March 6,2019

March 5,2019
March 5, 2019
Quiz February 23, 2019
March 7, 2019

Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam

 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
  1. General Knowledge

Topic 1:Economic development

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme

U.S. President has announced that he intends to end preferential trade terms for India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme.

What is GSP programme?

  • The GSP programme, which sets zero tariffs for certain goods from a set of 121 developing countries to foster their trade and economic development, accounts for some $5.6 billion of India’s exports to the U.S., making India the largest GSP beneficiary.
  • Chemicals, gems and jewellery, engineering and textiles are among the Indian industrial sectors that benefit from the GSP.

The discretionary criteria:

One of the discretionary criteria the President must (as per the GSP statute) take into account while determining GSP eligibility is whether the beneficiary “will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets and basic commodity resources and the extent to which it has assured the United States it will refrain from engaging in unreasonable export practices.”

Challenges faced by U.S.A:

  • India’s new e-commerce rules — which have impacted American companies like Amazon and Walmart (majority owner of Flipkart).
  • Price controls on medical devices (cardiac stents).
  • Tariffs on ICT products like smart watches and high-end mobile phones.
  • Lack of greater market access for the U.S. dairy industry.

India’s measures:

  • Indian Oil Corporation announced a $1.5 billion deal to purchase oil from the U.S. until March 2020.
  • Indian officials have been quick to bring up the declining trade surplus (over just over $21 billion) that India has with the U.S.
  • India and the U.S. have been in focused trade talks since Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium early last year, ostensibly on grounds of national security.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 1:Social development

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM) Yojana

Government of India has introduced a pension scheme for unorganised workers namely Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan (PM-SYM) to ensure old age protection for Unorganised Workers.

Eligibility:

  • The unorganised workers whose monthly income is Rs 15,000/ per month or less and belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years.
  • They should not be covered under New Pension Scheme (NPS), Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme or Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
  • Further, he/she should not be an income tax payer.

Features of PM-SYM:

  • Each subscriber under the PMSYM, shall receive minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years.
  • During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension. Family pension is applicable only to spouse.
  • If a beneficiary has given regular contribution and died due to any cause (before age of 60 years), his/her spouse will be entitled to join and continue the scheme subsequently by payment of regular contribution or exit the scheme as per provisions of exit and withdrawal.
  • PM-SYM is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme on a 50:50 basis where prescribed age-specific contribution shall be made by the beneficiary and the matching contribution by the Central Government as per the chart.
  • The subscriber will be required to have a mobile phone, savings bank account and Aadhaar number. The eligible subscriber may visit the nearest Common Services Centres (CSC eGovernance Services India Limited (CSC SPV)) and get enrolled for PM-SYM using Aadhaar number and savings bank account/ Jan-Dhan account number on self-certification basis.
  • The facility will be provided where the subscriber can also visit the PM-SYM web portal or can download the mobile app and self-register using Aadhar number/ savings bank account/ Jan-Dhan account number on self-certification basis.  
  • The enrolment will be carried out by all the Common Services Centres.
  • All the branch offices of LIC, the offices of ESIC/EPFO and all Labour offices of Central and State Governments will facilitate the unorganised workers about the Scheme, its benefits and the procedure to be followed, at their respective centers.
  • PM-SYM will be a Central Sector Scheme administered by the Ministry of Labour and Employment and implemented through Life Insurance Corporation of India and CSC eGovernance Services India Limited (CSC SPV).
  • Considering the hardships and erratic nature of employability of these workers, the exit provisions of scheme have been kept flexible.
  • If a subscriber has not paid the contribution continuously he/she will be allowed to regularize his contribution by paying entire outstanding dues, along with penalty charges, if any, decided by the Government.

Read more at: PIB

Topic 2 : Environment

Crop burning raises risk of respiratory illness threefold, says IFPRI study

The burning of agricultural residue — a contributor to north India’s winter pollution — increases the risk of respiratory illnesses.It may also be responsible for an annual $30 billion (approximately ₹2 trillion) loss in terms of days of work lost in States affected by crop burning, according to a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Highlights:

  • In Haryana, 5.4% of surveyed individuals reported suffering from ARI (Acute Respiratory Infection) whereas the reported ARI symptoms in southern States was only 0.1%.
  • Among those who reported suffering from ARI, 83% also reported receiving treatment for ARI at a private or public medical facility.
  • Whereas high-intensity fire exposure was virtually absent in south India, 17.5% of individuals in Haryana lived in a district where 100 or more fires per day were observed by the satellite.

What is stubble burning?

  • Stubble burning is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.
  • It results in emission of harmful gases such carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.

Why stubble burning?

  • Farmers do not have alternatives for utilising them effectively.
  • The farmers are ill-equipped to deal with waste because they cannot afford the new technology that is available to handle the waste material.
  • With less income due to crop damage, farmers are likely to be inclined to light up their fields to cut costs and not spend on scientific ways of stubble management.

Remedial measures:

  • Incorporation of crop residues in the soil can improve soil moisture and help activate the growth of soil microorganisms for better plant growth.
  • Convert the removed residues into enriched organic manure through composting.
  • There is great potential for making investments in paddy straw-based power plants which can help avoid stubble burning to a large extent and also create employment opportunities.
  • New opportunities for industrial use such as extraction of yeast protein can be explored through scientific research.
  • States needs to make alternative arrangements for consumption of paddy straw into the soil as per the directions of the NGT.
  • Boosting farm mechanisation.

Read more at: The Hindu

Gurgaon World’s Most Polluted City, Says Study.

Gurgaon in the National Capital Region or NCR is the world’s most polluted city according to data released by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace, a non-profit organization.

Highlights of the study:

  • India dominates the ranking, with 15 out of the 20 cities, with worst pollution.
  • Out of the 10 cities with highest pollution, seven are in India, while one is in China and two are in Pakistan.
  • Among the Indian cities are Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Bhiwadi, Noida, Patna and Lucknow.
  • Delhi is at number 11 on the pollution chart.
  • The other three are Hotan in China and Lahore and Faisalabad in Pakistan.
  • The main focus of the study, as per the report, is the aggregate of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, which has been recorded in real-time in 2018.
  • The main focus of the study, as per the report, is the aggregate of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, which has been recorded in real-time in 2018.
  • The exposure to PM2.5 pollution increases the risk of lung cancer, stroke, heart attack and respiratory diseases, including asthma symptoms among all age groups.
  • The new report, based on a study of 3000 cities, said that 64 per cent exceeded the World Health Organisation’s annual exposure guideline for PM2.5 and just in South Asia, 99 per cent of the cities exceeded the WHO’s safe standard exposure of 10 micrograms/cubic metre annually.
  • China has made a remarkable improvement since 2013, when its capital Beijing topped the pollution charts but according to the new study, the country’s pollution levels have gone down by 40 per cent.

Read more at: NDTV

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