UPSC Daily Current Affairs-16th July 2018

www.iasinsights.in; www.iasgyaan.com posts UPSC Daily current Affairs -16th July 2018. This info is taken from News papers, PIB, AIR News and Summarized for your easy understanding.

Daily Current Affairs -16th July 2018

GS-II(Governance)

No-confidence motion against Modi government:

  • Once again no-confidence motion against the Modi government for its failure to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh is going to be initiated.
  • The TDP party of AP under leadership of Nara Chandra babu Naidu is collectively trying to initiates this step.

No confidence motion:

  • A no confidence motion refers to a statement or vote where it is stated that an individual(s) in a position of responsibility in government or managerial post is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, may be because they are inadequate in some respect or are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel are detrimental.
  • In case of a parliamentary motion, it states to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in one or more members of the appointed government.

GS-III(Science and Technology)

ISRO join hands with J&K to set up tele -medicine center at 12,700 feet

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) joined hands with J&K’s Directorate of Health Services-Kashmir (DHS-K) to set up a telemedicine center at an altitude of 12,700 feet to provide service to pilgrims en route to the Amarnath shrine.
  • The Panjtarni Base Camp Hospital on the Pahalgam cave shrine route will provide real-time treatment for high-altitude and other ailments that pilgrims frequently face in the region. An Intensive Care Unit will be set up to handle critically ill patients.
  • The country‘s top hospitals like Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, (PGIMER), Chandigarh; the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; the Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Srinagar, etc. will be available through the telemedicine facility.

GS-III(Economy)

Be cautious in shifting to DBT, RBI tells States

  • Acknowledging that problems have been experienced by three Union Territories (UT’s) in the implementation of direct benefit transfer (DBT) for food subsidy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has advised States that are planning to shift to cash transfer to be cautious while effecting the migration.
  • At present, three UTs — Puducherry, Chandigarh and urban areas of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli — are implementing the mode of cash transfer, under which 9.31 lakh beneficiaries receive ₹12.82 crore every month through their bank accounts.
  • The Puducherry government had approached the Centre to permit it to revert to the old system of supplying rice.

Background

  • During 2017-18, the Centre provided the Food Corporation of India and States about ₹1.42 lakh crore towards the distribution of subsidized food grains.
  • As for the processes to be followed by States prior to DBT execution, the RBI has referred to certain pre-conditions mentioned in the Central government’s 2015 food subsidy rules.
  • These include complete digitization and de-duplication of the beneficiary database and seeding of bank account details and Aadhaar numbers in the digitized database.

Problems outlined

  • In its report on State finances, the RBI referred to problems such as inadequacy of transfers to maintain pre-DBT consumption levels, insufficiency of last-mile delivery mechanisms and a weak grievance redressal system.

Advantages of DBT

  • On the question of whether cash transfer is an alternative to the public distribution system (PDS), the RBI has stated that the cash transfer mode reduced the need for physical movement of food grains.
  • The beneficiaries have the choice of buying food grains from the open market.
  • Further, given the wide inter-State and intra-State variations in food consumption habits, the DBT provides greater autonomy to beneficiaries to choose their consumption basket, apart from enhancing dietary diversity.
  • Another reason for promoting the concept of DBT is to reduce the leakage in the PDS, as the Central government has to absorb a huge food subsidy bill under the existing system of distribution of food grains in fulfilment of provisions of the National Food Security Act.

Only farm loan waivers are driving rural growth: report

  • The green-shoots of demand growth seen in some rural pockets is driven by farm loan waivers and not likely due to real increases in rural incomes and wages, indicative of the fact that the economy is still some time away from a full-fledged rural revival, says a report.
  • According to recent Nielsen data, rural growth outpaced urban demand, rising by 13.5% in the March quarter.
  • Many large States have announced farm loan waivers last year, as farmer suicides became a big political tool.
  • Karnataka became the latest State to join U.P., M.P., Maharashtra and Punjab, among others, to write off farm loans.

Concerns

The extent of pick up depends on many factors

  • A good monsoon alone will not do the trick.
  • Adequate procurement and the effectiveness of MSPs to act as a floor for crop prices will be crucial.
  • Though there are clear signs that rural demand is recovering from setbacks due to the 2016 note-ban and GST disruptions, there are reservations over the extent of this increase as this could be due to the loan waivers.
  • The recent jump in items such as tractor sales could have at least been driven by farm loan waivers.
  • A similar phenomenon was witnessed in 2009 when the then government had waived farm loans and tractor sales grew by 30%.

GS-II(International Affairs)

India becomes vice chair of Asia Pacific Region of World Customs Organization

  • India has become the Vice-Chair, Regional head, of the Asia Pacific Region of World Customs Organization (WCO) for a period of two years, from July 2018 to June 2020. The underlying Theme of the Inaugural Ceremony is “Customs – Fostering Trade Facilitation”.
  • WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.
  • The WCO has divided its Membership into six Regions. Each of the six Regions is represented by a regionally elected Vice-Chairperson to the WCO Council. Being the Vice Chair of the Asia-Pacific region of WCO, India will be able to take on the leadership role at the WCO.

India ranks 116 out of 157 nations on SDG index

  • India is ranked 116 out of 157 nations on a global index that assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs). The SDG Index and Dashboards Report produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
  • India is ranked 116th on the index with a score of 58.1, behind countries such as Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China.
  • Pakistan is ranked 122. Sweden leads the list, followed by Denmark and Finland.
  • The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has been operating since 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.
  • SDG’s were adopted in September 2015 at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, US.
Will not allow our soil to be used for any terrorist activities against India: Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh on Sunday reassured India that it will not allow its soil to be used for any terrorist activities against the neighbouring country.
  • Singh, who is here on a three-day visit, co-chaired with Khan the 6th India-Bangladesh home minister-level talks.
  • The meeting discussed “all security related matters of interest including counter terrorism, capacity building and increased cooperation between security agencies, border management, countering illegal activities like fake currency, drug and human trafficking, consular issues.
India, Pakistan to be part of anti-terror Shanghai Cooperation Organisation drill in Russia
  • Militaries of India and Pakistan will be part of a mega anti-terror drill in Russia next month which is being organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with an aim to expand cooperation among the member countries to deal with terrorism and extremism.
  • The exercise will be joined by all SCO member countries including Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • The drill, “Peace Mission”, will take place nearly three months after the SCO, in its annual summit in Chinese city of Qingdao, resolved to deepen cooperation among their militaries to deal with threats of terrorism, extremism and separatism.
  • The broad objective of the exercise is to boost cooperation among the SCO countries to deal with challenge of terrorism and extremism.
  • India has been pressing for global action against Pakistan for allowing terror safe havens in its territories and it will be interesting to see how New Delhi push its demand to pile up pressure on Islamabad at the SCO platform.
  • It will be for the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of a military exercise, though the armies of the two nations have worked together in UN peacekeeping missions
  • India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005 and they were admitted as full members of the bloc last year.

SCO:

  • It is seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest trans-regional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
  • The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region
  • India’s membership was strongly pushed by Russia while Pakistan’s entry into the grouping was backed by China.

How India benefits from SCO?

  • It will be able to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism in the region.
  • It is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defense.
India, US likely to hold first tri-services military drill later this year
  • India and the US are likely to hold their first tri-services military drill later this year and talks to finalize the modalities of the exercise are on.
  • The three wings of the armed forces of India and the US hold separate military exercises, but this will be the first time that the two countries will have a joint drill of their Army, Air Force and the Navy.
  • The topic is likely to come up for discussion in September during the 2 plus 2 Dialogue.
  • Sitharaman and Mattis, during his visit to India last year, had deliberated on exploring additional specialized military drills between the two countries. This will be second such international military drill involving all the three services.
  • The armies of India and the US also participated in Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017

GS-III(Health)

HSV1 virus linked to Alzheimer’s disease

  • Scientists have found evidence of a linkbetween herpes infection and Alzheimer’s disease as well as the potential of antivirals in reducing the risk of the neurodegenerative disease.
  • A study by Taiwanese epidemiologists shows that Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV1) which infects most humans in their youth or later and remains in the body for life in dormant form within the peripheral nervous system leads to an increased risk of developing the disease.
  • Scientists believe that these safe and easily available antivirals may have a strong part to play in combating the disease in these patients.

GS-III(Environment)

Harrier birds visit to India declined as grasslands disappears

  • Harrier birds, a migratory raptor species that regularly visits vast swathes of India, are declining. India has one of the largest roosting sites in the world for Pallid Harriers and Montagu’s Harriers.
  • The researchers focused on six of the 15 major roosting sites in six States, where consistent observations had been made for over five years.

  • The study observed that there is a general decline in all the monitored sites and researchers noted the most dramatic changes at the Rollapadu Bustard Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district, one of the largest.
  • The gravest concern is the loss of grasslands, either to urbanization or to agriculture. Of the 15 roosting sites surveyed, eight no longer exist as grasslands, and only five are protected.

Golden jackal faces threat in its habitat

  • Destruction of mangrove cover in the Bandar Reserve Forest (BRF) is forcing the golden jackal (Canis aureus) out of its habitat, triggering a conflict with the local communities.
  • It is a sign of its destruction.

Background

  • Amid uproar over the aqua ponds, the Vigilance authorities in 2017 recommended to the State government to hand over the 24,363 acres under the BRF and the BRF extension (I to IV) to the Forest department for protection.
  • Since 1970, the BRF has been in the hands of the Revenue department as the final notification to de-reserve the forest land (25,259 acres) was still pending owing to various reasons.
  • The Revenue authorities, on the other hand, are helpless in preventing the encroachment of the mangrove along the Machilipatnam coastline.

Golden Jackal

  • The golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a wolf-like canid that is native to Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and regions of Southeast Asia.
  • Indian golden jackals exhibit the highest genetic diversity, and those from northern and western India are the most basal, which indicates that India was the center from which golden jackals spread.
  • The conservation status of the animal is the ‘least concern’.
  • The golden jackal is both a predator and a scavenger.
  • Due to their tolerance of dry habitats and their omnivorous diet, the golden jackal can live in a wide variety of habitats.
  • Golden jackals appear in Indian folklore and in two ancient texts, the Jakatas and the Panchatantra, where they are portrayed as intelligent and wily creatures.
  • The ancient Hindu text, the Mahabharata, tells the story of a learned jackal who sets his friends the tiger, wolf, mongoose, and mouse against each other so he can eat a gazelle without sharing it.
  • The Panchatantra tells the fable of a jackal who cheats a wolf and a lion out of their shares of a camel.
  • In Hinduism, the jackal is portrayed as the familiar of several deities with the most common being Chamunda, the emaciated, devouring goddess of the cremation grounds.
  • Another deity associated with jackals is Kali, who inhabits the cremation ground and is surrounded by millions of jackals.

A mysterious epidemic causes mass death of turtles in Alappuzha

  • An unknown epidemic caused mass death of tortoises in areas like Kanjikuzhi, Mararikulam South, Cherthala, Mannancherry, Thakazhi, Edathua, and Mararikulam.
  • The sudden mass turtle deaths have sparked fears of a disease outbreak. The dead turtles include Softshell turtle and Indian black turtle.
  • The Animal Husbandry Department has collected the carcass of a turtle and sent it to a laboratory at Thiruvalla for examination. The cause of death could not be examined as the carcass was in a decayed condition.

SPORTS

Djokovic clinched his 4th Wimbledon title, 13th Grand Slam

  • Ex-world number one Novak Djokovic defeated Kevin Anderson to clinch his fourth men’s singles Wimbledon title and overall 13th Grand Slam.
  • Djokovic became the fourth player after Roger Federer (8), Pete Sampras (7) and Björn Borg (5) to win Wimbledon men’s title four or more times in Open Era.

France defeated Croatia, won FIFA World Cup after 20 years

  • France defeated first-time finalists Croatia 4-2in 2018 FIFA World Cup final, held in Moscow, Russia.
  • France became the first team since Brazil in 1970 to score four goals in a World Cup final.
  • Previously, France won FIFA World Cup in 1998.

    Award Winners of FIFA World Cup 2018 are:-

    ♦ Golden Boot award – England captain Harry Kane
    ♦ Golden Ball award –  Croatia’s Luka Modric
    ♦ Golden Glove award – Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois
    ♦ Tournament’s best young player – Kylian Mbappe (19-year-old, France)

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