10th Nov, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
‘SIMBEX 18’ (GS2: Bilateral relations)
Issue: The 25th edition of SIMBEX, an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” is scheduled from 10th to 21st November 2018 off Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994. What began as a modest endeavour to exchange best practices in the field of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), has in the recent years evolved into a complex high stakes exercise with both nations attaching premium in terms of time, complex advanced exercises and type of platforms involved.
Complementing India’s ‘Act-East’ policy, there have been a number of agreements and high level visits in the recent past between the two countries. Indo-Singapore bilateral relations have been on an upswing in the recent past. Both countries have a full calendar of more than 20 bilateral mechanisms, dialogues and exercises, many of which take place annually. In November 2015, the robust relationship between the two countries was elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’.
Both sides agreed to undertake continuous and institutionalised naval engagements in their shared maritime space including establishing maritime exercises with like-minded regional / ASEAN partners. The 2018 edition marks the Silver Jubilee of SIMBEX. To mark the historical occasion, both navies are undertaking exercises over an extended geography.
‘Digital Transactions’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Over the past two years, Digital payment transactions have registered tremendous growth in India. New payment modes – Bharat Interface for Money-Unified Payments Interface (BHIM-UPI), Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS) and National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) – have transformed digital payment ecosystem by increasing Person to Person (P2P) as well as Person to Merchant (P2M) payments
For the first time, the number of monthly transactions under BHIM-UPI during Sept 2018 surpassed those of any other existing payment mode.
Significant Increase in Digital Payment Transactions:
Total Transactions: The number of digital payment transactions in the month of Oct, 2016 was 79.67 Cr. This has increased by 207% to 244.81 Cr in Aug, 2018. Total value of transactions in Oct, 2016 was Rs.108.7 Lakh Crore which has increased by 88% to Rs. 204.86 Lakh Crore in Aug, 2018.
High growth of new payment platforms
- In Oct 2016, the number of transactions on BHIM-UPI was 1.031 lakh with a value of Rs 48 Cr., which has increased to 48.236 Cr transactions with a value of Rs 74,978.27 Cr in Oct 2018.
- In Oct, 2016, the number of transactions on AePS was 2.57 Cr with a value of Rs 221 Cr, which has increased to 15.07 Cr transactions with a value of Rs. 5893 Cr in Oct 2018
- In Oct 2016, the number of transactions on BBPS was 11,000 with a value of Rs. 0.035 Cr, which has increased to 2.94 Cr transactions with a value of Rs. 910 Cr. in Oct 2018.
- On Dec 2016, NETC was launched for electronic toll collection at toll plazas using FASTAG. Using NETC, the number of electronic transactions using FASTAG at toll plazas is 2.22 Cr with a value of Rs. 502 Cr in Oct 2018.
‘Groundnut procurement’ (GS3: Indian Agriculture)
Issue: The Gujarat Government is set to start procurement for groundnut in Saurashtra region from 122 designated centres from November 15th.
The State government has fixed ₹ 5000 per quintal as the purchase price under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for groundnut for the current season.
About Groundnut crop
|Peanut or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species in the legume or “bean” family. The peanut was probably first domesticated and cultivated in the valleys of Paraguay. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), each leaflet 1 to 7 cm (? to 2 inch) long and 1 to 3 cm (? to 1 inch) broad.|
|Peanuts are known by many other local names such as earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts and pig nuts. Despite its name and appearance, the peanut is not a nut, but rather a legume.|
|India is the second largest producer of groundnuts in the world. Indian groundnuts are available in different varieties: Bold or Runner, Java or Spanish and Red Natal. The main Groundnut varieties produced in India are Kadiri-2, Kadiri-3, BG-1, BG-2, Kuber , GAUG-1, GAUG-10, PG-1 , T-28, T-64, Chandra, Chitra, Kaushal, Parkash, Amber etc.|
|They have a rich nutty flavour, sweet taste, crunchy texture and over and above a relatively longer shelf life. Soil conditions in some producing regions are ideally suited for dry, clean and spotless Groundnuts in Shell.|
|Groundnut is the major oil seed crop in India and it plays a major role in bridging the vegetable oil deficit in the country. Groundnuts in India are available throughout the year due to a two-crop cycle harvested in March and October. Ground Nuts are important protein crops in India grown mostly under rain-fed conditions.|
|The awareness and concern for quality amongst the Indian groundnut shellers and processors are growing steadily. Multiple sorting and grading are fast becoming a norm. Indian manufacturer have the capability to prepare and supply edible peanuts conforming to highest standards.|
|Processed Peanuts: Apart from raw edible peanuts, India is also in a position to supply Blanched Peanuts, Roasted Salted Peanuts and Dry Roasted Peanuts and a variety of peanut based products.|
|Major Growing States:|
|Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra ,Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Uttar Pradesh|
|India Facts and Figures :|
|The country has exported 504019.2 MT of groundnuts to the world for the worth of Rs. 3386.3 crores/ 524.82 USD Millions during the year 2017-18.|
|Major Export Destinations (2017-18) : Indonesia, Vietnam Soc Republic, Philippines, Malaysia and Pakistan|
‘Tipu Sultan’ (GS1: Indian History)
Issue: Demonstrations and protests broke out in Madikeri in Karnataka early on Saturday even before the government-sponsored celebrations for the birth anniversary of the controversial 18th-century ruler of erstwhile Mysore kingdom Tipu Sultan began
About Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan byname Tiger of Mysore, (born 1750, Devanhalli [India]—died May 4, 1799, Seringapatam [now Shrirangapattana]), sultan of Mysore, who won fame in the wars of the late 18th century in southern India
Tipu Sultan introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule, including his coinage, a new Mauludi lunisolar calendar and a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry. He expanded the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned the military manual Fathul Mujahidin, and is considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery. He deployed the rockets against advances of British forces and their allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars, including the Battle of Pollilur and Siege of Seringapatam. He also embarked on an ambitious economic development program that established Mysore as a major economic power, with some of the world’s highest real wages and living standards in the late 18th century
Tipu remained an implacable enemy of the British East India Company, sparking conflict with his attack on British-allied Travancore in 1789. In the Third Anglo-Mysore War, he was forced into the Treaty of Seringapatam, losing a number of previously conquered territories, including Malabar and Mangalore. He sent emissaries to foreign states, including the Ottoman Empire, Afghanistan, and France, in an attempt to rally opposition to the British.
In the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, the imperial forces of the British East India Company were supported by the Nizam of Hyderabad. They defeated Tipu, and he was killed on 4 May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna.
He was one of the few South Indian kings to provide stiff resistance to British imperialism, along with Hyder Ali. He is applauded as a ruler who fought against British colonialism. Similarly he has been a controversial figure and criticized for his repression of Hindus and Christians
‘Artillery gun’ (GS3: Security)
Issue: The Army on Friday inducted its first artillery gun systems in three decades
About latest induction
The M777 Ultra Light Howitzers from the U.S. and K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery gun from South Korea were inducted at the Devlali Field Firing Ranges in Maharashtra. The third equipment inducted is a common gun tower.
- In April 2017, the Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin signed a contract to make the K9 Vajra-T guns. The gun was short-listed by the Army after extensive trials. The deal is worth Rs. 4,500 crore for 100 guns. The K9 Vajra-T is a 155-mm, 52-calibre self-propelled gun with a maximum range of 40 km. It has been customised from the original K9 Thunder. Its fire control system has been customised for desert conditions.
- India signed a $737-million deal with the U.S. in November 2016 under the Foreign Military Sales Programme for 145 M777 Ultra Light Howitzers. Twenty-five guns will be imported and the rest will be assembled in India in partnership with Mahindra Group.
- The M777 is a 155-mm, 39-calibre towed artillery gun. It weighs just four tonnes, making it transportable underslung from helicopters.
The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalization Plan, 1999, envisages induction of 3,000 guns of various types for 220 artillery regiments.
‘Credit growth’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: In what could be an indication of a pick-up in private investment, loan growth of commercial banks is at a five-year high on the back of strong demand, latest data released by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) showed.
Other observations made in the report
- According to the data, year-on-year credit growth was 14.6% as on October 26, the highest in five years. In October 2013, credit growth was 16.6%.
- Credit to major sectors like infrastructure, textiles, chemical and chemical products and engineering has accelerated. Retail credit is also growing at a healthy pace, particularly housing loans.
- Deposit growth, despite picking up was still lagging credit growth with the gap between deposit and credit growth widening. According to RBI data, deposit growth was 9% for the fortnight ended October 26.
‘Child deaths and Pneumonia’ (GS2: Issues related to Death)
Issue: India continues to have the highest burden of pneumonia and diarrhoea child deaths in the world, with 158,176 pneumonia and 102,813 diarrhoea deaths in 2016.
Globally, pneumonia and diarrhoea led to nearly one of every four deaths in children under five years of age in 2016. The report was released ahead of the 10th World Pneumonia Day on November 12.
Major observations made in the report
- The report analyses how effectively countries are delivering 10 key interventions — breastfeeding, vaccination, access to care, use of antibiotics, oral rehydration solution (ORS) and zinc supplementation — to help protect against, prevent, and treat, pneumonia and diarrhoea. The measures are proven to help prevent death due to these illnesses and could help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing under-five mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births by 2030
- Increasing coverage of Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) vaccine, as well as continued scale-up of rotavirus vaccines, first introduced in mid-2016, led to a bump in scoring for these interventions since last year’s report. Introduced in 2017, the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) has been included in only six States to date. Further scale-up of the vaccine to all States should be considered
AI news anchor (Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has released footage of its newest stars: virtual news presenters which use artificial intelligence to copy human voices and facial expressions.
China is aiming to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030, as the country aims to remodel itself as a high-tech powerhouse and move away from cheap manufactured goods.
About Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include:
- Speech recognition
- Problem solving
Research associated with artificial intelligence is highly technical and specialized. The core problems of artificial intelligence include programming computers for certain traits such as:
- Problem solving
- Ability to manipulate and move objects
Knowledge engineering is a core part of AI research. Machines can often act and react like humans only if they have abundant information relating to the world. Artificial intelligence must have access to objects, categories, properties and relations between all of them to implement knowledge engineering. Initiating common sense, reasoning and problem-solving power in machines is a difficult and tedious task.
Machine learning is also a core part of AI. Learning without any kind of supervision requires an ability to identify patterns in streams of inputs, whereas learning with adequate supervision involves classification and numerical regressions. Classification determines the category an object belongs to and regression deals with obtaining a set of numerical input or output examples, thereby discovering functions enabling the generation of suitable outputs from respective inputs. Mathematical analysis of machine learning algorithms and their performance is a well-defined branch of theoretical computer science often referred to as computational learning theory.
Machine perception deals with the capability to use sensory inputs to deduce the different aspects of the world, while computer vision is the power to analyze visual inputs with a few sub-problems such as facial, object and gesture recognition.
Robotics is also a major field related to AI. Robots require intelligence to handle tasks such as object manipulation and navigation, along with sub-problems of localization, motion planning and mapping.