9 PM Current Affairs Brief – October 3rd, 2019

Paryatan Parv 2019

News: Minister of Tourism has inaugurated the nationwide “Paryatan Parv 2019”.

Facts:

About Paryatan Parv:

  • Paryatan Parv 2019 is dedicated to 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. 
  • The objective of the event is to draw (a)focus on the benefits of tourism, (b)showcase the cultural diversity of the country and (c)reinforce the principle of “Tourism for All”.

The three components of Paryatan Parv are:

  • Dekho Apna Desh:To encourage Indians to visit their own country. In the run up to the parv, several activities have been organised across the Country like photography contest, promotion on social media among others through the MyGov platform.
  • Tourism for All:Tourism Events at sites across all States in the country are being organised.The activities at these sites will include illumination in and around the Sites, Cultural Programmes among others,
  • Tourism & Governance: Interactive Sessions & Workshops with Stakeholders on varied themes have been organised across the Country as a part of the Paryatan parv activities.

India Economic Summit

News:The World Economic Forum’s 33rd edition of the India Economic Summit will begin from October 3rd in New Delhi.

Facts:

About the summit:

  • The summit is being held by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the CII(Confederation of Indian Industry).
  • The theme of the summit is ‘Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World’.
  • The summit aims to accelerate Fourth Industrial Revolution.It will also have special focus on collaboration with South Asia and ASEAN countries.

Agenda of the summit:The summit is to address strategic issues based on 4 thematic pillars 

  • New Geopolitical reality – effects of geopolitical shifts and complexity of the global system 
  • New Social System – Inclusive growth, health and inequality 
  • New Ecological System – Climate Change, Environment and Food 
  • New Technological System – Science, innovation, entrepreneurship and fourth industrial revolution

Additional information:

World Economic Forum(WEF)

  • WEF was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva,Switzerland.
  • The objective of WEF is to improve the state of the world by engaging business,political,academic and other leaders of society to shape global,regional and industry agendas.
  • Some of the most significant reports published by the WEF are (a)Global Competitiveness Report (b)Global Gender Gap Report (c)Global Risks Report and (d)Global Travel and Tourism Report among others.

The Gandhian Challenge

News:On the 150th birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,Atal innovation mission(AIM), NITI Aayog’s Atal Tinkering Labs(ATL) and UNICEF India, including Generation Unlimited has launched ‘The Gandhian Challenge’.

Facts:

About the Gandhian Challenge:

  • This innovation challenge provides a platform for every child across India to ideate innovative solutions for a sustainable India of their dreams, using Gandhi’s principles.
  • The problem statement for the Gandhian Challenge is: “Share your innovative solutions/ideas to create a futuristic and sustainable world of your dreams, following Gandhi’s principles.”
  • The ideas and solutions to the Gandhian Challenge may be expressed through (a)Art (Letters, poems, painting, videos and photos) and (b) Science & Technology (Robotics, IoT, sensors and 3D printers, among others).
  • The contest is open for every child in India from 2 October to 20 October. The winners of The Gandhian Challenge will be awarded in New Delhi by NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission and UNICEF on the occasion of Children’s Day in November. 

Additional information:

Atal innovation mission(AIM):

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) was set up by NITI Aayog in 2016.
  • It aims to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.It seeks to create institutions and programs that enhance innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.

Atal tinkering lab:

  • Atal Tinkering Labs are established across schools in India. 
  • The objective is to (a) foster curiosity, creativity and imagination among young children and (b) inculcate skills such as design mind set, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing among others.

UNICEF

  • UNICEF stands for United Nations Children’s Fund.It was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946.It is headquartered in New York,USA.
  • It is a special program of the United Nations (UN) devoted to aiding national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education, and general welfare of children.

Generation Unlimited:

  • Generation Unlimited is a new UNICEF-led global partnership that aims to ensure that every young person age 10-24 is in some form of school, learning, training, self-employment, or age-appropriate employment by 2030.
  • It aims to co-create and scale up proven solutions related to secondary age-education, skills for learning, employability and decent work, and empowerment, with a focus on girls.

Street Lighting National Programme(SLNP)

News:The number of LED street lights in the country has doubled from 49 lakh in March 2018 to 1 crore on October 1,2019.These lights are being installed under the Street Lighting National Programme(SLNP).

Facts:

About Street Lighting National Programme(SLNP):

  • Street Light National Programme(SLNP) is an initiative of the Government to promote energy efficiency in the country.
  • The programme has been launched in 2015 to convert conventional street and domestic lights with energy efficient LED lights.
  • It aims to replace 3.5 crore conventional street lights with energy efficient LED lights. 
  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited,a Public Energy Services Company under the administration of Ministry of Power,Government of India(GoI) is the implementing agency for SLNP.

Objectives of SLNP:

  • Mitigate climate change by implementing energy efficient LED based street lighting
  • Reduce energy consumption in lighting which helps DISCOMs to manage peak demand
  • Provide a sustainable service model that obviates the need for upfront capital investment as well as additional revenue expenditure to pay for procurement of LED lights
  • Enhance municipal services at no upfront capital cost of municipalities.

Additional information:

About EESL:

  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited(EESL) is a joint venture of four National Public Sector Enterprises– NTPC Limited,Power Finance Corporation Ltd(PFC),REC and POWERGRID.It was set up under the Ministry of Power.
  • EESL is a Super Energy Service Company(ESCO) and leads the market-related activities of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency(NMEEE),one of the eight national missions under the Prime Minister’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.

Explained: How Bangladesh’s economic growth is stealing India’s thunder

News:The economic outlook update released by the Asian Development Bank(ADB) has shown how Bangladesh is the standout economy in terms of growth momentum in South Asia.

Facts:

What did the report said?

  • The report has said that Bangladesh has been experiencing high and consistently rising economic growth rate while maintaining a stable level of inflation.
  • In 2016,Bangladesh has been growing at over 7% and in 2019 it is expected to cross the 8% threshold as well.
  • On the other hand,India has seen a secular decline from 2016.The constant declining industrial productivity and sales suggests that the current financial year India is unlikely to get anywhere close to the 7%.

What distinguishes Bangladesh from India?

  • The structure of Bangladesh’s economy is quite different from India.
  • In India, the services sector contributes overwhelmingly but in Bangladesh there is a booming industrial sector.This allows its economy to create jobs. 
  • In India,the bulk of the population is still stuck in the agriculture sector, which contributes the least to the GDP. 
  • The industrial sector which has the maximum potential to absorb surplus labour from agriculture is struggling to grow fast enough and create employment.
  • Further,despite the trade war between the US and China intensifying over the past year,Bangladesh’s exports have grown from 6.7% in 2018 to 10.1% in 2019.

Village Secretariat system

News:Andhra Pradesh Government has launched the Village Secretariat system.

Facts:

About Village Secretariat system:

  • The village secretariat system is aimed at ensuring an efficient and corruption-free delivery of the government’s welfare schemes to households.
  • Under the system,one Village Secretariat has been set up for every population of 2,000 with each one comprising close to a dozen village officials.
  • The system would consist of ward and village volunteer system who will take governance to the doorsteps of the people.
  • The volunteers will conduct door-to-door visits and provide the benefits under various programmes to eligible beneficiaries.
  • This scheme also involves the provision of one volunteer to cover 50 families in each village.Identity cards would be given to the volunteers and they would be given an honorarium of Rs 5,000 per month.
  • The volunteers would first identify the beneficiaries, get to know their problems and then delineate the schemes being provided by the government for them.

Mo Sarkar initiative

News:Odisha government has launched a new governance initiative named ‘Mo Sarkar’.

Facts:

About the initiative:

  • The ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiative which means ‘My Government’ is an important transformative initiative of the Odisha government under 5-T programme.
  • The 5-T mantra is based on the philosophy that transparency, teamwork, technology and time leads to transformation.
  • The objective of the ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiative is to provide service with dignity to people who are coming to government offices for different purposes.
  • The phone numbers of people who are coming to government offices will be collected randomly with the purpose to improve the governance system by collecting feedback on behaviour and professionalism of government officers.
  • The employees will be ranked as good or bad on the basis of the feedback and those with good rank will get out-of-turn promotion and action will be taken against employees with bad rank.

Stations’ Cleanliness Survey Report’

News:Minister of Railways has released the ‘Stations’ Cleanliness Survey Report’(Cleanliness assessment of Non-suburban and Suburban Stations 2019).

Facts:

About the survey:

  • The cleanliness survey is an annual exercise carried out by Quality Council of India (QCI).
  • The QCI evaluates railway stations on three broad parameters namely (a)process evaluation (b)direct observation and (c)citizen feedback.
  • The railways have been conducting third party audit and cleanliness survey to increase the level of cleanliness by identifying unclean spots, improve cleanliness standards and propel healthy competition among railway stations.

Key takeaways from the survey:

  • The top three cleanest railways stations are from the western state of Rajasthan.
  • The survey has ranked Jaipur on the first position followed by Jodhpur and Durgapura Railway station.
  • Further,the North Western Railway followed by South East Central Railway and East Central Railway are the top three railway zones.

Additional information:

About Quality Council of India:

  • Quality Council of India (QCI) was set up in 1997 by the Government of India jointly with Indian Industry bodies as an autonomous organization under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It is the Quality Apex and National Accreditation Body for accreditation and quality promotion in India.
  • The Council was established to provide a credible, reliable mechanism for third party assessment of products, services and processes which is accepted and recognized globally.

NBCC bags contract to develop National Sports University

News:State-owned construction firm NBCC (India) has signed a contract with Department of Sports for development of National Sports University at Imphal, Manipur.

Facts:

About National Sports University(NSU):

  • National sports university will be set up in Imphal,Manipur.
  • The University will be the first one of its kind to promote sports education in areas of sports science, sports medicine, sports technology, sports management and sports coaching. 
  • NSU will have the flexibility to open new schools or departments in consonance with the advances and developments in sports science, sports medicine as well as allied areas. 
  • It will also function as national training centre for selected sports disciplines by adopting best international practices.

Additional information:

About NBCC:

  • NBCC is a Central-owned Public Sector Navratna Enterprise.Its operations are spread across India & Overseas. 
  • It was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in New Delhi. 
  • NBCC is organized into three market focused segments namely (a) Project Management Consultancy(PMC) (b)Engineering Procurement & Construction(EPC) and (c)Real Estate.

After India-Russia missile deal, U.S. warns allies of sanctions risk

News:United States has warned allies to forgo transactions with Russia as this may risk triggering sanctions under CAATSA act.

Facts:

Background:

  • India and Russia have concluded the deal for five S-400 ‘Triumf’ missile systems.
  • However,the U.S. has warned that the deal would invoke sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

About Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA):

  • The Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
  • The act also includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.

About S-400:

  • S-400 Triumf Missile System is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM).It has an operational range of over 400 km.
  • The S-400 Trimuf can engage all types of aerial targets such as aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
  • It can track 100 airborne targets including super fighters such as the American built F-35 and engage six of them simultaneously.

Vayoshreshtha Samman – 2019

News:President of India will confer the Vayoshreshtha Samman-2019 on the eminent senior citizens and institutions to mark International Day of Older Persons.

Facts:

About the Vayoshreshtha Samman-2019:

  • Vayoshrestha Sammans are conferred every year in 13 categories to eminent senior citizens and Institutions in recognition for their service to elderly persons.
  • The objective of the award is to showcase the Government’s concern for senior citizens and its commitment towards senior citizens with the aim of strengthening their legitimate place in society.
  • The series of awards were instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the year 2005 and were elevated to the level of national awards in 2013.
  • The recipients of the Sammans are conferred on the 1st October on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons(IDOP).

Estimation of Carbon on Earth

News: Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) has released a series of papers estimating the total carbon on Earth

Facts:

  • Two-tenths of 1% of Earth’s total carbon – about 43,500 gigatonnes (Gt) is above surface in the oceans, on land, and in the atmosphere. The rest is subsurface, including the crust, mantle and core — an estimated 1.85 billion Gt in all.
  • CO2 out-gassed to the atmosphere and oceans from volcanoes and other magmatically active regions is estimated at 280 to 360 million tonnes per year. This includes the CO2 contribution from active volcanic vents, from the diffuse, widespread release of CO2 through soils, faults, and fractures in volcanic regions, volcanic lakes, and from the mid-ocean ridge system.
  • About 400 of the 1500 volcanoes active since the last Ice Age 11,700 years ago are venting CO2 today. 22 ancient volcanoes that have not erupted since Pleistocene epoch (2.5 million years ago to the Ice Age) are outgassing.
  • Humanity’s annual carbon emissions through the burning of fossil fuels and forests, etc., are 40 to 100 times greater than all volcanic emissions.

Additional Information:

Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO):

  • It is a 10 year long global research program at the US National Academy of Sciences. It seeks to study the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon in Earth.

Idol Immersion in River Ganga

News: The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has issued a 15-point directive to chief secretaries in 11 Ganga-basin states.

Facts:

  • The directives include cordoning off ghats and imposing a fine of Rs 50,000, to prevent the immersion of idols in the Ganga or its tributaries during the festive season.
  • It also states that adequate arrangements should be made for designated idol-immersion sites within the municipal area or bank of river Ganga and its tributaries by constructing temporary confined ponds with removable synthetic liners at the bottom.
  • The NMCG has also directed that District Magistrates enforce these directions by ensuring monitoring and enforcement.

Additional Information:

Namami Gange:

  • It was launched in 2014. It is an Integrated Conservation Mission under Ministry of Jal Shakti. Aim: achieve effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • Main Pillars:
    • Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure,
    • River-Surface Cleaning,
    • Afforestation,
    • Industrial Effluent Monitoring,
    • River-Front Development,
    • Bio-Diversity,
    • Ganga Gram and
    • Public Awareness

Institutional structure for policy and implementation: A 5 tier structure was put forward by National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Act, 2016

  • National Ganga Council:
    • It has been established as an Authority under National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Act, 2016
    • It functions under chairmanship of Prime Minister of India
    • It is responsible for superintendence, direction, development and control of River Ganga and the river basin, for prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution in river Ganga and to ensure continuous adequate flow of water.
  • Empowered Task Force (ETF) on river Ganga:
    • It functions under chairmanship of Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
    • It ensures that states, ministries, departments have an action plan with specific activities, milestones, and timeliness for implementing the programme.
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
    • It has been established as an Authority under National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Act, 2016.
    • It is the implementing agency of the Namami Gange Programme at the national level.
  • State Ganga Committees oversee the implementation of the programme in respective states.
  • District Ganga Committees in every specified districts through which river Ganga and its tributaries pass

Single-Use Plastic

News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that India would phase out single use plastic by 2022. However, there would be no blanket ban on single-use plastics.

Facts:

Single-Use Plastics:

  • Single-use plastics, often also referred to as disposable plastics, include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.
  • They are commonly used for plastic packaging. These include, among other items, grocery bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery.

Global Single use plastic Waste Generation:

According to UNEP,

  • In 2015, plastic packaging waste accounted for 47% of the plastic waste generated globally, with half of that coming from Asia.
  • China was the largest worldwide generator of plastic packaging. The USA was the largest generator of plastic packaging waste on a per-capita basis, followed by Japan and the EU.

Monsoon Forecast in India

News: The Monsoon Mission Coupled Forecast Model, developed under the Monsoon Mission has failed to accurately forecast the excess rainfall in August-September 2019.

Facts:

Monsoon Forecast in India:

  • The IMD issues operational forecast for the southwest monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall for the country as a whole in two stages. The first stage forecast is issued in April and the second stage forecast is issued in June.
  • These forecasts are prepared using state-of-the-art Statistical Ensemble Forecasting system (SEFS) and using the dynamic coupled Ocean-Atmosphere global Climate Forecasting System (CFS) model known as the Monsoon Mission Coupled Forecasting System (MMCFS)

Statistical Ensemble Forecasting system (SEFS):

  • IMD has been using the ensemble statistical model to predict monsoon since 2007.
  • It relies on arriving at a prediction based on historical monsoon data coupled with data on sea-surface temperatures and winds.

Monsoon Mission Coupled Forecasting System (MMCFS):

  • It has been developed by the National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and NOAA National Weather Service, USA.
  • It is a coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling system that combine data from ocean, atmosphere and land for providing long range forecasting.
  • As part of the Monsoon Mission project, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) has developed the indigenous strategy of the model.

Additional Information:

National Monsoon Mission:

  • The National Monsoon Mission was launched in 2012.
  • It aims to develop a state-of-the-art dynamical prediction system for monsoon rainfall on different time scales.
  • The mission falls under the aegis of Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The responsibility of execution and coordination of the mission is bestowed upon the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.
  • Climate Forecast System (CFS) of NCEP, USA has been identified as the basic modelling system for providing long range forecasting (seasonal prediction of Indian Monsoon). Further, the Unified Model (UM), developed by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO), UK has been identified for short to medium range prediction.

Climate Models:

  • Climate models are computer programs made up of mathematical equations that quantitatively describe how factors like atmospheric temperature, air pressure, winds, water vapour and clouds respond to the heating of the Earth‘s surface.
  • Coupled climate models have equations describing three-dimensional oceanic circulation (the large-scale movement of waters across the Earth’s oceanic basins), and how it transports the absorbed solar energy around the Earth, how it exchanges heat and moisture with the atmosphere.

Rainfall Distribution on All India Scale

  • Normal percentage departure of realised rainfall is within ± 10 % of the Long Period Average (LPA)
  • Below Normal percentage departure of realised rainfall is < 10% of the Long Period Average (LPA)
  • Above Normal percentage departure of realised rainfall is > 10% of the Long Period Average (LPA)

Note: LPA is the 50 year average of monsoon rains in India and is pegged at 89 cm.

Swachh Bharat Mission

News: On the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared India open defecation free (ODF) and claimed the success of Swachh Bharat Mission.

Facts:

About Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • It is a nationwide cleanliness campaign initiated by Govt. of India on 2nd October 2014.
  • Aim: It sought to achieve a Clean India by 2019, as a tribute to the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Objectives:
    • Eliminate open defecation
    • Conversion of insanitary toilets to pour flush toilets,
    • Eradication of manual scavenging,
    • 100% collection and scientific processing/disposal reuse/recycle of Municipal Solid Waste,
    • To bring about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices,
    • Generate awareness among the citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health.
    • Strengthening of urban local bodies to design, execute and operate systems,
    • To create enabling environment for private sector participation in Capital Expenditure and Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs.
  • Components:
    • Construction of Household Toilets,
    • Community and Public Toilets
    • Solid Waste Management
    • Information, Education & Communication (IEC) and Public Awareness,
    • Capacity Building and Administrative & Office Expenses (A&OE).
  • Sub-Missions:
    • Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin): It aims to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF) and clean. It is implemented by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Jal Shakti Ministry
    • Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban): It aims at elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices. It is implemented by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Notes: Open defecation (OD) is the practice of defecating outside or in public. This may be done as a result of cultural practices or having no access of toilet.
Open Defecation Free (ODF): SBM G guidelines define ODF status as “the termination of faecal-oral transmission, that is, no visible faeces found in the environment, village, every household as well as public/community institutions using safe technology options for disposal of faeces.”
In 2018, the Goi issued protocols on ODF+ and ODF++. Both the protocols include sustainability aspects including improved access to individual toilets, community and public toilet maintenance, functionality and liquid waste/faecal sludge and septage management (FSSM)
ODF+: Focus of ODF+ protocol is on sustaining toilet usage by ensuring their functionality, cleanliness and maintenance
ODF++: focuses on achieving sanitation sustainability by addressing complete sanitation value chain, including safe and compete faecal sludge management.
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