16th June, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Incredible India’ (GS2: Government policies and programmes for development in various sectors)
Issue: The Minister for Tourism will attend a series of ‘Incredible India road shows’ in the United States of America
About the campaign
Incredible India is the name of an international tourism campaign by the Government of India to promote tourism in India since 2002 to an audience of global appeal.
‘Eid al-Fitr’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind has greeted fellow citizens on the eve of Idu’l Fitr.
About the festival
- Eid al-Fitr is the religious holiday which marks the end of Ramadan and a month of fasting for Muslims.
- The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.
- Eid Mubarak is a greeting and phrase used by Muslims during Eid and means ‘blessed Eid’.
- Eid al-Fitr is held at the start of the following month, which is called Shawwall and translates to mean the ‘festival of breaking the fast’.
- Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam – known as Sawm.
- The five pillars are the five obligations every Muslim must satisfy in order to live a good and responsible life according to Islam
Note: Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim readers from the management of Jnanagangotri institute
‘Digital India’ (GS2: E-Governance)
Issue: Emphasizing on the importance of digital literacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged people to come up with creative uses of technology.
About Digital India
The vision of Digital India programme is to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy
The Digital India programme is centred on three key vision areas:
- Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen
- Governance and services on demand
- Digital empowerment of citizens
Approach and Methodology for Digital India Programme are:
- Ministries / Departments / States would fully leverage the Common and Support ICT Infrastructure established by GoI. DeitY would also evolve/ lay down standards and policy guidelines, provide technical and handholding support, undertake capacity building, R&D, etc.
- The existing/ ongoing e-Governance initiatives would be suitably revamped to align them with the principles of Digital India. Scope enhancement, Process Reengineering, use of integrated & interoperable systems and deployment of emerging technologies like cloud & mobile would be undertaken to enhance the delivery of Government services to citizens.
- States would be given flexibility to identify for inclusion additional state-specific projects, which are relevant for their socio-economic needs.
- E-Governance would be promoted through a centralized initiative to the extent necessary, to ensure citizen centric service orientation, interoperability of various e-Governance applications and optimal utilization of ICT infrastructure/ resources, while adopting a decentralized implementation model.
- Successes would be identified and their replication promoted proactively with the required productization and customization wherever needed.
- Public Private Partnerships would be preferred wherever feasible to implement e-Governance projects with adequate management and strategic control.
- Adoption of Unique ID would be promoted to facilitate identification, authentication and delivery of benefits.
- Restructuring of NIC would be undertaken to strengthen the IT support to all government departments at Centre and State levels.
- The positions of Chief Information Officers (CIO) would be created in at least 10 key Ministries so that various e-Governance projects could be designed, developed and implemented faster.
Key components of the Programme Management structure would be as follows:
- Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for programme level policy decisions.
- A Monitoring Committee on Digital India under the Chairpersonship of Prime Minister which will be constituted with representation drawn from relevant Ministries/ Departments to provide leadership, prescribe deliverables and milestones, and monitor periodically the implementation of the Digital India Programme.
- A Digital India Advisory Group headed by the Minister of Communications and IT to solicit views of external stakeholders and to provide inputs to the Monitoring Committee on Digital India, advise the Government on policy issues and strategic interventions necessary for accelerating the implementation of the Digital India Programme across Central and State Government Ministries/Departments. The composition of the Advisory Group would include representation from the Planning Commission and 8 to 9 representatives from States/UTs and other Line Ministries/Departments on a rotational basis.
- An Apex Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary would be overseeing the programme and providing policy and strategic directions for its implementation and resolving inter-ministerial issues. In addition it would harmonize and integrate diverse initiatives and aspects related
Digital India is to be implemented by the entire Government with overall coordination being done by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). Digital India aims to provide the much needed thrust to the nine pillars of growth areas, namely Broadband Highways, Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity, Public Internet Access Programme, e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology, e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services, Information for All, Electronics Manufacturing, IT for Jobs and Early Harvest Programmes.
Figure 1: Nine pillars of Digital India
‘Oldest Rain forest frog fossil’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: More than a third of the 7,000-odd living species of frogs and toads are found in rain forests around the world. But the fossil record for amphibians from these kinds of wet, tropical environments has been almost nonexistent
Lumps of amber dating back to the Cretaceous period have revealed a set of four tiny tropical frogs that lived alongside the dinosaurs, making them the oldest frog fossils of their kind
About Cretaceous period
Cretaceous Period, in geologic time, the last of the three periods of the Mesozoic Era. The Cretaceous began 145.0 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago; it followed the Jurassic Period and was succeeded by the Paleogene Period
The Cretaceous Period began with Earth’s land assembled essentially into two continents, Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in the south. These were almost completely separated by the equatorial Tethys seaway, and the various segments of Laurasia and Gondwana had already started to drift apart. North America had just begun pulling away from Eurasia during the Jurassic, and South America had started to split off from Africa, from which India, Australia, and Antarctica were also separating. When the Cretaceous Period ended, most of the present-day continents were separated from each other by expanses of water such as the North and South Atlantic Ocean. At the end of the period, India was adrift in the Indian Ocean, and Australia was still connected to Antarctica.
‘ISRO’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has slated its next launch mission, an Earth observation satellite
The upcoming episode will include 25 to 30 small secondary foreign satellites as passengers on the light payload lifting rocket, PSLV-C42.
- Antrix Corporation Limited is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Its objective is to promote the ISRO’s products, services and technologies. It was incorporated as a private limited company owned by the Indian government on 28 September 1992. The company is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), wholly owned by the Government of India. It is administered by the Department of Space (DoS)
- It was awarded ‘Miniratna’ status by the government in 2008
‘Apache Helicopters’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The United States government has approved a direct sale of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, also known as Apache Guardian, to the Indian military for $930 million
About the deal
- The deal also includes the sale of 180 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 90 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire II missiles, 200 Stinger Block I-92H missiles, next to 30mm cannons and ammunition.
- Apache AH-64E is one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, equipped with all-weather and night-fighting features apart from an advanced weapons system. The Apache has advanced laser, infrared, and target acquisition designation, including other systems, to locate, track and attack targets. It also has stealth characteristics, advanced sensors and beyond-visual-range missiles
- Apache Guardian is also equipped with anti-armoured guided Hellfire missiles (air-to-surface missiles that take out heavily armoured ground targets), Hydra 70 rocket pods (rocket launchers) and a 30mm automatic cannon with up to 1,200 high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition rounds. It can carry as many as 16 missiles at a time.
‘Pulses import’ (GS3: Indian Agriculture)
Issue: The Union government has allotted quotas for import of pulses and is enforcing an additional import agreement with Mozambique at a time when domestic stocks are at their highest, domestic production is expected to be high and prices are crashing
Reason for buying pulses
- In 2016, in the wake of soaring pulse prices and angry consumers, India signed an MoU to double pulses imports — mostly arhar — from the east African nation over a five-year period. This obligates India to buy 1.5 lakh tonnes from Mozambique this year.
‘Global Wealth Report’ (GS3: Inclusive Growth)
Issue: A new report shows that 55% of the total wealth in the country is with those having less than $1,00,000 net worth. In contrast, only 18% of the global wealth is with those in this category.
Other observations made in the report
- The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG’s) Global Wealth Report 2018 also shows that those with more than $1 billion in personal wealth, have cornered 16% of total wealth in India. This is the second largest category under the wealth distribution head.
- The report estimates a 13% CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) from 2017 to 2022. This match with the growth rate in Asia (excluding Japan) for the same period, but is much faster than the 7% growth in personal wealth estimated for the world.
- The character of personal wealth in India is also slowly changing, according to the report. While investable wealth — listed equity, bonds, investment funds, currency and deposits and other smaller asset classes — accounted for 64% of total personal wealth in 2012, this proportion is expected to increase to 70% by 2022.
‘Monsoon and pollution’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Monsoon is an essential source of water for Indian agriculture; the monsoon plays a critical role in flushing out pollutants over Asia. However, increased pollution — particularly from coal burning — could potentially weaken this ability of the monsoon
Reason for this trend
- The researchers measured the summer monsoon outflow in the upper troposphere between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. They found that the monsoon sustained a “remarkably efficient” cleansing mechanism in which contaminants are rapidly oxidized and deposited on the Earth’s surface.
- However, some pollutants were lifted above the monsoon clouds, and chemically processed in a reactive reservoir before being redistributed globally, including to the stratosphere.
- Pollution particles can cool the sea surface temperature, mostly in winter. When the circulation reverses in summer, the cooler sea surface evaporates less, which can reduce the moisture flux into the monsoon convection, i.e. weaken the monsoon
- Indian rainfall, other scientists have pointed out, is enhanced in spring due to increased loading of black carbon but the monsoon may subsequently weaken through increased cloudiness and surface cooling.
‘Kali’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Indian painter Tyeb Mehta’s monumental 1989 Untitled work ‘Kali’, fetched a whopping ₹26.4 crores at Saffronart’s recent ‘Milestone 200th Auction’, setting a new world record for the artist
About the artist
- Tyeb Mehta (25 July 1925 – 2 July 2009) was an Indian painter. He was part of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, which included F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza and M.F. Hussain, and the first post-colonial generation of artists in India, like John Wilkins who also broke free from the nationalist Bengal school and embraced Modernism instead, with its Post-Impressionist colors, Cubist forms and brusque, Expressionistic styles.
- He received several awards during his career including the Padma Bhushan by Govt. of India in 2007
‘Large Hadron Collider’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: A major upgrade began Friday for the world’s most powerful proton smasher to increase the number of particle collisions inside the Large Hadron Collider and help further explore the fundamental building blocks of the universe
About Large Hadron Collider
- The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, the most complex experimental facility ever built and the largest single machine in the world. It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 to 2008 in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and hundreds of universities and laboratories, as well as more than 100 countries
- It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference and as deep as 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the France–Switzerland border near Geneva.
- The aim of the LHC is to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics, including measuring the properties of the Higgs boson and searching for the large family of new particles predicted by super-symmetric theories, as well as other unsolved questions of physics.
What is Higgs Boson?
- Peter Higgs, who with a bunch of colleagues first proposed the particle back in the 1960s, and Satyendra Nath Bose, who was a pioneering figure in the early days of particle physics.
- The Standard Model of particle physics lays out the basics of how elementary particles and forces interact in the universe. But the theory crucially fails to explain how particles actually get their mass.
- Particles, or bits of matter, range in size and can be larger or smaller than atoms. Electrons, protons and neutrons, for instance, are the subatomic particles that make up an atom
- Scientists believe that the Higgs boson is the particle that gives all matter its mass.
- Experts know that elementary particles like quarks and electrons are the foundation upon which all matter in the universe is built. They believe the elusive Higgs boson gives the particles mass and fills in one of the key holes in modern physics.
About S.N. Bose
- Satyendra Nath Bose, was an Indian physicist specializing in theoretical physics. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 1954 by the Government of India.
- The class of particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac.