Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam
- National and International Issues on
- Economic Development
- Social Development
- Industrial Development
- Energy and Environment
- Information and Communication Technology
- General Knowledge
Topic 1:Economic development
Global Financial Stability Report 2019
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) is a semiannual report. The April 2019 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) finds that despite significant variability over the past two quarters, financial conditions remain favourable.
About the report:
- The GFSR provides an assessment of balance sheet vulnerabilities across financial and non-financial sectors in advanced and emerging market economies.
- It is released twice per year, in April and October.
- It draws out the financial ramifications of economic imbalances highlighted by the IMF’s World Economic Outlook.
- The GFSR issues recommendations for central banks, policymakers and others who supervise global financial markets.
- The latest GFSR introduces a way to quantify vulnerabilities in the financial system, encompassing six sectors: corporates, households, governments, banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions.
Highlights of the report:
- The report specifically focuses on corporate sector debt in advanced economies, the sovereign–financial sector nexus in the Euro area, China’s financial imbalances, volatile portfolio flows to emerging markets, and downside risks to the housing market.
- It recommends action by policymakers, including through the clear communication of any changes in their monetary policy outlook, the deployment and expansion of macroprudential tools, the stepping up of measures to repair public and private sector balance sheets, and the strengthening of emerging market resilience to foreign portfolio outflows.
- There is high stock of non-performing assets (NPAs) in India. Portfolio flows to emerging markets are influenced by benchmark-driven investors — 70% of country allocations of investment funds are impacted by benchmark indices
- China is likely to become more important for other emerging markets as it gets included in benchmark indices. Portfolio flows to China are expected to increase by $150 billion by 2020 due to its inclusion in a global bond index.
Read more at: The Hindu
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued guidelines for banks to set up new currency chests.
- Area of the strong room/ vault of at least 1,500 sq ft.
- The new chests should have a processing capacity of 6.6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.
- Those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places, a capacity of 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.
- The currency chests should have Chest Balance Limit (CBL) of Rs 1,000 crore, subject to ground realities and reasonable restrictions, at the discretion of the Reserve Bank.
What are Currency chests?
- Currency chests are branches of selected banks authorised by the RBI to stock rupee notes and coins.
- The responsibility for managing the currency in circulation is vested in the RBI.
Role of currency chests:
- The RBI offices in various cities receive the notes from note presses and coins from the mints. These are sent to the currency chests and small coin depots from where they are distributed to bank branches.
- The RBI has set up over 4,075 currency chests all over the country.
- Besides these, there are around 3,746 bank branches that act as small coin depots to stock small coins.
Read more at: ET
Topic 1:Social development
State of World Population-2019
The State of World Population-2019 released by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
- India’s population grew at an average of 1.2% annually between 2010 and 2019 which is more than double the annual growth rate of China.
- Around half of India’s population in 24 states have achieved the replacement fertility rates of 2.1 children per women, which is the desired family size when the population stops growing.
- 27% of India’s population was in the age bracket of 0-14 years and 10-24 years, while 67% of the country’s population was in the 15-64 age bracket. 6% of the country’s population was of the age 65 and above.
- India registered an improvement in life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth in 1969 was 47 years, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019.
- The findings on women aged between 15-49 years were published for the first time as part of United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of World Population 2019 report. It includes data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas:
- Sexual intercourse with their partner
- Contraception use and
- Health care.
- According to the analysis, the absence of reproductive and sexual rights has major and negative repercussions on women’s education, income and safety, leaving them “unable to shape their own futures”.
- Early marriage continues to remain an obstacle to female empowerment and better reproductive rights.
- The report highlights the threat to women’s and girls’ reproductive rights posed by emergencies caused by conflict or climate disasters.
About the report:
- The release of report marks 50 years of the UNFPA being established to support countries to bring down fertility levels.
- It also marks 25 years of International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, where 179 governments agreed on a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health to address population growth.
About Reproductive health:
- Reproductive health can be defined as a state of well-being related to one’s sexual and reproductive life.
- It implies, “that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so”.
- It is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.
- It was established as a trust fund in 1967 and began operations in 1969.
- The mandate of UNFPA is established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
- UNFPA is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.
- UNFPA is entirely supported by voluntary contributions of donor governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and foundations and individuals, NOT by the United Nations regular budget.
- UNFPA works directly to tackle Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health, Goal 4 on education and Goal 5 on gender equality.
Read more at: The HinduBusinessline
Topic 2 : Environment
Decline in Usable Groundwater
A team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, West Bengal and Athabasca University, Canada, has compiled the first estimates of Usable Groundwater Storage (UGWS) at the state-level across India using both in situ and satellite-based measurements.
- More than 85 % of the groundwater usage in India is linked with irrigation abstraction practices.
- The estimates show rapid depletion of usable groundwater storage during 2005-2013 in most of the northern parts of the country, which lost 8.5 km3 / year of the total groundwater, and the eastern parts which lost 5 km3 /year of the total groundwater.
- Rapid depletion of UGWS in Assam, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal.
- The southern and western Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chattisgarh have shown replenishing usable groundwater storage trends.
Reasons for depletion of groundwater:
- Lack of an organised water supply leads to increased dependence on groundwater.
- Depletion in groundwater is positively linked with the increased cropping practice of water intensive crops.
- Overexploitation of the groundwater: About 85 %of rural drinking water needs and 65 %of irrigation needs and 50 %of urban drinking water and industrial needs are fulfilled from the ground water.
Consequences of depletion of groundwater:
- Accelerate the decline in food production and availability of drinking water, two of the prime goals under UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
- Summer groundwater droughts that some states are facing would intensify
- Decline in the flow in the adjoining rivers, including Ganga, thus also impacting river-aquifer interaction.
- To know the exact water-stress to develop a sustainable groundwater management programme.
- To develop a much robust quantitative approach, possibly with the help of advanced hydroscience and data science techniques to understand the conjunctive water demands and usages.
- Create awareness among masses.
Read more at: ET
Law for Banning Sale of e-cigarettes
The Commerce Ministry has asked its Health Counterpart to frame a law for banning manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in the country. Earlier, the Health Ministry had asked the Commerce Ministry to issue a notification banning import of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah.
What is ENDS?
- Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) is a heat a solution (e-liquid) to create an aerosol which frequently contains flavourants, usually dissolved into Propylene Glycol or/and Glycerin.
- Electronic cigarettes, the most common prototype, are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporise a solution so that a user can inhale. The main constituents of the solution, in addition tonicotine, are propylene glycol, with or without glycerol and flavouring agents.
- ENDS solutions and emissions also contain some other toxicant chemicals.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 3 : ICT
According to a report by Sophos (an IT security company) “Exposed: Cyber attacks on Cloud Honeypots”, over five million attacks were attempted on the global network of honeypots. Cybercriminals attempted attacks on a Mumbai Cloud server honeypot more than 678,000 times in a month, which was second to Ohio in the US that recorded more than 950,000 login attempts.
What is a Honey Pot?
- Honeypots are decoy systems providing hosts that have no authorized users other than the honeypot administrators, as they serve no business function.
- A honeypot is a system intended to mimic likely targets of cyber attackers for security researchers to monitor cyber criminal behavior.
- Honeypots are used to trap attackers into thinking that they have penetrated a network, allowing time for defenders to analyze their threat parameters and generate appropriate threat indicators to block an impending attack.
Read more at: The Hindu