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Question and Answer
Q. 425. 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
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
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
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.
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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.
To provide cost effective and equitable AYUSH health care throughout the country by improving access to the services.
To revitalize and strengthen the AYUSH systems making them as prominent medical streams in addressing the health care of the society.
To improve educational institutions capable of imparting quality AYUSH education
To promote the adoption of Quality standards of AYUSH drugs and making available the sustained supply of AYUSH raw-materials.
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).
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.
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.
Support setting up of clusters through convergence of cultivation, warehousing, value addition and marketing and development of infrastructure for entrepreneurs.
Q. 413. Workings of solar wind flows
Workings of solar wind flows
The solar wind is a stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, called the corona. This plasma consists of mostly electrons, protons and alpha particles with thermal energy. The solar wind varies in density, temperature and speed over time and over solar latitude and longitude. Its particles can escape the Sun's gravity because of their high energy resulting from the high temperature of the corona, which in turn is a result of the coronal magnetic field. The solar wind affects other incoming cosmic rays interacting with planetary atmospheres. Moreover, planets with a weak or non-existent magnetosphere are subject to atmospheric stripping by the solar wind. Earth itself is largely protected from the solar wind by its magnetic field, which deflects most of the charged particles; however some of the charged particles are trapped in the Van Allen radiation belt. A smaller number of particles from the solar wind manage to travel, as though on an electromagnetic energy transmission line, to the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere in the auroral zones. The only time the solar wind is observable on the Earth is when it is strong enough to produce phenomena such as the aurora and geomagnetic storms.
A group of researchers from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, have, for the first time, figured out the conditions under which certain types of solar storms can flow towards the earth and affect its atmosphere. This is important because such storms contain charged particles travelling at very high speeds and these can affect the electronics present on satellites in orbit around the earth.
Such solar storms have two causes: Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and Corotating Interaction Regions (CIR). CMEs are huge explosions of charged particles extending beyond the sun’s corona or outer layer and can be visibly observed. CIRs are much more complicated and difficult to observe. CMEs can be detected by a coronagraph when they are ejected from the Sun. CIRs are generated in the interplanetary medium and there are no visual signatures for CIRs.
Charged particles are being spewed continually out of the sun’s corona, forming the solar wind. Some parts of these winds move faster than others. Since they contain charged particles in a plasma state, these different regions physically interact with each other to form wavelike disturbances called CIRs that emanate from the sun and spiral outwards. They are called “corotating” interaction regions as they rotate along with the sun, attached to it at one end.
The sun goes through cyclic variations with a period of eleven years during which sunspot activity increases to a maximum and then decreases.
Q. 412. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is a multilateral export control regime. It is an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology capable of carrying above 500 kg payload for more than 300 km. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) was established in April 1987 by the G7 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
India has officially joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as a full member. India by joining the MTCR become the 35th member of the MTCR.
Benefits of joining MTCR
Benefit to ISRO: During the cold war years, Russia denied cryogenic technology to India. However, in a welcome change ISRO will now have access to restricted high-end technologies for developing its cryogenic engines in order to enhance space exploration.
Sale of BrahMos: India will be able to sell the Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile BrahMos to Vietnam and other countries in a development that would make India a significant arms exporter.
Procurement of Israel's Arrow II missile: In its bid to develop indigenous Ballistic Missile System, India wanted to procure Arrow II theatre missile defence interceptor from Israel but was denied due to the MTCR sanctions. The newly-forged membership will help India in the procurement of Arrow II, which will further help India defend itself against Pakistani or Chinese ballistic missiles.
Buying surveillance drones: India will be able to buy surveillance drones from other countries like the American Predator drones (e.g. the Avenger drone). The US might also consider exporting UAVs, Reaper and Global Hawk, which have been key to counter-terrorism efforts in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Boost to Make in India: Indian technology that will be developed or made under the flagship of Make in India will see free movement out of the country, which in turn will contribute to the success of the programme.
Step closer to NSG: The accession to MTCR is one step closer to India's membership to the 48-member NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group). It also gives India a chance to engage with other global non-proliferation players.
Q. 411. North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme
North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme
The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of new Central Sector Scheme of “North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme” (NESIDS) from 2017-18 with 100% funding from the Central Government to fill up the gaps in creation of infrastructure in specified sectors till March, 2020.
Features of NESIDS:
The new scheme will broadly cover creation of infrastructure under following sectors:
Physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power, connectivity and specially the projects promoting tourism;
Infrastructure of social sectors of education and health.
Benefits of NESIDS:
The assets to be created under the new scheme of NESIDS will not only strengthen health care and education facilities in the region but will also encourage tourism thereby the employment opportunities for local youth. The scheme will act as a catalyst in overall development of the region in the years to come.
The Union Cabinet has also approved the continuation of the existing Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme with funding pattern of 90:10 till March, 2020 with an outlay of Rs.5300.00 crore. It would enable completion of ongoing projects.
Q. 410. Banglar Rasogolla
West Bengal's famous Banglar Rasogolla has got Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Indian patent office. The state has trumped Odisha which had reportedly sought the coveted status for its rasogolla. The two states had claimed for getting the GI tag.
Banglar Rasogolla is a syrupy dessert popular in all over India and abroad.
Odisha has claimed that the sweet originated from the Jagannath Temple in Puri, where it is a part of the religious rituals since the 12th century. Odisha calls it Pahala Rasgulla. On the other hand, West Bengal had asserted that confectioner Nobin Chandra Das is widely known as the one, who created Rasgulla in the 1860s.
A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
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