- 07 Sep 2019
- 16 min read
DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS (07-SEPTEMBER-2019)
Institution Of Eminence (IoE)
- On 4th September 2019, the Ministry of Human Resource Development issued orders to 5 public Universities and Letters of Intent to 5 Private Universities related to Institutions of Eminence scheme.
- The Ministry of Human Resource Development has issued orders to 5 public Universities conveying their declaration as Institutions of Eminence (IoE). These are IIT Madras, Banaras Hindu University, IIT Kharagpur, University of Delhi and University of Hyderabad.
- In addition, Letters of Intent were issued to 5 Private Universities for accepting and sending their preparedness for being declared as Institutions of Eminence.
- Earlier, in the first round under the IoE scheme, 6 institutions were selected as IoEs. The 3 Public Institutions were declared IoEs, while the 3 private institutions were issued Letters of Intent.
Benefits of Institutions of Eminence:
- Government Institutions to get additional funding upto 1000 Crore.
- The selected Institutions under IoE shall have complete academic, administrative and financial autonomy.
- Academic collaborations with foreign higher educational institutions (in top 500) would be exempt from government approvals; Freedom to recruit faculty from outside India (limit of 25% of its faculty strength for public institution).
- Freedom to admit additionally foreign students on merit subject to a maximum of 30% of the strength of admitted domestic students. Freedom to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction.
- Freedom to have own transparent merit based system for admission of students.
- Flexibility in fixing of curriculum and syllabus, with no UGC mandated curriculum structure.
- Freedom to offer online courses as part of their programmes with a restriction that not more than 20% of the programme should be in online mode.
- UGC Inspection shall not apply to Institutions of Eminence.
Travel And Tourism Competitive Report
- According to the latest “Travel and Tourism Competitive Report”, India is ranked 34 in 2019, up 6 places from 2017.
- The biennial “Travel and Tourism Competitive Report” is released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
- The report ranks travel & tourism competitiveness of 140 economies.
- The study scored countries on four indicators: (1) enabling environment; (2) travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions; (3) infrastructure; (4) natural and cultural rankings.
- Spain followed by France, Germany, Japan and the United States are the world’s most travel-ready nations.
- India has made the greatest improvement since 2017 among the top 25 per cent of the countries that were previously ranked. Overall, India is ranked 34, up six places from 2017.
- India’s highest improvement was in enabling environment, by 10 places to 98. The least improvement is in infrastructure as well as in natural and cultural rankings, by just three places each, but India’s rank was already high in the latter.
Loch Ness Monster
- Scientists have come up with a new theory arguing that the Loch Ness Monster may have been a giant eel.
- In Scottish folklore, the Loch Ness Monster or Nessie is said to be a creature that inhabits Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.
- It is often described as large in size with a long neck and one or more humps protruding from the water.
- Since the 1900s, the legend of the “Loch Ness Monster” has been the subject of much debate around the world. In the absence of any conclusive evidence, there have been various theories about whether such a prehistoric creature ever existed, or whether it was an identifiable creature.
- The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a phenomenon without biological basis, explaining sightings as hoaxes, wishful thinking, and the misidentification of mundane objects.
- Now, a geneticist from New Zealand’s University of Otago announced that an intensive analysis on traces of DNA in the Loch’s icy waters has ruled out the presence of large animals such as dinosaurs, but there was a lot of eel DNA in the Loch.
- Thus, the Loch Ness Monster may have been a giant eel.
- The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) announced Kaushalacharya Awards 2019 to felicitate trainers from different sectors for exceptional contribution towards creating a future-ready and skilled workforce.
- A total of 53 trainers from diverse backgrounds including experts of WorldSkills Competition winners, trainers from National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs), Industrial Training Centres (ITI), Jan Sikshan Sansthans (JSS) and trainers from reputed Corporate houses were honoured.
- The Ministry also announced the “Kaushalacharya Awards” would be an annual event to recognize the contribution made by skill trainers in the vocational training ecosystem.
Lamp Of Peace Of Saint Francis
- Nobel Laureate from Bangladesh Professor Muhammad Yunus was conferred the 'Lamp of Peace of Saint Francis ' award by the Vatican for his contribution towards establishing peace and harmony.
- The award is a recognition for distinguished work by an individual for promoting peace and dialogue among people.
- The Lamp of Peace award was first given to the Polish trade union leader Lech Walesa in 1981.
- Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev and Angela Merkel are a few other prominent persons who received this award earlier.
External Benchmark-Based Lending
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made it mandatory for banks to link all of their new loan products, be it personal, housing or auto to an external benchmark like the policy repo rate.
- RBI has issued a circular saying that banks will have to link their products to an external benchmark with effect from 1st October 2019.
- Banks can also choose any benchmark market interest rate published by Financial Benchmarks India Private Limited (FBIL) or the government’s 3-month and 6-month treasury bill yields published by FBIL as their preferred external benchmark.
- According to RBI, this has been done because the transmission of policy rate benefits under the current framework has not been satisfactory. Banks have been reluctant to cut interest rates despite the RBI lowering the repo rate by 110 basis points (bps) between February and August.
- This move – aimed at faster transmission of monetary policy rates – is likely to cheer borrowers as banks will now be forced to pass the entire rate cut benefit announced by RBI in recent months and offer lower interest rates.
- According to the World Gold Council, India has toppled the Netherlands to move into the list of top ten countries in terms of total gold reserves in 2019.
- According to the latest release by the World Gold Council, U.S. leads the country list with total gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes followed by Germany with 3,366.8 tonnes.
- While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is ranked third with a holding of 2,451.8 tonnes, it is followed by Italy (2,451.8 tonnes), France (2,436.1 tonnes), Russia (2,219.2 tonnes), China (1,936.5 tonnes), Switzerland (1,040 tonnes) and Japan (765.2 tonnes) before India (618.2 tonnes) at the 10th spot.
- Interestingly, in terms of individual countries, India actually ranks ninth since the IMF occupies the third position after the U.S. and Germany.
- India’s gold reserves have grown substantially in the past couple of decades from 357.8 tonnes in the first quarter of 2000 to the current 618.2 tonnes.
Global Liveability Index 2019
- The Austrian capital Vienna has been ranked the ‘world's most liveable city’ for the second year in a row on the annual Global Liveability Index.
- The annual Global Liveability Index of 140 cities around the world, is released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research and analysis division of The Economist group which brings out the UK’s The Economist news magazine.
- The index considers more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors spanning categories like stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. For the first time, the index noted the effects of climate change on liveability.
- Scores are compiled on a scale of 1-100.
- Vienna topped the rakings followed by Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka and Calgary.
- New Delhi was ranked at 118th (a drop of six ranks) due to “poor air quality. Mumbai was ranked 119th.
- The least liveable cities were Karachi, Tripoli, Dhaka, Lagos and, at the very bottom, Damascus (Syria).
- Western Europe and North America continue to be the most liveable regions in the world.
Ex Tsentr 2019
- Military contingents from India will take part in this year’s Exercise TSENTR 2019.
- Exercise TSENTR 2019 is part of the annual series of large scale exercises that form part of the Russian Armed Forces' annual training cycle.
- The series rotates through the four main Russian operational strategic commands. Russia holds a major military exercise every year at one of its four military Commands i.e Vostok (East), Zapad (West), TSENTR (Centre) and Kavkas (South).
- This year’s Exercise TSENTR 2019 will be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia between 09 September to 23 September 19 at Donguz training ranges, Orenburg, Russia.
- Apart from host Russia, military contingents from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will also take part in this mega event.
- The exercise aims at evolving drills of the participating armies in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism thereby ensuring military security in the strategic central Asian region.
- The Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism flagged off the first ever Mobile Science Exhibition (SCIENCE EXPLORER) for the entire Ladakh Region in Leh.
- The Science Explorer Mobile Science Exhibition (MSE) programme in the Leh, Ladakh region will be the first of its kind in the region with a broad objective to Popularize science and technology among the students and general public and creating a scientific awareness.
- Mobile Science Exhibition (MSE) programme, was originally launched as Mobile Science Museum (MSM) in 1965, with a mission ‘If the people cannot visit the museum, let the museum visit the people at their doorsteps’.
- It is the largest and the longest running outreach programme of National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.
- A Mobile Science Exhibition carries a number of interactive exhibits related to everyday science.
CBI to get Centralised Technology Vertical
- The centre is planning to set up a Centralised Technology Vertical (CTV) under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
What is CTV? What is its role?
- It facilitates real-time information sharing with investigators across the country.
Need for CTV:
- India has the second largest users of Internet in the world.
- And there is rise in “cyber manipulators” across the country. They are posing risk to the country by circulating fake videos on social media. This needs to be addressed.
- Operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
- The Special Police Establishment, was set up in 1941, six years before independence from British rule to probe bribery and corruption in the country during World War II.
- In 1946, it was brought under the Home Department and its remit was expanded to investigate corruption in central and state governments under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
- The special police force became the Central Bureau of Investigation after the Home Ministry, which is in charge of domestic security, decided to expand its powers and change its name in 1963.
Challenges faced by CBI:
- Dependent on the home ministry for staffing.
- Depends on the law ministry for lawyers.
- Susceptible to the government’s ability to manipulate the senior officers.
- CBI needs the consent of the State government in question before it can make its presence in that State.
- Bring in a formal and legal framework.
- Strengthen the CBI in terms of legal mandate, infrastructure and resources.
- Ensure financial autonomy.
- Develop its own dedicated cadre of officers who are not bothered about deputation and abrupt transfers.