Expected Most Important Topics for UPSC - 2018 (Part - 11) (Download PDF)


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Indian China Standoff- Indo-Bhutan Ties - Standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam (located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan) underlines India’s relationship with Bhutan, including military responsibilities.

  • June 2017: Chinese Army (People’s Liberation Army) entered the Doklam area to construct a road.

  • Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) patrol dissuaded this unilateral activity.

  • Bhutan argued that the road was inside Bhutanese territory- violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China.

Sweden is Running Out of Garbage, Now Imports

  • With world’s number one recycling program to reduce waste and garbage.

  • Sweden has finally reached a point where the country has no more garbage to recycle.

  • It is setting an example for many countries around the world.

  • Sweden has run out of garbage and has been forced to import rubbish from other countries.

  • Sweden’s recycling system is so sophisticated that only less than 1 % of its household waste has been sent to landfill last year.

  • Sweden sources almost half of its electricity from renewables.

Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa- Chief Guest of 14Th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

  • António Costa (54), the Indian origin Prime Minister of Portugal will be the chief guest at the 14th PBD Convention.

  • PBD Convention is to be held from January 7 to 9,2017 in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

  • Suriname Vice president Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin will be the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Bengaluru on January 7,2017.

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Celebrated every year on January 9th to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India.

CERN Inks India as an Associate Member

  • Geneva-headquartered European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) inked an agreement with India as the latest associate member state of the organisation.

  • For India, Sekhar Basu, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy signed the agreement, while Fabio Gianotti, Director General, signed it on behalf of CERN.

  • The signing of the agreement took place in Mumbai.

  • The deal appreciates India’s significant contributions to the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in the areas of design, development and supply of hardware accelerator components.

  • India also assisted in commissioning, software development, and deployment in the machine.

China to Block India’S Bid for NSG Membership

  • Once again, China decided to block India’s bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership.

  • China along with few other member countries of NSG had earlier blocked India’s membership proposal in the plenary meet of NSG in Seoul.

  • NSG is cartel of countries concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of material.

  • Materials that be used for development of nuclear weapons.

Bindheswar Pathak Appointed as Brand Ambassador of Swachh Rail Mission

  • Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak appointed as the Brand Ambassador for Swachh Rail Mission of Indian Railway by the Union Ministry of Railways.

  • He is the founder of Sulabh International.

  • Indian Railways engaged with Sulabh International to clean important railway stations as part of the rail cleanliness mission.

  • Sulabh International started cleaning and maintenance of 5 important railway stations from September 2016 including Gorakhpur, Old Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and Gwalior.

  • In September 2016 Indian railways celebrated Swachhta Saptah the cleanliness Drive under the Swatch Rail Mission.

Latvia is First Baltic Sea Nation to Join with China’S OBOR

  • Latvia became the first country in the Baltic Sea to sign a MoU to link up with China’s OBOR (One Belt and One Road) Initiative.

  • MoU signed after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s met his Latvian counterpart Maris Kucinskis in Riga (capital of Latvia).

  • It was Chinese Premier’s first visit to any European Union country.

  • Latvia and China also singed 5 agreements on cooperation in areas like:

    • Small and medium-sized enterprises

    • Transportation and logistics

BIMSTEC Countries Decided to Fight Terrorism of All Forms

  • BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries have committed to fight terrorism in all forms.

  • BIMSTEC seven member countries produced Leaders Retreat Outcome Document according to which terror acts will not be justified on any basis.

  • BIMSTEC countries condemned the recent terror attacks in the region.

  • States, which encourage, provide support and harbor terrorists will be identified and held responsible.

  • Strong actions will be taken against terrorist states.

  • Requirement for urgent actions to stand against terror- prevent violent extremism and radicalization.

China Unhappy with US over Asia Interventions

  • Beijing rapped Washington for its interventions in Asia as tensions are growing between two powers over territorial disputes in the SCS (South China Sea).

  • Defence Minister of China criticized recent US involvement in Asia’s trouble spots.

  • China claimed its regional rights over almost the entire South China Sea region while other countries have rival territorial claims.

  • Other countries includes: Malaysia Brunei Philippines Vietnam Taiwan

  • International PCA (Permanent Court of Arbitration) in its pronouncement ruled that China has no legal basis over the whole SCS (July 2016).

  • However, China has rejected PCA decision.

Indian Army’S Surgical Strikes Across LoC

  • Indian Army successfully completed surgical strikes across the LoC at the terror pads in the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

  • First surgical strikes directed by India’s military in the response of Uri attack on India army base that killed 18 Indian soldiers.

  • Target were the terrorist camps and training center- planning bases to attack Indian territory.

  • Successful because of India Army remarkable ability to mark terrorist areas.

  • Line of Control (LoC) is a military control line between the Indian and Pakistani in Kashmir and Jammu.

India 39Th in Most Competitive Economy Index by WEF Jumped 16 Spots

  • India is at 39th position in the index of most competitive economy 2016 - 17.

  • The index is released by World Economic Forum (WEF) in the list of 138 countries.

  • India has not become second fastest growing BRICS country after China.

  • India has jumped 16 spots and claimed 39th rank in one year.

  • Previously in 2015 - 16 India was ranked at 55th.

  • This is the largest gain ever made by any country in most competitive economy index.

Loan Pact with AIIB for Rural Roads Project

  • India signed loan agreement with China led-Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for financing of $329 million for Gujarat Rural Roads Project (GRRP).

  • GRRP aims to improve the rural road connectivity and accessibility by providing all weather road connectivity to 1,060 villages in all 33 districts of Gujarat, benefiting about 80 lakh people.

  • Also, benefit the service providers like public transport operators, hospitals, educational institutions, local markets and traders.

  • AIIB is a multilateral development bank backed by China- a rival to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

1St Meeting of Japan-India Coordination Forum (JICF) for Development of North-Eastern Region

  • Japan-India Coordination Forum (JICF) for Development of North-Eastern Region in its first meeting at Delhi identified priority areas of cooperation- connectivity and road network development, disaster management, food processing, organic farming, and tourism.

  • Development of northeast - key to promote its Act East Policy.

  • Japan places a special emphasis on northeast for its geographical importance connecting India to Southeast Asia and historical ties.

  • Japan’s involvement in Northeast strategically undermines China’s designs in the region.

Measles-Rubella (MR) Campaign Reaches 2Nd Phase

  • India and 10 other WHO South East Asia Region countries resolved to eliminate measles and control rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) by 2020.

  • Costs of Indian immunization program are shown above.

  • Children given a single shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination during the campaign.

  • MR vaccine will then become part of routine immunization replacing measles vaccine, currently given at 9 to 12 months and 16 to 24 months of age of child.

  • Second phase started in 8 states and UTs: Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Uttarakhand from August 2017 covering 3.4 crore children.

USS Gerald R Ford: World’S Largest Aircraft Carrier Inducted by US

  • United States (US) Navy inducted USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), the world’s largest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

  • USS Gerald Ford is first in the series of three of the futuristic ships of the Ford-class carriers ordered by US Navy.

  • Its operational deployment will be in 2021 after undergoing final outfitting and testing.

  • Ford-Class Aircraft Carriers Compared to earlier Nimitz class aircraft carriers, Ford class carries have state-of-the-art technology and can carry more aircraft and weapons.

What is String of Pearls: Hambantota Port Deal between Sri Lanka and China

  • A geopolitical theory on potential Chinese intentions in Indian Ocean region building a network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationships along sea lines of communication extending from Chinese mainland to Port Sudan.

  • Critical as these sea lines run through major maritime choke points:

    • Strait of Mandeb

    • Strait of Hormuz

    • Strait of Malacca

    • Lombok Strait

    • Strategic maritime centers in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Somalia.

New ISARC for Harnessing and Sustaining Rice Production in Eastern India and Spice Park

  • International Rice Research Institute South Asia Regional Centre is to be set up to play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in eastern India & similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.

  • Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines sign MOA to set up ISARC.

  • First international Center in the eastern India to play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production.

  • Function for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.

Yoga as Intangible Cultural Heritage, Zonal Cultural Centres, and Project Mausam

  • Yoga was inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the 11th session of Intergovernmental Committee held from 28thNovember to 2nd December 2016 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

  • Inclusion on the UNESCO’s Representative List to contribute to the visibility of Yoga.

  • Yoga practice is universal and widespread cutting across community, class, income, gender, faith, and age.

  • Yoga’s inscription to promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.

  • 39 Indian Ocean countries identified under Project Museum

What Are Benami Transactions? - Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 (the Act) was comprehensively amended through the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amended Act, 2016 to provide for an effective regime for prohibition of benami transactions.

  • The Act prohibits benami transactions

  • Empowers authorities to provisionally attach and eventually confiscate the benami properties.

  • Government has set up 24 Benami Prohibition Units (BPUs) for taking action under the Benami Act.

What is Emigration Check Required Countries and Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana?

  • Indian passports divided into two categories:

    • Passports with endorsement - Emigration Check Required (ECR).

    • Passports with endorsement - Emigration Check Not Required (ECNR).

  • For passports issued before January 2007, no notation means ECR. For passports issued in or after January 2007, no notation means ECNR.

  • If Emigration Check is required, there will be an endorsement in the passport regarding ECR.

  • There is mandatory Insurance and medical cover under Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana (PBBY) for all Emigration Check Required (ECR) passport holding Indian workers emigrating with Emigration Clearance to 18 notified ECR countries for employment.

US Navy Tests World’S First Laser Weapons System (LaWS)

  • World’s first-ever active Laser Weapons System (LaWS) was deployed aboard the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship of US Navy.

  • In a test, it destroyed a drone in flight and moving targets on the Persian Gulf.

  • USS Ponce is first ship in the world to be deployed with such advanced weapons system.

  • Operates within an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Absolutely silent and effective.

US- New Sanctions Against Iran over Ballistic Missile Program

  • United States imposed new economic sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program.

  • US Department of Treasury targeted 16 entities and individuals from Iran.

  • Sanctions target Iran for developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components

  • Preliminary framework signed between Iran and countries (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, China- plus Germany) and the European Union in July 2015.

IRRI, South Asia Regional Center at National Seed Research & Training Center in Varanasi

  • Union Cabinet approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi.

  • Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) to be set up in Varanasi.

  • Modern laboratory to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.

  • Enable capacity building across the rice value chain.

  • First international center in eastern India for harnessing and sustaining rice production.

Global Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons- 122 Countries

  • United Nations adopted a historic global treaty banning nuclear weapons adopted by a vote of 122 members with Netherlands the only country voting against and Singapore abstaining from voting.

  • Non-nuclear states increasingly worried about the slow pace of disarmament with possibility of weapons of mass destruction falling into wrong hands.

  • Treaty to increase pressure on the nuclear powers to do disarmament Opened for signature on September 20- enter into force once 50 countries ratified it.

  • Never develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

  • Bans transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 30, 2018

Policy/Governance, Economy, International Relations/Organizations

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