Polity & Governance
- Inauguration of Integration of eSanad with Parinam Manjusha
Environment & Ecology
- After 84 years, cobra lily blooms again
Bilateral & International Relations
- Annual Meeting of African Development Bank
- Smallest nation joins International Solar Alliance
Key Facts for Prelims
- AFSPA gets six-month extension in Manipur
- Madhya Pradesh to develop a happiness index
- NASA tribute: New species named after Abdul Kalam
- Iran’s presidential election
- WHO elects Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new director general
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Polity & Governance
Inauguration of Integration of eSanad with Parinam Manjusha
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has jointly inaugurated the integration of E-Sanad with CBSE’s digital repository ‘Parinam Manjusha’ in New Delhi.
- E Sanad is an e-service for online verification and attestation of documents of Indian citizens.
- E-Sanad an initiative under the Digital India programme that aims to offer faceless, cashless, contactless and paperless document attestation/apostille services.
- It will benefit the applicants in India and those travelling abroad as it will enable them to get their documents attested and verified.
- It will facilitate digital verification by foreign governments. The integration will pave way for the seamless electronic movement of the documents among the stakeholders.
- It allows online filing of applications and saves precious time and money of applicants who at present are required to travel long distances for getting attested by the concerned authorities in States.
- eSanad has been designed and developed by NIC. eSanad has been integrated with Non- Tax Receipt Portal (NTRP) for enabling cashless payment.
- The eSanad will be implemented in phases. In the first phase, the initiative has been launched in five passport offices and is in the process of being implemented in the Apostille/ Attestation Cell of the Ministry.
- For implementation in States, the initiative is being rolled out on a pilot basis in Telangana. Telangana has become the first state in the country where the pilot ‘e-Sanad’ project has been rolled out.
Environment & Ecology
After 84 years, cobra lily blooms again
The rare cobra lilies scientifically known as Arisaema translucens has been rediscovered in the western Nilgiris after a gap of 84 years.
About the cobra lily:
- Barely a few hundred cobra lily plants are left in the wild and they can be found only in a small area measuring less than 10 square kilometres in the Nilgiris.
- Cobra lily is probably the only member of the Arisaema family to have a translucent spathe.
- The indigenous Toda tribals of Nilgiris are capable of predicting the early arrival of monsoon from the blooming of the cobra lily’s ‘translucens’.
- The Toda tribals have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it.
- Likely to have been quite common once, cobra lilies have vanished in the past decades along with the disappearance of the shola tree patches in which they were found.
- Prized for their beauty around the world, cobra lilies are at even greater risk of extinction from the commercial trade in exotic plants.
Bilateral & International Relations
Annual Meeting of African Development Bank
The 52nd Annual Meetings of the African Development bank are being held in Gandhinagar.
- This is the first time that the Annual Meetings of AfDB are being held in India.
- These Meetings are the Bank’s largest annual event and serve to raise the profile of the institution on the global stage.
- In addition to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors, these Meetings will bring together about 3000 delegates and participants, and will feature a number of official, knowledge, and side events.
- The Governors of the Bank are from the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries (including India).
- The Annual Meetings provide a unique forum for representatives of government, business, civil society, think-tanks, academia and the media – from Africa and beyond – to debate key issues on Africa’s development, and to discuss the Bank’s performance in delivering on its mandate.
- Reflecting the significance of agriculture in Africa and in the Bank’s development work, the 2017 Annual Meetings will be held on the theme: “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa.”
About African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries.
The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities:
- The African Development Bank,
- The African Development Fund and
- The Nigeria Trust Fund.
- The AfDB’s mission is to fight poverty and improve living conditions on the continent through promoting the investment of public and private capital in projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the region.
- The AfDB is controlled by a Board of Executive Directors, made up of representatives of its member countries.
- The voting power on the Board is split according to the size of each member’s share, currently 60%-40% between African (or “regional”) countries and “non-regional” member countries (“donors”). The largest African Development Bank shareholder is Nigeria with nearly 9% of the vote.
- All member countries of the AfDB are represented on the AfDB Board of Executive Directors. Member governments are officially represented at the AfDB by their Minister of Finance, Planning or Cooperation who sits on the AfDB Board of Governors. The AfDB Governors meet once a year to take major decisions about the institution’s leadership, strategic directions and governing bodies.
- The African Development Bank is using a Unit of Account which is registered as XUA as ISO 4217 standard currency code. It is not exchanged directly by individuals, it is used for accounting between state members.
India and AfDB:
- India became member of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1983.
- India is a key member of the institutions 24 Non-Regional Member Countries, which support the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional resource window of the Bank.
- In 2013, Delhi increased its contribution to the 13th replenishment of the fund by 57.28% to USD 18.5 million, among other investments.
- The Union Finance Minister and Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance are the Governor and Alternate Governor of the Bank respectively.
Smallest nation joins International Solar Alliance
The tiny island of Nauru which is the world’s smallest republic has become the sixth country to ratify the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework pact.
- Still five more nations namely the Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, Ghana and Djibouti have committed to ink the International Solar Alliance Framework Pact in the ongoing annual meeting of the African Development bank in Gandhinagar.
About Nauru Nauru:
- Nauru Nauru is a tiny island republic in Micronesia located in the northeast of Australia.
- Nauru has a population of 10,200-odd individuals.
- The highest point in the island measures only 65 metres above sea level. Hence, the island remains vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
- Nauru has a hot and humid climate and normally don’t experience cyclones.
- Around 30% of the country’s power needs are met through solar power installations.
- The tiny republic has set a target for attaining 50% of energy production from renewable sources by 2020.
About International Solar Alliance:
ISA was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November, 2015 by Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
- The alliance, headquartered in India, aims to bring together countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which receive abundant sunshine for around 300 days a year.
- ISA aims to invite solar rich 121 countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the alliance.
- It will function from the Gurgaon, Haryana based National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
- Alliance seeks to share common platform to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
- Alliance would pursue cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
Key Facts for Prelims
AFSPA gets six-month extension in Manipur
- The Manipur Cabinet has decided to extend the Disturbed Areas Act for another period of six months to facilitate the imposition of the AFSPA except in seven Assembly segments in Imphal.
- The government had lifted the AFSPA from these segments on August 12, 2004.
- In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the Governor of Manipur declares the entire state of Manipur, excluding the Imphal Municipal Area, as “Disturbed Area”.
Madhya Pradesh to develop a happiness index
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur’s Rekhi Centre of Excellence for the Science of Happiness has signed an MoU with Madhya Pradesh government to collaborate on the development of a Happiness Index for measuring the well-being of the people of the state.
- IIT-KGP will develop the index and analyse data collected by the state government to assess the level of happiness and chalk out recommendations that can be used to enhance happiness.
- IIT-KGP will also develop an online screening and assessment system in order to screen and identify suitable volunteers from the database of more than 30,000 people who have offered to be part of the collaborative exercise.
NASA tribute: New species named after Abdul Kalam
- NASA scientists have named an organism discovered by them after APJ Abdul Kalam.
- Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) discovered the bacteria on the filters of the International Space Station and named it Solibacillus kalamii to honour the late Indian President, who was a renowned aerospace scientist.
- Even as it orbits the earth some 400 kilometres above, the ISS is home to many types of bacteria and fungi which co-inhabit the station with the astronauts who live and work on the station.
Iran’s presidential election
- Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected as the President of Iran. He was elected as president for his first term in 2013.
- He won 2013 elections by pledging to end Iran’s isolation and improve civil rights at home.
WHO elects Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new director general
- Ethiopia’s former health minister has been elected to serve as the next director-general of the World Health Organization — the first African picked to lead the global health agency.
- The World Health Assembly is the legislative and supreme body of WHO. Based in Geneva, it typically meets yearly in May. It appoints the Director-General every five years.