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Nehru Yuva Kendras

Why in news?

The work performance of Nehru Yuva Kendras (NYKs) is satisfactory as the physical target achievement w.r.t implementation of Core Programmes during the financial year 2018-19 was 95%.

About NYKS

  • Nehru Yuva Kendras were established in the year 1972 with the objective of providing rural youth avenues to take part in the process of nation building as well providing opportunities for the development of their personality and skills.
  • Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) was set up as an autonomous organization under the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, to oversee working of these Kendras in the year 1987-88.
  • It is the largest grassroots level youth organization, one of its kind in the world.
 
  • It channelizes the power of youth on the principles of voluntarism, self-help and community participation.

Objectives

  • Provide rural youth avenues toward nation building
  • Provide opportunities to develop their personality and skills
SWAYAM

Why in news?

Till now, 2769 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been offered on SWAYAM, wherein about 1.02 crore students have enrolled to various courses till date.

About ‘SWAYAM’

  • The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds' (SWAYAM) is an integrated platform for offering online courses and covering school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate Level.
  • It is an instrument for self-actualization providing opportunities for a life-long learning.
  • The objective is to ensure that the every student in our country has access to the best quality higher education at the affordable cost.
  • It is initiated by Government of India and designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality.
  • Project “SWAYAM” provides one integrated platform and portal for online courses.
  • It covers all higher education subjects and skill sector courses.
  • Academicians are involved in developing & delivering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) through SWAYAM in almost all disciplines from senior schooling to Post Graduation wherein it is intended to develop world class content.
  • It is intended to host about 2000 courses and 80000 hours of learning material, within two years covering school, under-graduate, post-graduate, engineering, law and other professional courses.
  • It is expected to support 3 Crores users in the next few years.
Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO)

Why in news?

The government has ordered an SFIO probe into the affairs of the now defunct Jet Airways after finding instances of fund diversion and large-scale irregularities.

About SFIO

  • The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is a corporate fraud investigating agency in India.
  • SFIO is a multi-disciplinary organization, consisting of experts in the field of accountancy, forensic auditing, law, information technology, investigation, company law, capital market and taxation for detecting and prosecuting or recommending for prosecution white-collar crimes/frauds.
  • It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India.
  • The SFIO is involved in major fraud probes and is the coordinating agency with the Income Tax Department and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
  • Vajpayee Government decided to setup SFIO on 9 January 2003 based on the recommendation of Naresh Chandra Committee on corporate governance.
  • SFIO has head office in New Delhi and regional offices in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
 

Science and Technology

RISAT 2B

Why in news?

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro's) workhorse PSLV-C46 carried RISAT-2B will be used for high resolution spot imaging of locations of interest.

About RISAT 2B

  • RISAT-2B is an indigenously developed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Imaging Satellite operating in the X-band by ISRO.
  • As RISAT-2B is a Radar Imaging satellite, it can be operated effectively during day / night / all weather conditions.
  • PSLV, in its 48th mission, carried the 615-kg RISAT-2B into an orbit of 555 km at an inclination of 37 degrees.

More about RISAT 2B

  • PSLV-C46 is the 48th mission of PSLV.
  • It is the 14th flight in 'core-alone' configuration (without the use of solid strap-on motors).
  • This is the 72nd launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.
  • This is the third Indian RISAT in ten years, coming up after the Israeli- built RISAT-2 in 2009 and later ISRO- built RISAT-1 in 2012.
  • The older two have reached the end of their lives.

Capabilities

  • It allows 24-hour uninterrupted views without interference from clouds, rain and other inclement weather conditions.
  • Its X-band synthetic aperture radar can give added details such as size of objects on Earth, structures, movement and change.
  • The information will complement data from the normal optical remote sensing satellites.
  • They are equipped with an active sensor, the synthetic aperture radar (SAR), so they can sense or ‘observe’ Earth in a special way from space day and night, rain or cloud.
  • It will enhance India's all-weather (space-based) capabilities in agriculture, forestry and disaster management.

Uses

  • They are useful in monitoring movements such as infiltration or gathering of militants, which will help the armed forces counter such enemy activity in real time.
  • Radar imaging satellites are also used for crop estimation, because the main kharif crop growing season is in May-September, when it rains and gets cloudy.
  • These satellites deliver data extensively for forestry, soil, land use and geology and are extremely useful during floods and cyclone as well.

Economy

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)

Why in news?

India has ratified the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI), which was signed by the Finance Minister at Paris on 7th June, 2017 on behalf of India, along with representatives of more than 65 countries.

What is it?

  • Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) refers to a situation where companies making profits in one jurisdiction, shift them to countries with lower tax rates taking advantage of gaps in tax laws.
 
  • BEPS project is a joint initiative between G20 countries and the OECD, works towards the development of a coherent global taxation system which addresses BEPS concerns.
  • The project is headed by the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
  • The BEPS project consists of 15 action plans, agreed to by all participating countries who have committed to consistent implementation.
  • In 2016, the OECD and G20 established an Inclusive Framework on BEPS to allow interested countries and jurisdictions to work with OECD and G20 members to develop standards on BEPS related issues and reviewing and monitoring the implementation of the whole BEPS Package.

Objectives

  • Securing revenues by realigning taxation with economic activities and value creation,
  • Create single consensus-based international tax rules to address BEPS
  • Offering increased certainty and predictability to taxpayers.

What is MLI?

  • The Multilateral Convention/MLI is an outcome of the OECD / G20 Project to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (the “BEPS Project”).
  • BEPS is the tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
  • The MLI will modify India’s tax treaties to curb revenue loss through treaty abuse and base erosion and profit shifting strategies by ensuring that profits are taxed where substantive economic activities generating the profits are carried out.
  • The MLI will be applied alongside existing tax treaties, modifying their application in order to implement the BEPS measures.
  • The date of entry into force of the MLI for India is 1st day of October, 2019.

Polity and Governance

Section 124 A

Why in news?

The Union Home Ministry clarified that section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, popularly called the sedition law, will not be scrapped.

What is Sedition?

  • Sedition is defined as “The use of words or action intended to encourage people to oppose a government”.
  • Sedition contains three actions, namely, an act, conduct or a speech.
  • All these actions are intended to incite people to rebel against the state, government or the nation.

About Section 124-A

  • Section 124-A of Indian Penal Code deals with sedition.
  • The word sedition is not mentioned anywhere in the IPC or the Indian Constitution.
  • This section defines sedition as

'Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India' shall be punished with

 

life imprisonment, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.

  • It further explains that the expression 'disaffection' includes disloyalty and all feelings of hate.
  • However, the law says, strong disapproval of Government measures, by lawful means without exciting hatred, contempt or disaffection does not amount to sedition.

History of the law

  • The law was originally drafted by Thomas Macaulay.
  • It was not a part of IPC in the 1860s and was even dropped from the law.
  • It was introduced in the IPC in the year 1870.
  • Many Indian freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, were charged with sedition during freedom struggle.

Why it should be done away with?

  • It is a colonial law meant for the suppression of rebellious Indians against the British rule.
  • It is not needed in a democratic republic where the sovereignty rests with the citizens.
  • The law is being misused by ruling political parties against anyone questioning their policies and criticizing the functioning of government.
  • The existing provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are sufficient to address all threats to violence and public order.

World Affairs

International Court of Justice

Why in news?

nternational Court of Justice to deliver verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav case on July 17.

About International Court of Justice

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.
  • It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations.
  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York.
  • The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ.
  • Its official languages are English and French.
  • The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • Please note: Do not confuse ICJ with International Criminal Court and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. All three are different entities set up for different purposes.

Map Aided Programme     

Ramsar sites of Tripura

Rudrasagar Lake

  • Rudrasagar Lake, also known as Rudijala, is a lake located in Melaghar, Tripura, India
  • Rudrasagar Lake is a natural sedimentation reservoir, which receives flow from three perennial streams namely, Noacherra, Durlavnaraya cherra and Kemtali cherra. After settling the sediment from the received flow, clear water discharges into the river Gumati through a connective channel namely Kachigang

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)

  1. Each day is more or less the same, the morning is clear and bright with a sea breeze; as the Sun climbs high in the sky, heat mounts up, dark clouds form, then rain comes with thunder and lightning. But rain is soon over.”
  • Which of the following regions is described in the above passage?

(a) Savannah                    (b) Equatorial             (c) Monsoon                (d) Mediterranean