANNEL ROUTE
Competition Commision of India has given its first ever clearance under the ‘green channel’ route to acquisition of Essel Mutual Fund by BAC Acquisitions Pvt Ltd. The green channel concept which was recommended by the high-level panel that reviewed competition law in August allowed for an automatic system for speedy approval for certain categories of merger and acquisitions. The green channel approvals, under the framework, can be availed in combinations where there are no horizontal overlaps, no existing or potential vertical relationships and no complementary business activities between the combining parties, or their respective group entities, or involving any entity in which any combining partied hold shares or have control. It is to be noted that the Merger and Acquisitions or combinations beyond a certain threshold are required to have mandatory approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI).