26 December Current Affairs
December 26, 2018
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December 28, 2018
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27 December Current Affairs

Tansen Samman

In News:

Noted sitar player Manju Mehta has been conferred with the ‘Tansen Samman’ for 2018 by the Madhya Pradesh government for her contribution in the field of music.

Key facts:

The prestigious ‘National Tansen Samman’ is a musical award conferred to the exponents of Hindustani music. This award carries a cash prize of Rs. 2 Lakh along with a memento.

The Tansen Music Festival is organised every year by Madhya Pradesh culture department in the memory of Tansen, one of the greatest artists in Indian history. It is held annually in Gwalior.

About Tansen:

He was a prominent figure of Hindustani classical music.

He began his career and spent most of his adult life in the court and patronage of the Hindu king of Rewa, Raja Ramchandra Singh (1555–1592), where Tansen’s musical abilities and studies gained widespread fame.

This reputation brought him to the attention of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, who sent messengers to Raja Ramchandra Singh, requesting Tansen to join the musicians at the Mughal court.

Akbar considered him as a Navaratnas (nine jewels), and gave him the title Mian, an honorific, meaning learned man.

Tansen is remembered for his epic Dhrupad compositions, creating several new ragas, as well as for writing two classic books on music Sri Ganesh Stotra and Sangita Sara.

Source: The Hindu

RBI Panel on Economic Capital Framework

In News:

RBI has constituted a panel on economic capital framework. It will be headed by Ex-RBI governor Bimal Jalan.

Details:

The expert panel on RBI’s economic capital framework has been formed to address the issue of RBI reserves—one of the sticking points between the central bank and the government.

What’s the isssue?

The government has been insisting that the central bank hand over its surplus reserves amid a shortfall in revenue collections. Access to the funds will allow the government to meet deficit targets, infuse capital into weak banks to boost lending and fund welfare programmes.

Terms of reference:

The panel will decide whether RBI is holding provisions, reserves and buffers in surplus of the required levels.

It would propose a suitable profits distribution policy taking into account all the likely situations of the RBI, including the situations of holding more provisions than required and the RBI holding less provisions than required.

The ECF committee will also suggest an adequate level of risk provisioning that the RBI needs to maintain. That apart, any other related matter, including treatment of surplus reserves created out of realized gains, will also come within the ambit of this committee.

What is economic capital framework?

Economic capital framework refers to the risk capital required by the central bank while taking into account different risks. The economic capital framework reflects the capital that an institution requires or needs to hold as a counter against unforeseen risks or events or losses in the future.

Why it needs a fix?

Existing economic capital framework which governs the RBI’s capital requirements and terms for the transfer of its surplus to the government is based on a conservative assessment of risk by the central bank and that a review of the framework would result in excess capital being freed, which the RBI can then share with the government.

The government believes that RBI is sitting on much higher reserves than it actually needs to tide over financial emergencies that India may face. Some central banks around the world (like US and UK) keep 13% to 14% of their assets as a reserve compared to RBI’s 27% and some (like Russia) more than that.

Economists in the past have argued for RBI releasing ‘extra’ capital that can be put to productive use by the government. The Malegam Committee estimated the excess (in 2013) at Rs 1.49 lakh crore.

What is the nature of the arrangement between the government and RBI on the transfer of surplus or profits?

Although RBI was promoted as a private shareholders’ bank in 1935 with a paid up capital of Rs 5 crore, the government nationalised it in January 1949, making the sovereign its “owner”. What the central bank does, therefore, is transfer the “surplus” — that is, the excess of income over expenditure — to the government, in accordance with Section 47 (Allocation of Surplus Profits) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.

Does the RBI pay tax on these earnings or profits?

No. Its statute provides exemption from paying income-tax or any other tax, including wealth tax.

Source: The Hindu

New High Court for Andhra Pradesh

Details:

In pursuance of article 214 of the Constitution and the Order issued by the Supreme Court of India and in exercise of powers conferred under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 30, sub-section (1) of section 31 and sub-section (2) of section 31 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, the President has constituted a separate High Court for the State of Andhra Pradesh, namely, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, from the 1st day of January, 2019 with the principal seat of such High Court at Amaravati in the State of Andhra Pradesh and the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad shall become the High Court for the State of Telangana.

The new High Court for Andhra Pradesh will be the 25th High Court in the country. The new Andhra HC is expected to function from a temporary structure in Amaravati till a permanent building is set up at the ‘Justice City’ being planned in Amaravati.

Constitutional provisions related to High Court in India:

Article 214 provides that every State shall have a High Court, however, Article 231 states that Article 214 shall not be a bar for constituting a common high court for two or more States.

Only Parliament may by law establish a Common High Court for two or more States. This means that, unless Parliament by law establishes a Common High Court for two or more States, every State has to have a High Court, i.e., upon formation of a new State a new High Court is also formed.

Article 216 provides that every High Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and such other number of judges as the President may from time to time deem necessary to appoint.

Article 217 relates to appointment of HC judges.

Source: The Hindu

Niti Aayog releases second Delta Ranking of Aspirational districts

In News:

Niti Aayog has released the Second Delta Ranking of the Aspirational Districts Programme. The ranking details the incremental progress achieved by the districts during June to October this year across six key development sectors.

Details:

The districts have been ranked in a transparent basis on parameters across various performance indicators like Health and Nutrition, Education, Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure among others.

The rankings are based on the data that is publicly available through the Champions of Change Dashboard, which includes data entered on a real-time basis at the district level.

Performances of various districts:

Top performers: Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu has shown the most improvement overall, followed by Nuapada district in Odisha, Siddarthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar’s Aurangabad and Koraput in Odisha. These districts have championed the development narrative in fundamental parameters of social progress.

Least performers: Meanwhile, Nagaland’s Kiphire district, Jharkhand’s Giridih, Chatra in Jharkhand, Hailakandi in Assam, and Pakur in Jharkhand have shown least improvement.

About Aspirational Districts Programme:

Launched in January this year, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme aims to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.

The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan.

With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.

Focus of the programme:

To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy. Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus.

Significance of the scheme:

If these districts are transformed, there would be tremendous improvement in the internal security environment of the country. If Prabhari officers can bring convergence in the development efforts of different Ministries and state Governments and the schemes specially launched by Home Ministry in these districts, it would serve as a great opportunity to ensure rapid development in the country.

Source: The Hindu

DIPP Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge Awards Presented

In News:

As part of the Swachhta Pakhwada held from 1st to 15th November, 2018, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) organized a Swachch Bharat Grand Challenge.

Details:

Four Areas selected for the grand challenge:

  • Sanitation
  • Waste Management
  • Water and Wastewater management
  • Air Management

Objective of the award:

This was organized to reward innovative solutions by DIPP recognized Start-ups in the country.

Unique solutions were received from start-ups who had also filed for intellectual property rights.

Background:

About Swachhata Pakhwada –

It was started in April 2016 with the objective of bringing a fortnight of intense focus on the issues and practices of Swachhata by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.

An annual calendar is pre-circulated among the Ministries to help them plan for the Pakhwada activities.

They are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhata Samiksha where action plans, images, videos related to Swachhata activities are uploaded and shared.

After the observation, Ministries/Departments announce their achievements through a press conference and other communication tools.

For the Pakhwada fortnight, observing ministries are considered as Swachhata Ministries and are expected to bring qualitative Swachhata improvements in their jurisdictions.

Source: PIB

Year End Review – 2018: Ministry of Tourism

Tourism Statistics:

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during January – November 2018 were 93,67,424 as compared to 88,67,963 in January – November 2017 (5.6% growth).

During January – November 2018, 20,61,511 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 14,56,615 during January – November 2017 (41.5% growth).

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during January – October 2018 were Rs. 1,58,846 Crore as compared to Rs. 1,41,965 Crore in January – October 2017 (11.9% growth).

During 2017, the number of Domestic Tourist Visits to the States/UTs was 1652.5 million as compared as 1615.4 million in 2016, showing growth of 2.3% in 2017 over 2016.

Development of Tourism Infrastructure:

Under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, seven projects have been sanctioned during 2018-19.

Integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations is being undertaken under the ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme.

Ministry of Tourism provided Central Financial Assistance for infrastructure development during 2018-19 to Cochin Port Trust and Mormugaon Port Trust.

 ‘ADOPT A HERITAGE’ Project:

Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched a “Adopt a Heritage Project”.

Objective – To provide world class facilities at the various natural/cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites.

The project plans to entrust to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of various tourist amenities.

MoUs have been signed at the following sites:

Area surrounding Gangotri Temple & Trail to Gaumukh, Uttarakhand

Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

Red Fort, New Delhi

Gandikota Fort, Andhra Pradesh

Surajkund, Haryana

Jantar Mantar, Delhi

Qutub Minar, Delhi

Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Let Palace, Jammu & Kashmir

Hampi (Hazara Rama Temple), Karnataka

Online Learning Management System:

Ministry of Tourism launched an Online Learning Management System for creating skilled manpower to work as tourist facilitators.

Objective – to enable the youth living in remotest part to skill themselves and facilitate tourists on Pan India basis.

Incredible India Mobile App:

Ministry of Tourism launched Incredible India Mobile App on 27th September, 2018 to showcase India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, like spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more.

The app has been equipped with features to assist the traveler in each phase of their journey to India.

Legacy Vintage Hotel:

Ministry of Tourism has introduced the concept of Legacy Vintage Hotels to cover hotels constructed/built with materials from heritage properties/buildings (i.e. properties or buildings which were built/constructed/erected prior to the year 1950).

Such hotels will help recreate the ambience and atmosphere of the bygone era.

Indian Culinary Institute (ICI), Noida Campus:

The Indian Culinary Institute (ICI), Noida campus was inaugurated on 27th April, 2018 for starting culinary courses.

The campus also has an “Indian Culinary Museum” where the rich historical and diversified culinary objects and other literature will be displayed.

Objective – The main objective of ICI is to institutionalize a mechanism to support efforts intended to preserve, document, promote and disseminate information about Indian Cuisine, meet the sectoral requirement of specialists specific to Indian Cuisine, as also to promote ‘Cuisine’ as a Niche Tourism product.

Source: PIB

Avangard system

In News:

Starting from next year, in 2019, a new intercontinental strategic system Avangard will enter service in the Russian army and the first regiment in the Strategic Missile Troops will be deployed.

About Avangard system:

Avangard, also known as “Objekt 4202,” is a hypersonic boost-glide missile system that is supposed to combine a high-performance ballistic missile with an unmanned glider vehicle for significant improvements in maneuverability and sustained top speed.

Bahuda rookery

In News:

The Odisha forest department is all set to add another olive ridley mass nesting site to its wildlife map- at Bahuda rookery. Around 3-km stretch of the beach from Sunapur to Anantpur at Bahuda rookery is being developed as a possible olive ridley mass nesting site.

Location: The Bahuda rookery is located around 20 km to the south of Rushikulya rookery coast, a major mass nesting site of olive ridleys on the Indian coastline.

Key facts:

Also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, Olive turtles are a medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

They are best known for their behavior of synchronized nesting in mass numbers.

The Convention on Migratory Species and the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles have also provided olive ridleys with protection, leading to increased conservation and management for this marine turtle.

It is included in Vulnerable category by the IUCN Red list.

Mount Etna

In News:

Italy’s Mount Etna volcano has erupted again resulting in more than 130 earthquakes of up to 4.3 in magnitude.

About Mt. Etna:

Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world’s most frequently erupting volcanoes. It is also the volcano with the longest record of continuous eruption.

Located near the east coast of the island of Sicily in Italy, Mount Etna is 10,900 feet tall.

The mountain’s largest feature is the Valle del Bove (Valley of the Ox), a large horseshoe-shaped caldera on the eastern slope.

Etna sits on the active fault between the African plate and the Ionian microplate, which are both being subducted together beneath the Eurasian plate.

In June 2013, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations.

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