23rd February, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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10th edition of the weeklong Bengaluru International Film Festival (Biffes) (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
The Bengaluru International Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Bengaluru, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka, which previews films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1996, Suchitra Bangalore International Film Festival was held for a week from 22 to 28 December 2006 in collaboration with Suchitra Film Society. More than 100 films were screened during festival.
The film festival is now being organized by Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy and is supported by Government of Karnataka.
Supercritical CO2-Brayton Cycle facility (GS3: Science and Technology)
Issue: A supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle test loop facility, touted to be India’s first supercritical-CO2 Brayton cycle test bed, and perhaps the first ever coupled with a solar heat source, was inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru
Significance of this facility
Supercritical carbon dioxide-based power generation is said to offer an efficient alternative to conventional steam-based power plants. The early-stage research is being pitched as being potentially useful for meeting the future energy needs of the country and for reducing the carbon footprint of power generation significantly.
‘Khajuraho Dance Festival’ (GS1: Indian Culture)
Issue: The week-long Khajuraho dance festival began at the Khajuraho temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site
The festival will showcase classical dances, including Kathak, Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Mohiniattam
Khajuraho School of architecture
- Developed under the chandela kings of bundelkhand.
- The finest example of this school is the Kandariya Mahadev.
- These temples stand on high terraces. In contrast to the temples of odisha, those of khajuraho have sculpture both outside and inside and there are beautifully carved domed ceilings.
In the shiva temple of vishwanatha and the Vishnu temple of chaturbhiya the panchayatana system- with four additional corner shrines- is exemplified
‘Consumer Protection Bill, 2018’ (GS2: Government policies and intervention for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Issue: As online transactions become a way of life, the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 is a step towards providing ordinary consumers some protection of their interests and establishing points for quick and effective administration and settlement of disputes.
Salient features of the bill
- The pending Bill, it will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, defines the “consumer” as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration. The Bill covers transactions, both online and offline, and includes teleshopping and multi-level marketing.
- The definition of “consumer rights” in the Bill exhaustively covers the right to be protected against the marketing of goods, products or services that are hazardous to life and property.
- It also focuses on the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods, products or services, as the case may be, so as to protect a consumer against unfair trade practices.
- It also includes the right to be assured, wherever possible, of access to a variety of goods, products or services at competitive prices
- it involves the right to seek redress against unfair or restrictive trade practices, or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers.
- Establishment of an executive agency to be known as the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumers.
- The Bill proposes to empower the CCPA to investigate, recall, refund and impose penalties. The Bill provides for product liability action in cases of personal injury, death or property damage caused by or resulting from any product, and mediation as an alternate dispute resolution, making the process of dispute adjudication simpler and quicker.
- The CCPA is also empowered to deal with unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements. The CCPA is to be headed by a Chief Commissioner.
‘Strategic plan for 7 PSU in Telecommunication sector’ (GS2: Government policies and intervention for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Issue: The government on Thursday unveiled a ‘strategic plan’ to enable seven state-owned companies under the Department of Telecom (DoT) to work closely with an aim of promoting greater operational synergy among them
Highlights of the plan
- Pooling in of resources and effective utilization of human resources as well as land and buildings.
- The plan aims to work on including manpower, settlement of legal issues and utilization of vacant space
- promoting ‘Make in India’
- PSUs will also look at pooling in resources to address new business opportunities in Digital India, Smart City and Internet of things, and develop mechanism for sharing of revenues and expenses.
‘Supernova’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The first before and after ever of a star as it explodes in a brilliant flash of light and morphs into a supernova was captured by an astronomer from Argentina
What is a Supernova?
A supernova is a transient astronomical event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of a massive star’s life, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final gigantic explosion. This causes the sudden appearance of a “new” bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks or months.
Supernovae may expel much, if not all, of the material away from a star at velocities up to 30,000 km/s or 10% of the speed of light. This drives an expanding and fast-moving shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium, and in turn, sweeping up an expanding shell of gas and dust, which is observed as a supernova remnant. Supernovae create, fuse and eject the bulk of the chemical elements produced by nucleo-synthesis. Supernovae play a significant role in enriching the interstellar medium with the heavier atomic mass chemical elements. Furthermore, the expanding shock waves from supernovae can trigger the formation of new stars. Supernova remnants are expected to accelerate a large fraction of galactic primary cosmic rays, but direct evidence for cosmic ray production was found only in a few of them so far. They are also potentially strong galactic sources of gravitational waves
‘Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) for North East Region’ (GS3: Issues related to Agriculture)
Issue: An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) has been set up for the North Eastern Region (NER).
The IMC will identify gaps in the existing mechanism or institutional arrangements, suggest a policy intervention for optimally harnessing the MAPs resources of NER and accelerating the development of MAPs sector, suggest a Plan of Action for dovetailing of the schemes and programmes of concerned Ministries and Departments. The IMC will also suggest actionable measures for enhancing the livelihood and economic transformation based on cultivation and sustainable management of MAPs resource in North East Region.
‘Electoral Bond’ (GS3: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability)
Issue: The Government of India has notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018
As per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only the Political Parties registered under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. The Bond shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorized bank.
State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorized to issue and encash Electoral Bonds initially
Electoral Bond Scheme
The conventional system of political funding is to rely on donations. These donations, big or small, come from a range of sources from political workers, sympathisers, small business people and even large industrialists. The conventional practice of funding the political system was to take donations in cash and undertake these expenditures in cash. The sources are anonymous or pseudonymous. The quantum of money was never disclosed. The present system ensures unclean money coming from unidentifiable sources. It is a wholly non-transparent system. Most political groups seem fairly satisfied with the present arrangement and would not mind this status-quo to continue. The effort, therefore, is to run down any alternative system which is devised to cleanse up the political funding mechanism.
Electoral Bond is a financial instrument for making donations to political parties. These are issued by Scheduled Commercial banks upon authorisation from the Central Government to intending donors, but only against cheque and digital payments (it cannot be purchased by paying cash). These bonds shall be redeemable in the designated account of a registered political party within the prescribed time limit from issuance of bond.
It is an interest free banking instrument issued on a non-refundable basis and are not available for trading. Further, no loan would be provided against these bonds. A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India will be eligible to purchase the bond. It would be issued/purchased for any value, in multiples of Rs.1,000, Rs.10,000, Rs.1,00,000, Rs.10,00,000 and Rs.1,00,00,000 from the Specified Branches of the State Bank of India (SBI). The purchaser would be allowed to buy Electoral Bond(s) either singly or jointly with other individuals, only on due fulfilment of all the extant KYC norms and by making payment from a bank account either using a cheque or electronically. It will not carry the name of payee. Electoral Bonds would have a life of only 15 days during which it can be used for making donation only to the political parties registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or a Legislative Assembly. Further, the Electoral Bonds under the Scheme shall be available for purchase for a period of 10 days each in the months of January, April, July and October, as may be specified by the Central Government. An additional period of 30 days shall be specified by the Central Government in the year of the General election to the House of People. The Electoral Bond(s) shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a designated bank account with the authorised bank. No payment shall be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period and the bond deposited by any political party to its account shall be credited on the same day.
The information furnished by the buyer shall be treated confidential by the authorised bank and shall not be disclosed to any authority for any purposes, except when demanded by a competent court or upon registration of criminal case by any law enforcement agency. No commission, brokerage or any other charges for issue of bond shall be payable by the buyer against purchase of the bond.
‘Heat Wave’ (GS3: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The two-day national workshop on Preparedness, Mitigation and Management of Heat wave concluded successfully in Vijaywada with all stakeholders resolving to work towards effectively mitigating the impact of the imminent heat wave this year. The workshop was organized by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Capacity Building & Enhancing effective response to Heat wave, the need to use specific awareness campaigns and outreach programmes to sensitise communities to take measures to reduce the impact of heat waves was discussed. The session also discussed heat resilience in the context of Sustainable Development Goals besides the issue of developing sector-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dealing with heat related illnesses and deaths.
Heat waves often lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, stress and even a fatal heat stroke. With advance planning and preparedness, heat wave induced deaths and illnesses can be brought down.
In 2016, with NDMA’s ‘Guidelines for Preparation of Action Plan – Prevention and Management of Heat-Wave’ and the pro-active approach of some of the most vulnerable States, the number of deaths in the country came down significantly.
The Government of India (GOI), in recognition of the importance of Disaster Management as a national priority, set up a High-Powered Committee (HPC) in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat earthquake, for making recommendations on the preparation of Disaster Management plans and suggesting effective mitigation mechanisms. The Tenth Five-Year Plan document also had, for the first time, a detailed chapter on Disaster Management. The Twelfth Finance Commission was also mandated to review the financial arrangements for Disaster Management.
On 23 December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.
About Heat Wave
A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India. Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July. The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has given the following criteria for Heat Waves :
- Heat Wave need not be considered till maximum temperature of a station reaches atleast 40*C for Plains and atleast 30*C for Hilly regions
- When normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40*C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 5*C to 6*C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 7*C or more
- When normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40*C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 4*C to 5*C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 6*C or more
- When actual maximum temperature remains 45*C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature, heat waves should be declared. Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change. India too is feeling the impact of climate change in terms of increased instances of heat waves which are more intense in nature with each passing year, and have a devastating impact on human health thereby increasing the number of heat wave casualties.
Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change. India too is feeling the impact of climate change in terms of increased instances of heat waves which are more intense in nature with each passing year, and have a devastating impact on human health thereby increasing the number of heat wave casualties.
Health Impacts of Heat Waves
The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. The signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Heat Cramps: Ederna (swelling) and Syncope (Fainting) generally accompanied by fever below 39*C i.e.102*F.
- Heat Exhaustion: Fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating.
- Heat Stoke: Body temperatures of 40*C i.e. 104*F or more along with delirium, seizures or coma. This is a potential fatal condition
‘Coral reefs’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Coral reefs could start to dissolve before 2100 as man-made climate change drives acidification of the oceans
Acidification will threaten sediments that are building blocks for reefs. Corals already face risks from ocean temperatures, pollution and overfishing. Carbon dioxide, the main man-made greenhouse gas, forms a weak acid in water and threatens to dissolve the reef sediments, made from broken down bits of corals and other carbonate organisms that accumulate over thousands of years
The sediments are 10 times more vulnerable to acidification than the tiny coral animals that also extract chemicals directly from the sea water to build stony skeletons that form reefs
What is a coral reef?
Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine water that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Unlike sea anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the coral polyps. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated water.
Often called “rainforests of the sea”, shallow coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface, about half the area of France, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species, including fish, mollusks, worms, crustaceans, echinoderms, sponges, tunicates and other cnidarians. Paradoxically, coral reefs flourish even though they are surrounded by ocean waters that provide few nutrients. They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water corals also exist on smaller scales in other areas.
Coral reefs deliver ecosystem services to tourism, fisheries and shoreline protection. The annual global economic value of coral reefs is estimated between US$30–375 billion. However, coral reefs are fragile ecosystems, partly because they are very sensitive to water temperature. They are under threat from climate change, oceanic acidification, blast fishing, cyanide fishing for aquarium fish, sunscreen use, overuse of reef resources, and harmful land-use practices, including urban and agricultural runoff and water pollution, which can harm reefs by encouraging excess algal growth.
‘Global Broadband Space Project’ (GS3: Science and Technology)
Issue: US private flight company Space X on Thursday launched its first two test satellites for its global broadband internet in space project.
Designed for a mission life of five and a half years, PAZ will orbit the Earth 15 times per day, providing internet coverage for an area of over 300,000 square km from an altitude of 514 km and a velocity of seven km per second.