October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (14-10-19)

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB)

Related Topics: International Organisations, ADB- STRATEGY 2030

News

  • ADB and the Government of India signed a $190 million loan to upgrade 754 kilometres of state highways and major district roads (MDRs) to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards in Rajasthan.
  • The Tranche 1 loan of $220 million under the Programme, signed in July 2017, upgraded about 1,000 km of state roads.

Road Connectivity Project in Rajasthan

  • The project will encourage participation of private sector through Hybrid Annuity Mode and Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contracts.
  • The annuity-based PPP model attracts private sector financing to address capital investment requirements, where a proportion of initial capital expenditure is paid during construction while the balance is serviced by annuity payments during the operation and maintenance phase.
  • The toll collection rights will remain with the state public works department to bring sustainability in operation and maintenance of the project.
  • For the benefit of commuters and pedestrians, particularly women and children, the project provides for constructing more than 200 bus stops, 70 km of hard shoulder, and 2 km of raised sidewalk on project roads.
  • It will ensure good governance during project implementation, particularly on procurement and safeguards.

ADB- STRATEGY 2030

  • Strategy 2030 sets out the ADB’s broad vision and strategic response to the evolving needs of Asia and the Pacific.
  • The vision is to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
  • In contrast to earlier Strategy 2020- the Strategy 2030 document emphasis on human and social factors, in addition to the usual infrastructure and the private sector.
  • Under the Strategy, ADB will combine finance, knowledge, and partnerships to sustain the efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and expand the vision towards a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable region.
  • Strategy 2030 recognizes that the ambitious global development agenda must be tailored to specific local circumstances.
  • ADB will strengthen its country-focused approach, promote the use of innovative technologies, and deliver integrated interventions that combine expertise across a range of sectors and themes and through a mix of public and private sector operations.
  • It will institute a “One ADB” approach, bringing together knowledge and expertise across the organization to effectively implement Strategy 2030.

About ADB

  • It is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966 which is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
  • Its primary mission is to foster growth and cooperation among countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.
  • It envisions a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in the region.
  • ADB in partnership with member governments, independent specialists and other financial institutions is focused on delivering projects in developing member countries that create economic and development impact.
  • As a multilateral development finance institution, ADB assists its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.
  • ADB is composed of 68 members, 49 of which are from the Asia and Pacific region.
  • Although the majority of the Bank’s members are from the Asia-Pacific region, the industrialized nations are also well-represented.
  • Top 5 shareholders in ADB are: Japan (15.6%), United States (15.6%), People’s Republic of China (6.4%), India (6.3%) and Australia (5.8%)
  • ADB usually work in harmony with both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in their activities.
  • India was a founding member of ADB, but operations in the country began only in 1986, when India opted to become a borrowing member.
[Source: PIB, adb.org]

 

ANNUAL GANGES RIVER DOLPHIN CENSUS

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Wildlife Census

News

  • The annual Ganges river dolphin census along about 250-km-long riverine stretch of Upper Ganga between Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary and Narora Ramsar site began in Bijnor.
  • It is undertaken by World Wide Fund for Nature-India in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.
  • Last year the census count was 33, including three calves.

New Methodology

  • Unlike previous years, when direct counting method was used, this year the tandem boat survey method is being used.
  • The method was developed by the renowned river and marine ecologist Gill Braulik and provides a more accurate count of the endangered species.
  • The officials use two inflated boats which move in tandem to count the dolphins.
  • After collating the data, statistical tools are employed to arrive at the final count.
  • In this process, the officials will not announce the number of sightings on a daily basis.

Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista Gangetica)

Distribution

It is found in parts of the Ganges-Meghna-Brahmaputra and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Threats

  • The main reasons for decline in population of the species are poaching and habitat degradation.
  • Dumping of single-use plastic, industrial pollution, fishing and dredging are some of the threats to the dolphins in the region.
  • The increase in the number of barrages and dams is also affecting their growth as such structures impede the flow of water.

Significance

  • It has mythological significance in addition to the tourist attraction.
  • It is among the four ‘obligate’ freshwater dolphins in the world.
  • Its presence indicates the health of the riverine ecosystem

Features

  • The animal is known to make strange sounds when it breathes, earning it the name ‘Susu’.
  • Being a mammal, it has to come to the surface to breathe.
  • It is called a blind dolphin because it doesn’t have a crystalline eye lens and uses echolocation to navigate and hunt. It is crucial to find prey in the murky waters of the Ganga.
  • Like bats, they produce high-frequency sounds which help them to ‘see’ objects when the sound waves bounce off them.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • It was declared as National Aquatic Animal of India on 10th May 2010.
  • It has been included in the Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its efforts of biodiversity conservation in Ganga River basin has been working further on the Ganges River Dolphin Conservation Action Plan

[Source: The Hindu, wwf.panda.org]

 

INDEX OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION (IIP)

Related Topics: Manufacturing Sector, Indian Economy

News

According to the data for the “Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production” released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), India’s industrial sector production contracted by 1.1 per cent in August 2019, when compared to the production in the same month in 2018.

Negative Growth

  • Industrial production growth for the first time in more than two years has treaded into negative territory.
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had shown a growth of 4.8% in August 2018.
  • The previous low in IIP was (-) 1.7% in November 2012.

Classsification

  • There are two ways in which IIP data can be viewed.
  • In Sectoral classification, the whole industrial economy is divided into three sectors; the first is manufacturing with a weight of 77.6 per cent in the index, the second is mining with a weight of 14.4 per cent and third is electricity with a weight of 8 per cent.
  • The second way to look at the same production is to look at the way such industrial products are used; this is called the Use-based classification.

Performance

  • Two of the three key constituents of IIP–Manufacturing and Electricity contracted 1.2% and 0.9%, respectively while mining growth was 0.1%.
  • In terms of industries, 15 out of the 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown negative growth during August 2019 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
  • Infrastructure/ construction goods showed a decline of 4.5% in August 2019 as against a growth of 8% in the corresponding month of 2018.
  • Among the use-based industries, capital goods shrank for the eighth consecutive month by 21%, signalling continuing lack of investment demand.
  • Consumer durables contracted for the third time in a row, by 9.1%, indicating that consumer sentiment remains downbeat.
  • Consumer non-durables and primary goods continued to register positive growth, growing at 4.1% and 1.1% respectively.

Snapshot of Industrial Production

What is IIP?

  • IIP is a composite indicator measuring changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products over a period of time, with respect to a chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published on a monthly basis by the CSO with a time lag of six weeks from the reference month.
  • The eight Core Industries comprise nearly 40.7 % of the weight of items included in IIP.
  • They are Coal, Crude oil, Natural gas, Refinery products, Fertilisers, Steel, Cement and Electricity.
  • Base year for IIP is 2011-2012.

Significance of the Index

  • IIP is the only measure on the physical volume of production.
  • The all-India IIP provides a single representative figure to measure the general level of industrial activity in the economy.
  • It is used by government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India etc, for policy purposes.
  • It forms a crucial input for compilation of Gross Value Added (GVA) of the manufacturing sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a quarterly basis.
[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, Livemint]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

PLOGGING

During his morning walk on a beach in Mamallapuram, PM Narendra Modi was seen picking up plastic litter, bottles and other items. In his tweet, Mr. Modi said: “Plogging at a beach in Mamallapuram this morning. It lasted for over 30 minutes”. ‘Plogging’ is a combination word formed from ‘jogging’ and ‘plocka upp’, which is Swedish for ‘pick up’. It refers to an emerging international trend, in which someone picks up trash while jogging or brisk walking as a way of cleaning up litter while also taking care of fitness. The trend was started in Sweden by Erik Ahlström in 2016. During his commute to work, Ahlström would frequently come across litter that would remain on the streets for weeks without anyone picking it up. This prompted him to pick up the trash during his commute and dispose of it. Eventually, he included the clean-up in his daily running and exercise routine.

BRICS CULTURE MINISTERS’ MEET

Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent charge) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel participated in BRICS Culture Ministers’ meeting held in Curitiba, Brazil. At the meeting, the minister asserted that BRICS is a valuable forum for consultation, coordination and cooperation on contemporary global issues of mutual interest for India. He also proposed to add another field of cooperation under the aegis of BRICS Alliance on Literature envisaging BRICS Literary Festival to enhance cooperation and exchanges in the field of literature and promoting translation of literary works of famous writers and poets of BRICS member states.  BRICS is the acronym for the grouping of the world’s major emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.

CYANIDE

Kerala Police have arrested a woman for allegedly killing her husband, parents-in-law and three other members of the extended family over a period of 14 years using cyanide. Cyanide is a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that can exist in various forms. Cyanide can be a colorless gas, such as hydrogen cyanide (HCN) or cyanogen chloride (CNCl), or a crystal form such as sodium cyanide (NaCN) or potassium cyanide (KCN). Cyanide is used in the extraction and polishing of gold, and for gold-plating. The ornament industry uses the chemical to give gold its reddish yellow colour, believed to be the “original” colour of the metal, and for ridding it of impurities. The stocking and sale of cyanide in Kerala is regulated by The Kerala Poisons Rules, 1996, which were notified under The Poisons Act, 1919, which empowers state governments “to regulate possession for sale and sale of any poison”.

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