17 June, 2020 75 Min Read
|GS-I||Indian Gas Exchange||Geography|
|India’s deepest solar eclipse||Geography|
|GS-II||An inflection point (Killings at the LAC)||International Relations|
|What happened in Nathu La in 1967?||International Relations|
|Transformation of aspirational districts program||Governance|
|GS-III||India State of Forest Report||Environment and Sustainable development|
|GS-IV||International Day of Yoga 2020 with the “Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family” campaign||Ethics|
|PT Pickups||ICMR RECOMMENDS THE USE OF RAPID ANTIGEN TEST KIT||Science and Technology|
|Dexamethasone||Science and Technology|
|National Productivity Day||Economy|
|Pradhan Mantri LPG Panchayat||Energy|
|INS Chakra||Internal security|
|India Health Fund||Science and Technology|
|Human Egg grown to maturity in lab||Science and Technology|
|Changing the definition of MSME||Economy|
|Panel on Crypto currency||Economy|
|Microsoft HoloLens-Augmented Reality||Science and Technology|
|Important GS Topics||Standing Deposit Facility Scheme||Economy|
GS-I : Geography
Indian Gas Exchange
Part of: GS-III- Economy (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launches Indian Gas Exchange, first nationwide online delivery-based gas trading platform
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel launched the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX), first nationwide online delivery-based gas trading platform, in an e-ceremony. IGX will be a delivery-based trading platform for delivery of natural Gas.
He said that country will have more than 30,000km of pipeline in next few years. According to the minister, the new electronic trading platform for natural gas is the biggest indicator of the centre's progressive policy as it completes the entire energy value chain from gas production from multiple sources and imports of LNG from different parts of globe to having a transparent price mechanism. Talking about the Prime Minister’s vision to provide energy justice to the people of India, he said that they must have universal access to clean, affordable, sustainable and equitable supply of energy.
India’s deepest solar eclipse
The Moon Eclipses the Sun
Types of Solar Eclipses
There are 4 different types of solar eclipses. How much of the Sun's disk is eclipsed, the eclipse magnitude, depends on which part of the Moon's shadow falls on Earth.
Solar Eclipses Mainly Look Partial
Only around New Moon
GS-II : International Relations
An inflection point (Killings at the LAC)
What happened in Nathu La in 1967?
History of the conflict
Transformation of aspirational districts program
Fourteen districts from Northeast have been identified for "Aspirational Development" under the program.
India is amongst the leading economies of the world and envisages to become $5 trillion by 2024-25. However, presently the quality of life of many of its citizens is not consistent with this growth story, this is reflected in UNDP’s 2018 Human Development Index wherein India is ranked 130.
Living standards in India are affected by significant inter-state and inter-district variations. In order to remove this heterogeneity, the government has launched in January 2018, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme (ADP).
Aspirational Districts’ Programme
Impact of ADP
Initial evidence suggests that the ADP has already contributed towards improving the lakhs of lives. Therefore, it is critical to carefully document and learn from the ADP’s experiences.
India State of Forest Report (ISFR)
Part of: GS-I- Geography and Forest (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
State of Forest Report (SFR 2017)
India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019
The Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has released the India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2019.
Note: Recorded Forest Area: The area recorded as forest in the Government records. Green Wash: The extent of wooded areas generally shown in light green colour on the Survey of India toposheets.
Mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.
The total carbon stock of the country was estimated at 7124 million tons, which is an increase of 42.6 million tons from the last assessment. It implies that India is on the right track to achieve its Paris Agreement commitment of 2.5 -3 billion carbon sinks.
The total number of wetlands located within the RFA/GW is 8.13%. Amongst the States, Gujarat has the largest area of wetlands within RFA in the country followed by West Bengal.
Dependence of fuelwood on forests is the highest in the State of Maharashtra, whereas, for fodder, small timber and bamboo, dependence is highest in Madhya Pradesh. The analysis reveals that 21.40% of the forest cover of the country is highly to extremely fire prone.
National Forest Policy, 1988
GS-IV : Ethics
AYUSH Ministry gears up for International Day of Yoga 2020 with the “Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family” campaign
Yoga at home
Common Yoga Protocol
PT Pickups : Science and Technology
ICMR RECOMMENDS THE USE OF RAPID ANTIGEN TEST KIT ALONG WITH RT-PCR TEST FOR DIAGNOSIS OF COVID TEST
Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has recommended the use of rapid antigen test kits for diagnosis of COVID-19 in containment zones and healthcare settings in combination with the RT-PCR test.
The kits will allow faster diagnosis without laboratory examination. Rapid antigen test kit is a rapid chromatographic immuno assay for qualitative detection of specific antigens to SARS-CoV-2. It has been developed by a South Korea based company.
ICMR said in an advisory that suspected individuals who test negative for COVID-19 by rapid antigen test should be tested sequentially by RT-PCR to rule out infection, whereas a positive test should be considered as a true positive and does not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test.
The Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection can be interpreted as positive or negative after 15 minutes of putting the sample into the well by appearance of test and control lines, which can be read with a naked eye, requiring no specialized equipment. The maximum duration for interpreting a positive or negative test is 30 minutes. After that the test strip should be discarded.
Fit INDIA TO launch special films promoting 10 indigenous sports of India under Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat program
Sports Ministry’s flagship programme Fit India is joining hands with the Department of School Education and Literacy, to launch a series of special films promoting 10 indigenous sports of India under the Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat initiative.
The series is aimed at creating awareness about not just the indigenous games but also the culture and heritage of the states to which they belong. Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat aims to create awareness among youngsters about the culture and heritage of states across India. This initiative aims to further that effort.
These special films have been customized for school-going children to make them aware of the history and heritage of the state from which a game emanates, the particular sport as well as how it is played. The 10 episodes can be watched from Monday to Friday -- June 8 to June 19 -- at 11am, on the Fit India YouTube page and Ministry of Human Resource Development digital platforms.
Corticosteroids (cortisone-like medicines) are used to provide relief for inflamed areas of the body. They lessen swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions. They are often used as part of the treatment for a number of different diseases, such as severe allergies or skin problems, asthma, or arthritis.
Dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers. It has been listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines since 1977 in multiple formulations, and is currently off-patent and affordably available in most countries.
National Productivity Day
The National Productivity Council is observed 12th February as National Productivity Day, and till 18th February National Productivity Week. "Industry 4.0 Leapfrog Opportunity for India” is the theme of the National Productivity Week -2018. Industry 4.0 is characterized by the increasing digitization and interconnection of products, value chains and business models.
National Productivity Council (NPC)
NPC is a mission oriented apex, autonomous and not for profit organization. It is established by the Ministry of Industry, Govt. of India in 1958. Its objective is to promote the cause of productivity in all sectors of the Indian economy. NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organization (APO), an Inter Governmental Body, of which the Government of India is a founder member.
Wakhan corridor is a narrow strip of inhospitable and barely accessible land in Afghanistan bordered by the mountains of Tajikistan and Pakistan, and extending all the way to China.
Pradhan Mantri LPG Panchayat
The LPG Panchayat, which was launched in Gandhinagar last year, is aimed at driving rural households to adopt Liquefied Petroleum Gas. Now, the President is planning to conduct one in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
As a part of it, over 100 beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), from 20 states will share their experiences of how the clean cooking fuel has changed their lives, in the presence of the President. After the launch of the PMUY, LPG consumption witnessed an increase of 10 per cent to 21.5 million tons during 2016-17, compared to the previous year.
Russian authorities have demanded over $20 million for rectifying the damage suffered by nuclear submarine INS Chakra. INS Chakra is a Russia-made, nuclear-propelled, hunter-killer akula class submarine.
INS Chakra is one of the quietest nuclear submarines around, with noise levels next to zero. INS Chakra has been taken on lease from Russia for 10 years and would provide the Navy the opportunity to train personnel and operate such nuclear-powered vessels. The INS Chakra joined the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam in 2012.
India Health Fund
The India Health Fund (IHF) is an initiative by Tata Trusts, in collaboration with the Global Fund. It is to financially support innovations and technologies designed to combat tuberculosis and malaria. The IHF aims to support new products and strategies that impact the entire lifecycle of TB and malaria, from prevention to post-cure recovery.
The funds will support the long-term exercise aligned with the country’s goal of eliminating TB by 2025 and malaria by 2030. The two diseases account for over 4.23 lakhs deaths and around 15 million lab-confirmed cases every year.
Human Egg grown to maturity in lab
Scientists have succeeded for the first time in growing human eggs in a laboratory from the earliest stages in ovarian tissue all the way to full maturity. It is the first-time human egg was developed outside the human body.
If the success rate and safety measures are improved, the process may help in preserving the fertility of cancer patients, improving fertility treatments, and deepening scientific understanding of the biology of the earliest stages of human life.
Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide to produce more stem cells. There are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues.
Changing the definition of MSME
The government is changing the criteria to define micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to make these in sync with the goods and services tax (GST) regime. The earlier classification was based on the investment in plant and machinery in case of goods companies and in equipment in the case of service companies.
(In Million Rs.)
(In million Rs.)
The change would be effective when the proposed amendments to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, comes into effect.
Panel on Crypto currency
The panel on cryptocurreny, headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg, is expected to submit its report. The panel was set up in 2017 to study the impact of crypto currencies and come up with recommendations to regulate them. In his budget speech Finance minister said that crypto currencies are not legal tender. However, the Centre will explore the uses of block chain technology, the encrypted data structure on which crypto currencies are built.
Microsoft HoloLens-Augmented Reality
Augmented reality headsets -HoloLens can help doctors ‘see through’ organs and tissues in the operating theatre. The advancement improves the outcome of reconstructive surgery for patients.
The approach can help surgeons locate and reconnect key blood vessels during reconstructive surgery, which could improve outcomes for patients . Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are "augmented" by computer-generated perceptual information.
Other Fields of applications are: Archaeology, Architecture, Education, commerce.
Important GS Topics : Economy
Standing Deposit Facility Scheme
RBI uses array of instruments such as Cash Reserve Ratio, Open Market Operation, Market Stabilisation Scheme to absorb excess liquidity in the economy. These measures are considered as Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) to bring the liquidity gap under control. However, these tools were not proven to be useful when the money market liquidity is in excess to deal with. Eg. Post demonetization scenario.
During post demonetization, RBI ran out of government securities to offer as collateral and had to temporarily hike its CRR. Now, there is a proposal to introduce Standing Deposit Facility Scheme (SDFS) which was already recommended by Urjit Patel Committee in 2014. It is to empower RBI with an additional instrument for liquidity management.
SDFS is a toolkit of monetary policy for absorption of surplus liquidity from the system but without the need for providing collateral in exchange.
The Standing Deposit Facility, proposed to be introduced by the RBI, is a collateral free liquidity absorption mechanism that aims to absorb liquidity from the commercial banking system into the RBI. Government in the Budget’s (2018) Finance Act included a provision for the introduction of the Standing Deposit Facility (SDF).
What is Standing Deposit Facility (SDF)?
Standing Deposit Facility allows the RBI to absorb liquidity (deposit) from commercial banks without giving government securities in return to the banks. In the present situation, the main arrangement for the RBI to absorb excess money with the banking system is the famous reverse repo mechanism. Under reverse repo (which is a part of the Liquidity Adjustment Facility), banks will get government securities in return when they give excess cash to the RBI. An interest rate of reverse repo rate is also provided to banks.
The inconvenience with this arrangement is that the RBI has to provide securities every time when banks provides funds.
As per the stand of the RBI, when the central bank has to absorb tremendous amount of money from the banking system through the reverse repo window, it will become difficult for the RBI to provide such volume of government securities in return. This situation was occurred during the time of demonetisation.
In this sense, the Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) is a collateral free arrangement meaning that RBI need not give collateral for liquidity absorption. The SDF will allow the RBI to suck out liquidity without offering government securities as collateral.
Significance of Standing Deposit Facility
Importance of the SDF is that it is designed to enable the Reserve Bank to deal with extraordinary situations in which it has to absorb massive amounts of liquidity. In the past situations like global financial crisis and demonetisation caused liquidity absorption problems for the RBI.
Under the existing liquidity framework, liquidity absorption through reverse repos, open market operations and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) are at the discretion of the Reserve Bank. But SDF will enable banks to park excess liquidity with the Reserve Bank at their discretion.
As a standing facility, the SDF supplements Marginal Standing Facility or the MSF (SDF for liquidity absorption whereas MSF for liquidity injection).
Difference between Standing Deposit Facility, Reverse Repo and MSF
Within the existing liquidity management framework, liquidity absorption through reverse repos, open market operations and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) are at the discretion of the Reserve Bank. On the other hand, the use of standing facilities (MSF, SDF) would be at the discretion of banks.
The difference between the Standing Deposit Facility and Reverse Repo is that there is no need for collateral under the SDF.
According to the Finance Act that made the launch of SDF, a separate clause shall be inserted in the RBI Act: “The accepting of money as deposits, repayable with interest, from banks or any other person under the Standing Deposit Facility Scheme, as approved by the Central Board, from time to time, for the purposes of liquidity management…”
The proposal was first suggested by the Urjit Patel Committee in its recommendation of the Monetary Policy Framework in 2014.