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Daily Newsletter | TPS 20 Daily Current Affairs | 27th January 2020


Polycrack Technology

Why in news?

The East Coast Railway has commissioned the government's first waste-to-energy plant.

Polycrack technology:

  • Polycrack technology, the first patented heterogenous catalytic process, converts non-ferrous scraps into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.
  • In this process, pre-segregation of waste is not required to reform the waste which can be directly fed into the machine to be converted into diesel.
  • Drying of waste is also not required due to its high tolerance to moisture.
  • Waste in the polycrack plant is processed and converted into energy within 24 hours.
  • The fully automated system does not emit any hazardous pollutants.
  • The foot print of the plant is small hence the area required for installing it is less when compared with conventional method of processing.
  • All constituents are converted into valuable energy thereby making it zero discharge process.
  • Gas generated in the process is re-used to provide energy to the system thereby making it self reliant of its
  • energy requirement and also bring down the operating cost.
Super Fab Lab

Why in news?

Country's first Super Fab Lab inaugurated by Kerala CM.

Super Fab Lab:

  • The Super Fab Lab will function in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • It will give a major push to the hardware industry in the country by allowing researchers, innovators and developers to do things beyond the purview of the states existing fab labs.
  • It will break down boundaries between the digital and physical worlds.

What is a Fab Lab?

  • Fab Labs are fabrication laboratories offering digital fabrication and computation.
  • It not only "has the tools to make anything, it also makes the tools that make things.
  • It is an array of computers that covers almost all materials.
  • It is used in businesses to develop prototypes and also in education.
  • It includes CNC cutting, plasma metal cutting, laser cutting, electronics and microprocessors and 3D printing and scanning.

Note - Vigyan Ashram was the first Fab Lab to be opened in India, established in 2002.

Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile

Why in news?

Anti-satellite missile capability showcased in R-Day parade

More about the news

  • India showcased its Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile capability to the world as the ASAT weapon, Mission Shakthi, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) rolled out on the Rajpath during the 71st Republic Day parade.
  • In addition, the IAF’s newest inductions, Chinook heavy lift helicopters and Apache attack helicopters, also made their debut during the flypast.

Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile

  • It’s essentially a missile that can destroy or jam an enemy country’s satellite in space.
  • It is a DRDO-developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile which 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.
  • US first tested the ASAT technology in 1958 which was followed by USSR in 1964.
  • China joined the club in 2007.
  • No country has used ASAT yet in a military conflict.

How can ASAT be used in war?

  • ASATs can be used to intercept and jam communication or military satellites of enemy countries in the time of war and stop them from communicating with their soldiers.
  • It can also be used to access critical information about troop movements or incoming missiles.
  • Other ASAT capabilities include cyber-attacks on space systems, Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) explosion devices, directed energy (laser based) weapons and targeted missiles for destruction of satellites to sabotage the enemy’s military operations.

Outer Space Treaty (OST)

  • The treaty entered into force in October 1967.
  • The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles:
  • Exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
  • Outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
  • Outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
  • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
  • The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
  • Astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
  • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
  • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects;
  • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

Note: Mission Shakti- It is India’s test of an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon which successfully destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit.

Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2020

Why in news?

India has climbed eight places to 72nd rank in the 2020 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), which was topped by Switzerland, the US and Singapore.

More about the Index

  • The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) report is compiled by INSEAD in collaboration with human resource firm Addeco and Google.
  • INSEAD is one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools with locations all over the world and alliances with top institutions.
  • It is an annual benchmarking report that measures and ranks countries based on their ability to grow attract and retain talent.
  • This is the seventh edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) report.
  • Theme for 2020 Edition was ‘Global Talent in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’.
  • This year's GTCI report explores how the development of artificial intelligence (AI) is not only changing the nature of work but also forcing a re-evaluation of workplace practices, corporate structures and innovation ecosystems.

World Scenario

  • Switzerland topped the list of 132 nations, followed by the United States and
  • Report noted that the gap between high income, talent-rich nations and the rest of the world is widening.
  • More than half of the population in the developing world lack basic digital skills.
  • Sweden (4th), Denmark (5th), the Netherlands (6th), Finland (7th), Luxembourg (8th), Norway (9th) and Australia (10th) complete the top 10 league table.
  • In the BRICS grouping, China was ranked 42nd, Russia (48th), South Africa (70th) and Brazil at 80th position.

Case of India

  • India ranks 72 in the Index.
  • India’s key strength relates to growing (44th) talent, primarily by virtue of the possibilities for Lifelong Learning and Access to Growth Opportunities.
  • Its highest-ranked sub-pillar, however, is Employability (28th), but the ability to match labour market demand and supply stands in contrast to the country’s poor Mid-Level Skills, which result in a mediocre score in Vocational and Technical Skills.
  • India’s greatest challenge is to address its weak ability to attract and retain talent.
  • With regard to the former pillar, there is a need to strengthen the role of minorities and women in order to raise the level of Internal Openness.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme

Why in news?

The Centre is on the verge of running out of funds for the crucial Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

More than 96% of the allocated money has already been spent or is needed to pay pending dues, with less than 2,500 crore left to sustain the scheme for the next two months.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme

  • The Act aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members (at least 18 years of age) volunteer to do unskilled work.
  • The central government bears the full cost of unskilled labour, and 75% of the cost of material (the rest is borne by the states).
  • It is a demand-driven, social security and labour law that aims to enforce the ‘right to work’.
  • Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Government of India in association with state governments, monitors the implementation of the scheme.
  • Agriculture and allied activities constitute more than 65% of the works taken up under the programme.

e – Saksham

  • e – Saksham is a GIS based course under MGNREGA, for resource management at Grama Panchayats level.
  • The course is mainly provided to technical staff of MGNREGA and line departments.
  • Web based GIS applicationsuch as Bhuvan; Google Earth Pro etc. are part of the course.
Fund of Funds

Why in news?

Axis mutual fund have announced new fund of fund scheme.

What is a Fund of Funds?

  • A Fund of Funds (FoF) is a scheme that invests in units of other MF FoF is a MF scheme that does not invest directly in stocks or securities but in other MF schemes.

What are the advantages of investing in a FoF?

  • The biggest advantage is, it gives the investor an opportunity to invest in different schemes managed by different fund managers.
  • With a single FoF, the investor will be able to benefit from the diverse investment approach.

How are gains from FoF investments taxed?

  • FoF is treated as a nonequity fund for tax purposes, even though most FoF schemes invest in equity oriented funds.
  • As a result, gains arising out of FoF investments do not get the benefits that an equity scheme gains derive.

Current Affairs Capsules

International Summit on Women in STEM
  • Theme: Visualizing the Future: New Skylines
  • The summit aimed to increase the participation of women in STEM field.
Ganga-Volga Dialogue
  • Held between India and Russia in New Delhi.
  • The dialogue focused in providing interface between the civilizations of the countries.
  • Theme: Connectivity