Expected Most Important Topics for UPSC - 2018 (Part - 12) (Download PDF)


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India to Join Global Foreign Exchange Committe - India will join Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) - newly-constituted forum of central bankers and experts for promotion of a robust and transparent foreign exchange (Forex) market.

  • Committee set up under guidance of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

  • Committee Established in May 2017.

  • Established in London with public and private sector representatives from the foreign exchange committees (FXCs) of 16 international forex trading centres.

India and Israel- OCI Card, Air Connectivity, & Israeli Chrysanthemum

  • PM Modi’s visit to Israel resulted in signing of seven agreements on areas including space, tech, and agriculture.

  • Other prominent takeaways of the visit include OCI Card, strategic partnership, and technological fund.

  • Faster facilitation of OCI cards for Jewish Citizens of Indian origin.

  • OCI card to be given even to those who had served in the Israeli government’s compulsory army service.

  • In general, Indian origin persons with military background are not given Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card after a high-level committee recommendation.

Prime Minister Visit to Israel (July 5, 2017) - List of MoUs/Agreements

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel from July 4 - 6, 2017 at the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

  • MoU between Department of S&T, India and National Technological Innovation Authority, Israel for setting up of India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund.

  • Some MoU are:

  • India-Israel Development Cooperation - Three Year Work Program in Agriculture 2018 – 2020.

  • MoU between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) regarding

    • cooperation in GEO-LEO Optical Link

    • cooperation in Electric Propulsion for Small Satellites

  • Plan of cooperation between ISRO and ISA regarding cooperation in Atomic Clocks.

  • MoU between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.

Memorandum of Cooperation between India and United States of America on Homeland Security

  • Coordination and interactions among the six Sub-Groups proposed under Homeland Security Dialogue between the two countries (HSPD-6): Ready access to information on Internet content hosted on US-based servers for counter-terror operations.

  • Attorney General to consolidate the Government’s approach to terrorism screening and provide lawful use of Terrorist Information in screening processes.

  • Heads of executive departments and agencies provide information to the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC).

  • TTIC provides access to appropriate information or intelligence.

Six Arab Nations Suspended Diplomatic Ties with Qatar

  • Six Arab Nations including Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and UAE have announced end of their diplomatic ties with Qatar.

  • Also withdrawal their diplomatic staff from Qatar and Strike out diplomats of Qatar from their territories.

  • They also have planned to cut al type of traffics including air and sea.

  • Egypt blamed that Qatar has supported terrorist groups and has enemy approach towards Egypt.

  • Bahrain blamed that Qatar supports armed terrorise activities, media incitement and funding linked to Iranian groups.

MoU between India and Bangladesh for Cyber Security Cooperation

  • MoU between India and Bangladesh on cyber security cooperation between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) (Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology) and Bangladesh Government Computer Incident Response Team (BGD e-Gov CIRT) Bangladesh Computer Council of Information and Communication Technology Division (Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology).

  • CERT-In is a National nodal agency under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

  • Cyber Security deals with quickly and constantly evolving nature of security risks.

Oil Diplomacy in South China Sea and First Oil Import from US

  • Vietnam granted ONGC Videsh a two-year extension to explore oil block 128 in the South China Sea.

  • Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has bought 1.6 million barrels of US Mars crude (a heavy, high-sulphur grade) and 400, 000 barrels of Western Canadian Select.

  • Oil Block 128 is U-shaped ‘nine-dash line’ is claimed by China and also by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan

  • Also a route for more than $5 trillion in trade every year.

World’s First ATM Celebrates Its 50th Birthday

  • The world’s first ATM (automated teller machine) celebrates its 50th anniversary.

  • The first ATMs in the world were launched five decades ago.

  • First ATM (automated teller machine) was opened on June 27, 1967 at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London.

  • World’s first ATM installed at Barclays in Enfield, North London on June 27 1967.

  • Actor Reg Varney from sitcom On the Buses was the first person to use a cash machine.

  • At present, there are over 3 million cash machines across the globe.

India Signed 11 Agreement with Portugal

  • India and Portugal have signed 11 pacts in counter-terrorism, space and climate studies areas at the first bilateral visit of Indian Prime Minister to Portugal.

  • 11 Agreements are:

    • Protocol amending the Double Taxation Aviodance Agreement

    • MoU on Nano Technology

    • MoU on Public Administration & Governance Reforms

    • MoU on Cultural Cooperation

    • MoU on Youth & Sports

    • MoU between Portugal India Business Hub & Indian Chamber of Commerce

    • MoU on Cooperation in the fields of Higher Education and Scientific Research

    • MoU on Biotechnology

    • MoU on Collaborative Research

    • MoU between Portugal India Business Hub & AICE

Startup India Hub Launched by Commerce & Industry Minister

  • Startup India Virtual Hub launched by Nirmala Sitharaman the Commerce & Industry Minister.

  • It will be the online platform for all Indian stakeholders of the entrepreneurial ecosystem which will discover, connect and engage all them with each other.

  • Startup India Virtual Hub will be marketplace for stakeholders to interact, exchange knowledge, and helps to grow each other.

  • It will modernize existing lifecycle of startups and helps to access right resources at right time.

  • Along with this, new initiative was also announced under which a Startup exchange program will organise amongst SAARC nations.

Vivid Sydney Gets Place in Guinness World Records of Maximum Number Light Installations

  • Vivid Sydney gets place in the Guinness Book of World Records for largest festival of light, music and ideas.

  • Also titled Dreamscape as ‘Largest interactive lighting display’.

  • Vivid Sydney installation Dreamscape decorated with 124, 128 lights and it connects the entire Circular Quay precinct from the Sydney Opera House to the Sydney Harbour Bridge into one cohesive canvas of light.

  • Vivid Sydney has brakes its own 2016 predecessor of Dress circle that Circular Quay and Vivid Sydney had extra one km of lights to and have achieved this record.

  • Vivid Sydney is an outdoor lighting festival of Sydney, Australia.

  • This festival is organizes annually from 2009.

INS Shardul and ICGS Sarathi:

  • Visiting Jakarta, Indonesia to expose trainees to conduct of IN warship in foreign waters, port familiarisation and foster bridges of friendship between two countries.

  • INS Shardul, also known as Royal Bengal Tiger is the lead ship of the Shardul class amphibious warfare vessels.

  • Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Sarathi’, 3rd ship in the series of 6 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) was commissioned last year.

Indra 2017

  • Joint exercise of India and Russia.

  • This year, it has been upgraded to involve all the 3 Services of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy & Air Force).

  • It is the First Ever International Tri Service Exercise.

  • Conducted in Russia and main focus of the joint exercise will be counter – terrorism.

  • Indian Air Force participated in an exercise ‘Avia Indra’.

Country Ranking and Indices

What is Port Performance Index? ‘Port Logistics: Issues & Challenges in India’: Dun & Bradstreet

  • Dun & Bradstreet shared a detailed report of its study titled ‘Port Logistics: Issues & Challenges in India’.

  • Captures information from key stakeholders in the port ecosystem across all the major ports.

  • Research has been carried out in the logistics segment

  • Dun & Bradstreet grows the most valuable relationships in business by uncovering truth and meaning from data.

  • Suggestions by Dun & Bradstreet:

    • Policy inputs that could be considered in the short term,

    • Those that could be implemented in the medium to long term

    • Areas for further study

What is NITI’S Health Index? Kerala Tops NITI Aayog’s Health Index

  • Kerala topped the list of larger states in Niti Aayog’s overall health performance in ‘performance in health outcome index’ based on health indicators.

  • Punjab and Tamil Nadu ranked second and third among 21 large states.

  • Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh are top three ranking States in annual incremental performance.

  • Top UTs in Health Index: Lakshadweep showed best overall performance and highest annual incremental performance.

  • Developed by Niti Aayog, with technical assistance from the World Bank, and in consultation with the Health Ministry.

  • It ranks the states and UTs on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes as well as their overall performance with respect to each other.

What is LEADS Index? Gujarat Tops Logistics Performance Index Chart

  • Gujarat has topped a perception-based index of mobility of goods and efficiency of logistics chain among the ranking done for 22 states.

  • Punjab has acquired second position followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.

  • As regards the hilly states, Tripura was on top followed by Mizoram and Meghalaya.

  • The LEADs index is a composite indicator to assess international trade logistics across different states/UTs.

India Ranks 30th on WEF’S Global Manufacturing Index

  • World Economic Forum released a report that ranked countries according to their Global Manufacturing Index.

  • India made it to the 30th position, while Japan topped the list.

  • The ranking was based on the WEF’s ‘Readiness for the Future of Production’ report.

  • According to WEF, 2 Challenges Faced by India:

    • human capital

    • sustainable sources.

  • Other Indian Ranks:

    • It is 5th largest manufacturer in world.

    • In terms of scale production, India found itself in the 9th position.

    • For complexity, it ranked 48th.

    • India’s performance was the best under market size, bagging the third rank.

What is ‘Livability Index’? Government Launches ‘Livability Index’ to Rate 116 Cities

  • The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched the livability index to rate 116 Indian cities.

  • Livability index is a tool that aims to measure quality of life in 99 smart cities, capital cities, and those with a population of over one million.

  • The index is set of indicators to assess the livability standards in cities.

  • It will measure the quality of life in 116 major cities.

  • The assessment will be done on a set of 79 parameters (57 core indicators and 22 supporting indicator).

WEF Ranks India Below Pakistan and China in Inclusive Development Index- Slams GDP

  • India was ranked at 62nd place among emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index (IDI-2018) released by World Economic Forum (WEF).

  • India’s rank was much below China (26th position) and Pakistan (47th position).

  • Of the three pillars that make up the index, India ranks:

    • 72nd for inclusion

    • 66th for growth and development

    • 44th for inter-generational equity

  • Norway remained world’s most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania topped the list of emerging economies.

India 81st on Global Index of Talent Competitiveness

  • India was ranked 81st among 118 countries in 2017 Global index of talent competitiveness (GTI) list up from 92nd last year.

  • The index was released on January 23, 2018, the first day of World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

  • Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) is an annual study.

  • It measures and ranks countries and cities on their ability to grow, attract and retain talent.

  • 2018 GTCI report has been titled ‘Diversity for competitiveness’.

India Slips to Bottom of Green Ranking at 177

  • The latest global Environmental Performance Index (EPI) rankings, released on the sidelines of World Economic Forum meet in Davos saw India slip to bottom five in a list of 180 countries.

  • India was placed at 177 positions.

  • World Economic Forum (WEF) is based in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland and is incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971.

  • Environmental Performance Index ranking is a biennial report brought out by the Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the WEF (World Economic Forum).

Legatum Prosperity Index: India Comes Closer to China

  • Legatum Prosperity Index is annual ranking developed by the London-based Legatum Institute.

  • According to the 2017 ranking, gap between prosperity of China and India narrowed by four ranks since 2016.

  • Upward trend in India’s prosperity becomes more significant with India registering lower GDP growth following demonetization and implementation of the GST reform in 2017.

  • India closed in on China through gains in business environment, economic quality, and governance.

What Are the Criteria for Ease of Doing Business? - India Jumps 30 Ranks

  • India has jumped 30 ranks in the Ease of Doing Business index making it one of the best where businesses can come in.

  • India stood out this year as one of the 10 economies that improved the most in the areas.

  • India’s Distance to Frontier score rising by a whopping 4.7 points compared to China’s 0.4 points

  • In South Asia, 20 reforms were implemented by six of the region’s eight economies.

  • India carried out eight reforms, the highest number for the country in a single year.

  • In -2015, India was 142. Then the next two years the ranks were 131 and 130.

  • There are 19 more reforms in the pipelines, are expected to significantly improve business ecosystem.

India Ranks 40th in 2017 Global Competitiveness Index, 3rd in Nuclear Power Installations

  • India got 40th rank among 137 countries in World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2017 - 18 slipping one position from 39th spot in 2016.

  • WEF’s GCI assesses competitiveness based on productivity and prosperity.

  • Top 5 countries include Switzerland (1st), United States (2nd), Singapore (3rd), Netherlands (4th) and Germany (5th).

  • BRICS countries got ranks: China (27th), Russia (38th), India (40th), South Africa (61st) and Brazil (80th).

  • India Ranked 3rd in Nuclear Power Installations.

  • 37 reactor constructions in the world are behind schedule.

India 103 in Global Human Capital Index (GCHI) 2017

  • India was 103 out of 130 countries surveyed in World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Human Capital Index (GHCI) 2017.

  • In the previous version, India ranked 105th.

  • Capacity ultimately related to past investment in formal education.

  • Top 10 countries are Norway (1), Finland (2), Switzerland (3), United States (4), Denmark (5), Germany (6), New Zealand (7), Sweden (8), Slovenia (9), and Austria (10)

  • Among BRICS: India ranked way lower than other BRICS peers- Russia (16), China (34), Brazil (77) and South Africa (87)

Uttar Pradesh Topped List of Child Labourers

  • Uttar Pradesh has topped the list of child labour with 2, 50, 672 children involved in labour work according to the recently released CRY Report.

  • Bihar is at second spot in the list of highest child labour index with 1, 28, 087 children involved in labour activates.

  • Maharashtra is at third with 82, 847 children.

  • It also claimed that more than 8 lakh children of India with age group between 5 and 6 years are engaged in child labour.

  • Child Rights and You (CRY) NGO is working in the direction of save these children from labour and help them in making their future.

QS World Universities Released Ranking of 2018

  • The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University has released Rankings 2018 in which three universities of India have secured its spot in top 200 universities and they are Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) -Bombay, IIT-Delhi and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

  • The India’s three universities have been ranked in top 200 list of global universities QS Rankings and they are:

    • Institute of Technology (IIT) -Bombay secured 179th spot (last year it was 219)

    • IIT-Delhi is ranked at 172nd position (last year it was 185)

    • Indian Institute of Science (IISc),

    • Bengaluru at 190 spot (last year it was 152)

  • IISc has secured 6th position out of 959 universities for ‘Citations per Faculty’ in the 2018 rankings.

India at 137th Spot in Global Peace Index 2017

  • In Global Peace Index 2017 India has secured 137th spot in out of 163 independent states and territories.

  • The ranking is based on the level of peacefulness.

  • With this India has upgraded its standard because in last year index, India was ranked 141st and 143rd in 2015.

  • Top 10 Peaceful Countries: Iceland New Zealand Portugal Austria Denmark Czech Republic Slovenia Canada Switzerland Ireland

  • 2017 is the eleventh edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI).

Top Ranked Airports:

  • Jaipur and Srinagar airports have been ranked among the best aerodromes in the world in the traffic volume of 2 - 5 million passengers per annum category by the Airport Council International (ACI).

  • Jaipur was ranked first.

  • Srinagar was rated second in the annual ACI - ASQ survey.

Lockheed and Tata Jointly Develop F-16 Planes in India

  • Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems signed an agreement to construct F-16 fighter planes in India.

  • Announcement in this regard was made at the Paris Airshow.

  • Main objective: To winning billions of dollars’ worth order from Indian military.

  • Lockheed Martin is the largest aerospace, defences, security, and advanced technologies company of America.

  • It was founded in 1995 after the merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta.

Free Movement along Myanmar Border:

  • Government is looking for measures to facilitate free movement of Indian and Myanmarese citizens within 16 km along Myanmar border.

  • 4 states like Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are considered for this Free Movement Regime (FMR).

  • Committee headed by Rina Mitra was constituted to examine various methods to curb the misuse of free movement along the Myanmar border.

  • Move comes in the wake of large - scale displacement of Rohingya people from Rakhine State in Myanmar.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 30, 2018

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