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The Hindu Newspaper 28/05/2020

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1)World Investment Report is published annually by which of the following?

  • a.  World Bank
  • b.  World Economic Forum
  • c.  International Monetary Fund
  • d.  UN Conference on Trade and Development

2)Consider the following statements with respect to Kimberley Process

  1. It is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds.
  2. India is one of the founder members of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
  3. India is the Chair of Kimberley Process for the year 2019 with Russian Federation as Vice Chair.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  • a.  1 only
  • b.  3 only
  • c.  1 and 3 only
  • d.  1, 2 and 3

3)Who among the following are the members of Governing Council of NITI Aayog?

  1. The Prime Minister of India
  2. Chief Ministers of all the States
  3. Lt. Governors of Union Territories without legislatures
  4. Special invitees

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  • a.  1, 2 and 3 only
  • b.  1, 2 and 4 only
  • c.  2, 3 and 4 only
  • d.  1, 2, 3 and 4

About the Governing Council of NITI Aayog

The Governing Council of NITI Aayog comprises the Prime Minister of India, Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories with Legislatures and Lt. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and four Union Ministers as ex-officio members and three Union Ministers as Special Invitees. It is the premier body tasked with evolving a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in shaping the development narrative.

The NITI Aayog has been mandated with fostering cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation. It seeks to design and assist the implementation of strategic, long-term policy frameworks and programme initiatives, and also monitor their progress and efficacy.

The Governing Council, which embodies these objectives of cooperative federalism, presents a platform to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the national development agenda, in the spirit of Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat.

Map of the Day :- Pacific Islands

News:- Points of India China Standoff : Indian and Chinese troops have faced off at at least four points along the LAC,  including Pangong Tso (lake)Demchok and Galwan Valley in Ladakh and Naku La in Sikkim, where PLA soldiers are reported to have occupied tracts patrolled by Indian troops, pitching tents and building trenches.

News :- Heatwave : When the day temperature jumps by 4 to 5 degrees above the normal maximum temperature of a location, it is declared as a heatwave.

News :-Invasive mussel is spreading rapidly in  Kerala’s backwaters (GS-3)

An invasive mussel native to the South and Central  American coasts is spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala, elbowing out other mussel and clam species and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen engaged  in molluscan fisheries.

The rapid spread of the Charru mussel (Mytella stri-gata) may have been triggered by Cyclone Ockhi which struck the region in 2017, according to a paper published in the Journal of Aquatic Biology and Fisher-ies. 

Externally, the Charru mussel resembles the green and brown mussels (kallummekkaya in Malayalam), but is much smaller in size.

Name of Backwaters Affected:-Kadinamkulam, Paravur, Edava Nadayara, Ashtamudi,  Kayamkulam, Vembanad, Chettuva and Ponnani estuaries/backwaters. 

Ashtamudi Lake, a Ramsar site in Kollam district, remains the worst hit. With a population as high as 11,384 per sq metre here, it has replaced the Asian green mussel  (Pernaviridis) and the edible oyster Magallana bilineata (knownlocally as muringa)

This invasive species has smothered beds of the short neck clam (manja kakka) Fisheries. The short necked clam fisheries in the lake had obtained an eco  label  from the Marine Stewardship Council and about  3,000  people are dependent on fisheries here.

News:- Christophe Marieux Award :-

Quarraisha Abdool Karim, a South African HIV researcher who found that a topical gel could stop many women catching the virus has been awarded one of France’s top science prizes.

Ms. Karim won the half a million-euro Christophe Merieux Prize for her work for the Durban- based Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa.

News :- Loans to MSMEs may get ‘risk free’ tag

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to allow banks to assign zero risk weight for loans that will be extended to the micro, medium and small enterprises (MSMEs) under the ₹20 lakh crore economic package  announced  by the government.

As a part of the package, a ₹3 lakh crore loan for the MSME sector was announced. This will be guaranteed by the National  Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) in the  form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.

Why Such Move :- Banks said, such loans would attract a risk weight of a minimum 20% since these don’t come with  direct  government guarantee. After banks highlighted the issue with the government, the Finance Ministry asked the RBI to waive the requirement of assigning a risk weight to the loans.

News :- Google faces antitrust case in India

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into allegations that Alphabet Inc’s Google is abusing its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app in the  country, five sources familiar with the case told Reuters.

Competition Commission of India is a statutory body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India. It was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009 with Dhanendra Kumar as its first Chairman.

Other Such Anti trust cases :- This is Google’s third major antitrust challenge in India. In 2018, the CCI  fined Google $21 million for “search bias”, but a  company  appeal against that is pending. 

Last year, the CCI also started probing Google or allegedly  misusing its  dominant position to reduce the ability of smartphone manufacturers to  opt for alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY :-

Desert Locusts – The desert locust is a species of locust, a swarming short-horned grasshopper. It is one of the most devastating migratory pests in the world and it is highly mobile and feeds on large quantities of any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture, and fodder.

Challenges caused by locusts’ swarms 

a.Food Security and livelihood in danger– The swarms feed on green standing crops which have been destroyed in Eastern Africa as well as Pakistan.  This has threatened the food security of these nations and farmer’s livelihood. Somalia and Pakistan, thus, have declared state of emergency in their nations.

b.Breed exponentially – In their lifecycle of 3 months, these locusts breed exponentially which give rise to new swarms in short period.  The rise in their number creates havoc for farms across continents.

c.Locust plague and Covid 19 – The locust plague amid the corona crises has caused enormous distress in nations affected by it as mobilization of resources is already under strain.

Suggested solutions 

  1. Policy overhauls– Covering locust and such attacks under PM Fasal Bima Yojana which currently is silent on such issues.
  2. Science and technology development– Need of better supercomputers which provides analytical tool to predict the variation in atmospheric variables causing warming and cooling of oceans.
  3. Enhancing partnerships – India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are all ravaged by locust attack. The trio can actively engage in dialogue for establishing mechanisms to deal with attack under groups such as SAARC. This needs skillful leadership to reshape the bitter ties for better future of all.
  4. Remote sensing and controlling breeding – Technological solutions like remote sensing, UAV’s needs to be deployed at larger scale to check the breeding of locusts and bring their population under control.

Way Forward – The climate change is creating ground for unforeseen situations which demands better response by all nations. Achieving Sustainable development goal at the earliest by cooperation and collaboration is the only way ahead to usher in a safer future.

EDITORIAL 2: A moment to trust the teacher
Author is criticising the decision of Tamil Nadu Govt. to hold 10th class examinations amid these tough COVID-19 times.

Author says that the 10th Class examinations are not doing anything other that categorising students as “PASS” or “FAIL”.

It is based on rote learning and memorising instead of using any proper rational or cognitive development.

In Tamil Nadu several districts had pass Percentage of 99% i.e almost everyone who gave the exam passed. So even the Pass Fail Function was not justified here.

This is the main ground for the recommendation made in the National Curriculum Framework (2005) for making the Grade X exam voluntary.

So What Should TAMIL NADU Govt. do :– This is a middle path that the Tamil Nadu government can consider this summer.
Whenever schools reopen, children who want to take the board exam can do so. Others can carry on in the next grade.

Judgement of the Teacher could also have been used to further proceed the students in diffferent streams, That should be trusted. Teachers should be given much more autonomy and their judgement should be trusted.

The next step will be to start trusting the teacher and nurture the growth of a school based system of evaluation.

EDITORIAL 3 : FACTS:-

Alberto Alesina:- Alesina dealt with the question of what is the optimal size of nations. In his book, The Size of Nations, with his coauthor Enrico Spolaore, Alesina argued that the optimal size of a country is determined
by a tradeoff.

Oliver Williamson :- Nobel Prize for Finding the Optimal Size of Firms.

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