March 2,2018

March 1,2018
March 1, 2018
Quiz- March 1,2018
March 2, 2018

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

Establishment of  National Financial Reporting Authority

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for establishment of National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) and creation of one post of Chairperson, three posts of full-time Members and one post of Secretary for NFRA.

Impact:

The decision is expected to result in improved foreign/domestic investments, enhancement of economic growth, supporting the globalization of business by meeting international practices, and assist in further development of audit profession

Jurisdiction:

  • The jurisdiction of NFRA for investigation of Chartered Accountants and their firms under section 132 of the Act would extend to listed companies and large unlisted public companies, the thresholds for which shall be prescribed in the Rules.
  • The Central Government can also refer such other entities for investigation where public interest would be involved
  • The inherent regulatory role of ICAI as provided for in the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 shall continue in respect of its members in general and specifically with respect to audits pertaining to private limited companies, and public unlisted companies below the threshold limit to be notified in the rules
  • The Quality Review Board (QRB) will also continue quality audit in respect of private limited companies, public unlisted companies below prescribed threshold and also with respect to audit of those companies that may be delegated to QRB by NFRA.

Read more at: PIB

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018  in Parliament.  The Bill would help in  laying down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

Highlights:

  • The cases where the total value involved in such offences is Rs.100 crore or more, will come under the purview of this Bill.
  • The Bill is expected to re-establish the rule of law with respect to the fugitive economic offenders as they would be forced to return to India to face trial for scheduled offences.
  • This would also help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders, improving the financial health of such institutions.
  • It is expected that the special forum to be created for expeditious confiscation of the proceeds of crime, in India or abroad, would coerce the fugitive to return to India to submit to the jurisdiction of Courts in India to face the law in respect of scheduled offences.
  • A scheduled offence refers to a list of economic offences contained in the Schedule to this Bill

Fugitive Economic offender:

A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

Background:

  • Lalit modi was found guilty of committing acts of misconduct and indiscipline resulting in his removal and subsequent lifetime ban by the BCCI. He is facing potential investigation  by the ED for several alleged violations.
  • Vijay Mallya has defaulted on loans of around Rs 9,000 crore from Indian banks
  • Nirav Modi has defaulted on loans of around Rs 11,000 crore from Punjab National Bank and other banks.

Read more at: PIB

SBI, ICICI Bank hike lending rates

With State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, and ICICI Bank, the largest private sector bank, increasing lending rates by up to 20 basis points (bps), home and car loans will become costlier.

Highlights:

  • The SBI has increased the one-year marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR) by 20 bps to 8.15%
  • ICICI Bank hiked it by 10 bps to 8.3%.
  • The new rates are effective from Thursday and will be applicable for new customers.
  • For existing customers, the new rate will take effect when the interest rates are reset

Marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR):

MCLR refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 2 : Environment

Plan to make seaplane land on Yamuna in next five years

The project called “Yamunosa” by Delhi BJP president will be on the lines of Sabarmati on which Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a splash of a last-day Gujarat campaign by landing on a seaplane.

Highlights:

  • As part of the project, approximately 500 m wide channel will be created after dredging and the river shall be made to flow in this channel.
  • No drain (about 2 dozen of them flow into it currently) will be allowed to merge into the river. These will run parallel to the river and will be treated by a single treatment plant outside Delhi

Read more at: ET

Ranganathittu to be pitched as a potential Ramsar wetland site

The renowned islets of Ranganathittu on the banks of the river Cauvery in Srirangapatna will be pitched to be recognised as a Ramsar wetland site of international importance.

About Ranganathittu :

  • The sanctuary supports more than 1% of the world population of spot-billed pelicans as against a global population of nearly 17,000
  • There are more than 1,000 of  painted storks  at sanctuary
  • The sanctuary supports mugger crocodiles and a host of other species of birds

Ramsar Convention:

  • India is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, which was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.
  • The convention provides a framework for conservation of wetlands and their resources.
  • There are currently 26 sites in India recognised as Ramsar wetland sites of international importance, but none of them are in Karnataka.
  • A water body should meet any one of the seven criteria spelt out by it to be declared a wetland of international importance.

Read more at: The Hindu

Import of exotic fish

Expressing concern over the increase in the import of ornamental fishes to the country, which is posing a threat to India’s native fish populations, the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has urged the government to come up with quarantine facilities at major seaports and airports.

Concerns:

  • The huge market for Invasive Alien Species (IAS) is turning out to be major threat to India’s aquatic biodiversity.
  • An ornamental species known as a ‘tank cleaner’ of aquariums, has spread to almost all freshwater ecosystems and outnumbers other native fish by feeding on their larvae and competing with them for food resources.
  • The government of India has only approved the import of 92 species of ornamental fish but the number of ornamental fish species being imported and in trade is somewhere between 200-300
  • Several studies have disclosed the occurrence of exotic ornamental fish in many inland aquatic systems, including biodiversity-sensitive areas such as the Western Ghats

Exotic Species:

Animals and plant species introduced from other countries and which are not otherwise found locally are termed exotic. These introduced or exotic species can adversely affect the ecosystem.

Read more at: The Hindu

Reducing the carbon footprint

To join other nations in the war on carbon, India needs to undertake a comprehensive approach, which can be done by establishing an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

ETS:

  • An ETS is a market-based mechanism where a cap is set on the amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that can be emitted by covered entities.
  • The emitters can either reduce their emissions to adhere to the cap or buy additional allowances from other entities to compensate for their deficiency.

About Carbon footprint:

The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 2 : Energy

World’s largest solar park

Karnataka achieved one more milestone in the solar sector with Chief Minister  inaugurating the first phase of the Pavagada solar park in Tumkur dist.

Highlights:

  • The part  is set to become the world’s largest when it attains its full potential of 2,000 MW.
  • The first phase of the park has 600 MW while another 1,400 MW will be added by December 2018

Read more at: The Hindu

Kerala’s energy-positive campus

The Energy Management Centre (EMC), an autonomous institution under the Kerala government, has grabbed the global spotlight for its energy-positive campus, located at Sreekaryam in the State capital.

The  Global Status Report 2017:

Towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector,’ published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has listed the EMC campus as one of the recent achievements in the deployment of key technologies for energy-efficiency in buildings.

The Energy Management Centre (EMC):

  • The 40,000-square foot building is the only one from India to figure in the list, along with five other projects worldwide
  • It was designed to allow natural cross-flow ventilation from building forms and openings.
  • The campus is equipped with a 30-kilowatt grid-connected solar capacity that exports around 50 kWh a day on an average, with a doubling of the capacity under implementation.
  • Campus uses daylighting controls, CFC-free heating, ventilation and cooling systems, along with a halogen-free fire-fighting system.
  • Solar reflectance index coating, combined with high-albedo painting and turbo-vents for passive cooling, has been used, and tropical rainforest trees help create cool surroundings.
  • Only certified green construction materials, recycled wood boards, low-emitting paints and adhesives, and green-plus certified carpets have been used.

Solar reflectance index coating:

Solar reflectivity or reflectance is the ability of a material to reflect solar energy from its surface back into the atmosphere. The SR value is a number from 0 to 1.0. A value of 0 indicates that the material absorbs all solar energy and a value of 1.0 indicates total reflectance.

Albedo painting:

It is an eco-friendly paint which upon application to cementaceous, asbestos or MS roofing, increases the emissivity of that surface, which results in reflection of heat energy

Read more at: The Hindu

LEED Gold Certification:

The American International School Chennai (AISC) has been awarded LEED Gold Certification by the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI).

LEED Gold Certification:

  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building rating system used across the world for all building project types including schools and colleges. A framework is provided by LEED which can be adapted by institutions to create an efficient, healthy and sustainable green buildings
  • The Green Business Certification Institute(GBCI), is the organisation which certifies all LEED green building projects.
  • In India, there are currently around 2,500 ongoing LEED projects of which, many are educational institutions. Other projects include hospitals, housing projects, IT Parks and commercial spaces such as malls

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 3 : ICT

Applied Materials India to take up research in Artificial Intelligence

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has signed a joint development agreement with Applied Materials India to conduct research in Data Sciences, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Highlights:

  • The works that would be taken up as part of the agreement include research on using representational neural networks, machine learning methods, images for technology enabled software solutions and advanced image analysis.

Read more at: ET

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