[Current Topiclist] April Week4 (22 to 30th): Diplomacy, Economy, Polity, Environment & Culture

Current Affairs Topiclist

[Current Topiclist] April Week4 (22 to 30th): Diplomacy, Economy, Polity, Environment & Culture

  1. Abbreviations
  2. April Week4-IR/diplomacy
  3. April Week4-Economy
  4. April Week4-Polity, Governance
  5. April Week4-Environment, Agro
  6. April Week4-Science Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare
  7. April Week4-History & Culture
  8. Download Excel File

Abbreviations

This page contains important news and current affairs developments from theHindu and Indianexpress newspaper and similar sources. Since UPSC civil service examination is conducted in three stages viz. Prelims (CSAT), Mains and Interview, the News topics are classified accordingly for faster revision. Here is the abbreviation table for reference:

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.

April Week4-IR/Diplomacy

P+M SriLanka planning: ⇒ to have its own RTI-right to information act.  ⇒ new election system that would combine features of the First Past The Post system and proportional representation (PR). Currently Sri Lanka is following proportional representation system.
P+M Sri Lanka adopts 19th Amendment. Features: ⇒ Term limits on President: 5 years x 2 terms. Earlier it was six years ⇒ Parliament’s term reduced from  6 years to 5 ⇒ Pres’s executive powers are reduced, with respect to dissolving parliament ⇒ Provisions for a separate Constitutional Council with MP and nonpolitical members ⇒ independence of Supreme Court ⇒ President remains the head of Cabinet. But, he’ll appoint Ministers on the advice of Prime Minister. ⇒ PM can determine the size of Cabinet, through referendum. ⇒ Independent Public service commission. Experts believe it will help getting minority Tamils get jobs in Government, unless Sri Lankan nakal-mafia leak papers on whatsapp ⇒ Current President Maithripala Sirisena  and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
M+I Visit of Afghanistan Pres. Dr. Ashraf Ghani to India. ⇒ we gave Cheetal helicopters (Without attack features) ⇒ he say ISIS bigger threat than other terrorist organisations ⇒ Despite Afghanistan Pakistan Transit and Trade Agreement (APTTA-2011), Pakistan does not allow Afghani trucks to reach India, because India is not part of the agreement. ⇒ Ghani threatens blocking Paki trucks moving towards Cenrtal Asia, if problem not sorted. ⇒ Way ahead for India- use Chabahar port and Delaram highway to access Afghanistan.
M+I 1997: Security partnership agreement between Japan and USA. 2015: agreement is updated Provision for collective defence i.e. Japanese forces can operate in any part of world, to defend US forces (even if Japan’s defense interests are not threatened. e.g. some anti-piracy/anti-terror operation in middle east) ⇒ USA to acknowledge the disputed Senkaku islands belong to Japan and not to China. (Chinese call’em Diaoyus island). ⇒ Japan calls this “proactive pacifism” and justifies it given China’s rising military and economic might in Asia. ⇒ China is opposed- quoting History that Japanese military would destabilise the Asia-Pacific region, as they had done in Imperial era.
M+I IBSA: India, Brazil and South Africa- is the trilateral grouping of three economic giants from Asia, Latin America and Africa. And all 3 worried about Chinese influence in the respective regions. ⇒ IBSA members seek permanent seat in UNSC. But over the years with growing importance of BRICS, the importance of IBSA is on decline. BRICS even considers itself a counterpoint to G7 nations. <–Problem–>: ⇒ India is becoming member of pretty much all international clubs but does not have time to extract maximum output from anyone. ⇒ UNSC has become a paper tiger, it failed to prevent Crimea, Syria, ISIS, Yemen crisis. So, IBSA nations should stop the obsession of becoming permanent members of UNSC. ⇒ IBSA Should have its own maritime doctrine- governing Indian Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean.
M+I Water diplomacy: ⇒ 1967 Arab Israel war: Major objective of Israel= to capture all the fresh water resources in the region ⇒ rivers originating from China flow through Indochina, South Asia and Kazakhstan and Russia. ⇒ But China is also the world’s leading dam-builder and the largest producer of hydropower.⇒ China’s Three Gorges Dam generates 22.5 gigawatts power. This is 3.5x time more than the second best project in world i.e. Grand Coulee project in the U.S. ⇒ China also helps other nations build dams, under its ‘soft diplomacy / project exports’. ⇒ but China never shares water with anyone. At max, just shares hydraulic data for flood forecast/disaster Management. But even for that datasharing, China asks money from recipient countr ⇒ Today China has >85,000 dams. But it also led to death of >2.5 lakhs and displacement of millions. ⇒ 20 Sub-saharan africa nations have sold their fertile land to foreign firms, but those firms are extracting groundwater for industrial purpose. ⇒ such water crisis even lead to political upheaval in Bolivia (1999) and Madagascar (2009) ⇒ 1997: Convention on the Laws of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. But this law is not strictly enforced
M+I 1955: Bandung Conference @Indonesia. To promote economic and cultural cooperation among African and Asian nations. China, Japan and India played key role in the summit. 2015: Asian African Conference held at the same place in Indonesia. India’s statement- we’ve launch “Act East” and “Renew Africa Policy” to focus on both Asia and Africa.
OLF (1) China planning to integrate Mongolia’s “Steepe road” and Russia’s “transcontinental railway plan” under China-Mongolia-Russia (CMR) economic corridor. (2) Same way, China plans to Integrate India’s ‘Spice Route’ and ‘Mausam’ projects within Bangladesh-ChinaIndia-Myanmar (BCIM). (3) China  developing China Pak Economic corridor (CPEC). And finally 1+2+3 = CMR + BCIM + CPEC will be integrated in the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative.
OLF Modi thinking about giving e-visa facility to Chinese nationals- to attract more tourists and investment in India ⇒ Actress Angelina Jolie is the special envoy for the U.N. on refugee issues. She has criticized UN Security Council for mishandling Syrian refugee problem.
OLF 1995: Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) peace pipeline talks started. 2009: India dropped out of the project under US pressure. 2015: Now Iran talking with energy pipeline to China via Gwadar port to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Ignored Peter Schweizer’s new book ‘Clinton Cash’ claims during 2008, then SP leader Amar Singh gave  and said that the 1-5 million US dollars to Clinton foundation. And in return, Hilary Clinton lobbied for Indo-US nuclear deal. In other words, Amar Singh may have acted as conduit.
Ignored Pak Terrorism: 10 attackers given life imprisonment for attacking Nobel peacewinner teenage activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012. Although mastermind is yet to be arrested. ⇒ Indonesia planning to execute foreigners caught smuggling narcotic drugs in its territory. Australia withdraws Ambassador in protests.

April Week4-Economy

Banking-Finance Ignored ⇒ SEBI directive to mutual fund companies- about informing customers the risk involved in a particular product. Before: Color coded labels: Blue (low), yellow (medium), brown(high risk) ⇒ after: A speedometer like riskometer with 5 levels low, moderately low, moderate, moderately high and high. ⇒ RBI relaxes norms for NBFCS so they can sell mutual fund products easily. ⇒ After TRAI directive: Telecom companies slash national roaming tariff and reduce rates for calls/SMS. ⇒ RBI orders banks to include `third gender’ in all forms. ⇒ HDFC launches separate home loan product for women called “Womenpower” ⇒ to increase the penetration of landline, BSNL will give unlimited free calls from BSNL landline to any operator/any mobile during night hours from 9PM to 7AM
Banking-Finance P Only Labour Ministry directs EPFO ⇒ to continue minimum Rs.1000 pension monthly to its subscribers. ⇒ Govt. allows EPFO to invest 5% of its corpus in stock market via exchange traded funds (ETF). Benefits: EPFO can earn higher, and via ETF government can easily disinvest. Although EPFO’s main body “Central Board of Trustees” is opposed to the idea.
Banking-Finance P+M Priority sector lending (PSL) basics covered in the PowerPoint L1/P5.pptx. Reserve Bank revises norms for priority sector lending: ⇒ Medium enterprises, social infrastructure and renewable energy included. ⇒ no more distinction between direct and indirect agriculture lending. ⇒ internal breakup: 8% loan money must go to small and marginal farmers, 7.5% to micro-enterprises, 10% to weaker sections ⇒ all this is to be done in a phased manner e.g. 7% now, 7.5% next year and so on. ⇒ foreign banks will <20 branchs- their loans to exporters, will also be counted under PSL. ⇒ at present, RBI assesses PSL performance on yearly basis, but now they’ll do it on quarterly basis (to prevent ‘march rush’).
Fiscal Policy P Only Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE)- is the apex body of the Central Government owned public enterprises. Members: Central public sector units, a few State Government enterprises and some nationalised banks.
Fiscal Policy OLF At present, RBI manages public debt. Both RBI and SEBI control bond market. Budget 2015 wanted to create separate public debt management agency (PDMA) and hand over RBI’s bond market regulation to SEBI. But since Rajanbhai opposed, the idea has been dropped. But now he dropped the idea saying, we will come up with a new framework later on. Most likely because Rajanbhai had opposed the idea. Basics of PDMA, Its benefits already covered in the lecture/powerpoint code L4/P2.pptx. ⇒ Rajya Sabha can only discuss on Finance bill, but they cannot vote on it. Therefore, Modi Government has even included some non-taxation proposals in the Finance Bill, so they can be passed without voting. Opposition complained about this to the speaker but she did not take action. ⇒ To combat against money laundering, IT department had created a 14 page complex ITR form seeking info. on foreign trips in foreign bank accounts. However given the opposition by people and corporates, Jaitley promised to come up with a new simpler ITR form.
Fiscal Policy Ignored Opposition walks out on GST bill. It is not because, features, pros and cons already covered in Lecture and powerpoint L4/P4.pptx.
Fiscal Policy OLF Delhi’s budget with junta participation: ⇒ Delhi divided into 12 blocks  x 20 crores for each. ⇒ further these 12 blocks divided into 40 parts, with 50 lakh for each. ⇒ juntaa meeting, voting and finally projects decided.
Fiscal Policy P Only NITI Ayog gets 2 more fulltime membes from Private sector:  Sanjeev Sanyal (Deutsche Bank’s global strategist, Singapore) and T V Mohandas Pai (Ex boardmember of Infosys and present chairman, Manipal Global Education). More mains/interview related details under economy section
Fiscal Policy P+M 1987: Ambani giving rich dividends to shareholders but not paying any taxes to government, claiming various exemptions and deductions. So, Rajiv Gandhi (PM cum FM), introduced Minimum corporate tax. ⇒ 1996: Chindu comes up with MAT ‘Minimum Alternate Tax’, with carry forward system. ⇒ 2015: Jaitley budget says 18.5% MAT on book profits but no MAT on the capital gains made by FIIs from 1/4/2015. ⇒ But later IT department asks FIIs to pay MAT for their capital gains before 1/4/2015, hence in controversy.
hrd OLF ⇒ HRD Ministry wants to update the education policy. Junta opinion invited through mygov.in ⇒ Under UGC’s Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) students can pick their desired courses, learn at their own pace, undergo additional courses to get interdisciplinary knowledge. But DU teachers opposed to it saying ⇒ this cafeteria approach is unsuitable for Indian education system. ⇒ Indian universities do not have the requisite infrastructure. ⇒ Universities need to be given autonomy to decide what type of curriculum they want to teach.
hrd M+I World bank says MNREGA is the best and only insurance India as against unseasonal rains and farmer distress. But, MNREGA failed to impact poverty, it needs to be revamped to focus on capital asset creation.
hrd OLF National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) signed MoU with Snapdeal to give digital marketing courses to MSME and artisans.
Industry-agro OLF Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decides ⇒ MSP for contton increased to 3750 (medium stable) and 4050 (long stable). ⇒ imported sugar will attract 40% duty(earlier 25%). This is done to protect the local sugar industry and farmers. ⇒ Maharashtra State Co-operative Cotton Growers Marketing Federation given permission to do public procurement at MSP.
industry-agro OLF Reasons for farmer suicides in India: Green Revolution and subsequent soil salinity, fertiliser overuse = productivity decline. ⇒ So farmers begin cash crops to keep profit margin same. ⇒ but on seasonal rains, pest attack an international market fluctuations = cash crops becomes a loss-making business. ⇒ 85% of farmers are in debt of money lenders. They don’t have the requisite papers to qualify for bank loans. ⇒ as such a various government schemes provide fertiliser, pesticide, water, electricity two farmer at a subsidized rate. ⇒ But farmers cannot get maximum output because small land size, no machines, no irrigation facility, no post production storage / processing in nearby places. <–>What does economic survey how to say on this problem- refer to L5/P2.pptx. ⇒ Agro Subsidy comparision: India-$56 billion for 120 million farmers. USA: 20 billion for 2 million farmers. EU: €58 billion for 27 million farmers.
Industry-Service OLF 75% of Indian CA, company secretaries, Lawyers still depend on relative, friends and acquaintances to find new clients. This means Indian financial service sector is a still unorganized. Need to promote  online portals where clients can meet them.
infra-U P+M Smart cities: Cabinet clears proposal for (1) 100 smart cities (48 k crore) (2) AMRUT mission for 500 cities, replacing JNNURM (50k crores). ⇒ <–AMRUT–>⇒ Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 500 cities with population of over 1 lakh ⇒ AMRUT will replace Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Union will not appraise each and every project, it will be left to the discretion of state governments. ⇒ If previous JNNURM projects have complete 50% of work, then they too will be funded by AMRUT. <—>Smart cities: Each State will shortlist smart city aspirants. They’ll draft proposals & union will release funds in such manner that all States will get at least one such smart city. Total 100 smart cities planned. ⇒ 10% bonus fund will be given depending on performance. Criticism: ⇒ must focus on “RURBAN” mission first, to reduce migration towards cities. Otherwise better cities =more migration = again filth, congestion, slums =back to square one ⇒ Better just focus on three things: transportation, e-governance and easy land titling. ⇒ Urban development ministry tries to give parameters like speed of public transport network, availability of potable water, shops and recreational places in the vicinity etc. But lack of common definition on what constitutes a smart city?
infra-U OLF Delhi and Madrid to “sister cities”, they’ll share best practices for pollution control, water conservation and recycling and waste management. ⇒ now you can buy tickets to visit ASI controlled historical monuments like Tajmahal, through IRCTC. <–>Research says “smart maps” will save $8 billion per year in India. How? You can quickly identify the shops where you can find the items you are looking for ⇒ ambulances and police can reach the victim quickly ⇒ if less time spent in transport= less GHG emission.
infra-U P+M Tourism: <–PRASAD by tourism Ministry–>⇒ name: Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) ⇒ 12 cities shortlisted: Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Gaya (Bihar), Dwarka (Gujarat), Amritsar (Punjab), Ajmer (Rajasthan), Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), Vellankani (Tamil Nadu), Puri (Odisha), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) and Kamakhya (Assam). ⇒ There will be a special directorate under the Ministry with 15 cr. Budget, to implement the scheme, and coordinate with HRIDAY.
infra-U P+M Tourism: <–HRIDAY by Urban development Ministry–>⇒ full name: Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme, aimed at revitalising the unique character of the heritage cities in India. ⇒ following cities included: Amaravati, Gaya, Dwarka, Badami (Karnataka), Puri, Amritsar, Ajmer, Kanchipuram, Vellankani, Warangal (Telangana), Varanasi, and Mathura. ⇒ ~450+ crores allotted.

April Week4-Polity, Governance

P Only Before Assam Vidhan sabha elections in 2016, people will have to prove that Indian citizenship. Because in the present legal provisions, if a Bangladeshi person came to India after 24/03/1971 without approval then he is an illegal immigrant.
P+M Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988- proposed amendments. Min-Max punishments: before 6 months|3 years. After: 5 years|7 years. Since max. punishment will be seven years, corruption will fall under heinous crime category. Even companies liable, if they try to induce public servant through bribe. ⇒ nonmonetary inducement also covered under bribe definition.
P+M DMK MP Tiruchi Siva’s private bill for transgender rights, passed in RajyaSabha. It provides for social inclusion, rights, financial and legal aid, education, skill development, violence prevention. ⇒ Statutory National commission for transgender. ⇒ welfare boards @union and state level. ⇒ 2% job reservation for them, pension and unemployment allowance.
M+I Juvenile Justice: April W3: 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. But AprilW4: Hindu shifts focus from SriLanka bashing to JJ criticism: ⇒ hardly ~1400 juvenile rape cases. (5% of total rape cases). And in many those cases, matter was of elopement / consensual sex.  So, it’s a misconception that juveniles rapists are rising in number. ⇒ 80% juveniles criminals come from <50k /per year income group., 50% of them did not finish primary school. So better focus on their education and vocational skills first. ⇒ SC upheld present system in Swamy vs Raju (2014) and Salil Bali vs Union of India (2013) ⇒ Juvenile criminal involved in the Nirbhaya gangrape, was a misguided teenager with traumatic childhood, who received no support from child welfare agencies, and therefore and developing the bad company of crooks. ⇒ Today’s ads, TV & movies encourage children towards sex, alcohol and drugs.
M+I U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is a Committee of US “Loksabha” (Congress). It has released religious freedom 2015 report. Major concerns: ⇒ India is classified as a tier-2 country, because it has failed to protect religious freedom. ⇒ Expressed concerns over Ghar Wapsi, targeting of Churches etc. ⇒ Asked Indian Government to officially condemn any hate speeches made by politicians and religious figures.; India’s official stand ⇒ we have nothing to comment because it is an internal report prepared by US Congress ⇒ Americans have a limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society. Therefore we do not take cognizance of this America report.
M+I Jaitley criticizes court monitored “SIT” type investigation saying ⇒ investigation officer has a huge indirect pressure to show the accused is indeed guilty. So, officer follows the “golden rule” of somehow making a case against the accused. ⇒ Will person ever get fair trial in such case? it only depends on his good luck! ⇒ Investigation is a police function, therefore courts shouldn’t supervise investigations ⇒ this process has hindered economic decision-making. ⇒ Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 doesn’t distinguish between an act of corruption and an act of “honest mistake”. ⇒ Therefore, Officers believe in passing the parcel rather than taking action- Departments of purchase, defense and disinvestment have all suffered.
M+I Marital rape: UN agencies have recommended India to include marital rape in the Indian penal code. But Indian government has no plan to bring in an amendment. Pro ⇒ level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of society to treat marriage as a sacrament. ⇒ Sakshi v. Union of India, SC said criminalizing marital rape as “rape” would not be suitable for India.  <–Anti Arguments –>⇒ Marriage certificate is not a licence for non-consensual sex. ⇒ Even if marriage is a sacrament, still we’ve laws against domestic violence, dowry etc. then why not law against Marital rape? ⇒ Post Nirbhya rape,  J.S. Verma Committee recommended that India should criminalize marital rape. ⇒ DMK MP Kanimozhi introduced a Private Member Bill to include marital rape as a crime in IPC.
OLF Punjab got best governance state award from Modi. e-sarkar paperless Government system. e-district project. state HQs covered under PAWAN network. self-attestation permitted instead of affidavits and so on.
OLF Modi wisdom on National Panchayati Raj Day (24 April) ⇒ we must end “Sarpanch Pati” practice i.e. when lady Sarpanch merely seves as rubber stamp of her husband, just like Mohan in UPA raj. ⇒ PRI members should have 5 year vision. ⇒ He gave Annual Devolution Index (States) Awards to Sikkim and e-Panchayat awards
OLF Maharashtra Government issues ordinance for “right to service” criticism: no independent ombudsman/ appellate body.  ⇒ Commissioners will be appointed from bureaucracy, so impartiality will be absent. ⇒ no provisions for penalty in compensation.
Ignored Government orders community radio stations email the copy of script 8-20 hours before broadcasting. Experts believe this is done to control content, and later use community radios to propagate government propaganda. ⇒ Cabinet delinks Assam from new boundary deal with Bangladesh. Ignored because the topic is still developing.
Ignored Nehru Memorial Museum Library Society (NMMLS) reconstituted. PM modi to be the head. 34 members included, for a term of 5 years. ⇒ DU, Jamia include third gender category in application forms. ⇒ TheHindu’s research shows India’s 6 national parties’ top decision making bodies are dominated by upper caste Hindu males, except BSP. ⇒ NITI Ayog sub Committee to re-organise centrally sponsored schemes. Chaiman: Madhya Pradesh CM  Shivraj Singh Chauhan. UP CM Akhilesh Yadav wrote him a letter. Topic ignored because final recommendations yet to come. ⇒ Congress criticises Modi for using word “scam India” during his foreign trip, to malign the image of Congress rule. ⇒ Shoba De had received privilege motion notice from Maharashtra State assembly for her twits where she criticized Government’s order to show Marathi movies during prime-time hours in cinema halls. SC has given stay order on this privilege motion notice. ⇒ Rahul Gandhi’s pilgrimage is a carefully choreographed move to shed Congress’s “pro minority anti-Hindu” image. ⇒ Jaylalitha asset case: Bhavani Singh’s appointment as Special Public Prosecutor. ⇒ Government issued guidelines for House allotment to Members of Parliament.⇒ Love affair doesn’t automatically mean woman has given her consent for sex, says Delhi HC ⇒ Delhi court says (1) Sexual consent on falsehood is rape ⇒ Manipur roadblockade by contract teachers. Black market LPG selling @Rs.1600 and petrol for Rs.140.

April Week4-Environment, Agro

P Only Thailand wildlife department orders monks not to breed tigers / use them to get donations @Kanchapuri province’s famous “Tiger temple”.
P Only Arctic nation ministers meet at IQALUIT (CANADA). Total 8 Arctic nations: Canada; Denmark (incl.Greenland + Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, United States. ⇒ India is an observer state. ⇒ Observations: Arctic is warming twice as fast as everywhere else on the globe. ⇒ Arctic sea ice had reached its lowest winter point.
P Only Kuttanad (Alappuzha district) = rice granary of Kerala. FAO even gave it status of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS), for its indigenous rice. ⇒  farmers given “trichocards” for pest control. Each such device contains ~20,000 eggs of Trichogramma larvae glued to the card. ⇒ When this larvae matures, it kills other pests like leaf roller worms and stem borer worms. Chemical pesticides not require any more. Useful in rice, corn, sugarcane and millet cropping.
P Only Non-green colored leaves can do photosynthesis. HOW? Ans. ⇒ Green leaves contain green chlorophyll pigments. They capture light, create oxygen and energy (sugar).⇒  Even non-green leaves contain chlorophyll but its green color is masked due to presence of non-green pigments, such as carotenoids and xamthophyll. But the photosynthesis is still happening underneath. ⇒ Carotenoids and xanthophylls serve as antioxidants and protective accessory, they harvest the light energy and pass it to Chlorophyll. ⇒ Non-green algae contain Chlorophyll in their chromatophores. Thus they too can synthesize food.  ⇒ Parasite plants like dodder and Rafflesia don’t have chlorophyll. Hence their stem is white/yellow colored.
P Only Role of Parrotfish in coral island building? Maldives researchers found that ⇒ parrotfish controls algae the population ⇒ after feeding, it excretes sand. This sands help building coral reef islands. ⇒ Parrotfish can change its colour gender and shape
P Only NGT receives petition to stop sale of Reverse Osmosis (RO) purifiers because ⇒ they lead to wastage of water ⇒ RO systems are meant for filtering seawater, not groundwater. ⇒ they use chlorine/nano silver which may have harmful health effects in the long run ⇒ no study to prove they reduce chances of waterborne diseases. ⇒ Some of them chlorinate the water- which can lead to cancer in long-term. ⇒ government itself should provide clean water so there is no need to use such purification machine.
P Only Angry birds mobile game crated by Rovio. Now the same company making new edition with endangered bird species such as Polynesian ground-dove, Tahiti monarch and the Tuamotu sandpiper. Money will be given to some NGO for bird conversation projects in French Polynesian islands.
P+M 7.9 richer scale earthquake @Nepal on 25/4/2015. epicentre: Lamjung district in western Nepal ⇒ Nepal has alluvial soil/clay so ground motion was amplified + avalanche triggered from mountains- hence large-scale destruction. ⇒ Nepal quake happened due to collision between Indian and Eurasian crust blocks. Indian subcontinent is going beneath Nepal, 5cms a year but this EQ did not change boundaries. ⇒ A continental-continental plate collision produce shallow-focus earthquakes (less than 70 km), because they’re less dense than Oceanic plates. And both plates have same density. ⇒ Operation Maitri: Indian army led rescue and relief mission for Nepal earthquake. ⇒ India sends NDRF teams, Sashahtra Seema Bal (SSB), C-130J super Hercules for aerial surveillance. BSNL to allow call towards Nepal @Local rate, Mumbai ham radio operators helping in coordination ⇒ India sends DNA sampling kits- to identify severely disfigured dead bodies.⇒ China says it is not competing with India to send more relief to Nepal ⇒ Kathmandu has 7 world Heritage sites. Some of them got destroyed. (1) Basantapur Durbar Square- the residence of Royal family (2) Patan Square Durbar, known for its Buddhist architecture (3) Dharahara tower, the 100-ft tower to provide view of the city ⇒ Nepal earthquake couldn’t damage heritage sites in Delhi because (1) outside the 200kms from epicenter (2) structure built on alluvial soil of Yamuna bank, are more vulnerable than structure in hardsoil ridge area. Notable Delhi structures: Qutab minar, Nila Gumbad, Humayun’s Tomb, Purana Quila, Shahi Burj.
P+M When forest land is diverted for “non-forest purposes” like setting up industries/infra. Then companies required to pay money in the compensatory afforestation fund. ~40k crores Collected so far, but not utilised properly due to lack of clear guidelines and laws. ⇒ 2004: Supreme Court ordered setting up a Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). ⇒ 2015: union Cabinet clears before this purpose. They will set up statutory bodies at union and State level for management of the money collected in compensatory afforestation fund. ⇒ Existing money will be transferred to non-lapsable interest bearing funds under Public accounts of union and respective states
M+I ⇒ Home Ministry cancels licence of 9000 NGOs for violating Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). They also put America’s Ford foundation under watchlist. RBI told all banks not to release funds of Ford to any local NGO without permission of home Ministry. Reason: Gujarat government has accused ford of  interfering in the country’s internal affairs and fanning communal disharmony, with help of Tista Shetalvad’s NGOs. Same way Netherland’s Bertha foundation And Greenpeace also put under watch list
M+I Earthquake resilience: Lessons from Japan. ⇒ India forgets its disaster is very quickly e.g. 2011 Tsunami. Hence followup action / campaign is not sustained. ⇒ as such, earthquake proof buildings are more expensive than ordinary buildings. But government should provide tax relief during construction. ⇒ The media should also highlight the benefits of such buildings. ⇒ India needs to develop its own technology for earthquake resilient buildings. We cannot import Japanese technology because they’re not suitable to our requirements and very expensive per capitawise. ⇒ Japan has strict laws- if a building gets damaged in medium earthquake or collapses in large earthquake then builder and guilty officials are punished in stringent manner. ⇒ Japan has a real-time Earthquake Early Warning (EEW). Earthquake wave travels @8 km/second. But electronic signal can travel faster so using EEW system, Japanese trains, elevators, industrial machines etc. are automatically shut down the moment earthquake is reported in any region ⇒ School level: Disaster drills are conducted on a regular period; disaster Management is part of school syllabus, so their kids don’t have to waste too much time in finding coaching material for Japanese UPSC GS3 paper.
OLF ⇒ Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act of 1952 prohibits cattle exports but still smugglers send them across Bangla border. SC says We can’t stop outsiders from coming in… it’ s such a weak, porous border. If BSF starts looking at cows, how will they stop terrorists from coming in? ⇒ @Nepal, during Gadhimai festival Indian cattle are exported for slaughter. ⇒ SC asks union and State governments about what measures they have taken. Abuse of elephants in temples and religious ceremonies.
OLF During 2008 Beijing Olympics, Chinese government had put strict control over pollution. Researchers found babies born in this period had higher weight than babies born after the games. Meaning: high level of pollution – reduces birth weight of babies.
Ignored ⇒ NGT asks 5 star hotels and mall owners why they have not taken precautions for rainwater harvesting. ⇒ NGT orders burning trash in Delhi will attract 5000 Rs. fine. ⇒ Karnataka Government wants changes in Kasturirangan committee on protecting Western Ghats.
Ignored Yi qi: name of the new dinosaur fossils found in China. It had size of a pigeon and wings like a bat.

April Week4-Science Tech, Defense, IT, Healthcare

Defense P+M 200 years of Gorkha Rifles: East India company’s Sir Robert Colquhuon raised Gorkha rifles regiment with men from Gorkhas, Kumaon and Garhwal regions. Weapon” Khukris”. Battlecry: ‘Aayo Gorkhali’. Gorkhas first served East India Company, then British empire then free Indian army. Famous officers from Gorkha rifles: (1) India’s first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. (2) Current Army Chief General Dalbir Singh.
IT/electronics P Only Rising number of chess players using mobile/bluetooth technology to cheat in the game using Fritz software
Medical P Only UK company built MinION. Size: small chocolate bar. Use: genome sequencing in ebola affected countries. ⇒ Aedes mosquitoes transmit Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) to humans, leading to joint pain and even death. German researchers working on a new recombinant MVA vaccine against this virus.
Medical Ignored ⇒ Kerala researchers gave 400 pheromone traps to Maldives to protect against fruit fly attack. ⇒ New study says Five billion people globally do not have access to safe, affordable surgery and anesthesia.
Medical P+M Indian origin MIT researcher Sangeeta Bhatia won 2015 Heinz Award for Technology ($2.5 lakh). She has developed artificial human microlivers for drug testing tissue engineering and disease detection. ⇒ The Heinz Awards annually given for arts and humanities; environment; human condition; public policy; and technology, the economy, and employment.
Medical P+M Britain’s first legally approved HIV self-testing kit (Brand name “Biosure”) began online sale. You just need to put a blood drop, Kit will react to its antibodies, if HIV positive then purpule lines will be shown.  It can show result in just 15 minutes with a 99.7 per cent accuracy rate. Condition: HIV infection must be atleast 3 months old. Traditional lab testing can take upto 5 days to confirm.
Medical P+M Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana  provides cashless health insurance to unorganised sector workers. BPL family needs to give annual Rs.30 premium for five times, and they get Rs.30,000 cover. This scheme is being shifted from Labour ministry to Health ministry, to make it a part of part of the National Health Assurance Mission. but parliament Committee is opposed.
Medical P Only Ayush-1) Ayurveda (“science if life”). Who?  Atharva Veda, Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita. How? Five elements and 3 humours — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. ⇒ Vipreeta treatment= medicine + diet to antagonize diseases ⇒ Vipreetarthkari treatment = medicine+ diet + activity to exert effects similar to the disease process.  Medicine= herbs.
Medical P Only Ayush-2) Yoga (“to join” or “to unite”) is a physical and spiritual discipline. Who? Upanishads and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Medical P Only Ayush-3) Homeopathy: Who?  German physician Samuel Hahnemann, 18th century. How? Dilute a substance in logarithmic scale with alcohol or distilled water. Then drop this liquid on a sugar pill and give to patient. But Scientific community does not believe in this principle though.
Medical P Only Ayush-4) Uniani. Who? 12th century Arabs and Persians. Later Freedom fighter and physician Hakim Ajmal Khan. How? herbal, animal and mineral drugs.
Medical P Only Ayush-5) Siddha: Who? Tamilnadu’s “siddhars” or scientist-saints. How? checklist of eight signs and symptoms. Herbal drugs, internal and external treatment.  Although Research, teaching and practise is largely restricted to Tamil Nadu.
Medical P Only Ayush-6) Naturopathy. How? special diets, mud packs, acupuncture, acupressure, magnet therapy, prayer and meditation
Sci-Tech OLF At present, job reservation is not given in selected scientific and technical jobs in government. The SC/ST welfare committee has asked Government to change eligibility criteria so meritorious SC/ST candidates can also enter in the prestigious post in the scientific and technical field.
Space-tech P Only NASA tests “morphing wing”. They reduce aircraft weight & noise pollution. They improve fuel efficiency. They can bend from 2 to 30 degrees, even during the flight.

April Week4-History & Culture

P Only Earlier rock paintings of buffalos, lions and rhinos found at CHAUVET CAVE, FRANC, near Ardeche river. However junta not allowed to enter. Now French have created an exact artificial replica where tourists can see it.
P Only Jnanpith Award is the highest literary honour in India. Prize: Rs. 11 lakh. 2014 award given to Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade. Famous novel: Kosala (Cocoon, 1963). Total five Marathi writers have won this award so far: (1) novelist V.S. Khandekar (2) poets V.V. Shirwadkar “Kusumagraj” (3) Govind (Vinda) Karandikar, (4) Bhalchandra Nemade
OLF World History: In GALLIPOLI PENINSULA (TURKEY) the soldiers of British Indian army and Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) had fought against Turkey. Allied forces were defeated, 1.3 lakh including 15k Indians had died. ⇒ April 25 marks “ANZAC days” to remember Aussie and NZ soldiers who died in all wars.
OLF World History ⇒ 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. ⇒ 2015 Marks 100 years of Armenian Genocide. ⇒ French, Russia total 20 nations recognize “Armenian Genocide”. But Turkey says 5 lakh were killed in war and starvation, but refuses the term “Genocide”.
OLF World History: Jew-Holocaust victims file class action suit against French Railways in USA. Charge: French Railway helped Nazi seize property of Jews during WW1.
OLF World history: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offers “condolences” and “remorse” for Japanese atrocities during WW2. But doesn’t “apologize” to the 2 lakh Asian women who were used as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers.
Ignored RSS asks HRD ministry to setup an institute to promote classical Indian languages abroad, just like China is doing via Confucius Institute.

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