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Economy

Global Competitiveness Index | WEF

Why in news?

 

India has been ranked as the 58th most competitive economy on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index for 2018.

About

  • The index was topped by the US followed by Singapore and Germany.
  • India’s rank rose by five places from 2017, the largest gain among G20 economies.
  • The top performers in the “upper and lower middle-income brackets”, such as China and India, are catching up with or even outperforming the average among high-income economies.
  • China topped the list ahead of the Russian Federation, India, South Africa, and Brazil among the BRICS economies.
  • India remained the South Asia’s main driving force.
  • India leads the region in all other areas of competitiveness except for health, education and skills, where Sri Lanka boasts the highest healthy life expectancy and the workforce with the highest amount of schooling.
  • India’s greatest competitive advantages include its market size, innovation.
  • The areas that the country needs to improve include labour market (in particular workers’ rights), product market (in particular trade tariffs) and skills (in particular pupil-teacher ratio).

Global Competitiveness Index 4.0

  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 is a composite indicator that assesses the set of factors that determine an economy’s level of productivity.
  • It is widely considered as the most important determinant of long-term growth.
  • The GCI 4.0 framework is built around 12 main drivers of productivity -- Institutions, Infrastructure; Technological readiness; Macroeconomic context; Health; Education and skills; Product market; Labour market; Financial system; Market size; Business dynamism; and Innovation.

More about WEF

International Relations

Hand-in-Hand | India –China Army exercise

Why in news?

Chengdu to host India-China army exercise event in December 2018.

About

  • India and China will resume the annual joint Army exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ in December 2018.
  • It will take place in China’s Chengdu region.
  • The drill was cancelled last year due to tense relations in the aftermath of the Doklam standoff.
  • The two countries have initiated several measures to normalise relations following the Wuhan summit between the leaders of two countries.
  • The scope of the exercise is to understand transnational terrorism and evolve joint drills for the conduct of counter terrorism operations, in addition to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.
 
  • The exercise will be held in three phases — familiarisation, basic training and the joint exercise.
India- El Salvador

Why in news?

El Salvador seeks investments from India in Energy, Pharma, ITeS, manufacturing and Textile sector

More about the news

  • El-Salvador envoy says that the country is looking to diversify its energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • It is working on prospects of developing solar, wind and biomass energies.
  • The Indian companies would be given concessions such as land, tax exemptions and duty free import of equipment.

Geo-thermal Energy

  • El-Salvador has more than 40 volcanoes.
  • This makes it a hot-spot for harnessing geo-thermal energy.

‘Manjula’

  • ‘Manjula’ was an Indian elephant sent to El-Salvador in 1950s through Germany.
  • It was the only elephant in the Central American nation.
  • It became a symbol of El- Salvador.
  • It died in 2010.

World Affairs

Asia-Europe Meeting | 12th

Why in news?

The Vice President of India left for Belgium to attend the two-day 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels.

About

  • The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe.
  • ASEM addresses political, economic, financial, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
  • Presently it comprises 53 partners: 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.
  • The ASEM Summit is a biennial meeting between the Heads of State and Government, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • It is considered the highest platform for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe in the areas of trade, investment, security and tourism.
  • The theme of the 2018 ASEM Summit is ‘Global Partners for Global Challenges’.

 

Feihong-98 (FH-98)| World's largest transport drone

Why in news?

China has successfully tested the world's largest unmanned transport drone.

About Feihong-98 (FH-98)

  • Feihong-98 (FH-98) is now the world's largest unmanned transport aircraft, with a maximum payload of up to 1.5 tonnes.
  • It was adapted from the prototype of the Shifei Y5B, a China-developed transport plane.
  • Shifei Y5B was China's first fully domestically-built transport aircraft.
  • The FH-98 features simple take-off and landing, simple operation, advanced technology, at an affordable cost.
  • It has a maximum takeoff weight of25 tonnes, a maximum capacity of 1.5 tonnes and 15 cubic metres.
  • It has a flight height of 4,500 metres, a cruising speed of 180 kilometers per hour, and a maximum range of 1,200 kms.

Current Affair Capsules

OneerTM | Drinking Water Disinfection System | CSIT-IITR
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow has developed an innovative technology for “Drinking Water Disinfection System”.
  • It is given the Trade name “OneerTM.
  • It is useful for continuous treatment of water and eliminates all disease causing pathogens such as virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and cyst to provide safe drinking water as per National and International standards prescribed for potable water (BIS, WHO etc.).
The Night Watch | Painting | Rembrandt
  • Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter
 
  • and printmaker.
  • The Night Watch by Rembrandt, one of the world’s most spectacular paintings, is to be restored under the world’s gaze at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
  • The Night Watch, more formally known as Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Francis Banninck Cocq, was commissioned by the major and leader of the civic guard of
Marijuana | Canada
  • Canada became the first industrialised nation to legalise recreational cannabis.
  • Adult Canadians will be able to legally smoke recreational marijuana after nearly a century-long ban.
Anna Burns wins Man Booker Prize
  • Anna Burns won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction for “Milkman”.
  • It is a vibrant, violent story about men, women, conflict and power set during Northern Ireland’s years of Catholic-Protestant violence.
  • Anna Burns is the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the Prize.
  • The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK.

Social Sector

Mission Antyodaya

Why in news?

 

Kulgod in Karnataka’s Belagavi district was declared the most developed village in the country under the Antyodaya scheme of the Centre.

About Mission Antyodya

  • It seeks to converge government interventions with Gram Panchayats as the basic unit for planning.
  • It follows a saturation approach by pooling resources - human and financial - to ensure sustainable livelihoods.
  • It is a State - led initiative for rural transformation to make a real difference based on measurable outcomes in 50,000 Gram Panchayats in 1,000 days.

Implementation and features

  • A Gram Panchayat is the basic unit for monitoring transformation and for ranking on the basis of objective criteria.
  • 5,000 Clusters comprising of nearly 50,000 Gram Panchayats have been selected by the States purposively for implementing the 'Mission Antyodaya' Framework.
  • Mission Antyodaya encourages partnerships with network of professionals, institutions and enterprises to further accelerate the transformation of rural livelihoods.
  • Self Help Groups (SHG) are enablers to convergence approach due to their social capital and their proven capacity for social mobilisation.
  • The thrust is not only on physical infrastructure but also on social infrastructure with strengthening of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry activities with utmost priority given to SHG expansion
  • The Framework makes use of technology to ensure that benefits reach those who are most deserving as per SECC data.

In Antyodya mission the following will be done,

  • Carry out the baseline survey of households and monitor the progress periodically. 50,000 Gram Panchayats will be ranked based on parameters of physical infrastructure, human development and economic activities.
  • Ensure convergence of programmes/ schemes targeted towards development of rural areas.
  • Institutionalise partnerships at Gram Panchayats/Clusters between PRIs, community organisations, NGOs, SHGs institutions and field-level functionaries of different departments
  • Promote enterprise through partnership with institutions and professionals.

Science and Technology

Unified Payment Interface

Why in news?

The Reserve Bank of India has released the guidelines for interoperability between prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) such as wallets and cards through the Unified Payment Interface (UPI).

What is more on the news?

  • This will effectively allow users of popular payment wallets such as Paytm, Freecharge, Mobikwik, PhonePe and PayZapp, among others, to transfer money from one wallet to another.
  • The RBI also allowed PPIs to issue cards using authorised card networks such as Mastercard, Visa or Rupay.
 

About Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

  • UPI is an indigenous payment system which works with the help of a smartphone.
  • It is a platform to transfer money between any two bank accounts in India, by avoiding the existing complexities.
  • UPI is standardized across banks- it will help you to pay directly from your bank account to different merchant’s without the hassle of typing your net-banking password, credit card details or IFSC code.
  • UPI can be used as a digital payment option along with cards, net-banking and wallets.
  • It allows both payment and receipt of money.

Technology development

  • UPI was developed by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) under the guidelines of RBI.
  • It is based on the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) platform.

Safety

  • UPI is a safe mode of transaction as the customers only share a virtual address and provide no other sensitive information.
  • The payment addresses denoted by account@payment_service_provider is a virtual address and hence security not compromised even if a merchant account is hacked.
  • It is better secure than other payment methods where details like credit card numbers are send.

Limit

  • The per transaction limit through UPI is 1 lakh.

MAP AIDED PROGRAMME

RAMSAR SITES – west bengal
  1. EAST CALCUTTA WETLANDS
  • Declared in 2002
  • Complex of natural and manmade wet lands
  • Contains salt marshes, salt meadows, sewage farms and settling ponds
  • Used for sewage water treatment in Kolkata – World’s largest organic sewage management system
  • The treated water is used for Agriculture and Pisciculture

 

 

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS REVISION SERIES (PQRS)

nanotechnology (2015)
  1. With reference to the use of nanotechnology in health sector, which of the following statements is/are correct?
  2. Targeted drug delivery is made possible by nanotechnology.
  3. Nanotechnology can largely contribute to gene therapy.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only                           (b) 2 only                      (c) Both 1 and 2              (d) Neither 1 nor 2