Flash Cards

Day#7 Current Affairs Flash Cards [PRELIMS 2020]

World Development Report (WDR); Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC); Bisphenol A (BPA); Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA); Bank for International Settlements (BIS);
By IASToppers
August 01, 2019



The World Development Report (WDR) is published by whom?

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  • The World Development Report (WDR) is published by the World Bank.

Enrich Your Learning:

World Development Report 2019:

  • The World Development Report (WDR) 2019: ‘The Changing Nature of Work’ studies how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today.
  • Fears that robots will take away jobs from people have dominated the discussion over the future of work, but the World Development Report 2019 finds that on balance this appears to be unfounded.
  • Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. Firms adopt new ways of production, markets expand, and societies evolve.
  • Overall, technology brings opportunity, paving the way to create new jobs, increase productivity, and deliver effective public services.
  • Firms can grow rapidly thanks to digital transformation, expanding their boundaries and reshaping traditional production patterns.
  • The rise of the digital platform firm means that technological effects reach more people faster than ever before.
  • Technology is changing the skills that employers seek. Workers need to be better at complex problem-solving, teamwork and adaptability.
  • Digital technology is also changing how people work and the terms on which they work.
  • Even in advanced economies, short-term work, often found through online platforms, is posing similar challenges to those faced by the world’s informal workers.
  • The Report analyses these changes and considers how governments can best respond.
  • Investing in human capital must be a priority for governments in order for workers to build the skills in demand in the labor market.
  • In addition, governments need to enhance social protection and extend it to all people in society, irrespective of the terms on which they work.
  • To fund these investments in human capital and social protection, the Report offers some suggestions as to how governments can mobilize additional revenues by increasing the tax base.



What is the aim of Bank for International Settlements?

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  • The Bank for International Settlements is an international financial institution that aims to promote global monetary and financial stability.

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Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

  • The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is often called the “central bank for central banks” because it provides banking services to institutions such as the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve.
  • It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.
  • These services include conducting gold and currency transactions, as well as making short-term collateralized loans.
  • The BIS also encourages cooperation among central banks.
  • The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS), while technically separate from the BIS, is a closely associated international forum for financial regulation that is housed in the BIS’ offices in Basel, Switzerland.
  • The BCBS is responsible for the Basel Accords, which recommend capital requirements and other banking regulations that are widely implemented by national governments.
  • The BIS also conducts research into economic issues and publishes reports.


  • The BIS was established in 1930 by an intergovernmental agreement between Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the United States, and Switzerland.
  • The BIS was originally intended to facilitate reparations imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, and to act as the trustee for the German Government International Loan (Young Loan) that was floated in 1930.
  • The need to establish a dedicated institution for this purpose was suggested in 1929 by the Young Committee, and was agreed to in August of that year at a conference at The Hague.

Mission of the BIS:

  • The stated mission of the BIS is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.

The BIS pursues its mission by:

  • Fostering discussion and facilitating collaboration among central banks;
  • Supporting dialogue with other authorities that are responsible for promoting financial stability;
  • Carrying out research and policy analysis on issues of relevance for monetary and financial stability;
  • Acting as a prime counterparty for central banks in their financial transactions; and
  • Serving as an agent or trustee in connection with international financial operations.

The BIS hosts the Secretariat of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and with it has played a central role in establishing the Basel Capital Accords of 1988, Basel II framework in 2004 and more recently Basel III framework.



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

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  • 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.


  • 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)


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.



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

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  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.



What do you know about the SPARC programme?

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Answer & 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.
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