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CURRENT AFFAIRSNOVEMBER 2019

Daily Current Affairs: 4th November 2019: The Hindu+PIB


Daily Current Affairs: 4th November 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.


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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.




Electoral Bond Scheme

Context: According to data shared by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), Electoral bonds worth Rs 232 crore were sold in October, taking the total number of bonds sold from March 2018 till October 2019 to 12,313 and the total value to Rs 6,128 crore.

Electoral Bond Scheme, Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs

The top rankers with respect to the amount of bonds include:

(i) Mumbai, which had the highest amount of bonds at Rs 1,880 crore.
(ii) Kolkata stood second at Rs 1,440 crore. 
(iii) Delhi holding third position at Rs 919 crore and 
(iv) Hyderabad at fourth position with Rs 838 crorewhile all other cities accounted for Rs 1,051 crore from March 2018 till October 2019.

What are electoral bonds?


Electoral bonds are interest-free bearer bonds that are used to donate money anonymously to political parties. These are those bonds that allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary. 
  • Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest.
  • It will be a bearer instrument.
  • It will not carry the name of the payee.
  • It can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.
  • The State Bank of India (SBI) is the only bank which is authorised to sell them.
  • Buyers can donate the bonds to a party of their choice and these can then be cashed by the party through its verified account within 15 days.

Who all are eligible to buy electoral bonds?

The Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a citizen of India, or entities incorporated or established in India. It can also be purchased by a person being an individual, either singly or jointly with other individuals. 

Only the registered Political Parties which have secured not less than 1%  of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha elections or the State Legislative Assembly are eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.

How these bonds are controversial?

The introduction of the electoral bond scheme is part of what appears to be a growing trend away from transparency and accountability, the two main values which were already sparse in relation to Indian political parties.

The opponents to the scheme allege that since the identity of the donor of electoral bonds has been kept anonymous, it could lead to an influx of black money. Apart from these it was also said that the scheme was designed to help big corporate houses donate money without their identity being revealed.

A petition challenging the scheme is pending with the Supreme Court.


Unemployment in India

Context: A report on unemployment in India has been recently released by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

Key Findings of the Report

Unemployment rate in India in October rose to 8.5%, the highest level since August 2016. Further, the urban unemployment rate at 8.9%, is more than the rural unemployment rate of 8.3%.

Unemployment in India, Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs

Highest unemployment rate is seen in Tripura and Haryana, at more than 20% while the lowest was seen in Tamil Nadu at 1.1%.

Rajasthan saw its unemployment rate double between September and October 2019. 

Why such an unemployment is a cause of concern?

It is to be noted that the CMIE findings are in line with the findings of the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey, which had estimated an unemployment rate of 6.1% between July 2017 and June 2018, the worst in 45 years.

The data also comes on the back of other indicators showing a downturn in the economy, including the core sector output in September posting its worst contraction in at least 14 years.

Earlier, August’s industrial output shrank at its fastest rate in more than six years.

According to another research, it was estimated that between 2011-12 and 2017-18, employment declined by an unprecedented 9 million jobs (a 2% drop), with agricultural employment declining by 11.5%. While in the same period, employment in the service sector increased by 13.4%, and manufacturing employment dipped by 5.7%.

While employment has been declining, the number of working age people who are “Not in Labour Force, Education and Training” has continued to increase — from about 84 million in 2011-12, it has now crossed 100 million.

About CMIE

CMIE, or Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, is a leading business information company which was established in 1976, primarily as an independent think tank. CMIE is a privately owned and professionally managed company head-quartered at Mumbai.

CMIE produces economic and business databases and develops specialised analytical tools to deliver these to its customers for decision making and for research. It analyses the data to decipher trends in the economy.

Its works include:
  • CMIE has built India's largest database on the financial performance of individual companies.
  • It conducts the largest survey to estimate household incomes, pattern of spending and savings.
  • It runs a unique monitoring of new investment projects on hand.
  • It has created the largest integrated database of the Indian economy.



Analysis on India’s labour productivity growth

Context: According to an analysis done by India Ratings and Research of Annual Survey of Industries data on India’s labour productivity growth in the organised manufacturing sector, a very disappointing trend has been noticed.

Key highlights of the analysis


According to the analysis, between 2004 and 2008, India’s labour productivity grew by over 14 % every year. But between financial years of 2011 and 2015, this rate fell to just half of that (7.4 %) and continued its deceleration to just 3.7 % between financial years of 2016 and 2018.


Labour Productivity Growth in India, Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs

It also found that between financial years 2001 and 2018, the capital intensity —i.e., the fixed capital used per worker — in India’s organised manufacturing has been rising. But the output intensity — i.e., the value of output per fixed capital — has actually declined over the same period.

In simple words, "while more and more capital is being used per unit of labour, it is not yielding commensurate level of output growth." 

What exactly is labour productivity?


Productivity is basically a measure of the efficiency with which resources, both human and material, are converted into goods and services. Besides land and capital, labour productivity plays a crucial role in deciding the rate of economic growth.

It is crucially dependent on businesses investing in knowledge and innovation even as the governments bring about structural reforms that enable such investments to bear fruit.



DUSTLIK-2019


Context: Curtain Raiser of the India-Uzbekistan Joint Exercise - Dustlik-2019 was recently presided over by the Defence Minister of India and his Uzbekistan counterpart.


Dustlik 2019, Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs

This is the first-ever exercise held between the two nations.

Background


Defence Minister is in Uzbekistan on a 3-day visit since 1st November 2019. This is the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Uzbekistan in about 15 years.

The joint military exercise which is  focused on counter-terrorism starts on November 4 and will continue till November 13, at Chirchiq Training Area near Tashkent.

With the help of this exercise, Armed Forces of the two countries would enable sharing of best practices and experiences between them and would lead to greater operational effectiveness.

During the meeting, India and Uzbekistan concluded an MoU on cooperation in the field of Military Medicine between the Armed Forces of the two countries. 





HYGIEA

Context: Astronomers using ESO’s SPHERE instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) have revealed that the asteroid Hygiea could be classified as a dwarf planet.


Background

As of today, there are officially 5 dwarf planets in our Solar System, Plutowhich was downgraded from the status of a planet in 2006, being the most famous. The other four, in order of size, are Eris, Makemake, Haumea and Ceres.



Now, there is a new candidate for the 6th dwarf planet. Named Hygiea, it has so far been taken to be an asteroid. It lies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Using observations made through the European Space Organisation’s SPHERE instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have now found that Hygiea may possibly be a dwarf planet. If qualified, Hygiea will be the smallest dwarf planet in the Solar System.

Criteria for DWARF Planet Status

The International Astronomical Union sets 4 basic criteria for a dwarf planet, and Hygiea already satisfies three of them i.e., it orbits around the Sun, it is not a moon, and it has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

The 4th requirement is that it have enough mass that its own gravity pulls it into a roughly spherical shape.

This is the first time astronomers have observed Hygiea in high resolution to study its surface and determine its shape and size.

About Very Large Telescope (VLT)


It is a telescope facility which is operated by the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. 

The VLT consists of 4 individual telescopes, known as Antu, Kueyen, Melipal, and Yepun, (words for astronomical objects in the Mapuche language) each with a primary mirror 8.2 m across which are generally used separately but can be used together to achieve very high angular resolution.


The VLT operates at visible and infrared wavelengths. 


Each individual telescope can detect objects roughly four billion times fainter than can be detected with the naked eye


The VLT is the most productive ground-based facility for astronomy, with only the Hubble Space Telescope generating more scientific papers among facilities operating at visible wavelengths.


Key observations by VLT includes: 
  • The first direct image of an exoplanet. 
  • The tracking of individual stars moving around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. 
  • Observations of the afterglow of the furthest known gamma-ray burst.
What is SPHERE which is used in revelation of Hygiea?

SPHERE, which is short for Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch is the extreme adaptive optics system and coronagraphic facility at the VLT. Its primary science goal is imaging, low-resolution spectroscopic, and polarimetric characterization of extra-solar planetary systems at optical and near-infrared wavelengths.


JAMMU & KASHMIR AND LADAKH


Context: The Survey General of India released maps depicting the new Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, as created on 31 October 2019.


The new UTs of Ladakh consists of two districts of Kargil and Leh. The rest of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir is in the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with 28 districts.

Out of these, Kargil district was carved out from the area of ​​Leh and Ladakh district.


Jammu&Kashmir and Ladakh, Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs



In the map, the new Leh district includes the areas of the districts of Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilhas and Tribal Territory of 1947, in addition to the remaining areas of Leh and Ladakh districts of 1947, after carving out the Kargil District

About Survey of India


The Survey of India with Department of Science and Technology as its parent organization is India's central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying. It is also responsible for the naming convention and spellings of names of geographical features of India.

Its members are from Survey of India Service cadre of Civil Services of India and Army Officers from the Indian Army Corps of Engineers. It is headed by the Surveyor General of India.

It was set up in 1767 to help consolidate the territories of the British East India Company.

It is headquartered at Dehradun, Uttarakhand.





5th INDIA INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL


Context: Fifth India International Science Festival is planned to be inaugurated by PM Modi at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, Kolkata through video conference on November 5, 2019.


The major objective of the festival is to instill scientific temper among the masses, showcase India’s contribution in the field of Science and Technology and encourage translation of its benefits to people.


IISF 2019, Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs

India International Science Festival (IISF) 2019 is an annual event which is organised jointly by science and technology related Ministries and Departments of the Government of India and Vijnana Bharati (Vibha). 

Vigyan Prasar is the nodal agency to coordinate the IISF 2019.

This is the 5th edition since its inception in 2015.

Theme 2019:  RISEN India – Research, Innovation, and Science Empowering the Nation.

Previous versions:
  • IISF 2015
    • Venue: IIT-Delhi, New Delhi. 
    • Nodal Agency: DST
  • IISF 2016: 
    • Venue: CSIR-NPL, New Delhi. 
    • Nodal Agency: CSIR
  • IISF 2017: 
    • Venue: IIT-Madras, Anna University & NIOT, Chennai. 
    • Nodal Agency: MoES
  • IISF 2018: 
    • Venue: Indira Gandhi Pratishthan, Lucknow. 
    • Nodal Agency: DBT

About Vijnana Bharti and Vigyan Prasar

Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), previously known as ‘Swadeshi Science Movement’ is a non-profit organisation, working for science popularization & implementation of modern technology & ancient sciences in India. It was founded by the eminent scientists of Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru led by Prof. K.I. Vasu

Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organisation of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, was set up in 1989 to take on large-scale science and technology popularization programmes. 



MV Maheshwari


Context: A landmark container cargo consignment will sail on inland waterways from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati on 4 November, 2019.

Background


Shri Gopal Krishna, Secretary (Shipping) will flag off the inland vessel MV Maheshwari carrying 53 TEUs (containers) of petrochemicals, edible oil and beverage etc.

The 12-15 days voyage will be an integrated Inland Water Transport (IWT) movement via National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra).


MV MAHESHWARI, Indiathinkers Daily Current Affairs

This is the first ever containerised cargo movement on this IWT route i.e. NW-2.

The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for movement of goods between the two countries by vessels of both countries.

The IBP route extends from Kolkata (India) on NW-1 to Silghat (Assam) on NW-2 (River Brahmaputra) and Karimganj (Assam) on NW-16 (River Barak)

Earlier, the first consignment of containerized cargo on National Waterway-1 (Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system) was received by the Prime Minister in November 2018 when he dedicated to the nation, the Multi Modal Terminal at Varanasi. 




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