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30 November Current Affairs

UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

In News:

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has added reggae to its list of cultural institutions worthy of protection and preservation.

Background:

Each year, UNESCO adds to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Jamaica submitted reggae for consideration earlier this year. The genre now joins a list of over 300 cultural traditions, including numerous musical ones such as Dominican merengue, Slovakian bagpipe music and Vietnamese xoan singing.

About Reggae:

It is Jamaican music originating from marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston. It was started out as voice of marginalized. But now it is played and embraced by wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups.

About UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage:

This coveted list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.

The list was established in 2008 when Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect.

It has two parts viz. Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of urgent safeguarding.

From India the Intangible Cultural Heritages added into this list include:

  • Tradition of Vedic chanting
  • Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana
  • Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre
  • Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas.
  • Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala
  • Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan
  • Chhau dance
  • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur
  • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab
  • Yoga
  • Nawrouz
  • Kumbh Mela

Source: The Hindu

UN predicts El Niño likely to form by February

In News:

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has predicted that there is a 75-80% chance of a weak El Niño weather pattern forming by February and a slightly lower likelihood that it will continue through the northern hemisphere winter of 2018-19.

Background:

An El Niño – a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically happens every few years – last occurred in 2015-2016 and caused weather-related crop damage, fires and flash floods.

What is ENSO?

ENSO is nothing but El Nino Southern Oscillation. As the name suggests, it is an irregular periodic variation of wind and sea surface temperature that occurs over the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. ENSO affects the tropics and the subtropics. The warming phase of ENSO is called El Nino, while the cooling phase is known as La Nina.

What is El Nino?

El Nino is a climatic cycle characterised by high air pressure in the Western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern. In normal conditions, strong trade winds travel from east to west across the tropical Pacific, pushing the warm surface waters towards the western Pacific. The surface temperature could witness an increase of 8 degrees Celsius in Asian waters. At the same time, cooler waters rise up towards the surface in the eastern Pacific on the coasts of Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. This process called upwelling aids in the development of a rich ecosystem.

What causes El Nino?

El Nino sets in when there is anomaly in the pattern. The westward-blowing trade winds weaken along the Equator and due to changes in air pressure, the surface water moves eastwards to the coast of northern South America. The central and eastern Pacific regions warm up for over six months and result in an El Nino condition. The temperature of the water could rise up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Warmer surface waters increase precipitation and bring above-normal rainfall in South America, and droughts to Indonesia and Australia.

What are El Nino’s effects?

El Nino affects global weather. It favours eastern Pacific hurricanes and tropical storms. Record and unusual rainfall in Peru, Chile and Ecuador are linked to the climate pattern.

El Nino reduces upwelling of cold water, decreasing the uplift of nutrients from the bottom of the ocean. This affects marine life and sea birds. The fishing industry is also affected.

Drought caused by El Nino can be widespread, affecting southern Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. Countries dependent on agriculture are affected.

Australia and Southeast Asia get hotter.

A recent WHO report on the health consequences of El Nino forecasts a rise in vector-borne diseases, including those spread by mosquitoes, in Central and South America. Cycles of malaria in India are also linked to El Nino.

The rise in sea surface temperature may be intensified by global warming. From the current study, we learn that El Nino can exacerbate global warming and hence the process could become a vicious circle.

What is La Nina?

La Nina is a climate pattern that describes the cooling of surface ocean waters along the tropical west coast of South America. It is considered to have the opposite effect of El Nino. It brings greater than normal rainfall in Southeast Asia and Australia, and causes drier-than-normal conditions in South America and the Gulf Coast of the United States. La Nina events sometimes follow El Nino events.

How long does it last?

An El Nino or La Nina episode lasts nine to 12 months. Some may prolong for years. Its average frequency is every 2 to 7 years. El Nino is more frequent than La Nina.

Source: The Hindu

Private member’s Bill

In News:

A BJP lawmaker from Karnataka has said he will move a Private Members’ Bill during the winter session of parliament to facilitate the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Details:

Who is a Private Member? Any MP who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member.

What are Government Bills?

Bills introduced by Ministers are referred to as government bills.

They are backed by the government, and reflect its legislative agenda. Private member’s bills purpose is to draw the government’s attention to what individual MPs see as issues and gaps in the existing legal framework, which require legislative intervention.

Introduction in the House:

The admissibility of a private member’s Bill is decided by the Rajya Sabha Chairman. In the case of Lok Sabha, it is the Speaker; the procedure is roughly the same for both Houses.

The Member must give at least a month’s notice before the Bill can be listed for introduction; the House secretariat examines it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation before listing.

Up to 1997, private members could introduce up to three Bills in a week. This led to a piling up of Bills that were introduced but never discussed; Chairman K R Narayanan, therefore, capped the number of private member’s Bills to three per session.

While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.

Fourteen private member’s Bills — five of which were introduced in Rajya Sabha — have become law so far.

Source: The Hindu

Gender wage gap highest in India

In News:

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released Global Wage Report 2018-19. As per the report, women are paid the most unequally in India, compared to men, when it comes to hourly wages for labour. On average, women are paid 34% less than men.

Highlights of the report:

The gender wage gap has remained unchanged at 20% from 2016 to 2017.

In advanced economies (G20), real wage growth declined from 0.9 per cent in 2016 to 0.4 per cent in 2017, meaning near stagnation. By contrast, in emerging economies and developing G20 countries, real wage growth dipped marginally from 4.9 per cent in 2016 and 4.3 per cent in 2017.

Inequality is higher in monthly wages, with a gap of 22 per cent.

Overall, real wages grew just 1.8 per cent globally (136 countries) in 2017.

In most countries, women and men differ significantly in respect of working time – specifically, that part-time work is more prevalent among women than among men.

Way Forward:

The report advocated that emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring equal pay for women and men.

Source: The Hindu

G20 Summit 2018 begins in Argentina

In News:

The 2018 G20 Summit is being held in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nineteen leaders of the world’s biggest economies and a representative of the European Union will be holding a meeting on November 30 as part of the G20 summit.

G20 Summit 2018:

It will be the 13th meeting of Group of Twenty (G20) and the first G20 summit to be hosted in South America.

About G20:

Formed in 1999, the G20 is an international forum of the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.

Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 85 percent of the Gross World Product (GWP), 80 percent of world trade.

To tackle the problems or the address issues that plague the world, the heads of governments of the G20 nations periodically participate in summits. In addition to it, the group also hosts separate meetings of the finance ministers and foreign ministers.

The G20 has no permanent staff of its own and its chairmanship rotates annually between nations divided into regional groupings.

The first G20 Summit was held in Berlin in December 1999 and was hosted by the finance ministers of Germany and Canada.

Objectives:

The Group was formed with an aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.

The forum aims to pre-empt balance of payments problems and turmoil on financial markets by improved coordination of monetary, fiscal, and financial policies.

The forum seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organisation.

Member Countries:

The members of the G20 consist of 19 individual countries plus the European Union (EU).

The 19 member countries of the forum are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The European Union is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank.

Shaktikanta Das, the former Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), has been appointed as India’s G20 Sherpa till December 31, 2018 for the Development Track of the G20 summit. A Sherpa is a personal representative of the leader of a member country at an international Summit meeting such as the G8, G20 or the Nuclear Security Summit and are responsible for thrashing out the details before the meeting of the leaders.

Source: The Hindu

Climate Vulnerable Forum

In News:

Climate Vulnerable Forum meeting is being held in Marshall Islands. This is the first entirely online Heads of Government level intergovernmental meeting.

Details:

Leaders at the Climate Vulnerable Forum have called on world’s governments to raise the ambition of their climate targets by 2020 in order to save vulnerable nations threatened by warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

What is Climate Vulnerable Forum?

The Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international cooperation group of developing countries tackling global climate change.

The CVF was founded by the Maldives government before the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which sought to increase awareness of countries considered vulnerable.

United Nations agencies collaborate in implementing activities linked to the CVF with the UNDP, the lead organization supporting the forum’s work.

The CVF was formed to increase the accountability of industrialized nations for the consequences of global climate change.

Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan are its members, whereas India is one of the observer states.

Source: ToI

PSLV-C43 successfully launches earth observation satellites HysIS and 30 foreign satellites.

In News:

The Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) successfully launched 31 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.

HysIS:

It is an earth observation satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite 2 (IMS-2) bus weighing about 380 kg.

The life of the satellite is five years.

Satellites from Australia, Columbia, Malaysia, and Spain were flown aboard PSLV for the first time. These foreign satellites launched are part of commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited and customers.

Primary Goal:

It is to study the earth’s surface in both the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Data from the satellite will be used for various applications including agriculture, forestry, soil/geological environments, coastal zones and inland waters, etc.

PSLV:

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.

It is a four stage launch vehicle.

A large solid rocket motor forming the first stage,

An earth storable liquid stage as the second stage,

A high performance solid rocket motor as third stage, and

A liquid stage with engines as fourth stage.

The vehicle successfully launched two spacecraft – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013

Source: PIB

Saubhagya

In News:

“8 States achieve 100% household electrification under Saubhagya; total 15 States now have 100% household electrification”.

Details:

8 States have achieved 100% saturation in household electrification under Saubhagya namely Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Bihar, J&K, Mizoram, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal.

Saubhagya – ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’:

Its objective is to provide access to electricity connections to all the remaining households in the country.

Scheme will provide subsidy on equipment such as transformers, wires and meters.

Ministry of Power would be the implementing authority.

Power connection will be provided in both rural and urban areas of the country.

The scheme was launched on the occasion of the birth centenary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya on 25th

Award Scheme under Saubhagya:

An award scheme has been instituted with awards of more than Rs. 300 crore to be won by States/Discoms.

The first DISCOM/Power Departments who complete 100% household electrifications will be felicitated with cash award of Rs. 50 Lakh for the employees and 100 crore grants for distribution infrastructure.

The Government is committed to ensure 24×7 access to electricity for all by 31st March 2019.

Benefits to the Citizen:

Electrification has direct positive impact on the quality of all aspects of daily life, especially to the women and children.

With deeper penetration, significant improvement is expected in other services like education, health, communication, etc.

It gives opportunities for economic activities leading to employment generation, increase in income and poverty alleviation.

Source: PIB

‘Heli-Clinics’ for remote areas.

In News:

Union Minister has mooted “Heli-Clinics”/Helicopter Clinics for remote areas, which could help to provide specialized medical care to people living in inaccessible hilly terrains of the States like Jammu & Kashmir and Northeast.

Central Government’s Previous Measures:

In the last four years, which include opening of Dialysis Centres in every district hospital, setting up of Wellness Centres and, launch of “Ayushman Bharat”.

The Minister emphasized the need to incentivize medical practitioners to go to remote rural areas and to provide adequately satisfactory facilities for the government doctors to be able to serve in the rural areas.

What is Ayushman Bharat?

Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).

Salient Features:

Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empaneled hospitals across the country.

Ayushman Bharat will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.

One of the core principles of Ayushman Bharat is to co-operative federalism and flexibility to states.

For giving policy directions and fostering coordination between Centre and States, it is proposed to set up Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) at apex level Chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister.

States would need to have State Health Agency (SHA) to implement the scheme.

In partnership with NITI Aayog, a robust, modular, scalable and interoperable IT platform will be made operational which will entail a paperless, cashless transaction.

Source: PIB

Konkan 18

In News:

It is the naval exercise between India and United Kingdom. The 2018 edition will be held in Goa.

Details:

Bilateral KONKAN exercise was started in 2004 and since then has grown in scale. The exercise is aimed at deriving mutual benefit from each other’s’ experiences and is indicative of continuing cooperation between two countries.

‘COPE INDIA 2019’

In News:

It is a bilateral exercise between Indian Air Force (IAF) and US Air Force (USAF) conducted on and over Indian soil. The 2019 edition will be held in West Bengal.

Details:

The first such exercise was conducted at IAF air force station in Gwalior from February 2004.

 

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