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      Question and Answer

       Q. 429. Pratyush supercomputer
      Ans.
      Pratyush supercomputer
      India has developed its fastest supercomputer yet, Pratyush, which is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world dedicated for weather and climate research. It follows machines from Japan, USA and the United Kingdom. It can deliver a peak power of 6.8 petaflops (One petaflop is a million billion floating point operations per second and is a reflection of the computing capacity of a system).
      The machines will be installed at two government institutes: 4.0 petaflops HPC facility at IITM, Pune; and 2.8 petaflops facility at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast, Noida.
      A key function of the machine’s computing power would be monsoon forecasting using a dynamical model. This requires simulating the weather for a given month — say March — and letting a custom-built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over June, July, August and September. With the new system, it would be possible to map regions in India at a resolution of 3 km and the globe at 12 km.
       
       Q. 428. Online portal 'NARI'
      Ans.
      Online portal ‘NARI’
      Ministry of Women & Child Development has developed an online portal NARI. The portal will provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women.
      In order to make this information more easily accessible in one place, the NARI portal summarizes over 350 government schemes and other important information for the benefit of women, with more being added everyday. It provides links to the Ministries, Departments and autonomous bodies offering these schemes as well as easy access to online applications and grievance redressal.
      NARI will provide information to women on issues affecting their lives. There are tips on good nutrition, suggestions for health check ups, information on major diseases, tips for job search and interview, investment and savings advice, information on crimes and against women and reporting procedures, contacts of legal aid cells, simplified adoption procedures and much more. It will endow women with the power of information to build their life skills and facilitates them in taking full advantage of the services provided by the Government for them.
       
       Q. 427. Ganga Gram Project
      Ans.
      Ganga Gram Project

      The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) has launched ‘Ganga Gram’ – a project for sanitation based integrated development of all 4470 villages along the River Ganga. Funds will be generated from NRIs to support the various Ganga projects.

      Ganga Gram vision is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of River Ganga with active participation of the villagers.  After achieving ODF target in Ganga Villages, implementation of solid and liquid waste management and other integrated activities are remaining tasks. Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is the nodal agency for implementation of the Ganga Gram Project. 
       
       Q. 426. SAMPRITI
      Ans.
      SAMPRITI
      SAMPRITI is a joint Indo-Bangladesh training Exercise. The exercise has begun in the state of Mizoram at Counter Insurgency & Jungle Warfare School. It was conducted in a progressive manner wherein the participants initially familiarised themselves with each other’s organisational structure and tactical drills. Subsequently, the training advanced to various joint tactical exercises by the two Armies.

      It is the seventh such exercise in the SAMPRITI series.  The exercise commenced with a validation exercise. The exercise is aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.
       
       Q. 425. e-Samvad Portal
      Ans.
      e-Samvad Portal

      Ministry of Women & Child Development has developed e-Samvad portal. Through e-Samvad portal, NGOs and civil society can provide their feedback, suggestions, put up grievances, share best practices etc. Senior Officers within MWCD will be able to view the inputs/suggestions received for their concerned subject areas and appropriately respond to NGOs. This will help in formulation of effective policies and measures for welfare of women and children.
      Empowerment and welfare of women and children is top priority of the government, e-Samvad portal is an initiatives in this direction.
       
       Q. 424. Buenos Aires Declaration
      Ans.
      Buenos Aires Declaration 
      WTO members and observers have endorsed a collective initiative to increase the participation of women in trade, for the first time in the history of the World Trade Organization. In order to help women, reach their full potential in the world economy, 118 WTO members and observers agreed to support the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade, which seeks to remove barriers to, and foster, women’s economic empowerment.
      Actions outlined in the Declaration will ultimately boost economic growth worldwide and provide more and better paid jobs for women. These actions will also contribute to UN Global Development Goals, including the Sustainable Development Goal to achieve gender equality through the empowerment of women and girls (SDG 5).
      Supporting WTO members and observers have specifically agreed to explore and find ways to best tackle barriers to trade, lack of access to trade financing and sub-optimal participation of women in public procurement markets. Within the WTO context, members will scrutinize their own policies through a gender lens and find ways to work together to increase women’s participation in the world economy. They will also seek to ensure that trade-related development assistance pays better attention to its focus and impact on women. Progress will be reported in 2019.
      Currently, many women worldwide stand on the sidelines of the economy. While women comprise about half of the global population, they generate only 37% of gross domestic product (GDP) and run only about a third of small and medium-sized enterprises. In some developing countries, female business ownership can dip as low as 3-6%. An International Trade Centre survey in 20 countries found that just one in five exporting companies is owned by women. No country has managed to close the gender gap on economic participation and opportunity; progress is so slow it would take, at the current rate, 170 years to reach gender equality. It is also apparent that international trade and trade agreements affect women and men differently.
      The Buenos Aires Women and Trade Declaration was spearheaded by the governments of Iceland and Sierra Leone, as well as the International Trade Centre. 
       
       Q. 423. Plastic Ban and National Green Tribunal
      Ans.
      Plastic Ban and National Green Tribunal
      The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a complete ban on plastic items like carry bags, plates and cutlery in towns located on the banks of the River Ganga like Haridwar and Rishikesh. The Green Tribunal also imposed Rs 5,000 fine on those violating the order and said action will be taken against erring officials too.
      National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It draws inspiration from the India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
      The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice. The tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible; New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata, Allahabad and Chennai shall be the other place of sitting of the Tribunal.
       
       Q. 422. Indian language support in phones
      Ans.
      Indian language support in phones
      Government has mandated support for Indian languages in all mobile phones to be sold in the country from July 1, 2017 onward. The government has included the Indian language support for mobile phone as per IS 16333 to the schedule of ‘Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirement for compulsory Registration) Order, 2012. The new standard mandates mobile phone companies to provide message typing facility in English, Hindi and a regional language of their users choice. The notification mandates both smartphones and feature phones to provide language support.

      Significance
      • It will pave way for connecting next 1 billion people most of whom will be non-English speaking.
      • The order is in line with Digital India vision of bridging digital divide.
      The support for Indian language has potential to grow e-governance transactions, e-commerce business etc multifold, once non-English speaking people are able to access mobile platform in their own language.
       
       Q. 421. Peri-Urban Agriculture
      Ans.
       
      Peri-Urban Agriculture
      Peri-urban agriculture is generally defined as agriculture undertaken in places on the fringes of urban areas. There is no universally agreed definition, and usage of the term generally depends on context and operational variables. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines peri-urban agriculture as "agriculture practices within and around cities which compete for resources (land, water, energy, labour) that could also serve other purposes to satisfy the requirements of the urban population.
      The term “peri-urban” is used to describe agriculture, while difficult to define in terms of geography, population density, percentage of labor force in agriculture, or any other variable, often serves the purpose of indicating areas along the urban-rural continuum. These are places with dynamic landscape and social change and are often invoked in conversations about growth of cities.
      Indian agriculture has seen rapid growth in fruit, vegetable, dairy and fishery production. The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is hoping to double farmer's incomes by 2022 by continuing to increase production, but to also implement proper processing techniques and infrastructure for market expansion. It is hoped that by creating attractive employment options, less agricultural land located near cities and towns will be swallowed up by land conversion.
      Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) has helped in production and productivity, post-harvest management and marketing by providing assistance in the production of quality seeds, protected agriculture, vegetable and organic farming.
      Due to rapid urbanization in the past years, demand for vegetables, fruits and flowers is constantly increasing in urban areas and Peri-Urban Agriculture can contribute to price stabilization through the development of important local food production centres of the diversified food system. This will reduce the burden on transport, and help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cold storage.
       
       Q. 420. Sagol Kangjei (Polo)
      Ans.
      Sagol Kangjei (Polo)
      Sagol Kangjei is the name of the game of polo played in Manipur. Sagol means pony or horse; kang means a ball or round object, and jei is a stick used for hitting. Polo has, for time immemorial, been a game patronised by the royalty and the upper crust of society, not only in India but abroad. However in the state of Manipur, it has always been a game for the common man.
      According to Kangjeiron Purana, which is really the history of hockey in the state, polo was first played in Manipur, and therefore, it got the name Sagol Kangjei - sagol (horse) and kangjei (hockey). Manipuri polo symbolises the immense cultural heritage of the state, and great efforts have been put to raise the standard of this popular game. 
       
       Q. 419. Bir Tikendrajit
      Ans.
      Bir Tikendrajit
      Manipur’s cultural traditions, its social, religious and ethnic mosaic, and its history of courage and resilience are an inspiration for everybody in India. The war of 1891 saw the brave people of Manipur resisting the colonial powers in a manner that has few parallels. The martyrs of 1891 are heroes and the great Bir Tikendrajitand his comrades are cherished icons.
      Tikendrajit Singh also known as Bir Tikendrajit and Koireng was a prince of the independent Kingdom of Manipur. He was the commander of the Manipuri army and engineered a palace revolution that led to the events known as the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891 or the 'Manipur Expedition'.
       
       Q. 418. Loktak Lake
      Ans.
      Loktak Lake
      Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition) floating over it. The lake is located near Moirang in Manipur state, India. Located on this phumdi, Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating national park in the world. The park is the last natural refuge of the endangered Sangai (state animal) or Manipur brown-antlered deer.

      This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fishermen who live in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”. Considering the ecological status and its biodiversity values, the lake was initially designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on 23 March 1990. It was also listed under the Montreux Record.
       
       Q. 417. Electronic waste
      Ans.
      Electronic waste
      Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal are also considered e-waste. Informal processing of e-waste in developing countries can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution. Electronic scrap components, such as CPUs, contain potentially harmful components such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants. Recycling and disposal of e-waste may involve significant risk to health of workers and communities in developed countries and great care must be taken to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leaking of materials such as heavy metals from landfills and incinerator ashes.

      The Global E-waste Monitor 2017, a joint effort of the ITU, the United Nations University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA),  provides the most comprehensive overview of global e-waste statistics and an unprecedented level of detail, including an overview of the magnitude of the e-waste problem in different regions. The report includes up-to-date information on the amounts of e-waste generated and recycled, makes predictions until 2021, and provides information on the progress made in terms of e-waste legislation. The e-waste volumes are indicative of the recycling industry’s potential to recover secondary resources, as well as setting environmental targets for detoxification. The report highlights the need for better e-waste data and information for policymakers to track progress, identify the need for action, and to achieve sustainable development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
       
       Q. 416. Methanol Economy Fund
      Ans.
      Methanol Economy Fund
      Niti Aayog is planning to set up a Methanol Economy Fund worth Rs 4,000-5,000 crore to promote production and use of the clean fuel. The government is aiming at generation of the fuel by converting high ash content coal into methanol. Such a plant is expected to be set up by Coal India.
      Methanol fuel is cheaper, safer and pollution free. In India methanol can be produced at Rs 16-21 per litre. Methanol can be used as an energy producing fuel, transportation fuel and cooking fuel. It will also cut down India’s oil import bill by an estimated 20 per cent.
      Unlike CNG, using methanol as a transportation fuel would require minimal alteration in the vehicles. China is the world’s largest producer of methanol. The Niti Aayog is also working on converting certain diesel-powered rail engines to work on methanol. The boats and ships used in the inland waterways initiative are also run on methanol.
       
       Q. 415. Manipur Sangai Festival-2017
      Ans.
      Manipur Sangai Festival-2017
      Every year the State of Manipur celebrates the “Manipur Sangai Festival” from 21st to 30th November. The ‘Festival’ is named after the State animal, Sangai, the brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur. It started in the year 2010 and has grown over the years into a big platform for Manipur to showcase its rich tradition and culture to the world. The festival is labeled as the grandest festival of the State today and helps promote Manipur as a world class tourism destination. Every edition of the festival showcases the tourism potential of the state in the field of Arts & Culture, Handloom, Handicrafts, Indigenous Sports, Cuisine, Music and Adventure sports of the state etc.
      The festival reflects the State’s proud cultural heritage and the love for art which is inherent amongst various tribes inhabiting the State of Manipur. The State’s classical dance form, ‘Ras Leela’ is quite famous all over the world for its distinctiveness from any other dance forms in India. The Ras Leela will form an important part of the dance performances at the Manipur Sangai Festival 2017 besides the various other folk dance performances like the Kabui Naga dance, Bamboo dance, Maibi dance, Lai Haraoba dance, Khamba Thoibi dance etc. which will be showcased at the festival.
      The festival will also bring to light an array of Manipur’s best indigenous handlooms and handicrafts products.
      Indigenous sports will also be a major highlight of the State’s biggest tourism festival this year. Manipur’s famous martial arts- Thang Ta (a combination Spear & Sword skills), Yubi-Lakpi (a game played with greased coconut like rugby), Mukna Kangjei (a game that combines hockey and wrestling), and Sagol Kangjei- Modern Polo (believed to have evolved in Manipur) will all form part of the festival. 
       
       Q. 414. NATIONAL AYUSH MISSION (NAM)
      Ans.
      NATIONAL AYUSH MISSION (NAM)
      Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India launched National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 12th Plan for im­plementing through States/UTs. The basic objective of NAM is to promote AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services, strengthening of educational systems, facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (AYUSH) drugs and sustainable availability of AYUSH raw-materials. It envisages flexibility of implementation of the programmes which will lead to substantial participation of the State Governments/UT. The NAM contemplates establishment of a National Mission as well as corresponding Missions in the State level. NAM is likely to improve significantly the Department’s outreach in terms of planning, supervision and monitoring of the schemes.

      Vision:
      1. To provide cost effective and equitable AYUSH health care throughout the country by improving access to the services.
      2. To revitalize and strengthen the AYUSH systems making them as prominent medical streams in addressing the health care of the society.
      3. To improve educational institutions capable of imparting quality AYUSH education
      4. To promote the adoption of Quality standards of AYUSH drugs and making available the sustained supply of AYUSH raw-materials.
      Objectives:
      1. To provide cost effective AYUSH Services, with a universal access through upgrading AYUSH Hospitals and Dispensaries, co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs).
      2. To strengthen institutional capacity at the state level through upgrading AYUSH educational institutions, State Govt. ASU&H Pharmacies, Drug Testing Laboratories and ASU & H enforcement mechanism.
      3. Support cultivation of medicinal plants by adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) so as to provide sustained supply of quality raw-materials and support certification mechanism for quality standards, Good Agricultural/Collection/Storage Practices.
      4. Support setting up of clusters through convergence of cultivation, warehousing, value addition and marketing and development of infrastructure for entrepreneurs.
       








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