May 6,2018

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May 4, 2018
Quiz – May 04, 2018
May 6, 2018

Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam

 Topics list:

  1. National and International Issues on
    1. Economic Development
    2. Social Development
    3. Industrial Development
  2. Energy and Environment
    1. Energy
    2. Environment
  3. Information and Communication Technology
    1. Technology
    2. Application

Topic 1:Economic development

Change in the shareholding pattern of GSTN

The Goods and Services Tax Network – Special Purpose Vehicle (GSTN-SPV) was created as a private limited, not-for-profit company under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 (Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013) by Govt. of India on 28th March, 2013 with an objective to provide shared IT infrastructure and services to Centre and States Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country.

Highlights:

  • Presently, the Central Government and State Government are holding 24.5% equity shares respectively and the remaining 51% are held by non-Governmental institutions through various mechanisms, GSTN is under strategic control of government.
  • Majority of the GST processes including registration, filing of returns, payment of taxes, processing of refunds is IT driven and GSTN is handling large-scale invoice level data of lakhs of business entities including data relating to exports and imports.
  • Considering the nature of ‘state’ function performed by GSTN, Council felt that GSTN be converted into be a fully owned government Company

New Pattern:

  • Acquisition of entire 51% of equity held by the Non-Governmental Institutions in GSTN amounting to Rs. 5.1 crore, equally by the Centre and the States governments and allow GSTN Board to initiate process for acquisition of equity held by the private Companies
  • GSTN Board shall be allowed to continue the existing staff at existing terms and conditions for the a period upto five years, and shall have the flexibility of hiring people through contract on the terms and conditions similar to those used by GSTN till now while hiring regular employees.

Read more at: PIB

Topic 1:Social development

Cochlear Implant Awareness Programme

A ‘Cochlear Implant Awareness Programme’ is being organized by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in association with Indian Red Cross Society and Sarvodaya Hospital & Research Centre

Highlights:

  • Cochlear Implant is a modern technology to help young children who have severe to profound deafness in both ears
  • Cochlear Implant provides such children to hear normally in one ear and with post surgical rehabilitation they are able to speak also.
  • The  Ministry has introduced Cochlear Implant programme under revised Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP) for the poor and needy young children.

Read more at: PIB

SWAYAM

The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the massive open online course (MOOC) platform SWAYAM

Highlights:

  • Under this initiative, all in-service teachers, irrespective of their subject and seniority will have an enabling opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments in their disciplines through the technology based online refresher course.
  • In the first phase, 75 discipline-specific National Resource Centres have been identified which are tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
  • The National Resource Centres (NRC) will develop the Refresher Module which will include the latest trends in their earmarked discipline by 15th June each year.
  • The training materials will be uploaded and made available through SWAYAM to all the teachers

About SWAYAM :

  • SWAYAM or Study Webs of Active –Learning for Young Aspiring Minds programme of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, Professors of centrally funded institutions like IITs, IIMs, central universities will offer online courses to citizens of India
  • SWAYAM is an instrument for self-actualisation providing opportunities for a life-long learning

Read more at: PIB

Topic 2 : Environment

Invasive aphid in Kashmir Valley

The brown peach aphid – an insect that attacks temperate fruit trees – has been recorded here for the first time in Kashmir Valley, the fruit bowl of India.

Highlights:

  • The brown peach aphid Pterochloroides persicae is a notorious pest of peach and almond trees in the Mediterranean regions.
  • In India, the aphid was recorded for the first time in the 1970s from Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
  • The tiny (nearly 3 mm long) aphids thrived best during the months of April, May, September and October. Though they were most ‘prolific’ between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius, the brown-and-white patched insects were active in temperatures as low as 3 degrees C
  • A single growing season in a year supported as many as six to eight such generations of aphids.
  • The spread of the aphid could affect the local economy which is dependant on fruit trees to a large extent

Need for control:

  • Several combinations and concentrations of natural chemicals including neem plant extracts and lavender oil can help control aphid numbers.The blood-red ant extracted honey dew from the aphid for food, wasps and several other parasites also preyed on the aphids.
  • The pest could have come with plants imported from other countries; the scientists are taking steps to ensure that the aphids do not spread along with the saplings they supply to several Indian states.

About Invasive species:

An invasive species is a plant, fungus, or animal species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 3 : ICT

ISRO’s clock to prop up India’s own GPS

In view of the cascade of failing imported atomic clocks nine out of the 21 clocks in the fleet have failed . ISRO has decided to add buffers to the NavIC by adding four more satellites.

Highlights:

  • The rubidium atomic clocks from Europe started failing on the first navigation satellite, IRNSS-1A, around 2016, soon after ISRO put the last and seventh satellite in orbit.
  • Until a few months ago, three more satellites were said to have suffered “one or two dysfunctional clocks” each, while two satellites did not have any problematic clocks. Each satellite carries three atomic clocks, including a standby.
  • It hopes to have an indigenous atomic clock in each of NavIC satellites
  • The new satellites  will have some advanced technology, apart from the atomic clocks developed by ISRO.The indigenous atomic clock is being developed by the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad
  • NavIC is meant to give Indian civil and military users reliable location and time information, for which the performance of the atomic clocks is critical.

About NavIC:

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) : NavIC is an independent Indian Satellite based positioning system for critical National applications. The main objective is to provide Reliable Position, Navigation and Timing services over India and its neighbourhood, to provide fairly good accuracy to the user. The IRNSS will provide basically two types of services

  1. Standard Positioning Service (SPS)
  2. Restricted Service (RS)

Read more at: The Hindu

A RAT that spies on computers

GravityRAT, a malware allegedly designed by Pakistani hackers, has recently been updated further and equipped with anti-malware evasion capabilities, Maharashtra cybercrime officials said.

Highlights:

  • The RAT was first detected by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-In, on various computers in 2017.
  • It is designed to infiltrate computers, steal the data of users, and relay it to command and control centres in other countries.
  • The ‘RAT’ in its name stands for Remote Access Trojan, which is a program capable of being controlled remotely and thus difficult to trace.
  • GravityRAT infiltrates a system in the form of an innocuous looking email attachment, which can be in any format, including MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, Adobe Acrobat or even audio and video files.
  • GravityRAT is unlike most malware, which are designed to inflict short-term damage. It lies hidden in the system that it takes over and keeps penetrating deeper.
  • GravityRAT has now become self aware and is capable of evading several commonly used malware detection techniques
  • The other concern is that the command and control servers are based in several countries. The data is sent in an encrypted format, making it difficult to detect exactly what is leaked.
  • The  technique is ‘sandboxing’, to isolate malware from critical programs on infected devices and provide an extra layer of security.
  • CERT-In had issued an alert for it last year, with an advisory asking users to review cybersecurity measures and update anti-malware tools.

About CERT-In:

  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. It strengthens security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain

Read more at: The Hindu

NASA’s InSight spacecraft

NASA  launched its latest Mars lander, InSight, designed to perch on the surface of the red planet and listen for ‘Marsquakes’.

Highlights:

  • Its name, InSight, is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.
  • The project aims to expand human knowledge of conditions on Mars, inform efforts to send human explorers there, and reveal how rocky planets like the earth formed billions of years ago. The lander should settle on Mars on November 26.
  • The key instrument on board is a seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure. After the lander settles on the Martian surface, a robotic arm is supposed to emerge and place the seismometer directly on the ground.
  • The second main instrument is a self-hammering probe that will monitor the flow of heat in the planet’s subsurface.
  • The probe will bore down 10 to 16 feet below the surface, NASA said, 15 times deeper than any previous Mars mission.

Read more at: The Hindu

GIS technology to strengthen Namami Gange Programme

National Mission for Clean Ganga has brought on board Survey of India to facilitate the Ganga rejuvenation task by using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.

Highlights:

  • Through the project, NMCG aims to strengthen planning and implementation at national/state/local levels.
  • The project includes use of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) technology which ensures accurate data collection, an important aspect for river basin management planning.
  • DEM technology enables identification of entire topography of an area making it easy for policy makers to analyse the available data thereby supporting the decision-making process.
  • Critical hotspots are also easily identified through this technology.

About Namami Gange Programme:

  • Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
  • The programme envisages the River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.

Read more at: PIB

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