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

Water Heroes Contest 2.0

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

The Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched the ‘Water Heroes – Share Your Stories’ Contest recently.

About the Objective

  • It aims to reach out to people on the important subject of water conservation and management.
  • Through this Contest, the government hopes to encourage and collect best practices in water conservationfrom across India. 
  • To take part in the contest, the participants will have to post their success stories on water conservation through a specially made video.

About the government initiatives

  • The GoI is already taking several measures to make water conservation as a national movement. The measures taken are as follows
    • Drip irrigation was promoted on a large scale
    • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana
    • Jal Shakti Abhiyan
    • National Water Mission
    • Dam Improvement and Rehabilitation Programme
    • Groundwater Management
    • Wetland Conservation
    • Green India Mission

Source: PIB.

NIDHI-EIR Brochure featuring Entrepreneurs in Residence launched

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

  • A brochure featuring Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) under the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) programme was launched by DST Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma at the National Get-Together of NIDHI-EIR Family.
  • NIDHI-EIR program is an example of innovative tweaking of the fellowship processes that make it possible to be effective.
Background
  • The goal of achieving Atmanirbharta starts with translation of knowledge, innovation, capacity building, workforce, Industries, and markets.
  • It is a whole chain starting from the knowledge and goes on to markets.
  • The NIDHI-EIR Program conceived to inspire the S&T qualified youth in India to take up entrepreneurship as a viable career and help shape India’s future and the economy.

About the Highlights

  • EIR happens to be the very starting component in the bouquet of programmes offered under NIDHI.
  • In the years to come, it will have a much more fruitful impact.
  • The current COVID situation has further given us time to facilitate the kind of offering and connect needed with industry to scale up the startup ecosystem.
  • The brochure brought out by Venture Center, details what the EIRs are working on and some highlights about them.
  • It is also meant to be a directory of all EIRs.
  • All contributing project execution partners are also featured in the brochure.
  • The brochure also has a summary number of results and impact.
  • Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) Programme under National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing innovations (NIDHI) of Department of Science and Technology supports aspiring or budding entrepreneur of considerable potential for pursuing a promising technology business idea over a period up to 18 months with a subsistence grant up to Rs 30000 per month with a maximum cap for total support of Rs 3.6 lakh to each EIR over a maximum of 18 months.
  • The programme aims to provide guidance to these aspiring entrepreneurs from experienced, innovative and highly successful entrepreneurs on the business concept strategy and insight into specific industries or markets, inspire the best talents to be entrepreneurs, to minimise the risk involved in pursuing start-ups, and to partially set off their opportunity costs of high paying jobs.
  • The NIDHI-EIR programme provides tremendous opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to expand their networks and get critical feedback on their ventures in order to promote their entrepreneurial career goals and aspirations.
  • This program is important in that it creates a pipeline of startups with a focus on young budding entrepreneurs.

Source: PIB.

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Question Hour

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.


Context

  • In view of the pandemic and a truncated Monsoon Session, Parliament has said no to Question Hour and curtailed Zero Hour.
  • The Opposition has strongly criticised this.

Background

  • The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats notified that there will be no Question Hour during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which has been truncated to September 14-October 1 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Zero Hour, too, will be restricted in both Houses.

About the Question Hour

  • Question Hour is the liveliest hour in Parliament. It is of one hour.
  • The Members of Parliament ask questions of ministers and hold them accountable for the functioning of their ministries in this zero hour.
  • Questions have to be limited to 150 words. Questions should not seek information about matters that are secret or are under adjudication before courts.
  • They have to be precise and not too general. The question should also be related to an area of responsibility of the Government of India.
  • The questions that MPs ask are designed to elicit information and trigger suitable action by ministries.
  • With the broadcasting of Question Hour since 1991, Question Hour has become one the most visible aspects of parliamentary functioning.
  • Over the last 70 years, MPs have successfully used this parliamentary device to shine a light on government functioning.
  • Their questions have exposed financial irregularities and brought data and information regarding government functioning to the public domain.
  • The presiding officers of the two houses are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour.
  • It is the presiding officers of the two Houses who finally decide whether a question raised by an MP will be admitted for answering by the government.

Source: Indian Express.

Hindi, Kashmiri and Dogri to become official languages of J&K

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.


Context

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the Jammu and Kashmir Languages Bill 2020 which will make five languages—Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri and English—the officials language of the region.

Background

  • The I&B minister said more details of the bill would emerge once it is brought to the parliament.
  • The Centre, on August 5, had announced the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

About the Highlights

  • The Bill will include Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as official languagesin the newly-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Only English and Urdu were official languages in the former State, which was bifurcated on 5th August 2019, with Ladakh becoming a separate Union Territory.
  • Dogri along with Bodo, Maithili and Santhaliwas added to the scheduled languages under the Eighth Schedule by 92nd Amendment Act of 2003, which consists of the following 22 languages:
  • Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.
  • Of these languages, 14 were initially included in the Constitution.
  • Sindhi language was added by the 21st Amendment Act of 1967.
  • Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali were included by the 71st Amendment Act of 1992.
  • The Bill not only fulfills a long-pending public demand of the region but also keeps with the spirit of equality.

Source: The Wire.

PUBG Video Game App Among 118 New Chinese Apps Banned

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • PUBG MOBILE, a wildly popular online multiplayer shooting game, is among 118 Chinese apps blocked by the government amid tension over fresh Chinese provocation in Ladakh.
  • The move is in the interest of India's sovereignty and integrity, defence and security, the government said in a statement.
Background
  • Tencent's PUBG Mobile rank among the world’s top five smartphone games with over 734 million downloads.
  • There are close to 50 million active PUBG players in India, according to reports and the game clocks in some 13 million daily users.

About the Highlights

  • PUBG or PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds, features a Hunger Games-style competition in which 100 players face off with automatic weapons until there is only one left.
  • Tencent introduced a stripped-down mobile version, which had the game skyrocketing, especially in the time of the coronavirus lockdown.
  • In June, the government banned 59 mobile apps including Bytedance's TikTok, Alibaba's UC Browser and Tencent's WeChat, also citing security concerns.
  • Explaining its latest move, the ministry said it had received many complaints about the misuse of some mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data to servers outside India.
  • The other Apps blocked include games, online payment services, dating sites and software to edit selfies.

Source: PIB

Cabinet approves pact between India, Finland for cooperation in geology

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.


Context

  • The government approved a memorandum of understanding between India and Finland for cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources.
  • The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Background

This MoU aims to provide with a framework and a platform to promote and foster cooperation in the fields of geology, and mineral resources between the participants for mutual economic, social and environmental benefit; and share experiences on geological data management and information dissemination to promote exploration and mining, in the areas of geology and mineral resources.

About the Highlights

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) is a premier geo-scientific organisation of international repute for creation and updation of national geo-scientific information and mineral resource assessment.
  • These objectives are achieved through the ground, air-borne and marine surveys, mineral prospecting and investigations, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-technical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seismotectonic study, and carrying out fundamental research.
  • Geological Survey of Finland has expertise in multi-thematic data integration and analysis using spatial platform with special emphasis on 3/4D modelling for mineral prognostication, hazard management, environmental impact assessment, and other areas of socio-economic significance and developing decision support system which can be used by users with minimal knowledge of GIS-based modelling.

Source: Business Standard.

Global Innovation Index

Focus: GS2.                                 

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

  • India climbed four spots on the Global Innovation Index 2020 and is now at 48th position in the list of top 50 innovative countries in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) annual ranking.
  • Switzerland, Sweden, US, UK and Netherlands are in the top spots of this year's ranking.
  • According to an official release, India occupied the 52nd position in 2019 and was ranked 81st in the year 2015.

Background

  • The WIPO had also accepted India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019 in the central and southern Asian region, as it has shown a consistent improvement in its innovation ranking for the last 5 years.
  • As per the release, the consistent improvement in the global innovation index rankings is owing to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant startup ecosystem, and the amazing work done by the public and private research organizations.

About the Highlights

  • The India Innovation Index, which was released last year by the NITI Aayog, has been widely accepted as the major step in the direction of decentralization of innovation across all the states of India.
  • A constant thrust in monitoring and evaluating India's position in global rankings has been provided by the NITI Aayog, including the global innovation index, the release stated.

Source: LiveMint.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Mission Karmayogi:
  1. It is a new capacity-building scheme for civil servants aimed at upgrading the post-recruitment training mechanism of the officers and employees at all levels.
  2. Mission Karmayogi programme will be delivered by setting up a digital platform called iGOTKarmayogi. 
  3. NPCSCB will be governed by NITI Aayog.

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: A

2. Consider the following:

  • NPCSCB will be governed by the Prime Minister’s Human Resource Council, which will also include state Chief Ministers, Union Cabinet ministers and experts.
  • This council will approve and review civil service capacity building programmes.


National Academy of RUDSETI (NAR) is in:

       A. Mumbai
       B. Chennai
       C. Bengaluru
       D. New Delhi

Solution: C

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