geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 16th April 2021

    1.   NATIONAL COMPANY LAW APPELLATE TRIBUNAL (NCLAT)

    • News: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Monday ordered the appointment of a Central government-nominated administrator to manage the affairs of the Delhi Gymkhana Club after prima facie finding several irregularities.
    • About  National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT):
      • The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) is a tribunal which was formed by the Central Government of India under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013.
      • The tribunal is responsible for hearing appeals from the orders of National Company Law Tribunal(s) (NCLT), starting on 1 June 2016.
      • The tribunal also hears appeals from orders issued by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India under Section 202 and Section 211 of IBC.
      • It also hears appeals from any direction issued, decision made, or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
      • As per 2020, the Appellate Tribunal is headed by Chairperson Justice Bansi Lal Bhat.
      • The NCLAT includes a Chairperson, a judicial member, and a technical member. It consists of a total of not more than eleven members.
    • About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India:
      • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) is the regulator for overseeing insolvency proceedings and entities like Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPA), Insolvency Professionals (IP) and Information Utilities (IU) in India.
      • It was established on 1 October 2016 and given statutory powers through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, which was passed by Lok Sabha on 5 May 2016.
        It covers Individuals, Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships and Partnership firms.
      • The new code will speed up the resolution process for stressed assets in the country.
      • It attempts to simplify the process of insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings.
      • It handles the cases using two tribunals like NCLT (National company law tribunal) and Debt recovery tribunal.
      • IBBI will have 10 members, including representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Law and corporate affairs, and the Reserve Bank of India.

    2.   RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION (RFID) TAGS

    • News: Simi Puri, 37, a Sushant Lok-I resident here, had a FASTag installed on one of her two vehicles. But after the National Highways Authority of India made digital payments though FASTags at its toll plazas mandatory from February 16, she decided to get it installed on her second car as well. But she was not alone to throng the Point of Sale near the Kherki Daula toll plaza in a bid to beat the NHAI deadline.
    • About FASTag:
      • FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India, operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
      • It employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it or directly toll owner.
      • It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables to drive through toll plazas without stopping for transactions.
      • The tag can be purchased from official Tag issuers or participating Banks and if it is linked to a prepaid account, then recharging or top-up can be as per requirement.
      • As per NHAI, FASTag has unlimited validity.
      • 5% cashback offers were also provided to promote the use of FASTag.
      • Dedicated Lanes at some Toll plazas have been built for FASTag.
      • In January 2019, state-run oil marketing companies IOC, BPCL and HPCL have signed MoUs enabling the use of FASTag to make purchases at petrol pumps.
    • About Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Tag:
      • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. An RFID system consists of a tiny radio transponder, a radio receiver and transmitter.
      • When triggered by an electromagnetic interrogation pulse from a nearby RFID reader device, the tag transmits digital data, usually an identifying inventory number, back to the reader.
      • This number can be used to track inventory goods.
      • There are two types of RFID tags:
      • Passive tags are powered by energy from the RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves.
      • Active tags are powered by a battery and thus can be read at a greater range from the RFID reader, up to hundreds of meters.
      • Unlike a barcode, the tag does not need to be within the line of sight of the reader, so it may be embedded in the tracked object. RFID is one method of automatic identification and data capture (AIDC).
      • an RFID tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line, RFID-tagged pharmaceuticals can be tracked through warehouses, and implanting RFID microchips in livestock and pets enables positive identification of animals.
      • Since RFID tags can be attached to physical money, clothing, and possessions, or implanted in animals and people, the possibility of reading personally-linked information without consent has raised serious privacy concerns.

    3.   GEOSPATIAL DATA POLICY

    • News: In sweeping changes to the country’s mapping policy, the government on Monday announced liberalisation of norms governing the acquisition and production of geospatial data, a move to help boost innovation in the sector and create a level playing field for public and private entities.
    • Details:
      • Under the new guidelines, the sector will be deregulated and aspects such as prior approvals for surveying, mapping and building applications based on that have been done away with.
      • For Indian entities, there will be complete deregulation with no prior approvals, security clearances and licences for the acquisition and production of geospatial data and geospatial data services, including maps.
      • The reform will benefit the country’s farmers, start-ups, the private sector, the public sector, and research institutions to drive innovations and build scalable solutions.
      • The move will unlock tremendous opportunities for the country’s start-ups, private sector, public sector, and research institutions, to drive innovations and build scalable solutions. It will also generate employment and accelerate economic growth.
    • About Geospatial Data:
      • Geospatial data (also known as “spatial data”) is used to describe data that represents features or objects on the Earth’s surface. Whether it’s man-made or natural, if it has to do with a specific location on the globe, it’s geospatial.
      • There are many ways geospatial data can be used and represented.
      • Most commonly, it’s used within a GIS (geographic information system) to understand spatial relationships and to create maps describing these relationships.
      • A GIS can also help you manage, customize, and analyze geospatial data.

    4.   GIANT LEATHERBACK TURTLE

    • News: Proposals for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands have conservationists worried over the fate of some of the most important nesting populations of the Giant Leatherback turtle in this part of the Indian Ocean.
    • Details:
      • The largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging, Leatherbacks are found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
      • Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and are also listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, according it the highest legal protection.
      • Surveys conducted in the A&N Islands over the past three decades have shown that the populations here could be among the most important colonies of the Leatherback globally.
      • There is concern now, however, that at least three key nesting beaches — two on Little Andaman Island and one on Great Nicobar Island — are under threat due to mega “development” plans announced in recent months.
      • These include NITI Aayog’s ambitious tourism vision for Little Andaman and the proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.
    • About Wildlife Protection Act, 1972:
      • The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species. Before 1972, India had only five designated national parks.
      • Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed.
      • The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants; and for matters connected there with or ancillary or incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India.
      • It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection. Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
      • Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower. Animals under Schedule V, e.g. common crows, fruit bats, rats and mice, are legally considered vermin and may be hunted freely.
      • The specified endemic plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting.
      • The hunting to the Enforcement authorities have the power to compound offences under this Schedule (i.e. they impose fines on the offenders).
    • About Leatherback Sea Turtle:
      • The leatherback sea turtle sometimes called the lute turtle or leathery turtle or simply the luth, is the largest of all living turtles and is the fourth-heaviest modern reptile behind three crocodilians.
      • It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and family Dermochelyidae.
      • It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell, hence the name.
      • Instead, its carapace is covered by skin and oily flesh.
      • Leatherbacks have been viewed as unique among extant reptiles for their ability to maintain high body temperatures using metabolically generated heat, or endothermy.
      • They are also the fastest-moving non-avian reptiles.
      • Leatherback turtles are one of the deepest-diving marine animals.

    5.   WHOLSESALE PRICE INDEX

    • News: Inflation in wholesale prices quickened to 2.03% in January, after easing to 1.2% in December 2020, led by a spike in manufactured products suggesting that producers were likely regaining pricing power, after the initial pandemic shock, amid rising commodity prices.
    • About Wholesale Price Index (WPI):
      • Wholesale Price Index, or WPI, measures the changes in the prices of goods sold and traded in bulk by wholesale businesses to other businesses. WPI is unlike the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the prices of goods and services purchased by consumers.
      • Analysts use the numbers to track the supply and demand dynamics in industry, manufacturing and construction. The numbers are released by the Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. An upward surge in the WPI print indicates inflationary pressure in the economy and vice versa. The quantum of rise in the WPI month-after-month is used to measure the level of wholesale inflation in the economy.
      • While WPI keeps track of the wholesale price of goods, the CPI measures the average price that households pay for a basket of different goods and services. Even as the WPI is used as a key measure of inflation in some economies, the RBI no longer uses it for policy purposes, including setting repo rates. The central bank currently uses CPI or retail inflation as a key measure of inflation to set the monetary and credit policy.
      • With an aim to align the index with the base year of other important economic indicators such as GDP and IIP, the base year was updated to 2011-12 from 2004-05 for the new series of Wholesale Price Index (WPI), effective from April 2017.
      • The monthly WPI number shows the average price changes of goods usually expressed in ratios or percentages.
      • The index is based on the wholesale prices of a few relevant commodities available.
      • The commodities are chosen based on their significance in the region. These represent different strata of the economy and are expected to provide a comprehensive WPI value.
      • The advanced base year 2011-12 adopted recently uses 697 items.
      • Major components of WPI
        • Primary articles is a major component of WPI, further subdivided into Food Articles and Non-Food Articles.
        • Food Articles include items such as Cereals, Paddy, Wheat, Pulses, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, Eggs, Meat & Fish, etc.
        • Non-Food Articles include Oil Seeds, Minerals and Crude Petroleum
        • The next major basket in WPI is Fuel & Power, which tracks price movements in Petrol, Diesel and LPG
        • The biggest basket is Manufactured Goods. It spans across a variety of manufactured products such as Textiles, Apparels, Paper, Chemicals, Plastic, Cement, Metals, and more.
        • Manufactured Goods basket also includes manufactured food products such as Sugar, Tobacco Products, Vegetable and Animal Oils, and Fats.

    6.   STATE FISCAL DEFICIT

    • News: The aggregate fiscal deficit of States is likely to be at 4.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021-22 compared with 4.6% in 2020-21, says a report by India Ratings and Research.
    • Details:
      • The rating agency has revised the outlook on State finances to stable for FY22 from stable-to-negative.
      • The agency estimates the nominal GDP to grow 14.5% in FY22, and believes a gradual pick-up in revenue collections could lead to an improvement in the capital expenditure from FY22.

    7.   FACTS FOR STATE SERVICES

    • Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed as the first female and first African head of the beleaguered World Trade Organization (WTO)