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  • W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 27 April 2019 To 03 May 2019.
    Posted on June 25th, 2019 in Weekly Current Affairs

    W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 27 April 2019 To 03 May 2019.

    1) To commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2019, the Office
    of Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology
    Delhi (IIT Delhi) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a move to come together
    and to bring best of science and technology to implement waste management by setting up a
    Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies in India. Key Highlights: The waste to
    wealth mission project has been approved under Prime Minister’s Science Technology and
    Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). The GoI and IIT-Delhi partnership will provide an
    effective platform for stakeholders to bring together integrated approaches for effective
    recycle, reuse and resource recovery of waste. IIT Delhi had already identified waste to wealth
    as a focus area and many of its faculty members are already working on a variety of projects
    related to waste management. The focus is to consolidate all possible Waste to Wealth
    Technologies, learn from best practices followed worldwide, and implement them at ground
    level at Indian cities. Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies: It will work for
    implementation of sustainable, scientific and technological solutions for waste management,
    by validating and deploying available technologies for transformation of waste to wealth. It will
    work on two terms of Objective: The immediate goal: is to set up an on-site pilot projects. This
    would effectively and successfully demonstrate proof of concept of technology under Indian
    condition. For this, technologies available with various national and international academias,
    industries, research laboratories and other agencies will be implemented. It will be carried out
    by a strong collaborating network between IIT Delhi, and other national and international
    stakeholders under the aegis of PSA office. The long-term goal: is to streamline waste in India
    by creating circular economic models for waste management by using big data analytics and
    frontier technologies. The outcomes would involve waste treatment and generating different
    forms of energy, resulting in making India a waste free nation, with zero greenhouse gas
    (GHG) emission and no health hazard. Under it, a waste to wealth programme management
    centre will also be set up at IIT Delhi. Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) office: It acts as a
    ‘think-tank’ and ‘action-tank’ for science, technology and innovation activities in India. It plays
    a catalytic and synergistic role to strongly connect government ministry, academia and
    industry, in evolving appropriate policies, making recommendations for relevant scientific
    departments and ministries, and implementing scientific interventions in various sectors of
    national priority. PM-STIAC: It is an overarching body with function of assessing, creating and
    implementing major scientific, technology and innovation interventions in India. It has
    identified nine national missions to address major scientific challenges in India. Through these
    nine missions, it aims to facilitate collaboration to solve complex problems and to ensure
    sustainable development. Waste to wealth is one of the 9 Missions.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 27 April 2019 To 03 May 2019.
    2) On 2 May 2019, Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu released postage stamp in New Delhi
    to commemorate 750th birth anniversary of Sri Vedanta Desikan and his great philosopher’s
    life and highly valued work. Importance: Releasing commemorative postage stamps is an
    initiative to pay tribute to great contributions of visionaries like Sri Vedanta Desikan but it also
    aims to inspire our younger generation to follow in their footsteps. It emphasizes that children
    must internalize and practice lofty ideals of humanism, peace and compassion propagated by
    the great saint and spiritual icon. Sri Vedanta Desikan: He is one of most prominent
    preceptors in ‘Sri Vaishnava’ tradition post Ramanuja period. He had authored brilliant poems,
    prose, drama, epics, commentaries, scientific texts and philosophical treatises in many
    languages, mainly Sanskrit, Tamil, Prakrit and Manipravalam. He was a multi-faceted
    personality which included philosopher, master-teacher (desikan), spiritual teacher, scientist,
    logician, poet, mathematician, literary genius, linguist, military strategist etc. The most
    essential features of his philosophy is the ‘aspect of inclusion’ which means anyone,
    irrespective of any caste or creed could join Sri Vaishnava fold. This was a truly democratizing
    movement in eradication caste distinctions. He truly worked towards shaping our Bharat into a
    “Jnana Bhoomi”. The basis of his spiritual teachings were peace and humanity.
    Achievements: He has been awarded many titles for his vast range of achievements, including
    title of ‘kavi tarkika-kesari’ (the lion amongst poets and logicians). He was celebrated as
    ‘sarva-tantra-svatantra’ (means master of all arts and crafts) and glorified as ‘ramanuja-daya-
    patram’ (the recipient of Ramanuja’s blessings). His written masterpiece ‘Rahasya Traya
    Sara’, is a treatise on Prapatti (surrendering oneself to divine). His great work ‘Paduka
    Sahasram’ shows his poetic eloquence and his mathematical ingenuity. In two verses of this
    collection, he gave a solution to mathematical problem that was solved about 500 years later
    by mathematician, Leonard Euler. His works like ‘Silpartha-Saram’, a treatise on sculpture,
    and ‘Bhugola Nirnayam’, a research text on geography showed his knowledge of the arts and
    sciences. Desikan’s ‘Subhashita Neevi’ contains a fund of moral and ethical advice which are
    still relevant and practical. His authored ‘Aahaara Niyamam’ explains how different food items
    help in maintaining healthy mind and disease-free life.
    3) The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that India’s second lunar
    mission Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to be launched between July 9 and 16 2019. The
    Chandrayaan-2’s lander will touch down near Moon’s south pole on 6th September 2019.
    About Chandrayan-2: It is India’s second lunar mission. It would be launched using India’s
    most powerful rocket GSLV MK-III from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra
    Pradesh. Mission Objective: Its payloads will collect scientific information on lunar (moon)
    topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl
    and water-ice. It has three modules (a detachable self-contained unit of a spacecraft) namely
    namely Orbiter, Lander named Vikram and Rover named Pragyan. The Orbiter and Lander
    modules will be put together as an integrated module and accommodated inside GSLV MK-III
    a three stage launch vehicle equipped to lift heaviest satellites into orbit. The Rover is
    enclosed inside the Lander. Once spacecraft is launched into earth bound orbit by GSLV MK-
    III, the integrated module will reach Moon orbit using Orbiter propulsion module. Then, the
    Vikram Lander would separate from the Orbiter and will make soft landing at a predetermined
    site close to lunar South Pole. The wheeled Pragyan Rover will roll out for carrying out
    scientific experiments on lunar surface. Instruments are mounted on Lander and Orbiter for
    carrying out scientific experiments. The data collected by them would be relayed to earth.
    Importance: Chandrayan-2 mission would land on southern pole of the moon, which is still
    unexplored by any of the countries. Therefore landing of spacecraft near lunar’s south pole
    would be historically significant as it would give ISRO opportunity to name that site on the
    moon. All the three modules namely Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) & Rover (Pragyan) are
    developed by India. Unlike Chandrayan-1 (India’s first lunar mission) launched using PSLV
    rocket and which involved only orbiting the moon, Chandryaan 2 would attempt a soft landing
    close to lunar south pole. Other Indian Crucial Space Mission: Chandrayaan-1: It was India’s
    first lunar probe mission launched by ISRO in October 2008 and operated until August 2009.
    Mangalyaan: Also known as The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is a space probe orbiting Mars
    since September 24, 2014. Chandrayaan-2: Is mission to land a rover on the moon, it was
    delayed by over a year. Aditya-L1: Mission is to the study and observation of sun’s properties.
    Gaganyaan: India’s manned space mission by 2022.
    4) The recurrent stir in the Sensex or the Sensitivity Index is a shred of evidence to the
    aggressive and versatile nature of the Indian economy. One hundred years ago the Indian
    equity market was in a mess due to the end of the speculation boom after World War I. It was
    in 1923 that the British government had set up a committee in 1923 for taking a close look at
    the daily operations of the Native Share and Stock Brokers’ Association of Bombay. It was
    that report which contained data on the first index of tradable securities which was heavily
    dominated by the textile industries. The base price as of July 1914. The report had some
    glaring complaints that there was an absence of daily official lists of data and such lists should
    also be published by the Bombay Stock Exchange on similar lines of London Stock Exchange.
    It is because of the high fluctuations seen that the need for recording the opening, closing,
    highest and lowest prices should be known. The Recurrent Stir in Sensex: 40th Anniversary of
    BSE Sensitive Index: The event has clammed a lot of media attention. Sensex was
    established in 1986 although its base had come up in 1979. Although the Reserve Bank of
    India had set up an index of traded securities a couple of years into independence the
    investors in India had to actually wait till 1986 for the generation of a reliable daily gauge of
    the movements of the market. The 30 companies which comprised the Sensex have changed
    since 1986. It is this change which offers great clues about the dynamic nature of the Indian
    Corporate Sector. The first churn of the Sensex was influenced by the Tata Group as the latter
    had six companies in the index namely- ACC, Tata Steel, Tata Power, Voltas, Indian Hotels
    and even Tata Motors. The Birla Group which was an extension of the Tata Group had almost
    five companies listed in the index namely- Grasim, Indian Rayon, Century Textiles, Hindustan
    Motors and Hindalco. The current version of Sensex has far less dominance of any groups,
    although three Tata companies are still listed on Sensex. Corporate India is much more fragile
    than is understood otherwise. The trend has been proven over the decades as only a few
    companies like Tata Motors, Hindustan Unilever, M&M, L&T, ITC etc. have only managed to
    retain their positions on the index while many big names like Kirloskar Group, the Thapar
    Group etc. have slipped out of it. Even the big infrastructure giants like Jaiprakash Associates,
    DLF, Reliance Infrastructure etc., are no longer seen in the index. The usual stirring also
    opens a window to a specific nature of Indian Economy. The preliminary version of Sensex
    was highly influenced by the manufacturing sector. As the services and other non-tradable
    sectors grew to make a mark, the role of the manufacturing sector came down considerably.
    One prominent reason for the above is that there has been a growing take over of the private
    sector over the areas which had been previously only included only in the public sector. It was
    only after 1991 reforms that the quota for private sector had opened. It is because of the latter
    that the contribution of the manufacturing sector has halved from 26 to 13 in 1988. Another
    notable trend is the decline in the number of multinational corporations especially the ones
    which have foreign origins. Only two MNCs which are currently listed on Sensex are
    Hindustan Unilever and ITC. This has resulted from the fact that many MNCs have specifically
    delisted their Indian subsidiaries and the new ones which have expanded in India have made
    a conscious choice not to list in the Indian Stock market thereby bringing down the avenues of
    investment for the Indian investors. Thus, the trends are suggestive of the fact that there is an
    apparent rise in the new generation firms in India along with a shift towards the services
    5) According to United States Commission on International Religious Freedom 2019 report, India
    saw an “overall deterioration of religious freedom conditions in 2018”. US Commission on
    International Religious Freedom is a bipartisan, independent federal government commission,
    created by International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Key Highlights of Report: India
    continues to remain a Tier II country. It is in same list since 2009. Tier II countries are those in
    which during 2018 ‘violations engaged in or tolerated by government are serious and
    characterized by at least one of the elements of systematic, ongoing, and egregious
    (horrible)’. Other Tier 2 countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt,
    Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia and Turkey. India is facing declining religious
    freedom, apart from increased securitisation and politicisation of religion. It is increasingly
    becoming difficult to separate religion and politics. It is a tactic which is sometimes intended
    by those who seek to discriminate against certain religious communities. Over the last decade
    Minorities conditions have deteriorated in country. The reason is attributed to extremist
    groups, anti-conversion laws, cow-protection groups, mob lynching, concerns that millions
    from Assam will be incorrectly left out of NRC (National Register of Citizen) and a denying
    international NGOs registration. The Chairperson of Commission, Tenzin Dorjee gave a
    dissenting view. He argued that India is an open society with a robust democratic and judiciary
    system where religious harmony exists. He cited “positive developments” like communal
    attacks dropped by 12 % in 2018 from 2017 levels, a 12% increase in budget of Ministry of
    Minority Affairs and Supreme Court’s push for a 11-point plan to counter mob violence.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 27 April 2019 To 03 May 2019.
    6) The 14th edition of the annual Sino-Indian border trade opened at Nathu La, the frontier post
    at Sino-Indian border in Sikkim. To mark the commencement of border trade, officials and
    traders of both countries (India and China) were present at the border. Key Highlights: Every
    year bilateral border trade between two countries is organised four days a week for period of
    six months, between May 1 and November 30. After a gap of 44 years, cross border trade
    was resumed on 6th, July 2006. Its reopening not only enhanced benefits of trade, but has
    also increased tourism in Sikkim and provided a means of livelihood for people of this region.
    India’s trade list comprised of two sections. Export list comprised of 36 items from dairy
    products to utensils and Import list includes a total of 20 items, namely carpets, quilts and
    jackets among others from the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). In 2018 the goods export
    from India stood at Rs 45.03 crore, while items imported from the TAR were worth Rs 3.23
    7) Pakistan will observe the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) retaliatory action on 27th February 2019
    against India as ‘Operation Swift Retort’. Key Highlights: It was mentioned at PAF’s Air Staff
    presentation, which is held quarterly every year to take stock of operational preparedness of
    the force. According to PAF, “swift response” demonstrates their firm resolve, capacity and
    capability in thwarting (opposing successfully) the criminal designs of adversary. Although it
    alarmed that its response to any new “misadventure by the adversary” (in this case India)
    would be stronger than before. The Issue: After 14 February 2019, when Pakistan based
    Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber attacked CRPF convoy in Pulwama, killing 40
    CRPF soldiers, tensions between India and Pakistan escalated. Later on February 26 Indian
    Air Force (IAF) carried out counter-terror operation (Balakot Air Strike), hitting what it claimed
    was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on 26 February 2019. Then on 27
    February the PAF retaliated and in an aerial combat between India and Pakistan, India lost its
    MiG-21 Bison aircraft and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who allegedly
    shot down PAF’s F-16 fighter aircraft was captured by Pakistan. He was later released and
    handed over to India on March 1.
    8) Rivers are a source of life and in India, this has become deadly resource due to rising levels of
    pollution in the rivers as tonnes of waste finds its way into them thereby polluting waters and
    further choking their natural flow. The pollution is a death sentence to all the flora and fauna
    who are part of the ecosystem. The Modi government did try to make some advance to
    address the issue but has miserably failed to record any progress. Factsheet: The pollution in
    Indian Rivers has gone up ever since 2015 as the Central Pollution Control Board has
    pinpointed 302 stretches of nearly 12,000 km in rivers across the country. This comprises 51
    highly contaminated stretches where the quality of water is particularly hazardous. The figures
    had shot up to 351 stretches in 2018 with 61 of them which were heavily polluted. Water is a
    state subject under our Constitution. The river waters, however, are not confined to a
    particular state and they flow across these boundaries. Also, different ministries are handling
    different aspects of the management of river waters. E.g. the Environment Ministry is
    responsible for the cleaning of rivers, while the flow of river waters is managed by the Ministry
    of Water Resources. Thus, the National River Conservation Plan which brings the state
    governments together to tackle the issue of pollution of rivers is put forth by the Environment
    Ministry. Under the Modi government, the funding for overall NRCP was reduced due to the
    focus being shifted to River Ganga. The governmental special focus on River Ganga is
    genuine as it considered as the most important river in India and also known as Holy to the
    Hindus. Ganga flows through 5 states in India namely, Uttarakhand, UP, Jharkhand, Bihar and
    finally West Bengal. Thus, a flagship programme was launched by the Modi government for

    Ganga rejuvenation. The National Ganga Council was also headed by the Prime Minister
    himself. It was under the Namame Gange programme that the government had promised to
    clean the river by 2019. The latest data by the Central Pollution Control Board states that
    there is no recorded improvement in the quality of river water. In fact, the recent data suggests
    that the pollution in Ganga has increased after three rounds of testing of the biological water
    quality was taken up at different locations across the stretch of the river between 2014 and
    2018. Also, out of the 61 live monitoring stations which had been set up in Ganga only 13
    points were deemed fit for bathing in March 2019. This data has come after the claims by the
    government of absolute sanitation of about 4,465 villages on the banks of the river. The river
    despite being polluted does not have any faecal bacteria. The governmental failure can be
    attributed to the fact that most of the funds earmarked for Namami Gange remain unspent i.e.
    the actual spending from a figure of Rs. 20,000 crores were far less. Even the Rs. 9000 crore
    which had been put aside in the last four years was not even spent half. The CAG report has
    added that the failure has been largely due to the shortage of staff and general
    mismanagement due to which the pollution kept mounting.
    9) Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange was sentenced on 1 May 2019 to 50 weeks (about 1
    year 1 month) in a British prison for breaching his bail by entering the Ecuadorian embassy in
    London. Key Facts: The 47-year-old Australian national was arrested when Ecuador
    terminated his asylum on 11th April 2019. He spent about seven years holed up in Ecuadoran
    Embassy and was found guilty of breaching the UK’s Bail Act. Ecuador granted him refuge in
    their London embassy in 2012 to avoid his extradition to Sweden on rape accusations. He
    currently faces US federal conspiracy charges in response to allegations that he conspired
    with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases, which
    is one of the largest leaks of government secrets till date. It is now up to UK to decide whether
    to extradite Assange to US where if found guilty and convicted he would face up to five years
    in US prison. Wikileaks: It was founded in 2006 by Julian Assange, an Australian computer
    programmer. The whistle-blowing website is a not for profit international media organisation. It
    obtains and publishes confidential documents and images, news leaks or classified data
    provided by anonymous sources. It has published many classified documents from film
    industry to national security and to war. It hit headlines in 2010 when it released footage of US
    soldiers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.
    10) The first part of 17th edition of bilateral exercise ‘Varuna’ 2019, is being conducted between
    Navies of India and France off the Goa coast from 1st to 10th May 2019. Varuna: Indo-French
    joint naval exercise: The joint naval exercise was first initiated in 1983 and was named as
    ‘Varuna’ in 2001. The objective behind conducting joint operations is to develop
    interoperability between two navies and to foster mutual cooperation by learning from each
    other’s best practices. It plays a vital part in Indo-French strategic partnership. It underlines
    shared interests and commitment of both nations in promoting maritime security. It is in line
    with ‘Joint Strategic Vision of India-French Cooperation’ in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) signed
    by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his state visit to
    India in 2018. VARUNA 2019: The year 2019 is 17th edition of exercise. It will be conducted in
    two phases, with  first part of Varuna 19.1, conducted off the Goa coast from 1st to 10th May
    19 and second part, Varuna 19.2, is scheduled to be held at end of May 2019 in Djibouti.
    11) The Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has barred National
    Stock Exchange (NSE) from accessing the securities market for six months and also imposed
    a fine of ₹1,000 crore on NSE in co-location case. Co-Location Case: Co-location refers to
    system wherein a broker’s server is kept in the exchange premises to reduce latency (as it
    directly influences the amount of time trader takes to interact with market), or delay in
    computing terms, while executing trades. In 2015, SEBI received complaints against NSE in
    which it was alleged that the system used by NSE to disseminate data through co-location
    facilities was partial, as it allowed users to get information before others and thereby created
    an information asymmetry between users. SEBI’s verdict in Co-Location Case: As inspected
    under the SEBI ‘Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices rules’ (PFUTP)
    Regulations, NSE was found guilty of committing fraudulent and unfair trade practice and it
    also did not exercised requisite due diligence while putting in place the TBT (tick-by-tick data
    feed) architecture, thus affecting market fairness. SEBI has barred the NSE from accessing
    the securities market for six months as its actions. It has fined NSE for almost ₹1,000 crore
    (i.e. ₹89 crore plus 12% interest) from 1 April 2014 for its alleged failure to exercise proper
    due diligence while offering co-location facility. The disgorgement amount is required to
    deposited in Investor Protection and Education Fund (IPEF). It also directed former and
    current top employees in the management of exchange to not hold any position in a stock
    exchange for a period of two to three years.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 27 April 2019 To 03 May 2019.
    12) Russian President Vladimir Putin on 2 May 2019  signed into law a “sovereign internet” bill
    which will allow Russian authorities to isolate the country’s internet. The move expands
    Government Control of Internet, is being publicly denounced by all rights groups in country.
    Key Highlights: The text of the law was published on 1 May 2019 but it will not come into
    effect until November. Russian lawmakers support the new law as deeming it necessary to
    ensure security of Russia’s online networks. It includes measures such as to create
    technology to monitor internet routing, to steer Russian internet traffic away from foreign
    servers, allegedly to prevent a foreign country from shutting it down. In March 2019, Putin
    signed another controversial law which allowed courts to fine and briefly jail people who
    showed disrespect towards authorities, and also block media for publishing “fake news”.
    These laws are part of an ongoing Kremlin clampdown on media and internet freedoms in
    which people are jailed even for sharing humorous memes. The move would also target
    largely Telegram (a popular messaging app) widely used by Russians. Criticism: It is being
    criticized as a vaguely worded bill which gives new censorship powers to government
    monitors and is aimed at restricting information and communication online. It will allow greater
    surveillance by Russian intelligence agencies, and increase ability of state authorities to
    control information. Reason: The government defended the legislation as a defensive move in
    case the United States would cut Russia off from the global Internet. Also, Russia must
    ensure its networks security after US President Donald Trump unveiled a new American
    cybersecurity strategy in 2018 which accused Russia of carrying out cyber-attacks with
    13) The United Nation Security Council (UNSC) 1267 Committee designated Pakistan-based
    Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” after China lifted its prolonged
    hold on proposal to blacklist him. The move is a huge diplomatic win for India. It is also a
    symbolic victory for India in relation to terrorism spreading from groups in Pakistan as Masood
    Azhar is considered a blue-eyed boy of ISI (Pakistan’s spy agency). Timeline: India first
    moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar in 2009 but it didn’t get nod. Later in 2016 India
    again moved the proposal with the P-3 (or group of three permanent UNSC members) the
    United States, the United Kingdom and France in UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban
    Masood Azhar. In 2017, the P3 nations again moved a similar proposal but, on all occasions
    China, a veto-wielding permanent member of UN Security Council, blocked India’s proposal
    from being adopted by Sanctions Committee. All big and small nations joined together for this
    and supported India’s move. In 2019, P-3 moved a fresh proposal to declare Azhar as a global
    terrorist at UN in wake of the Pulwama terror attack for which Jaish-e-Mohammed had
    claimed responsibility. 40 CRPF personnel were killed in attack. China again put a technical
    hold on P-3 proposal, and blocked it for the fourth time to designate Azhar.Now, China lifted
    its technical hold after it found no objection to listing proposal by US, UK and France. Masood
    Azhar: He is the mastermind behind attack on air base in Pathankot in January, 2016. He also
    claimed responsibility for 2019 Pilwama terror attack on CRPF personnel. A “global terrorist”
    designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. It will be
    implemented by all UN member states. United Nations Security Council 1267(UNSC)
    Committee: It was established when UNSC resolution 1267 was adopted unanimously on
    October 15, 1999. Listing of an individual or terrorist organization, helps in restricting their
    movement, financial penalties and assets freeze. It is also known as AlQaida and Taliban
    Sanctions Committee. It was initially established to oversee implementation of sanctions
    measures imposed on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for its support of Osama bin Laden.
    Later modified and strengthened by subsequent resolutions, it now is a consolidated list of
    people and entities which it has determined are associated with Al Qaeda or Taliban, and laws
    which must be passed within each member nation to implement sanctions. Since Masood
    Azhar has been linked to Osama bin Laden he can be sanctioned under it. It comprises of all
    15 members of UNSC and makes its decision secretly by consensus i.e. even if single
    member opposes there is no consensus. This is why China opposition to India’s bid was not
    allowing UNSC to designate Masood Azhar as an international terrorist.
    14) Indian Army posted photographs of “mysterious footprints” that measure about 32×15 inches,
    on Twitter claiming that its Mountaineering Expedition team to Mt Makalu (8485m, is 5th
    highest mountain in world) sighted “the mythical beast Yeti”. Yeti: It is a mythical creature who
    is believed to exist in Himalayan areas of India, Nepal and Tibet. The term “Yeti” is taken from
    Nepali dictionary which means ‘abominable snowman’. It is also known as ‘Meh-The’ in
    Tibetan folklore. Yeti has many proposed characteristics, like according to urban legends, it is
    a two legged white, shaggy ape-like animal and is described to be about 10-20 feet tall. While
    according to locals, it resembles a race of wild, hairy men found in the “wildest and most
    inaccessible mountains”. Existence Proof: The debate on Yeti’s existence is going on since
    last century. There is no authentic evidence of its existence. Since it has never been sighted
    or captured, and most scientists believe that no such creature exists. In 1921, British explorer
    Charles Howard-Bury claimed to have found footsteps of Yeti near Lakhpa La pass (or
    Lhagba La is about 7km northeast of Mount Everest in Tibet Autonomous Region) while on an
    expedition in Himalayas. In 2013, the National Geographic released a documentary on ‘legend
    of Yeti in Himalayas’. Although Yeti has already been recreated several times in popular
    culture, folklore and cartoons. In 2019 debate has resurfaced again when Indian Army has
    claimed it discovered fresh “mysterious footprints” of Yeti during an Army expedition.
    15) The Geological Survey of India (GSI) North Eastern Region (NER) installed two geological
    display boards at two important geological sites in Meghalaya. Highlights: The boards are
    unveiled at Meghalaya’s two important geological sites namely Mawmluh cave and
    Therriaghat, Sobhar in East Khasi Hill District. These geological display boards with geo-
    scientific information will help in creating awareness among visiting tourists, students and
    general public. They will help preserve site and also help future generation will be aware of
    such geological developments. Mawmluh Cave: Their importance was highlighted recently
    when high resolution stable isotopic studies of stalagmites from cave showed that there was a
    major climatic event about 4200 years ago. The stalagmite in Mawmluh cave has been tagged
    as Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP). It makes it first formally ratified marker of a
    geological time period in India. The Meghalayan Age period began about 4200 years ago
    experienced an abrupt mega-drought and cooling around the world. Therriaghat: It marks
    Cretaceous (K)-Palaeogene (Pg) mass extinction event. The Um-Sohryngkew (Wahrew) river
    section at Therriaghat is known for having the most complete records of Cretaceous-
    Palaeogene (K-Pg) boundary transition in India. There is also a high level of iridium metal
    from the boundary which marks catastrophic event when a giant meteorite hit earth.
    16) Naruhito became Japan’s new Emperor after historic abdication of his father Akihito. Emperor
    Naruhito’s ascending of Chrysanthemum Throne marked beginning of “Reiwa” era in Japan
    which takes effect from May 1, 2019. Naruhito (59-year old) became Japan’s new Emperor
    after historic abdication (first in more than 200 years) of his father Akihito. He is nation’s 126th
    emperor in world’s oldest hereditary monarchy (from 5th century). Akihito (now 85 years old),
    took throne in 1989. He devoted his career correcting for a war fought in his father’s name. He
    even brought the aloof monarchy closer to people. He is first emperor in Japan’s modern
    history whose era did not have a war. Japan has witnessed a large amount of changes from
    1989 (when it last ushered in new era). Its major recent concern is battling sluggish growth,
    chronically low inflation coupled with ageing population. With population in continuous decline,
    Japan will soon become world’s first “ultra-aged” society, with 28% of people over 65 years of
    age.  Reiwa: Stepping down of Emperor Akihito brings his “Heisei” era to an end and
    beginning of new “Reiwa” era with Naruhito’s accession. The term “Reiwa” means “Beautiful
    Harmony”. It is derived from “Manyoshu”, an anthology of Japanese poems dating back 1,200
    years that symbolises Japan’s profound public culture and long tradition. It is the first time that
    the era name (also known as “gengo”) has been taken from a Japanese document, and not
    from Chinese classics, which is a break from more than 1,300 years old practice. In a highly
    digitalized and globalized society while most Japanese prefer Western calendar over
    Japanese system, the era name is still widely used in government and business documents.
    Most elders often use it to identify their generations.
    17) Indian archaeologists recently unearthed a rare life-sized stucco sculpture from a Buddhist
    site at Phanigiri in Suryapet, Telangana. Key Features of Stucco Sculpture: Till date it is the
    biggest stucco sculpture found in India. It is about 1.73 metres in height and 35 cm in width.
    As per archaeologists, the life-size figurine represents a Bhodhisattva in Jathaka Chakra. It
    was created nearly 1,700 years ago by craftsmen at Phanigiri at peak of Ikshavaku dynasty.
    About Stucco: It is a material made from aggregates, binder, and water. It is applied wet and
    hardens in to a very dense solid. Traditional stucco is made of sand, water and lime while
    Modern stucco is made of sand, water and Portland cement. To increase permeability and
    workability of modern stucco, Lime is added to it. Uses: It is used as a decorative coating for
    walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture. NOTE:
    Bhodhisattva: In Buddhism is any person who has attained bodhichitta (or Enlightenment) and
    is on path to reach nirvana (moksha) but delays doing so for compassion of suffering beings.
    The Ikshvaku dynasty: As per Puranic literature, it was founded by king Ikshvaku. It is also
    known as Sūryavaṁśa (the Solar dynasty). Important Personalities belonging to this dynasty
    includes: Lord Rama, Twenty-two out of twenty-four Jain Tirthankara, and according to
    Buddhist texts, Prince Siddhartha also belonged to this dynasty.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 27 April 2019 To 03 May 2019.

    18) The International Jazz Day was globally observed on April 30. The 2019 edition was launched
    in Australia and was celebrated in more than 190 countries around the world. International
    Jazz Day: It is celebrated worldwide on April 30 every year to recognize jazz and diplomatic
    role it plays in uniting people. It is at the end of Jazz appreciation month which raises
    awareness about extraordinary history and heritage of Jazz throughout April. UNESCO
    designated 30 April as International Jazz Day in year 2011, in an effort to highlight role of jazz
    in uniting people across the globe. The idea for day was given by Herbie Hancock, jazz pianist
    and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Jazz Day is chaired by Hancock and the UNESCO
    Director-General (currently Audrey Azoulay). The day honours jazz, its enduring legacy, and
    recognizes power of music to bring people together. It is to raise international awareness of
    need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. Significance: It is observed so that
    worldwide communities, artists, schools, academics, historians and jazz enthusiasts come
    together and celebrate jazz’s roots, history, future and how it brings people together. It aims to
    raise awareness about importance of intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. It is
    recognized for promoting dialogues among cultures, diversity, respect for human rights,
    eradicating discrimination and gender bias and promoting peace. It also highlights role of
    youth in enacting social change all over the world. Jazz: It is a form of music which was born
    in New Orleans, US in late 1800s and early 1900s. Since then, it has been spreading around
    the world and has evolved into many different types of jazz music. The saxophone is a staple
    instrument in jazz, which is also popular in pop and rock, and other genres.
    19) India will mark its second appearance world’s oldest Biennale Art event to be held in Venice,
    Italy. This year 2019 is its 58th session in which, 16 out of 400 Haripura session posters will
    go up on walls of India pavilion at 58th Venice Biennale. Many countries such as Pakistan and
    Ghana will host pavilions for first time. India’s Participation: India is participating in event after
    a gap of eight years. This will be only second time India will have a pavilion of its own at
    Venice Biennale. India decided to showcase Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi to ensure
    a memorable show at art event. India’s pavilion will be putting 16 Haripura posters on its walls.
    The task force for Arts of the Confederation of Indian Industry, will be propelled by Kiran
    Nadar Museum of Arts (KNMA), and seven Indian artists will be shown at India Pavilion. The
    Ministry of Culture, Government of India has laid down theme for the Indian Pavilion as ‘150
    years of Mahatma Gandhi’. In 1938, Mahatma Gandhi commissioned Indian modern artist
    Nandalal Bose to create 400 posters portraying different aspects of Indian life to be displayed
    at Indian National Congress’ session in Haripura, Gujarat. 58th Venice Biennale 2019:
    Duration: It will take place for 6 months period from 11 May 2019 till 24November 2019.
    Theme for Biennale 2019 is ‘Our Time for a Future Caring’. The 58th International Art
    Exhibitions overarching title is ‘May You Live In Interesting Times’. The Venice Biennale: It is
    one of the biggest art events in the world, inaugurated in 8195 and organized by Biennale
    Foundation. It is a Biennial event means it is held every two years. It focuses on contemporary
    art, and includes events for art, contemporary dance, architecture, cinema and theatre.
    20) Israel honors 1971 war (Bangladesh’s Liberation War) hero Lt. Gen. (retd) Jack Farj Rafael
    (JFR) Jacob with a plaque on Wall of Honour at the Ammunition Hill, Israel. JFR Jacob: He
    was one of the most prominent members of India’s relatively small Jewish community, who
    served as a Lieutenant General in Indian Army and as the chief of staff of Indian Army’s
    Eastern Command. He also fought in World War II and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. He
    negotiated the historic surrender of Pakistani troops in Dhaka after the 1971 war. He later
    became Governor of two Indian states Goa and Punjab. He died in 2016 at the age of 92. The
    Wall of Honour: It pays tributes to heroism and courage of Jewish soldiers who fought in
    defence of the countries they lived in. It also honors their embodied virtues like values of
    bravery, loyalty, commitment and dedication to a mission, leadership, creativity, camaraderie
    and sanctity of life. The Wall has plaques honoring more than 340 people namely privates,
    high ranking army officers, women, front line fighters and humble members of supporting units
    who implemented these virtues. It has one more plaque honoring Lt. Gen. Joseph ‘Jerry’
    Jhirad, an Indian Jewish soldier, who died in 1965 war against Pakistan. The 90-feet high
    structure with a flag was donated by Sam Marshall, an Indian Jew, who in association with
    India-born Jewish Judge, Abe Sofaer of US initiated move to honour Lt. Gen. Jacob at Wall of
    Honour. Ammunition Hill: It was a fortified Jordanian military post in northern part of Jordanian
    ruled East Jerusalem. It is the site of one of fiercest battles during Six Day War (Arab–Israeli
    War 1967) in Israel lost 21 soldiers but emerged victorious. It has become a national memorial
    site where young soldiers and officers are inducted into Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and
    salute Israeli flag.
    21) Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Automotive Research Association of India
    (ARAI) signed MoU (Memorandum of understanding) for cooperation on projects related to e-
    mobility. Importance: BHEL’s unique strength as technology developer and implementer and
    ARAI’s expertise and advanced facilities in design, testing and certification of mobility
    products, will efficiently generate synergies in implementing solutions for Electric & Trolley
    Bus, EV Chargers, Battery & Charger testing, etc. Electro mobility (e-mobility): It refers to
    development of electric-powered or electronic driven vehicles, and moving away from
    traditional vehicle design which uses fossil fuels and oils. It includes fully electric vehicles and
    hybrid electric vehicles. BHEL: It was established in 1964 an engineering and manufacturing
    company. It is owned and founded by Government of India with headquarters in New Delhi. It
    is India’s largest power generation equipment manufacturer. ARAI: Established in 1966 it is
    India’s leading automotive R&D organization set up by the Automotive Industry with the
    Government of India. It is an autonomous body affiliated to Ministry of Heavy Industries and
    Public Enterprises (MOHI&PE, administers 48 central public sector enterprises (PSEs)). The
    Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology
    (MoS&T), recognized ARAI as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO). It is a
    prime Testing and Certification Agency notified by Government of India under Rule 126 of
    Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
    22) Recently, an international collaboration of 20 research organizations led by Hyderabad-based
    International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) identified climate
    resilient genes in chickpea. They cracked genetic code to develop climate resilient chickpea
    with genes for heat tolerance and genes for drought tolerance. Key Findings: Scientists study
    based on complete genome sequencing of 429 chickpea lines from 45 different countries,
    identified that chickpea has four important genes for heat tolerance and three important genes
    for drought tolerance. Application: Identification of these climate-resistant genes will help in
    developing newer chickpea varieties which can tolerate temperatures up to 38°C. The
    identification of other genes with important agronomic traits (high yield, test weight, kernel
    weight, maturity, plant height, and lodging resistance) will help in increasing crop yield and
    providing better resistance to pests and diseases. Chickpea: It is an annual legume of
    Fabaceae family and is highly rich in protein. It is also known by name of gram, Bengal Gram,
    Garbanzo, Garbanzo bean, and Egyptian pea. It is a cool season crop. In India, it is sown in
    September-October and harvested in January-February. In 2016, India produced 64% of
    world’s total chickpeas. More than 90% of chickpea cultivation area is in South Asia, including
    India as it is important in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It originated in
    Mediterranean/south-west Asia and migrated to south Asia. Globally, more than 70% of its
    yield is lost due to drought and increasing temperatures. ICRISAT: The International Crops
    Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics- It is an international non-profit organization
    whichundertakes agricultural research for rural development in the semi-arid tropics (SAT)
    region. It was established in 1972, and its charter was signed by the Food Agriculture
    Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is
    headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It performs crop improvement research on
    crops like Chickpea, Pigeonpea, Groundnut, Pearl millet, Sorghum, Finger Millet and Small
    millets. The Semi-Arid Tropics (SAT) region: It is a region characterised by highly variable, low
    to medium rainfall, poor soils, and lack of irrigation, thus considered to be a less favoured area
    23) Former US Judge Damon J Keith, a grandson of slaves and icon in civil rights movement died
    in Detroit at the age of 96. He was born in 1922. He even being a grandson of enslaved
    people, later became sixth African American in U.S. history to serve on federal court of
    appeals. Lifetime Achievements: He never retired and died incumbent in office. He served for
    more than 50 years in federal courts, and even at age of 94 he heard cases about four times
    in one year at 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals (or circuit courts are intermediate appellate
    courts of US federal court system) in Cincinnati, Ohio and issued dissent in voting rights case.
    During his time as judge he made series of landmark decisions that changed social and legal
    landscape of US. Some of them are- He rejected government’s claim of having authority to
    conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant on anyone it considered as national security
    threat. Stopping Illegal Government Wiretaps: As a federal judge he gave judgement in
    warrantless wiretapping case against Richard Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell in
    1971. He rejected government’s claim of having authority to conduct electronic surveillance
    without a warrant on anyone it considered as national security threat. Nixon administration
    which was in middle of social turmoil over Vietnam War, later sued Keith personally in famous
    “the Keith case”. Secret Deportation Hearings: One year after 9/11 attacks, while serving on
    federal court of appeals, he gave judgement against Bush administrations conducting
    deportation hearings of terrorism suspects in secret using blanket national security
    justification, in which he coined iconic phrase “democracies die behind closed doors”.
    24) Barcelona FC has won Spanish La Liga title 2019 by defeating Levante FC by 1-0 goals. In
    the final match held at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain. the lone winning goal for Barcelona
    was scored by club’s Argentine superstar and team captain Lionel Messi at 61st minute. This
    was Barcelona’s overall 26th La Liga league title in club history and eight in last 11 years.
    About La Liga: It is one of world’s most popular men’s top professional football division of
    Spanish football league. It was founded in 1929. It is also known as Liga de Fútbol Profesional
    (LFP) or The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División. Each season lasts from
    August to May, with 20 teams contesting. Each club plays every other club twice, once at
    home and once away, for 38 matchdays.
    25) On May 1, Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria will take over as Vice Chief of Indian
    Air Force, after superannuation of incumbent Air Marshal Anil Khosla. Post induction he will be
    looking after all air operations being carried out by force. Service and Tenure: RKS Bhadauria
    was commissioned into India Air Force fighter stream on 15 June 1980 with the Sword of
    Honour. He has held important designations like Commandant of National Defence Academy,
    Senior Air Staff Officer at Central Air Command and Deputy Chief of Air Staff from January
    2016 to February 28, 2017. As Deputy Chief, he was chairman of Indian negotiating team for
    36 Rafale combat aircraft deal with France. From March 2017 till august 2018, he served as
    Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command. He currently heads
    IAF’s Bengaluru-based Training Command. Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS): The VCAS is
    second-highest ranking Officer in Indian Air Force (IAF). It is a three-star appointment and is
    held by an Air Officer of the rank of Air Marshal. He serves as Principal Staff Officer (PSO) at
    Air Headquarters, New Delhi. His responsibilities include operations and flying related tasks.
    The VCAS assumes duties and responsibilities of Chief of Air Staff (CAS) in event of his
    absence or is unable to perform his duties.
    26) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena used his emergency powers to issue an order to
    ban burqa, veil or covering of face in public places in any manner which prevents anyone from
    being identified. Key Highlights: The order which came into immediate effect explicitly defines
    that any garment or item which obstructs identification of an individual’s face is barred. It is
    placed to ensure national security, establish peaceful and cohesive society and not aimed at
    inconvenience to any community people. Reason: The decision was taken in aftermath of
    Easter Sunday blasts which took place across eight locations, including three prominent
    churches and three hotels in island nation, in which more than 250 people were killed. In a bid
    to help stabilize security situation, some Muslim organisations came forward and suggested a
    ban on burqa. Even local Muslim clerics urged their women not to cover their faces in
    escalating fears of backlash after the attacks. Most Sri Lankan Muslims practice liberal form of
    religion, with only very small percentage of women wearing niqab (a full face veil). Religious
    Demography in Sri Lanka: With only 21 million population Sri Lanka is a multi-religious nation
    with mix ethnicities, and is dominated by Sinhalese Buddhist majority. As per 2012 census
    70.1% of population is Buddhists, 12.6% Hindus, 9.7% Muslims and 7.6% Christians. With
    most Sinhalese being Buddhist, most Tamils are Hindu and Moors and Malays are mostly
    27) Three Indians Menaka Guruswamy, Arundhati Katju and Mukesh Ambani have featured into
    TIME 100 Most Influential People list of 2019. Global prominent names that have featured in
    this list included US President Donald Trump, China President Xi Jinping, Pakistan Prime
    Minister Imran Khan, Pope Francis, golfer Tiger Woods and Facebook founder Mark
    Zuckerberg. Mukesh Ambani: He is Chairman and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries
    Limited (RIL), a Fortune Global 500 company. It is most valuable Indian company in terms of
    its market value. Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju: They are Indian women lawyers
    who lead the legal battle to strike down colonial era’s Section 377 of Indian Penal Code (IPC),
    which criminalized gay sex. In September 2018, Supreme Court in  unanimous decision partly
    struck down IPC Section 377, thus removing ban imposed on consensual gay sex and
    affirming human rights of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community.
    Time 100 most influential list: It is list of 100 most influential people in world released annually
    by US-based ‘Time’ news magazine. It was first published in 1999. Its entrants are recognized
    for changing world, regardless of consequences of their actions. The list has now become
    highly publicized event, as appearance on list is seen as global honor.
    28) A team of researcher at IIT-Madras headed by Professor V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy,
    developed a method for reading documents in Bharati Script by using a multi-lingual optical
    character recognition (OCR) scheme. About Bharati: It is a unified script for nine Indian
    languages which is being proposed as a common script for India. The integrated script
    includes Devnagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and
    Tamil. Urdu and English were not integrated so far because of their very different phonetic
    organisation. Why was it needed? Many European languages (English, French, German,
    Italian etc.) use Roman script as a common script, which eases communication across all
    nations that speak and write those languages. Similarly in a diverse nation like ours a
    common script for entire country can be hoped to bring down many communication barriers
    existing in India. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Schemes: First it involves
    separating/segmenting document into text and non-text. The text is then further divided into
    paragraphs, sentences words and letters. Each letter is recognized as character in some
    recognisable format like ASCII or Unicode. Each letter has different components like basic
    consonant, consonant modifiers, vowels etc. In Bharati Script characters these different
    components are separable by design, therefore, OCR works quite accurately, giving almost
    100% accuracy even with mild noise added. Other Undergoing Projects at IIT Madras: In
    collaboration with TCS Mumbai, they created a universal finger-spelling language for nine
    Indian language and using this finger-spelling technique persons with hearing disability can
    generate signatures or a sign language. Other plans include developing new Braille system
    with Bharati script.
    29) With wheat production at record high, government has raised import duty on wheat from
    existing 30% to 40% to support local farmers interest. The higher duty will help offtake of
    domestically produced grain by discouraging milers to import wheat but to buy local produce
    and help protect farm prices. The oversupply in domestic market due to back to back bumper
    production of food grains has put wheat prices under pressure. Key Highlights: India’s wheat
    production for 2018-19 crop year (which runs from July to June) is 2% higher than 2018, at a
    recored production of 99.12 million tonnes. Food Corporation of India (FCI) which holds
    government’s wheat stocks already had 16.99 million tonnes in April and after next purchase
    by government its stock could reach 57  million tonnes by May end. Reason for bumper
    production: In a bid to improve farm income government raised minimum support price (MSP)
    of wheat (rate at which FCI buys from farmers) by 6% (Rs.1,840 per 100 kg for 2019), which
    acted as a benchmark for open market in wheat. For similar bumper crop in 2018, government
    increased import duty on wheat from 20% to 30% which resulted in sharp drop in wheat
    import. In past India has imported wheat from Australia, Ukraine and Russia, but with global
    prices in addition to 40% duty would make import virtually impossible. Earlier, in concern of its
    farm duty rates as well as on subsidies it gives to farmers, In past Australia has taken India to
    WTO’s arbitration panel on its farm duty rates and subsidies given to farmers, but it hardly
    affects because India by right can raise duties on wheat up to 80% under a bound rate
    agreement it has signed at WTO. Wheat: Wheat is India’s staple food, placed second to rice.
    Uttar Pradesh is the largest wheat producing state in India followed by Punjab, Haryana,
    Madhya Pradesh. India is second largest producer of wheat in the world. China is world’s
    largest producer, followed by India, Russia, and the United states. Food Corporation of India:
    It is a statutory non-profit organization founded and run by Government of India and also run
    by state Governments. It was created in 1965 under Food Corporations Act 1964, to
    implement objectives of National Food Policy. Initially headquartered at Chennai it was later
    shifted to New Delhi. As it is a state-owned enterprise, it has presence in every state in India.
    FCI Objectives: Safeguarding farmers interests by providing them remunerative prices.
    Making food grains available at reasonable prices throughout the country (for public
    distribution system), particularly for vulnerable section of society. Intervening in market for
    price stabilization. Maintaining buffer stocks as a measure of Food Security.

    Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Current Affairs – 27 April 2019 To 03 May 2019.
    30) The World Day for Safety and Health at Work was observed by The International Labour
    Organization (ILO) on 28 April 2019. It is observed annually since 2003, as an international
    awareness-raising campaign to focus international attention on emerging trends in fields of
    occupational safety and health and on magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and
    fatalities worldwide. World Day for Safety and Health at Work: It is an integral part of Global
    Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of ILO, as documented in Conclusions of
    International Labour Conference in 2003. It aims to promote prevention of occupational
    accidents and diseases globally. The World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2019 edition is
    Inspired by ILO’s centenary (1919-2019), and attempts to take stock of its 100 years of work
    in improving occupational safety and health. It also looks into future for continuing these
    efforts by major changes such as technology (digitalisation and ICT, platform work,
    automation and robotics), demographics, globalization, sustainable development including
    climate change and changes in work organization. According to ILO, a national occupational
    safety and health culture is where- Employees right to safe and healthy working environment
    is respected throughtout levels. A system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties, is used
    by governments, employers and workers to actively participate in securing safe and healthy
    working environment. ‘Principle Of Prevention’ is accorded highest priority. International
    Labour Organization (ILO): It is the only tripartite U.N. agency, established in 1919 as an
    agency of the League of Nations. With 187 member States, it is headquartered in Geneva,
    Switzerland. It brings together governments, employers and workers of its members to set
    labour standards, make policies and develop programmes which will promote decent work
    opportunities for all women and men. Its principal means of action is to set up International
    standards in form of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol. Till date India has ratified
    45 Conventions, of which 42 are in force. India is a founding member of ILO. Note: Since
    1996, 28 April is also observed as ‘International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured
    Workers’ organized worldwide by trade union movement.
    31) India finished top of medal tally at ISSF World Cup Rifle/ Pistol 2019 edition held in Beijing,
    China. Even after drawing a blank on final day India still topped the chart for second
    consecutive ISSF World Cup, third time in last two years. In last edition of Shooting World Cup
    held in New Delhi, India jointly topped standings with Hungary. ISSF World Cup Rifle 2019:
    With its four medals (3 gold and 1 silver medals) India topped medals tally ahead of hosts
    China (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), who won five medals in total. With this win India has now
    secured a total of five 2020 Tokyo Olympic quotas places. Teenage pair of Saurabh
    Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker won gold in 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team Pistol event. Anjum
    Moudgil and young Divyansh Singh Panwar won gold in 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team
    competition. Divyansh Singh Panwar won India’s first individual medal by winning silver in
    men’s 10m Air Rifle. India’s third gold was won by Abhishek Verma in men’s 10m Air Pistol
    32) India’s Bajrang Punia is first Indian wrestler to be invited by American wrestling body for a
    special fight at iconic Madison Square Garden in New York, US. He will be among other top
    wrestlers selected by American governing body for 6 May 2019 tournament. He will take on
    two-time US national champion Yianni Diakomahlis in “Grapple at the Garden” Beat the
    Streets fight night event, which has become a major showcase for international wrestling since
    2010. Achievements: The 25-year-old, currently holds World No.1 title in 65-kg weight
    category freestyle wrestling. He has won eight gold medals from his earlier nine international
    tournaments including 2018’s Commonwealth and Asian Games. He also registered only gold
    medal won by India in recently concluded Asian Wrestling Championships, in 65kg men’s
    freestyle category.
    33) Gagandeep Kang becomes first Indian woman scientist to be awarded Fellowship of the Royal
    Society (FRS), United Kingdom. Gagandeep Kang: She is a clinician scientist, who is well
    known for her key role in development of Rotavac. She currently appointed as executive
    director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad, which is
    an autonomous institute of Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
    In 2016, she was conferred prestigious Infosys Prize in Life Sciences for her contributions in
    understanding natural history of rotavirus and other infectious diseases. She is also first Indian
    and first woman to edit Manson’s Textbook of Tropical Medicine. Rotavac: It is India’s first
    indigenously developed vaccine for rotavirus infections, which is responsible for childhood
    diarrhea. The Rotavac was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited and Pune-
    based Serum International also developed a rotavirus vaccine called Rabishield. Both of them
    are included in India’s Immunisation Programme. In January 2018, World Health Organisation
    (WHO) “pre-qualified” the Rotavac vaccine, which means that vaccine could be sold
    internationally to other countries in Africa and South America. Fellowship of the Royal Society:
    It is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence since 1663. It is an award
    sponsored by Royal Society of London and also known as FRS, ForMemRS and HonFRS. It
    is granted to individuals who made substantial contribution to improvement of natural
    knowledge in fields of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and
    medical science. It has been awarded to many eminent scientists approximately 8000 in total
    with 1675 living right now, including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Ernest
    Rutherford, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill etc.
    34) All India Football Federation (AIFF) recommended names of National team footballers
    Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Jeje Lalpekhlua for the prestigious Arjuna Award 2019. AIFF has
    been pushing Sandhu and Jeje cases since 2017 but Arjuna Award committee didn’t approve
    their claims in past two years. In 2017 AIFF recommended Sandhu and Jeje names along with
    then Indian women’s team captain Bembem Devi, but Arjuna Award committee didn’t approve
    their claims in past two years and only Devi was conferred with the award. Again in2018 they
    did not receive the approval. After Sunil Chhetri, Sandhu and Jeje are Indian national team’s
    longest serving footballers. Sunil has received both Arjuna and Padma Shri. Also, Sandhu is
    only second footballer ( after Sunil Chhetri) in India to play Asian Cup final rounds twice in
    2011 and 2019. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu: He currently plays for Bengaluru FC and had earlier
    played for Norwegian side Stabaek. He set a unique record in 2016, by becoming first Indian
    footballer to play competitive match in European top division league. Jeje Lalpekhlua: He
    currently plays for Chennaiyin FC in ISL (Indian Super League). The 28-year-old from
    Mizoram has 23 international goals to his credit and is an exceptionally talented striker. He
    was inducted in national team in 2011 by then coach Bob Houghton. He currently plays for
    Chennaiyin FC in the ISL. Arjuna Award: Instituted in 1961, it is India’s second highest
    sporting award after Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. It is bestowed upon sportsperson for
    consistently outstanding performance for four years. It is bestowed upon sportsperson in
    recognition of their consistently outstanding performance for four years in National sports. It is
    confered by Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and award carries bronze statuette of
    Arjuna, a scroll and a monetary award of 5 lakh rupees.
    35) India finished Asian Wrestling Championships tournament held in Xian, China with a total of
    16 medals which included eight (one gold, three silver and four bronze) won by men’s
    freestyle wrestlers, four bronze by women and three silver and one bronze by Greco-Roman
    wrestlers. Key Highlights: India bagged two silver medals in Asian Wrestling Championships
    in Xian, China in men’s Greco-Roman category. Wrestler Gurpreet Singh finished with second
    spot and won India a silver medal in Greco-Roman 77kg category after facing a 0-8 defeat by
    Hyeonwoo Kim of Korea in the finale. Sunil Kumar in men’s 87kg category, registered victory
    in semi finale bout against Azamat Kustubayev of Kazakhstan with 6-6 but defeated by
    Hossein Ahmad Nouri of Iran in final clash. India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers performed better
    than last edition where they clinched only a couple of bronze medals by Rajender Kumar
    (55kg) and Harpreet Singh (82kg). Harpreet Singh won silver in 82kg after defeating Iran’s
    Saeid Morad Abdvali. while Gyanender won bronze in 60kg after beating Jui Chi Huang of
    Taipeion final day. Only Bajrang Punia won gold medal after defeating Kazakhstan’s Sayatbek
    Okassov by 12-7 in 65kg men’s free style. Asian Wrestling Championships: It is Wrestling
    Asian Championship organized by Asian Associated Wrestling Committee (AAWC). In 1979
    men’s tournament began and in 1996 women’s tournament was first staged, after that it is
    held every year.
    36) Facebook announced ban on personality quiz apps on its platform. The decision is taken after
    last years Cambridge Analytica Scandal, which helped researcher’s to access personal
    information of about 87 million facebooks users by using quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife”. Such
    move is part of broader crackdown by Facebook on dubious developers. Key Highlights:
    Facebook is updating its platform policies to include provisions that apps with minimal utility,
    such as personality quizzes, may not be permitted on the platform. The apps may not ask for
    data that doesn’t enrich the in-app, user experience on the social media platform. It includes
    removing access to number of application programming interfaces (APIs), updating platform
    policies, regularly evaluating app’s access to user permissions. It will also lock down older
    (APIs) from accessing user data. If user has previously approved permissions which app has
    not used or accessed in past 90 days may be considered expired and access to such expired
    permissions will be revoked. It will also periodically review, audit and remove permissions that
    older apps have not used. Cambridge Analytica Scandal: Cambridge University (UK)
    researcher Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research created an app
    called “thisisyourdigitallife” in 2014. It paid its users to give psychological test and app
    collected data. It also collected data on person’s Facebook friends. A. Kogan further passed
    this data to British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, thus millions of Facebook
    profiles were mined for data. Later, Kogan with Cambridge Analytica created software solution
    to help influence choices in elections. US 2016 Election Mendeling: Facebook data was also
    used to develop “psychographic” (means, qualitative methodology used to describe
    consumers on psychological attributes) profiles of people and deliver pro-Trump material to
    them online during 2016 US Presidential elections.
    37) According to research study conducted by Rutgers University in US and published in Journal
    of Nature, marine ecosystem and sea creatures are most affected by global warming. It is first
    research which compares cold-blooded marine and land species sensitivity to global warming
    and their ability of finding refuge from heat even while staying in their normal habitats. It
    studied worldwide research on nearly 400 species from lizards and fish to spiders.
    Researchers calculated safe conditions for 88 marine and 294 land species and coolest
    temperatures available to each species during hottest parts of year. Key finding: According to
    study, global warming can wipe out two times more ocean-dwelling species than land and
    dwelling species from their habitats. Vulnerability faced by sea creatures might impact human
    communities relying on fish and shellfish for food and economic activity. Loss of marine
    population can deplete species genetic diversity, cascade impacts on their predators and prey
    and can alter ecosystems that benefits human society. Reason: It is because unlike land
    animals who can hide from heat in forests, shaded areas or underground, many sea animals
    are not open to such luxury. On average this makes marine species, more likely to live on
    edge of dangerously high temperatures. Consequences: Loss of population can deplete
    species’ genetic diversity, have cascading impacts on their predators and prey and may
    significantly impact human communities that rely on fish and shellfish for food and economic
    activity. Way Forward: If oceans will continue supporting human well-being, nutrition and
    economic activity, then new conservation efforts and more research will be required. Also,
    with advancement of climate change, it is important to develop understanding about which
    species and ecosystems will be most severely affected by global warming, as it will further
    guide conservation and management efforts. Marine Ecosystem: They are Earth’s largest
    aquatic ecosystems and are most prevalent out of all types of ecosystems on planet. They
    have a high salt content in contrast with freshwater ecosystems, which have lower salt
    content. They are filled with life, provide nearly half of Earth’s oxygen and are home to wide
    varieties of species.
    38) The “Politics of Jugaad: The Coalition Handbook” new book authored by journalist Saba Naqvi
    examines possibility of coalition government after 2019 Lok Sabha polls. About Book: It
    examines coalition government history in India to project possibility at the end of 2019 Lok
    Sabha election. It questions whether ‘coalitions’ are inevitable even when they have been
    proved unstable, or whether they hold promise of greater democratization in our diverse
    nation. It also analyses possibilities of coalition formation in different states and their chances
    of success and failure. It strikes perfect balance between argument and prose, and discusses
    possible direction in politics and policy of India’s next coalition government. It also elaborates
    nature of transformation in Indian political parties and their role in contemporary times. About
    Author: Saba Naqvi is one of India’s renowned journalists, best known author and political
    analyst. Other books written by her include In Good Faith (2012), Capital Conquest (2015),
    and Shades of Saffron (2018).
    39) IT service management company Financial Software Services (FSS) has launched real time
    voice banking platform called FSS voice commerce. It uses machine-learning language
    processing techniques and offers meaningful, contextual, and personalized banking
    interactions to customers. Benefits of FSS Voice Commerce: It provides secure financial
    transactions to prevent fraud and maintain integrity of transaction ecosystem it supports out-
    of-band multi-factor authentication like one-time passcodes (OTP) and biometrics. It also
    delivers conversation-led banking by enabling customers to block cards, check rate of interest
    (RoI) for personal loan, real-time information of account and balance and make payment using
    Alexa or Google Assistant.
    40) Army General (Retd.) Dalbir Singh Suhag was appointed as High Commissioner of India to
    Republic of Seychelles. His appointment comes at the time when military ties between India
    and island nation have deepened in recent times. Dalbir Singh Suhag was Chief of Army Staff
    (CoAS) i.e. Army General from August 2014 to December 2016. Appointment of former
    defence personnel as envoy to countries is not new. Previously, Indian Navy Chief Nirmal
    Kumar Verma had served as high commissioner to Canada, and his successor Suresh Mehta
    was high commissioner to New Zealand and former air chief N.A.K. Browne was ambassador
    to Norway. Strategic Significance of Seychelles: Seychelles Islands is strategically lactated in
    Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar from where global shipping and commerce lanes
    pass. In recent times, it has become important base in fighting seaborne terrorism and piracy
    in IOR. India and Seychelles had signed to build naval base (a coast guard facility) in
    Seychelles’ Assumption Island during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to island nation in 2015. This
    will enable India to increase its presence in strategically-key region of IOR and to counter
    increasing military presence China in the region.

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