Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 August 2018


Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 26 August 2018


::NATIONAL::

Tamilnadu submits report to supreme court in mullaperiyar case

  • Countering Kerala’s version in the Supreme Court that sudden water releases from the Mullaperiyar dam into the Idukki and Idamalayar dams downstream led to the deluge, Tamil Nadu presented statistics of its controlled and gradual water release on the crucial days of August 15 and 16, when the Mullaperiyar dam’s water level overshot the 140 feet mark.
  • It said inflow into Idukki, located about 40 km downstream of the Mullaperiyar dam with an independent catchment area of 649 sq km, was heavy, with heavy rains since July. Kerala had been releasing water from Idukki since August 10. The Idukki reservoir alone had spilled 39.10 tmc in 12 days from August 10 to August 21.
  • Kerala also released 4.16 tmc of water into the lower Periyar basin all of a sudden from the Idamalayar dam on August 16. This was after no spillage for the preceding two days — August 14 and 15.
  • On August 16, Tamil Nadu said the inflow to Mullaperiyar was 25,730 cusecs, yet it spilled only 2.022 tmc to Idukki. Spillage from Idukki dam that day was 4.472 tmc.

Minister urges the youth at the inauguration of Youth parliament in Kathua

  • The Union Minister of State for Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (I/C), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Space and Atomic Energy Dr.Jitendersingh today said that Government is committed to strength the democratic procedures and institutions by ensuring equality of opportunity to all.
  • He emphasised that the democratic systems and party politics needed to be freed from nepotism and dynastic politics to ensure that common man especially youth could play a part in nation building.
  • While addressing the youth, Dr. Singh said that politics was the soul and spirit of the democratic India and it was the need of the hour that committed and hardworking youth join politics. He further said that this would provide opportunity to the youth to shape the future of the country.
  • The Youth Parlaiment organised at the JawaharNavodayaVidhyalaya (JNV) at Basohli, Kathua saw the participation of around 130 students from JNV Kargil, JNV Baramulla and Udhampur in three teams.
  • He urged the Parliametarians to come out of the feudal mind set and be approachable to the general public. He said that today in the country even a common man could dream of rising to the highest Political Office of the country, such was the power of democracy.

::ECONOMY::

BIS to set quality framework for service sector

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standards is set to formulate a framework for quality services that should be provided to consumers and also talk about the benchmarks to deal with consumer complaints or after sales service in an effort to ensure quality in the services sector.
  • The process was initiated after concerns over lack of standardisation, particularly with regards to after-sales service, in their feedback to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • In a poll, online community network LocalCircles found that in the absence of defined customer service standards in the country, a majority of consumers were not happy with after-sales services.
  • About 93% of respondents said brands should at least acknowledge complaints from users within 72 hours. “Many consumers complained that customer service numbers of many companies do not work,” according to LocalCircles.

Corporate affairs ministry calls for entries to national CSR awards

  • Ministry of Corporate Affairs invites entries for nominations for the first National CSR Awards only from Ministries/ Departments of Govt of India, State & Union Territories (UT) Governments, Professional institutions: ICSI, ICAI, ICMAI and National Level Trade and Industry Chambers only.
  • A nominating organisation can nominate up to a total of 10 entries in all categories of Awards. Companies may directly submit their application/s in a suitable category to these organisations. The nominations can be made on www.csr.gov.in.
  • One Award is earmarked for MSME only in this category. CSR intervention in alignment with Category Objective carried out by Small & Medium Enterprise with in section 135 of Companies Act 2013 & rules there in, shall be considered for National CSR Awards in this Category.
  • Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Government of India has instituted National CSR Awards 2018 to recognize corporate initiatives in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to achieve inclusive growth along with inclusive and sustainable development. Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) is rendering technical and logistics support to the Ministry in conduct of the Awards.
  • CSR Projects undertaken by companies are expected to throw up innovative solutions to specific problems in the domains of social, economic and environmental challenges.

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::INTERNATIONAL::

G20 member nations to promote policies that bridges all forms of digital divide

  • At the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Salta, in the north-west of Argentina, G20 ministers and senior officials issued a declaration that reflects the G20’s commitment towards promoting “policies and actions that catalyze digital transformations.
  • Building on the contributions of the G20 Digital Economy Task Force, delegates deliberated upon efforts to create conditions that help governments, the private sector and civil society maximize the benefits and confront the challenges posed by technological progress.
  • The other focus area of the meeting was digital inclusion, in particular the gender divide. Other related issued such as Digital government, digital infrastructure and measuring the digital economy were also deliberated.
  • Highlighting the enormous scale of India’s digital infrastructure that included 1.21 billion mobile phones, of which 450 million are smartphones, nearly 500 million internet subscriber and an ever increasing broadband availability being supported by optical fibre connectivity in 250,000 village clusters.
  • Minister Prasad said that India believed in internet access for all, adding that the Internet is one of the finest creations of the human mind, but it cannot be the monopoly of a few. He also stated that while Cyber-space is truly global, it must be linked with local ideas, local culture and local views.
  • The G20 Ministerial meeting allowed India to showcase the inclusive use of digital technology by the Government to empower the people. It also allowed India to articulate it's views on global issues relating to cyber security, data protection and innovation for growth.

India – Singapore signs protocol amendingCECA

  • India and Singapore today signed the Second Protocol amending the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in New Delhi.
  • The signing of the Second Protocol, amending CECA, will boost bilateral trade between India and Singapore.TheCECA was the first comprehensive agreement covering trade in goods, services and investments, which India had signed with any of its trading partners. The CECA was signed on 29th June, 2005 and its first review was concluded on 1st October, 2007.
  • India and Singapore have successfully reached mutual understanding and agreement in closing the second review. Both sides agreed to expand the coverage of tariff concessions, liberalize the Rules of Origin, rationalize Product Specific Rules and include provisions on Certificate of Origin and Cooperation on its verification. These measures will further facilitate trade between India and Singapore and also improve utilization of CECA.
  • The Protocol amending CECA will give effect to the provisions agreed between India and Singapore during the closure of the Second Review of India Singapore CECA. The conclusion of the Second Review of CECA was announced during the State visit of the Prime Minister of India to Singapore on 1st June, 2018. The provisions of the Second Protocol will come into effect on 14th September, 2018.
  • Singapore is the second largest trading partner of India within ASEAN and India is the largest trading partner of Singapore in South Asia, with a bilateral trade of USD 17.7 billion in 2017-18.
  • Singapore’s trade with India constitutes about 21.8% of our total trade with ASEAN and 2.3% of our global trade. India had a trade surplus of USD 2.73 billion with Singapore in 2017-18.

::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::

New technology to reduce water use & pollution in textile industry

  • By using liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide instead of water, and sucrose octaacetate in place of starch, team of researchers led by Dr. P Raveendran from the University’s Department of Chemistry has made the sizing and desizing process eco-friendly. The results of the study were published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
  • Before the yarn is woven into fabric, it is coated with sizing agents to strengthen the yarn (to decrease breakages on the loom) and protect it from damage and reduce friction. Sizing also removes or smoothens the projecting microfibres that might interfere with the weaving process.
  • The researchers used liquid carbon dioxide as solvent and tested three agents that easily dissolve in carbon dioxide for sizing both cotton and polyester yarn.
  • The yarn after sizing has to be dried when water is used, making the entire process energy-intensive. But no drying is needed when liquid carbon dioxide is used as it is an inherently dry process. When the pressure of carbon dioxide is reduced to gas phase pressure, the carbon dioxide changes its state from a liquid to gas leaving the yarn dry.
  • The best part of this process is that it is zero-pollution, zero-waste as both carbon dioxide and the sizing agent (sucrose octaacetate), which is modified cane sugar, can be recycled endlessly,” says Dr.Raveendran. The researchers are next planning to scale up the process and are looking at setting up a pilot plant to test the green process.

Researchers find compound that can kill anti biotic resistant bacteria H.pylori

  • With the World health Organisation listing H. pylori among the 16 antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest menace to human health, there has been a growing concern about the bacteria and finding new treatments for the infection.
  • Now, researchers from National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (ICMR-NICED), West Bengal have assessed a compound (ellagic acid) against H. pylori and found that it can kill almost all clinical strains of this bacterium. Ellagic acid was also found to aid in the healing of the damaged gastric tissue in mice model.
  • The researchers examined ellagic acid, a major polyphenolic component of fruits, vegetables and nuts which has been previously reported to have antibacterial properties. The antimicrobial property was tested against 55 different H. pylori isolates collected from gastric biopsies of patients.
  • M ice model studies also showed that ellagic acid given for seven days not only killed the bacteria but also almost completely restored the gastric epithelial damage induced by the organism.
  • “Ellagic acid is a good antioxidant and can boost immunity of the body. Also H. pylori induced oxidative stress is neutralised. It can prove to be an inexpensive, diet-based treatment supplement,” adds AvijitSarkar, Post-Doctoral Fellow and one of the authors of the work.

::SPORTS::

Kajalkumari wins swiss league carrom world cup

  • It was woman power to the fore as 20-year-old KajalKumari tamed a 86-member field, that included 55 men, by scoring a maximum of 14 points from seven rounds in the Swiss league of the fifth Carrom World Cup here on Saturday.
  • In the league, played in a format of 45 minutes, 25 points and eight boards, whichever is earlier, four players tied for the second spot with 12 points. ChamlCooray placed second, and K. Sagayabharathi was third on the basis of better net score.

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