12 th July, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Net Neutrality’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: Internet access in India will remain unfettered with the government accepting the telecom regulator’s recommendations to introduce one of the strongest net neutrality protections in the world.
License agreements with service providers will be immediately amended and will be subject to principles of net neutrality
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality requires service providers to treat all internet traffic equally and prohibits discrimination in the treatment of content, including practices such as degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds.
TRAI had backed the basic principles of an open and free internet in its recommendations on net neutrality sent to the telecom department. It had then suggested that Internet of Things, as a class of services, should not be excluded from the scope of restriction on non-discriminatory treatment but certain critical services should be exempt from these rules.
DoT will also frame a policy on traffic management practices for service providers and separately set up a body of industry representatives and civil society to monitor and enforce net neutrality norms.
The entry of private service providers brought with it the inevitable need for independent regulation. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was, thus, established with effect from 20th February 1997 by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
TRAI’s mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in emerging global information society.
One of the main objectives of TRAI is to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
The directions, orders and regulations issued cover a wide range of subjects including tariff, interconnection and quality of service as well as governance of the Authority.
The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI. TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers, and to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI.
‘Oil Crisis’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Venezuelan oil production crashed to a new 30-year low of 1.5 million barrels a day in June, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
The South American nation earns 96 percent of its revenue through oil sales but a lack of foreign exchange has sparked economic paralysis that has left the country suffering serious shortages of food and medicine.
Volatility in the availability of Oil in the market will result in volatility in the oil prices, such a scenario is not welcome for countries such as India
Venezuela, officially, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a country in northern South America that borders the Caribbean Sea in north and the North Atlantic Ocean in east.
Neighboring countries are Colombia in west and south west, Brazil in south and Guyana in east. The country shares also overlapping maritime borders with Barbados, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Puerto Rico.
In Venezuela the climate is hot all year round, at least at low altitudes, so the main differences are found in the seasonal rain pattern: there is a dry season (which usually runs from mid-December to mid-April) and a rainy season (usually, from late April to mid-November). The rainy season is also sultry and unpleasant
However, the vastness of the territory and the presence of mountain ranges and plateaus complicate things, making the climate more or less rainy depending on area, and more or less warm depending on altitude. Venezuela is located just north of the Equator, so temperature fluctuations over the seasons are limited, although the dry season is typically the coolest one, albeit slightly.
In the northern coast, there are significant differences in rainfall: the eastern part is quite rainy, so much so that the huge Orinoco Delta is covered with mangroves and rainforests.
‘India-Montenegro ties’ (GS2: Bilateral relations)
Issue: In a unique initiative, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) will join the National Day event of Montenegro in India on July 13, 2018 in New Delhi. The event named as ‘Trendy Montenegro with Indian Khadi’ will see diplomats donning the hand-spun, hand-woven natural fibre.
The event will globalize the concept of the natural fabric which is a core property of Khadi. It is a zero-carbon footprint industry that patronizes Indian artisans.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament (No. 61 of 1956, as amended by act no. 12 of 1987 and Act No.10 of 2006. In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
The broad objectives that the KVIC has set before it are…
- The social objective of providing employment.
- The economic objective of producing saleable articles.
- The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor and building up of a strong rural community spirit
The KVIC is charged with the planning, promotion, organisation and implementation of programs for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.
The KVIC may also undertake directly or through other agencies studies concerning the problems of Khadi and/or village industries besides research or establishing pilot projects for the development of Khadi and village industries.
The KVIC is authorized to establish and maintain separate organisations for the purpose of carrying out any or all of the above matters besides carrying out any other matters incidental to its activities.
What is Khadi?
Khadi or khaddar is handspun, hand-woven natural fiber cloth from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan mainly made out of cotton.
The cloth is usually woven from cotton and may also include silk, or wool, which are all spun into yarn on a spinning wheel called a charkha. It is a versatile fabric, cool in summer and warm in winter. In order to improve the look, khādī/khaddar is sometimes starched to give it a stiffer feel. It is widely accepted in fashion circles. Khadi is being promoted in India by Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Montenegro, country located in the west-central Balkans at the southern end of the Dinaric Alps. It is bounded by the Adriatic Sea and Croatia (southwest), Bosnia and Herzegovina (northwest), Serbia (northeast), Kosovo (east), and Albania (southeast).
Montenegro’s administrative capital is Podgorica, though its cultural centre is the historical capital and older city of Cetinje. For much of the 20th century Montenegro was a part of Yugoslavia, and from 2003 to 2006 it was a component of the federated union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The old heartland of Montenegro, in the southwest, is mainly a karstic region of arid hills, with some cultivable areas—e.g., around Cetinje and in the Zeta valley. The eastern districts, which include part of the Dinaric Alps (Mount Durmitor), are more fertile and have large forests and grassy uplands
The terrain of Montenegro ranges from high mountains along its borders with Kosovo and Albania, through a segment of the Karst region of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only 1 to 4 miles (2 to 6 km) wide.
Montenegro’s lower areas have a Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Temperature varies greatly with elevation.
‘Jal Bachoa, Video Banoa, Puruskar Pao’(Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: In an attempt to engage with the people of India on the important issues of water conservation and water management, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has launched a video contest titled “Jal Bachao, Video Banao, Puruskar Pao”.
The participants will be judged on the basis of elements of creativity, originality, composition, technical excellence, artistic merit, quality of video, content and visual impact. The prize amount is Rs 25,000/-, Rs 15,000/- and Rs 10,000/- for first, second and third positions respectively.
What should the video be about?
to make and upload videos capturing the efforts, significant contributions, best practices in the field of Water Conservation, Optimum Water Utilization and Water Resource Development and Management in different parts of the country.
‘Archaeology Survey of India’ (GS1: Indian Culture)
Issue: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, will inaugurate the new Headquarters building of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in New Delhi
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is a Government of India (Ministry of Culture) organisation responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country. It was founded in 1861 by the British Raj.
The Archaeological Survey of India was eventually formed in 1861 by a statute passed into law by Lord Canning with Cunningham as the first Archaeological Surveyor
The ASI administers more than 3650 ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance. These can include everything from temples, mosques, churches, tombs, and cemeteries to palaces, forts, step-wells, and rock-cut caves. The Survey also maintains ancient mounds and other similar sites which represent the remains of ancient habitation.
‘Anayootu’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: It is a festival of South India which is known as the ‘feeding of elephants.’
About the festival
The Aanayoottu (feeding of elephants) is a festival held in the precincts of the Vadakkunnathan temple in City of Thrissur, in Kerala. The festival falls on the first day of the month of Karkkidakam (timed against the Malayalam calendar), which coincides with the month of July. It involves a number of unadorned elephants being positioned amid a multitude of people for being worshipped and fed. A large number of people throng the temple to feed the elephants.
Every year of Aanayoottu, gaja pooja, is conducted. It is believed that offering poojas and delicious feed to the elephants is a way to satisfy Lord Ganesha—the god of wealth and of the fulfillment of wishes. The Vadakkunnathan temple, which is considered to be one of the oldest Shiva temples in southern India
‘Punjab’s Drug menace’ (GS: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Estimates vary but by some accounts as many as two-thirds of all households in Punjab have a drug addict in their midst.
Current situation if drug problem
- Punjab’s prisons are overcrowded with drug-users and peddlers, and its streets and farms witness the easy availability of narcotics and opiates. Last year the government arrested 18,977 peddlers and treated some two lakh addicts.
- Given the geography, the drugs, whether it is opium or heroin, make an easy and assisted entrance into Punjab from the Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan), and synthetic drugs are thought to come in via Himachal Pradesh.
- Substantial portion of the drugs that land in Punjab make their way to the rest of the country. Given the links between drugs and terror, this poses a national security threat.
Steps that could be taken to stop this menace
- Awareness campaign on a war footing to stop people from drug abuse
- Stringent laws to deter people from drug trade
- Coordination between state and central forces to combat this problem
- Cooperation between India and other countries where these drugs originate to combat this problem on a bilateral basis
‘North Atlantic Treaty Organization’ (GS2: Global Groupings)
Issue: President Donald Trump jolted the NATO summit by turning a spotlight on Germany’s ties to Russia and openly questioning the value of the military alliance that has defined American foreign policy for decades.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
‘Gender Equality’ (GS2: Issue related to Human Resources)
Issue: Not educating girls or creating barriers in their school education globally costs between USD 15 to USD 30 trillion, according to the World Bank
What the report says?
- Less than two thirds of girls in low-income countries complete primary school and only one in three girls completes lower secondary school
- On average, women who have a secondary education are more likely to work and they earn almost twice as much as those with no education
- According to the report, today some 132 million girls around the world between the ages of 6 and 17 are still not in school —- 75 per cent of whom are adolescents.
- According to a World Bank analysis, women’s educational attainment has a large potential impact on their lifetime fertility and population growth, both directly and through a reduction in child marriage and early childbearing.
‘Nilgiri Tahr’ (GS3: Environmental Pollution)
Issue: The antics of the sure-footed Nilgiri tahr are a treat to watch, but these endangered wild mountain goats – found only in high altitudes in India’s Western Ghats — could be losing their footing with increasing climate change
Even under moderate scenarios of future climate change, tahrs could lose approximately 60% of their habitats from the 2030s on, predict scientists in their study
About the study
- Scientists tried to predict how climate change can affect tahr habitat in the Ghats by mapping tahr distribution (using existing information and field surveys) and then using climatic factors of these locations to see where tahrs would be able to survive, given current and future climate change scenarios.
- They found that tahr strongholds such as Chinnar, Eravikulam and Parambikulam in Kerala will still be stable habitats under different climate change scenarios.
- However, other regions, including parts of Tamil Nadu’s Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and the wildlife sanctuaries of Peppara, Neyyar, Schenduruny and Srivilliputhur, could experience severe habitat loss in future; in total, approx. 60% of tahr habitat could be lost across the Ghats from 2030s onwards.
About Nilgiri Tahr
Nilgiri tahrs are stocky goats with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Males are larger than the females, and have a darker color when mature. Both sexes have curved horns, which are larger in the males, reaching up to 40 cm for males and 30 cm for females.
The Nilgiri tahr inhabits the open Montane grassland habitats at elevations from 1200 to 2600 m (generally above 2000 m) of the South Western Ghats. Their range extends over 400 km from north to south, and Eravikulam National Park (Kerala) is home to the largest population. The other significant concentration is in the Nilgiri Hills, with smaller populations in the Anamalai Hills, Periyar National Park, Palni Hills and other pockets in the Western Ghats south of Eravikulam, almost to India’s southern tip.
The Nilgiri tahr symbolizes the conflicts inherent in conservation of threatened fauna and their habitat. Their number totals around 2200-2500 individuals in the wild. Nilgiri tahrs exist only in small, isolated populations due to extreme habitat fragmentation and illegal hunting. They are, as a result, vulnerable to local extinction. The reasons for the decline of tahr populations have not been fully understood. Despite several studies over the years, there are only rough estimations of Nilgiri tahr populations. The species has always been under severe stress on account of the construction of numerous hydroelectric projects, timber felling and monoculture plantation of eucalyptus and wattles. All these development activities, especially the plantation activities affect the heart of the tahr habitat, which are the grasslands – sholas.
‘Reliance Industries’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Shares of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) jumped sharply today, helping its market capitalization touch $100 billion. RIL shares rose as much as 6% to a day’s high to ₹ 1,098, giving the company a market cap of close to ₹ 7 trillion
Currently, TCS, India’s biggest software services exporter, is the most valued company in India with a market capitalization of ₹ 7.5 trillion.
What is Market Capitalization?
Market capitalization refers to the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares. Commonly referred to as “market cap,” it is calculated by multiplying a company’s shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. The investment community uses this figure to determine a company’s size, as opposed to using sales or total asset figures.
Using market capitalization to show the size of a company is important because company size is a basic determinant of various characteristics in which investors are interested, including risk