Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam
Video Lectures and Test Series for ESE 2019
- 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
Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme
Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India is going to open third series of Sovereign Gold Bonds 2018-19.
The Bond scheme:
- The bonds are to be issued by RBI.
- They will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities including individuals, HUFs, Trusts, Universities and Charitable Institutions.
- They will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
- Recently, RBI has increased the maximum investment to 4 kg (from 500g) for individuals and Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and 20 kg for Trusts.
- The tenor of the bond will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from 5th year.
- The interest rate is fixed at the rate of 2.50% per annum.
- The interest on Gold Bonds shall be taxable.
- The capital gains tax arising to an individual on redemption of SGB has been exempted.
- Bonds can be used as collateral for loans and are eligible for Statutory Liquidity Ratio purposes in Banks.
Read more at: PIB
World’s first sovereign Blue Bond
Seychelles issues world’s 1st ‘Blue Bond,’ a 10-year fund to finance ocean-based projects.
- The bond raised USD 15 million from international investors.
- The bond demonstrates the potential for countries to harness capital markets for financing the sustainable use of marine resources.
- To protect marine resources has raised 15 million dollars by investors and has made Seychelles the world’s first country to utilise capital markets for funding such an initiative.
- The Blue Bond is a part of an initiative that combines public and private investment to mobilise resources for empowering local communities and businesses.
- The Seychelles blue bond is partially guaranteed by World Bank (IBRD) and Global Environment Facility (GEF)
- It will greatly assist Seychelles in achieving a transition to sustainable fisheries and safeguarding oceans.
- Proceeds from the bond will be utilised for the expansion of marine protected areas, improved governance of priority fisheries and the development of the Seychelles’ blue economy.
- Proceeds from the bond will also contribute to the World Bank’s South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Program.
- Grants will be provided through the Blue Grants Fund and will be managed by the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).
- Loans will be provided through the Blue Investment Fund and will be managed by the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS).
Read more at: IndiaToday
Topic 1:Social development
The Atal Pension Yojana
The Subscriber base under APY has crossed 1.24 crore mark.
- The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is the guaranteed Pension Scheme of Government of India administered by PFRDA.
- States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka are the top contributors in APY enrollment.
About the Yojana:
- The Scheme allows any Indian Citizen between the age group of 18-40 years to join through the bank or post office branches where one has the savings bank account.
- It is is a government-backed pension scheme in India targeted at the unorganised sector.
- Swavalamban Yojana has been replaced with Atal Pension Yojana, in which all subscribing workers below the age of 40 are eligible for pension of up to ₹5,000(US$70) per month on attainment of 60 years of age.
Read more at: PIB
Topic 1:Industrial development
Support and Outreach Initiative for MSME Sector
Government of India launched a historic support and outreach programme for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. As part of this programme, the Prime Minister unveiled 12 key initiatives which will help the growth, expansion and facilitation of MSMEs across the country.
The Key Initiatives:
- Easy access to credit: to enable easy access to credit for MSMEs. Loans upto Rs. 1 crore can be granted in-principle approval through this portal, in just 59 minutes.
- A 2% interest subvention for all GST registered MSMEs, on fresh or incremental loans. For exporters who receive loans in the pre-shipment and post-shipment period, there will be an increase in interest rebate from 3% to 5%.
- All companies with a turnover more than Rs. 500 crore, must now compulsorily be brought on the Trade Receivables e-Discounting System (TReDS). Joining this portal will enable entrepreneurs to access credit from banks, based on their upcoming receivables. This will resolve their problems of cash cycle.
- The public sector companies have now been asked to compulsorily procure 25 percent, instead of 20 percent of their total purchases, from MSMEs.
- Out of the 25 percent procurement mandated from MSMEs, 3 percent must now be reserved for women entrepreneurs.
- All public sector undertakings of the Union Government must now compulsorily be a part of GeM. He said they should also get all their vendors registered on GeM.
- 20 technological hubs will be formed across the country, and 100 spokes in the form of tool rooms will be established.
- Clusters will be formed of pharma MSMEs. 70% cost of establishing these clusters will be borne by the Union Government.
- The return under 8 labour laws and 10 Union regulations must now be filed only once a year.
- Now the establishments to be visited by an Inspector will be decided through a computerised random allotment.
- Under air pollution and water pollution laws, now both these have been merged as a single consent. The return will be accepted through self-certification.
- An Ordinance has been brought, under which, for minor violations under the Companies Act, the entrepreneur will no longer have to approach the Courts, but can correct them through simple procedures.
Read more at: PIB
Topic 2 : Energy
MoU signed between OMCs and CSC SPV for collaboration in LPG Services
An MoU for collaboration in LPG services was signed between Oil Marketing Companies (IOCL, HPCL & BPCL) and CSC e-Governance Services India Limited.
- CSC SPV and OMCs have agreed to facilitate their distributors to avail the following services through Common Services Centers:
- Booking new LPG connection (Ujjwala & General category)
- Booking of LPG refills (14.2 Kg cylinders)
- Supply & distribution of LPG cylinders (storage up to 100 Kgs,) through CSCs.
- Common Services Centre will help beneficiaries to provide the above OMCs service near to their home, accessing through Digital Seva Portal.
- New connection and other services through CSCs for last mile access at consumer doorstep.
- Beneficiary can visit the nearby CSCs across India to get the services of OMCs.
- CSCs will help a beneficiary in booking a new gas connection request, refilling request and delivery of Gas Cylinder.
- CSCs will help beneficiary to scan/upload her KYC documents for verification of his/her identity for new booking connection.
- Beneficiaries can collect the Gas Cylinder from their nearby Common Services Centres.
- CSCs will also provide requisite information about the scheme and promote it among citizens so that maximum number of beneficiaries can avail the benefit.
- Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is appointing 1 Ujjawala Didi for every 5 villages whose prime responsibility is to support and give service to Ujjawala Beneficiaries.
- CSCs has supported in conducting session in 100 LPG Panchayats where one hour training and demo given to Ujjawala beneficiaries on safety mode of using gas cylinders and on Refill option.
Read more at: PIB
Topic 3 : ICT
NASA’s Dawn asteroid mission
Dawn mission, launched in 2007 to study the protoplanet Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres ending a historic 11-year mission that unravelled many mysteries of our solar system.
- After the flight team eliminated other possible causes for the missed communications, mission managers concluded that the spacecraft finally ran out of hydrazine, the fuel that enables the spacecraft to control its pointing.
- Dawn became the only spacecraft ever to orbit a cosmic body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in 2011 when it began circling the asteroid Vesta
- The first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet and the only spacecraft to orbit one.
- The unmanned spacecraft has travelled 4.3 billion miles (6.9 billion kilometers) since its launch in 2007.
About Dawn Mission:
- NASA’s Dawn mission will study the asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, celestial bodies believed to have accreted early in the history of the solar system.
- The mission will characterize the early solar system and the processes that dominated its formation.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 5: General Knowledge
Earth BioGenome Project
Scientists launched a vast Earth BioGenome Project on to map the genetic code of all 1.5 million known species of complex life on earth, aiming to complete the work within a decade.
About the project:
- The Earth BioGenome Project plans to record the genomes — the DNA blueprint of life — of 1.5 million species of animal, plant, protozoa and fungi within a decade.
- They expect to read the full DNA sequence of all the world’s eukaryotic species — organisms whose cells have a nucleus enclosed by membranes. These are animals, plants, fungi and protozoa, which encompass all of life except simple microbes (bacteria and archaea).
- Participating institutions aim to raise the required funds from governments, foundations and charities.
- The project’s first phase producing a reference genome for each of the 9,000 taxonomic families of eukaryotic life.
Significance of the project:
- The blueprints for all living species will be a tremendous resource for new discoveries.
- It helps for understanding the rules of life, how evolution works, new approaches for the conservation of rare and endangered species, and
- Provide new resources for researchers in agricultural and medical fields.
Read more at: Deccanchronicle