19 & 20 , March 2017

BJP’s Yogi Adityanath (44) was sworn in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma were sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers.

Former RSS pracharak and Uttarakhand BJP chief and Trivendra Singh Rawat (56) was sworn in as 9th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

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1.Scientists discover five new sub-atomic particles at CERN
Source: PIB

Scientists using Large Hadron Collider accelerator (LHC) at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) have discovered a new system of five particles all in a single analysis.

This discovery is unique as observing five new states all at once is very rare. According to the standard convention, these particle states were named Oc(3000)0, Oc(3050)0, Oc(3066)0, Oc(3090)0 , Oc(3119)0.

The numbers indicate their masses in megaelectronvolts (MeV), measured by LHCb experiment, one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at LHC, world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

  • The new particles were found to be in excited states (a particle state that has a higher energy than the ground state or absolute minimum configuration) of a particle called Omega-c-zero.
  • Omega-c-zero is a baryon. It is a particle with three quarks, containing two strange and one charm quark. It decays via the strong force into another baryon, called Xi-c-plus (containing a “charm”, a “strange” and an “up” quark) and a kaon K-. Xi-c-plusparticle further decays in turn into a proton p, a kaon K- and a pion p+.
  • LHCb collaboration by analysing trajectories and energy left in the detector by all the particles in this final configuration were able to trace back the initial event he decay of the Omega-c-zero and its excited states.
  • Now quantum numbers of these new particles, characteristic numbers used to identify the properties of a specific particle and their theoretical significance will be determined.

Significance of the Discovery: It will contribute to understanding how the three constituent quarks are bound inside a baryon. It will also help to probe the correlation between quarks, which plays a key role in describing multi-quark states, such as tetraquarks and pentaquarks.

About Baryon:

  • Baryon is a composite subatomic particle made up of three quarks (a triquark, as distinct from mesons, which are composed of one quark and one antiquark).
  • Baryons and mesons belong to the hadron family of particles, which are the quark-based particles. The most familiar baryons are the protons and neutrons that make up most of the mass of the visible matter in the universe.

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2.Cabinet approves four GST Bills
Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following four GST related bills:

  • The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill)
  • The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill)
  • The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill)
  • The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill)

The passage of these four GST related bills will pave the way for the biggest reform in the area of Indirect Taxes in the history of independent India.

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Significance:

  • By amalgamating a large number of Central and State taxes into a single tax, it would mitigate cascading or double taxation in a major way and pave the way for a common national market.
  • The Goods and Services Tax will thus help in the realization of the objective of “One Nation, One Tax” and improve the Ease of Doing Business climate in the country.
  • It will also indirectly benefit the common man by reducing the tax burden especially on the daily consumer items of the common man.
  • Introduction of GST would also make Indian products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this would have a boosting impact on economic growth.
  • It is expected that the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax law will lead to an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country by 1-2%. This in turn will lead to the creation of more employment and increase in productivity.   
  • The GST regime will bring in more transparency and efficiency with the minimization of human interface in the tax administration in the country.
  • The GST regime is also likely to lead to a reduction in tax evasion as a result of the computerization of the taxation process.
  • This tax, because of its transparent and self-policing character, would be easier to administer. This will in turn lead to increase in revenue collection for the Centre and the States.

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3.New Grading Pattern by NAAC
Source: PIB 

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has introduced a revised grading pattern with effect from 1st July 2016. The NAAC has identified the following seven criteria to serve as the basis for its assessment of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs):

  • Curricular Aspects
  • Teaching-learning and evaluation
  • Research, consultancy and extension
  • Infrastructure and learning resources
  • Student support and progression
  • Governance , Leadership and Management
  • Innovations and Best Practices

As per the revised grading system, HEIs are awarded eight types of letter grades viz. A++, A+, A, B++, B+, B, C and D.

HEIs with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) ranging between 3.76 and 4.00 get the highest grade of accreditation i.e. ‘A++’ whereas, institutions with CGPA of 1.5 or less are not accredited.

The revised grading pattern has the potential to make differentiation within HEIs in terms of their qualitative performance and to ensure healthy competition among these institutions to improve the standards of Higher Education.

Higher education accreditation is a system of quality assurance under which services and operations of HEIs or programs are evaluated by an external agency to determine if applicable standards of education are met.

The highest grade of accreditation depends on how the HEIs have taken steps to improve upon the education infrastructure as per the set standards/criteria outlined by NAAC under the revised grading system.

The revised grading system provides a larger scope for healthy competition in the education sector and HEIs which are graded less than ‘A++’ are expected to strive towards achieving the standards set by NAAC for the award of the highest grading.

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4.Government Aims To Make India A Global Biotech Hub By 2020  –  BIRAC
Source: PIB

BIRAC has been hailed as one of the most effective government measures to create an enabling environment for research and development to flourish in a country. It aim to develop India into a global innovation hub by 2020 and BIRAC has paved the way to deliver on that mandate.

The 5th Foundation Day themed ‘Impacting the Biotech Innovation Ecosystem’ was presided over by and attended by a large number of dignitaries from the scientific and industry sectors both from within the country and oversees.

About BIRAC:

  • Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) was incorporated on 20th March, 2012 as a not-for-profit public sector enterprise, set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India
  • It acts as an interface agency to support emerging biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation, to address nationally relevant product development needs.
  • BIRAC’s efforts have been focused on enhancing the innovation research capacities within the biotech industries, and encouraging young entrepreneurs to take their innovation ideas towards scale-up and commercialization, so as to meet the country’s challenge for Affordable Product Development for masses without undermining the quality .
  • With over 500 Biotech Industries, Startups and Entrepreneurs supported, today there are more than 50 products and technologies commercialized or in an advanced stage for commercialization.

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5.New Wi-Fi system to offer super-fast connectivity
Source: The Hindu

Scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlandshave developed a new wireless Internet based on infrared rays that is reportedly 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi networks.

  • It has a huge capacity, more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s). It also does away with the need of sharing Wi-Fi, as every device gets its own ray of light.
  • The wireless data comes from a few central ‘light antennas’, which can be mounted on the ceiling, that are able to precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre
  • The antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles (‘passive diffraction gratings’)
  • Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light. It uses safe infrared wavelength that does not reach the retina in the eye.
  • If a user is walking about and a Smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna’s direction, then another light antenna takes over.
  • Current Wi-Fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz
  • The new system uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher

Significance:

  • The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction.
  • Different devices are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity.
  • It uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher. Current, Wi-Fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz.
  • On this network, researchers have managed to achieve a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres.
  • It is hundred times fast than best Wi-Fi systems currently available that can provide users maximum 300 mbps speed.
  • The new system so far has used the light rays only to download. Uploads are still done using radio signals since in most applications much less capacity is needed for uploading

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6.Doubts raised over second IFSC’s viability
Source: The Hindu

Even advanced nations have been finding it difficult to develop more than one major international financial centre in their respective territory.

Therefore, India, which is yet to have full capital account convertibility, may find it even tougher to make more than one IFSC viable

What has happened?

  • The Commerce Department has asked the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to comment on the feasibility of having more than one International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India
  • Also sought comments from the DEA on the viability of the Maharashtra government’s proposal for an IFSC in Mumbai

Other IFSC Centre: Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar

Nodal agency – the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) :

  • The DEA, in the Finance Ministry, is the nodal agency for formulation and monitoring of economic policies at the macro-level such as the ones relating to the functioning of the financial services sector in the country like banking, insurance and capital markets, including stock exchanges
  • IFSC-related matters fall within the jurisdiction of financial sector regulators such as the Reserve Bank of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and Securities and Exchange Board of India as well as the Finance Ministry
  • The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act is pertinent in this case as IFSC is set up in a SEZ, and therefore, the Commerce Department has a crucial role here as it is the nodal body at the Centre for SEZ-related matters
  • The SEZ Act merely states that the Centre can approve only one IFSC in a SEZ, and does not bar more than one IFSC in the country

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7.China to take part in Brahmaputra festival
Source: The Hindu

The five-day Brahmaputra river festival titled Namami Brahmaputra organised by the Assam government in Assam will witness significant participation from China.

  • It is described as the “biggest river festival of India”
  • Various other countries such as Vietnam and Singapore are also attending
  • The festival will be celebrated in 21 districts & will have eight roadshows in various cities as well as two international roadshows
  • It will also showcase indigenous sports, local food, handicrafts as well as film festivals

About Brahmaputra river:

Origin: The Brahmaputra has its origin in the Chemayungdung glacier of the Kailash range near the Mansarovar lake. Mariam La separates the source of the Brahmaputra from the Manasarovar Lake.

It is also called as:

  • The Tsangpo in Tibet ( Tsangpo = ‘the purifier.’)
  • The Brahmaputra in India
  • The Jamuna in Bangladesh

Major left bank tributaries:

  • Burhi Dihing,
  • Dhansari (South)
  • Kalang

Major right bank tributaries:

  • Subansiri ( It has its origin in Tibet and is an antecedent river.)
  • Kameng
  • Manas
  • Sankosh

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8.Sparrows nearing extinction due to lack of emotional connect
Source: The Hindu

Issue:

  • Mindless urbanisation is leading to a loss of the birds’ natural habitats .The house sparrow that was declared the ‘State Bird of Delhi’ in 2012 is edging towards extinction due to the lack of an emotional connect .
  • The current generation is so much surrounded by technology that they have forgotten about nature
  • The indifference caused by a lack of emotional connect has pushed these birds to the edge of extinction.

Reasons for food scarcity:

  • Earlier women used to clean grain outside their houses and sparrows would have plenty of food from there
  • Severe use of insecticides in farming is killing sparrows’ primary food source in insects and grains
  • Increased use of packed food, insecticides in farming, and changing lifestyles, resulting in an inadequate availability of food for the birds

New architecture style:

  • Matchbox-styled  architecture that makes it difficult for the birds to locate pockets to build nest
  • Sparrows need cavities to build their nests. Since the new matchbox style buildings don’t have cavities, sparrows are now homeless

Need at present:

  • People should hang wooden bird nests in balconies and put out a pot of water for the winged visitors

NFSI: Nature Forever Society for India

  • Mohammed Dilawar: Is a conservationist & founded Nature Forever Society for India (NFSI), a non-profit organization to conserve house sparrows.
  • NFSI Founded in 2005 & works actively to spread awareness for bird conservation .
  • Also distributes bird feeders and nest boxes to solve to some extent the scarcity of food and nests.
  • The institution also observed a three-day ‘Great Sparrow Count’ starting March 18, during which birdwatchers uploaded bird counts in their respective localities on to a common database.
  • Started World Sparrow Day on march 20th from October 2010, now celebrated annually across 50 countries.

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9.Ministry to grade Coal India mines
Source: The Hindu

The Coal Controller’s Organisation, a Coal Ministry outfit, has been tasked with grading and notifying the mines of Coal India Ltd. from April 2017.

This marks a significant change from the present practice of internal grading by Coal India.This could also lead to a major change in the existing grades accorded to the mines

Until now, the grading was done by the coal-producing subsidiaries of CIL and was vetted by the CCO

Current change:

  • The change has been triggered by a new thrust on quality following recurring complaints on coal quality and grade mismatch by coal consumers in both the power and the non-power sectors
  • It was felt that while CIL had geared itself up to produce coal as per demand, quality still remained an issue
  • In between coal-seams, presence of layers of stone and extraneous material lead to variation in grades

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10. 123 LCA Tejas by 2024-25
Source: The Hindu

  • If the present development and capacity enhancement plans go as per schedule, the Indian Air Force will have 123 indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter jets in its fleet by 2024-25.
  • To enable this, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is in the process of setting up a new assembly line and is also involving the private sector in a big way.
  • In July ,2016 the IAF for operationalised the first Tejas squadron ‘45 flying daggers’ with three aircraft
  • In November 2016, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had given initial clearance for 83 aircraft in the Mk-1A configuration with specific improvements
  • The IAF is in urgent need of new fighters and the LCAs will replace the Mig fighters that are currently being phased out
  • IAF is scheduled to phase out all 11 squadrons of Mig-21 and Mig-27 fighters by 2024.

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11.Parents can evict abusive adult children from their house: HC
Source: The Hindu

According to Delhi High Court Ruling, Children who abuse their parents while staying with them in their house can be evicted from the property. This ensures the right of senior citizens or parents to live peacefully and with dignity.

Issue:
An appeal filed by an alcoholic former policeman and his brother, challenging a Maintenance Tribunal’s October 2015 order to evict the two from the residence where their elderly and ailing parents lived
Main points:

  • The house need not be self-acquired or owned by the parents.
  • As long as parents have legal possession of the property, they can evict their abusive adult children
  • Major improvisation in a 2007 law that had left it to State governments to frame rules to protect the life and property of senior citizens.

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12.Buddhism relevant in today’s era
Source: The Hindu

President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the closing ceremony of a three-day International Buddhist Conclave in Rajgir in Nalanda , said

  • The philosophy of Buddhism is as relevant today as ever in the era of violence, “especially as the world grapples with the complex problems that seem intractable”
  • No part of the world today is free from the scourge of violence & this crisis is all pervasive
  • Nalanda reflects our ancient educational system which attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers in ancient India
  • Education means the development of the mind and requires an atmosphere which is conducive to free exchange of ideas
  • He urged the delegates to redouble their efforts to promote the simple Truths and the Path of the Buddha that show we can be better citizens and contribute to making our land a better place to live in.

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