- Unemployment in October rises highest in over 3 years
- PM to greet first container vessel on inland waterways in Varanasi
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue inaugurated by Union Home Minister
- ‘Red Atlas Map’ unveiled for flood mitigation in Chennai
Defence & Security Issues
- East Asia Summit vows to step up anti-terror cooperation
Art & Culture
- Tawang Festival
- How long is a day on each planet?
Science & Technology
- Indian PM inaugurated Fifth India International Science Festival
- Venkaiah Naidu calls for developing cost-effective desalination plants
- The case Bayer is fighting over glyphosate-based herbicides
Key Facts for Prelims
- 1st-ever India-Uzbekistan joint military exercise – Dustlik-2019 begins
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Unemployment in October rises highest in over 3 years
India’s unemployment rate in October rose to 8.5%, the highest since August 2016, and up from 7.2% in September, according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
- A research paper indicated that total employment during the 2011-12 and 2017-18 decline by nine million, which happened for the first time in Indian history.
Sates with top employment loss (between 2011-12 and 2017-18)
Highest unemployment rate: Haryana (23.5%)
Lowest unemployment rate: Tamil Nadu (1.1%)
- Uttar Pradesh (3.2 million decline),
- Odisha (2.1 million),
- Gujarat (1.5 million),
- Andhra Pradesh (1.5 million),
- Rajasthan (1.5 million),
- Kerala (1.4 million),
- Jharkhand (1 million),
- Maharashtra (0.8 million)
- Punjab (0.8 million).
Sector wise job losses
- Loss in agriculture sector: Declined in jobs from 49 % to 44 % (4.5 million per annum)
- Loss in Manufacturing: Declined in jobs from 12.6 to 12.1 % (3.5 million decline in jobs).
- Slow rise in non-manufacturing sector: Created only about 0.6 million jobs per annum (It created about 4 million jobs per annum during 2004-05 and 2011-12).
- Rise in services: Rise of 3 million jobs per annum (However, quality of jobs is mostly poor).
Changes in jobs based on its type
- Most of the formal jobs are generated by micro and small units of the unorganized and private sectors.
- The share of informal jobs within government and public sector increased.
- Contract jobs and jobs without any written job contract increased massively in both government and private sectors.
- Real wages have not increased in neither rural nor urban areas.
Reason for decline in jobs
- Weakening demand in in rural areas
- Fall in the number of workers in agriculture. The decline in agriculture and manufacturing jobs could not be compensated by the construction and services.
- Sharp fall in the absolute number of female workers.
- CMIE findings are in line with the findings of the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey, which had estimated an unemployment rate of 6.1% between July 2017 and June 2018, the worst in 45 years.
- The data also comes on the back of other indicators showing a downturn in the economy, including the core sector output in September posting its worst contraction in at least 14 years.
- Earlier, August’s industrial output shrank at its fastest rate in more than six years.
- Another research estimates that between 2011-12 and 2017-18, employment declined by an unprecedented nine million jobs (a 2% drop), with agricultural employment declining by 11.5%. In the same period, employment in the service sector increased by 13.4%, while manufacturing employment dipped by 5.7%.
- While employment has been declining, the number of working age people who are “Not in Labour Force, Education and Training” has continued to increase — from about 84 million in 2011-12, it has now crossed 100 million.
PM to greet first container vessel on inland waterways in Varanasi
In line with Government’s focus on improving connectivity to the North Eastern Region (NER), a landmark Container Cargo consignment recently sailed on inland waterways from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to Pandu, Guwahati.
- Another ship named MV Maheshwari sailed in National Waterway -2 (section of the Brahmaputra River, near Dhubri and Sadiya in Assam).
- The 12-15 days voyage will be an integrated IWT movement via National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra).
About the container transportation:
- A ship named MV RN Tagore is moving India’s first container on Inland Vessel post-independence from Kolkata to Varanasi.
- Ship will embark on 12-15 days voyage on National Waterway- l (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2(river Brahmaputra).
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI):
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence in October 1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
- The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
National Highway 1:
- The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank.
- It passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
- It is a section of the Brahmaputra River having a length of 891 km between the Bangladesh border near Dhubri and Sadiya in Assam.
- The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Tracie (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for movement of goods between the two countries by vessels of both countries.
What is IBP route?
- The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route extends from Kolkata (India) on NW-1 to Silghat (Assam) on NW-2 (River Brahmaputra) and Karimganj (Assam) on NW-16 (River Barak).
- Two stretches of Bangladesh inland waterways viz, Sirajganj-Daikhawa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj on the IBP route are being developed on 80:20 cost sharing basis (80% being borne by India).
In addition to the above, India and Bangladesh have agreement on declaration of additional Ports of Call under PIWT&T at Kolaghat, Dhulian, Maia, Sonamura in India, and Chilmari, Rajshahi, Sultanganj, Daukhandi in Bangladesh.
Both countries have also agreed on the following: –
- Badarpur as an extended port of call of Karimganj (Assam, India) and Ghorasal of Ashuganj in Bangladesh.
- Tribeni as an extended port of call of Kolkata and Muktarpur of Pangaon in Bangladesh.
- Protocol route Rajshahi-Godagari- Dhulian to be extended upto Aricha (Bangladesh).
- Inclusion of Daudkhandi-Sonamura stretch on Gumti river as new route.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue inaugurated by Union Home Minister
The Union Minister for Home Affairs inaugurated the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue (SCOJtEx)-2019 in New Delhi.
- The Exercise was organized by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
- Its aim is to rehearse the disaster response mechanism, share knowledge, experience, technology & also for mutual coordination, etc.
- The participants of all 08 member countries namely China, India, Kazakhastan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan shall be participating in this exercise.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
- Seen as a counter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), SCO is a Eurasian organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- These countries, except for Uzbekistan, had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996. After the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation to SCO.
- Its headquarters is located in Beijing, China.
- India, which has had an observer status for the past 10 years, was accepted along with Pakistan as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2017.
- It has now eight members: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
- SCO has Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia and Belarus as observers.
- The SCO has established relations with the United Nations, where it is an observer in the General Assembly, the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
- SCO represents 40 % of global population, 20 % of global GDP and 22% of the global geographical area.
- After Gujarat Earthquake-2001, the ‘Owner Driven Reconstruction for Housing’ was first implemented in Gujarat which has now been adopted by many countries. Owner Driven Reconstruction is a participatory model which places homeowners at the center of reconstruction, integrating homeowner’s decisions on home design and site selection for house construction.
‘Red Atlas Map’ unveiled for flood mitigation in Chennai
Vice-President of India unveiled the ‘Red Atlas Action Plan Map,’ prepared by the Ministry of Earth Sciences to aid Tamil Nadu government in effective flood mitigation in Chennai which witnessed the worst deluge in 2015.
- He also launched ‘Coastal Flood Warning System App’ (CFLOWS-Chennai).
About the Red Atlas Action Plan Map
- The atlas aims at flood mitigation, preparedness, operations and management aspects.
- It shows probable scenarios for different rainfall periods, information on corporation wards that are likely to be affected due to flooding, and the areas that may need evacuation in Chennai.
It is prepared by,
- National Centre for Coastal Research, India Meteorological Department
- National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting in association with Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority and Greater Chennai Corporation.
- The CFLOWS-Chennai is a complete webGIS-based decision support system that can be used both for mitigation operations before flooding and in real time to for aspects like relief work.
- It is launched by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
- It is India’s first integrated coastal flood warning system.
- It is an integrated GIS-based decision support system to provide forecast on potential inundation 10 days in advance.
- It will be hosted and made operational at National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) with meteorological data inputs from India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).
- The system can simulate the scenario and predict what will happen in a particular area.
- CFLOWS involves models of regional weather forecasts, storm surges and has various flood scenarios.
[Ref: Indian Express]
Defence & Security Issues
East Asia Summit vows to step up anti-terror cooperation
The 14th East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in Bangkok, Thailand recently which was attended by the Government of ASEAN Member States.
Highlights of the 14th EAS:
- The EAS declaration called to scale up efforts to deal with terrorism, radicalisation and transnational crimes by ramping up coordination with Financial Action Task Force.
- The countries expressed their satisfaction with the implementation of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-20).
- The East Sea (Sea of Japan) issue was also discussed as there are there were instance of acts that hinder legal economic operations in the sea, not respecting the international law.
About East Asia Summit
- The East Asia Summit is the premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region to deal with issues relating security and defence.
- It is a forum held annually by leaders of 18 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions.
- EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings.
- Apart from the 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.
- Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia.
Significance of EAS:
- EAS, representing nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population and over 20 per cent of global trade,is a mega gathering and is a testimony to the rise of Asia.
- EAS is a region of strong and fast growing economies. It is considered the third pole of world economy after the US and Europe. Its four major economic players namely Japan, China, India and Korea are among the twelve largest ranking global economies.
- Financial and monetary cooperation between ASEAN+6 or EAS countries could be an area of fruitful cooperation in view of the fact that their combined foreign exchange reserves exceed $ 3 trillion.
Significance for India:
- For India, EAS acts as an alternative to the APEC in which India doesn’t enjoy the membership.
- India’s membership to the EAS is a recognition of its fast growing economic and political clout.
- Act East policy of India:In order to build multi-faceted relations with ASEAN and other multilateral nations and strengthen bilateral relations India has emphasised upon its Act East Policies for which EAS will prove crucial.
- China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the nature of its growing investments has led the ASEAN countries to view India as a potential power that could balance a rising China.
- India’s strength lies in service sector and information-technology and Japan has a sound capital base. Thus, there are complementarities in trade and production structures of the EAS members.
- India’s deep cultural and civilizational links with the EAS countries are widely known. India can play a major role in cultural and people to people cooperation with the region, which can reinforce the economic momentum for community building.
- US has proposed the Blue Dot Network initiative that will set standards for big infrastructure projects committed by G20 countries.
Art & Culture
As Arunachal Pradesh pursues a series of infrastructure projects to boost connectivity, the state government is also showcasing its culture and diverse traditions through events such as the Tawang Festival.
- It is an annual festival of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It is celebrated by the Tourism Department of Arunachal Pradesh to increase the tourism at tawang hill station.
- Tawang festival is a three days fest with varied traditional activities such as Buddhist religious functions, traditional dances such as Dance of Yak, Aji-Lhamu Dance, etc. Tawang hill station is home for several tribes and the major tribal community is Monpas.
- This festival celebration was started from the year 2012.
- Tawang festival processions will be started with a religious tradition known as “Sebang”.
- Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state of the Northeast region of India.
- Arunachal Pradesh also celebrates Orange Festival, Ziro musical festival, Bascon organic festival to celebrate tribal arts and Mechuka Adventure festival, among others.
Other festivals celebrated by the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh:
- Mopin and Solung– celebrate by Adis tribe
- Boori-boot – celebrate by Hill Miris and Sherdukpens tribes
- Nyokum – celebrate by Nishs tribe
- Si-Donyi – celebrate by Tagins tribe
- Reh – celebrate by Idu-Mishmis tribe
- Dree – celebrate by Apatanis tribe
- Lossar – celebrate by Monpas tribe tribe
How long is a day on each planet?
Astronomers are still looking for an accurate assessment of the length of a day on Venus, while Saturn continues to deceive us. Two new studies underline how much there is still left to learn.
Rotational time of each planet
- Jupiter – 10 hours
- Saturn – 11 hours
- Neptune – 16 hours
- Uranus – 17 hours
- Earth – 24 hours
- Mars- 25 hours
- Mercury – 58.66 earth days (1408 hours)
- Venus – 243 earth days (5832 hours)
Why it is difficult to measure rotational period of Venus?
- Venus is obscured by clouds. Hence, it is difficult to see its visible surface feature, such as a crater, which could have been a reference point for measuring its rotation period.
How does research measure venus’s rotating time?
- From Earth-based radar observations, the researchers measured the location of specific features such as craters on the Venusian surface at specific times.
- Those feature locations gave the longitude of the point on Venus that is closest to the Earth during each observation. This longitude change over time provides the rotation rate.
Why it is difficult to measure rotational period of Saturn?
- Saturn has no solid surface as it is mostly made up of gas. Hence, scientists cannot track specific features of Saturn to know its exact rotational period.
- Also, Saturn emits only low-frequency radio patterns that are blocked by Earth’s atmosphere.
Why the measurement of Saturn’s rotational period is not correct?
- Saturn has a tilted axis and, therefore, has seasons like Earth. Depending on the season, the northern and southern hemispheres receive different amounts Sun rays. This affects the plasma at the edge of Saturn’s atmosphere.
- In turn, this creates more or less drag at different altitudes. The upper atmosphere would move at the same speed as the lower atmosphere, but the drag makes the upper atmosphere take longer than the lower atmosphere to make a full rotation around Saturn. This suggests that the observed periods are not the rotation period of Saturn’s core.
- All planets of solar system orbit the Sun in a counterclockwise direction with the exception of Venus.
Science & Technology
Indian PM inaugurated Fifth India International Science Festival
Prime Minister of India inaugurated the Fifth India International Science Festival.
- The Theme of the International Science Festival 2019 is- RISEN India (Research, Innovation, and Science Empowering the Nation).
About International Science Festival
- India International Science Festival (IISF) was launched in 2015 by Ministry of Science and technology.
- To instill scientific temper among people,
- Showcase India’s contribution in the field of Science and Technology (S&T)
- Encourage translation of its benefits to people.
- To build a strategy for inclusive advancement of S&T.
Venkaiah Naidu calls for developing cost-effective desalination plants
Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Vice President of India made a call for developing cost-effective desalination plants.
- He said six more desalination plants developed by NIOT would be set up at Lakshadweep.
About National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT)
- The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) was established in 1993 as an autonomous society under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
- The institute is based in Chennai.
- To develop reliable indigenous technologies to solve the various engineering problems associated with harvesting of non-living and living resources in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is about two-thirds of the land area of India.
- Deep Sea Mining
- Gas Hydrates
- Deep-water ROV (Remotely operated underwater vehicle)
Technology Groups of NIOT
- Coastal and Environmental Engineering
- Energy & Fresh Water
- Marine Biotechnology and Marine Sensor System
- Ocean Acoustics and Modelling
- Ocean Electronics
NIOT is involved in developing technologies for a wide range of areas, including
- Development of human operated submersible (MANSUB) for deep and shallow waters,
- Sustainable coastal protection techniques,
- Offshore wind energy
- Indigenisation of marine sensors.
- Mumbai’s flood warning system
The case Bayer is fighting over glyphosate-based herbicides
German pharma company Bayer is facing thousands of lawsuits over one of its products. A report said 42,700 plaintiffs in the US are blaming Bayer’s herbicides for their cancer, up from 18,400 plaintiffs in July 2019.
Glyphosate based herbicides
- The herbicides are based on a compound called This herbicide is known by various name such as Roundup, Glycel, and Brake.
- This glyphosate-based herbicide was originally produced by a company Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018.
- First developed in 1970, glyphosate is scientifically called N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine under the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) system of nomenclature.
- It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill weeds.
Usage of Glyphosate herbicide in India
- Glyphosate has a very good market size in the tea sector of West Bengal and Assam.
- Presently, the consumption of glyphosate is highest in Maharashtra as it is becoming a key herbicide in sugarcane, maize and many fruit crops including mango, banana, grapes, pomegranate and citrus.
What is the issue?
- In 2015, the Word Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a study that found glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans.
- France, Italy, and Vietnam banned the herbicide’s use after the IARC finding.
- In August 2018, a jury in California said that Monsanto should have warned of the alleged cancer risks. Since then, litigation against the company gathered pace.
Key Facts for Prelims
1st-ever India-Uzbekistan joint military exercise – Dustlik-2019 begins
The first-ever India-Uzbekistan joint military exercise – Dustlik-2019 begin at Chirchiq Training Area near Tashkent.
- India and Uzbekistan have also signed three Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of Military Medicine and Military Education.
About the Dustlik
- The Dustlik exercise, to be conducted between India and Uzbekistan Army till November 13, will focused on counter-terrorism.
Location of Uzbekistan
- Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia.
- Uzbekistan shares land borders with 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.
- It lies mainly between two major rivers, the Syr Darya (ancient Jaxartes River) and the Amu Darya (ancient Oxus River). Because of diversion of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya for cotton cultivation and other purposes, the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest inland sea, has shrunk to only about one-third of its 1960 volume.