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
- General Knowledge
Topic 1:Economic development
Recapitalization plan for public sector banks
The government’s recapitalization plan for the 21 public sector banks (PSBs) will not be sufficient to support credit growth but will take care of the provisioning requirement for bad loans, according to Moody’s.
- The PSBs’ capital shortfalls are larger than the scale that the government had expected when it announced the recapitalisation in October 2017, mainly because the banks have failed to raise additional capital from the market
- It may be difficult for them to raise more capital given the substantial decline in their share prices since the beginning of 2018
- The capacity of these 21 banks to generate internal capital has deteriorated because of their weak financial performance and a sharp increase in government bond yields, which hurt their investment income
- The discovery of the ₹14,400 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank in February this year increased the need for additional capital for the lender.
- The accelerated recognition of stressed assets during FY18, the asset quality problems of the banking sector had peaked in March 2018.
- The regulatory push for the recognition and resolution of stressed assets stepped up further during Q4 FY2018 as the RBI announced the revised framework for the resolution of stressed assets during February 2018
Read more at: The Hindu
Averting Ponzi schemes
The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018 was approved by the Union Cabinet in February to provide comprehensive legislation to deal with illicit deposit schemes in the country.
- The Bill imposes complete prohibition of unregulated deposit taking activity.
- It provides for deterrent punishment for promoting or operating an unregulated deposit taking scheme
- Stringent punishment for fraudulent default in repayment to depositors
- Designation of a competent authority by the State government to ensure repayment of deposits in the event of default by a deposit taking establishment
- Powers and functions of the competent authority including attachment of assets of a defaulting establishment
- Designation of courts to oversee repayment of depositors and to try offences under the Act
- Listing of Regulated Deposit Schemes in the Bill with a clause enabling the Central government to expand or prune the list.
- The Bill contains a substantive banning clause which bans deposit takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme.
- The Bill creates three different types of offences, namely, running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.
- It has adequate provisions for disgorgement or repayment of deposits in cases where such schemes nonetheless manage to raise deposits illegally.
- The Bill provides for attachment of properties/ assets by the competent authority, and subsequent realisation of assets for repayment to depositors.
- The Bill enables creation of an central online database, for collection and sharing of information on deposit taking activities in the country. Primarily, the Bill defines the “deposit taker” and “deposit” comprehensively.
About Ponzi schemes:
- A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.
- It is an investment system where the investment profits are paid with the money from other investors, and those who experience profit believe the profits come from non-investors such as business activities, or the earnings and growth of a company.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 1:Social development
QS World Best Universities Ranking 2019
The positive performance recorded by India’s most prominent institutions is symptomatic of a successful year for the country’s higher education system. 24 universities feature from India, of which 7 improve their rank, 9 remain stable and 5 are newly-ranked.
- In the QS World Best Universities Ranking, 9 Indian institutions have been individually ranked in the top-500 as against 6 last year.
- Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, rises 20 places to 170th ; 17 of India’s 24 ranked universities improved their rank for Academic Reputation, while 13 improved their rank for Employer Reputation.
- Four IITs have received top-100 scores for Citations per Faculty. These are Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (89.5/100), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (84.0/100), Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (76.8/100), and Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (75.6/100).
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topping the list for a record seventh consecutive year
- Government’s flagship initiatives are:
- Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana-which is industry-academia partnership for finding solutions by teams of faculty and students of IITs to customised requirements of the industries,
- Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) -foreign faculties coming to India to courses in specialised topics for students in Indian Higher Educational institutions
- Smart India Hackathon, a competition to find digital solutions to various problems faced by the people
- IMPacting Research, INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT) promotion of research & innovation activities in 10 domains
- Higher Education Financing Agency-coupled with more funds for research infrastructure through HEFA
- The launch of Prime Minister’s Research Fellowships
About QS World Best Universities Ranking:
- QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Previously known as Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings.
- The QS system now comprises the global overall and subject rankings (which name the world’s top universities for the study of 48 different subjects and five composite faculty areas), alongside five independent regional tables (Asia, Latin America, Emerging Europe and Central Asia, the Arab Region, and BRICS).
Read more at: PIB
Single education regulator plan
The Union government is preparing to drop its ambitious plan to set up a single higher education regulator to replace existing regulatory bodies like the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
- The government will instead attempt a quick revamp of UGC, AICTE and the National Council of Technical Education as it goes into election year.
- The focus is on UGC laws and regulations like giving it penal powers to act against and close down deficient and rogue institutes and syncing laws to industry and employment realities and rationalising approach to private universities.
- Taking the funding role completely out of UGC and handing it over to the ministry so that the former can focus on monitoring of quality standards at institutes.
- Both UGC and AICTE have now been asked by the ministry to draw up a list of changes they need in their respective Acts and regulations in order to become more effective regulators.
- Both regulators are tasked with submitting the same within the month and meetings have already begun for the purpose.
- The single education regulator tentatively christened Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority (HEERA) was so far being projected as one of the biggest reforms in the higher education space in the country.
Read more at: ET
Topic 1:Industrial development
Consortium to help women entrepreneurs
The UN India Business Forum and the Women Entrepreneurial Platform of NITI Aayog formed a consortium to reduce gender disparities in start-up investments by providing mentorship and networking opportunities and accelerating financial and market linkages for women entrepreneurs.
- It will bring together key ecosystem stakeholders, including venture capitalists and impact investors, international donor and funding agencies, private sector partners and state governments, according to a joint statement.
- The consortium aims to strengthen women’s entrepreneurship by creating an enabling ecosystem for investments.
- Women entrepreneurs will be identified through key partners, including WEP, UN Women, and UNDP.
- The consortium secretariat will then connect entrepreneurs, according to their requests, with relevant members.
- The UN India Business Forum, an alliance of India’s businesses, financial institutions, the government and the UN, aims to accelerate India’s rapid growth and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 2 : Environment
Juvenile fishing causing huge economic loss
Kerala’s fisheries sector is suffering a huge economic loss owing to uncontrolled juvenile fishing, according to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).
- The most caught juveniles last year were of threadfin breams that caused a loss of an estimated ₹221 crore to the fisheries sector in the State last year.
- Juvenile fishing badly affects the biological factors of marine ecosystem.
- The unscientific practice leads to disruption in recruitment and spawning stock biomass of the fish.
About Juvenile fish:
- Juvenile fish go through various stages between birth and adulthood.
- The transformation or metamorphosis from larva to juvenile is complete, that is, when the larva develops the features of a juvenile fish.
- These features are that all the fin rays are present and that scale growth is under way.
- The stage completes when the juvenile becomes adult, that is, when it becomes sexually mature or starts interacting with other adults.
Read more at:The Hindu
Topic 4: The Key Initiatives of Government
Operation Digital board
- The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), an advisory body under Ministry of HRD recently passed a resolution to take steps towards Operation Digital Board.
- The idea of Operation Digital Board is aimed at providing better digital education in all schools.
- These steps will be on the lines of Operation Blackboard of 1987, which was started with the purpose of providing minimum basic facilities to all primary schools.
- This will offer new opportunities and ways of teaching and learning in schools.
Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKY)
- It is a programme launched to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations.
- The main objective is to minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economic conditions of people in mining districts and also to ensure sustainable livelihood for the affected people.
- The beneficiaries include people living in directly affected areas and displaced family under the Land Acquisition Act.
- It is implemented by the District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) of the respective districts using the funds accruing to the DMF from miners.
- District Mineral Foundation (DMF) is a trust set up under Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, (MMDRA) 2015 as a non-profit body in those districts affected by the mining works.
- The DMFs have been directed to take all major decision in a participatory mode, in consultation with the gram sabhas of the respective villages and activities taken under “polluter pays principle” cannot be included under PMKKY.
- 60% of the funds will be utilised for high priority areas such as Drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people and environment conservation.
- 40% of the fund will be utilised for physical infrastructure, irrigation, energy and watershed development.
- The basic aim is to motivate the local Governments for adopting renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures.
- The Solar City aims at minimum 10% reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years.
- In a Solar City all types of renewable energy based projects will be installed.