Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - December 12, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Bangladesh signs maiden Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

  • Bangladesh has signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan, which will allow duty-free access to a range of goods between the two countries and hence boost bilateral trade between them.
  • Under the PTA, 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty free access to Bhutan, while 34 items from Bhutan will get duty free access into Bangladesh.

Background

  • Further items can be added in the list later on the basis of discussion between the two countries.
  • This is the first PTA signed by Bangladesh with any country in the world since its independence in 1971.

Highlights

  • The PTA was signed on 6th December 2020, to mark 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Bhutan.
  • In 1971, Bhutan was the first country in the world to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country.

Source: AIR News.

Draft guidelines of Technical Specifications of Floating Structures for public consultation

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has issued the draft guidelines for technical specifications of floating structures for public consultation, with a vision to deploy world-class floating infrastructure all along the coastline.

Background

  • Floating structure because of its inherent advantages is attractive solution and being encouraged by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
  • Deployment of floating jetties, especially in locations having a large tidal range, where conventional quay poses problems during low tide periods, is very convenient.

Benefits

  • It is a cost-effective solution and much cheaper than conventional structures price.
  • Setting up of floating structures is much faster as compared to conventional jetties.
  • Usually, floating structures can be built in 6-8 months as compared to 24 months for conventional structures.
  • Its environmental impact is minimal.
  • Expansions are easily feasible due to modular construction techniques.
  • It is easily transportable in case of reconfiguring of the port.
  • It provides constant freeboard between jetties and boats.

Source: PIB.

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HAL-IISc Skill Development Centre in launches its first training programme

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Context

  • HAL-IISc Skill Development Centre in Challakere of Chitradurga district in Karnataka launched its first training programme offering five courses in virtual mode.
  • The programmes offered are in the niche engineering areas of aerospace, mechanical, electrical and electronic sectors, and in line with the “Make in India” mission.

Background

  • The experienced engineers, supervisors and faculty members of various technical institutes will be trained in the Centre. 
  • The trainees will spend more than 50 per cent of the course duration in labs, conducting experiments.

Highlights

  • Faculty members will be selected from Indian Institute of Science and other leading organisations including HAL. 
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had formally inaugurated the Skill Development Centre in Challakere on August 13th this year.
  • The Centre is located in IISc’s new 1500 acre campus in Challakere, projected as a Science and Technology city.
  • The Skill Development Centre spread over 75000 sq.feet was constructed at a cost of 73.7 crore rupees.
  • It is well equipped with modern labs, class rooms, auditorium and residential accommodation for 250 trainees and faculty members.

Source: AIR News.

Maharashtra school teacher wins USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize 2020 for promoting girls’ education

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

A primary school teacher from Maharashtra’s Solapur district has won the one-million US dollar Global Teacher Prize 2020 for promoting girls' education. Ranjitsinh Disale from Paritewadi village, was awarded in recognition of his efforts to promote girls’ education and initiating a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India.

Background

  • The 32-year-old teacher emerged the winner from 10 finalists from across the world for the annual prize.
  • The award was established by the Varkey Foundation and is given in partnership with UNESCO.

Highlights

  • Much before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world and forced digital education to take the lead, there was a dedicated and committed man in Solapur in the state of Maharshtra, named Ranjitsinh Disale who had already started to design QR codes for his students.
  • Ranjitsinh Disale was named as the winner of Global Teacher Prize 2020, which is awarded by the London-based Varkey Foundation and UNESCO.
  • 32 year old Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher at the Zilla Parishad school in Paritewadi, Solapur has announced that he will share half of the one million dollar award money with the nine other finalists so that they too may continue their good work.
  • In the past, Disale had been named as the Innovative Researcher of the Year 2016 and has featured in the Satya Nadella’s book ‘Hit Refresh’.
  • Post the announcement, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray congratulated Disale for his commendable work.
  • Aiming to be an IT engineer, Ranjitsinh Disale took up teacher training as a second choice but was inspired to see that teachers are real change-makers in the world.
  • Combining his technical acumen and teaching methods, Disale is no less than a messiah for the students studying in the Zilla Parishad school in Solapur’s Paritewadi.
  • Learning their local Kannada language, Disale redesigned all the textbooks from grade 1 to 4 with a unique QR code that embedded audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments.
  • This has helped students to develop communication, creativity and real-world problem-solving skills.
  • Besides, promoting girl education, Disale’s efforts have resulted in acute reduction in teenage marriage in the last decade.
  • Honoured to be the first Indian to win this coveted prize, Disale said this award will encourage him and other teachers to innovate, evolve and develop creative methods of teaching-learning.
  • Disale said he is happy to be the catalyst of change in the community and spark curiosity in his students.

Source: AIR News.

Invest India wins United Nations Investment Promotion Award for 2020

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has declared ‘Invest India’ as winner of the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award.
  • The award ceremony took place at UNCTAD Headquarters in Geneva.

Background

  • The Award recognizes and celebrates the outstanding achievements of the World’s best-practice investment promotion agencies.
  • The evaluation was based on UNCTAD’s assessment of work undertaken by 180 national Investment Promotion Agencies across the world.

Highlights

  • The COVID-19 pandemic had generated important challenges for investment promotion agencies.
  • In March 2020, UNCTAD constituted a team to monitor IPAs response to the pandemic.
  • UNCTAD reported best practices from investment promotion agencies in the IPA Observer publications in April and July.
  • IPAs response to the pandemic became the basis for the evaluation of the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award.

Source: AIR News.

Two new Zoos one each in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh granted recognition by Central government

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

At the 37th General Body meeting of Central Zoo Authority chaired by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar two new zoos the Rajgir Zoo Safari in Nalanda, Bihar and Shaheed Ashfaque Ullah Khan Prani Udyaan in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh were granted recognition.

Background

  • The Environment Minister also applauded the good progress in developing a 10-year Vision Plan for the up-gradation of 15 select zoos in the country to global standards which is hoped to ‘twin’ top Indian and foreign zoos and also bring in the corporate sector to invest in modernization as part of this project.
  • The Minister also said that early next year an investors summit will also happen to take this agenda forward.

About Rajgir Zoo Safari, Nalanda, Bihar

  • Rajgir Zoo Safari, in the eastern state of Bihar was granted recognition during the General Body meeting of the Central Zoo Authority.
  • The zoo is established exclusively comprising on only safari enclosures which, on contrary to conventional enclosure, offer larger space for captive animals.
  • There are five safari enclosures and a walk-in proposed in the zoo.
  • The zoo proposes to house Lion, Bear, Tiger, Leopard and a mixed safari of common herbivore species such as Spotted Deer, Sambar among others.
  • The zoo is located close to the historically important Nalanda and is expected to have a high footfall.
  • The establishment of the zoo was personally monitored by the Chief Minister of the state.
  • The zoo will display wild animals in naturalistic safari enclosures and promote awareness of towards wildlife conservation.

Source: PIB.

Vanchit Ikai Samooh Aur Vargon Ki Aarthik Sahayta (VISVAS) Yojana

Focus: GS3.                                

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context

Recently, National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) entered in to MoA With Central Bank of India for implementation of Vanchit Ikai Samooh aur Vargon ki Aarthik Sahayta (VISVAS) Yojana.

Highlights

  • It is an Interest subvention Scheme for financial empowerment of economically marginalized OBC/SC Self Help Groups (SHGs) & Individuals.
  • The scheme will benefit OBC/SC SHGs with loans up to Rs.4 Lakh and OBC/SC individuals with loan up to Rs.2 Lakh with a quick interest subvention benefit of 5% directly into the standard accounts of borrowing beneficiaries.

Source: Indian Express.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. With reference to Tharu tribes, consider the following statements:
  • The community of Tharu people belongs to the Terai lowlands, amid the Shivaliks or lower Himalayas.
  • The word tharu is believed to be derived from sthavir, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism. 
  • Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev, and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.

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. Bangladesh signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with which of the following country, allowing duty free access to a range of goods between the two countries?

     A. Bhutan
     B. China
     C. India
     D. Bangladesh

Solution: A

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