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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Sep 17, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Departmentally Related Standing Committee

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If you learn about basic about any body, you will never forget. Read now.

These DRSCs replaced the earlier three Subject Committees constituted in August 1989. The 17 Departmentally Related Standing Committees were formally constituted with effect from April 1993.  After experiencing the working of the DRSC system for over a decade, the system was re-structured in July 2004 wherein the number of DRSCs was increased from 17 to 24.

Ok, one thing you remember here, that DRSC, are mentioned in the Rules of House of both Lok Sabha (331C) and Rajya Sabha (268).

Composition:

Till 13th Lok Sabha, each of these Standing Committees used to consist of 45 members—30 nominated by the Speaker from amongst the members of Lok Sabha and 15 members nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha from amongst the members of Rajya Sabha. However, with re-structuring of DRSCs in July 2004 each DRSC consists of 31 members—21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.

Minister not to be a Member of the Committee:

A Minister is not eligible to be nominated as a member of any of the Standing Committees and if a member, after her/his nomination to any of the Standing Committees, is appointed a Minister, she/he ceases to be a member of the Committee from the date of such appointment.

Term of Office:

The term of office of the “members” of the committees shall not exceed one year. Thus, it is the term of office of the members and not that of the committees per se that is one year. Remember this small thing

 

The Committees do not consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned Ministries/ Departments. The Committees also do not generally consider the matters which are under consideration by other Parliamentary Committees.

Current Affair 2:
India’s GDP growth projection by different agencies

Because of the uncertainties around COVID-19 induced lockdowns and the economic slowdown, multiple international rating agencies have been revising their GDP growth estimates for 2020 and beyond.

According to the Ministry of Statistics & Program Implementation’s (MoSPI) press release on 31 August 2020, India’s GDP for the first quarter of financial year 2020-21 contracted by 23.9% as compared to that of the same quarter during the financial year 2019-20. In other words, India’s GDP growth rate in Q1 of 2020-21 was -23.9%.

Not just in India, but globally, many economies have contracted in the April-June quarter of 2020. Gradually economic activity is also picking up in a phased manner and hence, we might see improved GDP numbers for the July to September quarter of 2020 in India.

Today we will GDP forecast for India as well as few other major economies, as predicted by multiple prominent agencies.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in June 2020 projected the global GDP growth to be at -4.9% in 2020, worse than the projection made in April 2020 at -3%. In January 2020, before the pandemic spread across the world, the projection was a growth of 3.3%.

The World Bank projected the global growth to be at 2.5% in 2020, slightly more than the global growth in 2019 at 2.4%, in its report published in January this year. However, following the coronavirus outbreak, in the June 2020 version of the report, the global economy has been projected to contract by 5.2% in 2020, which the World Bank termed as ‘the deepest global recession in eight decades.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

India’s GDP growth for 2020, projected at 6.2% in November 2019, was slashed to 5.1% in March 2020 and has been projected to contract 10.2% in the September 2020 forecast as a result of lockdowns being extended.

Fitch ratings

As per Fitch’s forecast in March 2020, the global growth was projected at 1.3% which was later re-estimated at -4.4% in September 2020. Since COVID-19 cases in India were low in March 2020, India’s GDP growth for financial year 2020-21 was projected to contract by 5%. After recording one of the sharpest GDP contractions in the world in the first quarter of 2020-21, India’s GDP projection for 2020-21 has been slashed to -10.5% due to ‘looming deterioration in asset quality in the financial sector’.

Asian Development Bank

Among the neighbouring countries, Maldives GDP is expected to contract by 20.5%, more than India’s, whose GDP has been forecast to contract by -9% (from -4% projected in June 2020).

Conclusion:

The finance ministry, in its monthly economic report for August 2020 stated that India is witnessing a sharp V-shaped recovery.

However, there is still a lot of uncertainty around the pandemic and its effect on the economy. Wait and wait how government handles such situation.

Current Affair 3:
The Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (Biotech-KISAN) programme

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Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (Biotech-KISAN) is a Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology initiative that empowers farmers, especially women farmers. It aims to understand the problems of water, soil, seed and market faced by the farmers and provide simple solutions to them.

The Scheme is for farmers, developed by and with farmers, it empowers women, impacts locally, connects globally, is Pan-India, has a hub-and spoke model and stimulates entrepreneurship and innovation in farmers.

Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (Biotech-KISAN) is being implemented in 15 agro-climatic zones of India in phased manner

Salient features: Very important to know its features. Its very important to have clear understanding about features of it.

For Farmers: The Biotech-KISAN is a Farmer centric scheme launched by of the Department of Biotechnology, where scientists will work in sync with farmers to understand problems and find solutions.

By Farmers: Developed in consultation with the farmers.  Soil, Water, Seed and Market are some key points that concern small and marginal farmers. Biotech-KISAN aims to link farmers, scientists and science institutions across the country in a network that identifies and helps solve their problems in a cooperative manner.

Empower women. The woman farmer is often neglected. It is important to empower the women farmer, help her meet her concerns for better seed, storage of seed and protection of the crops from disease and pest. The women farmer is also the prime caretaker of livestock and she is eager to combine traditional wisdom in handling the livestock and with current best practices, especially in the context of emerging livestock disease. The scheme includes the Mahila Biotech- KISAN fellowships, for training and education in farm practices, for women farmers.  The Scheme also aims to support the women farmers/ entrepreneur in their small enterprises, making her a grass root innovator.

Connects Globally: Biotech-KISAN will connect farmers to best global practices; training workshops will be held in India and other countries. Farmers and Scientists will partner across the globe.

Impacts Locally: The scheme is targeted towards the least educated marginalised farmer; Scientists will spend time on farms and link communication tools to soil, water seed and market. The aim is to understand individual problems of the smallholding farmers and provide ready solutions.

Across India: Biotech KISAN will connect farmers with science in the 15 agro-climatic zones of the country in a manner, which constantly links problems with available solutions.

Hubs and Spoke: In each of these 15 regions, a Farmer organisation will be the hub connected to different science labs, Krishi Vigyan Kendra and State Agriculture Universities co-located in the region. The hub will reach out to the farmers in the region and connect them to scientists and institutions.

Farmers as Innovators: The hub will have tinkering lab, communication cell and will run year-long training, awareness, workshops and which will act as education demonstration units to encourage grass root innovation in the young as well as women farmers.

Communicating Best Practices: There will be a communication set-up to make radio and TV programmes for local stations, as well as daily connectivity through social media.

They won’t ask anything apart from this.

Current Affair 4:
Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle- a major indigenous achievement for India

Very important Article. So many questions from Prelims can be formed. Do read each line.

DRDO's successful test of a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle this month is a result of several indigenous tech achievements and know-how obtained over two decades. With this successful test of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle, India will be making its first hypersonic missile in the next five years. India is the fourth country in the world after the US, China and Russia to develop and test the technology that will pave the way for missiles that will travel at six times the speed of sound.

Why this vehicle is unique?

Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle is powered by scramjet engine. So, what is so unique about this scramjet engine?

Typical engines on airplanes, rockets, and missiles burn a mixture of fuel and oxidizer (combustion) to generate power, which is then used to create thrust forces to propel the vehicle. Unlike the gas turbine engines found on commercial transport airplanes, ramjets have no moving or rotating mechanical parts. At supersonic speeds, a stream of fast-moving air from the atmosphere, which contains oxygen, rushes into the engine. Fuel is injected into this airstream inside the engine, and a fast-moving mixture of fuel and oxygen is created. This mixture is ignited to initiate combustion and generate thrust. The ramjet engine is what powers the Brahmos cruise missile.

A scramjet, works on similar concepts as a ramjet but is designed for operation at even higher flight speeds, going into the hypersonic territory.

What is the major challenge associated with scramjet?

One of the key challenging aspects of a scramjet is that the air ingested by the engine flows through at very high speeds — this internal air-flow speed is itself supersonic.

  1. In this scenario, proper injection of fuel into the airstream, holding of a steady flame, and ensuring complete fuel combustion in the engine is an immensely challenging engineering task — one that demands a good scientific understanding of supersonic flow and combustion mechanics.
  2. It’s like lighting and holding a matchstick flame in the open during a cyclone with intense winds, as goes an analogy often used in aerospace engineering classrooms.
  3. The flame inside the engine, which initiates and sustains combustion, can very easily be extinguished by the high-speed airstream (known as flame blowoff), and
  4. this basically shuts down the engine, leading to immediate loss of thrust and thereby control of the vehicle.

Now, this challenge has been accepted by India.

The challenges mentioned above has been met by HSTDV powered by a scramjet, through intricate design that performs careful conditioning of the internal airstream and promotes a stable and continuous combustion process for steady engine operation.

The scramjet advantages

  1. The Agni missiles use a solid propellant that contains both fuel and the oxidizer needed for combustion. Similarly, ISRO space-launchers also carry both fuel and oxidizer onboard.
  2. In comparison, a scramjet engine draws oxygen from the atmosphere, resulting in significant savings in terms of the weight of oxidizer that does not have to be carried onboard.
  3. These savings directly translate to higher payload capacity, and/or   extended flight range for the vehicle.
  4. Also, unlike solid-propellant engines, scramjets allow for a certain level of on-demand acceleration and deceleration by regulating the fuel burn rate, thereby enabling the vehicle to cruise in a controlled manner.
  5. The flexibility of a scramjet-powered hypersonic vehicle adds a large degree of unpredictability to its flight path, making interception much harder than for a ballistic missile like Agni.
  6. This aspect naturally provides significant tactical advantages in certain operational scenarios.

Apart from this wonderful technology, more technology gaps need to be answered. Government should try to rope in more private institutions and create an ecosystem that enables synergy between industry and government-funded organizations/institutes for building advanced field-ready technologies augurs well for realizing the vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Current Affair 5:
Five tropical storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean at the same time

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A rare climatic event occurred in the Atlantic Ocean on September 14, 2020: Five storm systems — hurricanes, storms and depressions — were brewing in the ocean at the same time for only the second time on record.

The five active storms were Hurricane Paulette, Hurricane Sally, tropical storm Teddy, tropical storm Vicky and tropical depression Rene.

The last time such an event occurred was nearly half-a-century ago, in September 1971.

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