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August 24, 2018
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23 August Current Affairs

President appoints Governors of seven states

In News:

By exercising his authority under Article 156 of the constitution, President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Governors of seven states including Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Meghalaya, and Tripura.

Governors of States in India:

  • Governor is the head of the Executive power of any state in India, just like the President who is the head of the executive power in the Union.
  • Governor is the nominal head of a state, unlike the Chief Minister who is the real head of a state in India.
  • According to an amendment in the Constitution of India (7th Constitutional Amendment Act), brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.

Appointment and removal:

  • The governors and lieutenant-governors are appointed by the president for a term of 5 years.
  • The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by: Dismissal by the president on the advice of the prime minister of the country, at whose pleasure the governor holds office or Resignation by the governor.
  • There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president.
  • Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor.

Powers:

Like the President of India, the Governor of any state in India is vested with certain executive, legislative and judicial powers.

He or she also possesses certain discretionary or emergency powers.

But one major difference in the powers enjoyed by the President and those enjoyed by the Governor is, the Governor does not have any diplomatic or military powers.

Source: The Hindu

FSSAI notifies standards for honey & its products to curb adulteration

In News:

The regulator FSSAI has come out with food safety standards for honey and its products, in a bid to curb adulteration.

Background:

At present, there are no separate quality standards for honey and its products. The move comes in the wake of government promoting farmers to venture into the beekeeping business to increase their income. The standards will help fetch farmers better prices for their products.

The standards notified:

Parameters: As per the FSSAI notification, honey should comply with 18 parameters like that of sucrose content, glucose ratio, pollen count, foreign oligosaccharides among others.

Limits and standards: The FSSAI has fixed maximum 5% limit for sucrose content in the honey, while 10% for carviacallosa and Honeydew honey. The moisture percentage should be maximum 20% and pollen count should be 25,000 per gram. With regard to by-products, the FSSAI has fixed standards for ‘Bees wax’ and ‘royal jelly’ also.

The regulator has defined honey as the natural sweet substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of blossoms or from secretions of plants, which honey bees collect, transform and store in honey combs for ripening.

No additives: If a product is sold as honey then food ingredient, including food additives should not be added to it. It should not be heated or processed to such an extent that its essential composition is changed and its quality is impaired.

Labelling: Honey can be labelled according to floral or plant source, if it comes from any particular source, and has the organoleptic, physicochemical and microscopic properties corresponding with that origin.

Pollen content: In the case of ‘Monofloral Honey’, the regulator said the minimum pollen content of the plant species concerned should not be less than 45 per cent of total pollen content. In case of ‘Multi Floral Honey’, the pollen content of any of the plant species should not exceed 45 per cent of the total pollen content.

Facts for Prelims:

Bees wax is obtained from the honeycombs of bees of Apidae family after the honey has been removed by draining or centrifuging. Beeswax consists of a mixture of esters of fatty acids and fatty alcohols, hydrocarbons and free fatty acids. Minor amounts of free fatty alcohols are also present.

The combs are melted with hot water, steam or solar heat and the melted product is filtered and cast into cakes of yellow bees wax.

White bees wax is obtained by bleaching the yellow bees wax with oxidising agents.

Royal jelly is the mixture of secretions from hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of worker bees, free from any additive. It is the food of larval and adult queens. It is a raw and natural food, unprocessed except for filtration which does not undergo addition of substances. The colour, taste and the chemical composition of royal jelly are determined by absorption and transformation by the bees fed with the following two types of foods during the royal jelly production time.

Significance of the sector:

About 90,000 tonnes of honey of all varieties is produced annually in the country. There are about 30 lakh honey bee colonies and five lakh people are engaged in the business.

The government is promoting honey production through the mission for integrated development of horticulture (MIDH) and the National Bee Board has been formed for implementing various activities for development of scientific beekeeping under MIDH.

Source: The Hindu

Quad grouping

In News:

A report on the policy recommendations on Indian Ocean security by four think tanks from the Quad countries has been unveiled.

Important recommendations:

Maintain the momentum of high-level consultations among the Quad countries with the aim of “free and open Info-Pacific region” and progressively move it to a political level.

Australia, Japan, India and the US should work with countries in the IOR to help maintain independent security and economic policies by supporting high-quality alternatives to unilateral Chinese investments and political alignment with Chinese regional objectives.

The four countries should work to oppose the establishment of permanent Chinese military bases in the IOR. This should include demonstrating to China that its security needs can be met through cooperation and consultation with other nations and without the recourse to a “disruptive unilateral military presence.”

Naval fleets should evolve increasingly long range operations. This may require consideration in Japan of new options such as nuclear propulsion for its submarines.

The Quad:

Regional coalition known as the ‘Quad’, the quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.

The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.

China’s concerns:

The coming together of India, the US, Japan and Australia is being seen as building a strategic partnership to deal with China’s rise and its implications.

Way ahead:

The Quad grouping is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context. Quad should not be seen in any comparative or in an exclusive context.

Source: The Hindu

ICOMOS

In News:

The ICOMOS, a global monument conservation body, has launched an initiative to assess the damage to the rich cultural and built heritage in flood-devastated Kerala and set up an emergency response platform.

Details:

The initiative also aims at setting up a platform for emergency response to the cultural heritage damaged by the floods in Kerala.

ICOMOS has also approached the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) to partner in the post-disaster work.

Background:

Kerala is endowed with natural beauty, and is home to a number of iconic forts, palaces and other heritage buildings, which attract a huge number of tourists every year. The state is facing its worst floods in nearly a century.

About ICOMOS:

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a prestigious non-government organisation.

It promotes the application of theory, methodology and scientific techniques for conservation of architectural and archaeological heritage across the world.

ICOMOS is also an advisory body to the UNESCO for cultural heritage, in particular for implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Facts for Prelims:

Rome-based ICCROM is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide through training, information, research, cooperation and advocacy programmes.

Source: The Hindu

TReDS platform

In News:

State-owned aerospace and defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has executed its first digitised invoice discounting transaction on RXIL TReDS platform when it accepted the digital invoice uploaded by Narendra Udyog, a Nasik-based MSME vendor.

Details:

This makes HAL the first PSU (public sector unit) to transact on TReDS across platforms.

RXIL, India’s first TReDS platform, enables MSMEs to gain control of their receivables with enhanced visibility and timeliness.

What is TReDS?

TReDS is an online electronic institutional mechanism for facilitating the financing of trade receivables of MSMEs through multiple financiers. The TReDS Platform will enable discounting of invoices/bills of exchange of MSME Sellers against large Corporates including Govt. Departments and PSUs, through an auction mechanism, to ensure prompt realization of trade receivables at competitive market rates.

Salient Features of TReDS:

  • Unified platform for Sellers, Buyers and Financiers.
  • Eliminates Paper.
  • Easy Access to Funds.
  • Transact Online.
  • Competitive Discount Rates.
  • Seamless Data Flow.
  • Standardised Practices.

How does the system work?

A seller has to upload the invoice on the platform. It then goes to the buyer for acceptance. Once the buyer accepts, the invoice becomes a factoring unit. The factoring unit then goes to auction. The financiers then enter their discounting (finance) rate. The seller or buyer, whoever is bearing the interest (financing) cost, gets to accept the final bid. TReDs then settle the trade by debiting the financier and paying the seller. The amount gets credited the next working day into the seller’s designated bank account through an electronic payment mode. The second leg of the settlement is when the financier makes the repayment and the amount is repaid to the financier.

Source: The Hindu

CERT-In report on cyber attacks

In News:

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has prepared a report on cyber attacks in the country.

Highlights of the report:

It has been observed that China continues to “intrude” Indian cyberspace in a “significant” way. The cyber attacks from China made up 35% of the total number of cyber attacks on official Indian websites, followed by US (17%), Russia (15%), Pakistan (9%), Canada (7%) and Germany (5%).

There is also the possibility of “malicious actors from Pakistan using German and Canadian cyberspace for intruding into Indian cyberspace and carrying out malicious activities”.

They are targeting by sending spear phishing emails with malware attachments. Phishing attacks are usually in the form of an email from a trusted source where they ask for personal details such as bank details personal details, passwords.

Institutions affected:

Many of the institutions impacted by the malicious activities have been identified, and they have been advised to take appropriate preventive action.

These include Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), National Informatics Centre (NIC), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Railways, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and some banks like Punjab National Bank among others.

About CERT-In:

CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-mandated information technology (IT) security organization. CERT-In was created by the Indian Department of Information Technology in 2004 and operates under the auspices of that department.

It’s purpose:

The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country. According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.

Source: The Hindu

“Kowsar”

In News:

It is a new domestically-produced fighter jet unveiled recently by Iran.

Significance:

Designed and manufactured solely by Iranian military experts, the Kowsar is described as a fourth-generation fighter jet, which classifies it among military fighters in service from approximately 1980 to the present day.

Implications:

Iran is currently under economic and diplomatic pressure from a raft of sanctions reimposed by the United States earlier this month, and the unveiling could be seen as a bid to show self-sufficiency and military might in the face of that pressure.

Source: PIB

International Buddhist Conclave 2018

In News:

With an aim to encourage the prominent Buddhist heritage and pilgrim sites in the state of Maharashtra, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in association with Ministry of Tourism recently organized the 6th International Buddhist Conclave 2018 in Aurangabad. The Conclave will highlight the traditional and historical facets of Buddhism across the world.

Theme: ‘Buddha Path – The Living Heritage”.

Significance: The International Buddhist Conclave is testament of the Ministry of Tourism and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation towards its commitment to advance the experience of travellers as well as tourists looking to experience the spirit of Buddhist inheritance of our country.

Source: PIB

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