9 PM Current Affairs Brief – October 30th, 2019

Edge Computing

News:Recently,Nvidia has announced its edge computing platform to help telecom operators adopt 5G networks capable of supporting edge workloads. 

Facts:

About Edge Computing:

  • Edge computing enables data to be analysed, processed and transferred at the edge of a network.
  • The idea is to analyse data locally closer to where it is stored, in real-time without latency rather than send it far away to a centralised data centre.

About Cloud Computing:

  • Cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the Internet. These resources include tools and applications like data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software.
  • Rather than keeping files on a proprietary hard drive or local storage device,cloud-based storage makes it possible to save them to a remote database.

Difference between Cloud Computing and Edge Computing:

  • The basic difference between edge computing and cloud computing lies in the place where the data processing takes place.
  • Currently,the existing Internet of Things(IoT) systems performs all of their computations in the cloud using data centres.
  • On the other hand,Edge computing essentially manages the massive amounts of data generated by IoT devices by storing and processing data locally.
  • The data doesn’t need to be sent over a network as soon as it processed and only important data is sent.Hence,an edge computing network reduces the amount of data that travels over the network.

Edge Computing Security:

  • There are two sides of the edge computing security.Some argue that security is theoretically better in an edge computing environment because data is not traveling over a network and it’s staying closer to where it was created.
  • However,others believe that edge computing is inherently less secure because the edge devices themselves can be more vulnerable. 

Global Pension Index

News:India has improved it’s ranking in the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index.

Facts:

About Global Pension Index:

  • The index is published by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS) in collaboration with Mercer with most of the funding from the State Government of Victoria.
  • The primary objective of this research is to benchmark each country’s retirement income system.
  • It covers 37 countries, is based on how they fare on providing pension and retirement benefits to citizens across different income groups.

Key takeaways from the index:

  • The overall index was topped by Netherlands followed by Denmark. While Thailand was ranked at the lowest position.
  • India stood at 32nd position in 2019 out of 37 countries from the 33rd place in 2018 out of 34 countries in the list.
  • India’s ranking increased largely due to the improvement in all three sub-indices of adequacy, sustainability and integrity.
  • The index referred to India’s draft wages and social security reforms that have been initiated by the government which indicates the intent of the policymakers in creating an inclusive and sustainable pension system.

Atal Bhujal Yojana(ABY)

News:The World Bank-funded Atal Bhujal Yojana(ABHY) is still waiting for the Union Cabinet’s approval more than a year after the World Bank board approved it in June 2018.

Facts:

About Atal Bhujal Yojana:

  • Atal Bhujal Yojana is a 6000 crore World Bank assisted Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The scheme has been formulated by the government to address the criticality of groundwater resources in a major part of the country.
  • The scheme aims to improve groundwater management in priority areas in the country through community participation.
  • The scheme envisages active participation of the communities in various activities such as formation of Water User Associations, monitoring and disseminating ground water data among others.
  • The funding pattern is 50:50 between Government of India (Ministry Of Jalshakti) and World Bank.
  • The identified over-exploited(OE) and water stressed areas for the implementation of the scheme fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The scheme is to be implemented over a period of five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23 but has not yet started.

Million Farmers’ School(MFS) programme

News:Million Farmers’ School( MFS)Programme popularly known as Kisan Pathshala is a scheme of Uttar Pradesh Government.

Facts:

About Million Farmers’ School(MFS) Programme:

  • The scheme aims to enhance farmers’ incomes through dissemination of agriculture-related information on technology, government schemes, and modern farming methods.
  • The scheme is an extension programme that the government of UP initiated in 2017 with a view to encourage the use of modern farming techniques to make farming more profitable, sustainable and resilient.
  • Unlike traditional extension services,MFS integrates various facets of agricultural knowledge into a packaged format, and delivers it through village-level trainings across all districts in the state.
  • The training usually comprises of a daily two-to-three hour session in the evening for a module of three to five days in the primary school building in the village.

36 million Indians face flood risk: study

News:According to a recent study,36 million people in India would face annual flooding by 2050 and 44 million by 2100 if emissions continue to rise.

Facts:

About the study:

  • The study was conducted by the Climate Central study.It is a non-profit science and news organisation providing information to help the public and policymakers make sound decisions about climate and energy.
  • The study details findings from individual assessments from 135 countries across multiple climate scenarios and years.
  • The study has used a new software called Coastal DEM to produce enabling neighbourhood level exploration of threatened areas around the world.

Key takeaways from the study:

  • In India,36 million people would face annual flooding by 2050 and 44 million by 2100 if emissions continue to rise unabated.
  • Nearly 21 million are expected to be living below the High Tide Line,the boundary that marks the farthest to which the sea reaches into the land at high tide.
  • The six Asian countries namely China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand which are home to approximately 237 million could experience coastal flooding at least annually by 2050, which is more than four times the estimates based on older elevation data.

Additional information:

About CoastalDEM:

  • CoastalDEM stands for Coastal Digital Elevation Model.It is a new software which uses more variables such as vegetation cover, population indices to estimate the actual land surface affected by floods.
  • The estimates of this model relies on detailed maps of the globe taken by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission(SRTM) of NASA.SRTM was a radar mapping system that travelled aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2000.
  • The maps so prepared form the basis for determining the elevation of the earth’s topography.

Uluru

News:Recently, Australian Government has banned the climbing of Uluru desert rock,considered sacred by the local Anangu people.

Facts:

About Uluru:

  • Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock.It is located in central Australia. 
  • It is sacred to the local Anangu people, the Aboriginal people residing in that area.
  • The rock is a large sandstone rock formation.It is composed of coarse-grained arkose (a type of sandstone characterised by an abundance of feldspar) and some conglomerate.
  • The rock is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Uluru rock is notable for appearing to change colour at different times of the day and year, most notably when it glows red at dawn and sunset.

Postal ballot facilities for Absentee voters

News:Election Commission of India has started working on detailed guidelines to facilitate the process of postal ballot paper for Absentee voters of essential services, Senior citizens of more than 80 years and marked PwD electors.

Facts:

About the guidelines:

  • EC has defined absentee voter as a person belonging to such class of persons as may be notified under clause(c) of section 60 of the Representation of the People Act,1951.
  • Such absentee voters include (a)Persons employed in essential services such as railways, state transport among others (b)Persons with Disabilities(PwD) and (c)Senior citizens.
  • Person with Disability means a person flagged as person with disability in the database for the electoral roll.
  • Senior citizen means an elector belonging to the class of absentee voters and is above 80 years of age.

How can these people vote?

  • People under these new categories can choose to vote through postal ballot by filling up Form 12D and submitting it to the nodal officer within five days of notification of an election.
  • These votes will be registered at a special centre specified by the Election Commission(EC).

Additional information:

About Election Commission: 

  • The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India.
  • The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
  • EC operates under the authority of the Constitution as per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act.

About Representation of the People(RP) Act,1951:

  • The Representation of the People Act,1951 is an act of Parliament of India.
  • The act provides (a)the conduct of elections of the Houses of Parliament and the House of the Legislature of each State (b)the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses and (c)the corrupt practices,decisions,doubts and disputes arising in connection with such elections.

Operation Kayla Mueller

News:The operation Kayla Mueller is an operation that claimed the life of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Facts:

About the Operation:

  • The operation was a United States led military operation in Barisha,Idlib in northwestern Syria.
  • The operation targeted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leadership notably its leader,Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
  • The special forces raid was officially code-named Operation Kayla Mueller after Kayla Mueller who was held captive,tortured by Islamic State before her death in 2015.

National Green Tribunal(NGT)

News:The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is currently reeling under vacancies of judges and expert members making its four zonal benches across India non-functional.

Facts:

About NGT:

  • The National Green Tribunal(NGT) came into existence in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal act 2010.
  • The act provides for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • The tribunal is guided by principles of natural justice and is not bound by the mainstream code of civil procedure.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • The tribunal has five places of sittings with New Delhi as the Principal place of sitting and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four.

Composition:

  • The Tribunal comprises of the Chairperson, the Judicial Members and Expert Members.They shall hold office for a term of five years and are not eligible for reappointment.
  • The chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
  • Judicial and expert members are appointed on recommendations by the Selection Committee.

Qualifications:

  • Chairperson: A person who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of the High Court.
  • Judicial Member: A person who is or has been a Judge of a High Court
  • Expert Member: Qualification and experience in relevant scientific and technological field or practical experience in dealing with environmental matters.

Jurisdiction:The NGT deals with civil cases under the seven laws related to the environment, these include:

  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,1974,
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act,1977,
  • The Forest (Conservation) Act,1980,
  • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,1981,
  • The Environment (Protection) Act,1986
  • The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Note:The Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972 and Scheduled Tribes and Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 have been kept out of NGT’s jurisdiction.

Competition Commission of India(CCI)

News:The Competition Commission of India has ordered an investigation against online travel agents Make My Trip-GoIbibo and hospitality services provider Oyo for alleged unfair business practices.

Facts:

About Competition Commission of India:

  • Competition Commission of India is a statutory body of the Government of India established in 2003.
  • The commission is responsible for enforcing the Competition Act,2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.
  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.

Functions of commission:

  • The Commission aims to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India. 
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law.
  • It also undertakes competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

Competition Act,2002:

  • The Competition Act, 2002 as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. 
  • The act prohibits (a)anti-competitive agreements (b)abuse of dominant position by enterprises and (c)regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and mergers and acquisitions) which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
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