|51.||5 September: National Teachers Day|
The National Teachers Day is observed every year on 5th September in India to commemorate birthday of country’s first Vice President and second President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
To celebrate this day, various programmes were organised in schools and colleges throughout the country to honour of teachers who shaped the lives of students and showed them path of success.
On this occasion, Environment Ministry launched Prakarti khoj, an environment awareness initiative. It is an online environmental quiz competition conducted at national level. The objective of quiz was to generate interest among school children about the science related to environment.
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on 5 September 1888 in Thiruttani in then Madras Presidency of British India (now in Tamil Nadu). He was Indian philosopher and statesman and one of best known scholars in field of comparative religion and philosophy in India in 20th century.
He had tremendously contributed towards new contemporary Hindu identity in eyes of the ill-informed Westeners. He held great respect for teachers and always believed that teachers are real nation builders and thus should always be the best minds in the country.
He was the first Vice President of India (in office from 1952–1962), Second President of India (in office from 1962 to 1967). He was first recipient Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award along with politician C. Rajagopalachari, scientist C. V. Raman. He was also awarded British Royal Order of Merit (1963).
|52.||CBDT signs 4 more Advance Pricing Agreements|
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into four more Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs), pertaining to sectors like telecom, banking, manufacturing and education in August 2017.
Out of these four agreements, three were unilateral and one was bilateral. The bilateral APA was for international transactions between an Indian company and UK-based company. With this, total number of APAs entered into by CBDT has reached 175. This includes 162 unilateral APAs and 13 bilateral APAs
Advance Pricing Agreements (APA)
The APA scheme of CBDT aims to provide certainty to taxpayers in domain of transfer pricing by specifying methods of pricing and setting prices of international transactions in advance. The APA provisions were introduced in Income Tax Act in 2012 and `rollback` provision to pull out was introduced in 2014.
The APA scheme’s objective is to strengthen government`s resolve of fostering non-adversarial tax regime. Moreover, Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in fair and transparent manner.
It endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in domain of transfer pricing by specifying methods of pricing and setting prices of international transactions in advance. Under BAPA, certainty in tax treatment is provided for next 5 years while rollback provides dispute redressal for maximum of four past years preceding APA years.
|53.||Link-4 of SAUNI Scheme: President Ram Nath Kovind lays foundation stone|
President Ramnath Kovind laid foundation stone for link-4 of Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Scheme (SAUNI) Yojana in Rajkot district, Gujarat.
SAUNI Yojana is multipurpose project that aims to solve water problems of parched Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Three phase of SAUNI yojana already have been dedicated to people following completion of work.
SAUNI project was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat. It aims to fill up 115 major dams in Saurashtra by diverting overflow of water from Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada River. It is an out-and-out irrigation and drinking water project designed solely for Saurashtra peninsula.
Its unique feature involves making pipe canals instead of conventional open canals which has led to no acquisition of land and involve less loss of water. It has network of canals comprising 1,125-km network of pipelines that will help to channel water into farms.
|54.||CIPAM-DIPP launches social media campaign to promote Geographical Indications|
The Cell for IPR Promotions & Management (CIPAM) under Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has launched social media campaign to promote Indian Geographical Indications (GIs).
It has been launched under CIPAM’s ongoing campaign #LetsTalkIP to make more people aware about importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The promotion of GIs is in line with Government’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign.
Geographical Indication (GI) is sign or insignia used on products that have specific geographical origin and possess qualities or reputation that are due to that origin. Such name, sign or insignia conveys assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
The status to products marks its authenticity and ensures that only registered authorised users are allowed to use popular product name. Darjeeling Tea, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus are some of examples for products having GIs.
Importance of GIs to India
GIs products are of utmost importance as they are integral part of India’s rich culture and collective intellectual heritage. GI tag has accorded protection to number of hand-made and manufactured products, especially in informal sector. Certain GI products benefits rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmens who possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.
GIs are covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property (IPRs). At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, GI registration is governed by Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force in September 2003. It is granted by Chennai based Geographical Indications Registry (GIR). Darjeeling tea was first product to accorded with GI tag in India.
|55.||CERT-In issues alert on Locky Ransomware|
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued an alert about spread of new ransomware (malicious software) ‘Locky’ that can lock computers and demand ransom for unlocking them.
Ransomware is basically type of malicious software designed to block access to computer system until sum of money is paid.
Locky ransomware is being circulated through massive spam campaign in which spam emails with common subject lines target computers by locking them and demanding ransom for restoring access to users. It first had surfaced in 2016.
It encrypts files on victims’ PCs and adds a .locky file extension. The attackers then demand ransom in Bitcoin payment to unlock the files. It is demanding ransom of half bitcoin, which at present rate is equivalent to over Rs 1.5 lakh. So far, it has extorted more than $7.8 million in payments, according to a recent study. However, its impact on Indian systems is not clear so far.
The Locky Ransomware cyberattack is third major ransomware attack this year after Wannacry and Petya which had crippled thousands of computers, including those of multinational corporations. According to an Assocham PWC study, India was third worst affected country in list of over 100 countries hit by Wannacry in May 2017.
CERT-In is nodal agency for information technology security under aegis of Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Electronics and IT. It was established in 2004. Its mandate is to protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities. It also responds to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout country. It also issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention,
|56.||Five banks of BRICS nations sign pact for credit lines|
Five banks of BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism (ICM) have agreed to establish local currency credit lines and develop cooperation on credit ratings. In this regard, they have signed agreement ahead of 9th BRICS summit to be held in Xiamen, China.
These five banks are Brazilian Development Bank, Russia’s Vnesheconombank, Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM), China Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa.
The agreement will allow these five banks to establish framework mechanism to extend credit lines in local currencies to BRICS ICM members and BRICS companies against guarantees of signatory banks. The use of local currencies will help to promote mutually beneficial economic cooperation, increase trade, mitigate currency risks and facilitate companies in accessing BRICS markets.
Moreover, the agreement on credit ratings will allow ICM members to share information about internal credit ratings assigned to clients, as well as assignment methodologies and rating assessment. Information under it will be provided at request and on a confidential basis.
BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism (ICM)
BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations had established the BRICS ICM to enhance trade and economic relations amongst BRICS countries, and enterprises.
|57.||Breakthrough Mission Project detects 15 radio bursts from dwarf galaxy|
Breakthrough Listen project has detected 15 fast radio bursts (FRBs) coming from a dwarf galaxy about 3 million light years away from earth.
The new detection was made with help of Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia. It was emitted from FRB 121102, a mysterious source associated with galaxy in the distant universe. This detection brings the total of known FRBs from this strange object to more than 150.
The first known radio burst from FRB 121102 was detected on November 2, 2012 (hence the object’s name). Two more bursts were detected in May 2015 and eight more in June 2015. It is being speculated, among other things, that this detected FRB is an energy source used by extra-terrestrial (ET) civilisations to power spacecraft.
Fast radio bursts (FRB)
FRB is brief, bright pulse of radio emission from distant galaxies. It was first detected in 2007 with help of Parkes Telescope in Australia. It is a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin manifested as transient radio pulse lasting only a few milliseconds.
Breakthrough Listen Project (BLP)
BLP is US$100-million global astronomical initiative launched in 2015 by Internet investor Yuri Milner and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. It has teams from around the world to find signs of intelligent life in universe. The 10-year programme aims to survey 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth by scanning entire galactic plane of Milky Way. It will listen for messages from the 100 closest galaxies at 10 billion different frequencies originated beyond our galaxy.
|58.||TRAPPIST-1 planets likely to have water|
According to international team of astronomers, earth-sized planets orbiting ultracool TRAPPIST-1 dwarf star may have substantial amounts of water and could be habitable.
They had used Hubble Space Telescope (HST), a joint project of European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to estimate whether there is water on seven planets orbiting in TRAPPIST-1 planetary system.
Astronomers had examined amount of ultraviolet radiation (UV) received by individual planets of system to detect presence of water. UV radiation is important factor in atmospheric evolution of planets as it can break water vapour in atmospheres of planets into hydrogen and oxygen in process called photodissociation.
UV rays with more energy and X-rays heat upper atmosphere of planet, which allows hydrogen and oxygen, products of photodissociation to escape. Hydrogen gas escaped from exoplanets’ atmospheres was dectected by HST indicating it as a possible indicator of atmospheric water vapour.
The results suggest that outer planets of TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may harbour substantial amounts of water. This includes three planets within habitable zone (Goldilocks zone) of star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable and support alien life.
The observed amount of UV radiation emitted by TRAPPIST-1 suggests that planets could have lost gigantic amounts of water over course of their history. The inner planets (TRAPPIST-1b, 1c, 1d) could have lost water worth more than 20 Earth- oceans- during the last eight billion years. However, outer planets of system (e, f and g) which are in habitable zone might have lost much less water, suggesting that they could have retained some on their surfaces.
The seven Earth-sized planets (named TRAPPIST-1b, c, d, e, f, g and h) orbiting ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 were discovered by astronomers in February 2017. The TRAPPIST-1 planetary system is 40 light-years away from Earth. Its dwarf star Trappist-1 is at least 500 million years old and is marginally larger than Jupiter. It has temperature of 2550K and shines with a feeble light about 2,000 times fainter than Earth’s sun.
|59.||2017 Union Ministerial Reshuffle|
Nine new members were inducted into Council of Ministers of NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent reshuffle. The aim of reshuffle was to reinforce 4Ps — passion, proficiency, professional and political acumen in Government.
9 new members inducted are
Hardeep Singh Puri: Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Satya Pal Singh: MoS Human Resource Development and MoS Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Shiv Pratap Shukla: MoS Finance Ministry.
Alphons Kannanthanam: MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Tourism; and MoS in Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Raj Kumar Singh: MoS (Independent Charge) of Ministry of Power; and MoS (Independent Charge) of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Virendra Kumar: MoS in Ministry of Women and Child Development; and MoS in Ministry of Minority Affairs
Anantkumar Hegde: MoS in Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
Besides, four senior ministers were elevated to the cabinet rank. They are
Piyush Goyal: Railway Ministry.
Nirmala Sitharaman: Defence Ministry.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi: Minority Affairs Ministry.
Dharmendra Pradhan: Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry.
|60.||SAAB, Adani Group announce collaboration for defence manufacturing|
Swedish defence and security company SAAB and Indian conglomerate Adani Group have announced collaboration in defence manufacturing entailing billions of dollars of investment.
The partnership was announced mainly for design, development and production of single engine Gripen fighter jets under ‘Make in India’ if they win government contract to equip Indian Air Force (IAF) with new jets. They will compete with collaboration of US aircraft major Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) which are planning to manufacture F-16 fighter aircrafts in India.
The $12 billion Adani Group has interests in energy, real estate, logistics and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), among others. It has no presence in the defence sector and nor does have experience in manufacturing space either.
SAAB is manufacturer of Gripen, a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft featuring state-of-the-art technology, including advanced data links and sensors.
IAF is expected to begin process for procuring 100 plus single engine fighter jets to replace ageing fleet of Russian Mig-21s and Mig-27s in service. The procurement will be under recently promulgated Strategic Partnership (SP) model of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The deal is estimated to be worth over Rs. 60,000 crore.
Under this deal, first 18 aircraft will be brought to India in a flyaway mode and rest will be manufactured in India by Indian private company with technology transfer from foreign manufacturer. Only two aircrafts are available in global market to meet IAF’s requirement criteria viz, F-16 and Gripen.
Need for new aircrafts
The IAF needs minimum strength of 42 fighter squadrons to dominate and tackle two-front collusive threat simultaneously from China and Pakistan. Currently, IAF has 32 fighter squadrons. Further due to retirement of old aircraft, numbers will further go down by 2021. By then, 11 squadrons of Mig-21 and Mig-27, which are 35 to 45 years old, will be retiring from service. So to mitigate the shortfall, IAF is procuring new advance single engine fighter aircrafts.