Indian Polity

 Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir: Governor’s rule has been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir for the 8th time in last four decades. The decision was taken after J&K Governor sent his report to President recommending imposition of Governor’s rule in the state after the ruling coalition in the state broke down with either of the faction not having enough majority to carry on the government. As per the section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, Governor’s rule is imposed in the state only after the consent of the President and on report of the Governor when constitutional machinery fails in the state. The Governor’s rule is extended for a period of 6 months and in this time if the state does not get a representative government then the Governor’s rule comes to an end and Article 356 is imposed i.e. President’s Rule.

7-Star Gram Panchayat Rainbow scheme: Haryana Government has launched 7-Star Gram Panchayat Rainbow scheme to give star rankings to its panchayats on the basis of seven social parameters. Under this scheme, as many as 1,120 villages of the state have achieved rankings since its launch in January 2018. Under this scheme, seven social parameters under which panchayats will be judged are sex ratio, education, hygiene, environment preservation, governance and social participation. Stars of different colours (mentioned below) are awarded to panchayats depending upon their performance in each parameter.

National Health Resource Repository Project (NHRR): It is country’s first ever healthcare establishment census to collect data of all public and private healthcare establishments. NHRR Project aims to strengthen evidence-based decision making and develop platform for citizen and provider-centric services by creating robust, standardised and secured IT-enabled repository of India’s healthcare resources. The census will be conducted under Collection of Statistics Act 2008.

National Digital Library of India: The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) launched National Digital Library of India (NDLI) on the occasion of National Reading Day (observed on June 17) in New Delhi. NDLI’s objective is to make digital educational resources available to all citizens of the country to empower, inspire and encourage learning. NDLI is project of Ministry of HRD under the aegis of National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility. NDLI has been developed by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. It is open to all at free of cost.

National Testing Agency: NTA was approved by Union cabinet in November 2017 as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions in India. It is registered as society under Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860. It mandates is to conduct entrance tests entrusted to it by any department or ministry and put in place a robust system for conducting of examinations. Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has announced that National Testing Agency (NTA) will train paper setters to set better question papers and provide better model answers. NTA was set up to relieve Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and other educational regulator bodies from burden of conducting multiple examinations.

Swajal Scheme: Swajal is community owned drinking water scheme or programme for sustained drinking water supply. Under it, 90% of project cost is taken care by the Government and remaining 10% is contributed by beneficiary community. The operations and management of the project is taken care by the local villagers. Under this scheme, government aims to provide villages with piped water supply powered by harnessing solar energy. Moreover, hundreds of rural technicians will be trained under this scheme for operation and maintenance of Swajal units. Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation has launched Swajal Scheme in 115 Aspirational districts of India to provide clean drinking water. It will involve outlay of Rs. 700 crores through flexi-funds under existing National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) budget.

Aspirational Districts: Aspirational Districts have been in news for various reasons, most recently for the launch Swajal Scheme in such districts. The Union Government had selected 115 backward (aspirational) districts for rapid transformation by 2022 in line with Government’s vision to create ‘New India’. NITI Aayog had selected these districts on six socio-economic parameters, pertaining to health and nutrition, education, financial inclusion and skill development, agriculture and water resources and basic infrastructure. These 115 backward districts include 35 districts affected by Left Wing Extremists (LWE) violence, 55 districts just affected by LWE and another 15 including districts in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast affected by terrorism.

International Affairs

 US quits UN Human Rights Council: The US has announced its withdrawal from United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) terming it hypocritical and self-serving. It has blamed UNHRC for bias against Israel and refusing to eject members who are violators of human rights. US had opted to stay out of UNHRC before also: The George W. Bush administration had opted against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006. US joined the council only in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

USA’s International Withdrawals since Trump Administration: Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, US has announced its withdrawal from UN-backed 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, left UN educational and cultural organisation and pulled out of Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Other contentious moves taken by Trump administration are slapping tariffs on steel and aluminium against its key trading partners, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

UN Human Rights Council: UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within United Nations system. It is responsible for strengthening promotion and protection of human rights around globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It was created in March 2006 and replaced former UN Commission on Human Rights. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. UNHRC is made up of 47 UN member states which are elected by UN General Assembly (UNGA) with specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row.

World Refugee Day: The World Refugee Day is observed every year June 20 to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. Observance of this day seeks to draw attention to the plight of refugees and also to celebrate their courage and resilience and renew commitment to solve refugee problems. The theme for World Refugee Day 2018 is “Now More Than Ever, We Need to Stand with Refugees.”

World Sustainable Gastronomy Day: The World Sustainable Gastronomy Day is observed every year on June 18 across the world. The day acknowledges gastronomy as cultural expression related to natural and cultural diversity of the world. It also reaffirms that all cultures and civilisations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable development. Gastronomy is study of relationship between food and culture. It is art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetising food, cooking styles of particular regions, and science of good eating.

COMCASA - Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement: COMCASA is one of three foundational agreements that guide US high technology cooperation in defence sector with other countries. It was earlier called Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) before name was changed to reflect its India-specific nature. Other two agreements are Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and BECA. COMCASA was in news as a team of specialists from US held meeting with their counterparts on Indian side in New Delhi to negotiate text of Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), a foundational military communications agreement. The meeting was held as part of preparations for 2+2 dialogue between foreign and defence ministers of India and US scheduled to be held in Washington in July 2018.

Assumption Island: Assumption Island is a small island situated southwest of Seychelles main and largest island of Mahe. It is situated very close to Mozambique Channel from where much Indian Ocean maritime routes pass. Its location lends it strategic importance for monitoring shipping in the Mozambique Channel. Seychelles President Danny Faure ahead of his state visit to India has said that India-Seychelles joint project to develop naval base at Assumption Island in his country will not move forward. He also mentioned that Seychelles will develop military facilities at the island on its own. This statement comes after growing political opposition in Seychelles to agreement that was signed with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at Assumption Island which would have given India strategic advantage in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Economic Affairs

 ‘Women Wizards Rule Tech’ programme: Indian IT industry’s apex body NASSCOM (National Association of Software & Services Companies) has launched ‘Women Wizards Rule Tech’ programme to increase number of women in senior levels in Information Technology (IT) industry. The programme was announced in March 2018 at Nasscom Diversity and Inclusion Summit in Chennai as joint initiative by Nasscom Sector Skills Council and Data Security Council of India.

Liberalised Remittances Scheme: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has narrowed the definition of relatives under the ‘maintenance of close relative’ category of Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) to check outflow of funds and prevent misuse of facility. Henceforth, funds under this category can be sent only to immediate relatives such as parents, spouses, children and their spouses. LRS is facility provided by RBI for all resident individuals including minors to freely remit upto certain amount in terms of US Dollar for current and capital account purposes or combination of both. The scheme was introduced in February 2004 and its regulations are provided under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. After it was launched, the LRS limit was US $25,000, but it has been revised in stages consistent with prevailing macro and micro economic conditions. At present, LRS limit for all resident individuals, including minors, is US $2,50,000 (Rs. 1.5 crore) per financial year.

Environment and Ecology

 Targets for Off-Shore Wind Power: The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has declared medium (5 GW by 2022) and long-term (30 GW by 2030) targets for offshore wind power capacity addition. The offshore wind power will add new element to already existing basket of renewable energy of the country.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCDD): The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (WDCDD) is observed every year on June 17 across to world to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day aims to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels. The 2018 Theme of WDCDD is “Land has true value – invest in it.” It urges to move away from unsustainable land use and make a difference by investing in the future of land. The global observance  of WDCD2018 was hosted by Government of Ecuador.

Science Affairs

 International Centre for Humanitarian Forensics: The world’s first International Centre for Humanitarian Forensics was launched in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The humanitarian forensics plays significant and essential role during natural and manmade calamities which takes place at regular intervals across world over and large number of people become victims of such calamities.

Marijuana: Marijuana is greenish-gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of Cannabis sativa – the hemp plant. Most people smoke marijuana, though it can also be used in other forms such as edibles, powders and oils. It used for controlling pain for medical issues, like cancer, nervous system diseases, glaucoma, migraines, etc and also used to treat nausea and improve appetites for people with HIV or other chronic illnesses. Cannabis is banned in most countries but number countries have started decriminalising its use in recent years. It is legal for medicinal purposes in 14 European countries, Argentina, Israel, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the US, its medicinal use is allowed in 29 states and nine states have legalised both medical and personal use. Spain, Netherlands, Slovenia, Portugal, Jamaica, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Luxembourg are among countries that have relaxed legislation regarding personal use of Cannabis. Marijuana was in news recently as Canada has legalised use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

State of Nuclear Weapons by SIPRI: According to updated count by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the number of nuclear warheads with nine nuclear countries has reduced from 14,935 at start of 2017 to 14,465 at start of 2018. These nine countries are United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. SIPRI is an independent think tank that uses open sources to compile such data since 1966. Britain has 215 nuclear warheads, France has 300, China has 280, India 130-140, Pakistan 140-150, Israel 80 and North Korea 10-20. World’s nuclear powers are reducing their nuclear arsenals but they are also modernising, putting fresh and worrying focus on strategic deterrence. The reduction is due to arms control commitments by US and Russia in 2010 Treaty on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty).

Gaming Addiction had been declared a mental health disorder: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified gaming addiction as mental health disorder in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 11. ICD is the international standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. Its full official name is International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. It is maintained by WHO and is revised periodically. ICD 11 will be presented at World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by WHO member states, and it will come into effect on January 1, 2022. It also has for first time added chapter on traditional systems of medicine. This will pave way for such treatments to be covered by insurance as insurance reimbursements based on ICD coding.

Dhanush artillery gun set to be introduced in the service: Dhanush is upgraded version of Swedish 155-mm Bofors howitzers, which India procured in the mid-1980s, based on its original designs. It is also called desi Bofors. It is 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun. The indigenously upgraded artillery gun Dhanush has successfully completed final user trials and is ready for induction into Indian Army.

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Khandagale Dhammapal
Khandagale Dhammapal Rank-1020 Year-2017 (IAS)
Dear Sir thank you for your warm wishes. I always had conviction in my abilities and the constant support and guidance from teachers and mentors like you helped me a lot in this strenuous journey , I would also like to thank you from the bottom of the heart for taking pains of providing questions on my DAF for personality test and sending me interview preparation book from Delhi to remote location of Latur in Maharastra. Once again thank you for helping me realize my dream.
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