Insights Daily Current Events, 06 June 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
India, Qatar Sign 7 Agreements To Boost Cooperation And Investment
India and Qatar have signed seven agreements to boost cooperation and bilateral investments. These agreements were signed during the recent visit of PM Modi to Qatar.
- According to one memorandum of understanding (MoU), Qatar will invest in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). The government had set up the Rs 40,000-crore NIIF last year for enhancing infrastructure financing in India.
- Another MoU was signed between India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and Qatar’s National Qualifications Authority/Supreme Educational Council, on cooperation in skill development and recognition of qualifications.
- A third MoU calls for Cooperation in tourism between the two countries.
- Another MoU was signed on cooperation between India and Qatar in the field of health.
- A fifth MoU was signed between Finance Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND) and the Qatar Financial Information Unit (QFIU).
- An agreement was signed on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.
- A first executive programme for MoU in the field of youth and sports between the two countries was also signed.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
RBI, govt. make peace over appointment panel
In a departure from the past, government has asked the Cabinet Secretary to head the search-cum-selection panel for the appointment of its Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank. However, RBI has opposed the government’s move to have Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha as the head and has communicated its reservations. Following this a compromise has been worked out.
What’s the compromise?
Under the compromise, the RBI Governor will have a greater say in the short-listing of the names. However, technically, the Cabinet Secretary remains the head of the panel.
Practice so far:
As per the established practice, the interview panel for the appointment of deputy governors had always been headed by the RBI Governor.
The government had set up a Financial Sector Search and Recruitment Committee — headed by Mr. Sinha — to decide on the members and heads of financial sector regulators like the RBI, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). The committee would have a permanent member from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), while representatives from the Finance Ministry, an economist, and the head of the regulatory body whose members are to be selected will be special invitees.
About Deputy Governors of RBI:
- The RBI has four deputy governors and typically two are from the outside, of which traditionally one is a commercial banker and the other an economist. The two others are promoted from within the central bank’s ranks.
- A central bank Deputy Governor can be appointed for a term with a maximum of five years or till the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Odisha wages a literary struggle to claim rasagulla as its own
The bitter contest over the Intellectual Property Rights to an iconic sweet, the ‘rasagulla’ has moved into a new phase with Odisha citing ‘literary evidence’ to buttress its claim over West Bengal.
Odisha’s Department of Science and Technology has been poring over literary evidence and has decided to study it in depth, to reinforce the State’s demand for a Geographical Indication for the famous cottage cheese balls in sugary gravy. Odia litterateurs say the sweet is found in many works well before 1868.
- A bitter-war broke out last year over the origins of the Rasgulla. The fight is between Odisha and West Bengal, with each one claiming ownership of rasagolla.
- Odisha has staked claim to have ‘invented’ years ago, the sweet associating it with a centuries old ritual of Lord Jagannath. West Bengal always thought of rasagolla as its own.
The GI tag is an indication which is definite to a geographical territory. It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods. For a product to get GI tag, the goods need to be produced or processed or prepared in that region. It is also essential that the product has special quality or reputation.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
IIT Madras researchers dissolve silver using glucose water
IIT Madras researchers have found that silver can slowly dissolve in water if heated to about 70 degree C in the presence of glucose.
- Like gold, silver is a noble metal. So far, it was supposed to be inert (resistant to chemical corrosion, especially to chemical reagents used in daily life).
Highlights of the study:
- The researchers observed that as much as 0.5 weight per cent of a silver plate can get dissolved in glucose water within a week.
- The study shows that silver atoms gets released from a plate in a simple, two-step mechanism — silver ions are first formed at the metal surface, which later form specific metal complexes with sugar. Atoms are highly reactive on the surface of the metal as they less connected and less bound and this allows the atoms to be released.
- Metal dissolution leads to corrosion of the plate and nanoscale pits get formed on the plate. Further dissolution occurs at the pits and as a result the pits get bigger, making a polished silvery metal appear black. Under favourable conditions, up to 10% of the metal can get dissolved in 90 days.
- Dissolution of silver by glucose directly from the metallic state gets enhanced in the presence of ions such as carbonate and phosphates. The study found that enhancement of silver dissolution in glucose was about 10 and 7 times in the presence of 50 ppm of phosphate and carbonate respectively. But in the absence of glucose, phosphate and carbonate were found to have no significant effect on silver dissolution.
Significance of this study:
- This is helpful in studying the effect of metals in food and how toxic metals get into our food chain from soil, water and fertilizers. Silver foils are used to decorate sweets and often such foils are eaten along with the sweets. Silver vessels are also used for cooking.
- An offshoot of the study is that the method can be used for developing novel and green extraction processes for noble metals. In general, toxic chemicals such as cyanide are used for extracting silver. The newly developed method can extract silver effectively by a simple and green method. It does not require any harmful chemicals or high temperature or expensive set-up.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
J&K militants use app to evade Army snooping
Indian intelligence agencies have found a new app called “Calculator” which is used by terrorists.
- This application is found on the smartphones of terrorists. It helps them remain in touch with their handlers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) without being detected by the Army’s technical surveillance.
The technology is based on the concept of ‘cognitive digital radio’ that enables users to turn their smartphones into peer-to-peer, off-grid communication tools.
- The technology was first used by a U.S.-based company during Hurricane Katrina so that the affected residents could remain in touch with each other. Terror outfits have modified this technology and created the application “Calculator”, which can be downloaded on smartphones attached to the off-air network created specifically for them.
- The network generates its own signal through proprietary ad hoc networking protocols and automatically coordinates with other units within range which enables users to send and get text messages, share their GPS locations on offline maps regardless of access to WiFi or cellular service.
What is Cognitive radio (CR)?
It is a form of wireless communication in which a transceiver can intelligently detect which communication channels are in use and which are not, and instantly move into vacant channels while avoiding occupied ones. This optimizes the use of available radio-frequency (RF) spectrum while minimizing interference to other users.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Govt to come out with updated IIP, WPI indices by year-end
Government is all set to come out with revised IIP and WPI indices by the end of this year with a new base year of 2011-12 in order to make them more representative of the changing economic scenario. Both IIP and WPI are due for revision.
- The National Statistical Commission has recommended to revise the base year of all economic indices every five years.
- As part of the revision, the basket of items and weightage assigned to different entries on the basis of which indices is computed will be updated. The present indices of IIP and WPI have base year of 2004-05.
- With the new series in place, both the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) will become more comparable with the GDP numbers than it is currently.
- Government had last revised these indices in 2011 with the base year of 2004-05.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been conferred with Amir Amanullah Khan Award, Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour. The Amir Amanullah Khan medal is highest civilian honor of Afghanistan. The award is named after the Afghan national hero, Amanullah Khan (Ghazi), who championed the cause of Afghanistan’s freedom. He was the ruler of the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1919-1929 who led Afghanistan to independence. This award was instituted by the Afghanistan government in 2006. Previous recipients include: US President George Bush, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, NATO General James Jones, former Afghan President spiritual leader Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, and Afghan Chief Justice (CJ) Abdul Salam Azimi.