National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams – 31st October 2018
India among nations that face grave danger to soil biodiversity: WWF
Topic: Environment and Ecology
IN NEWS: India’s soil biodiversity is in grave peril, according to the Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas prepared by the World Wide Fund for Nature.
More on the Topic
- The findings were part of the bi-annual Living Planet Report 2018.
- A key aspect of this year’s report is the threat to soil biodiversity and pollinators [such as bees]
- The WWF’s ‘risk index’ for the globe indicating threats from loss of above-ground diversity, pollution and nutrient over-loading, over-grazing, intensive agriculture, fire, soil erosion, desertification and climate change shows India among countries whose soil biodiversity faces the highest level of risk.
- Soil biodiversity encompasses the presence of micro-organisms, micro-fauna (nematodes and tardigrades for example), and macro-fauna (ants, termites and earthworms).
- The two key drivers of biodiversity loss were the over exploitation of natural resources and agriculture.
- While India’s per capita ecological footprint was less than 1.75 hectares/person (which is in the lowest band, among countries surveyed) its high population made it vulnerable to an ecological crisis, even if per-capita consumption remained at current levels.
- To address these challenges, the WWF suggests three necessary steps: “clearly specifying a goal for biodiversity recovery; developing a set of measurable and relevant indicators of progress; and agreeing on a suite of actions that can collectively achieve the goal in the required time frame.
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
In news: Three years after the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) decided to stop giving children in its homes up for adoption, it has agreed to join hands with the country’s nodal agency- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) for adoption
More on the topic:
- In October 2015, soon after the Central government announced new rules for adoption and made it mandatory for all homes to be linked to the Child Adoption Resource Authority(CARA), which would be the only body in the country authorised to process adoptions, the Missionaries of Charity sought de-recognition of its homes.
- Missionaries of Charity is a Roman Catholic religious congregation established in 1950 by Mother Teresa.
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
- It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
- CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS)
In news: Conference on “CCTNS–Good practices and success Stories” is being held in New Delhi.
More on the Topic:
- The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems, abbreviated to CCTNS, is a project under Indian government for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance.
- The system includes nationwide online tracking system by integrating more than 14,000 police stations across the country. The project is implemented by National Crime Records Bureau.
- CCTNS aims to integrate all the data and records of crime into a Core Application Software (CAS), which is presently spreading across 29 states and 7 union territories of India.
- CAS was developed by the Bangalore based IT firm, Wipro. It needs to integrate different software and platforms followed by different states and to digitise records of those states which have not digitised their police records. The project also involves training of police personnel and setting up of citizen portal to provide services to citizens.
- The CCEA also decided to implement Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) . It will be done through integrating CCTNS with e-Courts, e-prisons, Forensics and Prosecution, which are the key components of the Criminal Justice System. e-prosecution in Delhi has already launched by ICJS team.
Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)
Topic: Indian Economy
In news:I The Nineteenth Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri ArunJaitley reviewed the current global and domestic economic situation and financial sector performance.
- Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) is an apex-level body constituted by the government of India. The idea to create such a super regulatory body was first mooted by the Raghuram Rajan Committee in 2008.
- Finally in 2010, the then Finance Minister of India, Pranab Mukherjee, decided to set up such an autonomous body dealing with macro prudential and financial regularities in the entire financial sector of India.
- An apex-level FSDC is not a statutory body. The recent global economic meltdown has put pressure on governments and institutions across the globe to regulate their economic assets.
- This council is seen as India’s initiative to be better conditioned to prevent such incidents in future. The new body envisages to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism of maintaining financial stability, financial sector development, inter-regulatory coordination along with monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy.
- No funds are separately allocated to the council for undertaking its activities.
- Chairperson: The Union Finance Minister of India
- Governor Reserve Bank of India (RBl),
- Finance Secretary and/ or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA),
- Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS),
- Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs,
- Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance,
- Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI),
- Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA),
- Chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA),
- Chairman, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI),
- Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, DEA, will be the Secretary of the Council,
- The Chairperson may invite any person whose presence is deemed necessary for any of its meeting(s).
Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojna
Topic: Government Policies
In news: The cumulative number of houses sanctioned under PMAY(U) now is 62,53,731. The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has approved the construction of another 2,15,083 more affordable houses for the benefit of urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).
About Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojna:
- ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana ‘ (PMAY) is an initiative by Government of India in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor with a target of building 20 million affordable houses by 31 March 2022.
- It has two components: Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) (PMAY-U) for the urban poor and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin) (PMAY-G and also PMAY-R) for the rural poor.
- This scheme is converged with other schemes to ensure houses have a toilet, Saubhagya Yojana electricity connection, Ujjwala Yojana LPG gas connection, access to drinking water and Jan Dhan banking facilities, etc.
- Cumulative total number of funded houses approved thus far is 39,25,240 in urban area including the subsumed RAY scheme and completion of construction of 5 million rural houses by March 2018 and 10 million rural houses by March 2019
Nobel prize 2018
Topic: Science and Technology
- Physiology or Medicine: James P. Allison(USA), Tasuku Honjo(Japan): For their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation
- Physics: Gérard Mourou(France),Arthur Ashkin(USA),Donna Strickland(Canada: For their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses in the field of laser physics
- Chemistry: George Smith (USA),Frances Arnold (USA),Greg Winter (UK: For control of evolution and used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind.
- Literature: This year no Nobel Prize for Literature
- Peace: Denis Mukwege (Democratic Republic of the Congo),Nadia Murad (Germany): For their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict