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25 March Current Affairs

Superstats- a new metrics to analyse the game of cricket

In News:

Superstats, a new metrics to analyse the game of cricket, has been launched by ESPNcricinfo in partnership with Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

Details:

Superstats is a combination of stats metrics – Luck Index, Forecaster and Smart Stats that uses Data Science for the first time to give a context to every event in a game and also venture into new territories such as luck and forecasting.

These metrics have been derived from ESPNcricinfo’s rich ball-by-ball database, and from complex algorithms developed by IIT Madras and Gyan Data, an IIT-M incubated company.

Components of Superstats:

Smart Stats:

Smart Stats, launched at first as a standalone tool in 2018, is a suite of metrics that help fans judge performances in limited-overs cricket, especially the T20s, in a far more nuanced manner than conventional metrics do. It takes into account the context to every performance, batting and bowling. Context includes pitch conditions, quality of opposition, and match situation – in terms of the pressure on the player. In its new avatar, Smart Stats has added metrics such as Smart Wickets, Player Quality Index and Pressure Indices, to cover all facets of the game.

Luck Index:

Luck Index is a metric that quantifies luck. This is done by identifying every lucky event that happens in a match, and then calculating, through a complex algorithm, the run value of that event.

How does the Forecaster work?

The following factors are taken into account when calculating the predicted score:

  • Batting strength of the team (including batsmen to follow, at every stage of the innings).
  • Bowling strength of opposition.
  • Batsman v bowler head-to-head numbers.
  • Phase-wise strike rates and economy rates for batsmen and bowlers.

Based on these factors, there is an expected score for the batting team at every stage. The win percentage for the chasing team also takes into account the team momentum (runs and wickets off the last six balls), and the historical probability of teams winning from that position. Apart from the win probability and expected score, the Forecaster also predicts the runs and wicket probability in the next over for each bowler in the opposition attack.

Significance:

In the era of multiple formats and leagues, game of cricket needs to move beyond conventional measurement system such as economy rate, average and strike rate. The development of these new metrics filled a long-felt gap in evaluating cricket performances.

Source: The Hindu

Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS)

In News:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has deferred the implementation of new accounting rules, Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) for banks till further notice. This is the second extension provided by the RBI. Earlier in April 2018, RBI had postponed the implementation of Ind AS by the banks by one year.

Details:

The new rules — based on the IFRS9 standards created in the aftermath of the financial crisis — were supposed to kick in at the start of the new fiscal year that starts on April 1, after being delayed last year. According to Fitch Ratings’ local unit, India’s state-run lenders would have had to increase provisions by as much as 1.1 trillion rupees ($16 billion) in the fiscal first quarter ending June 30 if the rules had gone ahead.

That would have forced public sector lenders to raise “substantial” amounts of extra capital, beyond the estimated 1.9 trillion rupee infusion already committed by the government.

What is it?

Ind AS or Indian Accounting Standards govern the accounting and recording of financial transactions as well as the presentation of statements such as profit and loss account and balance sheet of a company. Ind AS has been evolved as a compromise formula that tries to harmonise Indian accounting rules with the IFRS.

Facts for Prelims:

The implementation of IndAS for public sector banks requires an amendment to the Banking Regulation Act. The schedule in BR Act relating to financial statement disclosures needs to be changed to the IndAS format.

Section 29 of the BR Act deals with the accounts and balance sheets of public sector banks. Private sector banks are covered by the Companies Act, which is based on the new accounting standards.

Source: The Hindu

World Food Programme

In News:

Japan has donated $69 million to the United Nations World Food Programme to provide vital aid to 28 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, with the biggest shares of the money being earmarked for Yemen and Iraq.

About WFP:

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.

The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.

It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.

Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.

The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors. WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.

The objectives of the World Food Programme are:

Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.

Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.

Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.

Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.

Zero Hunger in 2030.

Source: ToI

Bihar Diwas

In News:

March 22 marks the formation day of the state of Bihar and is called as ‘Bihar Diwas’. March 22nd 2019 was the 107th foundation day of the state. It was first celebrated on a large-scale in 2010.

Historical background:

On October 22, 1764, the Battle of Buxar was fought between the forces of the East India Company led by Hector Munro and the joint army of the Nawab of Bengal, the Nawab of Awadh and the Mughal King Shah Alam II. The battle was fought at Buxar and was a massive victory for the East India Company.

The defeat resulted in the Mughals and Nawabs of Bengal losing control over the territories and the East India Company according to the Diwani rights – the right to administer the collection and management of revenues. The territories consisted of the current state of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Bangladesh.

In 1911, King George V was coronated in Delhi and the capital of British India was shifted to Delhi. On March 21, 1912, Thomas Gibson Carmichael, the new governor of Bengal took charge and announced that from the next day, March 22, the Bengal Presidency will be split into four subhas of Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, and Assam.

Source: The Hindu

Border Area Development Programme (BADP)

In News:

The Jammu and Kashmir government has released Rs 524.25 lakhs under border area development programme (BADP) for utilization during the current financial year 2018-19.

About Border Area Development Programme (BADP):

The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) has been implemented through 17 States (viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal) which constitute the International Land Borders.

The main objective of the BADP is to meet the special developmental needs and wellbeing of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border and to saturate the border areas with the entire essential infrastructure through convergence of Central/ State/ BADP/ Local schemes and participatory approach.

Funding and schemes covered:

The funds under BADP are provided to the States as a 100% non-lapsable Special Central Assistance. The programme is supplemental in nature and the budget allocation for the financial year 2015-16 is Rs.990 crore.

The BADP schemes include construction of primary health centres, schools, supply of drinking water, community centres, connectivity, drainage to enable sustainable living in border areas.

It also covers schemes or activities relating to Swachhta Abhiyan, skill development programmes, promotion of sports activities in border areas, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, protection of heritage sites, construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas, which do not have road connectivity.

Source: The Hindu

Rising sea levels to affect water table along Chennai’s shoreline

In News:

According to a recent study, the fragile water table in Chennai’s coastal areas, particularly along East Coast Road, is under threat of severe seawater intrusion due to anticipated rise in sea levels in the next few decades.

Concerns:

There is a rise in sea level by 2mm every year based on a report by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The increasing sea level would also force the water table along the coastline to move upwards. But it would slowly replace the freshwater at the bottom of the aquifer.

The study has forecast the impact of sea level rise on the coastal aquifer in the coming years, till 2100.

Given the rate of increase in sea level, the water table would witness an incursion of sea water to the extent of 2-3mm every year. The volume of fresh water would gradually reduce in the coastal areas due to climate change-induced sea level rise.

Need of the hour:

It is imperative to change the land-use pattern along the shoreline to tackle the impact of climate change. Areas closer to the coast must also adopt water conservation measures to sustain groundwater.

Only minimal groundwater extraction through open wells must be allowed and water pumped in localities along the shoreline must be replenished through rainwater harvesting. Large residential complexes must adopt other measures like permeable pavements.

Source: The Hindu

GRAPES- 3

In News:

For the first time in the world, researchers at the GRAPES-3 muon telescope facility in Ooty have measured the electrical potential, size and height of a thundercloud that passed overhead on December 1, 2014.

Details:

Learning about the properties of thunderclouds can be useful in navigation of aircraft and preventing short circuits.

How muons were used?

Muons and other particles are produced when cosmic rays bombard air particles surrounding the earth. The muons produced can have positive or negative charge. When a positively charged muon falls through a cloud, it loses energy. If its energy falls below 1 giga electron volt (GeV), which is the threshold of detection of the GRAPES-3 muon telescope, it goes undetected.

On the contrary, a negatively charged muon gains energy when falling through the cloud and gets detected. Since there are more positive than negative muons produced in nature, the two effects don’t cancel out, and a net change in intensity is detected.

About GRAPES 3:

The GRAPES-3 experiment (or Gamma Ray Astronomy PeV EnergieS phase-3) located at Ooty in India started as a collaboration of the Indian Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Japanese Osaka City University, and now also includes the Japanese Nagoya Women’s University.

GRAPES-3 is designed to study cosmic rays with an array of air shower detectors and a large area muon detector.

It aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays in the following four astrophysical settings. These include acceleration of particles to, (i) ~100 MeV in atmospheric electric fields through muons, (ii) ~10 GeV in the Solar System through muons, (iii) ~1 PeV in our galaxy, (iv) ~100 EeV in the nearby universe through measurement of diffuse gamma ray flux.

Source: The Hindu

Kyasanur Forest Disease

KFD is caused by the Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus (KFDV). The virus was identified in 1957 when it was isolated from a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest. Since then, between 400-500 humans cases per year have been reported.

Hard ticks (Hemaphysalis spinigera) are the reservoir of the KFD virus and once infected, remain so for life.

Rodents, shrews, and monkeys are common hosts for KFDV after being bitten by an infected tick. KFDV can cause epizootics with high fatality in primates.

Transmission:

Transmission to humans may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal, most importantly a sick or recently dead monkey. No person-to-person transmission has been described.

The disease as of now is stated to be transmitted through monkeys. Large animals such as goats, cows, and sheep may become infected with KFD but play a limited role in the transmission of the disease.

These animals provide the blood meals for ticks and it is possible for infected animals with viremia to infect other ticks, but transmission of KFDV to humans from these larger animals is extremely rare. Furthermore, there is no evidence of disease transmission via the unpasteurised milk of any of these animals.

Symptoms:

After an incubation period of 3-8 days, the symptoms of KFD begin suddenly with chills, fever, and headache. Severe muscle pain with vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding problems may occur 3-4 days after initial symptom onset. Patients may experience abnormally low blood pressure, and low platelet, red blood cell, and white blood cell counts.

After 1-2 weeks of symptoms, some patients recover without complication. However, the illness is biphasic for a subset of patients (10-20 %) who experience a second wave of symptoms at the beginning of the third week. These symptoms include fever and signs of neurological manifestations, such as severe headache, mental disturbances, tremors, and vision deficits.

Vulnerable Group:

People with recreational or occupational exposure to rural or outdoor settings (e.g., hunters, herders, forest workers, farmers) are potentially at risk for infection by contact with infected ticks.

Seasonality is another important risk factor as more cases are reported during the dry season, from November through June.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis can be made in the early stage of illness by molecular detection by PCR or virus isolation from blood. Later, serologic testing using enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay (ELISA) can be performed.

Prevention:

Doctors say there is no specific treatment for KFD, but early hospitalisation and supportive therapy is important. Supportive therapy includes the maintenance of hydration and the usual precautions for patients with bleeding disorders.

A vaccine does exist for KFD and is used in endemic areas of India. Additional preventative measures include insect repellents and wearing protective clothing in areas where ticks are endemic.

Source: The Hindu

Basant Utsav

The famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore introduced Basant Utsav or Spring festival in Santiniketan, Birbhum to recreate the magic of Holi. The joyous festival is now an integral part of the Bengali culture.

Also known as ‘Dol Jatra’ or the ‘Dol Utsav’, the fiesta enjoys the repute as the “Rabindrik Basanta Utsav”.

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