Daily Current Affairs 30 April 2018
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and the Indian Yoga Association (IYA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate interaction and cooperation between the two organisations to promote wellness, spiritual and cultural tourism in the Krishna Circuit.
- Krishna Circuit is among the thirteen thematic circuits identified for development under Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
- Twelve destinations have been identified for development under Krishna circuit namely Dwarka (Gujarat), Nathdwara, Jaipur & Sikar (Rajasthan), Kurukshetra (Haryana), Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Gokul, Barsana, & Govardhan (Uttar Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha).
About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
The Tourism Ministry had launched ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme with an objective to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
Features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
- To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
- Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
- A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
- A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.
- PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
Peace Mission 2018
It is a multi-nation counter-terror exercise that will take place under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The main aim of the exercise will be to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
- Peace Mission exercises are held once in two years. This year’s exercises will be the 10th edition. The last time, it was held in 2016 in Kyrgyztan.
Where is it being held? The 2018 edition will be held in the Ural mountains of Russia.
Significance of this edition: In a first, India and Pakistan will be part of this exercise. 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 peace keeping missions.
- The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc last year
Leisang in Manipur
Leisang in Manipur has become the last village to be added to the national power grid under the Rural Electrification Scheme.
Definition: The government considers a village electrified if it has basic electrical infrastructure and 10% of its households and public places including schools, local administrative offices and health centres have power.
The government had allocated Rs75,893 crore for the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana with the aim of providing electricity access to all villages.
- Government of India has launched the scheme “Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana” for rural electrification.
- The erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) scheme for village electrification and providing electricity distribution infrastructure in the rural areas has been subsumed in the DDUGJY scheme.
- Rural Electrification Corporation is the Nodal Agency for implementation of DDUGJY.
The Yojana also includes the components:
- To separate agriculture and non agriculture feeders facilitating judicious rostering of supply to agricultural and non-agricultural consumers in rural areas and
- Strengthening and augmentation of sub transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas, including metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers.
Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight)
NASA is set to launch Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) on May 5, the first-ever mission to study the heart of Mars.
About InSight Mission:
- InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
- It will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.
- It will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior.
Significance of the mission:
- The findings of Mars’ formation will help better understand how other rocky planets, including Earth, were and are created. But InSight is more than a Mars mission – it is a terrestrial planet explorer that would address one of the most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science – understanding the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.
- By using sophisticated geophysical instruments, InSight would delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet’s “vital signs”: Its “pulse” (seismology), “temperature” (heat flow probe), and “reflexes” (precision tracking).
- InSight seeks to answer one of science’s most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?
- The rocket that will loft InSight beyond Earth will also launch a separate NASA technology experiment: two mini-spacecraft called Mars Cube One, or MarCO. These briefcase-sized CubeSats will fly on their own path to Mars behind InSight.
- Their goal is to test new miniaturized deep space communication equipment. This will be a first test of miniaturized CubeSat technology at another planet, which researchers hope can offer new capabilities to future missions.
- If successful, the MarCOs could represent a new kind of communication capability to Earth. InSight’s success is independent of its CubeSat tag-alongs.
Previous missions to Mars have investigated the surface history of the Red Planet by examining features like canyons, volcanoes, rocks and soil. However, signatures of the planet’s formation can only be found by sensing and studying its “vital signs” far below the surface.
In comparison to the other terrestrial planets, Mars is neither too big nor too small. This means that it preserves the record of its formation and can give us insight into how the terrestrial planets formed. It is the perfect laboratory from which to study the formation and evolution of rocky planets. Scientists know that Mars has low levels of geological activity. But a lander like InSight can also reveal just how active Mars really is.
The European Union has successfully managed to launch its new, highly-advanced Sentinel Earth observation satellite into space. The earth observing satellite is called Sentinel-3B and it flew to space atop a Russian Rockot launcher.
- The main aim of the Sentinel-3B satellite is to monitor the Earth’s ocean. Along with that it will map the vegetation growth on the earth surface and will measure the thinning ice sheets.
- The Sentinel-3B was the seventh rocket that was launched by the European Union for its ambitious Copernicus mission.
About Copernicus programme:
- Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date. It will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
- Copernicus is the new name for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme, previously known as GMES.
- This initiative is headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).
- ESA coordinates the delivery of data from upwards of 30 satellites. The EC, acting on behalf of the European Union, is responsible for the overall initiative, setting requirements and managing the services.
- Services provided by Copernicus: land management, the marine environment, atmosphere, emergency response, security and climate change.
- Sentinel: ESA is developing a new family of satellites, called Sentinels, specifically for the operational needs of the Copernicus programme. The Sentinels will provide a unique set of observations, starting with the all-weather, day and night radar images.
Great Barrier Reef
Australia has pledged Aus $500 million ($379 million) in new funding to restore and protect the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is a critical national asset, contributing Aus$6.4 billion a year to the Australian economy.
Threats to the great barrier reef:
- It is reeling from significant bouts of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change.
- It is also under threat from the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, which has proliferated due to pollution and agricultural run-off. The predator starfish feeds on corals by spreading its stomach over them and using digestive enzymes to liquefy tissue.
- With its heavy use of coal-fired power and relatively small population, Australia is considered one of the world’s worst per-capita greenhouse gas polluters.
About the Great barrier reef:
- The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres.
- The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.
- This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
- It was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
International Buddhist Conference:
As part of 2562nd Buddha Jayanti celebrations, International Buddhist Conference was held in Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha.The basic objective of the conference was to disseminate teachings of Gautam Buddha and spread the messages of nonviolence, brotherhood, co-existence, love and peace to the international community.
It is the world’s oldest known spider which died recently at the ripe old age of 43 after being monitored for years during a long-term population study in Australia.
The trapdoor matriarch comfortably outlived the previous record holder, a 28-year-old tarantula found in Mexico.
What is underwriting rule?
The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to review the regulations for underwriting of a public issue, the model agreement for which was framed back in 1993 and has since been in operation.
What is underwriting? Underwriting is the mechanism by which a merchant banker gives an undertaking that in the event of an initial public offer (IPO) remaining undersubscribed, the banker would subscribe to unsold shares. The underwriting clause, mandatory in all SME IPOs, ensures the issue does not fail due to low demand from investors.
- Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) has announced a program for training life science graduates to work in food and allied industries.
- The Mysore based institute is a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
- It came into existence during 1950.
- The Research focus of CSIR-CFTRI has been revolved around broadly into the following areas:
- Engineering Sciences
- Technology Development
- Translational Research
- Food Protection and Safety
Swachh Bharat Summer Internship
- Ministry of Human Resource Development in association with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Summer Internship – 100 Hours of Swachhata’.
- The program is to engage youth across the country and develop their skill and orientation for sanitation related work and village level development.
- The program aims to:
- Develop the skill and orientation of youth for sanitation related work
- Bring youth across the country an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the swachhata revolution
- Integrate youth in the community service in rural areas in the run up to the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
Space Missions to study Asteroids
- In 2001, the NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) Shoemaker spacecraft by NASA landed on Eros, an asteroid near Earth.
- In 2011, the Dawn spacecraft entered Vesta’s orbit which successfully completed a 14-month survey of the large asteroid.
- NASA researchers announced plans for a spacecraft called HAMMER that would collide and knock incoming asteroids in another direction or simply blow them up into tiny pieces.
- In 2016, NASA launched the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to study a near-Earth asteroid, Bennu.
- In 2005, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa landed on the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa and in 2010, it successfully returned to Earth.
- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Hayabusa 2 probe in December 2014, and plans to return samples from Ryugu in December 2020.
Colistin-resistance bacteria in food
- An investigation was led by an expert to look for evidence for strains of bacteria that are resistant to the most powerful antibiotics in everyday food.
- The investigation discovered a mutation called mgrB that makes the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae resistant to colistin and helps them make their way into people.
- Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic, a life-saver for humans.
- Even if the food is cooked, thereby killing the bacteria, storage and handling of the food products are processes by which it is passed on to people.
- It renders them helpless if they should ever need the colistin antibiotic to save their lives.
- It also revealed colistin-resistance in humans is not so much because of indiscriminate use of the antibiotic in hospitals, as it is because of its use in veterinary feed.
- China has banned the use of colistin in veterinary use and similarly the use of antibiotic growth promoters in animals is banned in the European Union since 2006.
Transparent eel-like robot
- Scientists have developed an innovative, transparent eel-like robot that can swim silently in salt water without an electric motor.
- The robot created by engineers and marine biologists used artificial muscles filled with water to propel itself.
- The foot-long robot, which is connected to an electronics board that remains on the surface, is also virtually transparent.
- The robot is an important step towards a future when soft robots can swim in the ocean alongside fish and invertebrates without disturbing or harming them.
- At present, most underwater vehicles designed to observe marine life are rigid and submarine-like and powered by electric motors with noisy propellers.
- Soft robotics is a growing field which relies on mimicking locomotion mechanisms of soft bodies existing in nature to achieve smooth and complex motion.
World Press Freedom Index 2018
- India’s ranking in the Press Freedom Index has fallen two places to 138.
- In the annual report RSF blamed “physical violence” against journalists like Gauri Lankesh as the key reason behind the country’s low ranking.
- The report also warned that hate crime is another issue plaguing India.
- Norway topped the list of having the world’s freest press for the second year in a row.
- North Korea remained the most repressive country followed by Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria and then China.
- The index is compiled by Reporters without Borders (RSF) which reflects growing animosity towards journalists.
- It is published annually by RSF since 2002.
- The Index measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries, including the level of pluralism, media independence, the environment and self-censorship, the legal framework, transparency, and the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.
- It does not evaluate government policy.