[Current Topiclist] April Week1 to Week3 (1st to 22th): Diplomacy, Economy, Polity, Environment, Science, Culture

Current Affairs Environment

[Current Topiclist] April Week1 to Week3 (1st to 22th): Diplomacy, Economy, Polity, Environment, Science, Culture

  1. Abbreviation
  2. IR-Diplomacy
    1. AprW1&2-IR
    2. AprW3-IR-diplomacy
  3. Economy, Banking, Finance
    1. AprW1&2
    2. AprW3-Economy
  4. Polity, Governance
    1. AprW1&2-Polity
    2. AprW3-Polity, Governance
  5. Environment, Biodiversity & Agriculture
    1. AprW1&2-Environment
    2. AprW3-Environment, Agro
  6. Science Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare
    1. AprW1&2- Science-tech
    2. AprW3-Science Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare
  7. History-Culture
    1. AprW1&2-History & Culture
    2. AprW3-History & Culture
  8. Download Link for Current Affairs Excel File
  9. FAQ / Moral Disclaimers

Abbreviation

P Only important for prelim only
P+M important for prelim and mains
M+I Important for mains, essay and interview but has none or negligible utility in prelims.
OLF One line fodder point that can be quoted in some descriptive answer, essay, interview or Group discussion. But doesn’t warrant an article by itself.
Ignored Because (A) I see bad:cost benefit in pursuing it OR (B) I don’t think it’s important for UPSC exam given the trend in last few years. (C)I already covered it in old article.

IR-Diplomacy

AprW1&2-IR
P+M Modi’s 3 nations tour to Canada, France and Germany. Still in process of gathering point, then will update this excel cell itself
P+M Iran’s E3+3 deal, UNSC P5+1 or Lausanne agreement. Covered in separate article under /diplomacy section
M+I Operation Raahat to rescue Indian citizens from Yemen. Covered in article under diplomacy section
M+I AIIB full-fledged article already published. Some more points: [+] Iran to become founding member, after E3+3 deal [+] US not to join AIIB. China’s main motive of running AIIB, BRICS bank, Silk road initiatives etc. is to reduce Dollar domination and use its own forex reserve for more productive purpose. At present China has ~3.8 trillion$ forex reserve. China built this reserve from its current account surplus (via trade surplus.)[+] China re-invests these dollars into US treasury bonds. Although these bonds give very low return, but this helps keeping Renminbi weak against Dollar. Thus Chinese goods price-competitive in international market. So in a way, China supplies Cheap credit to finance US’s twin deficit (=fiscal deficit +current account deficit.). [+] But post global financial crisis, China wants to shift away from this game. So China using its large foreign exchange assets in AIIBs, BRICS and Silk road initiatives to connect Eurasia. [+] By end of 2015, Renminbi to become an official reserve currency by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Collectively all these developments will reduce dollar’s global domination. [+] Can India follow Chinese path of large forex reserve? Difficult because we are totally opposite to China- our exports weak and current account has deficit.
M+I 2012: Two Italian Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore Girone were aboard a ship Enrica Lexi, they killed 2 Indian fishermen mistaking them for pirates. Massimiliano Latorre given third furlough by SC, to return to Italy after brain stroke.
OLF Pakistan and Sri Lanka signed nuclear cooperation agreement.
OLF Earlier Congress Government had initiated “non-lethal strategy” at India-Bangla border, wherein, BSF won’t kill any smugglers or trespassers across border. However, BJP Home minister Rajnath Singh says they don’t have any such policy, and BSF is free to open fire in self-defense. Obviously NGOs don’t like it, they launched campaign on social media against Home minister Rajnath Singh.
OLF USA to give 1000 Hellfire missiles to Pakistan. They can be mounted on attack helicopters, to fight Terrorist bases in North Waziristan and FATA.
OLF Myanmar based Naga rebel group NSCN-K decided to end 14-year ceasefire agreement with the Indian government. Mainly because NSCN-IM faction has cozied up with Indian Government. Although India says it’ll continue to honor ceasefire from its side.
OLF Australian nuke safeguard law requires that importing country must allow inspection. But India doesn’t want inspection by anyone except IAEA. When similar “tracking and Tagging” problem arose in Indo-US nuke deal, the solution was – American inspectors will be allowed within IAEA team.
OLF J&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed first says he’ll create separate towns for Kashmiri Pandits, later retracts his statement. Pro: It won’t be an exclusive area for Kashmiri Pandits, it will be composite townships open to all other communities as well.[+] Anti: It’ll create a State within a State, ghettoisation. More rift between muslims and pandits instead of reconciliation. Scene will be similar to Palestine.
OLF In a major boost to the Indian civil aviation sector, more specifically for Air India and Jet Airways, the U.S. Federal Aviation Association (FAA) has upgraded the safety rating of Indian airlines to category1. This means faster clearance and other technical facilities will be available to Indian aircrafts while entering in USA.
OLF China’s Qinghai-Tibet railway ~2000kms, it already links China with the Tibetan capital Lhasa and beyond. Now they plan to extend it further for 540 kms. High-speed rail link between Tibet and Nepal passing through a tunnel under Mt. Everest. It’ll complete in 2020. India’s strategic / border security interest affected.
OLF [+] David Cameron says he’ll support India’s UNSC Permanent seat bid. [+] UNSC imposes arms embargo on Yemen’s Huthi (Shia) rebels.
Ignored Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar tells Nepal to write a Constitution with maximum compromise.
Ignored [+] North Korean Foreign minister visits India for first time and thanks us for food/humanitarian support during past calamities. [+] The Lahore High Court has frees 26/11/2008 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. US and India criticized it although theHindu not so vocal, because too busy criticizing other things so no space left in newspaper.
Ignored 2013: Obama shook hands with Castro at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. 2015: They shake hands again at Summit of Americas in Panama, hoping to restore diplomatic ties after 1961.

AprW3-IR-diplomacy

China
OLF China’s white paper on Tibet says following: ⇒ over the years the Dalai Lama advocated the middle way path. ⇒ But Lama wishes to create State within state, and ultimately independence of Tibet from China. This is not acceptable to chinese authorities.
M+I Chinese President Xi (not 11th) Jinping visits Pakistan.⇒ will invest $ 46 billion. Out of that ⇒ 11 billion for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)- with rail, road and pipelines. ⇒ This will cover 3,000 km from China’s western city of Kashgar to the Pakistani port of Gwadar. Gwadar port owned by a Chinese public company since 2013.  ⇒ This will improve the economy of both Pak. And Chinese region of Xinjiang = less recruits for terrorists. ⇒ renewable energy and 50 other agreements. ⇒ Jingping to get Nishane Pakistan award. ⇒China planning to give 8 diesel electric submarines to pak. As such nothin to worry because we can mfg. 15-20 more submarines by then, BUT if if China cooperates with Pakistan to turn the submarines into platforms for a second nuclear-strike capability, like Israel has done, then it’ll be dangerous for India.

 

others
P Only Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s “unity Government” seems to have more affection for Pakistan in China, than for India. Over the years, Afghan were requesting helicopters from India. Finally modi to give them 3 desi-made Cheetal multirole helicopters, when Afghan president visits India. Chital developed by HAL. It’s useful for personnel transport, casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey, logistic support and rescue in high-altitude / mountainous regions. They will not contain weapons. (Because Modi doesn’t want to annoy China/Pak by giving Direct military aid to Afghans.)
P+M Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to India during April Week4.
OLF ⇒ David Cameron says he’ll support India’s UNSC Permanent seat bid. ⇒ UNSC imposes arms embargo on Yemen’s Huthi (Shia) rebels.
OLF 2010: Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) reviewed but no progress or consensus. 2015: again, NPT-review @ New York during April-May. 2015 marks the 100th year of the use of chemical weapons in Ypres, Belgium ⇒ 70th year of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ⇒ 20th year of the indefinite extension of the NPT.
OLF Involving state governments into foreign policy making: ⇒ Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu to visit China. ⇒ Same way Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab participated in Hannover Industrial Fair, Germany to promote make in India. ⇒ economic ties, once established, are hard to break. If foreign policy involves stakeholders outside national capital, then it’ll lead to deeper economic ties between countries.
OLF So far, USA has used “Carrot” approach to motivate Pakistani authorities to take action against terrorists, but this has failed. Better use the “sticks” approach, for example ⇒ STONE Software: Shaping Terrorist Organizational Network Efficacy. USA’s Maryland university Has developed this software, to predict if “X” terrorist leader is killed, then who’ll be the next Leader in the hierarchy. So far, STONE Prediction turned out to be correct for Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and LeT in 80% cases. ⇒ perhaps CIA should use it to eliminate key terrorist leaders ⇒ Additionally, USA should ban entry of ISI officials’ children / put Financial sanctions on them.
OLF Home ministry allows Pak Minorities (Hindu, Sikhs etc.) to file long-term visa applications online. Experts feel this is a ploy to grant citizenship to refugees from Pakistan.
OLF Pakistan and Russia to hold the first-ever joint military exercise. ⇒ Ferry loaded with ~700 illegal migrants from Africa, capsized in Mediterranean sea near Italy while they were trying to enter EU. Human trafficking ring operates from the failed state of Libya. Business worth ~4000 crore rupees, over 30k die each year.
Ignored Afghanistan: growing culture of “toi paal” or wedding crashers i.e. guests who come uninvited to other peoples’ wedding to enjoy  free food. Given rampant nuisance, now Afghan parliament mulling a law to fix maximum no. of “guests” to 700 only.
Ignored Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy sent to 20 years in prison for abuses against protesters during 2012 uprising. Morsy was country ‘s first elected president. Amnesty Amnesty International criticises the verdict as “travesty of justice”.
Ignored Obama removes Cuba from list of states that sponsor terrorism. This will help normalising bilateral relations.
Ignored During British Raj, All India radio Did not broadcast in German and Japanese language. Even today, when AIR broadcasts in 27 languages to the world, German and Japanese still not covered. Another problem is lack of manpower. ⇒ In a TIME magazine article, Obama calls Modi as “India’s reformer in Chief”. Modi thanks Obama.

Economy, Banking, Finance

AprW1&2
Banking-Finance P+M Dena Bank signs MoU with LIC. Under Prime Minister’s Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJBY) scheme. Beneficiaries: 18 to 50 age group people with Aadhaar-linked savings account. They get life insurance for upto 55 age. Insurance premium: 330 per year. 2 lakh paid in death.
Banking-Finance P Only Electronic version of money order begun in 2008. iMO- instant money order for Rs.1k to 50k, recipient can get money from the post office. eMO: Electronic money order: Rs. 1 to 5k. Delivered to your home.
Banking-Finance OLF RBI’s 80 years’ celebration. Fodder from guest speakers: [+] RBI should promote indigenous paper-ink in printing currency. [+] Need for Financial inclusion because the poor still too far away from banks or too uncomfortable stepping into one. [+] India requires lot of finance/capital for infrastructure. But both banks/companies have stuck lot of money in previous NPA assets. So we need to push infrastructure finance but not at the cost of financial stability of capital market.
Banking-Finance Ignored Marine insurance policy covers all type of “perils of sea”. But an Andhra Pradesh company did not receive compensation after the December 26, 2004 tsunami In Indian Ocean. Because National consumer Law protection commission held that tsunamis are sourced from earthquakes and thus not “peril of the sea”, so No insurance claim can be made. Now Supreme Court bench will decide whether tsunami is an insurable risk or not.
Banking-Finance P Only Bhai updates monetary policy. But doesn’t reduce repo rate any further. Reason: lack of monetary transmission i.e. RBI’s monetary policy not reflected in real economy yet because banks have not lowered their interest rates. Bhai is also angry because when RBI raises repo rate, banks immediatly raise their loan rates, but when RBI reduces repo rates, banks don’t immediatly reduce theirs. SBI chairman justifies saying loan pricing depends on competition and demand for loans. Bhai says he’ll only reduce repo rate further after [+] banks reduce their loan rates [+] new inflation data comes. Anyways, later, SBI reduced base rate by 0.15% and ICICI by 0.25%, because they also know one must not play with aag, paani and Rajanbhai. [+] Bhai suggest base rate calculation system needs to be changed so that in future, banks will have to quickly adjust themselves According to the changes in monetary policy.
Banking-Finance Ignored RBI’s plans for [+] guidelines on salary of non-executive directors in private banks. [+] Allowing Indian companies to raise overseas rupee debts.
Banking-Finance Ignored RajanBhai warns NBFCs not to outsource their crucial operations such as KYC verification, internal audit etc. because it may compromise customer database – leading to spams/scams and ruin reputation of the said company.
Banking-Finance Ignored 2009: Satyam Chief Ramalinga Raju admits 7k crore accounting manipulation in company. 2015: court orders 7 years jail and 5.5 crore penalty. way ahead: companies act 2013 provides for class action suits to help investor recover money from such fraudsters. we also need to implement FSLRC (Justice BN SriKrishna) report on Indian financial code (IFC) and reforms in regulatory bodies. [+] SEBI relaxes G-Sec investment limit for foreign investors’ custodian banks to 30 billion. [+] Rajan says, only those distressed sarkaari banks with proper plan for re-capitalization, will get capital support from Government. Earlier government had infused ~7000 crores to SBI, PNB et al depending on their performance. [+] Rajanbhai says we need to cherist Moody’s upgrade because lot needs to be done yet. By 2022, India will give skill training to 500 million people, but will be able to create ~110 million jobs only. [+] PM increases subsidy for farmers even if 3% of their crop is damaged. Earlier threshold was 50% [+] Coal india increases the quantity of coal, that it can sell thru e-auction. [+] SEBI says if listed public limited companies donot include women director by deadline they’ll have to pay minimum 50k fine or more. [+] IIM-B’s housing sentiment index says Indian junta waiting for prices to drop. [+] SEBI issues norms for tendering and settlement of shares via stock exchanges [+] RajanBhai warns against fake RBI app making rounds on Whatsapp. [+] 2012, Sept: EPFO announced minimum Rs.1000/- pension to all subscribers but Government didnot provide further direction so EPFO will stop it. [+] North India: untimely rain and hailstorm means PDS procurement will be lower than target. That’s common sense. [+] Union tells SC, only Government has power to decide gas prices. Reliance can’t approach arbitration at national / international level, if they don’t like it. ignored till final verdict comes
BoP OLF At present, world top 3 rating agencies are Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. However, they don’t always give correct rating to sovereign and corporate bonds. e.g. they deliberately portray rosy picture before subprime crisis. During Ukraine crisis, they downgraded Russia’s sovereign rating on ‘political’ factors, to please the Western powers. Annoyed with all this, BRICS nation now thinking of starting their own credit rating agency.
BoP OLF Moody’s raises India’s rating outlook from stable to to “positive”. But rating not changed, it still remains Baa3, because Moody’s still waiting for evidence of growth in India.
BoP P+M Foreign Trade Policy 2015. It’s being covered in the economy lecture series
BoP OLF Indian temples have tonnnes of gold. Modi wants them to deposit it under gold monetisation scheme, so it can be melted and loaned to jewellers, while Temple of earns interest. But some temples in Kerala opposed saying its better to perverse ancient/medieval gold artifices in their Original form rather than melting.
Fiscal Policy OLF Disinvestment: (1) As such Government plans to get $3.5 billion from disinvestment in ONGC and IOC. But Since the fall in oil prices, the shareprice of oil company have also fell. Therefore government decided to delay disinvestment for the timebeing. (2) Union to sell 5% from Rural Electrification Corporation (REC). 25% reserved for Mutual funds and insurance cos. 20% reserved for retailer investors, each can bid upto Rs.2 lakh rupees. Expects to get ~1,600 crores. This is the first disinvestment in financial year 2015-16.
HRD OLF Poor children’s brain have 6% less surface area than children from well to do families. Thus poverty is directly associated with a child’s behaviour and cognitive abilities.
HRD OLF As such National Food Security act was to be implemented in all states by 4th April 2015. But many states yet to identify beneficiaries. Only 11 states/UT Implemented the act. So again, union Government extended the deadline for 6 months. Basics already covered in last survey article
HRD Ignored French parliament votes for two laws (1) if a fashion industry hires ultra-thin model beyond certain Body mass index, it’ll be punishable. Reason- such craze for size zero body drives women towards Bulimia (eating large amt of food and then vomiting it out to keep weight in check), OR anorexia (fear of eating) and other mental disorders. (2) if a photo is Artificially beautified using photoshop then it must be labelled as “retouched photo”, otherwise such Impossibly good-looking celebrity photos, also drive people towards expensive Cosmetic surgeries and eating disorders.
HRD OLF NCVT-MIS Portal launched (https://ncvtmis.dget.in). It can generate e-certificate for beneficiaries who’ve completed their skill training program; public and Government can moniter the performance of skill Development schemes, exam calendars, statistics etc.
HRD OLF 2004: 164 nations adopted Dakar Framework to deliver “Education for All” commitments by 2015. UNESCO “Education for all” report appreciates progress in India saying (1) goal: 80% 80% enrolment in pre-primary education by 2015=done. [+] Goal: universal primary enrolment done [+] Universal youth literacy by 2015: just little remaining. [+] reduce adult illiteracy rate by half = not done. [+] India is only South and West Asian country to get gender parity for primary and lower secondary enrolment. Although criticism: NGO Pratham’s ASER Report- students learning outcomes are very poor despite spending crores of rupees.
HRD P Only 1930s: Economist Simon Kuznets introduced GDP. But nation’s income/wealth/production alone cannot portray the whole picture. Therefore, Later UNDP’s HDI and Bhutan’s Gross Happiness index came out. 2013: US NGO Social progress imperative launched Social Progress Index (SPI). It ranks country on 52 indicators including health, water, sanitation, safety, freedom etc. “Outcomes”. But doesn’t include GDP. Latest Ranking- 1:Norway, 16: USA, 101: India Total 133 nations. EU, Paraguay and many cities of Latin America are using SPI to plan their national and urban Development policies.
HRD OLF New research says- eldest son is healthy and tall in Indian families because of preference for sons. But this difference seen only among Hindus and not among Muslims. Plus, Given our poor sanitation and nutrition, our children have lower height than even African nations.
Industry-agro OLF Niti Ayog Vice Chairman says Union Government alone can’t fully compensate farmers for crop damage. But it’ll increase MNREGA from100 to 150 days in areas that were Recently hit by unseasonal rain. + Some cash Compensation national and State Disaster Relief Fund.
Industry-agro OLF Gujarat government’s Farm Income Insurance Scheme (FIIS). It predicts farmers income in advance and if less income received because of any factor, then insurance will be paid to fill up the gap. May be this concept can be used at all Indai level to provide agricultural insurance and prevent farm distress. Farmer will also feel incentivized to produce more.
Industry-MFG P+M NSSO-2013: more than 5.5 crore MSME in India, mostly owned by SC, ST, OBC yet only 4% of them get institutional finance. Budget-2015 announced Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank to give them last mile credit delivery. It’ll first begin as a subsidiary of SIDBI and later converted to a full-fledged bank through an act of parliament. If banks fails to meet priority sector lending norms, they’ve to deposit money in NABARD’s RIDF or SIDBI’s SEDF. RBI will pull out Rs.20,000 crores from such priority lending shortfall funds, and give it to Mudra. [+] 3 Loan schemes: Shishu: upto 50k, Kishor50k to 5 lakh, Tarun-5 to 10 lakh. More points on fiction and purpose refer to L5/P3.pptx in download section and my lecture video on YouTube.
Industry-MFG P Only Gujarat tourism Corporation along with Akshar Travels begins “Industrial tour package”. Wherein, person can see Nano plant in Sanand, Pipavav port near Amreli, Alang ship breaking yard in Bhavnagar and Amul Dairy in Anand. Locations of places important for match the following type MCQs in Indian Economic Geography.
Industry-Service OLF 2014: “Tourist Visa on Arrival-Electronic Travel Authorisation (TVoA-ETA)” announced to help short duration visa from 44 countries. But often people mistook It for “visa on arrival” scheme. So now Government renamed it into “e-Tourist Visa” to make it clear that it is not an on-arrival scheme.

AprW3-Economy

Banking-Finance P Only RBI says its main focus is Bharat Bill Payment System. Basics already covered in old article.
Banking-Finance Ignored Some woman attacks European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi during a conference. ⇒ WPI is negative since November 2014 due to cheap food and fuel. But industralists demand further cuts in repo rate, so loans can get cheaper and demand can increase. But RBI governor Not interested, until commercial banks reduce loan rates first. ⇒ Full capital convertibility means a foreign investor can repatriate his money into his own local currency at will. At present we have only partial capital account convertibility, but  to become a global economy, we need to towards full capital account convertibility- says Minister of State for Finance. Basics of Full Cap.AC, its pros and cons already covered in lecture video and power points. ⇒ RBI governor Rajanbhai hints he has Difference of opinion about creation of Public Debt Management Authority (PDMA). ⇒ RBI allows differential interest rates for term deposits above Rs. 15 lakh, without the option of premature withdrawal. ⇒ Rajanbhai allegedly received death threat from ISIS assassin via email. It seems ISIS terrorists and facebook pranksters are are unaware that one must not play with aag, paani and Rajanbhai.
Banking-Finance P Only 2015: RBI allowed Indian companies to raise offershop rupee bonds. This is a small move towards full capital account convertibility. Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC) to raise up to $1 billion through offshore rupee bonds. It’ll be the first domestic issuer to eye so-called ‘masala’ debt to diversify its source of funds.
Fiscal Policy P+M Income tax return forms: ITR-1 = Individuals having income from salary, pension, interest and house property. ITR-2= income from capital gains and foreign assets. ⇒ Income tax Department has updated these forms, seeking additional information to combat black money ⇒ Details of foreign visits and your passport number and Expenditure on those trips. ⇒  bank account numbers, IFSC codes, When was the account opened and closed etc. ⇒ criticism: A lot of people have a number of bank accounts and they leave some accounts passive or inactive. Have to quote Aadhar number, many assesses don’t have it.
HRD P Only Under National Food Security Act (NFSA), State governments have to identify beneficiaries first. But many states are yet to finish this exercise, therefore union government has extended the deadline to 30/sep/2015.
HRD OLF Target Podium podium scheme (TOPS) aims to Give funding to sportsmen’s participating in 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Problem: beneficiaries will be identified by a Committee. Both Abhinav Bindra and Mary Kom are part of the Committee and at the same time, they’ll be receiving funding from TOPS = conflict of interest
Industry-agro OLF Sugar mill arrears issue. Basics already discussed in last year’s economic survey article. New development: Government mulling to increase duty on imported sugar and create a buffer stock of surplus sugar by procuring from farmers.
Industry-agro OLF Given the unseasonal rains in North India ⇒ Farmers eligible to get compensation even if 33% crop damaged (earlier this limit was 50%) ⇒ government and RBI are working to tweak the interest of pension scheme. (@present upto 3 lakh rs. Loan effectively costs 4% interest rate to farmer, if he promptly repays it).
industry-mfg Ignored IMF is “puzzled” by CSO’s revised method for GDP calculation. They’re sending a team to investigated. Ignored because matter already covered in powerpoint (L5/P1) and lecture- how and why Rajanbhai and Arvind Subramanium too are baffled by the GDP numbers.
infra P Only TRAI and DoT (Department of Telecommunications) ordered phone mobile number portability from third May. Implications ⇒ at that we have 22 telecom circles. You can change mobile operator only for the given circle. But Full MNP will allow subscribers to retain their mobile number in any part of the country even when they change their operator or State. ⇒ Calls can also be made using the prefix ‘0’ and/or ‘+91’ for inter-circles. ⇒ problem? Telecom Association says it is not possible to finish by 3rd may due to some technical issues.
infra OLF Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor. AAP government wants to shut down part of BRT and expand the regular road instead. Pro-A’bad BRTS model: (1) it’s closed “circuit”. Non-BRT city Buses are not allowed to enter. (2) heavy fines if private vehicles enter the BRT lane. Delhi-BRTS model: (1) it allows city buses to enter in the BRT lane, but then it leads to congestion.  Although speed is decreased but, more number of passengers carried compared to A’bad. (2) Traffic police not vigilant on the private vehicles entering the BRT Lane.
infra OLF Currently, airlines are free to fix fares on their own supply and demand rules. But 100+ MP Requested government put total Price control over airline tickets. However Government’s opinion is- we need to  be regulating “predatory” air fares rather than total pricing control. Otherwise it would violate the principles of free market and lead us back to the same license quota inspector raj and the subsequent balance of payment crisis.
infra OLF Broadband penetration: India ranks 125th. We are more bogus than even Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Reason:  multi-layered structure in decision making.TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar 5% levy on mobile licenses, to finance broadband. ⇒ 0% license fees for fixed broadband line operators. ⇒ Make Wireless Planning Commission (WPC) A statutory body, free from Department of Telecom. ⇒ Revamp the Decision-making structure in National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN). NOFN aims to spread broadband in 2.5 lakh village panchayats by 2016, but hardly 50k Panchayats covered so far ?
infra Ignored Spectrum sharing: ⇒ telecom cos. can pool spectrum for better efficiency. ⇒ TRAI allows sharing but not leasing. ⇒ TRAI expected to give final word on 15 days. hence ignored for the moment.

Polity, Governance

AprW1&2-Polity
P Only Haryana Chief Minister demanded a separate High Court for Haryana because Article-214 of the Constitution provided for a High Court for each State.
P Only SC order on acid attack victims: [+] states to provide 3 lakh compensation minimum, under Section 357C. [+] free medical treatment PLUS free medicines, food and reconstructive surgery. [+] if hospital refuses to treat, then criminal action.
P Only Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi will become the next Chief Election Commissioner replacing HS Brahma.
P+M Cabinet decision on bills [+] Real estate Bill cleared to setup regulatory body At union and State levels. Builders are required to disclose all information. Developer cannot change plan unless two third of the clients agree. All this will help achieving housing for all by 2022[+] Juvenile Justice bill delayed. It aims to try 16-18 age group teens for murder/rapes as adult criminals.
P+M [+] Election Commission has set up a committee on how to give voting power to inter-state migrants. At present a person can be enrolled only at the place he is residing. A migrant has to get himself enrolled in the new place. if rules modified then Kerala-Tamilnadu’s cadre based parties will benefit as their youth migrate to elsewhere. [+] Government tell SC, it’ll workout NRI voting right mechanism in 8 weeks.
P+M The National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014, and the 99th Constitution Amendment Act 2014 aim to replace 20 years old Collegium system with commission system. NJAC commission will select and appoint judges in SC+HC. Government finally notified rules [+] NJAC 6 member commission – CJI, two senior-most Supreme Court judges, the Union Law Minister and two eminent persons. [+] Who will decide eminent persons? Ans. Another panel made of PM, CJI, and leader of the single largest political party in the Lok Sabha.
M+I Guj Terror bill as such topic from MarchW4, but updated with some new “PRO” arguments. Gujarat state assembly passes anti-terror Bill named “Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Bill (GUJCOC)”. Earlier it was rejected twice: Kalam (2004) and Pratibha (2008). Salient features [+] phone taping permitted and admissible as evidence in courts, person can be detained for upto 180 days based on phone tapping alone [+] confession made before SP or higher police officer is admissible in court. [+] state Government and its officers are immune from any legal action / compensation to suspects, while doing work in public interest and good faith[ {—–} Anti-arguments [+] not aligned with the provisions of NSA, CrPC, Evidence Act or NIA Act. [+] draconian provisions. Aims to muzzle jholachhap NGOs and civil society activists. [+] POTA had similar provisions but was repealed due to misuses.{—–} Pro-Arguments [+] Gujarat’s vulnerable coastline, rise in number of organized crime gangs. [+] Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) has similar draconian provisions. [+] Sufficient safeguards are present- no case lodged without DIG level officer’s authorisation, Addl.DGP’s Permission necessary before tabling the charge sheet. [+] Maharashtra government Had appointed Dharmadhikari Committee- it found no big problems MCOCA. [+] After 9/11, even Bush Government cameup with Patriot Act 2001, which was Criticised as a draconian act, still it prevented repeat of another 9/11 on US soil.
OLF As such U.P. Nagar Nigam Act, 1959 provides for direct election of Mayor. But to ensure their accountability, Uttar Pradesh Nagar Nigam (Amendment) Bill, 2015 drafted. It empowers state government to remove Mayors for financial and administrative impropriety. Mayors protests saying its unconstitutional.
OLF Chief Justices Conference: fodder [+] some angry it’s held public holiday of good Friday, thus hurting secular fabric of India. CJI maintains if we host conference in working day, court work will suffer. [+] 13k courts and 96% districts covered under e-district project. [+] 14th FC provided 9k+ crores to states to improve judiciary. [+] Evergreen problems: corruption @lower courts, manpower shortage, case pendancy [+] Modi worried Judiciary delivering perception-driven verdicts from PILs of five-star activists. [+] Modi unhappy because plethora of tribunals- CAT, ITAT, Railway claims etc. were setup as parallels to Highcourts. While they’re eating lot of budget, yet so much case pendency. May be a few of these tribunals should be merged together. [+] The relationship between the judiciary and the executive as that of siblings who hold each other’s hands and correct each other when needed. [+] Poorly drafted laws = many loopholes = lengthy litigations and case pendency. Judges salary insufficient to attract talented people. 1 judge on every 61865 people! [+] CJI Dattu plans to complete criminal trials in 5 years at district level. Right now 42 lakh cases pending in high courts.
OLF Disability Act 1995 provides 3% reservation to PH. But in higher edu. Institute, hardly 0.5% PH present, says as survey.
OLF Haryana Government to setup village Secretariat at each village. 1st project @Haibatpur, Jind. These Secretariats will have gymnasium, offices of sarpanch, patwari and village secretary, Kisan Sewa Kendra, post office, health centre, telephone exchange, aanganwadi centre, bank branch, ATM, election office, IB and Police station. + a ‘Common Service Centre’ to provide domicile, caste certificate etc. certificates.
OLF If a person tries to help road accident victim, often police and doctors harass him or donot help him. But now, Road ministry to publish guidelines to protect such Good Samaritans.
OLF Delhi HC rejects PIL on merger of JEE (Main) and JEE (Advanced) saying every different opinion did not mean that one had to rush to court.
OLF Legal experts say Andhra anti-sanders taskforce has violated SC order during encounter of 20 smugglers. Because Police officer cannot cause death of a person if he has not committed an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment.
Ignored When a juvenile is involved in rape, dacoit, murder, its difficult to believe he is not aware of the consequences. Yet they get away easily under the preset juvenile protection act. Therefore SC asks Government to relook into this matter. Topic ignored because running since last 6 months. Concrete development yet to come
Ignored [+] Mohan gets stay order from SC against CBI court summon issued to him. [+] BJP leader Giriraj Singh remarks about what if Rajiv Gandhi married a Nigerian woman [+] fake lady IAS officer staying at LBSNAA, and alleages that senior officer gave her card and took bribe to get appointed as Librarian. [+] Haryana’s Whistleblower IAS officer Ashok Khemka gets transferred for finding irregularities in transport Department. [+] HRD minister Smriti Irani being spied by CCTV camera in a garment store in Goa. [+] As Aprilfool prank, someone circulates fake notification saying Union Government increase Dearness allowance. Finance ministry is forced to explained.
Ignored US based Research group says by 2050, largest Muslim population: No.1 India, No.2 Indonesia.
Ignored Ignored: [+] Retired Gen. VK Singh’s tweets complaining A section of media is acting as “presstitutues” of defense lobby and trying to Portrayed him in bad light. [+] Camera spying on Smriti Irani at FabIndia fashion store, Goa. [+] NJAC, Land Acquisition ordinance ball by ball. [+] Indian security agencies reject most of the RTI queries and their expenditures are not even disclosed entirely in Parliament. [+] Shobha De tweet protests about Maharashtra State government’s order of compulsory showing of Marathi movies in Prime-time slots in multiplexes. Shiva Sena begins protests against the author. [+] Maharashtra CM Fadnavis says Government has no plan to ban goat slaughter. [+] Telangana police encounters 5 terror accused. Ignored because Supreme Court guidelines on encounter already Published under polity section. Beyond that, no much point in choosing one incident here and there.
Ignored [+] Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s demand that Muslims be disenfranchised to end vote-bank politics.[+] Baba Ramdev given cabinet minister status in Haryana.
Ignored Kerala state’s new liquor policy: only 5 star hotels can sell liquor. So 4 star walla went to SC. Ignored because basic already covered under polity article. [+] Rajnath gets stuck in elevator. [+] Fabindia vs. Smriti Irani Spying. [+] PMO controls everything in India, says Tharoor while talking about his book INDIA SHASTRA.

AprW3-Polity, Governance

P Only Merger of Six Janata Parivar parties: Samajwadi Party (Mulayam Singh), H.D. Deve Gowda (Janata Dal-S), Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal-United), Om Prakash Chautala (Indian National Lok Dal) , Kamal Morarka (Samajwadi Janata Party) and Lalu (RJD) ⇒ Name, flag, symbol, policy and party programme are yet to be decided by the committee. It’ll have 30 MPs In Rajya sabha so, they’ll be will be the third largest bloc behind the Congress (68) and the BJP (47) in the Rajya Sabha. But in Lok Sabha they’ll be eighth largest party with only 15 members.
P Only Madhya Pradesh judge SK Gangele is accused of Sexually harassing another lady judge. 58 Rajya Sabha MP put a motion to impeach him. Now Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari has set up a three-member panel to investigate the matter. Chairman of Committee: Supreme Court judge Vikramjit Sen. Members: CJI of Calcutta High Court, and jurist K.K. Venugopal.
P Only Patna Highcourt completes 100 years. Following famous persons associated with this court: Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Shri Syed Hasan Imam (President of INC, 1918), Dr. Sachchidanand Sinha (1st President of Constitution assembly). CJI hailing from Panta HC: Justice B.P. Sinha, Justice Lalit Mohan Sharma and Justice R.M. Lodha.
M+I Government decided to make P.Sathasivam the new chairman of NHRC after After exit of existing chiarman, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan. P Sathasivam is ex-CJI and present governor of Kerala. PIL filed in Supreme Court against this move. Reasons ⇒ government did not consider any other candidate such as Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.H. Kapadia. ⇒ Justice Sathasivam will have conflict of interest, because he will always owe a debt of gratitude to the government for having appointed him Governor of Kerala.
OLF CrPC Section 197 provides that  court can take cognisance of criminal charges against a public servant only after competent authority has given sanction for prosecution. SC says this provision is meant to protect honest officers from harassment, and not for delaying the action against the corrupt officials.
OLF SC orders in favor of female make-up artist Charu Khurana to join Mumbai’s professional association for make up artists. Without joining this body, one couldn’t work in Bollywood / regional film industry. however, for a long time this association and prevented the entry of women. Charu Khurana has even worked on Obama and Modi.
OLF 21st April: Civil Services Day celebration. Modi wisdom ⇒ Bureaucrat’s life should not remain confined to files, they need turn adversities into opportunities. ⇒ Political interference and intervention are not the same thing. Political interference will ruin the system but Political intervention is necessary and inevitable in a democracy. ⇒ National unity means an end to the digital divide, urban-rural divide, and all forms of socio-economic inequities. ⇒ Goldman Sachs report says India would take 10 years to reach the Asian average on government effectiveness, therefore we must focus on administrative reforms.
OLF Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi wants a Child Labour (Amendment) Bill, 2012 with following reforms: ⇒ Ban all forms of child labour upto 14 age, not just “hazardous industries” but in all industries. ⇒ Stringent punishment if child employed for ‘begging’. ⇒ Accountability of factory inspectors and labour inspectors, and if children are found working within their jurisdiction, they must be held responsible. ⇒ child labour be made a cognisable and nonbailable offence, so that even the common man can report such cases and action can be taken immediately. ⇒ norms for Proper rehabilitation of both children and their parents. ⇒ fix Right to education act and stop commercialization, privatization of education. ⇒ Quality of education must be improved not just number of new students enrolled.
OLF Hindu report says 20k+ died in naxal fight since 1980- However most of them were civilians. Not policeman, not naxalites, but civilians.
OLF Union Cabinet approved changing juvenile law. Teens between 16-18 ages be tried as adults for heinous crimes such as murder and rape. But Juvenile Justice Board (including psychologists and social experts) will decide on case by case basis, whether given teenager should be tried a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult.
OLF PIL filled against songs like ‘Chaar botal vodka’ and ‘Mai alcoholic hoon- Because they glorify the use of alcohol. Delhi HC seeks Government response whether to ban them or not, even if CENSOS board has approved them.
Ignored ⇒ Rahulbaba accuses Modi of launching land ordinance to help corporates, who helped Modi in election funding and running a suit boot ki sarkar ⇒ Government refuses RTI on showing decision making process on land ordinance/bill. The RTI campaigner approaches CIC. ⇒ Home ministry drops name of Indira and Rajiv from ‘Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Puraskar’ and ‘Rajiv Gandhi Rashtriya Gyan-Vigyan Maulik Pustak Lekhan Puraskar’. These awards are given for Promoting Hindi language. ⇒ After merger of janta parties, now rumors of merging Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India. Hindu gone crazier than usual. ⇒ Maharashtra Government justifies its cow-slaughter ban saying Beef eating is not a fundamental right. Ignored because basics, pros and cons already covered in excel file. ⇒ NJAC PIL in supreme court ball by ball.⇒ Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam Bhat arrested for hoisting Pakistani flag in Kashmir. His arrest leads to violent protests ⇒ AAP removes Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra “look at my gamchhaa” Yadav. ⇒ Modi warns RSS and BJP leaders Not to make any irresponsible statements. ⇒ Most of the church damage cases were petty theft issues without any political or religious motives. ⇒ St. Stephen’s student Devansh Mehta vs. his professor. ⇒ Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case. ⇒ CPI condemns Majoritarian vigilantism. ⇒ Rajasthan farmer cum turban tieing specialist cum ex-SP leader & present AAP worker Gajendra Singh commits suicide at AAP rally in Delhi.
Ignored Feb-2014: Government setup Committee to relook into “official secrets act 1923” in the wake of Right to information act. Committee includes Secretaries from Home, law, Personnel Department. Ignored till anything concrete comes out
Ignored Gujarat HC rejects rape victim’s plea to abort 7 months old fetus, saying it’s against the law. Orders collector to take responsibility of the child. Ignored because now Government thinking of amending the law. Final outcome awaited. ⇒ Akshay Tritiya associated with (1) gold purchase (2) childmarriage. So, gujarat, rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh state officials on extra vigilance to curb child marriage this time.

Environment, Biodiversity & Agriculture

Current Affairs Environment

AprW1&2-Environment
P Only Chestnut-breasted Partridge (Arborophila mandellii). This bird is endemic to the Eastern Himalayas. IUCN status: Vulnerable. In news because after a long time, photograph of real bird taken in Arunanchal Pradesh.
P Only The air quality in Delhi and Mumbai will be “very poor” in the next few days, due to a dust storm (Arabic word ‘haboob’). This Haboob originated in the Gulf region last week. According to Parts of Maharashtra continue to suffer low visibility due to the after-effects of last week’s major sandstorm in the Gulf region. System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) is a body under the Ministry of Earth Science. SAFAR has predicted above Haboob problem will increase PM2.5 particles level in Air.
P Only Oldenlandia dineshi – shrub with dark blue flowers, discovered in Nelliyamaparthy hills, Western Ghats, Kerala. IUCN classification; Endangered species.
P Only Important carbon sink: (1) forest (2) Ocean (3) Soil. But due to excessive use of concrete in cities, no soil left. Why Is it bad? (1) urban heat islands created. (2) rainwater can’t percolate down. so groundwater aquifers can’t recharge fully.
P Only From 1896 to 2013- there were sporadic cases of red coloured rain over Kerala and Sri Lanka. New research says it was caused by European species of green microalgae, Trentepohlia annulata. It spread its red-colored spores (like plant seeds) in very large area. So those red spores must have transported from Europe to India, via clouds that drift across the Arabian Sea.
P Only Female insects produce sex pheromones to attract males for mating. In Integrated pest management, similar artificial chemicals are used as fake sex-pheromones are to trap/kill male insects. This technique is called Attracticide. But this will yield result only if all males are trapped, else some of them mate with females then population will sustain.
P Only Typhoon Maysak: In Pacific ocean, moving towards Philippines.
P Only Andhra officials kill 20 Tamilian Red sander smugglers in Seshachalam forest in Tirumala hills. Red sander: latin name Pterocarpus Santalinus. found in Dry deciduous forest. Used for dye, medicine. Fetches 20-40 lakhs. Protests in Tamilnadu for human rights violation and fake encounter.
P Only As such Lion-tailed macaques found only in the Silent Valley area. But few of them loitering in Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollam, Kerala.
P Only Osmania University researchers find new species of spiders at Nagnur in Karimnagar district. Name: Telangana crab spider (Thomisus telanganensis). Crab spiders because they walk like crabs. Also called Flower spiders because they don’t construct webs. They wait in flowers to catch insects by venom sting. They benefit ecosystem by working as biocontrol agents against insects.
P Only March Week4: To stop the nuisance of >8500 Monkeys in Delhi, municipal corporation will install ‘power fencing’ or ‘simian tape’ around Government buildings. The fence will give a very low voltage shock to the animal, so it doesn’t die but just gets scarred off. New Development: [+] Some Animal rights group sent legal notice to them saying electric shock amounts to animal cruelty. [+] on the other hand, Forest Department of Delhi warns people not to feed monkeys at public places else they’ll be fined.
P Only South Korea’s Seoul declared Global Earth Hour Capital 2015. While Thane declared as National Earth Hour Capital for India, because of it’s focus on clean energy and waste Management practices.
P Only W.Bengal got was thinking of electric fences to reduce man-elephant conflicts in Tea Estates of Sonitpur. but since its costly, now they’ll do “Bio-fencing” using thorny bamboos.
P Only Many trees shed their leaves to survive harsh weather conditions. Trees that lose all of their leaves for part of the year are known as deciduous trees. . Temperate forests: trees shed their leaves during autumn as cold weather approaches. Tropical and subtropical forests: trees shed their leaves at the onset of the dry season. Under Abscission process, trees shed leaves to conserve water and energy during Harsh weather. At the start of the abscission process, they reabsorb nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates from their leaves and store them for later use in their branches or roots.
P+M Modi launches National Air Quality Index (AQI) for 10 cities. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will publish this index. It has 6 level color coded scale that shows air quality and subsequent health problems. It measure six pollutants: PM 2.5, PM10, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide. Plus lead and ammonia. Criticism: no automated actions if air quality deteriorates. For example, Paris banned 50% of vehicles and gave free public transport last month. Other basics already covered in my article 5 months ago http://mrunal.org/2014/11/pollution-national-air-quality-index-safar-technology-parafoil-drone.html
P+M Water resource ministry setup BN Navalawala taskforce for interlinking of rivers.
OLF NGT bans all diesel vehicles above 10 years Age in Delhi, because they are a major reason for pollution. Because air pollution kills 6.2 lakh people every year and consequent economic loss.
OLF NGT (1) bans 10 year old diesel vehicles (2) bans hawkers and cycle-rickshaw wallas because they congest and delay traffic thereby increasing pollution (3) fine on builders and transporters if they don’t take due diligence to prevent dust pollution during construction e.g. giving dust mask to workers, covering trucks containing construction material etc. I’m not going into details because daily new thing comes up in NGT vs Delhi. No point in preparing half page note on each them.
OLF NHAI wants to expand NH7 highway between Pench and Kanha Tiger Reserves. Area full of sal trees and good tiger population. Arguments against road / linear projects through tiger reserves (1) ‘edge effects’ — the ecology around the road gets depleted through loss of vegetation and refuge, alien invasive species are introduced, and ecosystem services are displaced. [+] Ancillary threats such as more cars, and light and air pollution. [+] Tigers freeze when light falls on them. Most animals can’t fathom speed and size of car, hence accident. Animals move in herds and have deep bonds; they too suffer distress when a member dies.
OLF Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) to setup long-term permanent monitoring plots in Sunderbans, with help of Botanical Survey of India (BSI), to study climate change impact on mangroves.
OLF PIL in SC seeks to ban use of elephants in temples, processions etc. because it’s one type of animal cruelty. Ignored till verdict comes.
OLF Under rotational farming, the farmers in Delhi region burn rice remanants to harvest wheat and vice versa. this is a major contributor to air pollution, activists want NGT to take action.
OLF Wildlife institute of India, is an autonomous body under MoEF, launches initiative for allowing PSU and Companies to adopt endangered species such as Great Indian bustard, Gharial, Lesser Florican, Snow Leopard etc. Spendings will be counted under CSR in Companies Act 2013. This is because Budget 2015 reduced funding by 25%.
Ignored Maharashtra = #1 in soild waste generation says Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Maharastra planning to restart mining in Konkan-Sindhudurg region for iron ore, bauxite, silica, dolomite, china clay etc. but activists say it’ll hurt tourism potential.
Ignored Odisha has three tiger reserves — Similipal, Satakosia and Sunabeda. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) says only 28 tigers left but Odisha state Government maintains they’ve 60 tigers.
Ignored Under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), NGOs must report their income to Home ministry and can’t spend beyond 50% of foreign funds on Administrative expenses. But Greenpeace violated both and simultaneously campaigning against Madhya Pradesh coal mines at UK. Therefore, Home ministry has frozen account of this NGO.
Ignored NGOs file PIL to seek humane treatment to animals in Pet shops.

AprW3-Environment, Agro

P Only UN report: largest e-waste generating nations U.S., China, Japan, Germany and India is 5th
P Only IUCN classifies total 988 threatened species into critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species. Number kept Increasing over the years. India is in seventh position- 15 more species added to Red list.
P Only National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) gives in-principle approval for tiger reserves in (1) Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh (2) Sunabeda in Odisha (3) Guru Ghasidas in Chhattisgarh.
P Only Montreal Protocol 35th working group meeting in Bangkok. Main debate: how to phase down hydro-florocarbons. In UNFCCC, Development countries get funding for shifting to green technology. But Montreal protocoal silent on that.
P Only Why do most of the clouds move from south to north direction over our subcontinent? ⇒ Clouds move according to wind pattern. ⇒ Wind is caused due to difference in temperatures and pressures. ⇒ Factors affecting wind movement: latitude, proximity of water bodies, sea shore, land undulations and rotation of earth. ⇒ Breeze: Usually land is warmer than  water bodies. So hot air from land rises up. And wind blows from sea towards land, to fill up that Airmass. In India, southern parts surroduned by sea. Hence wind and clouds move from south towards north.
P Only The Indian Mackerel — Rastrelliger kanagurta — is an important food fish commonly consumed in South Asia. The fish is commonly found in warm shallow waters along the coasts of the Indian and West Pacific oceans. But Indian Mackerel fishes collected from Andaman waters are genetically distinctive from those caught from the Indian mainland. Now Central Marine Fish Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi Has begin their genetic profiling. It will help in better fisheries management
P Only Until now, researchers believed that southern slopes of the Himalayas act as a barrier. So, pollutants and aerosols can’t transport from India towards China. However, recent data shows that aerosols from forest fires, are able to cross this barrier. Scientists used presence of dicarboxylic acids to make this discovery. dicarboxylic acids are produced by biomass burning, vehicular exhausts and cooking. Biomass burning increases during pre-monsoon time
P Only Hyderabad herpetology researcher Aditya Srinivasulu found new gecko species in Hampi ruins in Karnataka. Hampi is a World Heritage site. This new gecko named Cnemaspis adii. regular geckos have vertical pupils but this new geckho has round pupils. It roams during day time. This is the first “day gecko” found in the central regions of peninsular India between Eastern and Western Ghats.
P Only North Korea’s highest Mountain is Mt.Paektu. In news because their leader Kim Jong Un climbed it. location becomes important for world geography MCQ
P Only Department of revenue intelligence begins operation sesha (short form of Seshachalam forest). Purpose: to catch red sanders smugglers with help of 17 countries using CITES convention.
P+M B.N. Navalawala taskforce on inter linking of rivers. Navalawala is an ex-Water Resources Secretary. He gave following wisdom so far ⇒ Water surplus states, will be interested in giving water to deficit states, only if there is some mechanism to compensate them. ⇒ Intra basin transfer also important i.e. within the state, we share water from one river to another. ⇒ task force will first focus on- Ken-Betwa link between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh; Daman Ganga-Pinjar Par-TapiNarmada links between Maharashtra and Gujarat. ⇒ mark above rivers and locations in your school atlas, for prelims MCQs. ⇒ Kerala, Odisha and Karnataka opposed to water linking. ⇒ need to transfer water from Godavari and Mahanadi to south’s deficit regions.
M+I 2007: planning commission came up with guidelines for NGOs. But they were not implemented. 2015: given the controversy surrounding Greenpeace, Ford Foundation and other NGOs, perhaps we need to setup an NGO-accreditation agency. Anti ⇒ NGOs are not like hotel industry or university where you can give rankings. Pro ⇒ it will help the global donors to decide which NGOs are worth helping based on their performance record. ⇒ this will motivate All NGOs are work in their best capacity.
OLF National Green Tribunal had banned 15 years old vehicles from Delhi. Petition filed against the order in Supreme Court, but SC ruled in favour of NGT.
OLF Government plans to install 182 metre Sardar Patel Statue on Sadhu Bet island on the Narmada. But NGOs went to NGT saying EIA norms violated and site is on an active tectonic plate in a fault line area, thus Prone to disasters. ⇒ Narmada wetlands area to be notified under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010. So no construction activity can take place.
Ignored IMD forcast 3% less rainfall this year, because of El Nino conditions over the southwest monsoon. Ignored because El nino already covered in old article

Science Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare

AprW1&2- Science-tech
Defense P Only Project 75 aims to develop submarine with joint India-France collaboration. Six screened submarine inaugurated at Mazagon Dock. First submarine is named Kalvari, the Tiger shark. Features of Scorpene submarines: They’re more stealthy and can dive deeper than others. They’re loaded with precision guided weapons, anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes. Multiple utility- anti-ship, anti-submarine, intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance etc. They’ll help in making “Blue water navy”- a force capable of operating in deep ocean in multiple theatres simultaneously.
Defense P Only Factoid#1: Radar uses high frequency radio waves. They’re electromagnetic waves, can travel long distance in air because they’re not much absorbed by air molecules. However, Radar sent in water, then it can hardly travel beyond meter because water will absorb those electromagnetic waves. Therefore, we can’t use radar to track objects in water. Factoid#2: Sonar uses high frequency sound waves. They’re mechanical waves, they don’t lose energy even after traveling long distance in water. So we use Sonar to track objects in water.
Defense OLF Lt.Cmdr M.S. Kohli led the first Indian expedition to climb Mount Everest. 2015 Mark’s 50th anniversary Of this accomplishment. So, Army will send a 30-member team to clean up 4000 kg of non-biodegradable waste from Mt. Everest, under Modi’s Swatch Bharat mission.
Defense OLF UPA Government enacted defense offset policy 2005. If a foreign mfg. enters deal over Rs.300 crores in India, he has to reinvest 30% of the money Contact money in India. Modi planning to relax this norm, to boost FDI And promote make in India.
Defense P+M Achievements of CSIR’s national aerospace laboratory. [+] DHVANI (Detection and Hit Visualization using Acoustic N-wave Identification). This system helps training defense and sportsmen for marksmanship. Costs 40% less than other system [+] DHRISTI: first indigenous transmissometer for measuring runway visibility
Defense P Only [+] BSF will get Russian built Mi-17 V5 medium lift choppers. They’ll help moving troops and supplies during anti-naxal operations, even during night. [+] India successfully test-fired the nuclear capable Dhanush missile. It’s a naval variant of Prithvi 3 Missile.
Defense OLF Present limits in FDI: 49% Automatic, 75% if foreign firm agrees for technology transfer. 100% if new technology involved. {—Pro-FDI arguments—} Desi PSU, DRDO et al failed to meet targets. Private companies more efficient in deadlines and they can generate more jobs, transfer some of the technology to India. [+] Else we’ll have to import hardware worth over 200 billion$ in upcoming years. {—Anti-FDI—} Foreign companies always looking for repeat orders. Since this is difficult in military hardware they’re usually averse to transferring technology to India. [+] For example, Indian govt. has 30% offset requirement on Foreign defense contracts. (50% for high-value contracts). Meaning, Foreign supplier must spend 30% the contracted value within India through local manufacture and services. This also demotivates foreign companies. Same reason MiG series, the Jaguar, and various French helicopters were made in India but not much technology transferred to India. [+] we must focus on Made by India rather than Make in India.
IT/electronics OLF 2016: Wikipedia will become 15 years old. Its birth destroyed the business of paper book version of Encyclopaedia Britannica. A Wiki is a webpage with easy editing and Content Management facility, that even novice users to quickly build. Wikipedia has >24 million contributors ,but problem of vandalism and mischief, even after strict user controls and moderation.
IT/electronics P+M In USA, number “911”is meant for handling all types of emergencies. But in India, we’ve 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102/108 for ambulance and so on. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommends to shift to system of only one emergency number “112”. It’ll deal with all emergency services in the country. TRAI will setup Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to route calls from 112 to police, ambulance etc.
IT/electronics P+M Net Neutrality: TRAI consultation paper proposes that Viber, Whatsapp etc. are Over-the-Top (OTT) Services. So then TRAI may try to regulate them by issuing license similar to spectrum. This will kill startup companies and innovation. Ignored because it’s still a consultation paper and no final verdict is reached. [+] Airtel launches “Airtel Zero” program, under which, if a web-company agrees to pay money on behalf of people, Airtel will show that site free to its mobile customers without charging any money for data usage. This goes against the spirit of the net neutrality because start-up companies cannot of course such model, and facebook-youtube etc. will corner all the visitors with lure of free access from mobile. [+] Flipkart decides not to join Airtel Zero, after opposition in Social media. Although Airtel maintains that it’ll be a toll free data service, it is not meant for countering Net neutrality. [+] Chile, the Netherlands, Brazil have already adopted Net neutrality. USA consider internet as public utility and thereby believes the net neutrality. [+] Essay Topic: Debate on net neutrality is a disguised debate on the principle of a free market.
IT/electronics OLF E-gov: Lucknow police launches an “Octcacopter” drone with 8 cameras and ability to spray pepper and chilly powder on rioting mob. And, Public CCTV project ‘Nazar Ek Ummed’ and ‘Drishti’.
IT/electronics OLF After SC revoked Section 66A from IT Act, Security agencies are worried that crooks will indulge in antisocial and antinational activities on Internet e.g. last year baseless rumor mongering led to riots in UP and migration of North Eastern people from rest of India. Therefore, Government has setup a special Committee under Ashok Prasad to look into the issue and suggests suitable amendment to Indian penal code (IPC).
Medical OLF Dilip Gandhi, BJP MP and head of the panel on subordinate legislation for tobacco control. He owns bid making business and even said tobacco doesn’t cause cancer therefore, no need to increase pictorial size to 85% of packet. Modi says its fault of parliament ethics Committee that such person with vested interest it put on the panel.
Medical OLF Imported medical devices are very expensive and Constitute upto 75% of patient’s bill in complex diseases. Earlier President Dr.Kalam had developed Kalam-Raju Stent that could be produced for ~5000 rupees. Sten is a small tube that can strengthen weak arteries. But His product did not receive enough recognition or production. India should focus on such medical devices in “Make in India”.
Medical P Only X-ray radiation causes damage to skin and even leads to cancer. So scientists came up with Linear No Threshold (LNT) hypothesis. It says response to radiation is proportional to dose without a threshold. In other words, even very small amount of radiation can cause damage. However, new research doubts this hypothesis, and even says sometimes small dose is beneficial for cell adaptation.
Medical P+M NeHA portal: National eHealth Authority, By union health Ministry. It will provide centralised online database of medical history, lab reports of all patients across India. That way even if patient changes doctor, he need not undergo all medical tests again. It will sell considerable amount of money and time wasted otherwise.
Medical P+M Law Commission 256th report, to end Discrimination of leprosy patients (aka Hensen’s disease). 1980s: multidrug therapy programme to treat leprosy. 2005: Leprosy cases on rise again, every year new 1.35 lakh cases, because public Expenditure shifted towards AIDS and cancer. India has 58% of world patients [+] 1898: ‘Lepers’ Act permits segregation of lepers into separate asylums. Later, many state laws also permit authorities to forcefully take them to Leper colonies and mental Institutions. [+] Leprosy is even a valid ground for divorce under personal laws of India. [+] LIC charges higher higher premium rates from persons with leprosy. They’re banned from Contesting election in local bodies in many states. [+] Law commission gives a bill to end all such discriminations against leprosy victims, Remove the word “Leper” and Provide them reservation under physically disabled category, right to driving license, school admission, job, free legal aid etc.
Medical OLF Indian Medical Association (IMA) asks Doctors to [+] prescribe only cheapest generic drugs but without compromising on quality. [+] Doctors shall write drugs with generic name in capital letters, and the name of the pharmaceutical company or the brand in brackets. [+] Hopefully combined this with Centre’s Jan Aushadhi Scheme to sell generic medicines, we can hope people will get cheaper drugs in India
Medical OLF [+] A survey says 50%+ Indians do self-medication on advice of chemists or internet, instead of visiting Doctor. End result: antibiotic resistance, and health problems for taking wrong drugs. [+] CIC orders Delhi Government to notify all Doctors that “two finger” test not necessary on rape victims, and doctor must not pass observations like “rape occurred/ did not occur” etc. in verbal written reports.
Medical P+M Silicosis is a fibrotic lung disorder caused by inhalation of crystalline silica / quartz by from mining, stone crushing, quarrying, gem cutting etc. activities. and quarrying activities. Over 30 lakh workers affected in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Karnataka. NHRC report 2011 asked for reforms like masks, medical facilities, insurance etc. for the workers and necessary amendments in relevant factory-Labour acts. But ground realities not changed much.
Medical Ignored Indian pharma cos working on “candidate drugs” for malaria, osteoporosis and diabetes. Ignored because nothing concrete out yet.
Medical P Only Apollo Hospitals designs ‘OncoCollect’ software to track cancer treatment and costs.
Space-tech Ignored CERN restart Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project. Ignored because basics already covered in way old article.
Space-tech P Only 2015’s first Lunar eclipse on 4th April. Although not visible in North East.
Space-tech Ignored IRNSS-1D reaches its space home. Ignored because basics of IRNSS Desi GPS already

AprW3-Science Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare

Defense P Only INS Visakhapatnam is Navy’s stealth destroyer under project 15B ⇒ Admiral R. K. Dhowan’s wife Minu Dhowan launched it. ⇒ made with the help of SAIL & Mazgaon Docks Limited. ⇒ 70% components are indigenous. But propulsion system imported from Russia. ⇒ Will be fully operational in 2018.
IT/electronics OLF Indian-origin researchers have developed a new car safety system that can anticipates what the driver is going to do a few seconds in advance. This will help accidents and traffic violations.
IT/electronics OLF ChihiraAico in Toshiba’s android operated Robot receptionist in Tokyo mall to welcome customers. At present it cannot answer any questions but only recite the recorded audio.
IT/electronics OLF ⇒ TRAI receives millions of mails to protect net neutrality. ⇒ Flipkart, Cleartrip, Times Group and NDTV decide not to join Facebook-led Internet.org, in order to placate the advocates of ‘net neutrality’. ⇒ Mark Zuckerberg advocates that net neutrality and universal connectivity (through zero rating= free access to selected sites) can coexist. Because if someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all. ⇒ Net Neutrality advocates want to prevent prevent the “most disadvantaged people in society” from gaining access to internet. ⇒ if digital divide is reduced, social inclusion will increase.
IT/electronics OLF Delhi Police becomes first law enforcement agency in the world to offer the online registration of criminal cases. They’ve Created an e-police station under Crime Branch for registration theft cases via a mobile-cum-web app. ⇒ Delhi police also running “Op. Milap initiative” to trace missing children.
IT/electronics Ignored Google comes up with new web utility ‘Find my phone’. So, if you misplace your phone in car/house, It will help you get an approximate location. ⇒ “Google Handwriting Input” app launched. It allows users to ‘write’ on a smartphone, Even with their fingers. Can interpret letters from 82 languages and transforms them into standard digital text. Users can use their fingers as well to write ⇒ At present electronic power adapters are made according to the European and Korean designs. But BIS wants them to shift to Indian standards. electronic hardware industry seeks more time to adopt this reform. ⇒ India ranks second in cyber attacks through social media
IT/electronics OLF Uttarakhand government plans to use the radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to track pilgrims. This will help in quicker delivery of food/water/supplies. And quicker rescue during disasters using Geographical Information System (GIS)-based mapping application.
IT/electronics OLF Google coverers 90% of online search engine traffic. Gmail is the second most used e-mail service after Hotmail. >75% Smart phones are run from android OS. Google-owned YouTube is the leader in online video. Now, EU has launched an anti-trust case against google, Alleging that Google’s presentation of e-commerce search results favours its own shopping service over rivals. If Charges are to, EU can levy fines of up to 10% Google’s revenues. ⇒ Although there is good chance, google will hire a high-profile lawyers who’ll stall the case forever.
IT/electronics P Only Union Ministry for Development of North East Region (DoNER)’s website wins “Web Ratna Award 2014”. Award given by Union Ministry of Information Technology (IT).
Medical P Only Kyasanur Forest Disease virus(KFDV) is found in Kyasanur Forest in Karnataka. 1957- first time the virus reported from monkey. ⇒ Hosts: Rodents, shrews, and monkeys. ⇒ Reservoirs: Hard ticks (Hemaphysalis spinigera). They get virus via suck blood from hosts. ⇒ Animals infected: goats, cows, sheep. But themselves don’t transmit the infection much. ⇒ Can human get this disease? Yes (1) if bitten by ticks (2) if contact of those infected animals. But one infected human cannot infect another human. It doesn’t get transmitted via even unpasteurised milk. Why in news? Because National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi began investigating the outbreak of KFDV in Goa.
Medical P Only How knuckle cracking produces popping sound? New research says this happens because  when joint surfaces suddenly separate due to distraction force (or pulling force) and there is less amount of synovial fiuid to fill the suddenly expanded joint volume. Thus a cavity or bubble is formed, and sound is produced
Medical OLF Pharma Jan Samadhan: for redressal related to medincine e.g. overpriced, refusal to sell, new drug without approval etc.
Medical OLF AIIMS doctors use laser to destroy specific brain area responsible for uncontrolled epilepsy. This is the first time applied technique and it was minimal surgery And just a single stitch.
Medical P Only Goa Psychiatrist Vikram Patel named in Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world For his research on linking mental disorders and poverty in third world Countries.
Medical OLF Under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 only a licensed retailer can sell Prescription drugs. However, Snapdeal was selling Ascoril cough syrup and Vigora tablets online without license. The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) begins investigation.
Medical P Only How do tears form when we get emotional? ⇒ Tears are produced in the lacrimal glands. They flow through the excretory ducts into the space between the eyeball and the lids. ⇒ The para-sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system controls it. the lacrimal glands. Benefits of Tears? ⇒ Basal tears keep eye ball lubricated and dust free. Such tears are known as basal tears. ⇒ They’ve antibodies to fight against microbes. ⇒ Reflex tears help to wash out insect, onion vaour etc. from eye. ⇒ Emotional tears have Different chemical composition then above stated tears. Emotional tears controlled by hypothalamus. During stress, extra proteins and “prolactin” hormones are produced. Emotional tears flush out these Toxics substances, and the person feels better after crying. ⇒ Since women bodies produce more “prolactin”, hence they cry often. ⇒ birds and sea animals use tears to remove salt from their body
Sci-Tech P Only Maglev (magnetic levitation) train is propelled by electrically charged magnets, hence it hovers 10 cms above tracks instead of touching them. Topic in news, because Japanese Maglav train crossed 600 kmph mark in Mt.Fuji. By 2045, maglev trains are expected to link Tokyo and Osaka in ~1 hour.
Sci-Tech P Only George de HEVESY won Nobel Chemistry prize (1943) for his research on isotops. Professor Susanta Lahiri of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, received the  Hevesy Medal Award 2015 for his lifelong contribution to Radio analytical research. He is a co-creator of super heavy element 117
Space-tech Ignored Rosetta Mission scientists found that comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko may not have a magnetic field.
Space-tech P Only NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sends first colour image of the dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon Charon.
Space-tech P Only Hubble Space Telescope: ⇒ joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) ⇒ located 552 kms above earth using “discovery” space shuttle. ⇒ Launched in 1990. So 2015 = 25th anniversary. ⇒ Has Wide Field Camera 3. Can see in multiple wavelengths — near-infrared, visible light and near-ultraviolet. ⇒ Took photos of Eagle Nebula’s “pillars of creation”.

History-Culture

AprW1&2-History & Culture
P Only Festivals: Utkala Dibasa (Odisha), Mahavir Jayanti (Jain), Easter (Christians), Vaisakhi, Vishu, Puthandu, Masadi, Vaishkhadi and Bahag Bihu
P+M Ramanuja- 11th century philosopher from Shrirangam, Tamilnadu. DMK leader Karunanidhi writing a script for a television series on him. Ramanuja was proponent of Visishtadvaita. Also known as Ilaya Perumal. He converted Jains to Hinduism, including Hoysala King Bittideva. More you should read on Britannica because of UPSC’s fondness to ask complex questions about Shankara, Vedanta etc. in MCQs.
P+M Dr. Ambedkar’s 124th birth anniversary on 14th April. His contribution to India, already covered in /history section article.
M+I 1908: Young turk movement seizes power in Ottoman Empire and sides with Germany. However, Russians defeated them at Battle of Sarikemish. Turks blamed Armenians for siding with Russian and began their genocide in the city of Van from 1915 to 1917. Many historians and even Pope in 2015 called it 20th Century’s 1st Genocide, although Turkey denies.
OLF India’s got official minorities: Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsees, Jains and Anglo-Indians. Only Anglo Indians defined by defined by their bloodline, remaining by their religion. During East India company’s Raj, Anglo-Indians were given preferential jobs in the police and the railways. But they were denied entry in Armed forces except for petty non-combat jobs as drummers etc. because Company believed they lacked the martial traits because of their “inferior” bloodline. – says a new book on Anglo Indians.
OLF 2500: Assyrian ruled over Iran-Mediterranean region. They worshiped in temples, and installed huge reliefs showing their kings. ISIS began destroying such monuments in Nimrud (Iraq) saying idol worship prohibited in Islam. UNESCO world heritage city Hatra (Iraq) also destroyed. They’re also selling artifacts in black market to finance their war operations.
OLF 6th Century: Hagia Sofia was a Christian Byzantine church in Istanbul, Turkey. 1453: Ottoman kings converted into mosque. 1930s: Secular President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk converted into museum. But 2015: a Muslim cleric recited Koran in Hagia Sofia. “Secular” Turks not happy with this, hence it seems theHindu is also “outraged”.
Ignored JERUSALEM: A burial tomb found. Some archaeologist claim it contains bones of Jesus. Others call it scam.
Ignored Nehru spied on Subhachandra Bose’s relatives during 1948-68, according to the declassified files from intelligence bureau that are now put into National Archives. Now even Bhagat Singh relatives allege spying on them.
Ignored Agra District court admitted petition to convert Taj Mahal into Shiva temple.

AprW3-History & Culture

P Only Last king of Awadh -Wajid Ali Shah had keen interest astrology, he even prepared calendars in Persian script for marriages and other important events. In news because his calendar is on display in museum for first time.
P Only Noted historian Irfan Habib Criticises Haryana Government’s wasteful expenditure to rediscover Saraswati river. His arguments are ⇒ Present “Sarsuti” river Does not have the features mentioned in ancient texts. ⇒ The local legends claim the invisible Saraswati joins the Ganga-Yamuna Sangam, exactly at Prayag. So, despite the fact that Haryana’s natural slope is south-westerly, officials are digging towards South-East. ⇒ Ancient texts suggest, Saraswati flowed down to the Rann of Kutch, parallel to the Indus. So Prayag can’t be in Saraswati’s course. ⇒ The Rigveda in its River Hymn (X. 75.5) puts Saraswati without any adjectives between the Yamuna and Shutudri (Sutlej).
P Only HASAN ABDAL is a small town in PAKISTAN near Islamabad. Panja Sahib Gurdwara has imprints of Guru Nanak’s hand. Each year millions of Foreign Sikhs come to visit but Pakistani Sikhs afraid due to violence against minorities, by radical muslim outfits.
P Only Kedarnath, the most remote of the four Char Dham sites, in the Himalayas. ~12000 ft above seal level. Near Chorabari Glacier at the head of river Mandakini. Two years back, Uttarakhand Tsunami/flash floods damaged its temple. Now Rahul Gandhi paying a visit.
P+M After British tookover Punjab and snatched Kohinoor diamond, they deported royal prince Duleep Singh to London where he married a german lady. Their child was named Princess Sophia Who worked for ⇒ Voting rights for women “Suffragette movement” ⇒ Was in touch with Indian freedom fighters Gopalkrishna Gokhale, Sarala Devi and Lala Lajpat Rai. ⇒ helped wounded Indian soldiers in WW1.
Ignored Eminent Historian Sabyasachi Bhattacharya resigns from as Chief Editor from Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) saying right wing people trying to re-write history and he can’t stand it.

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