Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - September 17, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Yoshihide Suga confirmed as Japan's new PM, eyes continuity

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Context

Yoshihide Suga was elected as Japan's next prime minister by the country's lower house of parliament, replacing Shinzo Abe who resigned because of poor health and promising to continue his signature economic policies.

Background

  • The 71-year-old Suga - the son of a strawberry farmer - won the leadership contest of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and was all but assured the top job when his appointment went to a vote in parliament given the party's two-thirds majority.
  • After years of economic stagnation and already struggling with the long-term effects of the world's most elderly population - Japan has been dealt a severe blow by COVID-19.

About the Highlights

  • The world's third-largest economy shrank a record 27.8 percent from April to June this year compared with the previous quarter due to pandemic-related lockdowns that were only relaxed in late May.
  • Unlike his predecessors, Suga does not come from a privileged background and rose to the top of the LDP without belonging to any of its powerful factions.
  • As the face of the Abe government - helming regular news conferences as its chief spokesman - Suga cut a rather dour figure, but have attempted to portray a friendlier demeanour since he emerged as a frontrunner in the race to replace Abe.
  • The fight against the coronavirus will be a priority, but he has also signalled a continuation of the broad policy framework of Abenomics, the three-pronged strategy that was Abe's signature policy and that involved monetary easing, government spending and structural reform.
  • He is expected to push forward with his own initiatives, including bureaucratic reform, digitalisation, and helping Japan's rural communities through policies on agriculture and tourism.

Source: The Hindu.

Scientists detect potential sign of life on Venus

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • In an extraordinary discovery, an international team of astronomers has spotted a possible marker of life on Venus, a planet that has not been a significant part of the search for life because of its extreme temperatures, atmospheric composition, and other factors.
  • The astronomers were surprised when they found the presence of a chemical called "phosphine" in the atmosphere of Venus, named after the Roman goddess of beauty.

Background

  • Doing an analysis of the source of the chemical, the scientists ruled out non-biological sources, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy and another paper submitted to the journal Astrobiology.
  • Confirming their discovery required using 45 antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, a more sensitive telescope in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner.

About the Highlights

  • Both facilities observed Venus at a wavelength of about one millimetre, much longer than the human eye can see -- only telescopes at high altitude can detect it effectively.
  • The international team, which includes researchers from the UK, US, and Japan, estimates that phosphine exists in Venus' clouds at a small concentration, only about twenty molecules in every billion.
  • Following their observations, they ran calculations to see whether these amounts could come from natural non-biological processes on the planet.
  • Some ideas included sunlight, minerals blown upwards from the surface, volcanoes, or lightning, but none of these could make anywhere near enough of it.
  • These non-biological sources were found to make at most one ten-thousandth of the amount of phosphine that the telescopes saw.
  • To create the observed quantity of phosphine (which consists of hydrogen and phosphorus) on Venus, terrestrial organisms would only need to work at about 10 per cent of their maximum productivity, according to the team.
  • Earth bacteria are known to make phosphine: they take up phosphate from minerals or biological material, add hydrogen, and ultimately expel phosphine.
  • Any organisms on Venus will probably be very different to their Earth cousins, but they too could be the source of phosphine in the atmosphere.
  • While the discovery of phosphine in Venus's clouds came as a surprise, the researchers are confident in their detection.

Source: Indian Express.

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Promotion of Kho Kho and Kabaddi

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Context

  • Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India and KhoKho Federation of India, which have been given government recognition to promote the sports of Kabaddi and Kho Kho in the country, have been provided with the admissible financial assistance and other support under the various Schemes of the Ministry and the Sports Authority of India. 
  • Further, both Kabaddi and Kho Kho are part of the Khelo India Youth Games. 

Background

  • Kabaddi and Kho Kho are also included in the list of games/sports which qualify the meritorious sportspersons for recruitment to Group ‘C’ posts in Central Government offices.

About Kho Kho

  • Kho Kho is a popular tag game invented in Maharashtra, India.
  • It is played by teams of 12 nominated players out of fifteen, of which nine enter the field who sit on their knees (chasing team), and 3 extra (defending team) who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team.
  • It is one of the two most popular traditional tag games in the Indian subcontinent, the other being Kabaddi.
  • The sport is widely played across South Asia and has a strong presence in South Africa and England.

Source: PIB.

Cabinet gives nod to establishment of new AIIMS at Darbhanga in Bihar

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

  • The Union Cabinet has approved establishment of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Darbhanga, Bihar. 
  • This will be established under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).  

Background

  • The Cabinet also approved creation of one post of Director for Darbhanga AIIMS.
  • The total cost on setting up the new AIIMS will be 1264 crore rupees and is likely to be completed within a period of 48 months.

About the Highlights

  • New AIIMS will add 750 hostpital beds and add 100 UG (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc (Nursing) seats.
  • Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has given its approval to the Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor Project from Palwal to Sonipat via Sohna-Manesar-Kharkhauda.
  • This Rail Line will start from Palwal and end at the existing Harsana Kalan station on Delhi-Ambala section. 
  • This will also give connectivity enroute to existing Patli Station on Delhi-Rewari line, Sultanpur station on Garhi Harsaru-Farukhnagar Line and Asaudha Station on Delhi Rohtak Line.
  • The project will be implemented by Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (HRIDC), a Joint Venture company set up by the Ministry of Railways with the Government of Haryana.
  • The project will have joint participation of the Ministry of Railways, Government of Haryana and private stakeholders. The project is likely to be completed in 5 years with estimated completion cost 5,617 crore rupees.
  • The districts of Palwal, Nuh, Gurugram, Jhajjar and Sonepat districts of Haryana will be benefitted through this rail line.
  • This will facilitate diversion of traffic not meant for Delhi thus decongesting NCR and will help in developing multimodal logistics hubs in Haryana State sub-region of NCR.
  • Approximately 20,000 passengers each day will be travelling through this line and 50 million tonnes of goods traffic would also be carried out every year.

Source: AIR News.

Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor gets nod from cabinet

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the 121-km Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor, which will connect Palwal and Sonipat, and decongest the national capital region.
  • The project will provide rail connectivity to all routes originating from Delhi and passing through Haryana, while bypassing the national capital. 
Background
  • It will make train travel faster from Gurugram and industrial regions in Haryana, including Manesar, Sohna, Farukhnagar, Kharkhauda and Sonipat.
  • The project will be implemented by Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corp. Ltd, a joint venture between the railway ministry and the Haryana government, and is expected to be complete in five years at an estimated cost of ₹5,617 crore.
About the Highlights
  • This rail line will start from Palwal and end at Harsana Kalan station (on Delhi-Ambala section).
  • This will give connectivity en route to Patli station (on Delhi-Rewari line), Sultanpur station (on Garhi Harsaru-Farukhnagar Line) and Asaudha Station (on Delhi Rohtak line).
  • It will help develop multimodal logistics hubs in Haryana and will connect unserved areas of the state.
  • It will provide high-speed seamless connectivity of this region to Dedicated Freight Corridor network resulting in reduction of cost and time of transportation for EXIM (export-import) traffic from NCR to ports of India, making exports of goods more competitive.
  • Around 20,000 passengers will be travelling on this line daily and 50 million tonnes of goods will be carried every year.
  • The way the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway is helping decongest Delhi with road traffic bypassing the national capital, the Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor project will reduce congestion on Delhi’s rail network, said an infrastructure expert, seeking anonymity.
  • It will also open option for commuter trains in the unserved regions of Haryana.

Source: AIR News.

Govt Constitutes Development Council For Footwear And Leather Industry For 2 Years

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has issued a notification, constituting the Development Council for Footwear and Leather Industry (DCFLI), according to a release by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • RK Gupta will chair DCFLI for two years.
  • 24 other members have also been nominated.

About the Highlights

  • The Development Council for Footwear and Leather Industry has been established for the formulation and implementation of promotional and developmental measures for the growth of labor-intensive footwear and leather sectors in India.
  • To boost domestic production and encourage exports, the Developmental Council is envisaged to play a very proactive role in preparing a futuristic vision for the development, designing, and manufacturing of high-quality world-class footwear and leather products in India.

Source: LiveMint.

Postage Stamp on India’s first Anti-Satellite Missile released

Focus: GS3.                                

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


Context

  • A customized My Stamp on India’s First Anti-Satellite Missile (A-SAT) launch was released by the Department of Posts on the occasion of Engineers Day in the presence of National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval.
  • On the direction of Prime Minister, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) Missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on March 27, 2019.
About the Highlights
  • A DRDO developed A-SAT Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode.
  • The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters.
  • Tracking data from range sensors had confirmed that the mission met all its objectives.
  • The entire effort was indigenous which demonstrated the Nation’s capability to develop such complex and critical missions. A number of industries also participated in the mission.
  • With this success, India became the fourth nation in the world to possess such capability.
  • Satellites are critical and with this capability, India can defend its assets in space.

Source: AIR News.

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Test your Knowledge

 

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Visvesvaraya:
  1. He was the chief engineer responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam in Mandya district. 
  2. He was also the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Bhopal.
  3. He penned his autobiography, Memoirs of my Working Life, in 1951.

 

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: C

  • He was also the chief designer of the flood protection system for the city of Hyderabad.

  1. AICTE-SPICES (Scheme for Promoting Interests, Creativity and Ethics among Students) aims to promote healthy co-curricular activity amongst the students for their all-round development is launched by:
   A. Ministry of Home Affairs
   B. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
   C. Ministry of Education
   D. Ministry of Social Justice

Solution: C

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