Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam
- National and International Issues on
- Economic Development
- Social Development
- Industrial Development
- Energy and Environment
- Information and Communication Technology
- The Key Initiatives of Government
- 5. General Knowledge
Topic 1:Social development
The DAY-NRLM awards
The Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) awards are conferred on the Best Performing Community Based Organizations (Self Help Groups and Village Organizations).
The selection process adopted is that the SHGs are first assessed for their performance on several indicators such as Institution Building-Capacity Building, Financial Inclusion, Livelihoods, Convergence etc. and then nominated by the respective SRLMs for receiving awards.
- The Awards have motivated the State Missions across the country to perform better and it has also brought the programme to the attention to the senior officers in the states.
- The financial resources leveraged by the Self Help Group members has enabled them to undertake a large ensemble of livelihood activities such as agriculture and allied activities, sheep and goat rearing, horticulture, running of local means of transportation, rearing of milch animals, irrigation development through bore wells, carpentry etc.
- The SHGs are a perfect example of how livelihoods of households can transform through a collective approach, managed in line with core democratic and financial principles.
- The SHG has contributed to several community level activities for the common good.
- These include awareness promotion for constructing household toilets using SBM funds, environmental sanitation, liquid waste management and support for maintenance of village commons.
Rural sanitation coverage under Swachh Bharat crosses the 85% mark
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the rural sanitation coverage of India has now risen to 85%. Through mobilization of rural communities, 7.4 crore toilets have been built across rural India, and as an outcome, over 3.8 lakh villages and 391 districts have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
- A recent survey was conducted by an Independent Verification Agency has found the usage of toilets in rural India to be 93.4%.
- Two independent surveys conducted in the past by the Quality Council of India in 2017, and National Sample Survey Organization in 2016, have pegged the usage of these toilets at 91% and 95% respectively.
The Swachh Bharat Mission
- The Swachh Bharat Mission is the first sanitation programme in the country to measure outcomes (ODF) instead of output (toilets) alone.
- The SBM’s emphasis on behavior change in rural sanitation at the grassroots
- The Mission is on track to achieve an ODF India by October 2019.
Read more at:PIB
Topic 2 : Environment
What caused the Dec. 1, 2015 Chennai downpour?
On December 1, 2015 Chennai and its surrounding regions experienced an unprecedented, heavy rainfall.
In a first, Jayesh Phadtare of Centre for Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, links the presence of the Eastern Ghats to this phenomenon, in a paper published in Monthly Weather Review.
- When clouds give out water droplets, the droplets evaporate mid-air, as they fall down. This cools the surrounding air, forming a cold pool of air which sinks down and flows horizontally.
- The interaction between mountains, clouds and cold pools became clear after performing the model experiments.
- According to the model, the cold pool was obstructed by the Eastern Ghats from flowing downward.
- Hence it piled up and remained stationary over the Chennai region
The Eastern Ghats
Unlike the Western Ghats, which run close to the west coast of India, the Eastern Ghats are nearly 200 km away from the coast. Therefore, the link between the mountains’ orography and the rainfall over the region is not obvious.
Read more at: The Hindu
Severe uranium contamination in India’s groundwater
Scientists have found widespread uranium contamination in groundwater from aquifers across 16 states in India, much above the WHO provisional standard for the country. The occurrence in uranium in Indian groundwater is an emerging and widespread phenomenon.
- The WHO has set a provisional safe drinking water standard of 30 micrograms of uranium per litre for India
- Uranium is not yet included in the list of contaminants monitored under the Bureau of Indian Standards’ Drinking Water Specifications
- The primary source of uranium is geogenic (naturally occurring)
- The study suggests that contribution of human factors such as groundwater depletion and nitrate pollution may be aggravating the already present natural uranium contamination to dangerous levels.
- Many of India’s aquifers are composed of clay, silt and gravel carried down from Himalayan weathering by streams or uranium-rich granitic rocks.
- When over-pumping of these aquifers’ groundwater occurs and their water levels decline, it induces oxidation conditions that, in turn, enhance uranium enrichment in the shallow groundwater that remains.
- Several studies have linked exposure to uranium in drinking water to chronic kidney disease.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 2 : Energy
CSIR lab to give technology for India’s first indigenous Lithium Ion Battery project
Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu under Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and RAASI Solar Power Pvt Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Agreement for transfer of technology for India’s first Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Battery project.
- Currently, Indian manufacturers source Lithium Ion Battery from China, Japan and South Korea among some other countries.
- India is one of the largest importers and in 2017
Li-Ion batteries have applications in Energy Storage System – from hearing aid to container sized batteries to power a cluster of villages, Electric Vehicles (2-wheeler, 3-wheeler, 4-wheeler and Bus), portable electronic sector, Grid Storage, Telecom and Telecommunication Towers, Medical Devices, Household and Office Power Back (UPS), Powering Robots in Processing Industry.
Read more at:PIB
Topic 3 : ICT
AI outperforms doctors in detecting skin cancer
A team from Germany, the U.S. and France taught an artificial intelligence system to distinguish dangerous skin lesions from benign ones, showing it more than 100,000 images.
- The machine is a deep learning convolutional neural network or CNN.
- Most dermatologists were outperformed by the CNN
AI may be a useful tool for faster, easier diagnosis of skin cancer, allowing surgical removal before it spreads.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 4: The Key Initiatives of Government
SWACHH SWASTH SARVATRA
Swachh Swasth Sarvatra is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation. Through this scheme CHCs in ODF Block supported under NHM to achieve Kayakalp certification, Gram Panchayat of Kayakalp PHC prioritized to become ODF and Training in WASH of CHC/PHC nominees.
SWACHCH BHARAT ABHIYAN (UD, RD)
India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive launched by the Prime Minister on Gandhi Jayanti, 2nd October 2014.
- PM urges everyone to devote 100 hours every year that is two hours every week towards cleanliness.
- Campaign aimed at the Mission Clean India by 2nd October 2019 to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
- Open Defecation Free (ODF) States: Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala
- Urban Areas of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat and Sikkim declared ODF.
Swachch Bharat Gramin:
- Over 3.6 crore household toilets constructed since the launch of the Mission
- 1,74,557 villages, 118 districts and 3 States declared ODF
- 100 Swachh Iconic Places (SIP) of historical and cultural significance will attain the highest levels of Swachhta as per global standards.
- 4300 villages along the banks of River Ganges will be Open Defecation Free, ODF
Swachch Bharat Urban:
- 31 lakhs individual household toilets constructed so far; 18.50 lakh more under construction
- 1.25 lakh Community and Public Toilet seats constructed
- 81,015 urban wards covered under 100% Door to Door collection of solid waste
- Waste processing increased to 21.51% from 18% in 2014
- Waste to Compost conversion increased to 13.13 lakh tons/year from 1.50 lakh tons per year in 2014
- 614 cities have been so far declared Open Defecation Free after due verification
- All cities of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat declared ODF
- Target was fully achieved
- 13.77 crore children in 11.21 lakh government schools all over the country now have access to toilet facilities
SWACHCH BHARAT KOSH (Finance)
- To improve the cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas, priority to girl toilets in schools.
- Purpose: Construction of new toilets and repair and renovation of dysfunctional toilets in villages, towns, government schools and aanganwaadis.
- Fund also used for constructing water lines to the toilets, training and skill development to maintain hygiene in the toilets and other activities to improve sanitation
SWACHH BHARAT CESS
Contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in the form of Swachh Bharat Cess
Topic 5: General Knowledge
Discovery of new planet
A team from the Physical Research Laboratory,ISRO, Ahmedabad, has spotted for the first time a distant planet six times bigger than Earth and revolving around a Sun-like star about 600 light years away. Both the planet and the star have been named EPIC.
- With this discovery India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars
- The spectrograph is the first of its kind in the country which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star.
- Measured the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search or PARAS spectrograph integrated with the 1.2-metre telescope located at PRL’s Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.
PRL, described as the cradle of space sciences in India, conducts fundamental research in a host of physical sciences including astronomy and space.
Read more at: The Hindu