Daily Current Affairs : 25-Jan-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. IFSC BANKING UNITS (IBUS)

  2. NEW ARCHAEON- NATRIALBA SWARUPIAE

  3. ICC-CLIMATE CHANGE

  4. ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS- CRIME IN POLITICS

  5. STABLISHMENT OF CHAIRS NAMED AFTER EMINENT WOMEN IN UNIVERSITIES

  6. NATIONAL VOTERS' DAY

  7. THAI AMAVASAI -TAMIL NADU

  8. ISRO INTRODUCED VYOMMITRA


IFSC BANKING UNITS (IBUS)

Part of GS-3 Economy


Why in news?

  • In regard to IFSC Banking Units (IBUs) being allowed to participate in exchange traded currency derivatives on rupee (with settlement in foreign currency).

  • And listed on stock exchanges set up at IFSCs, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said banks should ensure their IBUs should have necessary expertise to price, value and compute the capital charge and manage the risks associated with the products /transactions intended to be offered.


Highlights:

  • The RBI also stated that banks should also obtain their board’s approval for undertaking such transactions.

  • RBI had earlier accepted the recommendation made by the Task Force on Offshore Rupee Markets chaired by Usha Thorat following which it permitted rupee derivatives (with settlement in foreign currency) to be traded in IFSC.

  • “IBUs shall follow all other risk mitigation and prudential measures as applicable and detailed in this circular while participating in these products,” RBI stated.

  • In April 2015, the Reserve Bank had formulated a scheme for setting up of International Financial Services Centres (IFSC) Banking Units (IBUs) by banks in IFSCs.


Source: Indian Express



NEW ARCHAEON- NATRIALBA SWARUPIAE

Part of GS- 3 S&T


Why in news?

  • Scientists at the National Centre for Microbial Resource — National Centre for Cell Science (NCMR-NCCS) in Pune have reported a new archaeon (a kind of microorganism), which they discovered in Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.

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Highlights:

  • The discovery was described in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. This is the only journal that publishes the description of new microbial taxa, said Dr Yogesh Shouche, senior scientist at NCCS.

Why it matters:

  • Archaea (singular archaeon) are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes.

  • These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut, and have a potential relationship with human health.

  • They are known for producing antimicrobial molecules, and for anti-oxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment.

  • Archaea are extremely difficult to culture due to challenges in providing natural conditions in a laboratory setting, said Dr Avinash Sharma, one of the researchers at NCMR-NCCS.

  • Very few groups are working on their cultivation, said co-author Swapnil Kajale.

  • Scientists in China, Israel, Russia and a few countries in Europe are working on the taxonomy of archaea, but going by the number of publications that are coming out on all bacterial taxonomy, the studies on archaea are outnumbered.

  • As archaea are relatively poorly studied, very little is known about how archaea behave in the human body.

  • About Natrialba swarupiae:

  • The new archaeon discovered in Sambhar Lake has been named Natrialba swarupiae, after Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, for her initiative in supporting microbial diversity studies in the country.

  • Once the new organism was found, it took researchers one year to complete the study because archaea grow so slow.

Source: Indian Express



ICC-CLIMATE CHANGE

Part of GS- 3 Environment & Ecology


Why in news?

  • Philanthropy arms of top corporates, including the Tatas, Mahindras, Godrejs and Premjis, announced a partnership to minimise the climate change impact.


Highlights:

  • The India Climate Collaborative (ICC) will be working to strengthen the climate community locally, build a climate narrative and drive solutions that will ensure both the natural world and people thrive.

  • The announcement comes amid an increased conversation on climate change, with the 50th session of the World Economic Forum in Davos generating the maximum flutter, which has also seen US President Donald Trump calling the greens “prophets of doom”.

Source : The Hindu



AGR- DoT

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

  • The Licensing Finance Policy Wing of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) directed all departments not to take any action against telecom operators if they failed to clear adjusted gross revenue (AGR)-related dues as per the Supreme Court’s recent order.


Highlights:


What it means for operators:

  • The order comes as a huge relief for operators — mainly Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — that would have otherwise faced possible contempt action for not paying dues by the deadline that ran out on Thursday.

  • There is no change in the amount they have to pay — however, it buys them time as they hope for relief from the Supreme Court, which will next week hear their plea seeking permission to negotiate the timeline for payment of dues with the DoT.

  • Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea together owe the telecom department Rs 88,624 crore.

  • Prior to the DoT order restraining coercive action, the companies had told the government that they would wait for the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing.

  • Reliance Jio paid up its dues of Rs 195 crore.

  • Telecom operators are required to pay licence fee and spectrum charges in the form of ‘revenue share’ to the Government.

  • The revenue amount used to calculate this revenue share is known as AGR.

  • In October 2019, the Supreme Court of India upheld the DoT’s interpretation of AGR, which came as a huge blow to telecom service providers. Following the order, the telcos are now staring at dues of around ₹1 lakh crore.

  • The definition of AGR has been under litigation for 14 years. While telecom companies argued that it should comprise revenue from telecom services, the Department of Telecom (DoT)’s stand was that the AGR should include all revenue earned by an operator, including that from non-core telecom operations.

Source : Indian Express



ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS- CRIME IN POLITICS

Polity & Governance


Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court agreed to examine a proposition made by the Election Commission (EC) to ask political parties to not give ticket to those with criminal antecedents.

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Highlights:

  • The Bench also agreed to come up with a joint proposal detailing how it can be ensured that parties did not fall in with criminal politicians.

  • Senior advocate Vikas Singh said 46% of Members of Parliament have criminal records.

  • A September 2018 judgment of a Constitution Bench led by then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had directed political parties to publish online the pending criminal cases against their candidates.

  • The judgment had also urged Parliament to bring a “strong law” to cleanse political parties of leaders facing trial for serious crimes.

Source : The Hindu



ESTABLISHMENT OF CHAIRS NAMED AFTER EMINENT WOMEN IN UNIVERSITIES

Part of GS- 1 Social Issue


Why in news?

  • On the occasion of National Girl Child Day, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is going to set up 10 Chairs in different fields with an aim to carry out research activities to encourage women.


Highlights:

  • The initiative called Establishment of Chairs in the Universities in the name of eminent women administrators, artists, scientists and social reformers is being launched with the assistance of University Grants Commission (UGC).

  • The main objective is to inspire women to pursue higher education and to achieve excellence in their area of work.

  • This initiative of highlighting and celebrating women achievers of the country will motivate young girls and women towards higher studies.

  • Academic functions of the Chairs will be to engage in research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the area of the study, strengthen the role of university and academics in public policy making.

  • The financial implications of the proposal is 50 lakh rupees per Chair per year and the total expenditure for establishing ten Chairs will be approximately five crore rupees per annum.

  • The Chairs are to be established for a period of five years initially as per the guidelines.

The chairs proposed by UGC and approved by the Ministry are as under:

Subject Proposed name of chair

Administration: Devi Ahilyabai Holkar

Literature: Mahadevi Varma

Freedom Fighter (North East): Rani Gaidinliu

Medicine & Health: Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi

Performing Art: Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi

Forest/Wildlife Conservation: Amrita Devi (Beniwal)

Mathematics: Lilavati

Science: Kamala Sohonie

Poetry & Mysticism: Lal Ded

Educational Reforms: Hansa Mehta


Source: PIB



NATIONAL VOTERS' DAY

Part of GS- polity and Governance


Why in news?

  • The 10th National Voters’ Day (NVD) will be celebrated on 25 January 2020.


Highlights:

  • The theme for NVD-2020 is ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy. The theme sets the tone for year-long activities with focus on voter education and renewal of citizens’ faith in the electoral process.

  • The Day is celebrated on 25th January every year since 2011.

  • It is celebrated at over ten lakh locations across the country including polling stations, district and state headquarters, to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January 1950.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind will be the Chief Guest at the 10th National Voters' Day function which is being organized by the Election Commission of India at Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi.


Source: AIR



THAI AMAVASAI -TAMIL NADU

Part of GS- 1 A&C


Why in news?

Thai Amavasai- the first New Moon that comes after the Sun starts moving towards the Northern hemisphere - is being observed throughout Tamil Nadu with devotion and traditional rites.


Highlights:

The day is believed to be astrologically significant and hence considered to be holy.

Bathing in holy rivers and offering rituals to ancestors form important aspects of the Amavasai day.

In the famous sea shore Shiva temple of Rameswaram, rituals are being conducted on the famous glass idol.

Thousands of people have gathered to bathe in the Agni Theertham.

People have gathered to perform rituals at Poompuhar in Nagapattinam district, where the Cauvery River joins the Bay of Bengal.

Other important places where rituals are offered to ancestors include Srirangam in Trichy as well as Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavoor districts.


Source: AIR



ISRO INTRODUCED VYOMMITRA

Part of GS- 3 Science & Tech


Why in news?

  • ISRO introduced Vyommitra, a half-humanoid to an international gathering on January 23, 2020.


Highlights:

  • Vyommitra will be sent to space as a trial before Gaganyaan, which will be launched in 2022.

  • The humanoid will simulate the human functions required for space before real astronauts take off before August 2022.

  • Two trial flights without crew will take place with a humanoid — the first around December 2020 and the second around July 2021.

  • Vyommitra Mitra is the result of a year-long effort of the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit in Thiruvananthapuram.

Source : The Hindu

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