ForumIAS: Facts in News (January 23th–31st 2018)

Facts in news is published on a weekly basis that consists a gist of all crucial news articles from ‘The Hindu’ that may bear relevance to Civil Services Preparation.


Here is the Summary of all current happenings from around the world for the Fourth week of January 2018.

Download Facts in News PDF file here.

NEWSFACT
Bills, Policies,Programs, Schemes, Orders, Judgments
Chelameswar calls for free judiciaryContext:
• Justice J. Chelameswar, called for an independent judiciary, saying it was necessary for a liberal democracy.
Liberal democracy:
• Liberal democracy is a democratic system of government in which individual rights and freedoms are officially recognized and protected, and the exercise of political power is limited by the rule of law.
Cow vigilantism: SC issues notice to Haryana, U.P. and RajasthanContext:
• The Supreme Court asked the governments of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to respond to a plea seeking contempt action against the States for not complying with the court’s order to take stern steps against cow vigilantism.
Contempt action against the non-cooperative states:
• The Supreme Court directed the Centre to respond to a submission by senior advocate Indira Jaising for Mr. Gandhi.
• According to Mr. Gandhi, the Centre cannot wash their hands of its constitutional responsibility under Article 256 to instruct the States to take "necessary" steps in law to save innocent human lives from fury of the mobs.
• The Centre should reply to this argument made by Mr. Gandhi in the spirit of "co-operative federalism".
Plea to exclude SC/ST creamy layer from quota Context:
• The Supreme Court will hear a petition to exclude the affluent members, or the creamy layer, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the benefits of reservation.
Creamy Layer:
• Creamy layer is a term used in Indian politics to refer to the relatively forward and better educated members of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
• They are not eligible for government-sponsored educational and professional benefit programs.
Reform with cautionContext:
• The Centre must act on the Malimath report on criminal law revamp, but with due care.
Malimath Committee:
• The Committee is headed by Justice V.S. Malimath, former Chief Justice of the Karnataka and Kerala High Courts.
• It began its work in 2000, when it was constituted by the Home Ministry.
• Its task is of examining the fundamental principles of criminal law so as to restore confidence in the criminal justice system.
• This involved reviewing the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.
Recommendations provided in the Malimath report:
• Confessions before a senior police officer to be admissible in court
Increasing duration of police custody from 15 to 30 days
Standard of proof for criminal conviction to be lowered from being "beyond reasonable doubt" to "clear and convincing"
• Permitting videography of statements during investigation
• Substantial protection of witness
• Compensation to the victim
• Widened scope of definition of rape bringing in new offences, etc.
Three milestones in educationContext:
• Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017 and the district report cards from the National Achievement Survey (NAS) have been recently released.
Annual Status of Education Report (ASER):
• Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is India’s largest NGO-run annual survey.
• It has been conducted by Pratham since 2005 to evaluate the relevance and impact of its programs.
• Findings are disseminated at national, state, district and village levels, and influence education policies at both state and central levels.
National Achievement Survey (NAS):
• The National Achievement Survey (NAS) is the largest ever national assessment survey in the country.
• NAS is a transparent and credible exercise done under third party verification.
• It was conducted for the Classes 3, 5 and 8 in government and government aided schools.
• The survey tools used multiple test booklets with 45 questions in Classes III and V related to language, mathematics and 60 questions in Class VIII in Mathematics, Language, Sciences and Social Sciences.
• The competency based test questions developed reflected the Learning Outcomes developed by the NCERT which were recently incorporated in the Right to Education Act (RTE) by the Government of India.
• Along with the test items, questionnaires pertaining to students, teachers and schools were also used.
Govt. may alter insolvency lawContext:
• The insolvency law might be amended depending on recommendations of the panel reviewing issues related to the legislation, including those pertaining to home buyer.
Insolvency:
• Insolvency is the legal term describing the situation of a debtor who is unable to pay his, her, or its debts.
• There are two primary types of insolvency: cash flow and balance sheet.
Cash flow insolvency:
• In cash flow insolvency, the debtor suffers from a lack of financial liquidity making it impossible to pay debts as they fall due.
• This is the type of insolvency most individuals experience prior to filing for bankruptcy.
Balance sheet insolvency:
• Balance sheet insolvency, on the other hand, involves having negative net assets, where one's liabilities exceed their assets.
• This is the form of insolvency normally described by corporate entities prior to filing for bankruptcy.
Insolvency law in India:
• The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) is the bankruptcy law of India which seeks to consolidate the existing framework by creating a single law for insolvency and bankruptcy.
• The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015 was introduced in LokSabha in December 2015.
• It was passed by LokSabha on 5 May 2016.
• The Code received the assent of the President of India on 28 May 2016.
• Certain provisions of the Act has come into force from 5 August and 19 August 2016.
Provisions of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC):
• Clear, coherent and speedy process for early identification of financial distress and resolution of companies and limited liability entities if the underlying business is found to be viable.
• Two distinct processes for resolution of individuals, namely- “Fresh Start” and “Insolvency Resolution”.
• Debt Recovery Tribunal and National Company Law Tribunal to act as Adjudicating Authority and deal with the cases related to insolvency, liquidation and bankruptcy process in respect of individuals and unlimited partnership firms and in respect of companies and limited liabilities entities respectively.
• Establishment of an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India to exercise regulatory oversight over insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and information utilities.
• Insolvency professionals would handle the commercial aspects of insolvency resolution process.
• Insolvency professional agencies will develop professional standards, code of ethics and be first level regulator for insolvency professionals members leading to development of a competitive industry for such professionals.
• Information utilities would collect, collate, authenticate and disseminate financial information to be used in insolvency, liquidation and bankruptcy proceedings.
• Enabling provisions to deal with cross border insolvency.
Should euthanasia be allowedContext:
• The Supreme Court is likely to take a decision on living wills in 2018, even as a draft Bill on withdrawal of life support to patients with terminal illness is under consideration.
Living will:
• Living will is a written document.
• It allows a patient to give explicit instructions in advance about the medical treatment to be administered when he or she is terminally-ill or no longer able to express informed consent.
Passive Euthanasia:
• Passive euthanasia is a condition where there is withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten the death of a terminally-ill patient.
UDAN to link 73 airports, helipadsContext:
• 73 underserved and unserved airports and helipads would be connected under the phase 2 of the regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
2nd phase of UDAN:
• The scheme will provide around 26.5 lakh seats per annum that will be covered with [an] airfare cap of Rs. 2,500/hr of flying.
• In addition, around two lakh RCS (regional connectivity scheme) seats per annum are expected to be provided through helicopter operations.
• The States with maximum number of airports and helipads which will see activation under UDAN 2 scheme include Uttarakhand (15), Uttar Pradesh (9), Arunachal Pradesh (8), Himachal Pradesh (6), Assam (5) and Manipur (5).
• Some of the cities that would now be connected include Kargil, Darbhanga, Kasauli, Bokaro, Dumka, Hubli, Kannur and Pakyong, among others.
• This was the first time bids were received from helicopter operators under the scheme.
Training teachersContext:
• For years, certain institutions which impart teacher training courses have failed to get the necessary recognition from the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
National Council for Teacher Education NCTE:
• The National Council for Teacher Education is a statutory body.
• It came into existence in pursuance of the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993 (No. 73 of 1993) on the 17th August, 1995.
• The main objective of the NCTE is to achieve planned and coordinated development of the teacher education system throughout the country.
• It also overviews the regulation and proper maintenance of Norms and Standards in the teacher education system and for matters connected therewith.
Padma Vibhushan for IlaiyaraajaContext:
• President Ram NathKovind approved the award of 85 Padma awards.
The Padma Awards:
• The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
• The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service).
• The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
• The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee,
• It is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
• The nomination process is open to the public.
• Even self-nomination can be made.
Will biometrics help fight crimes, asks Supreme CourtContext:
• The Supreme Court questioned the argument put forth by petitioners in Aadhaar cases that collection of personal information of citizens by the state would lead to totalitarianism.
Aadhaar:
• Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data.
• The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
• To obtain an Aadhaar number, an individual has to submit his, (i) biometric (photograph, fingerprint, iris scan) and (ii) demographic (name, date of birth, address) information.
• The Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI) may specify other biometric and demographic information to be collected by regulations.
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI):
• The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a statutory authority.
• It is established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (“Aadhaar Act 2016”) on 12 July 2016 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
Fraud case in India surged 21% in 2017Context:
• Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report 2017-18 has been recently released by Kroll, a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm.
Findings of Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report 2017-18:
• According to Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report 2017-18, India witnessed the highest incidence of fraud globally across three categories:
• Theft of physical asset or stock (40%), IP theft, piracy or counterfeiting (36%) and corruption and bribery (31%).
• Junior employees were the second most common perpetrators causing fraud incidents (43% respondents).
• Cyber security remained an area of concern with 84% of Indian respondents saying they had experienced a cyber-attack in the past 12 months.
• The Kroll Report reveals that respondents are experiencing a heightened sense of vulnerability tofraud, cyber, and security risks, with information-related risks now being the area of greatest concern.
Kroll:
• Kroll is a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm based in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
• It was established in 1972.
• Kroll is founded with the ground-breaking mission of helping clients improve operations by uncovering kickbacks, fraud or other forms of corruption.
Submit time-bound action plan on Bellandur lake: NGContext:
• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) questioned the Karnataka government for not taking measures to prevent recurring fires at the severely polluted Bellandurlake.
National Green Tribunal (NGT):
• The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
• It acts for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
• It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
Bellandur lake:
• Bellandur Lake is a lake in the suburb of Bellandur in the southeast of the city of Bangalore.
• It is the largest lake in the city.
• It is a part of Bellandur drainage system that drains the southern and the south-eastern parts of the city.
• The lake is a receptor from three chains of lakes upstream, and has a catchment area of about 148 square kilometres (37,000 acres).
• Water from this lake flows further east to the Varthur Lake, from where it flows down the plateau and eventually into the Pinakani river basin.
Constitute Mahanadi tribunal: SCContext:
• The Supreme Court directed the Centre to set up a tribunal within a month to resolve the long-standing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the sharing of Mahanadi water.
Mahanadi water:
• The Mahanadi is a major river in East Central India.
• It drains an area of around 141,600 square kilometres (54,700 sq mi) and has a total course of 858 kilometres (533 mi).
• The river flows through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
River
Dont probe Hadiyas Choice of Partner: SCContext:
• The Supreme Cout asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to stay away from prying into Hadiya’s choice to marry ShafinJahan.
National Investigation Agency:
• National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a central agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India.
• It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
• The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
• The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.
Making our roads safeContext:
• If the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was passed by the RajyaSabha, it will be the first of its kind to extensively reform existing legislation on road safety, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill:
• The Bill amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to address issues such as third party insurance, regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
• Under the Act, the liability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited.
• The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at five lakh rupees in case of grievous injury.
• The Bill provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
• The Bill defines taxi aggregators, guidelines for which will be determined by the central government.
• The Bill also provides for: (i) amending the existing categories of driver licensing, (ii) recall of vehicles in case of defects, (iii) protection of good samaritans from any civil or criminal action, and (iv) increase of penalties for several offences under the 1988 Act.
The perilous march of HindistanContext:
• Congress leader ShashiTharoor recently questioned in LokSabha the purpose of making Hindi an official language at the United Nations.
The three-language policy:
• Parliament passed the Official Language Resolution in 1968, stipulating that a modern Indian language (MIL), preferably one of the southern languages, be studied in Hindi-speaking areas (along with Hindi and English) and that Hindi be studied in areas where it is not spoken (along with the regional languages and English).
• The three-language policy was meant for the entire country.
• However, the policy took a whole different shape as if it was a prescription for non-Hindi-speaking States alone.
• While non-Hindi-speaking States (except Tamil Nadu) adhered to the three-language policy,Hindi-speaking States too not only gave up on teaching a non-Hindi language in their schools but effectively delegitimised English.
EC pulled up for backing simultaneous pollsContext:
• Questions have been raised by lawmakers about Election Commission’s recent statements endorsing simultaneous elections to the LokSabha and the Assemblies.
Simultaneous elections:
• The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.
• But, frequent elections (for state and Centre), according to experts, hamper long-term policymaking because every decision is seen as reason for votes.
• Thus to end this vicious cycle of elections, Chief Election Commissioner has revived the debate on the proposal of simultaneous elections.
• There had been simultaneous elections until 1967, but the pattern changed after the dissolution of some Assemblies through the imposition of President’s rule under Article 356.
• Since then, there have been instances of two general elections within a year.
• The next LokSabha election is scheduled for 2019.
• In 2018, 13 States will go to the polls, nine in 2019 and one in 2020.
International Relations
Towards an endgameContext:
• Turkey has taken a major step against the Kurdish fighters on Syrian borders which will bring the US- backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in direct war with Turkey.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF):
• The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was created in 2015 by the various Syrian Kurdish political forces and their military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).
• The SDF was created as a platform for the Syrian Kurds to join with these other groups into an anti-IS military alliance.
Infrastructure is an issue for Asean, IndiaContext:
• Infrastructure and connectivity are among the major challenges facing India and Asean-member countries that are looking to further boost trade ties.
India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway:
• The India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway is a highway under construction under India's Look East policy.
• It will connect Moreh, India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar.
• Imphal-Mandalay-Bangkok 1,980 km (1,230 mi) route, consisting of Imphal-Mandalay 584 km (363 mi) and Mandalay-Bangkok 1,397 km (868 mi), is good condition highway except for the under upgrade 101 km (63 mi) part of 120 km (75 mi) long KalewaYagyi stretch, revised expected completion date for which is 2019.
• The road is expected to boost trade and commerce in the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with the rest of Southeast Asia.
• India has also proposed extending the highway to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
• The proposed approx 3,200 km (2,000 mi) route from India to Vietnam is known as the East-West Economic Corridor (Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam became operational in 2015).
New Delhi brims with ‘Look east’ vibesContext:
• India celebrates the 25th year commemorative summit of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership on 25th January, 2018.
Highlights of the summit:
• The ASEAN-India discussions will focused on the “three Cs of connectivity, commerce and culture”.
• Along with the issues of maritime security, cybersecurity and cooperation on fighting terrorism will also be discussed.
• India’s difficulties with the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will also be on the agenda for talks.
• India is also keen to discuss its concerns over China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN:
• The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand.
• It was established with the signing of an ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the ministers of the founding countries.
• Its founding countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
• Eventually, Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up to ten Member States of ASEAN.
Economy
Richest 1% own 82% of world's wealth, says Oxfam’s reportContext:
• According to Oxfam’s new report titled ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ on income inequality, company CEOs should take an average 60% cut in their salaries because common worker’s perception of a CEO’s salary was far lower than the actual amount.
Findings of the Oxfam’s report:
• According to report, the richest 1% in India accounted for 73% of the wealth generated in the country last year.
• The wealth of India’s richest 1% increased by over 20.9 trillion during 2017 which is an amount equivalent to the total budget of the Central government in 2017-18.
• Across all countries, respondents think CEOs should on average take a 40% pay cut.
• In countries like the U.K., U.S. and India, respondents think CEOs should take a 60% pay cut.
• Because, CEOs in India earn a shocking 483 times more salary.
• It has been further calculated that approximately two-thirds of billionaire wealth is the product of inheritance, monopoly and cronyism.
• In countries like India and the Philippines, at least one in every two workers in the garment sector is paid below the minimum wage.
Oxfam:
• Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations around the world that use the name Oxfam and are led by Oxfam International.
• Oxfam was founded in 1942 by a group of Quakers, social activists, and Oxford academics.
• It focuses on the alleviation of global poverty.
IMF raises global growth forecast, sees US tax boostContext:
• The International Monetary Fund revised up its forecast for world economic growth in 2018 and 2019.
Statistical findings:
• United States and China: Pointing to growth in the United States and China, the IMF forecast global growth to accelerate to 3.9% for both 2018 and 2019, a 0.2 percentage point increase from its last update in October, 2017.
• Spain: The IMF cut its forecast for Spain’s growth for 2018 by 0.1 percentage point.
• Japan: The IMF revised up its growth forecast for Japan to 1.2% this year and 0.9% in 2019.
• Britain: It maintained its projection for Britain’s growth at 1.5% this year.
• Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan: It said growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan was also expected to pick up in 2018 and 2019 but remain subdued at 3.6% this year.
• South Africa: The IMF revised down its growth estimate for South Africa to 0.9% for this year and next amid concerns over political uncertainty.
• Latin America: In Latin America, it said growth would be weighed down by an economic collapse in Venezuela despite a pick-up in economic activity in Brazil and Mexico.
International Monetary Fund (IMF):
• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.
• It was formed in 1945 with 29 member countries and the goal of reconstructing the international payment system.
• Now with 189 countries, it works together to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.
Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill 2017 contains ‘bail-in’Context:
• The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill 2017 contains a new method for saving a failing bank — a ‘bail-in’ of customers deposits instead of a ‘bail-out’ by the government.
Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2017:
• Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, 2017 is similar to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
• FRDI deals only with the companies that are in the financial sector entities such as banks and insurance companies.
• The insolvency code Act deals with companies in all other sectors.
• Purpose of the Bill is to create a resolution regime for financial institutions when they face crisis without creating financial burden for the tax payers
‘Bail’ in clause’:
• The Bill introduces the provision for a “bail-in”, whose purpose is to provide capital to absorb the losses of a bank and ensure its survival.
• The bail-in empowers the proposed Resolution Corporation to cancel a liability owned by the bank or change the form of an existing liability to another security.
• The ‘bail-in’ clause changes the nature of relationship between the customer and the bank.
• It would mean that money is no longer safe in a bank.
• An account would lose its sovereign guarantee and instead become an investment.
Recalculating ease of doing businessContext:
• Recently, the World Bank announced that it would revise the methodology it uses to calculate the ease of doing business index.
Ease of doing business index:
• Ease of doing business is an index published by the World Bank.
• It is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the ease of doing business in a country.
• It is computed by aggregating the distance to frontier scores of different economies.
• The distance to frontier score uses the ‘regulatory best practices’ for doing business as the parameter and benchmark economies according to that parameter.
• For each of the indicators that form a part of the statistic ‘Ease of doing business,’ a distance to frontier score is computed and all the scores are aggregated.
• The aggregated score becomes the Ease of doing business index.
• Indicators for which distance to frontier is computed include construction permits, registration, getting credit, tax payment mechanism etc. Countries are ranked as per the index.
Trans-pacific pact could hurt IndiaContext:
• If India were to join the mega-regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and adopt its norms, they would severely hurt the country’s agriculture, manufacturing, services and the generic pharma industry.
Free Trade Agreement (FTA):
• FTAs are designed to reduce the barriers to trade between two or more countries, which are in place to help protect local markets and industries.
• Trade barriers typically come in the form of tariffs and trade quotas.
• FTAs also cover areas such as government procurement, intellectual property rights, and competition policy.
Trans-Pacific Partnership:
• The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
• It was signed on 4 February 2016, which was not ratified as required and did not take effect.
• After the United States withdrew from it, the remaining nations negotiated a new trade agreement called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP):
• The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP11 is an agreed in principle trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
• The CPTPP incorporates most of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provisions by reference.
• But it suspended 22 provisions the United States favored that other countries opposed, and lowered the threshold for enactment so the participation of the U.S. is not required.
Indian economy can be in top 3Context:
• India will likely be among the top three economies in the world in the next 25 years.
India’s current position:
• India has moved from the seventh largest to the fifth largest economy.
Aspirational world:
• Countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia, are now significantly picking up and opening up to investment.
• Therefore, India and the ASEAN represents the aspirational world.
PCA: Ministry to appraise bank headsContext:
• The Finance Ministry would soon initiate a performance review of heads of public sector banks that are under the RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) as part of the reform process.
Prompt Corrective Action:
• Prompt Corrective Action is a US federal law mandating progressive penalties against banks that exhibit progressively deteriorating capital ratios.
• The motivation behind the law is to provide incentives for banks to address problems while they are still small enough to be manageable.
Capital adequacy ratio to rise 44bpsContext:
• As estimated by SBI, Capital adequacy ratio will go up by 44 bps.
Capital adequacy ratio:
• Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is also known as Capital to Risk (Weighted) Assets Ratio(CRAR), is the ratio of a bank’s capital to its risk.
• It is a measure of a bank’s capital.
• It is expressed as a percentage of a bank’s risk weighted credit exposures
• This ratio is used to protect depositors and promote stability and efficiency of financial systems around the world.
• Two types of capital are measured: tier one capital, which can absorb losses without a bank being required to cease trading, and tier two capital, which can absorb losses in the event of a winding-up and so provides a lesser degree of protection to depositors.
• Capital adequacy ratio is the ratio which determines the bank’s capacity to meet the time liabilities and other risks such as credit risk, operational risk etc.
A risky recovery — on IMF’s global growth predictionsContext:
• The IMF estimated that the global economy could accelerate to 3.9% in both 2018 and 2019, an upward revision of 0.2 percentage point over its previous estimates in October, 2017 for both years.
India’s economy:
• India’s economy is projected to grow at 7.4% during the financial year 2019, and at an even faster pace of 7.8% the following year
China’s economy:
• If the IMF’s predictions come true, India will be the fastest-growing major economy next year as China’s growth is expected to slow from 6.6% this year to 6.4% in 2019.
Environment
Fourth tiger estimation begins in APContext:
• The fourth All-India Tiger estimation has began in the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR).
Method used in the survey:
• The app, Monitoring System For Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-StrIPES) is being used for the first time to collect field data for digital enumeration.
• The new app is used for the carnivore sign survey and transect marking to record details such as pellet density, vegetation status etc.
• It will be followed by herbivore estimation for another to ascertain whether the reserve has enough prey for the big cats.
Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve:
• Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest tiger reserve in India.
• The reserve spreads over five districts, Kurnool District, Prakasam District, Guntur District, Nalgonda District and Mahbubnagar district.
• The total area of the tiger reserve is 3,568 km2 (1,378 sq mi).
• The core area of this reserve is 1,200 km2 (460 sq mi).
Red alert on the green indexContext:
• India’s poor ranking in the Environmental Performance Index should force a policy appraisal.
Environmental Performance Index:
• The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state's policies.
• This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index.
• It was first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
• The EPI was preceded by the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), published between 1999 and 2005.
All borders to be fencedContext:
• By the end of 2018 or early 2019, smart fencing will be deployed all along the Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Pakistan border to prevent infiltration and illegal migration.
Smart Fence:
• Smart Fence is a physical barrier combined with performance sensors and is the most sophisticated and robust solution for perimeter intrusion detection.
• Smart Fence physically prevents intrusions into high security sites by unauthorized personnel.
• It has no environmental limitations and delivers a very high and guaranteed Probability of Detection (Pd) with minimal false and nuisance alarm rates (FAR / NAR).
• The technology of Smart Fence incorporates a single detector per zone, which collects and aggregates signals from many wires.
Science and Technology
First India-designed vaccine passes WHO testContext:
• For the first time, a vaccine named Rotavac vaccine, conceived and developed from scratch in India has been “pre-qualified” by the World Health Organisation.
About Rotavac vaccine:
• The Rotavac vaccine, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited was included in India’s national immunisationprogramme.
• The Rotavac vaccine protects against childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus.
• To be “pre-qualified” means that the vaccine can be sold internationally to several countries in Africa and South America.
• Rotavirus is responsible for an estimated 36% of hospitalisations for childhood diarrhoea around the world and for an estimated 200,000 deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
HPV vaccine gets immunisation nodContext:
• The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has given the green signal to the introduction of the Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in the Universal Immunization Programme.
National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation:
• NTAGI is the highest advisory body on immunization in the country.
• It consists of independent experts who provide recommendations on vaccines after reviewing data on disease burden, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of vaccines.
Human papillomavirus:
• Human papillomavirus infection is an infection by human papillomavirus (HPV).
• Most HPV infections cause no symptoms and resolve spontaneously.
• In some people, an HPV infection persists and results in warts or precancerous lesions.
Universal Immunization Programme:
• Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program launched by the Government of India in 1985.
• It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992.
• It is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) since 2005.
• The program now consists of vaccination for 12 diseases- tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, Hepatitis B, Diarrhoea, Japanese Encephalitis, rubella, Pneumonia( Heamophilus Influenza Type B) and Pneumococcal diseases (Pneumococcal Pneumonia and Meningitis).
NASA keen on India-made technology for spacecraftContext:
• A new thermal spray coating technology used for gas turbine engine in spacecraft developed by a Rajasthan-based researcher has caught the attention of a NASA scientist.
Thermal spraying:
• Thermal spraying techniques are coating processes in which melted (or heated) materials are sprayed onto a surface.
• The "feedstock" (coating precursor) is heated by electrical (plasma or arc) or chemical means (combustion flame).
• Thermal spraying can provide thick coatings over a large area at high deposition rate as compared to other coating processes such as electroplating, physical and chemical vapor deposition.
• Coating materials available for thermal spraying include metals, alloys, ceramics, plastics and composites.
The many things that Lamin B2 can doContext:
• For the first time, nuclear protein Lamin B2 has been found to determine the morphology and function of the nucleolus, a roundish entity found inside the nucleus.
Lamin B2:
• Lamin B2 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the LMNB2 gene.
• It is the second of two type B nuclear lamins, and it is associated with laminopathies.
Laminopathies:
• Laminopathies are a group of rare genetic disorders
• It is caused by mutations in genes encoding proteins of the nuclear lamina.
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