Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - November 05, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

IIT Bombay launches mental wellbeing website

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • In a step that goes beyond academics, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay launched Bandhu, a self-help website to ensure mental and emotional well-being of students during the pandemic.
  • The website was unveiled on November 1 by Sanjay Dhotre, the Minister of State for Education, at a virtual event where eminent filmmaker and IIT Bombay alumnus Nitesh Tiwari was the guest of honour, accompanied by IIT Bombay director Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri.

Background

A good education institution is one where every student feels welcomed and cared for, where a safe and stimulating learning environment exists, where a wide range of learning experiences are offered, and where good physical infrastructure and appropriate resources conducive to learning are available to all students.

Highlights

  • This project was initiated and funded by the alumni of the 1992 batch as part of their silver jubilee reunion in 2017, and has been designed in collaboration with counsellors at the institute along with external experts, receiving additional support from Prof. T. Kundu, Dean of Student Affairs, and Prof Suhas Joshi, Dean of Alumni and Corporate Relations.
  • The website will focus on challenges including adjusting to college life, academic stress and mental health through curated reading resources, motivational alumni journeys, expert podcasts and tools for self-exploration.

Source: PIB.

RERA order on brokerage

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

  • In a first of its kind order, RERA last week put a cap on the commission being charged by the brokers while facilitating a land deal.
  • Now, no real estate agent in Haryana can charge more than 0.5 per cent commissions each from the buyer and the seller per deal.

Background

For real estate registered projects, RERA has decided to issue restrain orders to all promoters and brokers not to charge commission more than one per centum on agreed consideration value to be paid by the seller and purchaser of the property, that is 0.5 per cent by each of them, on finalization of the deal as per their agreement entered in the register of the dealer under the valid receipt.

Highlights

  • The one per centum commission is also defined under the Haryana Regulation of Property Dealers and Consultants Rules and under the Haryana Regulation of Property Dealers and Consultants Act.
  • The order will be applicable only to those who are registered under the Haryana Regulation of Property Dealers and Consultants Act, 2008. Registration of the property dealer to negotiate or mediate real estate deal of a registered project is done by the RERA under Section 9 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 and the registration is then granted subject to the condition that the agent shall not contravene the provisions of any other law for the time being as applicable to him. C
  • However, if any buyer or seller complains to RERA about an unregistered property dealer or agent or RERA finds out any unregistered person acting as an agent, the violator shall be liable for penal action.

Source: PIB.

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Inventory Gains

Focus: GS3

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

  • Both Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) have reported strong financial results in the second quarter of this fiscal despite lower operating revenues.
  • The key item driving profits for both companies in the quarter were “inventory gains”.

About inventory gains

  • Inventory gains are registered from an appreciation in the value of inventory held by a company.
  • In the case of oil marketing companies, inventory gains can be caused by an appreciation in the price of crude classified as refining inventory gains or an appreciation in the price of products such as petrol and diesel classified as marketing inventory gains.
  • Refining inventory gains are a result of an appreciation in the price of crude oil in the company’s inventory.
  • OMCs purchased crude oil in April when the price of Brent crude hit a low of $19.33 per barrel.
  • The price of Brent crude oil recovered to around $40- 45 $ per barrel in mid-June though a recent fall has pushed it to $38 per barrel in late October.

Highlights

  • OMC, can also get inventory gains from an upward change in the price of end products including petrol and diesel that they have in stock.
  • The price of petrol and diesel are calculated based on benchmark prices of petrol and diesel in the international market.
  • Notably, OMCs were likely insulated from some possible declines in the international price of petrol and diesel as they stopped revising prices on a daily basis from March 16 to June 6 when international prices of petrol and diesel fell sharply as a result of low international crude prices.

Source: PIB.

Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA)

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

On November 1, the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) came into effect in Kochi, Kerala’s financial nerve-centre, as an umbrella body to shape and preside over an integrated, seamless urban transport system in the city.

Background

  • Kochi is the largest and most populous metropolitan area in Kerala.
  • In 2017, when the first phase of the Metro rail was inaugurated in Kochi, the need for a transport authority that can streamline multiple modes of transport with a single command centre was felt.

Highlights

  • In fact, a precondition set by the Centre in 2013 for the approval of a rapid transit rail in Kochi was to integrate all public modes of transport and introduce a common ticketing system for the convenience of commuters under the National Urban Mobility Policy.
  • In November, 2019, the Kerala Assembly passed the Kerala Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) bill that cleared the way for metropolitan transport authorities to be formed in three cities in the state – Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kochi.
  • The KMTA will be an independent body which will be responsible for operation, maintenance, development and supervision of public transport modes in urban areas in the city.
  • The body will be chaired by the state’s transport minister with the transport secretary acting as vice-chairperson.
  • It can have a maximum of 15 members.

Source: Indian Express.

Central Vista Project

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

In a Supreme Court hearing (October 27), Senior Advocate Shyam Divan argued about the discrepancies in the process of the Central Vista Redevelopment project.

About the project

  • The Central government wants to redevelop the Central Vista, the 3-km long stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
  • Amid the Covid-19 battle, the Centre has been rushing ahead, ignoring pleas to pause it for further deliberations.
  • The plan is to construct a new Parliament building by March 2022 and a common central secretariat by March 2024.
  • These will be built along with new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice President near South and North Blocks, which will be repurposed as museums.
  • There will be a new building for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Highlights

  • A draft master plan by a private firm contracted by the government has proposed a Parliament building next to the existing heritage structure, and office buildings all along Rajpath.
  • These buildings will be built after demolishing existing buildings.
  • The government has not publicly stated the project’s estimated cost.
  • According to the CPWD application for environmental clearance for the project, the construction of the new Parliament building is estimated to cost Rs. 922 crore.

Source: Indian Express.

Inauguration of Mansar Lake Development Plan

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • In a move to increase tourism in the Jammu & Kashmir, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Regioninaugurated the Mansar Lake Development Plan.
  • The aim & objectiveof the project is to enhance the tourism flow in the UT and attract almost 20 lakh tourists every year.

About Mansar lake

  • It is situated at about 37 km from Jammu and is fringed by forest-covered hills, over a mile in length by half-a-mile in width.
  • Surinsar-Mansar Lakes are designated as Ramsar Convention in November 2005.
  • Mansar Lake is of immense importance from Pilgrimage as well as Heritage point of view.

About Ramsar Convention

  • The Ramsar Convention was signed on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar and it is also called Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. 
  • It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem.
  • It is one of the oldest inter-governmental accord signed by members countries to preserve the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance.
  • The aim of the Ramsar list is to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits.
  • Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines of the convention.
  • India has a total of 39 Ramsar sites, highest in South Asia.
  • Recently, Kabartal Wetland (Bihar) and Asan Conservation Reserve (Uttrakhand) have been designated as Ramsar sites. 
  • Causes of Degradation of Wetlands-   Major changes in land use for agriculture and grazing, water diversion for dams and canals and infrastructure development are considered to be some of the main causes of loss and degradation of wetlands.

Source: Indian Express.

Strategic Policy and Facilitation Bureau

Focus: GS2.                                

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

  • Ministry of AYUSH and M/s Invest India will form a collaboration to set up a strategic policy unit called “Strategic Policy and Facilitation Bureau (SPFB)” to facilitate planned and systematic growth of the Ayush Sector.
  • This is among the various steps which the Ministry has initiated to chart future directions along which the stake-holding groups of the Ayush Sector can move.

About the activities

  • Knowledge Creation and Management,
  • Strategic and Policy-Making Support,

Highlights

  • State Policy Bench marking: Undertaking State Policy bench marking to formulate uniform guidelines/regulations regarding AYUSH sector in India,
  • Investment Facilitation: Follow up and facilitation of investment cases and MoUs, and coordination among different Department, organisations and States.
  • Issue Resolution: Invest India would work with companies and other institutions on issue resolution across States and among various sub-sectors.
  • Some of the Specific Deliverables of Bureau would include project monitoring for Inter-Ministerial Groups, Skill Development Initiatives, setting up Strategic Intelligence Research Unit and initiating an Innovation Program.

Source: PIB.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about Mission Sagar-II:
  • Mission Sagar-II, follows the first ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in May-June 2020.
  • The Government of India is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries to overcome natural calamities and COVID-19 pandemic, and towards the same INS Airavat is carrying a consignment of 100 Tonnes of food aid for the people of Sudan.
  • As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

   A. 1 and 2 only
   B. 2 and 3 only
   C. 1 and 3 only
   D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. Who is the fourth guru of Sikhs?

    A. Guru Nanak
    B. Guru Angad
    C. Guru Ram Das
    D. Guru Jayanth

Solution: C

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