Expected Most Important Topics for UPSC - 2018 (Part - 14) (Download PDF)

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Intergovernmental Oceanographic commission: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO) was established by a resolution adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO.

  • It assists governments to address their individual and collective ocean and coastal management needs, through the sharing of knowledge, information and technology.

  • Its headquarters is in Paris, France.

  • There are 149 members of which India is also a member.

World’s First Floating Nuclear Plan:

  • Akademik Lomonosov is the world’s first “floating” nuclear power plant (FNPP).

  • It has headed out on its first sea voyage from the St. Peterburg, Baltic shipyard.

  • At Murmansk, Russia, its reactors will be loaded with nuclear fuel.

  • Russian state - run atomic energy corporation Rosatom is responsible for FNPP.

  • The Lomonosov is expected to be put into service in early 2019.

Lake Victoria Species under Threat:

  • About 75 % of freshwater species endemic to East Africa’s Lake Victoria basin face the threat of extinction.

  • It includes freshwater species like fish, mollusks, dragonflies, crabs and aquatic plants native to Africa’s largest lake.

  • The lake stretches into Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

  • Its catchment also touches Burundi and Rwanda and is known for its high - level of unique biodiversity.

Mission XI Million

  • Mission XI Million is a joint programme, of this Ministry of sports, All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) to popularize football across the country.

  • The programme targets to reach 11 Million boys and girls across the country for promotion of football by 30th September 2017.

  • Government of India has allocated around Rs. 12.55 crores towards the said programme and an equal amount will be spent by AIFF/FIFA.

Champions of Change

  • PM addresses Young CEOs at the “Champions of Change” initiative organised by NITI Aayog.

  • The Prime Minister today interacted with Young CEOs at the “Champions of Change - Transforming India through G2B partnership” initiative organised by NITI Aayog at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra.

  • Six groups of young CEOs made presentations before the PM on themes such as:

    • Make in India

    • Doubling Farmers’ Income

    • World Class Infrastructure

    • Cities of Tomorrow

    • Reforming the Financial Sector

    • New India by 2022

“Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh” (MUSK)

  • Corpus fund for Secondary and Higher education.

  • Union Cabinet has accorded its approval for creation of a non - lapsable pool in the Public Account for secondary and higher, education known as ” Madhyamik and Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh” (MUSK) into which all proceeds of “Secondary and Higher education Cess” will be credited.

  • The MUSK would be maintained as a Reserve Fund in the non - interest bearing section of the Public Accounts of India.

Govt Looks at Location - Specific Mergers of 260, 000 Schools to Utilize Resources

  • The Centre is looking to execute location - specific mergers of nearly 2, 60, 000 small government schools as part of a rationalization process to ensure maximum use of resources, following the Rajasthan model of “merging” government schools with low enrolment.

  • Human Resource Development Ministry released guidelines for public comments regarding the same.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana

  • Cabinet Committee approved the renaming of SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro - Marine Processing and Development of Agro - Processing Clusters) as “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana.

  • It is the new Central Sector Scheme that aims to supplement agriculture Income, modernize food processing industries and decrease Agriculture waste.

  • Implementation period of the scheme is 2016 - 20 coterminous with 14th Finance Commission cycle.

India Presents National Review Report on Sustainable Development Goals Implementation in United Nation

  • Government recently presented Voluntary National Review Report at UN - High Level Political Forum.

  • Voluntary National Review: It aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

  • UN - High Level Political Forum: The Forum’s first meeting was held on 24 September 2013.

Rural Sanitation Survey:

  • Ministry of Drinking water and Sanitation released the Rural Sanitation Survey undertaken by Quality Council of India.

  • According to it, almost all rural households in Kerala and Haryana had access to toilet while Bihar and UP were among the worst performers in it.

  • Quality Council of India is the accreditation authority of India.

  • It is an autonomous body under Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

5 Chemicals Banned in Firecrackers

  • Ahead of the festive seasons of Dussehra and Deepavali, the Supreme Court has prohibited the use of five chemicals, labelled as toxic by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in the manufacture of firecrackers.

  • The banned chemicals include antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever.

  • Responsibility to ensure compliance particularly in Sivakasi is given to the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO).

Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO)

  • Petroleum And Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) was formed to control and administer the usage of explosives, petrol stations in India.

  • The agency issues licenses for Operation of Petrol Stations, Licenses to operate Petroleum Product Transportation vehicles, Licenses for Refineries, Petrochemical Complexes, etc.

  • The Department is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives.

  • It is headquartered at Nagpur in the State of Maharashtra in India.

Nagesh Singh Panel Gave Recommendations Regarding Wages Paid under MGNREGA

  • There is no need to maintain parity in minimum wages paid by various states under MGNREGA.

  • Divergence in pay

  • Panel recommended to switch over to CPI - R from CPI - AL for wage calculation

  • Comprehensive picture of inflation in rural areas.

  • NREGA wages are fixed by Central Government using CPI – AL.

National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology

  • National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology (NCHMCT) is an autonomous body under Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

  • The Council centrally run and regulates academics for B. Sc. Hospitality & Hotel Administration and ten other structured courses of study that are imparted at the affiliated:

    • 21 Central Institutes of Hotel Management

    • 22 State Government Institutes of Hotel Management

    • 01 Public Sector Undertaking

    • 14 Private Institutes of Hotel Management

Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY)

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for extending the investment limit from Rs. 7.5 lakhs to Rs. 15 lakhs as well as extension of time limits for subscription from 4thMay 2018 to 31st March, 2020 under the Pradhan

  • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandan Yojana (PMVVY) as part of Government’s commitment for financial inclusion and social security.

  • It is a Pension Scheme exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above.

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

  • The Union Cabinet has given approval to accede to the Protocol under World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on tobacco control to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.

  • It will be applicable to both smoking and chewing or smokeless tobacco (SLT) forms as negotiated and adopted under Article 15 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

  • Article 15 of WHO FCTC envisages elimination of all forms of illicit trade and tobacco products, including smuggling, illicit manufacturing and counterfeiting.

Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojan

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, “Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana” in agriculture sector beyond 12thFive Year Plan for the period from 2017 - 18 to 2019 - 20.

  • Key objectives of the scheme:

    • Betterment of agricultural base.

    • Doubling of farmers’ earnings.

    • Development of appropriate agriculture infrastructure.

    • Adequate market for sale of produce.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK)

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK).

  • CCEA has also approved its continuation during the remaining period of the 14th Finance Commission.

  • Programme aims to address development deficits in the identified minority 6/8 concentration areas.

Committee formed to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary:

  • A government committee has been formed to coordinate year-long celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary from October 2, 2019.

  • The Committee will guide and approve policies, programmes, activities for the commemoration and will also supervise implementation of the decisions taken from time to time.

  • It also includes eminent Gandhians, social thinkers and activists representing a cross- section of Indian society and regional diversity.

Algae Noctiluca Scintillans:

  • It is green algae which is behind the scintillating phenomenon observed in oceans when they glow fluorescent blue at night.

  • The Noctiluca algae is often reported to occur in patches or blooms in the Northern Arabian Sea.

Tholu Bommalata:

  • Tholu Bommalata, the traditional puppetry art form of Andhra Pradesh, has lost its sheen.

  • Now, there are only a few artisans to carry forward the art.

  • Tholu Bommalata is the shadow puppet theatre tradition of the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Mansarovar Lake:

  • It is located at an altitude of 14, 950 ft (4, 558 m) is said to be the highest freshwater lake in the world.

  • It is located in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, 940 kilometres from Lhasa.

  • To the west of it is Lake Rakshastal and to the north is Mount Kailash.

Nathu La:

  • It is a mountain pass in the Himalayas.

  • It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

  • It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, which helps in defusing stand-offs.

Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)

  • The parliamentary panel on Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds has recommended that amounts donated by lawmakers for rehabilitation work after natural disasters be disbursed within two week.

  • Issue: Funds are to be released by the nodal district of the lawmaker concerned to the district.

  • The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies.

United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners

  • The third edition of the United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP) is being held in New Delhi.

  • The course is aimed to build and enhance the capacity of the African Troop Contributing Countries to the UN and to further train the trainers from these countries.

  • The first and second editions of the course were held in New Delhi in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

CriSidEx

  • Business sentiment among micro and small enterprises (MSE) improved in the January-March quarter as the sentiment index rose by 14 points in the quarter, according to the CriSidEx survey.

  • The CriSidEx sentiment index rose to 121 in the survey quarter (SQ) of January-March from 107 in the previous quarter.

  • The crucial benefit of CriSidEx is that its readings will flag potential headwinds and changes in production cycles and thus help improve market efficiencies.

NABH (Nextgen Airports For Bharat) Nirman Initiative)

  • The government is augmenting the airport capacity of various airports as part of NABH (NextGen Airports for BHarat) Nirman initiative.

  • Three key aspects of NABH Nirman

    • fair and equitable land acquisition

    • long-term master plan for airport and regional development

    • balanced economics for all stakeholders.

  • Significance of the initiative:

    • In the last three years, domestic air passenger traffic grew at 18 % a year and the airline companies placed orders for more than 900 aircraft.

    • NABH Nirman could take the number of airports in India to 700 from about 125 airports.

Adopt a Heritage’ Scheme

  • The Tourism ministry has awarded the Letters of Intent to nine agencies for 22 monuments of Phase-IV of the scheme, including the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan.

  • Once vision bid is accepted, MoU will be signed with the related party for upkeep of the Monument for overall enhanced tourist experience.

  • The ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism was launched on World Tourism Day i. e. 27th September, 2017.

Island Development Agency

  • The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, recently chaired the third meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA).

  • The Island Development Agency reviewed the progress made towards preparation of Development Plans for identified Islands.

  • The IDA was set up on June 1 this year following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting for the development of islands.

Narcotics Control Bureau:

  • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has raised concerns about the abuse and trafficking of Tramadol, a pain killer and suggested that the availability of Tramadol be substantially reduced in order to track its movement in the market.

  • It is proposed to bring Tramadol, a painkiller, under the ambit of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

  • Manufacture Tramadol and codeine- based cough syrups in small batches to enable authorities to track the manufacturer.

World’s Smallest Land Fern:

  • Researchers have discovered the world’s smallest land fern in the Ahwa forests of the Western Ghats in Gujarat’s Dang district.

  • The size of the new Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern Ophioglossum malviae is just one centimeter.

  • The ferns are seasonal and grow with the first monsoon rains.

  • They last only for a few months and new plants are born through their spores next year.

National Bamboo Mission

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Bamboo Mission (NBM) under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) during remaining period of Fourteenth Finance Commission (2018 - 19 & 2019 - 20).

  • The Mission would ensure holistic development of the bamboo sector by addressing complete value chain and establishing effective linkage of producers (farmers) with industry.

  • To promote product development at micro, small and medium levels and feed bigger industry.

Orange Tiger Reserve:

  • According to a survey, Orang tiger reserve in Assam, which has the smallest core, is host to 28 big cats, thus having the highest density nationally.

  • The count was revealed during phase IV of the all - India tiger estimation programme of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

  • Spread over Darrang and Sonitpur districts and notified in February 2016, Orang Tiger Reserve is the 49th in the country.

  • It has the smallest core of 78.28 sq. km.

  • It is located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River.

Sangai

  • Meet on preserving endangered Manipur deer held.

  • A workshop on how people and brow - antlered deer (Sangai), can co - exist, recently concluded in Manipur.

  • Due to lack of funds and poaching, sangai may become extinct sooner than expected.

  • The sangai is an endemic, rare and endangered subspecies of brow - antlered deer.

  • It is also state animal of Manipur.

Nilgiri Tahrs:

  • The first ever State - wide population estimation of Nilgiri tahrs, has put the total population of the endangered species at 1, 420.

  • State animal of Tamil Nadu.

  • Endemic: Western Ghats from the Nilgiris to Kanyakumari.

  • UCN status: Endangered status (because number fewer than 2, 500 mature individuals)

  • Protected (Schedule I) by the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.

United Nations Ocean Conference 2017

  • Recently, first United Nations Ocean Conference was held in New York.

  • 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference was a United Nations conference that took place on June 5th - 9th 2017 which sought to mobilize action for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resource.

  • It adopted a consensus of a 14 - point Call for Action where the participating Heads of State affirmed their strong commitment to conserve and sustainably use our oceans.

Global Ocean Commission:

  • It is an international initiative that was launched in 2013.

  • It raises awareness and promotes action to address the degradation of the ocean and help restore it to full health and productivity.

  • Its focus is on the high seas, the vast ocean areas that lie beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of individual states.

  • Some of the recommendations to improve the oceanic ecosystem as decided by the Global Ocean Commission are:

    • Checking illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

    • Establishing binding international safety standards and liability.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 30, 2018

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