September 2019

Daily Current Affairs (11-09-19)


Related Topics: Government Schemes & Initiatives, Women Empowerment


In a major initiative to accelerate women entrepreneurship and secure gender parity, Kerala is planning to set up an International Women’s Trade Centre (iWTC) in Kozhikode.

About iWTC

  • It is an initiative of the Kerala Gender Park under the Department of Social Justice, Kerala.
  • It is envisaged as a safe space away from home for women to harness their entrepreneurial capabilities, set up or expand their businesses and get their products marketed globally.
  • It will provide a platform to help women break the glass ceiling by overcoming social barriers and forge ahead as successful entrepreneurs.
  • The first phase of iWTC, being executed under the Gender Park’s Vision 2020, is scheduled to be completed by 2021.


  • iWTC would be designed as a world class shopping destination with a string of outlets catering to the needs of women entrepreneurs.
  • It will be housed in an environment-friendly and resource- efficient

Key Features

  • The facility will have women’s start-up and incubation centre, retail fashion and technology outlets, health and wellness centres, business centres and offices, conference, convention and exhibition spaces, performing arts centre, residential suites and day care for seniors and children.
  • It would also have a dedicated space to promote performing arts and cultural forms like dance, music and theatre.
  • It will offer fully automated private and shared office spaces, virtual work spaces, common secretarial services, state-of-the-art communication facilities, and business guidance centres for setting up trade or business.
  • It will enable women entrepreneurs to participate in international trade, enjoy greater economic benefits and enhance their competitiveness to tap market opportunities.

Special Focus

  • Its special emphasis will be on hand-holding and bringing economically backward women, marginalized groups and women with disabilities and transgenders to the forefront by nurturing their entrepreneurial capabilities.
  • In its piloting year, it will help flood-affected women and provide them with opportunities for livelihood and entrepreneurship.

In line with UNSDG

It is conceived in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which seek to transform the world, building on the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ and promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

[Source: The Hindu]



Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Botanical Survey of India


  • Scientists from the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have discovered two new species of Zingiber, commonly referred to as ginger, from Nagaland.
  • Details of both discoveries were published in two peer-reviewed journals.

Zingiber perenense

  • It has been discovered from the Peren district of Nagaland.
  • The leafy shoots of Zingiber perenense reach up to 70 cm in height.
  • The lip of the flower is white with purplish-red streaks throughout, and the pollen is ellipsoidal.
  • The type specimens of Zingiber perenense were collected in September 2017, when botanists were working on the ‘State flora of Nagaland’ in the Peren district.

Zingiber dimapurense

  • It was found in the Dimapur district of Nagaland.
  • It is taller in size, with leafy shoots measuring 90-120 cm high.
  • The lip of the flower (modified corolla) is white in colour, with dense dark- purplish red blotches.
  • Its pollen is a creamy-white and ovato-ellipsoidal, whereas the fruit is an oblong 4.5 cm-5.5 cm long capsule.
  • The specimen of Zingiber dimapurense was collected in October 2016 from the Hekese village forest under the Medziphema subdivision.
  • Some rhizomes of this plant collected along with field data were planted in the Botanical Survey of India’s Eastern Regional Centre garden in Shillong, where itself they began flowering in June 2018.

About Genus Zingiber

  • Genus Zingiber has 141 species distributed throughout Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, with its centre of diversity in Southeast Asia.
  • More than 20 species have been found in north-eastern India.
  • Previous discoveries of Zingiber include Hedychium chingmeianum from the Tuensang district of Nagaland, Caulokaempferia dinabandhuensis from the Ukhrul district in Manipur in 2017, and Zingiber bipinianum from Meghalaya in 2015.


  • High diversity of ginger species in northeast India reveals that the climate is conducive for the growth and diversity of the genus.
  • Most species of ginger have medicinal values. More studies are required to ascertain the medicinal properties of the newly discovered species.
  • The rhizome of Zingiber officinale (common ginger) is used as a spice in kitchens across Asia, and also for its medicinal value.
  • Other wild species of Zingiber may also have immense horticultural importance.
[Source: The Hindu]



Related Topics: Trade War, Steel Import Monitoring System


  • In a bid to clamp down on the dumping of iron and steel imports, and also the over-and under-invoicing of these products, the government has removed these items from the ‘free’ category and has made it mandatory for importers to apply in advance for a registration of their import.
  • The new system will come into effect from November 1, 2019.
  • This comes at a time when India has been at the receiving end of large amounts of steel dumping due to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.


According to a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, the import of 284 item lines under the steel and iron category has been re-designated from ‘free’ to ‘free subject to compulsory registration under Steel Import Monitoring System’.

What is Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS)?

  • The system will require the importer to submit advance information on an online portal for the import of the items mentioned in the notification and obtain an automatic registration number.
  • This number can be obtained by paying a minimum fee of ₹500 and maximum of ₹1 lakh, depending on the value of the imports.
  • The importer can apply for registration not earlier than 60 days before and not later than 15 days before the expected date of arrival of the import, and the registration number will remain valid for 75 days.
  • This import-export data will bring transparency and will help solve the issue of over-invoicing and under-invoicing.
  • It will also protect the domestic industry and help in taking anti-dumping actions.

Effect of US-China trade war in India’s Iron and Steel Imports

  • Trade war between the U.S. and China has lead to the dumping of steel and aluminium products in India that were originally meant for the other two countries.
  • According to the data with the Ministry of Commerce, Indian imports of steel and iron had contracted 31% in 2016-17, the financial year before U.S. President Donald Trump imposed higher import duties on steel.
  • The effect of Mr. Trump’s announcement was not fully felt in the subsequent year as the announcement only came towards the end of the 2017-18 financial year.
  • India’s steel and iron imports reversed the contraction of the previous year, and grew 2.8% in 2017-18.
  • The full effect of the U.S.’ higher tariffs and China’s retaliatory tariffs was clearly visible by 2018-19, during which India’s imports of steel and iron grew more than 14%.
[Source: The Hindu]



Related Topics: Internal Security, Indian Air Force


  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has resurrected the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’, which will operate the first squadron of Rafale fighter jets in the near future.
  • Rafale is an extremely capable, 4th generation, multirole aircraft with advanced weapons.

IAF’s 17 Squadron

  • The 17 Squadron was raised at Ambala on October 01, 1951, under the command of Flight Lieutenant D.L. Springett and initially equipped with the Harvard-II B aircraft.
  • By November 1955, Squadron was converted fully to De Havilland Vampire.
  • By 1957, Hawker Hunter aircraft were flown by the ‘Golden Arrows’.
  • The Squadron was converted to the Mig-21 M in 1975.
  • The ‘Golden Arrows’ 17 Squadron was commanded by Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa during the Kargil war in 1999.
  • The squadron, which operated from Bhatinda airbase, was disbanded in 2016 after the IAF started gradual phasing out of Russian-origin Mig 21 jets.

Training Program

  • Between October 2019 and May 2020, three batches — each comprising eight IAF pilots along with engineers and technicians — would undergo advanced training on the Indian jets in France.
  • The Indian standard Rafale incorporating all the India Specific Enhancements (ISEs) would be operationally ready, latest by September 2021.
  • In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.
[Source: The Hindu]




Madhya Pradesh government is planning to launch an online service for those wanting to adopt a cow and provide sheds to them at gaushalas (cow shelters) across the State. People can adopt a cow for a minimum period of 15 days and can go on supporting it till animal’s lifetime. Through the service, donors would be able to pick a gaushala from the 626 in the State, and pay the amount to fulfil a cow’s diet of half a kilo of grain, five kilos of green feed and 10 kilos of wheat chaff a day, in case of a non-lactating, non-pregnant cow. Each contributor will be featured on the department’s website and receive a certificate. This initiative is part of Madhya Pradesh government’s ‘Project Gaushala’.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepal counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli jointly inaugurated the Motihari-Amlekhganj petroleum product pipeline, the first of its kind in South Asia, via a video conference. The 69 km-long pipeline from Motihari in Bihar to Amlekhganj in Nepal is the first-ever cross-border petroleum product pipeline in the South Asia region. As of now, tankers carry petroleum products from India to Nepal as part of an arrangement which is in place since 1973. Every year, the pipeline will carry two million metric tonne of clean petroleum products at an affordable price to Nepal.


India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) announced the rollout of Aadhaar enabled Payment Services (AePS) at the first anniversary of its business operations. With AePS services, any common person with a bank account linked to Aadhaar can perform basic banking services such as cash withdrawals and balance enquiry irrespective of the bank they hold their account with. The network will bring doorstep banking access to millions of underbanked customers and gives a fresh impetus to inclusion of customers facing accessibility challenges in the traditional banking ecosystem. With the launch of AePS services, India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has now become the single largest platform in the country for providing interoperable banking services to customers of ‘Any Bank’ by leveraging the last mile unprecedented reach of the Postal network.


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