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  • W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 25 May 2019 To 31 May 2019.
    Posted on June 25th, 2019 in Weekly Current Affairs
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    W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 25 May 2019 To 31 May 2019.

    1) Scientists have recently identified a new species of wasp from the genus Kudakrumia in Goa.
    The wasp species was collected from Western Ghats forest. Key Highlights: Nomenclature: The
    wasp is dubbed as Kudakrumia rangnekari. It has been named after Parag Rangnekar, a Goa-
    based researcher. Genus: It belongs to genus Kudakrumia. The Kudakrumia is a genus of
    primitive wasps that is described and previously known only from Sri Lanka. Found: The new
    Wasp species was collected in the Western Ghats forests from Cotigao Wildlife sanctuary
    (located in South Goa district). About Wasp: It is any insect of order Hymenoptera and suborder
    Apocrita which means neither a bee nor an ant. Wasps are proficient at controlling pest
    populations and thus are deployed to protect crops. For instance in Brazil, farmers control
    sugarcane crop borers with a kind of parasitic wasp. About Parag Rangnekar- He is founder-
    president of the Goa Bird Conservation Network (GBCN). He has now undertaken
    documentation of dragonflies in State. His quest to document butterflies in the Western Ghats
    region has resulted in a record of 220 species, of which 13 species had not been spotted earlier.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 25 May 2019 To 31 May 2019.
    2) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted a committee under Harsh Vardhan, to review
    existing state of mortgage securitisation in India and suggest measures to develop market
    further. About Committee on Development of Housing Finance Securitisation Market-
    Composition: The committee constitutes a six-member panel that is headed by Harsh Vardhan,
    Senior Advisor in Bain & Company (a Management consulting company). It shall submit its report
    to RBI by the end of August 2019. Objective: To review existing state of mortgage backed
    securitisation in India and also suggests measure to deepen housing finance securitisation
    market. To assess role of various counterparties in securitisation process which includes
    servicers, rating agencies, trustees, and also suggest steps to address key risks. Need: Currently
    the mortgage securitisation market in India is mainly dominated by direct assignments among a
    limited set of market participants on account of various structural factors which impacts both
    demand and supply side and also several prudential, legal, tax and accounting issues.
    Therefore, , a careful design of a robust and transparent securitisation framework assumes
    paramount significance for Indian economy. Significance: India must also learn from international
    experience which shows that it is critical to address issues of misaligned incentives and agency
    problems which results from information asymmetry problems between originators and investors
    in market, which can worsen systemic risk.
    3) In a recent announcement by United States, it has removed India and Switzerland from the
    currency monitoring lists. The US has retained other countries like China, Japan and Germany in
    the list. Key Highlights- Background: It was in May 2018 when for the first time India was placed
    by US in its currency monitoring list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange
    policies, and because India had a bilateral trade surplus with US, which crossed country’s
    maximum limit of $20 billion. Other five other countries along with India included Japan, China,
    Switzerland, Germany and South Korea. Objective: The list basically consists of major trading
    partners of US who are to be closely monitored for potentially questionable foreign exchange
    policies. The move is taken amid escalating trade tensions between the two countries. About: In
    the latest semi-annual report on macroeconomic and foreign exchange (Forex) policies of major
    trading partners of the US, the country has removed India and Switzerland from the monitoring
    list. The list now includes other countries like Italy, Japan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Ireland,
    Vietnam, Germany and Korea. Reasons: US President Donald Trump’s administration cited
    reason for removal that India has taken certain steps and developments which address some of
    its major concerns over its currency practices and macroeconomic policies. According to
    analysis, in year 2018 both India and Switzerland saw a notable decline in the scale and
    frequency of foreign exchange purchases. Criteria: The US includes major trading partners in its
    monitoring Currency List if they meet at least two of three criteria- If partner country has either a
    significant bilateral trade surplus with the US. If partner country has a material current account
    surplus. If partner country is engaged in “persistent one-sided intervention” in foreign exchange
    (Forex) market. India-US Recent Trade Relation: Over the past two years, US has been putting
    pressure on India by increasing tariffs on products like steel and aluminum, and also removed
    India from US’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), that allowed Indian businesses
    certain trade benefits. India attempts to reduce its trade surplus of over $20 billion with US. In
    May 2019 India stated that purchasing or imports of larger products like aircraft from US
    companies (like Boeing) could help offset it going forward. Thus showing a positive effort that at
    least on one front, India can be reassured that it will not be targeted with unilateral measures
    over currency issues.
    4) India’s only orangutan named Binny died at the age of 41 in Nandankanan Zoological Park in
    Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Key Highlights- About: The Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) has lost
    one of its beloved members the 41-year-old orangutan ‘Bini’, an extant species of great apes.
    Background: The lone female orangutan Binny, was brought to Nandankanan Zoo from Pune’s
    Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park on 20 November 2003, when she was 25 years old. Since her
    arrival she has been alone in her zoo enclosure and zoo officials failed to arrange a male partner
    for her. Reason: According to NZP, ‘Binny’ died due to age-related complications. He also
    suffered from respiratory tract infection. Tissue samples were collected and postmortem is
    scheduled, for further investigation to correlate exact cause of death. Care: She was taken out of
    the enclosure a year ago. The orangutan was under treatment for a year by experts from College
    of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, OUAT. Even the orangutan’s experts from United
    Kingdom (UK) and Singapore were also giving constant advice. About Orangutans: The word
    “orangutan” actually means “person of forest”. They are one of the world’s three extant species
    of great apes. Orangutans are native to Indonesia and Malaysia and are currently found only in
    rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra. They are considered to be among most intelligent primates.
    An orangutan can live up to 45 years in the wild and even more in zoos. They have been
    extensively studied by researchers for their learning abilities. They use a variety of sophisticated
    tools and even construct elaborate sleeping nests from branches and foliage.
    5) The International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the criiio campaign on the eve of Men’s World
    Cup. The initiative will bring together around 460 million people playing cricket globally and to
    celebrate magnificent diversity of cricket. About Criiio: It is a celebration of all brilliant and unique
    ways people play cricket game which can be played by anyone, anywhere and at any time.
    Around the world millions of fans are play cricket way they like to such as on their backyard, on
    beach, in a car park or gully. The ICC has asked cricket fans globally to join the social cricket
    tribe by sharing their pictures and videos about where and how they play cricket by using the
    newly launched hashtag #criiio and visiting the site- criiio.com. This is the first of a series of
    programs that will be launched by the ICC over the next 12 months and is built on the success of
    recent user-generated social media initiative called #WorldWideWickets.
    6) The International Everest Day is observed every year on 29 May. The day is celebrated with
    processions, memorial events, and special events in Kathmandu, Nepal and the Everest region.
    Background: The day is observed every year in memory of the first summit of Mt. Everest on 29
    May 1953 undertaken by Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa
    from Nepal who became first humans to achieve the feat. In 2008, the Nepal government
    decided to observe day as International Everest Day when legendary climber Hillary passed
    away. About Mount Everest: It is the world’s highest mountain above sea level with Elevation of
    8,848 m. It is known as Sagarmatha in Nepali and as Chomolungma in Tibetan. The mountain
    was named as ‘Everest’ as a tribute to Sir George Everest, the Surveyor General of India from
    1830 to 1843.
    7) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian
    Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for astronaut selection and training for ambitious
    Gaganyaan Programme, scheduled for 2022. Key Highlight: IAF has signed MoU with ISRO for
    crew selection and training for prestigious Gaganyaan Programme. The MoU was handed over
    by R G K Kapoor, Air Vice Marshal to the Project Director of Gaganyaan Programme, R Hutton.
    The signing of MoU was an official formality that will now kick-start the selection process which
    would take 12-14 months following which training will begin. Training: Most of the basic training
    will happen in India but ISRO is also looking for foreign help for advanced training. From IAF’s
    side, the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) will undertake and lead the selection and training
    of astronauts. Procedure Undertaken: The IAM will first start with a pool of 30 aspirants, of
    whom, only 15 will be picked and given basic training. As the plan is to send three member crew
    so IAM will shortlist three sets of three (i.e. nine) and will let one set go about three months
    before scheduled launch with others remaining in programme till the launch date. The first set of
    evaluations will take around three months as IAM will have to ensure that it picks best crew
    whose physical condition is among best in India and they also have right mental make up. About
    Gaganyaan Mission- Background: The launch of Gaganyaan programme was announced by
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address in 2018. Gaganyaan
    Mission is India’s maiden human spaceflight programme, scheduled for 2022. Updates: The
    Centre has officially sanctioned Rs.10,000 crore in December 2018. On 30 January 2019, ISRO
    has set up Human Spaceflight Centre at its headquarters in Bengaluru. Before sending humans
    to space ISRO plans to send humanoids so that it able to see a host of developments relating to
    project. Significance: This mission will provide a unique micro-gravity platform in space to India
    for conducting experiments and test for future technologies.
    8) The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati has signed a Memorandum of Understanding
    MoU with The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to set up an IITG-ISRO Space
    Technology Cell (STC). About IITG-ISRO STC- About: The Space Technology Cell (STC) would
    be a first of its kind in the North-East region that would augment research and capacity building
    processes in field of space-technology. Located: STC will be established at new academic
    complex and research and development building that was recently inaugurated by Assam
    Governor Jagdish Mukhi at IIT Guwahati campus. Objective: Through STC IIT Guwahati aspire
    to partner with ISRO so as to perform cutting edge research that not only caters to socio-
    economic needs of Northeast but also contribute towards basic research activities of various
    ISRO projects across India. Constitutes: faculty members from IITG, visiting scientists and
    experts from ISRO, technical staff and research students. Significance: STC is a major milestone
    for IITG as it gives opportunity to kick start collaborative research activities involving its faculty
    members and ISRO scientists for short term and long term solutions in areas of challenging
    space-research problems. It would serve as a platform for involving and motivating
    undergraduate, post graduate (PG) students and research scholars and orienting them towards
    field of space-research activities. Way Forward: The research and development activities always
    play an important role in shaping our nations progress mainly in realms of science and
    technology. To lead mankind to the path of wellbeing, IIT fraternity must use its wisdom and
    expertise for extensive application of research and technology such as nanotechnology. The
    realm of Nanotechnology is a domain of future that has opened vistas for newer medical
    avenues for welfare of mankind. To achieve this distinctive profile IITs plays a crucial role and
    their brilliant students should take proactive role in dedicating themselves for great vision of
    transforming nation with help of Nanotechnology. Role of IIT: IIT’s in India empowers students
    with quality technological knowledge, skill and ability and help them inculcate right attitude and
    holistic values. In addition to this the teaching methodology and imparting education, IITs should
    additionally highlight importance of entrepreneurship and must prepare students to use their
    creativity and freedom to set up business ventures and showcase ability to generate wealth and
    employment avenues.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 25 May 2019 To 31 May 2019.
    9) The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched a song titled
    ‘Hawa Aane De’ to spread awareness about Air pollution. Key Highlights- Background: Every
    year on 5 June World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated globally. The MoEFCC celebrates
    WED focussing on the annual theme declared by United Nations Environment Programme
    (UNEP) and organizes several events accordingly. For the year 2019 theme for WED is ‘Air
    Pollution’. Thus Keeping with annual tradition the main function will be being held at Vigyan
    Bhawan on 5th June, 2019 and it will be presided over by the Environment Minister. The WED
    will also be celebrated across the country in State Capitals and UT’s. Event Includes: release of
    several books, launch of a film competition on environment and three thematic sessions on- Air
    Pollution, Waste Management and Forests: the Green Lungs of cities. About “Hawa Aane De”
    Song: It is the theme song for WED 2019 and was launched in New Delhi by Shri C.K. Mishra,
    Secretary MoEFCC in presence of artists involved with song. Objective: the song is a call to
    action for all people to come together to combat environmental challenges of our time. It urges
    each one of us to explore green technologies and measures to improve air quality and make
    India polluted. Produced By: MoEFCC in collaboration with Bhamla Foundation, Mumbai. The
    song “HawaAaneDe” is done with with celebrities and influencers with intention to carry out
    message of Air Pollution. Written By: Shri Swanand Kirkire. Sung by: Sunidhi Chauhan, Shri
    Shantanu Mukherjee Shankar Mahadevan and Kapil Sharma. The film has been directed by Shri
    Romanchak Arora. About National Clean Air programme (NCAP): It is one of the initiatives
    recently by launched Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) to combat air
    pollution. Objective: to control and abate air pollution across the country. It is a mid-term 5 Year
    Action Plan. It is a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach with mainstreaming and integration
    to reduce air pollution. Target: to reduce 20-30% of PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration in 102
    cities. Out of 102, 84 cities have already submitted their action plan.
    10) The Chief of the Air Staff (COAS) Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa received the baton
    of Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) from Admiral Sunil Lanba, the outgoing Chief of
    the Naval Staff and also COSC Chairman. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa will take over as new
    Chairman COSC with effect from 31 May 2019 consequent to release of charge by Admiral Sunil
    Lanba upon hus superannuation. About Admiral Sunil Lanba: The Chief of the Naval Staff,
    Admiral Sunil Lanba will retire on 31 May 2019 after a distinguished career spanning more than
    four decades. Admiral Lanba served as 23rd Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy. The
    Commands held by him includes Eastern Naval Command, Southern Naval Command. He has
    been an ardent supporter of Tri-Services (Indian Army- Indian Airforce- Indian Navy)
    Jointmanship. He was instrumental in harmonising the efforts of three Services in a number of Tri
    Services issues. He has been Awarded- Param Vishisht Seva Medal and Ati Vishisht Seva
    Medal. About ACM Birender Singh Dhanoa: The Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa is an alumni of
    Rashtriya Indian Military College and the National Defence Academy (NDA). He was
    commissioned in the Flying Branch of Indian Air Force (IAF) in June 1978. Flying Experience: He
    is an experienced fighter pilot and a qualified category (CAT) ‘A’ Flying Instructor. He has more
    than 3000 hours of flying experience to his credit. The ACM has predominantly flown the MiG-21
    aircraft along with flying experience across entire spectrum of fighter aircraft of the Indian Air
    Force (IAF). Service: He was the Commanding Officer of a frontline ground attack fighter
    squadron during the Kargil war (1999). He has also held several coveted operational and staff
    assignments such as the command of a frontline fighter Base, Chief Instructor (Air) at Defence
    Services Staff College (DSSC), Director Fighter Operations and War planning at Western Air
    Command, Senior Air Staff officer of two operational Commands and Assistant Chief of the Air
    Staff (Intelligence) at Air HQ. He has also served as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of
    South Western Air Command and has also been Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCOAS).
    11) The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Pema Khandu was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of
    Arunachal Pradesh. Key Highlights: Pema Khandu was sworn in as the first Chief Minister of an
    elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Arunachal Pradesh. In chronology he is the
    10th Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. Oath Ceremony: The oath oath of office and secrecy
    was administered by A.P’s Governor Brigadier (Retd.) B.D. Mishra. Apart from Mr Khandu,
    Chown Mein who took Deputy Chief Minister designation and 10 others as ministers oath was
    also undertaken. For the first time formal installation ceremony was held in Itanagar’s landmark
    convention centre, named after his father Dorjee Khandu instead of Raj Bhavan where his
    predecessors were sworn in. The ceremony was ateended by chief ministers of five north-
    eastern States namely, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya. About Pema
    Khandu: He pitchforked into politics after the death of his father in a helicopter crash in April
    2011. His father, Dorjee Khandu was the fifth CM of Arunachal Pradesh. After his father’s death
    he was made the State’s Water Resources Development and Tourism Minister in a Congress
    government. Then in June 2011 he won the by-election to the Mukto Assembly seat that is still
    synonymous with his father’s name. In July 2016, the State’s political uncertainty made Mr.
    Khandu a surer leader when he took over from Nabam Tuki as the then Chief Minister of a
    Congress government.
    12) Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Naveen Patnaik takes oath as CM of Odisha for a record 5th
    consecutive term. BJD has been in power in Odisha since 2000. Key Highlights- The 72 year old
    Naveen Patnaik is the longest-serving chief minister of coastal state. BJD has been in power in
    the state since 2000. He won a clear mandate of 112 out of the 147 seats in the recently
    conducted Odisha state election that were held along with national elections. Out of 20
    Parliamentary seats Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) bagged 8 seats and BJD won 12. Oath
    Ceremony: His oath was administered oath by Odisha’s Governor Ganeshi Lal at a function in
    Bhubaneswar. Unlike past low-key oath taking ceremonies this is the first time that swearing in
    was held in full public view, outside the Raj Bhavan. 20 newly elected BJD MLAs also took oath
    as ministers, including 11 of Cabinet rank. The Decisive Mandate: The Chief Minister Naveen
    Patnaik was once a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) between year 1998
    and 2009. But later, maintained “equidistant” from BJP as well as the Congress. On Claiming
    that no party will get a majority in national election 2019 Mr Patnaik announced his support for
    any party or coalition that supports the Odisha’s development especially in aftermath of Cyclone
    Fani that left a trail of destruction in the state and killed 64 people.
    13) Indian writer Annie Zaidi was announced as the winner of Nine Dots Prize 2019. About The Nine
    Dots Prize- The name of this global book prize is in reference to the ‘nine dots puzzle’ which is a
    lateral thinking puzzle that can only be solved by thinking outside the box. Objective: to promote,
    engage and encourage innovative thinking so as to address problems facing modern world. The
    prestigious book prize is awarded for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues.
    Selection Criteria: Entrants are asked to answer the given question in 3,000 words. Eligiblility: All
    entrants with minimum 18 years of age and over are welcome to enter but responses and
    resulting book must be in English. Cash Prize: The winner receives US$100,000 to write a short
    book expanding on their ideas. The Prize is sponsored by the Kadas Prize Foundation with
    support from the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at
    the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Press. About Annie Zaidi: She is a
    Mumbai-based freelance writer. She won Nine Dots Prize for her entry titled ‘Bread, Cement,
    Cactus’. It was a combining memoir and reportage which explores concepts of home and the
    belonging rooted in her experience of contemporary life in India.
    14) A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between National Small Industries
    Corporation Limited (NSIC) and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for the
    year 2019-20. Key Highlights- About: The MoU between NSIC and MSME envisages provisions
    of enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology and other support
    services schemes for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Projections:
    The NSIC projects to increase Revenue from Operation by 22% i.e. from Rs.2540 crore in year
    2018-19 to Rs.3100 crore in 2019-20. It also projects growth of 32% in profitability during year
    2019-20. NSIC plans to enhance its activities in areas of imparting entrepreneurship and skill
    development training by targeting 45% growth in the number of trainees. National SC-ST Hub
    Scheme: NSIC is implementing National SC-ST Hub Scheme on behalf of the Ministry of MSME.
    Under the scheme it will be a continued attempt to provide assistance to SC/ST entrepreneurs
    via different interventions and various outreach activities. The overall objectives of scheme will
    be to increase their participation in public procurement. Way Forward: Although the performance
    of NSIC is appreciable it is suggested that greater efforts should be made to expand reach of
    NSIC so that it may be able to serve larger number of MSMEs in the country.
    15) John Bailey, President of Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences which is popularly known
    as Oscar Academy, e-launched the Hindi translation of Academy Publication “Digital Dilemma”,
    in Delhi. The Oscar Academy works towards goal of advancing  arts and sciences of motion
    pictures. Key Highlights- Oscar Academy President John Bailey launched Hindi version of ‘Digital
    Dilemma’ by National Film Archive of India (NFAI). Developments: The Academy’s Science and
    Technology Council in its landmark report, examined ways in which key players in movie
    business currently stores and access digital data. With years of research the S&T council
    discovered that issues related to digital storage reliability are far beyond lost snapshots and
    spreadsheets. Digital Dilemma: an Academy publication is written by Milt Shelton and Andy
    Maltz and has been translated in many global languages. It discusses challenges of efficiently
    archiving and accessing massive data in the long term. MoU: National Film Archive of India
    (NFAI) had signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oscar Academy to translate
    the publication into Hindi so that it can benefit various stakeholders in India. The NFAI
    emphasised on need of Hindi version of publication so that it would benefit different stakeholders
    in country. NFAI: is India’s premier organisation in film preservation, conservation and
    restoration. It runs under the aegis of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Significance: the
    translation of the Academy publication into hindi is important so as to reach out to the film
    fraternity in India. The technological changes in the film storage mediums throw many challenges
    thus this book will help film makers in understanding and planning the storage of born-digital
    material.
    16) The World Health Organization (WHO) has for the first time recognised “burn-out” in its
    International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The decision was taken during the World Health
    Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. Key Highlights- Definition: In latest update of WHO’s catalogue of
    diseases and injuries gloablly, WHO defined Burn-out as- syndrome conceptualised as resulting
    from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. As per the classification,
    Burn-out refers predominantly to phenomena in occupational context and should not be applied
    to describe an individual’s experience in other areas of life. Three Dimensions: The syndrome is
    characterised by three dimensions – Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion. Increased
    mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of cynicism or negativism related to one’s job.
    Reduced professional efficacy. Significance: Classifying “burn-out” in ICD could help put to rest
    years of debate among experts about how to define burnout, and whether it should be
    considered a medical condition or not. About International Classification of Diseases (ICD): It is
    the global health information standard for mortality and morbidity statistics. It was created in
    1948 and WHO was entrusted with it. ICD is revised periodically and this year is currently its 10th
    revision. It is widely used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers. The updated ICD
    list, dubbed as ICD-11, was drafted in 2018 following recommendations from health experts from
    all around the world. It was approved on 25 May 2019 and will take effect in January 2022. About
    The ICD-11: For the first time burnout has been included in WHO’s ICD classification. The list
    also contains several other additions which includes classification of ‘compulsive sexual
    behaviour’ in category of mental disorder however it stops short of combining the condition
    together with addictive behaviours. For the first time it recognises Video Gaming as an addiction
    and listed it alongside gambling and drugs like cocaine. It also removes transgenderism from its
    list of mental disorders although listed it instead under chapter on “conditions related to sexual
    health”.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 25 May 2019 To 31 May 2019.
    17) The Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, died at the age of 89 in New Mexico. He is
    credited with bringing order to the universe by helping discover and classifying subatomic
    particles. About Murray Gell-Mann: Background: Murray was born and raised in New York City,
    US. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Yale University in 1948 and his PhD from
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1951. He dominated theoretical particle physics
    during 1950s and 1960s, Nobel Prize Laureate: Gell-Man was honored with Nobel prize in
    physics in 1969 for his contributions and discoveries relating to the classification of elementary
    particles and their interactions. Achievements: He is said to have transformed physics by
    devising a method for sorting subatomic particles into simple groups of eight (8) based on their
    spin, electric charge and other characteristics. He named this method “eightfold way” after
    Buddhist Eightfold Path to enlightenment. He also developed a theory which identified “quarks”,
    an indivisible components of Earth’s matter that make up neutrons, protons and other particles.
    Later Experiments in field of physics confirmed existence of quarks, which now form basis for our
    physical understanding of the universe.
    18) People in the Republic of Ireland have voted by an overwhelming majority to ease the
    constitutional restriction on country’s divorce law. Key Highlights- Background: A 1995
    referendum granted Irish couples the right to divorce by a slim majority of 50.3% and since then
    the mandated separation period was a hangover condition. In 2018 Ireland again held a
    referendum in which 66% voters cast votes in favour of repealing country’s constitutional ban on
    abortion. Recent development: Now in 2019 around 82 % of Ireland voters casted their ballot in
    favour of removing a provision that requires couples to live separately for four out of previous five
    years before their marriage is dissolved. Need: At present, Irish divorce law is regarded as
    among the most restrictive in Europe. It is considered to be responsible for Ireland having lowest
    separation rate of any European Union (EU) member state which is also evident by figures
    released by country’s Central Statistics Office for year 2015. The rate of low separation because
    of strict divorce law rate places an unfair emotional and financial burden on couples as well as
    families at a time when Irish rental and property prices are spiking. Significance: The step is
    latest in a series of reforms taken up by Republic of Ireland to modernise the charter of the once-
    devoutly Catholic nation. Way Forward: The Irish government now will bring a new legislation
    shortening requirement to two out of the prior three years for couples to live separately before
    dissolving their marriage.
    19) India has invited the leaders of The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and
    Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Member States for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime
    Minister Narendra Modi. This invitation is in line with the Government’s focus on its
    ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. Key Facts: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take oath for the 17th
    Lok Sabha on 30 May 2019. The oath of Office and Secrecy of PM’s and other members of
    Union Council of Ministers will be administered by President Ram Nath Kovind at a function in
    Rashtrapati Bhavan. Apart from BIMSTEC members invitations for PM’s swearing-in ceremony
    have also been sent to Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of Kyrgyzstan who is the current Chair
    of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Pravind Jugnauth, Mauritius Prime
    Minister who is also the Chief Guest at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2019. About BIMSTEC:
    Background: In 1997, prior to joining of Myanmar as a full member in grouping of ‘BIMST-EC’ it
    was named as the ‘BIST-EC’. The BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand
    Economic Cooperation) was initiated in 1997 itself and was encouraged by India’s Look East
    Policy (LEP) and Thailand’s Look West Policy it was Initiated. In 2004 Nepal and Bhutan became
    its members and the grouping was again renamed, now as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-
    Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). BIMSTEC is an international
    organization which involves a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia (SEA).
    Members (7): It comprises of primarily seven countries, those lying in littoral and adjacent areas
    of Bay of Bengal which includes India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and
    Thailand. Objective: to improve connectivity between the member countries through multi-modal
    transport corridors. In general, there are ‘14 priority sectors’ which cover almost all areas of
    cooperation such as energy, handling of refugees, anti-narcotic measures.
    20) The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) leader Prem Singh Tamang, better known as PS Golay was
    recently sworn in as Chief Minister of Sikkim. Key Highlights- S. Golay’s Chief Ministerial oath
    was administered by Governor Ganga Prasad at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok, Sikkim. He took the
    oath in Nepali language. At present, Golay is not a member of State Legislative Assembly as he
    did not contest the polls. Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM): was formed in year 2013. In recent
    assembly polls it won a majority of 17 seats of the 32-member Sikkim Legislative Assembly. Its
    opposition party Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) bagged 15 seats. Succeeds: P S. Golay
    succeeded Pawan Chamling of the SDF, who holds record for being the longest serving Chief
    Minister of India. Chamling won five consecutive terms for a little over 24 years. About Prem
    Singh Tamang (Golay): The 51 year old Golay is the sixth Chief Minister of the Himalayan State.
    He started his career as a school teacher. At the age of 26, he was elected to Sikkim Legislative
    Assembly in 1994 as an SDF candidate and went on to serve as Minister holding several
    portfolios for three consecutive terms till 2009.
    21) Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s birth anniversary was celebrated on 28 May 2019.
    On this occasion Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to VD Savarkar and said that the
    nation will always remember sacrifices made by Veer Savarkar during the freedom struggle.
    About V D Savarkar (1883 – 1966): Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly called as Veer
    Savarkar was born on 28 May 1883 near Nasik in Maharashtra. He was a freedom fighter and
    called 1857 revolt as the first war of independence. Organizations: founded by him include
    Abhinav Bharat Society (in Pune) and Free India Society (in London). Literary work: He has
    written “Joseph Mazzini- Biography and Politics.” He has published “The Indian War of
    Independence” about Indian rebellion of 1857 (also called The First War of Independence and
    “Sepoy Mutiny” of 1857). Savarkar wrote the book ‘Hindutva: who is hindu?’ (during his prison
    term in Ratnagiri Jail). He was not amongst the founder of Hindu Mahasabha, but did serve as its
    president from 1937 to 1943. He was a member of India House. He opposed the Quit India
    Movement struggle (in 1942) calling it a “Quit India but keep your army” movement. He endorsed
    the ideal of India as a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and is also credited with developing Hindu nationalist
    political ideology of ‘Hindutva’. In his honour the airport at Port Blair, capital of Andaman and
    Nicobar has been named as Veer Savarkar International Airport.
    22) The Government of India (GoI) has constituted a Tribunal for adjudicating ban on Liberation
    Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Key Highlights- Background: LTTE has been banned in India
    since 1991, after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by its member. In early
    May 2019 the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a notification about extending a ban on
    LTTE in India for a further period of five years. As per the notification GoI under the provisions of
    the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 declared LTTE as an unlawful association.
    Recent Mandate: to examine whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring Liberation
    Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as an unlawful association (reiterated recently by MHA) the
    Government of India has constituted the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal. The Tribunal:
    constituted by GoI is comprised of a sitting Judge of Delhi High Court (HC) Justice Sangita
    Dhingra Sehgal.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 25 May 2019 To 31 May 2019.
    23) The architectural heritage of Orchha town which is one of the prime tourist draws in Madhya
    Pradesh has been included in tentative list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
    Organization’s (UNESCO’s) World Heritage Sites. Background: The Orcha town was included in
    tentative list of cultural heritage following a proposal sent by the Archaeological Survey of India
    (ASI) to the United Nations body on 15 April 2019. As per the rules, for any heritage or any
    historical site to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites (WHS) it has first to be included
    on tentative list. After it makes to tentative list, another proposal is sent to UNESCO for its final
    addition in heritage sites. About Orcha Town- Location: Orchha town is located in Niwari district
    of Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region. It lies on banks of river Betwa (around 80 km from
    MP’s Tikamgarh district) and 15 km from Jhansi district of UP. Built: It was built in 16th century
    during the reign of Bundela dynasty by its King Rudra Pratap Singh. Unique: It is the only place
    in India where Lord Ram is worshipped as a king (not in God form) with a dedicated temple in his
    name called Sri Ram Raja Mandir. Famous: The ancient town is famous for its two elevated
    minaret popularly called as Saavan and Bhadon, and its four palaces named as Raj Mahal,
    Jahangir Palace, Rai Praveen Mahal and Sheesh Mahal. It is also famous for its concept of open
    bungalows, stone work windows, animal statues that depicts culture of Bundelkhand. Bundela
    Architectural delights: The Orchha town has a peculiar style of architecture used by Bundela
    dynasty. Bundela architecture has had a Mughal influence. The town is famous for its Orchha
    Fort complex, Chaturbhuj Temple and Raja Mahal among other architectural delights. Key Facts:
    There are 37 Indian heritage sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list. If architectural splendour
    of Orchha makes it to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites’s final list then it would be India’s 38th
    site to form part of the treasured list. Three historically famous sites in Madhya Pradesh which
    are among 37 Indian sites, includes Buddhist monuments at Sanchi, rock shelters of Bhimbedka
    and Khajuraho group of monuments.
    24) The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired Akash-1S
    surface to air defence missile system from Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore off the
    Odisha coast. This is the second successive successful missile test by DRDO in last two days.
    About Akash-1S: The Akash missile is a medium range multi-target engagement capable missile
    that was developed as part of Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
    Other missiles under IGDMP are Nag, Agni, Trishul, and Prithvi missiles. The missile system was
    formally inducted into the Army on May 2015 and in the IAF on July 2015. Later in September
    2015 the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared seven additional squadrons of the Akash
    missile for IAF. After a 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report stated that 30% of
    these missiles failed when tested and in 2017 itself the Army too agreed that missiles did not
    meet its operational requirements because of their higher reaction time. Features: It is a
    supersonic surface to air missile with multi-target engagement capability. Akash-1S is an
    upgrade version of existing Akash missile fitted with an indigenously developed seeker. The new
    Akash weapon system has combination of both command guidance and active terminal seeker
    guidance. Range: The missile has a range of about 25 km and altitude range of 18,000 metres
    (18km). It is capable of neutralizing advanced aerial targets and in striking down enemy fighter
    jets and drones effectively. Missile system uses: high-energy solid propellant for booster and
    ramjet-rocket propulsion for sustainer phase thus is said to be highly mobile. Variants: include
    Akash MK1, Akash-MK2. They have improved accuracy and higher ranges are under
    development by the DRDO. Way Forward: India taking certain steps to slowly fill the holes in its
    air defence elements such as by developing advanced surface-to-air missile called ‘Medium
    Range Surface to Air Missile’ (MRSAM) in collaboration with Israel. Besides MRSAM, India is
    also procuring five regiments of renowned S-400 air defence system from Russia whose delivery
    will begin in 2020.
    25) The Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa visits Air Force Station in
    Bhisiana and Sarsawa to pay homage to the air warriors who made supreme sacrifice during
    Operation Safed Sagar at Kargil. Key Highlights- Background: On 28 May 1999 the Indian Air
    Force lost a Mi-17 helicopter after successfully attacking the enemy in Drass sector (J&K). On
    this day 1999 Squadron Leader Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja who was at that time the Flight
    Commander of 17 Squadron laid down his life along with Squadron Leader R Pundhir, Flight
    Lieutenant S Muhilan, Sergeant R K Sahu and Sergeant PVNR Prasad who also died in action in
    that Mi-17 helicopter during the Kargil conflict. About: The Chief of the Air staff (CAS) B. S.
    Dhanoa paid tribute to Late Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja and other fallen heroes who lost their
    life 20 years back during the Kargil war. CAS B.S. Dhanoa flew the ‘missing man’ formation
    flypast in a Mig-21 aircraft. He was accompanied by Air Marshal R Nambiar, Air Officer
    Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) Western Air Command in the ‘missing man’ flypast organised
    at Air Force Station in Bhisiana in Bhatinda to honour the valour and supreme sacrifice of men
    killed in action during Operation Safed Sagar at Kargil, J&K. On 28 May the CAS visited Air
    Force Station Sarsawa and fly in a Mi-17 V5 ‘Missing Man’ formation flypast to commemorate the
    Kargil martyrs. About The ‘Missing Man’ formation: It is an aerial salute accorded to honour the
    fallen comrades-in-arms. It is basically an Arrow Formation, with a gap between two aircraft in a
    way that the formation depicts the Missing Man. About Operation Safed Sagar (or “Operation
    White Sea”): It was the code name assigned to Indian Air Force’s (IAF) role in acting jointly with
    Ground troops of Indian Army during the Kargil war in 1999. It was aimed at flushing out Regular
    and Irregular troops of Pakistani Army from vacated Indian Positions in Kargil sector along Line
    of Control (LOC). Since 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, it was the first large scale use of Airpower in
    Jammu and Kashmir region.
    26) The outgoing NDA government in one of its last decisions has decided to merge the National
    Sample Survey Office (NSSO) with the Central Statistics Office (CSO) under the Ministry of
    Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). Key Highlights- About: The Government
    order has cleared restructuring of statistical system by proposing NSSO, CSO merger and
    formation of an overarching body called National Statistical Office (NSO). Objective: of
    restructuring is to strengthen and streamline the present nodal functions of ministry and to bring
    in more synergy by integrating its administrative functions within ministry. Criticism: The recent
    order skips any mention of National Statistical Commission (NSC), which has been overseeing
    body for all the statistical work done in India. Unlike the earlier resolution notified by MoSPI on
    June 2005 the recent order does not equate the Secretary (Statistics and Programme
    Implementation) with Chief Statistician of India. Thus, the order is being widely perceived as a
    dent on autonomy of Indian statistical system. As per Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of
    India, by being merged with CSO the character of NSSO will change and it will lose its existence.
    The changed character of NSSO will also bring it out of NSC’s control. Arguments: The NSSO
    was earlier an attached office of MoSPI, which gave it a legally distinct identity from ministry and
    the NSC used to oversee all technical aspects of statistical work undertaken such as which
    survey needs to be done, when and how it needs to be done. With the merger of CSO and
    NSSO the autonomy of NSSO will be gone and the NSC’s control over NSSO will not be there.
    The 2005 Resolution by MoSPI: notified initiation of setting up of the NSC and also proposed the
    single entity named National Statistical Organisation that will act as the executive wing of
    government for statistics and would act according to policies and priorities as laid down by the
    NSC. As per the 2005 resolution the NSO would be headed by an officer of rank of Secretary to
    Government of India (GoI), who will be designated as Chief Statistician of India and he will also
    function as Secretary of (National Statistical) Commission. NSO Composition: Unlike 2005
    resolution the recent order just mentions NSO to be headed by Secretary (S&PI), with various
    divisions reporting to Secretary through the Director Generals (DGs). There will be three Director
    Generals: DG (Statistics): DG (Coordination, Administration and Policy) DG (National Sample
    Survey) — reporting to the Secretary (S&PI).
    27) Russia recently launched nuclear-powered Arctic icebreaker named ‘Ural’ at Baltic Shipyard in
    St. Petersburg. The move is to tap commercial potential of Arctic Ocean. Key Highlights-
    Background: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in April 2019 that Russia will step up
    construction of icebreakers with aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.
    About: The ship, named as ‘Ural’ was floated out from a dockyard at Baltic Shipyard in St
    Petersburg. It is one of the trio which when completed will be largest and most powerful
    icebreakers in world. Objective: Launch of Ural, the Nuclear-powered icebreaker ship is part of
    an ambitious programme to renew and expand Russia’s fleet of vessels in order to improve its
    ability to tap the benefits of Arctic’s commercial potential and ensuring dominance of Russia in
    Arctic region. The Trio: Ural is one of a trio amongst World’s largest and most powerful
    icebreakers, other two being Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia). The Ural will be handed over to
    Rosatom (Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation) in 2022 after the other two
    icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia) enter service. Reason: Russia
    is overhauling its ports and building new infrastructure because during warmer climate cycles,
    the country readies for more traffic via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being
    navigable all year-round. The Ural together with its sisters are central to Russia’s strategic
    project of opening NSR to all-year activity. Significance: The drive is part of a push to strengthen
    Russia’s hand in High North as it seeks for dominance with traditional rivals the United States,
    Canada and Norway and also newcomer China. Way Forward: As per President Vladimir Putin
    by 2035, Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine out of
    which would be powered by nuclear reactors. Importance of Northern Sea Route (NSR):
    According to a U.S. Geological Survey estimates, the Arctic region has about 22% of the world’s
    undiscovered oil and gas and it probably holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion
    barrels of oil. The NSR runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska. Russia hopes that
    this NSR could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.
    28) Professor Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
    jointly won the 2019 Dr Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health at the 72nd World
    Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. He won the award for his achievements as an
    innovator, clinician, researcher and trainer. About Dr Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public
    Health- It was established in 2008. Awarded to: institutions, individuals, governmental
    organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), who have made an outstanding
    contribution towards public health. Objective: Prize aims to reward work the done that has
    extended far beyond the call of normal duties. It is not intended as a reward for excellent
    performance of duties normally expected of an official position of a governmental or
    intergovernmental institution. It is an annual award which is conferred at a special ceremony held
    during the World Health Assembly. Cash Prize: It consists of a plaque from Founder and a sum
    of money which will not exceed US$ 100 000.
    29) SpaceX launched a rocket carrying the first 60 satellites of its ‘Starlink’ constellation, from Cape
    Canaveral, Florida in US. The SpaceX’s new array of Starlink communication satellites is
    intended to provide Internet from space. Key Highlights- Launch Vehicle: The launch was
    conducted by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets which began to release the satellites at an altitude of
    280 miles (450 kilometers). Orbit Position: The satellites later separated and used their thrusters
    to take up their positions in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers). The satellite orbit
    is slightly higher than International Space Station (ISS), but below the majority of terrestrial
    satellites placed. The highest of terrestrial satellites sit in a geostationary orbit of 22,400 miles
    (36,000 kilometers). Satellite Features: Each of satellites weighs only 500 pounds (227
    kilograms). They were built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle in US. Their weight makes them
    the heaviest payload carried aloft by SpaceX to date. Starlink’s constellation: will become
    operational once over 800 satellites will be activated, which will require at least 12 launches
    carrying similar payloads. The 60 launched satellites are among the first of a planned 12,000-
    satellite megaconstellation with aim to provide high-speed internet service from space to
    customers around the globe. Significance: This launch made SpaceX an early forerunner, along
    with its rival OneWeb, a startup, but way ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Jeff
    Bezos. About SpaceX: The US California-based Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX is a
    private rocket company of high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. Musk is also chief executive officer
    (CEO) of automaker Tesla Inc. When it comes to rocket launches it is leading the private space
    race. With its Starlink venture the firm is now looking to seize a chunk of future space internet
    market.
    30) Indian Army’s Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar was as appointed the new force commander
    of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. About
    Lieutenant General Shailesh Tinaikar- He is a decorated Indian Army officer who has had over
    34 years of long distinguished career with Indian Armed Forces. Defence Service: In 1983, he
    graduated from Indian Military Academy (IMA). From year 1996 to 1997, he served in United
    Nations Angola Verification Mission III (UNAVM-III) and from 2008 to 2009, in United Nations
    Mission in Sudan (UNMISS). In between 2012 and 2017 he also commanded a division, a recruit
    training centre and a brigade. Later from 2017 to 2018 served as the Additional Director General
    of Military Operations (ADGMO) at Army Headquarters. Since 2018 he was serving as
    Commandant of the Infantry School. He holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Defence and
    Strategic Studies from The University of Madras. Awards: He has won the Sena Medal and the
    Vishisht Seva Medal for his service to Indian Army. UNMISS Appointment: The 57-year-old
    Lieutenant General Tinaikar succeeded Lieutenant General Frank Kamanzi of Rwanda who
    completed his assignment on 26 May 2019. He will command over 16,000 peacekeepers with
    about 2,400 from India, in South Sudan in UNMISS. India and UNPKF: India is the fourth largest
    contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping missions (blue helmet) throughout the
    world. At present India contributes more than 6,400 military and police personnel to UN peace
    operations in the Middle East, Lebanon, Abyei, the Western Sahara, Haiti, Cyprus, South Sudan,
    and the Democratic Republic of Congo. About UNMISS: It was created in July 2011 when South
    Sudan gained independence from Sudan. It is the second biggest peacekeeping operation. Until
    now over 67 UN peacekeepers have died while serving in mission. As of March 2019 UNMISS
    has deployed 19,400 personnel with it. India is second highest troop contributing country to
    UNMISS. India contributes about 2,337 Indian peacekeepers second only after Rwanda with
    2,750. In addition to this India currently contributes 22 police personnel also.
    31) India’s Apurvi Chandela won gold in women’s 10m Air Rifle at ISSF World Cup Rifle held in
    Munich, Germany. Key Highlights- Apurvi Chandela of India beat Wang Luyao of China with a
    score of 251 to win gold medal in 10m Air Rifle event at the 2019’s third International Shooting
    Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol stage held in Munich (Germany). Winning Tally:
    This is Apurvi’s 2nd Shooting World Cup Gold of 2019 in Women’s 10m Air Rifle after the one
    she won with a world record score in New Delhi in February 2019. Overall this is her career’s
    fourth ISSF medal. Tokyo 2020 Olympic quotas: Given that top four ranks consisted of two
    Indians and two Chinese have already secured maximum possible two quotas in these events
    they were not eligible for Olympic quotas thus Quotas available on the event day went to Laura-
    Georgeta Coman of Romania and Eszter Meszaros of Hungary who finished 5th and 6th
    respectively in the women’s 10m air rifle. India already holds five Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota
    places in Rifle and Pistol competitions secured by Saurabh Chaudhary, Apurvi, Abhishek Verma
    Divyansh Singh Panwar and Anjum.
    32) In Sudirman Cup Badminton title 2019 China beats Japan in men’s doubles, women’s singles
    and men’s singles. Key Highlights- The 2019 edition was hosted by China and it swept the finals
    with 3-0 victory against Japan. With this win China 11th Sudirman Cup title. China’s Shi Yuqi
    whitewashed the world champion Kento Momota of Japan in the finale held in Nanjing City of
    China. The 23-year-old Shi holds world second-rank and the 24-year-old Momota is ranked world
    number one. Japan has never won badminton world mixed-team championship and after this
    defeat their search still goes on. China has for long-time been pre-eminent power in badminton
    and with this win in 2019 China reclaimed the trophy they lost to South Korea in 2017. About
    Sudirman Cup- It was established in 1989 and is biennial international badminton championship.
    The tournament is contested by mixed national teams of member associations of Badminton
    World Federation (BWF). The year 2019 was 16th edition of the Sudirman Cup Title. It was held
    between 19 and 26 May 2019 in Nanning, China.
    33) Sri Lankan writer Guy Gunaratne was announced as the winner of 2019’s Swansea University
    International Dylan Thomas Prize and received the winning prize sum of £30,000. He won the
    award for his debut novel ‘In Our Mad and Furious City’. About Guy Gunaratne- He is a 35 years
    old British-Sri-Lankan human rights documentary filmmaker, turned debut novelist. He won over
    5 other shortlisted authors. While working as a journalist and documentary filmmaker he has
    covered human rights stories from around world. In Our Mad and Furious City:  is his debut novel
    and is a fictional account of 48 hours (2 days) in a North London housing estate after murder of a
    British soldier. The book was shortlisted for The Gordon Burn Prize, The Goldsmiths Prize and
    the Writers Guild Awards and also longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2019. His work was
    lauded for providing an authentic voice to marginalised section of society and for shining a
    spotlight on very real experiences of youths belonging to minority ethnic backgrounds. About
    Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize- It is awarded every year for the best
    published literary work in English language, written by an author aged 39 or under. The prize
    includes a prize sum of £30,000 and celebrates international world of fiction in all its forms
    including novels, poetry, drama and short stories. The year 2019 marks the 11th year of world’s
    largest English language literary prize for young authors.
    34) The Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) AN-32 aircraft was formally fleet certified to fly on blended aviation
    fuel which contain up to 10% of indigenous bio-jet fuel. Key Highlights- About: The Russian
    made AN-32 aircraft is IAF’s formidable workhorse. It received the approval certificate for flying
    on blended aviation fuel at the aero-engine test facilities at Chandigarh. Background: The
    indigenous bio-jet fuel was first produced in 2013 by the Council of Scientific and Industrial
    Research-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP) lab at Dehradun, but due to lack of test
    facilities in the civil aviation sector it could not be tested or certified for commercial use on
    aircraft. Later in July, 2018, Chief of Air Staff (COAS) Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa formally
    announced Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) intention of permitting use of all its resources for testing and
    certifying the indigenous fuel. Since then, The IAF’s engineers and flight test crew have
    undertaken a series of tests for evaluating the performance of this indigenous fuel against
    international standards. Significance: In last one year IAF undertook a series of evaluation tests
    and trials with this green aviation fuel. The scope of these evaluation tests and checks was in
    consonance with international aviation standards. The approval granted is an acknowledgement
    of meticulous testing using indigenous bio-jet fuel by IAF. The recent certification is a huge step
    towards promoting the ‘Make in India’ mission as this bio-fuel would be produced indigenously
    from Tree Borne Oils (TBOs) which will be sourced from tribal areas and farmers and will further
    augment their income substantially. About Bio-Jet Fuel: This indigenous bio-jet fuel is made from
    Jatropha oil sourced from Chhattisgarh Biodiesel Development Authority (CBDA) and then
    processed at CSIR-IIP, Dehradun.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 25 May 2019 To 31 May 2019.
    35) Over 25 State governments missed the deadline for submitting their action plans on systematic
    disposal of plastic waste to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The April 30 deadline set by
    National Green Tribunal has expired and thus states may have to pay a fine as environment
    compensation of 1 crore each. Key Highlights- Background: In early 2019, National Green
    Tribunal (NGT) directed all States and Union Territories (except Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, West
    Bengal and Puducherry) to submit an action plan for compliance of PWM (Plastic Waste
    Mnagement) Rules and submit the same to CPCB by 30 April 2019. Moreover, NGT ordered that
    if any state fails to submit action plans within designated deadline it will have to pay the pollution
    body compensation at the rate of 1 crore per month after 1 May 2019. Arguments by CPCB- The
    conditions of waste management in country are poor as states do not prioritise plastic and solid
    waste management rules. Waste management is considered last in the list of priorities of state’s
    municipal corporations. Initially the States did not comply with CPCB orders, so it moved the
    NGT. Now the states are violating NGT orders, so they have to pay price for their laxity. The
    CPCB will now inform NGT about non-compliance and make states pay heavy amount for
    default. In some cases punishment not just includes compensation but imprisonment too. Cause
    of Non-Compliance: The main reason for non-compliance of plastic waste management rules is
    the lack of knowledge and updates among concerned State authorities such as state pollution
    control boards. There is also a communication gap between Ministry of environment, central
    government officials and state level government officials responsible for waste management
    compliance. Way Forward- The Ministry of Environment thus needs to conduct regular
    awareness programmes in states to educate state-level officials to carry out necessary measures
    to segregate plastic and dispose it.
    36) No-frills airline SpiceJet became fourth Indian airline to have a 100 aircraft in its fleet after a
    recent induction of a Boeing 737 which became its 100th plane. The other three domestic airline
    with 100 Aircraft fleet are national carrier Air India, now grounded Jet Airways and IndiGo. About
    Spicejet- It is a Gurugram-based budget carrier (No-frills airline). It has an aircraft fleet of 30
    Bombardier Q-400s, 68 Boeing 737s and two B737 freighters. At present SpiceJet on an
    average operates 575 daily flights to around 62 destinations 53 domestic and 9 international. It
    last one month alone the airline has added some 23 planes. SpiceJet is a key player in Union
    government’s regional connectivity scheme called UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) as it
    operates 42 flights per day to and from various regional destinations. In 2015, SpiceJet placed
    an order for 205 aircraft with Boeing (US) worth $22 billion which was followed by order for 50
    Bombardier Q400 planes worth $1.7 billion. Other Indian Domestic Carriers- Eight main domestic
    carriers in India together have 595 planes in their fleet at the moment. They are- Air India has
    128 planes in their fleet, IndiGo has 230, SpiceJet has 100, GoAir has 49 planes, Air India
    Express has 25 planes, Vistara has 22 planes, AirAsia India has 21, Alliance Air (is regional
    subsidiary of Air India) has 20 ATRs for operations.
    37) The ‘UNSDG 10 Most Influential People in Healthcare Award’ was received by Acharya
    Balkrishna, Managing Director (MD,) of Patanjali Ayurved Limited on behalf of India’s Patanjali
    Group of Institutions in Geneva, Switzerland. About Acharya Balkrishna- He is a close aide of
    Baba Ramdev, renowned Yoga guru. He was invited to represent India at UNSDG. He was
    awarded by UNSDG in relation to global health scenario and how these prevalent lifestyle
    diseases can be treated with Ayurveda, Yoga and other traditional Indian methods and
    Patanjali’s contribution towards achieving this. He dedicated award received to all those who
    worked hard mainstream Yoga and Ayurveda at global level. He was among the five keynote
    speakers of UNSDG (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) organization. Others
    include Randy Oostra (UNICEF executive director) Henrietta H Fore (WHO director-general)
    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Abe Lee. About Patanjali Ayurved- It is an Indian consumer
    goods company which produces wide range Ayurvedic medicinal and personal care products,
    among other consumer items. Renowned yoga guru Baba Ramdev co-founded the company
    along with Acharya Balkshrina.
    38) The Second Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Mass Media Forum is being held at
    Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan capital) from 23 to 26 May 2019. Key Highlights of Forum- The SCO Forum
    was inaugurated by S. Jeenbeko, President of Kyrgyz Republic. During his inaugural address he
    highlighted importance of role played by Mass Media organizations of SCO countries in
    achieving SCO’s objectives of regional security, mutual trust and friendly relations with neighbors
    in line with “Shanghai Spirit”. Participants: The representative of state bodies supervising mass
    media of SCO’s Member States, Observer Countries, Dialogue Partner and representatives of
    leading mass media of SCO countries and representatives of SCO Secretariat are participating
    in Forum. Adoption: SCO Member States adopted ‘Resolution of Media Forum’ which calls for
    establishing successful collaborations of Mass Media Organizations of SCO member Countries.
    India and Forum: A delegation from Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is representing India
    at international Forum. Indian Delegation highlighted important played by Ministry of Information
    and Broadcasting in development of mass media landscape within nation. They also invited all
    SCO member delegates to upcoming Golden Jubilee edition of International Film Festival of
    India (IFFI) to be held in Goa in November 2019. Suggestions by India-The delegation
    emphasized need for media collaborations and exchange of best media practices amongst
    different mass media organizations, agencies and associations across SCO partner states. It
    suggested that member states can undertake a media personnel exchange programmes along
    with joint international press conferences. Indian delegation also highlighted the idea of working
    together to counter problem of fake news. About SCO Mass Media Forum- Background: The first
    SCO Media Summit was held on 1 June 2018 in Beijing, China. It was held under motto of
    “Development of the “Shanghai Spirit” and opening of a new era in the mass media cooperation”.
    It saw participation of more than 110 media outlets from 16 countries including SCO Member
    States, Observer States and Dialogue Partners. Objective: It aims to strengthen exchange and
    cooperation in field of mass media amongst SCO countries. It also seeks to create an objective
    vision of SCO and strengthen its positive image in global information space by offering a unique
    platform for active work via mass media. About Shanghai Spirit- It is core value of the Shanghai
    Cooperation Organization (SCO) that has played significant role in safeguarding regional security
    and also promoting regional development. The “Shanghai spirit” is about mutual benefit, mutual
    trust, consultation, equality, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development
    among SCO members.
    39) Lt. Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal, inaugurated the Sahara Naval Hostel for the ‘Veer Naris’ at
    Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. About Sahara Hostel Project- It is a unique Hostel project for Naval
    Widows or Veer Naris. Objective: It aims to provide rehabilitation of Naval Widows and their
    families in period immediately after unfortunate demise of their husbands serving the Indian
    Navy. The Naval Regimental System office has also been co-located at hostel premises for easy
    onsite assistance to occupants of Sahara Hostel. Project By: The project is steered by Indian
    Navy and has been built in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partnership with National
    Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC). NBCC is a Government of India (GoI) Navratna
    Enterprise that provides civil engineering construction services. Key Features: The Hostels are
    comprised of compact suites equipped with all necessary amenities for dignified living, along with
    a common Dining Hall and a Community Hall. Eligibility: Widows who have completed required
    period in Government accommodation after demise of their husbands only those are eligible to
    apply for staying in hostel for a period of one year. Extension: for staying beyond this period will
    be considered based on availability and merits of case. Importance: The hostel addresses a long
    term need felt towards rehabilitation of Naval ‘Veer Naris’ and also provides them a safe and
    secure environment which will help them rebuild their lives.
    40) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released a draft circular titled ‘Liquidity Risk Management
    Framework for NBFCs and Core Investment Companies (CICs). RBI after analysing recent
    developments in NBFC sector proposed a set of guidelines for large Non-Banking Financial
    Companies (NBFCs) to help them deal with severe liquidity problems and to prevent re-
    occurrence of IL&FS type of debt crisis. The RBI has invited stakeholder comments on draft by
    June 14. Key Highlights of Draft- Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) regime: In a phased manner,
    an LCR regime would be introduced in all deposit-taking NBFCs and non-deposit taking shadow
    banks with an asset size of Rs.5,000 crore and above. The shadow banks are non-bank financial
    intermediaries that provide services similar to traditional commercial banks but are not subject to
    regulatory oversight. Implementation: To ensure a smooth transition from current to the LCR
    regime RBI proposed that implementation will be done in a calibrated manner by a glide path
    over a period of 4 years starting from April 2020 and till April 2024. Binding Condition: LCR
    requirement would be binding on NBFCs from 1 April 2020 with minimum LCR of 60% that will
    be progressively increased in equal steps till it reaches required level of 100% by April 1, 2024.
    High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA): An NBFC shall maintain an adequate level of unencumbered
    (free from debt) HQLA which under a significantly severe liquidity stress scenario can be
    converted into cash so as to meet its liquidity needs for a 30 calendar-day time horizon. HQLA
    means liquid assets that can be immediately converted into cash or readily sold at very little or
    no loss of value or either used as collateral to obtain funds in a range of stress scenarios. Asset-
    Liability Management Committee (ALCO): would consist of NBFC’s top management and should
    be responsible for ensuring adherence to risk tolerance and limits set by Board and for
    implementing NBFC’s liquidity risk management strategy. Contingency Funding Plan (CFP):
    should be formulated by NBFC for responding to severe disruptions which may affect NBFC’s
    ability to fund some or all of its activities in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. Reason for
    Draft Guidelines- Ever since 2018 when IL&FS crisis erupted banks have been averse in lending
    to this sector, which has further put NBFC’s in a tight spot. There are rising concerns that NBFCs
    may run out of money, which will further lead to defaults. Many large NBFCs, such as DHFL and
    Indiabulls Finance came under severe liquidity pressure which compelled them to bring down
    their reliance on commercial papers (CPs). The CPs is a debt instruments which is issued by
    companies to raise funds for a time period of up to 1 year. As per estimates about Rs.1 lakh
    crore of commercial papers (CPs) raised by NBFCs from investors will be coming up for
    redemption in next 3 months. But since NBFCs are cash-strapped, there is a looming fear that
    they will default on CPs. In early May RBI also announced creating special cadre to supervise
    and regulate financial institutions, including banks and NBFCs.
    41) The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) new commercial arm called NewSpace India
    Limited (NSIL) was officially inaugurated in Bengaluru. About NewSpace India Limited (NSIL)-
    Background: on 6 March 2019, the Department of Space (DoS) registered its second commercial
    entity called NSIL in ISRO. The first commercial venture of DoS was Antrix Corporation Limited,
    which was set up in September 1992 to market products and services of Indian Space Research
    Organisation (ISRO). The NSIL was incorporated for commercially utilising research and
    development (R&D) activities carried out by ISRO in area of space. Capital: NSIL is provided an
    authorised share capital worth Rs.100 crore and initial paid up capital of Rs.10 crore. Objective:
    NSIL’s main objective is to scale up industry participation in Indian space programmes. NSIL
    Roles and Responsibilty: It will act as an aggregator for all space related activities in industry. It
    will also develop private entrepreneurship in space related technologies. It will be responsible for
    production and manufacturing of commercially successful Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)
    and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) spacecraft launchers via technology transfer
    mechanisms. It will cater to emerging global market demand of commercial SSLV and will also
    provide satellite building and satellite-based services which includes outsource assembly of
    small satellites and upcoming SSLV, supply of sub-systems for various domestic and
    international application needs. It will enable space technology spin-offs via Indian industryinterface. Upcoming Initiatives: NSIL would soon organise an interaction workshop with industry
    (in Bengaluru) where it would seek industry’s feedback and also their expression of interest to
    take a newer and larger share of work with ISRO.

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