Expected Most Important Topics for UPSC - 2018 (Part - 18) (Download PDF)

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SRISTI - SRISTI - Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India is a proposed scheme by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The proposed scheme will incentivize installation of roof top solar projects in India.

  • It aims to achieve a national solar rooftop target of 40 GW by 2021 – 22.

  • Under SRISTI, a central financial assistance will be provided only for installation of roof top solar plants in residential sectors.

Committee for Hindus Minority Status:

  • A committee under National Commission of Minorities (NCM) was set up to look into whether Hindus should get minority status where they are not dominant religious group.

  • Committee will be led by NCM’s Vice Chairman George Kurien and has been given three months to submit its report.

  • NCM after examining report will take a view over the issue.

  • According to 2011 Census, Hindus are a minority in eight states i. e. J&K, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Punjab.

Utkrisht Impact Bond

  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a Rajasthan Development Impact Bond (Utkrisht Impact Bond) at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad.

  • It has been launched to reduce maternal and neo - natal deaths in Rajasthan by improving the quality of services at private healthcare facilities and adhere to the government’s quality standards.

  • Target: To reach up to 600,000 pregnant women with improved care during delivery and save lives of up to 10,000 women and newborns by the next five years.

SAKALA Scheme:

  • Scheme is being implemented in the State of Karnataka to curb corruption in public service delivery in key departments.

  • More than 725 services are being provided under this mission.

  • Now, the state government has proposed to launch the version 2 of SAKALA scheme with the existing SAKALA - 1 fails to curb corruption.

  • SAKALA - 2 will address shortcomings in the existing Act by including a provision for imposing penalty of Rs. 250 per day for delay in addressing complaints.

India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS)

  • IBPS aims at setting up Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) units in rural areas to secure balanced regional growth of the industry.

  • It is under the Digital India Programme to create employment opportunities and promotion of BPO operations.

  • The objective is to create opportunities for the youth living in these areas so that they do not need to migrate to urban clusters.

  • It provides capital support along with special incentives up to Rs. 1 lakh in the form of viability gap funding (VGF) to companies to create BPO units.

Dr Ambedkar Scheme for Social Integration through Inter - Caste Marriage

  • Government recently removed the income ceiling u under Dr Ambedkar scheme for social Integration through inter - caste marriage.

  • According to the NCAER report 95 % of the Indian marry within their caste. (2016)

  • The scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to financially support the newly wed couples in the initial phase who take the bold step of marrying inter – caste.

  • It was started in 2013, to provide a onetime incentive of 2.5 lakhs to at least 500 inter - caste couples per year from the centre.

World Sustainable Development Summit 2018

  • World Sustainable Development Summit 2018 was inaugurated by Prime Minister in New Delhi.

  • It is a flagship forum of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) which has been conceptualised as a single platform to accelerate actions towards sustainable development and climate change.

  • It has been built on the success of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) which was the leading forum for discussing sustainable development issues.

  • Theme for 2018 event is ‘Partnerships for a Resilient Planet’.

Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP)

  • The government is expanding the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) to an all - India level.

  • Utilising the vast network and expertise of ENVIS Hubs/RPs, the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has taken up an initiative for skill development in the environment and forest sector to enable India’s youth to get gainful employment and/or self - employment, called the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP).

  • Green skills are those skills needed to adapt products, services and processes to climate change and the related environmental requirements and regulations.

India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2017

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released the biennial India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017, prepared by Forest Survey of India (FSI).

  • India is ranked 10th in the world, with 24.4 % of land area under forest (21.53%) and tree cover.

  • The target is to achieve 33 % of area under forest cover.

  • There is an increase of 1% (8,021 sq km) in the total forest and tree cover of the country, compared to the previous assessment in 2015.

  • The agro - forestry and private forestry has also shown expansion.

  • There is a jump in timber production in ‘Trees outside Forests’ (TOF) category.

Prediction of Heat Waves in Summer: IMD

  • IMD in its annual summer forecast, predicted that summer months from March - May will be “warmer” than normal temperature.

  • Weather Phenomenon: In summer season, there is an upper air anti - cyclone over Rajasthan and Gujarat.

  • El Nino Impact: Increase in heat waves to more increase in El Nino events.

  • Indian Ocean temperatures: Ocean might be reducing moisture over the Indian mainland.

ANUGA

  • India to be Co - Partner Country in ANUGA 2017.

  • India has signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Participation in the ANUGA Exhibition with Ms Katharina C Hamma, Chief Operating Officer, Koelnmesse GmBH (Organizers of ANUGA).

  • ANUGA – an acronym for Allgemeine Nahrungs Und Genußmittel Ausstellung (General Food and Non - essential Provisions Exhibition) is the world’s biggest and most important trade fair for Food and beverage trade.

We Wear Culture

  • It is a global digital platform fashion project launched by Google.

  • Working with 183 renowned cultural institutions from around the world, including India, Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ lets people explore the history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago from the ancient Silk Road, to courtly fashion of Versailles, to the unmatched elegance of the Indian Saree.

  • The world fashion exhibit also showcases designs from north - eastern India including the weaves of tribes.

QS World University Rankings 2018

  • QS World University Rankings 2018 have been released.

  • QS World University Rankings are published annually by British company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

  • Performance of Indian institutions:

    • Only 12 Indian institutions and universities have made it to the top 700 this year.

    • Only four universities figured in the top.

    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been ranked as the world’s best university for the sixth consecutive year.

    • The second and third place in the overall rankings has been occupied by Stanford University and Harvard University respectively.

Floating Solar Farm Reflects China’S Clean Energy Aims

  • China has launched the world’s largest floating solar farm.

  • The 40 - megawatt power plant has 1,60,000 panels resting on a lake that emerged after the collapse of a coal mine in central Anhui province.

  • It is part of Beijing’s effort to wean itself off a fossil fuel dependency that has made it the world’s top carbon emitter, with two - thirds of its electricity still fuelled by coal.

Kaladan Project

  • India awards road contract to complete Kaladan project in Myanmar.

  • The contract for building 109 - km road connecting Paletwa river terminal to Zorinpui in Mizoram border has been awarded by the government.

  • The construction is expected to start after the monsoon in October.

  • Kaladan project connects Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India - Myanmar border.

  • This project will reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1328 km.

Panama Dumps Taiwan, Supports One-China Policy

  • In a jolt to Taiwan and boost to Beijing’s diplomacy, Panama has severed ties with the country and recognised it as an “indispensable” part of China under the “One - China Policy”.

  • With Panama switching sides, Taiwan’s decades - old attempt to act as a “sovereign country” would likely face fresh challenges.

  • The policy states in diplomatic acknowledgement that there is only one Chinese government.

Neeru Chadha Becomes First Indian Women to Be Member of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

  • In a significant victory for India at the UN, international law expert Neeru Chadha has won a crucial election to a top UN judicial body that deals with disputes related to the law of the sea, becoming the first Indian woman to be appointed as a judge at the tribunal.

  • Chadha is only the second woman to be judge of ITLOS in its two decades of existence, where there have been a total of 40 judges.

Champalimaud Foundation

  • PM visits Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon.

  • It is a private biomedical research foundation.

  • Based in Lisbon, Portugal.

  • It provides cutting - edge cancer treatment, and supports “ahead of the curve” cancer research.

  • Foundation represents multiple synergies between India and Portugal.

  • Champalimaud Foundation has a tie - up with the Prasad Institute in Hyderabad.

  • The largest number of overseas patients for cancer treatment in Champalimaud Foundation are from India.

Colombia’S FARC Rebels Seal Historic Disarmament

  • Colombia’s leftist FARC rebel force declared its disarmament complete after half a century of war against the state, bringing Latin America’s oldest civil conflict close to an end.

India Top Remittance – Receiving Country in 2016: UN

  • The report of the ‘One Family at a Time’ study by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has been released.

  • It talks about the foreign remittances.

  • The study is the first - ever of a 10 - year trend in migration and remittance flows over the period 2007 – 2016.

  • India has become the top remittance - receiving country surpassing China in 2016.

  • Indians working across the globe sent home USD 62.7 billion last year.

BIO International Convention:

  • Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) BIO 2017 is being held in the San Diego Convention Centre, San Diego.

  • India is also taking part in the convention.

  • The first BIO International Convention was held in 1993 and attracted approximately 1,400 attendees.

  • The event features keynotes and sessions from key policymakers, scientists, CEOs, and celebrities.

India and Afghanistan Inaugurated a Dedicated Air Freight Corridor Service

  • The corridor which passes through the airspace of Pakistan was launched with a cargo aircraft flight flagged off by Afghanistan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani.

  • The connectivity established through the Air Freight Corridor will provide Afghanistan, a landlocked country, greater access to markets in India, and will allow Afghan businessmen to leverage India’s economic growth and trade networks for its benefit.

St Petersburg Declaration

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in St Petersburg for the 18th India - Russia annual summit as well as the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

  • St Petersburg Declaration

  • Marking 70 years of diplomatic ties, India and Russia signed the St Petersburg Declaration.

  • Launching joint projects on exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic shelf of Russia.

Astana to Host SCO Summit

  • Astana, the Kazakh capital is hosting the two - day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

  • SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation formed in 2001 by member countries China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

  • Recently India and Pakistan was admitted as full members in Astana summit, 2017.

  • Observer status is given to Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan.

  • Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

Neelakurinji Shurb Found in Western Ghat

  • Neelakurinji (Strobilantheskunthiana) is a shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats in South India.

  • Neelakurinji blooms once in 12 years and its gregarious blooming are expected in July next year.

  • It grows at an altitude of 1300 to 2400 metres.

  • Besides the Western Ghats, Neelakurinji is also seen in the Shevroys in the Eastern Ghats.

Red Sanders

  • Pterocarpussantalinus (Red sanders) is a species of Pterocarpus with a common name red sandalwood, and saunderswood.

  • It is endemic to the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India.

  • It is listed in the category of ― Endangered by the IUCN because of overexploitation for its timber in South India.

  • It is also listed in the appendix II of the CITES.

Chondrichthyans

  • The first ever assessment of the conservation status of Sharks, rays and Chimaeras in the Arabian Sea Region (ASR) was recently carried out.

  • The assessment revealed that 3 marine species viz Pondicherry shark, the red sea torpedo and the tentacle butterfly ray might be possibly extinct in the ASR.

  • The ASR covers the waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Sea of Oman, and the Gulf.

  • Chondrichthyes is a class that contains the cartilaginous fishes.

Tawny Lark

  • Recently, a team of scientists found that male Tawny larks imitate the calls of 34 other bird species, including babblers and lapwings, squirrels and even whistles of local shepherds.

  • Rapid urbanization and conversion of grassland and scrub habitats into farms endanger its habitat.

  • Tawny Lark: It belongs to a family of larks well - known for their mimicking abilities.

  • It is found only in the arid grasslands and scrub lands of central and west - central India including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Meeting of CMS and Its Outcomes

  • Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Bonn Convention (CMS COP12) was held in Manila, the Philippines.

  • It is the first time that the COP has been held in Asia.

  • Slogan for Conference is ― Their Future is Our Future - Sustainable Development for Wildlife & People, links to the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • The whale shark, which inhabits the Indian Ocean, got global protection too.

  • Four Asian Vultures such as red - headed vulture, white - rumped vulture, Indian vulture and slender - billed vulture are set to get highest protection by the convention.

India Ranked as World’S Most Disaster-Prone Country for Displacement of Residents

  • According to an UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report, India has been ranked as world’s most disaster - prone country for displacement of residents.

  • According to report, on an average 13.9 million people each year are displaced due to natural disaster with eight of the top ten most disaster prone countries being in South and South - east Asia.

  • The estimation of displaced people in India may be on the lower side as it does not include people evacuated before calamities.

First Report Card of Government-Promoted PAT Scheme Released

  • It shows that energy - intensive industries in India have reduced their carbon emissions by 31 million tonne, or 2 % of India’s total annual emissions and saved over Rs. 9,500 crore through more efficient energy use in the three years between 2012 and 2015.

  • It also indicates towards gradual greening of Indian industry, as 5,635 MW of electricity generation was avoided, accounting to savings of Rs. 37,685 crore.

  • PAT (performs, achieve & trade) scheme was launched by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (Ministry of Power) under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE).

Sand Mining in India

  • Gujarat government will be deploying drones for surveillance of illegal sand mining in and around the river beds of Sabarmati, Tapi and Narmada.

  • Sand is a minor mineral under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 therefore it comes under state government regulations.

  • MMDR Act also empowers state governments to frame rules to prevent illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals.

  • According Indian Bureau of Mines to sand is the fourth most mined minor mineral.

CGWA Proposed New Guidelines for Ground Water Usages

  • Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) proposed the new guidelines for ground water usages by industry, mining and infrastructure dewatering projects.

  • No NOC for extraction of groundwater for construction activities in project in critical and over - exploited areas.

  • Farmers have been exempted from obtaining NOCs.

  • Levying a new water conservation fee based on quantum of groundwater.

  • Exemption of government infrastructure projects.

  • Removal of the provisions regarding artificial recharge.

J. C. Kalra Drafted National Wildlife Action Plan 2017 - 2031

  • The National Wildlife Action Plan 2017 - 2031 has been drafted by a 12 member committee headed by J. C. Kalra with special emphasis on people participation.

  • Strengthening and promoting the integrated management of wildlife and their habitats.

  • Adaptation to climate change and promoting integrated sustainable management of aquatic biodiversity in India.

  • Promoting eco - tourism, nature education and participatory management.

  • Strengthening wildlife research and monitoring of development of human resources in wildlife conservation.

16 Balsam Species Found in 5 Years in Arunachal Pradesh

  • In 2017 alone, scientists discovered and published their findings on five other new species of balsam, taking the total number of balsam species discovered this year to six.

  • Impatiens arunachalensis, which bears purple flowers and a pink throat, was discovered from the Upper Siang district.

  • Impatiens zironiana, with lanceolate pale yellow floral buds flowering and fruiting in the rainy season from July to September.

  • Two more species of balsam, Impatiens rugosipetala from the State’s Lower Dibang valley, and Impatiens tatoensis from the West Siang district, were also discovered and described earlier this year.

Rapid Warming of Arabian Sea is the Cause of Increase in Erratic Rainfall in Central India

  • Recently, it was found that the rapid warming of Arabian Sea is the cause of increase in erratic rainfall in central India.

  • Researchers from Pune based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, IIT Mumbai and University of Maryland, USA found a trend of rising erratic events between 1950 and 2015 in Central India.

  • Warming of Arabian Sea in India and Pakistan region which has led to presence of large amount of moisture in atmosphere.

  • Increase in Carbon emission in post industrialization period has led to global warming thus increasing the sea surface temperature of Arabian Sea.

Jal Mahotsav

  • lndia’s biggest water carnival through ‘Jal Mahotsav’ is organised every ear in Hanuwantiya Island in Madhya Pradesh.

  • The third such ‘Jal Mahotsav’ concluded this year on January 2.

  • The festivaI, held between October and January, is a celebration of Madhya Pradesh’s natural beauty and its culture.

  • The festival also represents the culture of Madhya Pradesh — a culture that stands for rich skill set of its artisans and rich heritage.

Medaram’S Jatara

  • Central government is likely to declare Medaram’s Sammakka-Sarakka/Saralamma Jatara a national festival this year.

  • Once declared a national festival, Jatara can be considered for ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ tag of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNFSCO).

  • Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara held by forest dwelling Koya tribe of Telangana and surrounding States, is the biggest Tribal festival in Asia which is attended by one crore people on average.

Haryana Becomes First State to Launch High Risk Pregnancy Portal

  • Haryana has achieved the distinction of becoming thy first state in the country to launch High Risk Pregnancy (HRP) Portal.

  • The Union ministry of health and family welfare and Niti Aayog has acknowledged the portal as a good practice to be implemented.

  • This innovative web application has been designed to track every high risk pregnant woman till 42 days after delivery,

  • So that she receives adequate treatment during the ante-natal period for healthy outcome of pregnancy.

Sankalp Programme

  • Pre-Retirement Counselling (PRC) Workshop ‘Sankalp’ for the retiring employees of Ministries/Departments was organised by the Department of Pensions & Pensioners’ Welfare (DOP & PW).

  • The aim of this program is to counsel retiring employees for joining into advisory bodies of their respective offices and also to dispose of grievances.

  • A web portal for “Sankalp’ programme has also been launched, for Pensioners, Pensioner Associations and NGOs to avail the services.

Project Sunrise

  • Project Sunrise was launched in 2015, by union government to tackle the increasing HIV prevalence in the North-Eastern states.

  • It aims to provide treatment and care facilities free of cost for people living with HIV/AIDS.

  • Create more awareness about the disease in these N-E states.

  • The project has been sponsored by US based Centre for Disease Control.

Typbar TCV

  • It is a Typhoid conjugate vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech Ltd (BBL).

  • The World health Organisation (WHO) has pre-qualified its typhoid conjugate vaccine.

  • The new vaccine was found to have given a longer immunity from typhoid than older vaccines and it required fewer doses for childhood immunization.

  • The pre-qualification by WHO allows for the sale of the vaccines to UN agencies such as UNICEF and GAVI

Rotavac

  • Bharat Biotech’s diarrhea vaccine ROTAVAC gets WHO pre-qualification

  • The Who pre-qualification paves the way for health and humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF to procure it for public health vaccination programs across the world.

  • Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea and kills more than 200,000 children every year.

  • ROTAVC is also included in the Universal Immunization Program

Mankidia Denied Habitat in Simlipal

  • Mankidia, one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha, have been denied habitat rights inside the Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR)

  • Under the historic Scheduled Tribes anti-Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006,

  • As the State Forest Department has objected on grounds that tribals could be attacked by wild animals, especially tigers.

  • Mankidia is a marginalised group that critically depends on making rope with siali fibre that’s richly available in Simlipal.

Maltreyl Yatra

  • It is an exclusive student exchange programme for J &K organized by Ministry of Human Resource development.

  • It provides a good opportunity for the youth of J &K to be acquainted with culture, language and development story of different parts of the country.

Stree Swabhiman

  • Stree Swabhiman is an initiative under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for women’s health and hygiene.

  • It aims to create a sustainable model for providing adolescent girls and women an access to affordable sanitary products by leveraging Common Service Centres (CSCs) established under digital India.

  • The initiative is driven by awareness and personalised outreach by women entrepreneurs who produce and market sanitary napkins themselves.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 30, 2018

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