September 27,2018

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Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam

Video Lectures and Test Series for ESE 2019

UPSC Notification -2019

 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
  4. The Key Initiatives of Government
  5. General Knowledge

Topic 1:Social development

Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna

The ESI Corporation has approved ‘ATAL BIMIT VYAKTI KALYAN YOJNA’ for Insured Persons (IP) covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.

The Yojna:

  • Relief payable in cash directly to the Bank Account in case of unemployment and while they search for new engagement.
  • The cash benefit given to the unemployed persons searching for new employment will be 25 percent of his average earning of 90 days.
  • It will benefit More Than 3 Crore Insured Persons

Read more at: PIB

SC declares Aadhaar as a “document of empowerment.”

The Supreme Court declared Aadhaar a “document of empowerment.” The Supreme Court, in a majority opinion upheld Aadhaar as a reasonable restriction on individual privacy that fulfils the government’s “legitimate aim” to provide dignity to a large, marginalised population living in abject poverty.

Aadhaar necessary services:

  • PAN-Aadhaar linkage
  • Government subsidies and Benefits

Aadhaar not necessary services:

  • School Admissions
  • NEET, JEE,CBSE and others
  • Private companies
  • Mobile Phone connections
  • Bank Accounts

Other provisions:

  • Children once they attained the age of majority could opt out of Aadhaar.
  • The court directed the government and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to bring in regulations to prevent rightfully entitled people from being denied benefits.
  • The court held that authentication records should not be retained for more than six months.
  • It declared the archiving of records for five years as “bad in law.”
  • It prohibited the creation of a metabase for transactions.
  • The court allows only the UIDAI to file criminal complaints of Aadhaar data breach.
  • The Supreme Court struck down Section 33(2), which allowed the disclosure of Aadhaar information for national security reasons on the orders of an officer not below a Joint Secretary.
  • An officer above the Joint Secretary rank should first consult with a judicial officer, possibly a High Court judge, and both should decide whether information need to be disclosed in the national interest.
  • The Section 33 (1), which allowed the disclosure of Aadhaar information on the orders of a District Judge. This cannot be done now without giving the person concerned an opportunity to be heard.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 1:Industrial development

Comprehensive policy to deal with excess sugar production in the country

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved following measures involving total assistance of over Rs.  5500 crore to support the sugar sector by way of offsetting cost of cane and to facilitate export of sugar from the country thereby improving liquidity of the industry enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers:

  • To provide assistance to sugar mills by defraying expenditure towards internal transport, freight, handling and other charges to facilitate export during the sugar season
  • The Government has decided to provide financial assistance  to sugar mills to offset the cost of cane.
  • To ensure payment of sugarcane dues of farmers, both the assistance would be credited directly into the accounts of farmers on behalf of sugar mills against cane price dues payable to farmers against FRP including arrears relating to previous years and subsequent balance, if any, would be credited to mill’s account.

Read more at: PIB

Topic 2 : Environment

Sea-Bed Mining

With growing concerns over sea-bed mining, parties to UNCLOS started negotiations to agree a treaty to protect the biodiversity of high sea and promote sustainable use of resources.

About Seabed mining:

  • Seabed mining is the process which involves extracting submerged minerals and resources from the sea floor, either by dredging sand or lifting material in any other manner.
  • Although the distinction between shallow-water mining and Deep Sea Mining (DSM) is not formally demarcated, an emerging consensus says that DSM is the removal of minerals from sea beds deeper than 500 meters.
  • Three forms of DSM have attracted the attention of companies – the mining of cobalt crusts (CRC), polymetallic nodules, and deposits of seafloor massive sulphides (SMS) also known as Polymetallic Sulphides

Regulation and Management:

  • The legal framework governing anthropogenic activity on the ocean depends upon distance from land. A coastal state’s territorial sea, in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), extends to 12 nautical miles (22 km) from its coastline and includes the air space, the water body to the seabed and the subsoil
  • Coastal states have exclusive rights and jurisdiction over the resources within their 200-nautical mile (370 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Beyond the national jurisdiction, the ocean seabed and water above is termed as “Area”. UNCLOS designates the “Area” as the common heritage of mankind.
  • Three sections in UNCLOS are particularly relevant to deep sea mining: Article 136 (Common Heritage of Mankind) , Article 137.2 (Legal Status of the Area and Its resources) , and Article 145 (protection of the marine environment)

Environmental Concerns:

Seabed mining would harm marine organisms, disrupt marine ecosystem, thereby impacting the rich biodiversity of oceans in the following ways:

  • Mining of hydrothermal vents would destroy an extensive patch of productive vent habitat
  • Cobalt-rich crust mining could have a significant impact on corals, sponges and other benthic organisms associated with seamounts.
  • c) Mining of polymetallic nodules will also have devastating effect on the marine biodiversity associated with oceanic ridges.
  • Extraction of gas hydrates from seabed reserves carries potentially considerable environmental risk.

International Seabed Authority (ISA):

  • The ISA was established in 1982 by UNCLOS and is an autonomous intergovernmental body with 167 members.
  • The ISA is responsible for the mineral resources and the marine environment in the Area.
  • The ISA considers applications for exploration and exploitation of deepsea resources from contractors, assesses environmental impact assessments and supervises mining activities in the ‘Area’.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 3 : ICT

Agmark online system

Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare launched the online software for Agmark.

The system:

  • The application processes related to Agmark certification are being done online by the Directorate of Marketing & Inspection (DMI).
  • The process of application will be simple, quick, transparent and 24×7.
  • Online system is being implemented across the country to conduct quality control functions.
  • Through the Agmark online system, certificate of authorisation (domestic), permission of printing press, permission of laboratories (domestic) and services related to laboratory information management system will be provided online.
  • The use of modern technologies by the National Informatics Center has made these processes easy, reliable and cost effective by providing online electronic mode.

About Agmark:

  • AGMARK is a certification mark employed on agricultural products in India, assuring that they conform to a set of standards approved by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, an agency of the Government of India.
  • The AGMARK is legally enforced in India by the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act of 1937 (and ammended in 1986).
  • The Agmark certification is employed through fully state-owned Agmark laboratories located across the nation which act as testing and certifying centres.

Read more at: PIB

National Digital Communications Policy-2018

The Union Cabinet has approved the National Digital Communications Policy-2018 (NDCP-2018) andre-designation of the Telecom Commission as the “Digital Communications Commission”.

The Policy:

  • TheNDCP-2018 envisions supporting India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society
  • It aims to provide universal broadband connectivity at 50Mbps to every citizen
  • Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats of India by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022
  • Ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas
  • Attract investments of USD 100 Billion in the Digital Communications Sector
  • Train 1 Million manpower for building New Age Skill
  • Expand IoT ecosystem to 5 Billion connected devices
  • Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals and facilitates India’s  effective participation in the global digital economy
  • Enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe and secure digital communications infrastructure and services.
  • The policy advocates for establishment of a National Digital Grid by creating a National Fibre Authority
  • Establishing Common Service Ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects
  • Creating a collaborative institutional mechanism between Centre, States and Local Bodies for Common Rights of Way,standardization of costs and timelines
  • Removal of barriers to approvals
  • Facilitating development of Open Access Next Generation Networks.

The key objectives:

  • Provisioning of Broadband for all
  • Creating 4 Million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector
  • Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from 6% in 2017
  • Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017
  • Enhancing India’s contribution to Global Value Chains
  • Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.
  • These objectives are to be achieved by 2022.

Read more at: PIB

Jan Dhan Darshak Application

Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance and National Informatics Centre  (NIC) has jointly developed a mobile app called Jan Dhan Darshak as a part of financial inclusion (FI) initiative.

The app:

  • The app will act as a guide for the common people in locating a financial service touch point at a given location in the country.
  • The apps are a common feature for many individual banks and financial service providers, in this era of inter-operable banking services
  • To provide a citizen centric platform for locating financial service touch points across all providers such as banks, post office, CSC, etc.

Read more at: PIB

Topic 5: General Knowledge

United Nations ‘Champion of Earth’ award

United Nations Environment has bestowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French president Emmanuel Macron with the 2018 ‘Champion of the Earth’ award for their leadership in promotion of solar energy.

Highlights:

  • UN Environment is recognising Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his bold environmental leadership on the global stage. Under Modi’s leadership, India pledged to eliminate all single-use plastics in the country by 2022.
  • For supports and champions the International Solar Alliance, a global partnership to scale up solar energy.
  • Cochin International Airport Limited has also been recognised for becoming the first airport in the world to run its entire operations on solar energy.

About International Solar Alliance:

  • The International Solar Alliance is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of which lie between the equator and the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and hence receive very high sunshine throughout the year.
  • Founded in Paris, ISA is headquartered in Gurugram.

Read more at: ET

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