Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE)
Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ’Nishank’ chaired the Special Meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held in New Delhi.
Mandate: The Central Advisory Board of Education is the oldest and the most important advisory body of the Government of India in education. It provides a forum for widespread consultation and examination of issues relating to educational and cultural development.
Background: It was first established in 1920 and dissolved in 1923 as a measure of economy. It was revived in 1935 and has been in existence ever since.
Composition: The Board consists of nominated members representing various interests in addition to elected members from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and the representatives of the Government of India, State Governments and UT Administrations.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has made it mandatory for Liquid funds to hold at least 20% of its net assets in liquid assets while mandating an exit load on investors that exit within seven days of making an investment.
Liquid funds belong to the debt category of mutual funds.
They invest in very short-term market instruments like treasury bills, government securities and call money.
They are getting popular with retail investors due to their higher than savings bank account returns and easy liquidity.
Liquid funds shall hold at least 20% of their net assets in liquid assets. For this purpose, liquid assets shall include cash, government securities, T-bills and repo on government securities.
In case the exposure in such liquid assets falls below 20% of net assets of the scheme, the fund house will first have to meet the 20% norm before making any further investments.
It also barred liquid funds and overnight funds from parking money, pending deployment, in short-term deposits of scheduled commercial banks and also debt securities having structured obligations and/or credit enhancements. Debt securities with government guarantee have been excluded from such restriction.
The new norms, which will be effective from April 1, 2020, is an attempt to strengthen the risk management framework for liquid funds.
Social Stock Exchanges (SSE)
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has constituted a working group on Social Stock Exchanges (SSE).
Composition: The working group has been constituted under the chairmanship of Ishaat Hussain, Director, SBI Foundation.
Mandate: The working group shall examine and make recommendations with respect to possible structures and mechanisms, within the securities market domain, to facilitate the raising of funds by social enterprises and voluntary organizations.
Background: In Budget in July, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a social stock exchange for social enterprises and voluntary organisations working for social welfare to help them raise capital through debt, equity and mutual fund.
All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE)
Union Minister for HRD released the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2018-19.
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) collects online information on Universities, Colleges and other Higher Educational Institutions under the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE).
The annual publication started in 2010-11.
Main findings of the survey:
The top 8 States in terms of highest number of colleges in India are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
Bangalore Urban district tops in terms of number of colleges with 880 colleges.
College density, i.e. the number of colleges per lakh eligible population (population in the age-group 18-23 years) varies from 7 in Bihar to 53 in Karnataka as compared to All India average of 28.
60.53% Colleges are located in Rural Area.
11.04% Colleges are exclusively for Female.
77.8% Colleges are privately managed of which 64.3% are Private-unaided and 13.5% Private-aided.
Total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 37.4 million. Female constitute 48.6% of the total enrolment.
Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher education has increased from 25.8 in 2017-18 to 26.3 in 2018-19, which is calculated for 18-23 years of age group. GER for male population is 26.3% and for females, it is 26.4%. For Scheduled Castes, it is 23% and for Scheduled Tribes, it is 17.2% as compared to the national GER of 26.3%.
Uttar Pradesh comes at number one with the highest student enrolment followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Highest share of foreign students come from the neighbouring countries of which Nepal is 26.88% of the total, followed by, Afghanistan (9.8%), Bangladesh (4.38%), Sudan (4.02%), Bhutan constitutes (3.82%) and Nigeria (3.4%).
Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in Universities and Colleges is 29 if regular mode enrolment is considered whereas PTR for Universities and its Constituent Units is 18 for regular mode.
Student enrolment in B.Tech and M.Tech programmes has seen a dramatic fall.
Chilahati- border railway link
Chilahati- border railway link upgradation work was inaugurated to connect West Bengal with Bangladesh.
Railway Minister of Bangladesh and High Commissioner of India laid the foundation stone at Chilahati in Bangladesh for undertaking the work of up-gradation and laying of missing tracks from Chilahati to the border with India near Haldibari.
The 7.5-kilometre long railway track will help in providing connectivity from West Bengal into Assam via Bangladesh. Construction of immigration and customs post will also be done on it.
On completion, this will provide a big boost to trade, travel and tourism between Bangladesh and India.
The Haldibari- Chilahati railway track was part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri during British undivided Trains from Bangladesh to Darjeeling via Siliguri operated till 1965 which stopped functioning after the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
Indian Railways has already restored the tracks up to international border till Haldibari station.
In a first, researchers have decoded what happens in our brain when we hear harsh sounds produced by alarms or from human shrieks — an advance that may help us better diagnose mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
Neuroscientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) have identified which frequencies are perceived as rough (distinct from each other) and which are perceived as smooth (forming one continuous and single sound).
While smooth sounds (above 130 Hz) induce responses in the brain’s “classical” auditory system, rough sounds (40-80 Hz) activate a wider network involved in processing aversion and pain.
The researchers were able to establish that the upper limit of sound roughness is around 130 Hz, while the sounds considered intolerable were mainly between 40 and 80 Hz.
When sounds are in the smooth range, the conventional auditory system is activated.
When sounds are perceived as harsh (especially in the 40-80 Hz range), they induce a persistent response that additionally recruits a large number of cortical and sub-cortical regions that are not part of the conventional auditory system. These regions are related to aversion and pain.
This is the first time that sounds between 40 and 80 Hz have been shown to mobilise these neural networks, although these frequencies have been used for a long time in alarm systems.
Unusual Activity Of Sagittarius A*
In a research published recently, scientists have sought to explain the unusual activity of Sagittarius A* this year, which is the area around it becoming much brighter than usual.
Sagittarius A* is a supermassive black hole that sits 26,000 light years away from Earth, near the Galactic Centre, or the centre of the Milky Way.
It is one of the few black holes where we can witness the flow of matter nearby.
Developments this year:
Since the discovery of Sagittarius A* 24 years ago, it has been fairly calm. This year, however, it has shown unusual activity, and the area around it has been much brighter than usual.
According to researchers, it may be that the Sagittarius A* has been feeding on nearby matter at a markedly faster rate. A large quantity of gas from the S0-2 star, which travelled close to the black hole last year, may now have reached the latter.
Other possibilities of the heightened activity could be growing faster than usual in size.
Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC)
A new study suggests that Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC) is getting help from the Indian Ocean.
Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents operating In the Atlantic, which circulates the waters between the north and the south. It is characterized by a northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic, and a southward flow of colder, deep waters that are part of the thermohaline circulation.
How it operates:
As warm water flows northwards in the Atlantic, it cools, while evaporation increases its salt content.
Low temperature and a high salt content raise the density of the water, causing it to sink deep into the ocean.
The cold, dense water deep below slowly spreads southward. Eventually, it gets pulled back to the surface and warms again, and the circulation is complete.
Significance: AMOC ensures the oceans are continually mixed, and heat and energy are distributed around Earth.
Ladakhi Shondol dance
Ladakhi Shondol dance has created history by breaking into the Guinness book of world records as the largest Ladakhi dance.
It was reported that 408 women artists performed the Shondol dance on the occasion of the Annual Naropa Festival, the ongoing Buddhist carnival near the 11th-century world-famous Hemis Monastery in Ladakh.
Shondol, which is known as the royal dance of Ladakh, is performed by Takshoma or women dancers to praise the King of Ladakh on special occasion.
Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative
Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship announced the launch of Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative.
Mochi Swabhimaan Initiative is a nationwide effort in which Leather Sector Skill Council (LSSC) will support the cobbler community who provide leather-based services, with CSR funds.
This will ensure that they work in a dignified manner by bringing respect to their skills by giving them better working environment in the form of kiosks/umbrellas.
Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA)
The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) is organizing a National workshop on Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). NIDM, undertook the study for developing a scientific tool on PDNA, under the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP).
Who carries it out? PDNA is an exercise led by the government and supported by UN agencies, the World Bank, and the European Union. UN Development Group coordinates on behalf of the UN system.
Background: The PDNA tool was developed by the UN Development Group, the World Bank and the European Union as one of the key commitments of their 2008 agreement to develop and use common assessment and recovery planning approaches in post-crisis settings.
When carried out? These assessments – carried out in the aftermath of earthquakes, cyclones, floods and droughts – have formed the basis for governments and other stakeholders to develop recovery plans and allocate required resources.
Objective: The main goal is to assess the full extent of a disaster’s impact, define the needs for recovery, and, in so doing, serve as the basis for designing a recovery strategy and guide donors’ funding.