Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Daily Updates - 12 November 2014

Events of National and International Importance - 

Kerala declares full banking coverage

1.            Kerala has become the first major State to declare banking coverage to all households under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojna.
2.            The Yojna is a comprehensive financial inclusion programme launched by the Prime Minister on Independence Day.
3.            All banks in the State together have opened over 12.8 lakh accounts to achieve full coverage in rural and urban areas.
4.            They have issued 5.25 lakh RuPay debit cards till date. A toll free number 1800-425-11222 has been set up for providing information on the scheme and redressal of grievances.
5.            The State now has more than 6,000 bank branches. Every village has a banking channel. This apart, 848 Akshaya e-kiosks in the State are serving as banking kiosks.
6.            The State has also achieved the milestone of opening financial literacy centers.

Govt launches Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills

1.       The Minorities Affairs ministry  launched the Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) to impart training to youths in light of the stress laid by Prime Minister Narendra  Modi on skill development. 
2.       It was launched on a pilot basis on the 125th birth anniversary of first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
3.       MANAS  also saw two MoUs being signed under it for the training of youths in the health and security sectors. 
4.       "To increase coverage of the programme under MANAS, the ministry has recently increased the income eligibility criterion for trainees from Rs 1.03 lakh to Rs 6 lakh (annual) to facilitate provision of training and concessional credit. 
5.       This change of base is likely to benefit 12 to 13 crore people," said Minorities Affairs minister Najma Heptullah. 
6.       The training programmes will ensure 100 per cent employment for trainees.

Highlights of Prime minister’s visit to Myanmar-  

1.                 Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his 11-day foreign tour on Tuesday afternoon with his first stop at Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar ,where he held bilateral talks with President U Thein Sein.
2.                 The focus was on beefing up engagement in the areas of culture and commerce and made a strong push for improving regional connectivity as a booster to trade and increased people-to-people contact.
3.                 The best example of this co-operation and this co-operative spirit is the decision taken by the two governments to implement the Kaladan project. 
4.                 "The interest level of Indian industry - India Inc. in Myanmar - has really increased.... say since 2011-2012 after the process of review of sanctions took place.

5.                 India and Myanmar share a long land border of over 1600 kilometres and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.

Google signs 60-year, $ 1 billion NASA lease
1.                 Google has signed a long-term lease for part of a historic Navy air base
2.                 It plans to renovate three massive hangars (A large structure at an airport where aircraft can be stored and maintained), and use them for projects involving
a)            The Aviation,
b)            Space exploration
c)             Robotics
3.                 Giant Internet Company will pay $ 1.16 billion in rent over 60 years for the property (which also includes a working air field, golf course and other buildings)
4.                 The 1,000-acre (400-hectare) site is part of the former Moffett Field Naval Air Station on the San Francisco Peninsula.

IR & Diplomacy

Is There Room for the US in China’s 'Asia-Pacific Dream'

What is Asia – Pacific Dream

1.       Asia-Pacific dream is the latest iteration of China’s vision for a united Asian community with Beijing as its center — and with the United States noticeably absent.

2.       It includes Asia for Asians concept, having Asians problem solved by Asians themselves.

3.       It is closely tied to economic elements, with development and vibrancy including free trade agreements and investment possibilities.

China’s policy regarding Asia – Pacific Dream

1.       China’s renewed push for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) falls under this rubric.

2.       Its same as China’s expanding vision for its Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road.

3.       China is the largest trading partner for South Korea, Japan, Australia, and ASEAN.

4.       China’s new initiatives, including the Asia-Pacific Dream, make it clear that China wants to turn economic leadership into more explicit strategic leadership.

 Implications for the United States

1.       US have been at best skeptical of China’s regional ambitions and at worst has outright tried to block projects like the AIIB and FTAAP.

2.       The U.S. is wary of China’s vision for the region in part simply because increasing Chinese leadership naturally means decreasing U.S. influence.

3.       When Beijing emphasizes the Asia-Pacific as a “Asians only club, it makes strategists in Washington very nervous.

Economy - 

RBI tightens norms for NBFCs

1.       The Reserve Bank of India on Monday Tightens norms for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs)
2.       It raised the capital adequacy requirement and the net owned fund limit, with an objective to mitigate risks in the sector.
3.       The RBI also revoked temporary suspension on issuance of Certificate of Registration (CoR), to companies that want to conduct business of non-banking financial institution (NBFI). 
4.       As per the latest directives, the RBI has raised the limit for NBFCs to maintain the net owned fund (NOF) requirement to four times by 2017 to Rs.2 crore.
5.       At present, the NOF requirement is at Rs.25 lakh. In a phased manner, the NBFCs would be required to raise it to Rs.1 crore by March, 2016, and to further double it to Rs.2 crore by 2017. 
6.       NBFCs failing to achieve the prescribed ceiling within the stipulated time period shall not be eligible to hold the CoR (Certificate of Registration) as NBFCs. 
7.       . The bank will initiate the process for cancellation of CoR against such NBFCs,” it said in a notification.
8.       In the interest of harmonisation, the asset classification norms for NBFCs-ND-SI and NBFCs-D will be brought in line with that of banks

9.       At present, an asset is classified as non-performing asset when it has remained overdue for a period of six months or more for loans and overdue for twelve months or more in case of lease rental and hire purchase installments, as compared to 90 days for banks.

Environment & Ecology

United Nations environment awards for 2014 announced

1.       Launched in 2005, the ‘Champions of the Earth’ awards recognise achievements of people from different categories.

2.       This year, eight winners were announced in five different categories.

Clockwise from Left

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyno, Boyan Slat, Sir Robert Watson, a representative of the US Green Building Council, Tommy Remengesau, Mario Molina, Sylvia Earle and Fatima Jibrell 

Science & Technology

New Research Reveals the Role of Magnetic Fields in Star Formation

A schematic illustration of the magnetic field and motions found in a massive star forming cluster. The core (gray-filled ellipse) is a flattened, rotating cloud of gas and dust (blue and red arrows indicate the sense of the rotation). It is fragmenting into new stars (evidenced by the three condensations/gray dots), and is threaded by an hourglass magnetic field (“B field” green lines) largely aligned with a bipolar outflow indicated with the arrows.

1.       Using the Sub millimeter Array to study the magnetic field in a massive star cluster
2.       Astronomers were able to determine the properties of the magnetic field and the role they play in star formation.
3.       Massive stars tend to form in clusters as the gas and dust in molecular clouds collapses and fragments under the influence of gravity.
4.       In the classic picture of star formation, gravity must eventually compete against the thermal pressure that develops in the collapsing core as the material heats up. 
5.       The scientists report detecting the clear signature of an hourglass-shaped magnetic field that is remarkably consistent with theoretical predictions of the classic paradigm.

6.       This is the first time that such an hourglass field, aligned with a well-defined outflow system, has been seen in a high-mass region. 

Editorial - 

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