Arctic Region and Arctic Council

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

8 Jul, 2020


About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 24th November 2021


    • News: The United States and India committed to integrating their economies across sectors to harness the untapped potential of the bilateral relationship, at the Trade Policy Forum convened after a gap of four years on Tuesday.
    • About Generalized System of Preferences:
      • The Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, is a preferential tariff system which provides tariff reduction on various products. The concept of GSP is very different from the concept of “most favored nation” (MFN).
      • MFN status provides equal treatment in the case of tariff being imposed by a nation but in case of GSP differential tariff could be imposed by a nation on various countries depending upon factors such as whether it is a developed country or a developing country. Both the rules comes under the purview of WTO.
      • GSP provides tariff reduction for least developed countries but MFN is only for not discriminating among WTO members.


    • News: The Union Government will introduce a Bill to regulate cryptocurrency and ostensibly ban all private cryptocurrencies, along with 25 other pieces of legislation, in the winter session of Parliament that begins on November 29.
    • About Cryptocurrency:
      • A cryptocurrency, crypto-currency, or crypto is a collection of binary data which is designed to work as a medium of exchange.
      • Individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger, which is a computerized database using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, to control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership.
      • Cryptocurrencies are generally fiat currencies, as they are not backed by or convertible into a commodity.
      • Cryptocurrency does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is typically not issued by a central authority.
    • About Fiat Currencies:
      • Fiat money is a type of money that is not backed by any commodity such as gold or silver, and derives its value solely from the trust that people place on it.
      • Throughout history, fiat money was sometimes issued by local banks and other institutions. In modern times, fiat money is generally established by government regulation.
      • Fiat money does not have intrinsic value and does not have use value. It has value only because the people who use it as a medium of exchange agree on its value.
      • They trust that it will be accepted by merchants and other people.
      • Fiat money is an alternative to commodity money, which is a currency that has intrinsic value because it contains a precious metal such as gold or silver which is embedded in the coin. Fiat also differs from representative money, which is money that has intrinsic value because it is backed by and can be converted into a precious metal or another commodity.
      • Fiat money can look similar to representative money (such as paper bills), but the former has no backing, while the latter represents a claim on a commodity (which can be redeemed to a greater or lesser extent).
      • Government-issued fiat money banknotes were used first during the 11th century in China.
      • Fiat money started to predominate during the 20th century. Since President Nixon’s decision to decouple the US dollar from gold in 1971, a system of national fiat currencies has been used globally.
      • Fiat money can be:
        • Any money that is not backed by a commodity.
        • Money declared by a person, institution or government to be legal tender.
        • State-issued money which is neither convertible through a central bank to anything else nor fixed in value in terms of any objective standard.
        • Money used because of government decree.
        • An otherwise non-valuable object that serves as a medium of exchange (also known as fiduciary money.)


    • News: The air quality of Delhi improved to the “poor” category on Tuesday and is likely to remain in the upper end of “poor” category to the lower end of the “very poor” category over the next three days, as per authorities.
    • About Air Quality Index:
      • Air Quality is measured using a metric called Air Quality Index (AQI). AQI will display the changes in air pollution in the atmosphere.  Clean air is extremely important to maintain good health and the environment. Our atmosphere is predominantly made up of 2 important gases that are vital for life on earth, these are Oxygen and Nitrogen. AQI keeps a tab on 8 major air pollutants in the atmosphere namely,
        • Particulate Matter (PM10)
        • Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
        • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
        • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
        • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
        • Ozone (O3)
        • Ammonia (NH3)
        • Lead (Pb)
      • National Air Quality Index was launched in 2014 to measure the air quality in terms of six categories:
        • Good
        • Satisfactory
        • Moderately Polluted
        • Poor
        • Very Poor and
        • Severe


    • News: Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that the Government is considering a proposal to give buyers additional concessions on buying new vehicles after scrapping of their old vehicles.
    • About Vehicle Scrappage Policy:
      • The vehicle scrappage policy is a government-funded programme to replace old vehicles from Indian roads. The policy is expected to reduce pollution, create job opportunities and boost demand for new vehicles. Several countries including the US, Germany, Canada and China have introduced vehicle scrappage policies to boost their respective automotive industries and check vehicular pollution.
      • Incentives for scrapping old vehicles and buying new ones:
        • Vehicle manufacturers can give up to 5% discount for buying new vehicles
        • Zero new registration fee
        • Scrap value equivalent of 4-6% of ex-showroom price of new vehicles
        • States can give up to 25% and 15% rebate on road tax for personal and commercial vehicles, respectively
        • Reduced maintenance cost and increased savings from fuel
      • Disincentives for keeping old vehicles:
        • States can levy an additional ‘Green Tax’
        • Hike in renewal of registration fee for private vehicles
        • Increase in renewal of fitness certification for commercial vehicles
        • Automatic deregistration of unfit vehicles
      • Vehicles to be exempted:
        • Strong hybrids and electric vehicles
        • Vehicles using alternative fuels such as CNG, ethanol and LPG
        • Farm and agricultural equipment such as tractors, tillers and harvesters
      • According to MORTH, the policy will likely result in the following projected gains:
        • 30% boost for the Indian automobile industry from the current Rs. 4.5 lakh crore turnover to Rs. 10 lakh crore over the coming years
        • The export component of Rs. 1.45 lakh crore of the present turnover is likely to go up to Rs. 3 lakh crore
        • Availability of scrapped materials such as steel, plastic, rubber and aluminium will increase. This will be used in manufacturing automobile parts, which will reduce cost by 30-40%
        • Promote new technologies with better mileage of vehicles besides promoting green fuel and electricity
        • Decrease India’s huge Rs. 10 lakh crore crude import bill
        • Attract new investments of ~Rs. 10,000 crore and create as many as 35,000 jobs


    • News: Countries must prepare for future “shocks” to their agricultural and food systems from droughts, floods or diseases following the fallout from the pandemic
    • About Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
      • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.
      • Its Latin motto, fiat panis, translates to “let there be bread”. It was founded in October 1945.
      • The FAO is composed of 197 member states.
      • It is headquartered in Rome, Italy, and maintains regional and field offices around the world, operating in over 130 countries.
      • It helps governments and development agencies coordinate their activities to improve and develop agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and land and water resources.
      • It also conducts research, provides technical assistance to projects, operates educational and training programs, and collects data on agricultural output, production, and development.
      • The FAO is governed by a biennial conference representing each member country and the European Union, which elects a 49-member executive council.