Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 April 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 April 2017


Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

India becomes associate member of International Energy Agency

 

India has become part of IEA Association that will allow the country play a more “visible and influential” role in the global energy landscape. This does not cast any additional obligation on India, however, gives an opportunity for the country to become the voice of the developing countries.

iea

How will this membership help India?

  • India’s engagement with the International Energy Agency (IEA) has enhanced over the last two decades and the “Association” status would facilitate it to participate in meetings of the standing groups, committees and working groups that constitute the IEA governance structure.
  • The “Activation of Association” is expected to serve as a bridge and platform for wider-ranging and deeper co-operation and collaboration between IEA member and Association countries in the future.
  • India pursues its key development objectives of energy access, energy security and environmental sustainability. In this context, India has a vision of ensuring 24×7 affordable and environment friendly ‘Power for All’ and deeper engagement with IEA is a component of achieving this vision.
  • India can also richly gain from IEA’s data gathering processes, survey methodologies and range of energy data, which could enable India in the near future to set up its own robust integrated database agency.

 

Background:

India is home to about a fifth of the world’s population but uses only about 6% of the world’s energy. But growth in the country’s energy demand is expected to outpace China in the near future, with its energy demand more than doubling over the next 25 years.

 

About International Energy Agency:

Founded in 1974, the IEA was initially designed to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in the supply of oil, such as the crisis of 1973/4. While this remains a key aspect of its work, the IEA has evolved and expanded significantly.

 

Important functions performed by IEA :

  • The IEA examines the full spectrum of energy issues including oil, gas and coal supply and demand, renewable energy technologies, electricity markets, energy efficiency, access to energy, demand side management and much more.
  • Through its work, the IEA advocates policies that will enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy in its member countries and beyond.

 

Publications:

Today, the IEA is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative analysis through a wide range of publications, including the flagship World Energy Outlook and the IEA Market Reports; data and statistics, such as Key World Energy Statistics and the Monthly Oil Data Service; and a series of training and capacity building workshops, presentations, and resources.

 

The four main areas of IEA focus are:

  • Energy Security: Promoting diversity, efficiency, flexibility and reliability for all fuels and energy sources;
  • Economic Development: Supporting free markets to foster economic growth and eliminate energy poverty;
  • Environmental Awareness: Analysing policy options to offset the impact of energy production and use on the environment, especially for tackling climate change and air pollution; and
  • Engagement Worldwide: Working closely with partner countries, especially major emerging economies, to find solutions to shared energy and environmental concerns.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Padayani Dance

 

Padayani festival was recently celebrated in Kerala.

 

About the festival:

Padayani is a traditional folk dance and a ritual art from the central portion of the Indian state of Kerala. A ceremonial dance involving masks, it is an ancient ritual performed in Bhagavati temples.

 

Background:

Padayani was performed by magico-medicine men of Kerala to heal the illnesses not amenable to medical modalities of intervention. It is believed that it is evolved from a symbolic past reminiscent of fencing march of martial art Kalari. Eventually in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam districts of Kerala, the Nair folk became the performers of the modern form of Padayani art, but the design and making of costumes vested with Kaniyar people.

 

Unique features:

  • The dance is performed in honor of Bhadrakaali.
  • Meaning, a row of warriors, Padayani is an art form that blends music, dance, theatre, satire, facial masks, and paintings.
  • Padayani is unique to central Travancore, comprising the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.
  • Padayani is regarded as a remnant of the Dravidian forms of worship that existed before the advent of Brahmanism.
  • Kalan Kolam is the major attraction in padayani. This is about a child who is begging his life to lord siva while death comes in his 16th birthday.
  • A major attraction of padayani is the song associated with it. Traditionally only a single type of instrument is used to associate the song, thappu.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

CAG to audit UN Secretariat in New York

 

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India will audit the UN Secretariat in New York, a job which till now was the exclusive domain of developed countries.

  • The CAG is the external auditor of several UN organisations and India’s Shashi Kant Sharma is the Chairman of the UN Board of Auditors.

secretariat

UN Board of Auditors:

The General Assembly established the United Nations Board of Auditors (Board) in 1946 as an important mechanism to promote accountability and transparency in the United Nations.

  • The members of the Board have collective responsibility for the audits.
  • Currently the heads of the SAIs of India, Tanzania and Germany are the members of the Board.
  • The Auditors-Generals of UN member states are elected to the Board.

 

Functions of the board:

  • The Board performs external audit of the accounts of the United Nations organization and its funds and programmes and reports its findings and recommendations to the Assembly through the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.
  • The Board provides independent assurance to Member States and other stakeholders regarding proper use of the resources of the United Nations and its funds and programmes.
  • It reports on financial matters as well as on regularity and performance issues.
  • It plays a significant role in assisting the United Nations to improve its operations and its internal control systems.
  • The findings and recommendations of the Board have led to continuous systematic improvements in the functioning of the United Nations.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Myanmar joins ADB’s South Asia economic body

Myanmar has formally become a full member of South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme of Asian Development Bank (ADB) being the seventh country to join the group.

SASEC

 

Significance of this move:

  • Myanmar’s membership in SASEC can offer a host of opportunities for realising synergies from economic cooperation in the sub-region. Myanmar is the key to realising greater connectivity and stronger trade and economic relations between SASEC sub-region and the countries of East and Southeast Asia.
  • SASEC member-countries recognise that most of SASEC’s multimodal connectivity initiatives include Myanmar as road corridors in Myanmar provide the key links between South Asia and Southeast Asia and ports in Myanmar will provide additional gateways to the landlocked North Eastern region of India.
  • SASEC’s energy connectivity and energy trade prospects will be enhanced with the inclusion of Myanmar, involving its substantial resources of hydropower and natural gas.

 

Background:

Myanmar was accorded an observer status of SASEC in 2013 when ADB’s annual meeting was held in India and has been participating in annual SASEC Nodal Officials’ meetings as an observer since 2014. It was invited by the participating countries of SASEC countries to become a full member in 2015.

 

About SASEC:

The SASEC programme of ADB was formed in 2001 in response to the request of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them. Sri Lanka and Maldives joined the sub-regional group in 2014.

  • As a project-based partnership, SASEC programme has been helping enhance cross-border connectivity, facilitate faster and more efficient trade and promote cross-border power trade.
  • The Manila, Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as the Secretariat for the SASEC member countries.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

New tree-living crab species found in Kerala:

  • Scientists have discovered a new species of long legged, tree-dwelling crabs in Western Ghats of Kerala. This is the first report of its kind to offer a record of an arboreal crab — a species that lives in trees.
  • The new species named Kani maranjandu after the Kani tribe in Kerala, are substantially different from other congeners.
  • The characteristic traits of the crab include the structure of its hard upper shell, its male abdominal structure and reproductive parts and diagnostic elongated walking legs.

 

Doctors artwork finds place in Guinness Book:

  • A fingerprint painting, created by a group of Indian doctors as a symbolic representation to end frequent attacks against the fraternity, has found place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest such artwork.
  • Titled “Ray of Hope“, measuring 469.75 m, the painting was made up of 15 lakh finger impressions of doctors from different parts of the country, collected over a period of four months.
  • The record title is in the name of Dr Naveen Koval, an assistant professor of Pediatrics at Kannur Medical College, Kerala, who conceptualised the work and Indian medical association.