Flash-Cards-for-IAS-Prelims-2018-CA-Day-20
70 Days WAR Plan

Day#20 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

2018 Nobel Prize in Economics; ‘Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas’; Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC); ‘Moonmoon’; Nobel Prize in Physics 2018; Bisphenol A (BPA); “Triple billion” targets; India’s first Soil moisture map; River Basin Management Bill, 2018; Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI);
By IT's Core Team
April 11, 2019

 

 

 

Is the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) a statutory body or constitutional body?

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Answer:

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is an autonomous, statutory body tasked with regulating and promoting the insurance and re-insurance industries in India.

Enrich Your Learning:

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)

  • It was constituted by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999, an Act of Parliament passed by the Government of India.
  • The agency’s headquarters are in Hyderabad, Telangana, where it moved from Delhi in 2001.

Objectives:

  • The key objectives of the IRDAI include promotion of competition so as to enhance customer satisfaction through increased consumer choice and fair premiums, while ensuring the financial security of the Insurance market.

Composition of IRDAI:

  • IRDAI is a 10-member body.

As per Sec. 4 of IRDAI Act, 1999, the composition of the Authority is:

  • Chairman;
  • Five whole-time members;
  • Four part-time members,

(appointed by the Government of India)

Functions:

The functions of the IRDAI are defined in Section 14 of the IRDAI Act, 1999, and include:

  • Issuing, renewing, modifying, withdrawing, suspending or cancelling registrations
  • Protecting policyholder interests
  • Specifying qualifications, the code of conduct and training for intermediaries and agents
  • Specifying the code of conduct for surveyors and loss assessors
  • Promoting efficiency in the conduct of insurance businesses
  • Promoting and regulating professional organisations connected with the insurance and re-insurance industry
  • Levying fees and other charges
  • Inspecting and investigating insurers, intermediaries and other relevant organisations
  • Regulating rates, advantages, terms and conditions which may be offered by insurers not covered by the Tariff Advisory Committee under section 64U of the Insurance Act, 1938 (4 of 1938)
  • Specifying how books should be kept
  • Regulating company investment of funds
  • Regulating a margin of solvency
  • Adjudicating disputes between insurers and intermediaries or insurance intermediaries
  • Supervising the Tariff Advisory Committee
  • Specifying the percentage of premium income to finance schemes for promoting and regulating professional organisations
  • Specifying the percentage of life- and general-insurance business undertaken in the rural or social sector
  • Specifying the form and the manner in which books of accounts shall be maintained, and statement of accounts shall be rendered by insurers and other insurer intermediaries.

 

 

 

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics was given for?

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Answer:

  • The 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics was given for integrating innovation and climate with economic growth.

Enrich Your Learning:

Nobel Prize in Economics 2018:

  • The 2018 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was jointly shared by William Nordhaus and Paul Romer for integrating innovation and climate with economic growth.
  • William D Nordhaus and Paul M Romer have designed methods for addressing some of our time’s most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable economic growth.
  • Nordhaus has won it for ‘investigating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis’.
  • Romer won it for ‘integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis’.
  • Their findings have significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis by constructing models that explain how the market economy interacts with nature and knowledge.

 

 

 

What is the River Basin Management Bill, 2018 all about?

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Answer:

  • The River Basin Management Bill, 2018 is seeking to set up 13 River Basin Authorities to speed up inter-state river water dispute resolution among states and manage affairs of 13 river basins across the country.

Enrich Your Learning:

Draft River Basin Management Bill, 2018:

  • To speed up inter-state river water dispute resolution among states and manage affairs of 13 river basins across the country through an exclusive Master Plan for each of them, the Centre is gearing up to bring a new law.
  • The proposed River Basin Management Bill, 2018 seeks to set up 13 River Basin Authorities.
  • Each authority will have a two-tier system, consisting of a governing council and an executive board.
  • The council will comprise of chief ministers of all states within particular basin.
  • The authority will provide the chief ministers of river basin states a forum to discuss all the issues (unlike the existing practice where there is hardly any forum of discussion at political level).
  • The enactment of the proposed law will, hopefully, result in change of environment from the one of conflicts to that of cooperation and added that it will not only help in faster resolution of disputes but also result in integrated development of entire basin.
  • The authorities will be set up for river basins of Ganga, Indus, Godavari, Mahanadi, Mahi, Narmada, Pennar, Cauvery, Krishna, Tapi, Subarnrekha, Brahmani-Baitarini and Brahamaputra- Barak-inter-state rivers of north-east.
  • The bill provides for a mechanism where chief ministers of basin states will meet at least twice a year to discuss all the issues concerning the river basin and take a call on various Issues.
  • The chairperson of the governing council will be from amongst the CMS of the basin states, by rotation.
  • Any recommendations made by the authority will be binding on all states within the river basin. This clause is highly objectionable. The Centre cannot undo the problem of the 1956 Act by making it binding on states.
  • Recommendations of the authority will be binding on the states, except those concerning sharing of inter-state river waters.
  • The dispute between two or more states will go to the Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal only if governing council of the concerned authority fails to address it.
  • Each authority will ensure a River Basin Master Plan which will have all elements concerning management of water resources within the basin.
  • It includes hydrological assessment, ground water, aquifers, protected areas, flood control, drainage and economic analysis of allocation of water.

 

 

 

India’s first Soil moisture map is jointly developed by which organizations/institutes?

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Answer:

  • India’s first Soil moisture map is jointly developed by IIT Gandhinagar and the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Enrich Your Learning:

India’s first Soil moisture map:India’s first Soil moisture map

 

  • In a joint exercise by IIT Gandhinagar and the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a country-wide soil moisture forecast has been developed at seven and 30-day lead times.
  • The product, termed as ‘Experimental Forecasts Land Surface Products’, is available on the IMD website and has been developed using the hydrological model.
  • The forecasting of soil moisture is significant for the rabi season as it directly affects crop growth.
  • The forecast will also help in finding out how much irrigation is required for the area.
  • The current forecast suggests deficit soil moisture conditions are likely in Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh.

 

 

 

Recently an ambitious initiative, “triple billion” targets is announced by which international organization?

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Answer:

Recently an ambitious initiative, “triple billion” targets is announced by World Health Organization (WHO).

Enrich Your Learning:

“Triple billion” targets:

  • WHO announced the most wide-ranging reforms in the Organization’s history to modernize and strengthen the institution to play its role more effectively and efficiently as the world’s leading authority on public health.

The changes are designed to support countries in achieving the ambitious “triple billion” targets that are at the heart of WHO’s strategic plan for the next five years:

  • one billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage (UHC);
  • one billion more people better protected from health emergencies; and
  • one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.Triple billion11

These changes include:

  • Aligning WHO’s processes and structures with the “triple billion” targets and the Sustainable Development Goals by adopting a new structure and operating model to align the work of headquarters, regional offices and country offices, and eliminate duplication and fragmentation.
  • Reinforcing WHO’s normative, standard-setting work, supported by a new Division of the Chief Scientist and improved career opportunities for scientists.
  • Harnessing the power of digital health and innovation by supporting countries to assess, integrate, regulate and maximize the opportunities of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, supported by a new Department of Digital Health.
  • Making WHO relevant in all countries by overhauling the Organization’s capabilities to engage in strategic policy dialogue. This work will be supported by a new Division of Data, Analytics and Delivery to significantly enhance the collection, storage, analysis and usage of data to drive policy change in countries. This division will also track and strengthen the delivery of WHO’s work by monitoring progress towards the “triple billion targets” and identifying roadblocks and solutions.
  • Investing in a dynamic and diverse workforce through new initiatives including the WHO Academy, a proposed state-of-the-art school to provide new learning opportunities for staff and public health professionals globally. Other measures include a streamlined recruitment process to cut hiring time in half, management trainings, new opportunities for national professional officers, and previously-announced improvements in conditions for interns.
  • Strengthening WHO’s work to support countries in preventing and mitigating the impact of outbreaks and other health crises by creating a new Division of Emergency Preparedness, as a complement to WHO’s existing work on emergency response.
  • Reinforcing a corporate approach to resource mobilization aligned with strategic objectives and driving new fundraising initiatives to diversify WHO’s funding base, reduce its reliance on a small number of large donors and strengthen its long-term financial stability.

WHO’s new corporate structure is based on four pillars which will be mirrored throughout the organization. The Programmes pillar will support WHO’s work on universal health coverage and healthier populations.

  • The Emergencies pillar will be responsible for WHO’s critical health security responsibilities, both in responding to health crises and helping countries prepare for them.
  • The External Relations and Governance pillar will centralize and harmonize WHO’s work on resource mobilization, communications.
  • The Business Operations pillar will likewise ensure more professionalized delivery of key corporate functions such as budgeting, finance, human resources and supply chain.
  • The four pillars will be supplemented by the Division of the Chief Scientist at WHO Headquarters in Geneva to strengthen WHO’s core scientific work and ensure the quality and consistency of WHO’s norms and standards.
  • Underpinning the new structure, 11 business processes have been redesigned, including planning, resource mobilization, external and internal communications, recruitment, supply chain, performance management, norms and standards, research, data and technical cooperation.

 

 

 

What is Bisphenol A (BPA), sometimes appeared in the news?

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Answer:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

Enrich Your Learning:

Where is BPA found?

  • Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices.
  • Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.

How does BPA get into the body?

  • The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet.
  • While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.
  • Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles.
  • The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.

Concerns:

  • One reason people may be concerned about BPA is because human exposure to BPA is widespread.
  • The 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of 2517 urine samples from people six years and older.
  • The CDC NHANES data are considered representative of exposures in the United States.
  • Another reason for concern, especially for parents, may be because some animal studies report effects in fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA.

Prevention:

  • Some animal studies suggest that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. Parents and caregivers can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA.

Why Bisphenol A in the news?

  • Healthy People 2020 lists Bisphenol A (BPA) as a potential endocrine disruptor for which exposure should be reduced.
  • The Healthy People 2020 Environmental Health Objectives focus on addressing environmental factors that negatively affect individuals’ health even though the health effects of some toxic substances are not yet fully understood.
  • An American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) position statement outlined the role occupational health nurses play in creating healthy and productive workplaces by promoting worker health.
  • BPA is implicated in a variety of health outcomes such as breast and prostate cancer, menstrual irregularities, genital abnormalities in male babies, infertility in men and women, early puberty in girls, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.
  • The overall health issues attributed to BPA exposure are complex and controversial.
  • Concerns regarding environmental health are growing as individuals become more dependent on plastics. Numerous health concerns have been directly connected to daily exposures to products manufactured with BPA.
  • Government agencies support the use of BPA as a safe consumer product with the exception of BPA use in baby bottles and sippy cups, which has been banned in the United States and several other countries.
  • Many agencies (e.g., Federal Drug Administration [FDA], World Health Organization [WHO], U.S. Department of Health & Human Services [U.S. DHHS], and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]) have expressed “some concern” about BPA based on research, and stated further research is warranted.

 

 

 

Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was given for inventions in the field of?

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Answer:

  • Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was given for ground breaking inventions in the field of laser physics.

Enrich Your Learning:

Nobel Prize in Physics 2018:

  • The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics on October 2, 2018, was awarded to Arthur Ashkin of the US, Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada, making her the third woman to receive the prestigious award.
  • The trio of laureates won the prize for ground breaking inventions in the field of laser physics.
  • Arthur Ashkin received the prize for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems.
  • Ashkin’s optical tweezers are able to grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers, allowing the American researcher to realise ‘an old dream of science fiction – using the radiation pressure of light to move physical objects’.
  • The tweezers can capture living bacteria without harming them.
  • Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland were jointly awarded for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.
  • They created ultrashort high-intensity laser pulses without destroying the amplifying material, thus paving the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever created by mankind.
  • Their innovative technique, known as ‘chirped pulse amplification’ (CPA), has now become standard for high-intensity lasers, including the ultra-sharp beams used in corrective eye surgeries.
  • Strickland became the first woman to receive the award in 55 years.

 

 

 

What is a term ‘Moonmoon’, recently in the news?

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Answer:

‘Moonmoon’ are potential moons of the moon i.e. a moon that orbits around another moon.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • ‘Moonmoon’ needs to orbit close enough to remain within the gravitational pull of the moon rather than the larger planet. But they have to be far enough away to avoid being torn apart or pulled out of orbit by its moon.
  • Astrophysicist Duncan Forgan describes the potential of a moon around another moon and has used the term “moon-moon” in one of his own paper.

 

 

 

Which Institute is the National Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme?

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Answer:

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur is the National Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme.

Enrich Your Learning:

Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC):

  • The Minister of Human Resource Development launched the web portal of the Scheme – “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)”.
  • SPARC scheme aims at improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.
  • Under this Scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to facilitate strong research collaboration between Indian research groups with the best in class faculty and renowned research groups in the leading universities of the world, in areas that are at the cutting edge of science or with direct social relevance to the mankind, specifically India.

Salient Features of SPARC are:

  • This scheme will improve research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world from 28 selected nations to jointly solve problems of national and international relevance.
  • As per the criteria mentioned above, 254 top Indian Institutes and 478 top ranked global Institutes have been already identified.
  • A set of 5 Thrust Areas (Fundamental Research, Emergent Areas of Impact, Convergence, Action-Oriented Research and Innovation-Driven) and sub-theme areas in each thrust area has been identified for collaboration under SPARC based on emergent relevance and importance for the nation.
  • Each Thrust Area will have a Section Chair. The role of Section Chair of each Thrust Area is to review shortlist and recommend the potential joint-proposals submitted under SPARC scheme.
  • A set of Nodal Institutions (NI), from India, for each participating foreign country has been identified.
  • The role of a NI is to help, handhold and coordinate with willing Participating Indian (PI) Institutions to forge alliance with the Institutions of concerned participating foreign country, for academic and research collaboration.
  • 25 such reputed Institutions have been notified as Nodal Institutions.

SPARC proposes to enable productive academic cooperation by supporting the following critical components that can catalyse impact making research:

  • Visits and long-term stay of top international faculty/researchers in Indian institutions to pursue teaching and research,
  • Visits by Indian students for training and experimentation in premier laboratories worldwide,
  • Joint development of niche courses, world-class books and monographs, translatable patents, demonstrable technologies or action oriented research outcomes and products,
  • Publication, Dissemination and Visibility through a high profile annual international conference in India.

Significance of the scheme:

  • This Scheme is expected to have a major impact in providing the best international expertise to address major national problems, expose Indian academicians to the best collaborators abroad, enable international faculty to stay in India for a longer duration, provide Indian students an opportunity to work in the world class laboratories, to develop strong bilateral relationships in research, and improve the international ranking of Indian Institutes.

 

 

 

National Women Farmer’s Day or Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas is celebrated every year on which date?

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Answer:

  • 15th October is celebrated as National Women Farmer’s Day or ‘Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas’ in India.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • National Women Farmer’s Day or Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas is celebrated to empower women in the field of agriculture every year.
  • Every year, on this day of activities and programmes, are organized – mainly to empower women in the field of agriculture.
  • To acknowledge the labour of women in farming, the Union Ministry of Agriculture recently set aside October 15th as “National Women Farmer’s Day.”
  • A gender knowledge portal has been developed for women farmers in which the data and information related to women farmers have been displayed.
  • Apart from this, the women have been linked actively with fisheries related activities like collection of fishery seeds, catch of small fishes, mussel, eatable oyster, collection of marine vegetation, fisheries marketing, fisheries processing as well as products development.
  • They are providing training and micro financing for increasing their partnership and participation in fisheries sector so that their potentialities might be raised by organising them in a cluster resulting in a spirit of inspiration towards this end.
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