25th June, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
(DOWNLOAD THE PDF AT THE END OF THIS PAGE)
‘Non-Performing Assets (NPA)’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Heads of 11 state-run banks will apprise a parliamentary committee about the problems of mounting bad loans and increasing fraud cases.
They will be appearing before the Standing Committee on Finance, headed by veteran Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, which is looking into ‘Banking Sector in India- Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward, including Non- Performing Assets/ Stressed Assets in Banks/Financial Institutions’.
About NPA crisis in India
The banking sector is grappling with rising non-performing assets (NPAs), which touched Rs 8.99 lakh crore or 10.11 per cent of total advances at December-end 2017. Of the total gross NPAs, the public sector banks accounted for Rs 7.77 lakh crore.
The rising number of frauds has become a serious cause of concern.
The number of frauds reported by banks increased from 4,693 in fiscal 2015-16 to 5,904 in 2017-18. The fraud amount at end-March 2018 was Rs 32,361.27 crore, up from Rs 18,698.8 crore at the end of 2015-16.
‘Young Grand Chess Master from India’ (GS3: Achievements of Indians)
Issue: R Praggnanandhaa, who on Saturday night became the world’s second-youngest Grand Master ever at 12 years, 10 months and 13 days.
History of the sport Chess in India
Chess is an internationally famous mind game and it is believed to have originated from the Indian soil. There are many interesting legends pertaining to its origin. One of the legend states that the wife of King Ravana (a character from the Indian epic of Ramayana) invented the game 4000-5000 years ago. There is also a reference in the Bhavishya Purana about the game.
The game might have originated from the ancient game of Chaturanga in India. Chaturanga, a Sanskrit word, refers to the four branches of the army. Chaturanga was played on a board of 64 squares consisting of four opposing players.
It is the view of some historians that this game was also used in the allocation of land among different members of a clan when a new settlement was being established. H. J. R. Murry, in his work titled A History of Chess, has concluded that chess is a descendant of an Indian game played in the 7th century AD.
The famous Persian poet Firdausi also mentions chess. He records an incident where gifts from an Indian king were sent to the court of a Persian ruler. One of the gifts was a game depicting the battle between two armies. In the Sassanid dynasty a book ‘Chatrang namakwor’ or a ‘A Manual of Chess’ was written in the Persian Pahlavi language. In Persia the word Shatranj is used for Chess.
Around 8th century the game was carried to Spain and from there it spread to the rest of the Greco-Roman world.
‘Space Junk’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The first-ever satellite to test possible solutions in cleaning up space junk has been deployed by the International Space Station (ISS) and would soon begin experiments in orbit. The Britain-built satellite, named RemoveDEBRIS mission, is one of the world’s first attempts to tackle the build-up of dangerous space debris orbiting the Earth
About the mission
The 100-kg RemoveDebris spacecraft will attempt to capture simulated space debris using a net and a harpoon while also testing advanced cameras and radar systems. The experiment is important as there are thousands of pieces of space debris circulating the planet, many travelling faster than a speeding bullet, posing a risk to valuable satellites and even the International Space Station itself
The RemoveDEBRIS mission is led by the varsity and built by the world’s leading small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), with technology on board designed by Airbus. It was launched on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from Florida in April.
About International Space Station (ISS)
The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, the last pressurized module was fitted in 2011, and the station is expected to operate until 2028. Development and assembly of the station continues, with components scheduled for launch in 2018 and 2019. The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurized modules, external trusses, solar arrays, and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles
The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars. The ISS maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km (205 and 270 mi) by means of reboost maneuvers
The ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US. The station has been continuously occupied for 17 years and 235 days since the arrival of Expedition 1 on 2 November 2000. This is the longest continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, having surpassed the previous record of 9 years and 357 days held by Mir. It has been visited by astronauts, cosmonauts and space tourists from 17 different nations. After the American Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011, Soyuz rockets became the only provider of transport for astronauts at the ISS.
.’Turkey Presidential Elections’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Tayyip Erdogan won Turkey’s presidential election on Sunday, overcoming the biggest electoral challenge to his rule in a decade and a half.
Turkey, a country that occupies a unique geographic position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe. Throughout its history it has acted as both a barrier and a bridge between the two continents.
Turkey is situated at the crossroads of the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, and eastern Mediterranean. It is among the larger countries of the region in terms of territory and population, and its land area is greater than that of any European state.
Turkey is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the northeast by Georgia and Armenia, on the east by Azerbaijan and Iran, on the southeast by Iraq and Syria, on the southwest and west by the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, and on the northwest by Greece and Bulgaria. The capital is Ankara, and its largest city and seaport is Istanbul.
Turkey’s varied climate—generally a dry semi-continental Mediterranean variant—is heavily influenced by the presence of the sea to the north, south, and west and by the mountains that cover much of the country. The sea and the mountains produce contrasts between the interior and the coastal fringes. Several areas have the winter rainfall maximum typical of the Mediterranean regime, and summer drought is widespread. However, the elevation of the country ensures that winters are often much colder than is common in Mediterranean climates, and there are significant contrasts between winter and summer temperatures.
‘Total Lunar Eclipse’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: There will be a total lunar eclipse which is going to be the longest one this century. This celestial event will take place on 27 and 28 July and will also feature a visible “Blood Moon” –where the Moon appears red because of sunlight scattering through the planet’s atmosphere.
The event itself will last nearly 4 hours, with official estimates saying the eclipse alone will go on for about 1 hour and 43 minutes
About Lunar Eclipse
A lunar eclipse is the opposite of a solar eclipse where the Earth’s shadow is cast on the Moon. When this happens, the Moon will not completely disappear from view under the shadow, it does however, take on a deep red, almost burnt orange colour. This is due to what the report points out as Rayleigh scattering—a phenomenon where light scatters through a medium, in this case the atmosphere, but without any changes in wavelength. The atmosphere filters out green and violet light and shows the Moon in a deep red, hence “Blood Moon”. This is actually similar to the effect that shows sunset and sunrise in yellow and red.
Aryabhatta and eclipse
Aryabhatta was a famous Indian mathematician and astronomer.
Aryabhatta is considered to be one of the mathematicians who changed the course of mathematics and astronomy to a great extent. He is known to have considerable influence on Arabic science world too, where he is referred to as Arjehir. His notable contributions to the world of science and mathematics includes the theory that the earth rotates on its axis, explanations of the solar and lunar eclipses, solving of quadratic equations, place value system with zero, and approximation of pie (π).
Aryabhatta had defined sine, cosine, versine and inverse sine back in his era, influencing the birth of trigonometry. The signs were originally known as jya, kojya, utkrama-jya and otkram jya.
Aryabhatta’s astronomical calculations influenced the Arabians, who used the trigonometric tables to compute many astronomical tables. His calendared calculation has been in continuous use in India, on which the present day Panchangam is based. His studies are also base for the national calendars of Iran and Afghanistan today.
Some of the works of Aryabhatta include:
- Aryabhatta worked out the value of pi.
- He worked out the area of a triangle.
- He worked on the summation of series of squares and cubes (square-root and cube-root).
- He talks about the “rule of three” which is to find the value of x when three numbers a, b and c is given.
- Aryabhatta calculates the volume of a sphere.
- Aryabhatta described the model of the solar system, where the sun and moon are each carried by epicycles that in turn revolve around the Earth. He also talks about the number of rotations of the earth, describes that the earth rotating on its axis, the order of the planets in terms of distance from earth.
- Aryabhatta describes the solar and lunar eclipses scientifically.
- Aryabhatta describes that the moon and planets shine by light reflected from the sun.
- Aryabhatta calculated the sidereal rotation which is the rotation of the earth with respect to the stars as 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds.
- He calculated the length of the sidereal year as 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes and 30 seconds. The actual value shows that his calculation is an error of 3 minutes and 20 seconds over a year.
‘India-Bangladesh ties’ (GS2: Bilateral Relations)
Issue: India and Bangladesh have agreed to institute a Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) as an annual feature between the two Navies. The first edition will be inaugurated by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba during his visit there from June 24 to 29.
The Navy regularly conducts CORPATs with Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. It also conducts EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) surveillance of Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles on their request.
‘India-UAE ties’ (GS2: Bilateral Relations)
Issue: India’s relations with the UAE are expected to receive a boost this week with major energy and diplomatic discussions.
Agreements expected to concluded and scheduled meetings
- Apart from the important energy pact, the UAE also looks for greater partnership with ISRO for its own Mars mission
- Energy giants Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Aramco will seal a trilateral agreement with the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
- Both sides are also expected to sign a currency swap agreement on Thursday.
- A high point of the visit will be his interaction with the Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and a meeting with the Governor of Gujarat.
‘Big Data’ (GS2: E-governance)
Issue: The government is testing a new system that will assist banks in assessing credit risk and the probability of fraud using big data analysis. The system is expected to help lenders, particularly rural and cooperative banks, tackle the issue of rising non-performing assets (NPAs).
What is Big Data?
Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.
While the term “big data” is relatively new, the act of gathering and storing large amounts of information for eventual analysis is ages old. The concept gained momentum in the early 2000s when industry analyst Doug Laney articulated the now-mainstream definition of big data as the three Vs:
Volume. Organizations collect data from a variety of sources, including business transactions, social media and information from sensor or machine-to-machine data. In the past, storing it would’ve been a problem – but new technologies (such as Hadoop) have eased the burden.
Velocity. Data streams in at an unprecedented speed and must be dealt with in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors and smart metering are driving the need to deal with torrents of data in near-real time.
Variety. Data comes in all types of formats – from structured, numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, email, video, audio, stock ticker data and financial transactions.
International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The award ceremony, held at Bangkok’s Siam Niramit theatre last night
Major award winners include
- Irrfan Khan was adjudged the Best Actor for his role of a father trying to get his child admitted in a posh English medium school in Delhi.
- Sridevi was posthumously awarded the Best Female Actor for Mom
- Best Picture: Tumhari Sulu
‘Gender Education’ (GS2: Issues related to Education)
Issue: Through awareness and persuasion programmes across 314 government schools in Haryana, the researchers attempted to see if the attitude of the youths towards gender equality and later-life choices can be nudged and changed.
What the study says?
The preliminary results of these programmes suggest that it did have a positive impact on the lives of the participants, at least, in the short term. However, the study also found that the girls may face gender-specific barriers to act on their altered attitudes.
In India, while boys and girls start secondary school at the same rate, only 0.73 girls enrol in tertiary schooling for every boy. Early weddings and childbearing are common, and women face lifelong barriers to access healthcare, mobility and autonomy, and labour force participation. Selective abortion of female foetuses is also widespread. India’s sex ratio among children aged 0 to 6 years is 1.09 boys per girls. In Haryana, the sex ratio was at 1.20, making it the most male-skewed state.
‘Metro Rail Norms’ (GS3: Infrastructure)
Issue: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday approved the setting up of a committee to lay down the standards for metro rail systems across the country. The committee will be headed by ‘metro man of India’, E. Sreedharan.