6th April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Commonwealth games 2018’
(GS3: Achievements of Indians in the field of Sports)
Issue: Mirabai Chanu Saikhom, 23-year-old from Manipur, the reigning World champion in women’s 48kg, won the gold medal on the opening day of the weightlifting competitions of the XXI Commonwealth Games
P. Gururaja had opened the medal hunt with silver in the men’s 56kg category, finishing behind Malaysia’s Izhar Ahmad.
About Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth games
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will welcome more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories to the Gold Coast and event cities Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville, to share in the celebration of sport, entertainment and culture.
The largest sporting event to be staged in Australia this decade, GC2018 will feature the largest integrated sports program in Commonwealth Games history, comprising 18 sports and seven para-sports.
Beach Volleyball, Para Triathlon and Women’s Rugby Sevens will make their Commonwealth Games debuts and for the first time at a Commonwealth Games, an equal number of men’s and women’s medal events will be contested.
Borobi the blue koala has been announced as the official mascot for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Issue: The Consultative Committee of External Affairs of Parliament bid farewell to two of its most vocal members in the first quarter of the year.
What is Consultative committee?
The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs constitutes Consultative Committees of Members of both the Houses of Parliament, which are attached to various Ministries, and arranges meetings thereof. The Minister/Minister of State in-charge of the Ministry concerned acts as the chairman of the Consultative Committee of that Ministry.
The main purpose of these Committees is to provide a forum for informal discussions between the Government and Members of Parliament on policies and programmes of the Government and the manner of their implementation. Meetings of these Committees are held both during the session and inter-session period of Parliament. After the constitution of the 14th Lok Sabha, 32 Consultative Committees attached to various Ministries were constituted. Besides this, 16 Informal Consultative Committees of the sixteen Railway Zones have also been constituted. Unlike the Consultative Committees attached to the Ministries, meetings, of these Informal Consultative Committees are to be arranged during Session periods only. 322 meetings of the Consultative Committees were held till 31 May 2007 after the constitution of the 14th Lok Sabha including 116 meetings held during the year 2006.
‘RBI policy meeting’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept interest rates unchanged in the first policy meeting of 2018-19, as expected, but surprised markets with a dovish tone that some interpreted as opening up the possibility of a rate cut, even as early as September. The six-member monetary policy committee opted, by majority, to hold the repo rate at 6%, with a sole member recommending instead that the policy rate be raised by 25 basis points. The central bank lowered its projection retail inflation for the first half of the current financial year to 4.7-5.1% from 5.1-5.6% and to 4.4% in H2, from 4.5-4.6%.
Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling. Central banks attempt to limit inflation, and avoid deflation, in order to keep the economy running smoothly.
There are four main types of inflation, categorized by their speed. They are creeping, walking, galloping and hyperinflation. There are specific types of asset inflation and also wage inflation. Some experts say demand-pull and cost-push inflation are two more types, but they are causes of inflation. So is expansion of the money supply
About Monetary Policy committee
The Monetary Policy Committee of India is a committee of the Reserve Bank of India that is responsible for fixing the benchmark interest rate in India. The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee are held at least 4 times a year and it publishes its decisions after each such meeting.
The committee comprises six members – three officials of the Reserve Bank of India and three external members nominated by the Government of India. They need to observe a “silent period” seven days before and after the rate decision for “utmost confidentiality”. The Governor of Reserve Bank of India is the chairperson ex officio of the committee. Decisions are taken by majority with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie. The current mandate of the committee is to maintain 4% annual inflation until March 31, 2021 with an upper tolerance of 6% and a lower tolerance of 2%.
The committee was created in 2016 to bring transparency and accountability in fixing India’s Monetary Policy. Minutes are published after every meeting with each member explaining his/her opinions. The committee is answerable to the Government of India if the inflation exceeds the range prescribed for three consecutive months
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday barred banks and financial institutions from dealing with virtual currencies including Bitcoins and said that it was time and again warning users of virtual currencies regarding the risks associated with it.
In the past, the Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India have issued several warnings against dealing in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoins, the former even comparing it with a Ponzi scheme. RBI recently warned users of virtual currencies including Bitcoins regarding the potential economic and financial risk associated with cryptocurrencies.
What are virtual currencies?
Virtual currency, also known as virtual money, is a type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers (Bitcoin is an exception), and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community.
It can also be defined as a digital representation of value that is neither issued by a central bank or a public authority, nor necessarily attached to a fiat currency, but is accepted by natural or legal persons as a means of payment and can be transferred, stored or traded electronically”. By contrast, a digital currency that is issued by a central bank is defined as “central bank digital currency”.
‘GDP and GVA’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Reserve Bank on Thursday switched back to the gross domestic product (GDP)-based measure to offer its growth estimates from the gross value added (GVA) methodology, citing global best practices. The government had started analysing growth estimates using GVA methodology from January 2015 and had also changed the base year to 2018 from January.
Reason for the change
1. While GVA gives a picture of the state of economic activity from the producers’ side or supply side, the GDP model gives the picture from the consumers’ side or demand perspective.
2. Globally, the performance of most economies is gauged in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). This is also the approach followed by multilateral institutions, international analysts and investors, and primarily they all stick to this norms because it facilitates easy cross-country comparisons
Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period (quarterly or yearly) of time. It gives the economic output from the consumers’ side. It is the sum of private consumption, gross investment in the economy, government investment, government spending and net foreign trade (difference between exports and imports).
It is a measure of total output and income in the economy. It provides the rupee value for the amount of goods and services produced in an economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials that have gone into the production of those goods and services. It also gives sector-specific picture like what is the growth in an area, industry or sector of an economy.
Main difference between GDP and GVA
While GVA gives a picture of the state of economic activity from the producers’ side or supply side, the GDP gives the picture from the consumers’ side or demand perspective. Both measures need not match because of the difference in treatment of net taxes. This is one of the reasons that in the first quarter of 2015, GDP growth was stronger at 7.5%, while GVA growth was 6.1%.
A sector-wise breakdown provided by the GVA measure helps policymakers decide which sectors need incentives or stimulus and accordingly formulate sector specific policies. But GDP is a key measure when it comes to making cross-country analysis and comparing the incomes of different economies.
‘National Maritime day’
Issue: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has extended his wishes on National maritime Day. PM said, “The maritime sector in India, with its rich history, has the potential to power our nation’s transformation. On National Maritime Day, we affirm our commitment to harness our maritime strengths for the nation’s prosperity.
About National Maritime day
April 5 is celebrated as the National Maritime Day in India every year. It was on this day 99 years ago in 1919 when the country’s navigation history set sail with SS Loyalty, the first ship of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd started for the United Kingdom from Mumbai (then British Bombay). It marked a red letter day in the maritime history of India, a country known for its seafaring abilities since ancient days.
In 2018, the theme of the occasion is ‘Indian Shipping – An Ocean of opportunity’. On this day, awareness in supporting safe and environmentally sound commerce between continents across the world is stressed upon. An award called Varuna is conferred to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the Indian maritime sector on this day.
(GS3: Awareness in the field of Space)
Issue: As announced by the Prime Minister of India in the India-ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Summit in October 2010, ISRO is pursuing a proposal to support Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to receive and process data from Indian remote sensing satellites (RESOURCESAT-2 and OCEANSAT-2) and also to provide training in space science, technology and applications.
All the 10 members of ASEAN, viz., Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will get benefitted from this project.
About Indian Space programme cooperation
India pursues international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space with space agencies of 43 nations and 5 multilateral bodies. As part of this, ISRO keeps developing new products and services, jointly with partnering agencies, through joint missions, scientific instruments accommodation, data sharing and exchange of expertise. ISRO has built and launched ‘South Asia Satellite’ on May 5, 2017 to provide satellite communication services to individual South Asian nations and also across the region. India participates in international disaster management mechanisms including International Charter “Space and Major Disasters“, Sentinel Asia programme of Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF), UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) and UN Platform for Space based Information for Disaster management and Emergency Response (UNSPIDER). India, as a member of the International COSPAS-SARSAT system for search and rescue operations, provides distress alert and position location services to India and seven neighbouring countries. India has also been providing training programmes on space technology applications to officials from other countries.
Issue: The Union Minister for Railways and Coal Shri Piyush Goyal today launched UTTAM App for Coal Quality Monitoring. UTTAM stands for – Unlocking Transparency by Third Party Assessment of Mined Coal (uttam.coalindia.in). The Ministry of Coal and Coal India Limited (CIL) developed UTTAM,aims to provide an App for all citizens and coal consumers to monitor the process of Third Party Sampling of coal across CIL subsidiaries.
About the App
The salient features of UTTAM APP are:
1. Sampling Coverage – The App provides coverage of Third Party Sampling which includes information on production, dispatch and quantity sampled of coal.
2. Subsidiary wise quality parameters – An interactive map based view provides holistic coverage of coal quality across subsidiaries, along with subsidiary details on quality parameters (Declared Gross Calorific Value [GCV], Analysed GCV) and coverage parameters (Locations, Quantity sampled).
3. Declared Vs Analysed GCV – With CIL’s aim of having minimum variation between declared and analysed GCV of coal, an accurate representation of the same is incorporated in the App.
4. Complaints pertaining to quality of Coal – Complaints are reflection of coal quality and transparency in the coal ecosystem. The App reflects the trend of complaints, which validates CIL’s efforts for quality improvement through Third Party Sampling.
With the reduction in imports and gap minimising between analysed and declared grade, the reduction of complaints have been observed.
1. Sampled volume – The App presents the latest quantity sampled in the power and non-power sector, bringing transparency in the coal quality assessment system.
2. Imports of coal – The amount of coal imported is a clear reflection of the quality of coal that is produced within the country. The trend of coal imports over the last years is presented in the App.
(GS3: Issues related to Education)
Issue: The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched many schemes for promoting e-learning across students in schools & Universities.
Some of the digital learning initiatives taken up are:
(i) SWAYAM: The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) an integrated platform for online courses, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and covering school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate Level. At present, about 1000+ MOOCs Courses are listed on SWAYAM, wherein about 30 Lakhs students have enrolled to these courses. It also offers online courses for students, teachers and teacher educators
(ii) SWAYAM Prabha: SWAYAM Prabha is an initiative to provide 32 High Quality Educational Channels through DTH (Direct to Home) across the length and breadth of the country on 24X7 basis. It has curriculum based course content covering diverse disciplines.
(iii) National Digital Library (NDL): The National Digital Library of India (NDL) is a project to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility. There are more than 153 Lakhs digital books available through the NDL.
(iv) E-pathshala: E-books of the resources developed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) / State Institutes of Education (SIEs), State boards etc. SIEs in multiple languages and uploaded on e-pathshala website and disseminated through mobile app (android, iOS and Windows). E-pathshala has been listed/made available on the UMANG App of Govt. of India, which was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 23 November, 2017 during GCCS-2017.
(v) National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) : To make digital resources available for teachers and students as free and open source material. To enable the participation of the community in development and sharing of digital resources. To facilitate the adoption and creation of digital resources in different Indian languages
‘Supplementary Nutrition Programme under ICDS’
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Anganwadi Services under Umbrella ICDS is universal and a self-selecting scheme. All children below 6 years of age, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers are eligible for the services including Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) provided under the scheme. The services are provided to those who visit AnganwadiCenters and enroll themselves. As on 31 December 2017, 844 lakh beneficiaries have availed the Supplementary Nutrition service at Anganwadi Services (AWCs).
About Supplementary Nutrition Programme
The Supplementary Nutrition is one of the six services provided under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme which is primarily designed to bridge the gap between the Recommended Dietary Allowance (FDA) and the Average Daily Intake (ADI). Supplementary Nutrition is given to the children (6 months – 6 years) and pregnant and lactating mothers under the ICDS Scheme. The provision of supplementary nutrition under ICDS Scheme prescribed for various categories of beneficiaries is as follows:
(i) Children in the age group of 6 months to 3 years: Food supplement of 500 calories of energy and 12-15 gms. of Protein per child per day as Take Home Ration (THR) in the form of Micronutrient Fortified Food and/or energy-dense food marked as ‘ICDS Food Supplement’.
(ii) Children in the age group of 3-6 years: Food supplement of 500 calories of energy and 12-15 gms of Protein per child per day. Since a child of this age group is not capable of consuming of meal of 500 calories in one sitting, the guidelines prescribed provision of morning snack in the form of milk/banana/seasonal fruits/Micronutrient Fortified Food etc. and a Hot Cooked Meal.
(iii) Severely underweight children: Food supplement of 800 calories of energy and 20-25 gms of Protein per child per day in the form of Micronutrient fortified and/or energy dense food as Take Home Ration.
(iv) Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers: Food supplement of 600 calories of energy and 18-20 gms of Protein per day in the form of Micronutrient Fortified Food and/or energy dense food as Take Home Ration.
Ministry of Women and Child Development is the Nodal ministry for the implementation of this Programme
‘Welfare schemes for Women and Children’
(GS2: Welfare schemes for Vulnerable sections of Population)
Issue: Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) implements several schemes
Supporting for the welfare of the women and children including SC/ST and minority of Different age groups
Some of the schemes implemented are:
MWCD implements SwadharGreh Scheme which targets the women victims of unfortunate circumstances who are in need of institutional support for rehabilitation so that they could lead their life with dignity. The Scheme envisages providing shelter, food, clothing and health as well as economic and social security for the women victims of difficult circumstances which includes widows, destitute women and aged women.
Ujjawala Scheme is being implemented for Prevention of trafficking and for Rescue, Rehabilitation, Re-integration and Repatriation of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
‘Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme’
The Ministry is administering ‘Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme’ to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/entrepreneurs. The Scheme is intended to benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above across the country.
National Nutrition Mission (NNM)
Government of India has approved for setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) on 30.11.2017, which aims to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children, pregnant women and lactating mothers and reduce anemia among children and women. It strives to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies. It will create synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue alerts for timely action, and encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line Ministries and the States/ UTs to achieve the targeted goals.
Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)
Further, under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), 1,82,68,917 pregnant women and lactating mothers got benefit during the year 2016-17 and 1,63,10,379 during the year 2017-18 (as on 31.12.2017). Also, the number of Children (6 Months-6 years of age) including girl child who got benefit under ICDS Scheme during the year 2017-18 (as on 31.12.2017) is 6,81,38,809.
One Stop Centre (OSC)
One Stop Centre (OSC) scheme is being implemented by the Ministry to support women affected by violence
Universalisation of Women Helpline
The Ministry also implements the scheme of Universalisation of Women Helpline through States/UTs Government since 1st April, 2015 to provide 24-hour emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence.
‘Achieving Gender Equality and emancipation of rural women’
(GS3: Issues related to Human resources)
Issue: The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing various schemes/programmes for achieving gender equality and emancipation of women including rural women such as:
1. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP): to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum. It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development. .
2. Pradhan Mantri Matru VandanaYojana (PMMVY), (erstwhile Maternity Benefit Programme) to contribute towards better enabling environment by providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers.
3. Scheme for Adolescent Girls aims at girls in the age group 11-14, to empower and improve their social status through nutrition, life skills, home skills and vocational training.
4. National Nutrition Mission (NNM): aims to attain a “Suposhit Bharat” and has also the objective of improving the nutritional status of pregnant women and lactating mothers and reducing anaemia among women along with children.
5. RastriyaMahilaKosh (RMK), for extending micro-finance services to bring about socio-economic upliftment of poor women, Mahila e-Haat, a unique direct online digital marketing platform for women entrepreneurs/ SHGs/ NGOs, Pradhan MantriMahila Shakti Kendra, which will empower rural women through community participation to create an environment in which they realize their full potential,
The Ministry also conducts Training of Trainers of Elected Women Representatives of Panchayati Raj to deliberate upon issues related to empowerment of women and functioning of PRIs; describe processes of participatory planning in local governance; and enable women to identify their own leadership potential to contribute effectively as change agents.
‘Adjournment Sine die’
(GS2: Indian Parliament)
Issue: Both Houses of Parliament were today adjourned sine die, with unabated protests virtually washing out a tumultuous Budget Session that saw a total of nearly 250 working hours wasted.
What is Adjournment sine die?
The power of adjournment and adjournment sine die lies with the speaker. After the business of a session is concluded, the speaker announces adjournment sine die. Which means the house is adjourned for an indefinite period. After that, the president announces prorogation. This is in spirit to give sufficient time freedom to the house to conduct it’s business. However, the President can prorogue the house while in session, i.e. without adjournment sine die notice by the speaker.