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GS-1

44% of Afghan Children are out of School- Report

News:

  1. According to a study conducted by UNICEF, USAID and Samuel Hall think-tank, nearly 44% children in Afghanistan are out of school

Important Facts:

2. 3.7 million children in the age-group 7-17 are out of school

3. Most of the children out of school are girls. In highly disturbed areas nearly 85% of girls are out of school

4. Major reasons:

  • Conflict
  • Poverty
  • Child marriage
  • Discrimination against girls

 

A race to save Hyderabad’s Ashoorkhana

News:

  1. Hyderabad’s Badshahi Ashoorkhana gets a renovation before the onset of monsoon.

Important facts:

2. Badshahi Ashoorkhana is a pilgrimage site.

3. It turns into a house of mourning during Muharram.

4. The Ashoorkhana is said to be 400 years old, built in 1611.

5. It was built by Hyderabad’s founder Muhammad Quli Qutub.

6. This monument was lost for several years.

7. Much later, a legal battle by Moosavi family made the monument accessible again.

8. After renovation, the conservation of the structure will begin soon after its documentation.

9. The documentation is being done by Aga Khan Trust of Culture (AKTC).

10.Telangana has signed a MOU with Aga Khan trust of Culture (AKTC).

 

Rise in boys dropping out of madrasas in Bengal

News:

  1. Almost 70% of students taking the High Madrasah examination in 2018 in West Bengal were girls.

Important facts:

2. The reasons behind high numbers of girls are:

  • Schemes promoting girls education namely Kanyashree, condistional cash transfer scheme, Sabuj Sathi.
  • High drop-out of boys or their migration to other states for work

3. The drop-out of school going boys is higher in certain parts of West Begal, particularly in minority dominated districts of Malda and Murshidabad.

4. About Madrasah Board.

  • The Madrasah Board got its legal status in 1994 under an Act passed by West Bengal Assembly.
  • The Act gave the Madrasah Board powers to affiliate institutions and conduct examination.
  • There are 614 high madrasas in West Bengal.
  • It provide education in regular subjects like language, science, maths along with two optional subjects of Arabic and Islamic Studies (Islam Parichay).
  • It also affiliates 102 senior madrasas providing religious education and conducting Alim (Class X) and Fazil (Class XII) equivalent examinations.

 GS 2

About a small Mauritian island

Article:

  1. Political scientist Francois Verges and historian Vijay Prasad observes India’ s changing commitment to secure Indian ocean as a zone of peace

Important facts:

  1. Recently, a group of Mauritians island along with few formed the Islanders Coalition for Peace which calls for declaration of Indian Ocean as a zone of peace
  2. The concept of the zone of peace originated during the Non-Align Movement Summit in 1970.
  3. The Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace was adopted by UN General Assembly in 1971
  4. Designating Indian Ocean as Zone of Peace meant halting any expansion of military base, presence by great powers in the Indian Ocean region
  5. This acme in the backdrop of USA building major naval base on Diego Garcia islands which later became significant in the Vietnam War
  6. The declaration of zone of peace was much opposed by USA and France.
  7. Post Djibouti’s independence from France, La Reunion Island became a naval base for France
  8. In 2014, erstwhile Naval Security Adviser Ajit Doval also propagated the idea of Indian Ocean as zone of peace following Chinese interventions in the region.
  9. However, increasing Chinese presence and the the growing interests of other major powers (U.S., U.K., Russia, France and Japan) in the region, and the many Chinese infrastructure projects in Indian Ocean Region has brought change in India’s commitment towards  a zone of peace
  10. China has a string of pearls of policy- It has built significant ties. Examples- Gawdar (Pakistan), Hambanota in (Sri Lanka), Kyaukpku (Mayanmar).
  11. This has given India an imperative to develop agreements with Australia (Cocos Island), France (La Reunion) and USA
  12. India’s nuclear armed ballistic missile submarine -Arihant will soon play in Indian Ocean.
  13. India’s agreement with Mauritius on setting up base in Agalegla island is extension of this plan
  14. India- Mauritius:
  • Mauritius is the largest route for FDI in India- This is because multinational corporations take advantage of India-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty and the lax tax regime to avoid paying taxes.
  • However, Mauritius has signed an amendment treaty and by 2019 it will lose its status of being the largest route for FDI in India
  • In 2015, India and Mauritius signed an agreement that allows India to develop infrastructure on the islands

16. Author advised India to move back to its commitment to make Indian Ocean as Zone of Peace.

GS-3

Fuel fractions: on petrol, diesel prices

News:

  1. Prices of petrol and diesel recently get reduced by Rs one paisa per litre after reduction in oil price in international market.

Important facts:

2. It is advised that both central and state government should cut the tax on petrol and diesel to give benefits to consumers.

3. Central government raises excise duties heavily in recent time. Leverage is provided by reduction in oil price in international market.

4. States government impose ad valor-em duties on fuel products. Average tax is 26% while Maharashtra impose 39.27% tax.

5. States also impose value-added tax on the fuel price which is inclusive of central excise duties. This leads to double taxation and further increase in price.

6. An SBI research report says prices could go down by Rs3.75 and Rs5.75 a litre for diesel and petrol respectively, if only double taxation is controlled.

7. Rising crude prices, inflation and the trade deficit puts pressure on the rupee and GDP growth.

8. Because of these issues, global rating agencies are lowering India’s growth expectation for the financial year 2018-19.

9. Kerala has shown the way by reducing sales tax on fuel by Rs 1 per litre.

10. The high taxes on fuel need to be cut when price rise again.

Agni-5 successfully Test-fired

News:

  1. Recently, Agni-V was successfully test-fired off the Odisha coast

Important Facts:

2. The missile was launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Dr Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) in the Bay of Bengal

3. This was the sixth trial of the state-of-the-art Agni-5; second in its pre-induction configuration

4. Agni-V is capable of carrying nuclear warheads weighing 1.5 tonnes to a distance over 5000km

5. It is the longest missile in India’s arsenal which is capable of reaching most parts of China

6. Indigenously developed new technologies tested in Agni-V trial:

  • Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS)
  • Micro Navigation System (MINs)- improves the accuracy of the missile

 

 Odhisa beach is Asia’s first to get ‘Blue Flag’ tag

News:

  1. The Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odhisa is set to become Asia’s first beach with a ‘Blue Flag’ Certification

Important Facts:

2. About Blue Flag Tag:

  • Blue Flag tag is given to environmental- friendly, clean beaches which are equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists
  • There are 33 environment and tourism-related conditions for Blue Flag Certification- Few of them include:
  1. Plastic-free,
  2. Waste management,
  3. Availability of clean water for tourists
  4. Beach should have facilities to study the environmental impact around the area
  • These standards were established in 1985 by Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), Copenhagen
  1. Blue Flag Tag in India
  • Environment Ministry started the Blue Flag project in 2017
  • In accordance with Blue Flag standards, 12 more beaches are being developed by Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM). These include:
  1. Chiwala, Bhogawe in Maharashtra
  2. One beach each from Goa, Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands
  • SICOM is a body under Environment Ministry working for coastal area management

 

Govt. mulls GST hike for farmers’ welfare fund

News:

  1. GoM proposes to rise 1% GST as an alternative to sugar cess that had proposed earlier.

Important facts:

2. Rise in GST will helps to finance farmers welfare fund.

3. The states can use the amount to to fulfill the needs of all farmers as against the sugar cess that will help only sugarcane famers.

4. The decision came when several states, namely kerala shows its reservation towards sugar cess.

5. Imposing a cess is against the basic principle of GST

6. Under the proposed hike of GST rates, additional revenue will be shared between the Centre and States.

7. Out of the proposed 1% raise, 0.5 will be used by the Center and the rest by the states.

8. A Group of Ministers (GoM) also considered reduction in the GST on ethanol and increasing the government subsidy for export of sugar.

9. The proposed GST cut on ethanol is 18%to 5%.

10. Government is also planning to increase the export subsidy to sugar to make its price competitive in international market.

 

 More breast cancer patients can skip chemo, says study

News:

  1. 70% women with breast cancer can now safely skip chemotherapy after their tumours have been removed.

Important facts:

2. The chemotherapy can be skipped by women with early-stage breast cancer and an intermediate risk of cancer recurrence when they are treated with hormone therapy.

3. This data has been provided by US researchers in American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

4. The survey is based on women with breast cancer that had not spread to nearby lymph nodes and whose tumors respond to hormone therapy and test is negative for the HER2 gene.

 

What’s driving the GDP revival?

News :

  1. The Indian economy is at a golden phase. The economy grew at  7.7% in the January-March quarter, 2018.

Important facts

2. The FY2016-17 saw two major changes in the Indian economy, namely, Demonetization and Goods and Service Tax (GST). The Indian economy has balanced itself considerably well.

3. Manufacturing sector, construction sector, trade, hotels, transport and communication, financial services and real estate grew considerably well at the last quarter of FY17-18.

4. Growth in construction, trade, manufacturing and services is particularly beneficial for job generation.

5. Private investment has also seen a growth in the last quarter of FY17-18. This is driven by commodity prices, lower interest rates  and corporate debts.

6. By breaking down the GVA, the fastest growing sectors for the entire FY17-18 are the public administration, defence and other services.

7. These sectors are driven by Seventh Pay Commisions recommendation which entitles higher salary, HRA and other benefits to government staff.

8. The government could sustain these high expenses because of GST and high Excise duty on oil.

9. But with rise in oil prices, there is a demand by the consumers to reduce the duties levied on it.

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