Current Affairs Analysis

7th March 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Trade Mark Rules 2017; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI); Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project; International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN); ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’ order; UN Women; TIR Convention; National Productivity Council; Chatbot EVA; SheLeadsTech; Great Backyard Bird Count; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
March 07, 2017


Polity & Governance

  • Two insolvency professional entities get IBBI recognition
  • Trade Mark Rules 2017 come into effect


  • CCEA approves Revised Cost Estimate of Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project
  • Plan to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports approved

Environment & Ecology

  • Polluted environment kills 1.7 million children a year: WHO report

Bilateral & International Relations

  • 13th Executive Committee Meeting of the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) inaugurated
  • Donald Trump signs ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’ order
  • Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and UN-Women
  • Union Cabinet approves accession to global customs convention
  • Union Cabinet approves oil storage pact with UAE’s ADNOC
  • Cabinet approval to MoU on energy efficiency between India, UAE
  • Cabinet approves MoU on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal

Key Facts for Prelims

  • India’s first Artificial Intelligence driven chatbot EVA
  • SheLeadsTech programme
  • 45% of country’s bird species found in Himachal Pradesh: Great Backyard Bird Count


Polity & Governance

Two insolvency professional entities get IBBI recognition

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has given recognition to two insolvency professional entities-

  1. IRR Insolvency Professionals Pvt Ltd and
  2. AAA Insolvency Professionals LLP.

ias toppers Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India

Key facts:

  • The Insolvency Professionals (IPs) are registered and regulated by the IBBI.
  • They have a critical role in transactions under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code).
  • The Code and regulations made there under provide for strengthening their capacity on a continuous basis.
  • A limited liability partnership, a registered partnership firm or a company may be recognised by the IBBI as an IPE if
  1. A majority of the partners of the limited liability partnership or registered partnership firm are registered as insolvency professionals (IPs); or
  2. A majority of the whole-time directors of the company are registered as insolvency professionals, as the case may be.
  • An IPE is jointly and severally liable for all acts or omissions of its partners or directors as IPs committed during such partnership or directorship.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016:

  • It is considered as the biggest economic reform next only to GST. It offers a market determined, time bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and orderly exit, wherever required.
  • The Code envisages an ecosystem comprising National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Board), Information Utilities (IUs), Insolvency Professionals (IPs), Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPAs) and Insolvency Professional Entities (IPEs) for implementation of the Code.
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was established on October 1, 2016 in accordance with the provisions of The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • It provides a market-determined and time bound mechanism for orderly resolution of insolvency, wherever possible, and orderly exit, wherever required.

About IBBI:

  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner.
  • It has been set up by the code to regulate professionals, information utilities (IUs) and agencies engaged in the resolution of insolvencies of companies.
  • It has chairman and 10 members. Present chairman is M S Sahoo. There four government-nominated members.
[Ref: PIB]


Trade Mark Rules 2017 come into effect

The Trade Mark Rules, 2017 have come into effect, streamlining and simplifying the processing of Trade Mark applications.


  • The new rules were released by Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry and will replace the erstwhile Trade Mark Rules, 2002.

Salient features of revamped Rules:

  • Number of Trade Mark (TM) Forms have been reduced to 8 from 74.
  • For the first time, the rules have laid out, modalities for determination of well-known trademarks.
  • The TM applications fee for online filing has been kept at 10% lower than that for physical filing to promote e-filing.
  • The provisions related to expedited processing of an application for registration of a trade mark extended upto registration stage. Earlier, it was only upto examination stage).
  • Modalities for service of documents from applicants to the Registry and vice-versa through electronic means have been introduced to expedite the process.
  • e-mail has been made an essential part of address for service to be provided by the applicant or any party to the proceedings so that the office communication may be sent through email.
  • Hearing through video conferencing has been introduced. Number of adjournments in opposition proceedings has been restricted to a maximum of two by each party to dispose off matters in time.
  • Procedures relating to registration as Registered User of trademarks have also been simplified. Over all fees have been rationalized by reducing the number of entries in Schedule I from 88 to just 23.

What is a trademark?

Trade mark means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours.

What is covered under Trademarks?

A trademark is a mark used in relation to goods or services so as to indicate a connection in the course of trade between the goods or services and some person having the right as proprietor to use the mark.

What is the function of a Trademark?

Under modern business condition a trade mark performs four functions:

  • It identifies the goods / or services and its origin.
  • It guarantees its unchanged quality
  • It advertises the goods/services
  • It creates an image for the goods/ services.

Who benefits from Trademark registration?

  • The Registered Proprietor: The Registered Proprietor of a trade mark can stop other traders from unlawfully using his trade mark, sue for damages and secure destruction of infringing goods and or labels.
  • The Purchaser and ultimately Consumers of trademarks goods and services.
  • The Government: The Trademarks Registry is expected to earn a substantial annual revenue, which is perpetually on the rise.

What are benefits of Trademark registration?

  • The registration of a trade mark confers upon the owner the exclusive right to the use of the registered trade mark and indicate so by using the symbol (R) in relation to the goods or services in respect of which the mark is registered and seek the relief of infringement in appropriate courts in the country.
  • The exclusive right is however subject to any conditions entered on the register such as limitation of area of use etc.
  • Also, where two or more persons have registered identical or nearly similar mark due to special circumstances such exclusive right does not operate against each other.

What are the types of Trademarks that can be registered?

Under the Indian trademark law the following are the types of trademarks that can be registered:

  • Product trademarks: are those that are affixed to identify goods.
  • Service trademarks: are used to identify the services of an entity, such as the trademark for a broadcasting service, retails outlet, etc. They are used in advertising for services.
  • Certification trademarks: are those that are capable of distinguishing the goods or services in connection with which it is used in the course of trade and which are certified by the proprietor with regard to their origin, material, the method of manufacture, the quality or other specific features
  • Collective trademarks: are registered in the name of groups, associations or other organizations for the use of members of the group in their commercial activities to indicate their membership of the group.

Administration of trade marks in India:

  • The Trade Marks Registry was established in India in 1940 and presently it administers the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the rules made thereunder.
  • It acts as a resource and information Centre and is a facilitator in matters relating to trademarks in the country.
  • The objective of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 is to register trademarks applied for in the country and to provide for better protection of trademark for goods and services and also to prevent fraudulent use of the mark.
  • The main function of the Registry is to register trademarks which qualify for registration as per provisions of the Trade Marks Act and Rules, and to maintain the Register of trademarks.
  • After accession to the Madrid Protocol, a treaty under the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks, the Trade Marks Registry also functions as an office of origin in respect of applications made by Indian entrepreneurs for international registration of their trademarks and as an office of the designated Contracting party in respect of international registrations in which India has been designated for protection of the relevant trademarks.
  • Apart from the above, the Registry has to discharge various other functions like offering preliminary advice as to registrability; causing a search to be made for issue a certificate under Section 45(1) of the Copyright Act, 1957 to the effect that no trademark identical with or deceptively similar to such artist work as sought to be registered as a copyright has been registered as a trademark; providing public information and guidance to the public on the subject; providing information to various government agencies including Police, Central Excise personnel, Public Grievance Redressal, maintenance of top class IP library, the production of annual statistical report, production of official Trade Marks Journal in electronic form and submit an Annual Report to Parliament.
  • The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks heads the TRADE MARKS Registry offices and functions as the Registrar of TRADE MARKS. He, from time to time, assigns functions of the Registrar to other officers appointed by the Central Government and such officers also function as Registrar in respect of matters assigned to them.
  • Presently all the functions of the Trade Marks Registry are performed through an automated Trade Marks System. The Central Server of TMR is at Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Building in Delhi and Disaster Recovery server is at IPO, Mumbai. All branches of the Trade Marks Registry are connected to the main server in Delhi with Virtual Private Network (VPN). All the actions done by the office staffs through the TMS are recorded in the central server on real time basis.
[Ref: PIB]



CCEA approves Revised Cost Estimate of Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Revised Cost Estimate-I of 400 MW Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project (HEP) in Uttarakhand at an estimated completion cost of Rs.2,717.35 crore.

ias toppers Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project

About the project:

  • Koteshwar Hydro-Electric Project (400 MW), located 22 km downstream of Tehri, is an integral part of Tehri Power Complex comprising of Tehri Dam & HPP (1000 MW), Tehri PSP (1000MW) and Koteshwar HEP (400MW) to develop Hydro-electric potential of river Bhagirathi.
  • The project is being implemented by Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) India Limited.
  • In addition to additional generating capacity of 400 MW of peaking power it will regulate releases from Tehri Reservoir for irrigation and drinking water supply.
  • It will facilitate the functioning of Tehri Power Complex as a major peaking station in Northern grid as reservoir created by Koteshwar Dam having a live storage capacity of 35.0 MCM will function as lower (balancing) reservoir for Tehri PSP.
  • This project is also regulating water releases from Tehri reservoir for irrigation purpose.


The Project has already been commissioned fully in March, 2012. Only balance works are to be done which are not linked with operation of the Plant but essential for safety and completion of the project.

[Ref: PIB]


Plan to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports approved

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved proposal for revival of 50 under-served/un-served airports or airstrips of the State Governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Civil enclaves.

ias toppers under-served airports

  • The announcement for making adequate provisions for revival of under-served/un-served airports was made by the Union Finance Minister in Union Budget 2016-17.

Key Facts:

  • The total cost of the revival project is estimated to be Rs. 4500 crore and will be undertaken in three financial years starting from 2017-18.
  • 15 airports/airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19 each. During 2019-20, 20 airports/airstrips will be revived. The airports will be developed without insisting on financial viability.
  • The Revival of airports will be ‘demand driven’, depending upon firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the State Governments for providing various concessions as Airports.

Significance of the move:

  • It will help in connecting small cities/towns on commencement of operation of flights to under-served and un-served airports.
  • It will further boost the economic development in these areas as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development.
[Ref: Business Standard]


Environment & Ecology

Polluted environment kills 1.7 million children a year: WHO report

According to recently released World Health Organisation (WHO) report titled “Inheriting a sustainable world: Atlas on children’s health and the environment”, polluted environment kills around 1.7 million children a year.

Highlights of the Report: 


  • More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments.
  • Diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia are the most common causes of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years.
  • Large portion of the most common causes of death among children are diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia due to pollution. Harmful exposures also increase the risk of premature birth.
  • Every year, environmental risks such as outdoor and indoor air pollution, unsafe water, second-hand smoke, lack of sanitation and inadequate hygiene results in quarter of all global deaths of children under five.
  • When infants and pre-schoolers are exposed to air pollution they have an increased lifelong risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
  • Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer. Children’s developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them vulnerable pollution.
  • Each year, 270000 children die during their first month of life from conditions, including prematurity. These conditions can be easily prevented through sanitation, hygiene in health facilities, access to clean water and reducing air pollution.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

13th Executive Committee Meeting of the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) inaugurated

The 13th Executive Committee (ExCo) Meeting of the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) was held at POWERGRID Corporate Centre, Gurugram.

ias toppers International Smart Grid Action Network

  • This was the first ever meeting of ISGAN held in India. It was hosted by the Union Ministry of Power.
  • A total of 36 representatives from 18 countries participated in this event. ISGAN is an agreement under International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • It consists of representatives from 25 countries across the globe including India which is one of its founding member.

About ISGAN:


  • ISGAN is an agreement under International Energy Agency (IEA) and consists of representatives from 25 countries across the globe.
  • India is one of the founding Member of ISGAN and Joint Secretary (Distribution), Ministry of Power, is the member representative of India.
  • ISGAN creates a mechanism for multilateral government-to-government collaboration to advance the development and deployment of smarter electric grid technologies, practices and systems.
  • ISGAN facilitates dynamic knowledge sharing, technical assistance, and project coordination, where appropriate. ISGAN participants report periodically on progress and projects to the Ministers of the Clean Energy Ministerial, in addition to satisfying all IEA Implementing Agreement reporting requirements.
  • Membership in ISGAN is voluntary, and currently includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
  • Consistent with the IEA Framework for International Energy Technology Co-Operation, ISGAN is open to governments of IEA Member as well as non-Member countries, upon invitation of the ISGAN Executive Committee.
  • Though the primary focus is on government-to-government cooperation, ISGAN is also open to entities designated by participating governments, and select private sector and industry associations and international organizations.

About Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM):


  • ISGAN was launched as the International Smart Grid Action Network at the first Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a meeting of energy and environment ministers and stakeholders from 23 countries and the European Union held in Washington, D.C in 2010.
  • The CEM focuses on high-level attention and commitment to concrete steps—both policies and programs—that accelerate the global transition to clean energy.
  • The Ministerial was an outgrowth of the agreement at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) in L’Aquila, Italy in July 2009, where countries agreed to collaborate on advancing clean energy technologies.

Need for smart grids in India:

  • According to the Ministry of Power, India’s transmission and distribution losses are amongst the highest in the world, averaging 26 per cent of total electricity production, and as high as 62 per cent in some states. These losses do not include non-technical losses like theft etc.; if such losses are included, the average losses are as high as 50 per cent.
  • India losses money for every unit of electricity sold, since India has one of the weakest electric grids in the world.
  • Some of the technical flaws in the Indian power grid are – it is a poorly planned distribution network, there is overloading of the system components, there is lack of reactive power support and regulation services, there is low metering efficiency and bill collection, etc.
  • A lacuna of renewable resources is that their supply can be intermittent i.e. the supply can only be harnessed during a particular part of the day, like day time for solar energy and windy conditions for harnessing wind energy, also these conditions cannot be controlled. With such unpredictable energy sources feeding the grid, it is necessary to have a grid that is highly adaptive (in terms of supply and demand).
  • Hence, the opportunities for building smart grids in India are immense, as a good electric supply is one of the key infrastructure requirements to support overall development.
[Ref: PIB]


Donald Trump signs ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’ order

The Donald Trump administration has issued a new executive order, temporarily banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries to the U.S., after an earlier order ran foul of the country’s judiciary.


Justification of the order:

  • In justification of the order, the administration said people who entered the U.S on visas or as refugees from these countries have “proved to be threats to national security.”
  • The order said each of the six countries was a “state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organisations or contains active conflict zones.”

Key facts:

  • The new executive order bans travel from six countries — Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, leaving out Iraq that was also in the list of barred countries in the January order.
  • In an attempt to pass the next round of inevitable judicial scrutiny, current visa and green card holders from these countries will not be affected by this order.
  • The new order will not come into effect until March 16, in contrast with the earlier order that was effective immediately, leading to confusion at airports and leaving many people in transit stranded.
  • The order notes there will be a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of these six countries, and nation’s refugee program will be suspended for 120 days. While the temporary ban is in place for 90 days, the U.S. administration will review the security measures in place to prevent potential threats from gaining a U.S. visa.

Why the order excludes Iraq?

  • The order gives country-wise details justifying the inclusion of each and also explains the exclusion of Iraq. Iraq presents a special case. Portions of Iraq remain combat zones, but the country’s commitment to combat ISIS justify different treatment for Iraq.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and UN-Women

Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Nations Entity of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).


  • Under this MoU, Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) and UN-Women will work in collaboration with each other to promote participation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

Key Facts:

  • The MoU seeks to provide technical support to MoPR in strengthening capacities of governance institutions including PRIs to better leverage opportunities created for gender equality.
  • MoPR and UN-Women will now work together towards participatory design of governance processes and effective implementation of laws, policies and programmes to promote gender responsive governance.
  • It will focus on building capacities of Elected Women Representatives to empower them and enhance their effectiveness.
  • It will facilitate the achievement of time-bound results in the implementation of specific activities identified jointly by MoPR and UN Women within the broader framework for cooperation under the UNDAF.
  • Activities under this MoU will be implemented at the district and sub-district level in six States i.e. Odisha, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.


  • It will engendering the initiatives of MoPR, including capacity development efforts, which further their shared mission of good governance, gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • In the long run, it will enable an improvement in the status of rural women in India, as well as contribute to meeting India’s commitment to the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

About UN Women:

ias toppers UN Women

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, is a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of women.

  • In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women became operational in January 2011.
  • In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact.
  • It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:
  1. Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW).
  2. International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).
  3. Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI).
  4. United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

The main roles of UN Women are:

  • To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
  • To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
  • To lead and coordinate the UN system’s work on gender equality as well as promote accountability, including through regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
[Ref: PIB]


Union Cabinet approves accession to global customs convention

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for India’s accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) and necessary procedures for ratification.


How will it benefit to India?

  • By joining the convention, Indian traders will get access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of goods by road or multi-modal means across the territories of other contracting parties.
  • The need for inspection of goods at intermediate borders as well as physical escorts en route shall be obviated due to reciprocal recognition of Customs controls. Customs clearance can take place at internal Customs locations thereby avoiding clearances at Border Crossing Points and ports that may often be congested.
  • Movement under the TIR can be allowed by checking only the seals and the external conditions of the load compartment or the container thereby reducing border delays, transport and transaction costs thereby leading to increased competitiveness and growth for the trade and transport sectors.
  • Compliance with the Convention shall ensure enhanced security in the supply chain as only approved transporters and vehicles are allowed to operate in terms of the Convention. As the TIR Carnet represents a guarantee for Customs duties and taxes and traffic in transit, there is no need for payment of such taxes and duties en route.
  • The TIR carnet also serves as a Customs declaration, and hence it precludes the need to file multiple declarations satisfying national laws of the different transiting countries.
  • The TIR Convention can be an instrument for movement of goods along the International “North-South” Transport (INSTC) Corridor and would be helpful in boosting trade with the Central Asian Republics and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), particularly using ports in Iran like the Chabahar port.
  • The proposal does not result in any direct financial implication for the Government of India as it pertains to India’s accession to an international convention.

What is TIR convention?

The Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) is a multilateral treaty that was concluded at Geneva on 14 November 1975 to simplify and harmonise the administrative formalities of international road transport.


  • The 1975 convention replaced the TIR Convention of 1959, which itself replaced the 1949 TIR Agreement between a number of European countries.
  • The conventions were adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
  • The TIR system operates with certain parameters – secure vehicles or container, international guarantee chain, TIR carnet, reciprocal recognition of customs controls, controlled access and TIR IT risk management tools.
  • These elements guarantee that goods travel across borders with minimum interference en route and at the same time provide maximum safeguards to customs administration.
  • As of July 2016, there are 70 parties to the TIR Convention which includes 69 states and the European Union.
  • Excepting India and Oman, all members of INSTC are already signatories to the 1975 TIR Convention.

 [Ref: PIB]


Union Cabinet approves oil storage pact with UAE’s ADNOC

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Definitive Agreement on Oil Storage and Management between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd (ISPRL) and UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

ias toppers ADNOC

  • The move aims at boosting India’s energy security by ensuring a strategic storage flow in for crude oil, from a government firm in Abu Dhabi for meeting unexpected future exigencies.

Key facts:

According to the Agreement,

  • ADNOC will fill up 0.81 MMT or 5,860,000 million barrels of crude oil at ISPRL storage facility at Mangalore, Karnataka.
  • Out of the crude stored, some part will be used for commercial purpose of ADNOC, while a major part will be purely for strategic purposes.
  • The investment by ADNOC is a major investment from UAE under the High Level Task Force on Investment (HLTFI). It is also first investment by UAE in India in the energy sector.


India being fastest growing economies and world’s third-biggest oil consumer, is building emergency storage in underground caverns to hold 36.87 million barrels of crude. It is equivalent to about 10 days of its average daily oil demand. This move aims to hedge against energy security risks as it imports most of its oil needs.

[Ref: PIB]


Cabinet approval to MoU on energy efficiency between India, UAE

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation.


  • The MoU was signed between the National Productivity Council (NPC), an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE.

Key Facts:

  • Under the MoU, the NPC will provide the following services: (i) Energy Assessment Services (ii) Training & Certification of Energy Auditors (iii) Demand Side Management.
  • Meanwhile, Al Etihad ES will provide (i) Customer Support with UAE Government and Private owned organizations in the UAE (ii) Local support for Field Auditing Professionals (iii) local support for Training & Certification of Energy Auditors (iv) Support related to Demand Side Management of industries.
  • The MoU will enable NPC avail high value opportunities such as energy building and develop institutional mechanism in area of energy efficiency in Dubai and other GCC member countries.
  • It will provide recognition and exposure to further build NPC’s capacities and competencies in rapidly changing international business scenario.
  • The MoU will be precedent for NPC’s engagements with other International collaboration partners and will enhance its visibility in arena.

About National Productivity Council (NPC):

ias toppers National Productivity Council 2

  • NPC is a national level organization to promote productivity culture in India.
  • Established by the Ministry of Industry in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization with equal representation from employers’ and workers’ organizations and the government.
  • It is an autonomous body under Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental body, of which India is a founder member.
[Ref: Business Standard]


Cabinet approves MoU on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Renewable Energy between India and Portugal.


  • The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
  • The MoU envisages constitution of a Joint Working Group which can co-opt other members from Scientific Institutions, Research Centers, Universities, or any other entity, as and when considered essential.


Both sides aim to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity.

[Ref: PIB]


Key Facts for Prelims

India’s first Artificial Intelligence driven chatbot EVA


  • HDFC Bank launched electronic virtual assistant (EVA), India’s first artificial intelligence-driven banking chatbot, for customer services.
  • It can answer millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly.
  • It can assimilate knowledge from thousands of sources and provide answers in simple language in less than 0.4 seconds.
  • Since its launch, Eva has answered over 1 lakh queries from thousands of customers from 17 countries across the world.
  • The system becomes smarter as it learns through its customer interactions.


SheLeadsTech programme

ias toppers SheLeadsTech programme

  • Social networking giant Facebook launched SheLeadsTech programme to nurture and mentor start-ups founded or co-founded by women.
  • This programme will give start-ups founded/cofounded by women access to a year-long program that provides tools, mentorship and resources.
  • Facebook is also running another programme She Means Business, which was launched on Women’s Day in 2016.

ias toppers She Means Business

  • It is running in six states since its launch and now Facebook plans to take it to eight more states, including Jammu and Kashmir for 2017.
  • India is among the largest user base for Facebook and its affiliate WhatsApp. It contributes 168 million users to Facebook’s 1.86 billion global users, and 200 million to WhatsApp’s 1.2 billion monthly active users.


45% of country’s bird species found in Himachal Pradesh: Great Backyard Bird Count


  • According to the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) 2017, 45% of country’s bird species are found in Himachal Pradesh.
  • As per data total 564 bird species are found in Himachal Pradesh of the 1,263 species found in whole country.
  • Great Backyard Bird Count is the first online citizen-science project that was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

ias toppers Great Backyard Bird Count logo

  • The event is annually organised for four days in the month of February. It is organised to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.
  • GBBC 2017 had engaged bird watchers from the general public in counting birds.
  • It was coordinated by the Bird Count India Partnership, a coming-together of number of Indian groups and organization that are interested in birds, nature and conservation.


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