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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Sep 16, 2020

Current Affair 1:
The Human Capital Index (HCI) 2020

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Very important to know the significance of this index.   

The Human Capital Index (HCI) is an international metric that benchmarks key components of human capital across countries. Measuring the human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by her 18th birthday, the HCI highlights how current health and education outcomes shape the productivity of the next generation of workers. The HCI was launched in 2018 as part of the Human Capital Project (HCP), a lobal effort to accelerate progress towards a world where all children can achieve their full potential.

The Human Capital Index ranges between 0 and 1. The index is measured in terms of the productivity of the next generation of workers relative to the benchmark of complete education and full health. An economy in which a child born today can expect to achieve complete education and full health will score a value of 1 on the index.

India has been ranked at the 116th position in the latest edition of the World Bank’s annual Human Capital Index that benchmarks key components of human capital across countries. However, India’s score increased to 0.49 from 0.44 in 2018, as per the Human Capital Index report released by the World Bank.

With a score of 0.88, the Southeast Asian island state of Singapore is one of the top performers on the HCI.

Every report whatsoever covers now the effect of COVID Pandemic. So do Human Capital Index. Read below.

Current Affair 2:
Electric Power Survey Report 2019

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Introduction:

Keeping track of energy demands is important for countries since it is related to economic activity of that particular nation.

These trends also help in forecast of future energy needs for governments to plan based on the estimated demand. We can do policy formulation, tariff estimation, and optimization of peak demand in the long run by knowing forecasting. With this objective, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) under the Ministry of Power conducts the Electric Power Survey for India, giving projections on electricity demand for the next ten years. So far, 18 such surveys have been conducted in India. The latest survey is the 19th edition which was conducted by a committee constituted by CEA in 2015.

NITI Aayog in its report,

already mentioned that India is the third largest generator and fourth biggest consumer of electricity in the world.

Overall, India has seen a rise in Electrical Energy Requirement and electrical energy met over the years. See below.

As per the report, Mumbai had the highest energy requirement with a demand of 21,977 MU in 2019-20. Hyderabad was closely behind Mumbai with a requirement of 21,799 in 2019-20, among these 45 cities. As per the projections, Hyderabad is all set to overtake Mumbai in 2020-21 in terms of energy requirement.

Peak demand is the highest in Mumbai as of 2019-20. Peak Demand is when the electricity consumption is the highest. It is projected that Hyderabad will overtake Mumbai in peak demand in 2022-23.

Per capita consumption is highest for Hyderabad in 2018-19.

The per capita consumption of electricity for the mega cities in the survey is calculated using the 2011 census population estimates. It is observed that in 2011-12, Surat had the highest per capita consumption of electricity among the 9 cities considered. In 2018-19, Hyderabad’s per capita consumption was estimated to be the highest.

Energy consumption in different sectors:

Current Affair 3:
Jupiter-sized planet found orbiting a dead star

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According to findings published in the journal Nature, a planet the size of Jupiter is in orbit around a white dwarf — the remnant after a star’s death — which is 80 light years away from Earth. The planet takes merely 1.4 days to complete one orbit.

  1. Earlier it was thought that planets could not form around a white dwarf due to the violent nature of the white dwarf formation.
  2. However, this study supports the theory that massive planets can survive the creation of a white dwarf, migrate close to it and then resume orbit around the new remnant.
  3. The observations were made using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope.
  4. The findings have implications for the survival of other kinds of planets during the death of a star, including Earth-like rocky planets.

Formation of white dwarfs:

White dwarfs are formed when the star exhausts its nuclear fuel and towards the end of the fuel burning stage, expels its outer layers to form a planetary nebula around the core. A planetary nebula is a shell of gas that is ejected from stars.

  1. They do this by shedding up to 80 per cent of their original mass, which then incinerates everything nearby.
  2. The process of a white dwarf formation is extremely energetic but is slow and lasts years. This is unlike a supernova that more massive stars undergo, to form a neutron star or black hole, which occurs in a matter of minutes.
  3. The remaining hot core of the original star is the white dwarf.
  4. White dwarfs’ mass is about half as much as the sun, but they are only slightly bigger than the Earth in size. Only neutron stars and black holes, the other two ‘compact objects’ formed after the death of a star, are denser than them.
  5. Unlike stars, the white dwarf is prevented from collapsing into itself under the weight of its gravity because inside a compact object, there is no more space, as even electrons that cannot stay together are squished together to occupy close spaces.
  6. White dwarfs do not have any fuel and don’t burn energy but are sources of X-rays. Upon formation, the white dwarf is hotter than 100,000 K (or almost 100,000 degrees Celsius), but it cools over the next billions of years.
  7. They eventually stop emitting radiation, becoming a black dwarf. No black dwarfs exist yet as the universe is younger than the time it takes to form a black dwarf.
  8. The nearest known white dwarf is Sirius B, one of the two stars that make up the Sirius binary star system. It is located 8.6 light years away.

Current Affair 4:
Pangolins need protection in India

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Of the eight species found worldwide (four each in Asia and Africa), two are found in India: Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata and Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla.

The Indian Pangolin is found throughout the country south of the Himalayas, excluding the north-eastern region while the Chinese Pangolin ranges through Assam and the eastern Himalayas.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are the only known mammals with large keratin scales covering their skin.

Indian Pangolins are categorized as Endangered in IUCN Red List.

Threats to pangolins

  1. The primary threat to most pangolin species is illegal hunting and poaching, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  2. Using Pangolin scales for traditional medicines is another huge threat to the species as the scales are used as an ingredient in traditional Asian medicine, especially in China and Vietnam.
  3. Scales are believed to be a cure for a various disease such as heart disease, cancer and are used to help lactating women produce milk.
  4. Consuming its meat either locally or as a luxury product is also listed as a serious threat because the mammals have been consumed as a source of protein throughout history.
  5. Pangolin also is a victim of illegal wildlife trade for its meat and scales although international trade of pangolin has been prohibited.
  6. Apart from these issues, habitat loss and degradation also play a negative role in the declining pangolin population.

Nearly 6000 pangolins were poached in India between 2009 and 2017, despite a ban, with Manipur and Tamil Nadu emerging as hotspots for pangolin smuggling, says a report released by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

Current Affair 5:
The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020

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The Parliament passed the Salary, Allowances & Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020, by voice vote.

The Bills were moved by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to reduce the salaries and allowances of MPs and sumptuary allowances of Ministers for one year, to supplement the financial resources of the centre to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the Bills seek to amend:

  1. the Salary, Allowances, and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 to reduce the salaries of MPs by 30%
  2. the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952, to reduce the sumptuary allowance of Ministers by 30%
  3. Rules under the 1954 Act to reduce constituency allowance and office expenses allowance of MPs.

What constitution says?

Article 106 of the Constitution empowers MPs to determine their salaries by enacting laws.

One thing more, till 2018, MPs periodically passed laws to revise their salaries. The Finance Act, 2018 provided that the salary, daily allowance, and pension of MPs will be increased every five years, on the basis of the cost inflation index provided under the Income-tax Act, 1961.

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