Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam
Video lectures for ESE prelims 2020
- National and International Issues on
- Economic Development
- Social Development
- Industrial Development
- Energy and Environment
- Information and Communication Technology
- General Knowledge
Topic 1:Economic development
The regulatory sandbox/innovation hub
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will issue guidelines within two months for fintech companies to test their new products on a small group of users before scaling up.
What is regulatory sandbox?
A regulatory sandbox is a safe harbour, where businesses can test innovative products under relaxed regulatory conditions. Typically, participating companies release new products in a controlled environment to a limited number of customers for a limited period of time.
Significance and benefits:
- It will help fintech companies launch innovative products at a lower cost and in less time.
- It will enable fintech companies to conduct live or virtual testing of their new products and services.
- The companies will also be able to test the viability of the product without a wider and expensive rollout.
- It will help companies to experiment with fintech solutions, where the consequences of failure can be contained and reasons for failure analysed.
- To protect customers and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders, and streamline their influence on the financial system
What is the need?
Fintech or financial technology companies use technology to provide financial services such as payments, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, among others.
Read more at: Livemint
Electoral bond scheme
Electoral bonds have been introduced to promote transparency in funding and donation received by political parties.
What are electoral bonds?
Electoral bonds will allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary.
- Electoral Bonds may be purchased by only citizen of India.
- An individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
- The bonds can only be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorized bank.
- Electoral Bonds are valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue.
- If the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period, no payment is made to any Political Party.
- The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account is credited on the same day.
- The bonds are issued in multiples of 1000, 10000, 1 lakh, 10 lakh, 1 crore.
- The cash donation has been capped at Rs. 2000 and beyond that donations are.
Benefits of Electoral bond:
- Transparent political funding.
- Protecting donors from harassment.
- No disclosure of information to third parties.
- Achieving Digital India vision.
- Bringing donations under tax preview.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 2 : Environment
European Parliament Bans Single-Use Plastics
The European Union Parliament has voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers as part of a sweeping law against plastic waste that despoils beaches and pollutes oceans.
- The directive will now pass through formalities before it is published in the EU rulebook. After that, EU member states will have two years to implement the directive, i.e. the ban will come into force by 2021 in all EU member states.
- The United Kingdom too will have to follow the rules if it took part in and extended the Brexit transition period.
- By 2025, plastic bottles should be made of 25% recycled content, and by 2029, 90% of them should be recycled.
- The ban targets the top 10 disposable plastic products including plates, balloon sticks, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
- Tobacco companies will be required to cover the costs for public collection of cigarette stubs, which are the second most littered single-use plastic item.
- EU will also encourage member states to reduce the use of plastic packaging and introduce stricter labelling rules.
- Producers must contribute to the costs of waste management and will be offered incentives to develop less polluting alternatives.
- Member countries must collect 90% of single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2025, through deposit refund schemes.
- The proposals, plus one in January for all plastic packaging in Europe to be recyclable by 2030.
What are Single-Use Plastics?
- Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.
- The single-use plastic products also prevent the spread of infection. Instruments such as syringes, applicators, drug tests, bandages and wraps are often made to be disposable.
- The single-use plastic products have been enlisted in the fight against food waste, keeping food and water fresher for longer and reducing the potential for contamination.
Challenges for disposing of single-use products.
- Petroleum based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean.
- In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals (additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic)which make their way into our food and water supply.
About European Parliament:
- The European Parliament is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU) that is directly elected by EU citizens aged 18 or older every five years since 1979.
- It has 751 Members of elected directly from the 28 Member States of EU.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 2 : Energy
The largest energy storage system in Asia
In a bid to reduce energy demand and provide emergency backup power to trains in Japan, Tesla has claimed to develop its largest power storage system in Asia.
- It has installed a bank of 42 Powerpacks at a train station in Japan’s Osaka that can provide sufficient backup power to safely move a train and its passengers to the nearest station in the event of a power outage.
- The powerpack battery system will also help reduce energy demand on the Osaka grid during peak hours.
- It is the 7 megawatt-hours (MWh) system is its largest energy storage project in Asia, and the fourth largest in the greater Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
How does it work?
The new Tesla Power pack system is a fully integrated, AC-connected energy storage system that can connect to a building or utility network. The system contains 16 individual battery pods, each with an isolated DC-DC converter.
Read more at: ET