Current Affairs, 14 November 2018

Current Affairs, 14 November 2018


Paper 2:

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Leadership for Academicians Program (LEAP)


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the program.

Context: The government has launched Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) for higher education faculty.


About the Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP):

  • Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) is a three weeks Flagship leadership development training programme (2 weeks domestic and one week foreign training) for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.
  • The main objective is to prepare second tier academic heads who are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.
  • The programme would provide senior faculty, with high academic credentials, the required leadership and managerial skills including skills of problem-solving, handling stress, team building work, conflict management, developing communication skills, understanding and coping with the complexity and challenges of governance in HEIs, financial & general administration.
  • The implementation of LEAP Programme will be through 15 NIRF top ranked Indian Institutions namely. The foreign Universities identified for the training are also within the top 100 in the world global rankings.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the program.


Context: The Centre has launched Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) for higher education faculty.


About Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT):

Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 15 lakh higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM.

  • For implementing ARPIT, 75 discipline-specific institutions have been identified and notified as National Resource Centres (NRCs) in the first phase, which are tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.
  • ARPIT will be an ongoing exercise so that every year NRCs will continuously develop new refresher module in their earmarked discipline each year. The training materials will be uploaded and made available through SWAYAM. NRC will publish the list of the faculty who have been certified. The NRCs will revolutionize professional development of faculty by catering to massive numbers by leveraging ICT and online technology platform of SWAYAM.
  • NRCs are located in a mixed range of institutions such as, Central Universities, IISc, IUCAA, IITs, IISERs, NITs, State Universities under the Ministry’s Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT); UGC’s Human Resource Development Centres (HRDCs), National Institutes for Technical Teachers Training (NITTTRs), IIITs and IGNOU.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.


Indian Health Fund


What to study?

  • For Prelims: About the Fund, objectives and usage.
  • For Mains: Significance and the need for such funds, significance of public participation in matters of health.


Context: Tata Trust and The Global Fund backed Indian Health Fund (IHF) has chosen four innovators for early detection of tuberculosis (TB), malaria to effectively tackle these eradicate diseases.


Key Facts:

  • The aim for selecting these innovators aims at leveraging technology for improving early detection and prompt treatment along with promoting diagnostics feasible for primary health care facilities.
  • It also aims to supporting national efforts to effectively tackle eradicate these diseases which is crucial health challenges in India.
  • Government has set a target of eliminating TB by 2025 and malaria by 2030. India contributes to 27% of the global TB burden and 68% of all malaria cases in the Southeast Asia region


What is Indian Health Fund (IHF)?

  • IHF was launched in 2016 by Tata Trusts in collaboration with The Global Fund, to drive innovations towards key infectious disease challenges in India.
  • It supports individuals and organisations with already germinated innovative strategies, services, products, such that they become sustainable and scalable solutions in addressing TB and malaria.
  • The initiative is a long-term exercise aligned with country’s goal of eliminating TB by 2025 and malaria by 2030. It will promote innovative solutions such that they are widely accessible and are affordable.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: IONS- key facts, objectives and significance.


Context: The 10th anniversary celebrations of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is being held in Kochi.

  • The commemorative Special Cover of IONS 10th Anniversary celebrations depicts a map of the Indian Ocean and littoral countries of the IOR, signifying the geopolitical importance of the region.


About IONS:

  • IONS, the 21st century’s first significant international maritime security initiative launched in February 2008, provides a forum for discussion of regional maritime issues and promotes friendly relationships among member nations. It presently has 24 members and eight observer navies.
  • It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues and, in the process, endeavors to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly agreements on the way ahead.
  • Under the charter of business adopted in 2014, the grouping has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and anti-piracy now renamed as maritime security.


Sources: pib.


Paper 3:

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.


New index to check ease of doing agri-business


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of the proposed index.
  • For Mains: Need, significance and potential of the index.


Context:  The centre is planning to develop an online dashboard to track State performances and the Index will be rolled out in January 2019.


Ease of Doing Agri-Business Index:

  • The new Ease of Doing Agri-Business Index will rank the States on the basis of reforms in the sector as well as their investment in agriculture, increased productivity, reduction of input costs, and risk mitigation measures.
  • The Agri Ministry will consider rewarding the higher performing States both in absolute and incremental terms by linking the performance with allocation from flexi funds made available in various flagship.
  • The proposed index will focus on reforms, with marketing reforms (25%) and governance and land reforms (20%) carrying almost half of the weight of the parameters in its scoring system.



  • The parameters are process-oriented, and are meant to evolve as and when new reforms or initiatives are proposed.
  • Another major parameter which States will be rated on is their success in reducing the cost of farm inputs (20%) by distributing soil health cards and encouraging organic farming and micro-irrigation.
  • Risk mitigation measures such as crop and livestock insurance carry a 15% weightage, while increased productivity and investment in agriculture carry a 10% weight each.


Way ahead:

As agriculture is a State subject, the success of policies and reform initiatives proposed at the Centre is dependent on implementation by the States. To ensure that reform agenda of the government is implemented at a desired pace by all State governments, there is a need to develop a competitive spirit between the States.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Infrastructure- energy.


Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS)

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.
  • For Mains: Significance, potential and challenges of wind energy.


Context: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in consultation with National Institute of Wind Energy Chennai, has prepared a draft of new Scheme called Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS) incorporating various guidelines.


About the Indian Wind Turbine Certification Scheme (IWTCS):

  • The IWTCS is a consolidation of relevant National and International Standards (IS/IEC/IEEE), Technical Regulations and requirements issued by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), guidelines issued by MNRE and other international guidelines. It also incorporates various best practices from other countries to ensure the quality of the wind energy projects.
  • The draft Scheme enlists the guidelines for the benefit of all the stakeholders from concept to lifetime of wind turbine, including Indian Type Approved Model (ITAM), Indian Type Certification Scheme (ITCS), Wind Farm Project Certification Scheme (WFPCS) and Wind Turbine Safety & Performance Certification Scheme (WTSPCS).
  • The IWTCS is envisaged to assist and facilitate the following stakeholders; (i.) Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) (ii.) End Users -Utilities, SNAs, Developers, IPPs, Owners, Authorities, Investors and Insurers (iii.) Certification Bodies (iv.) Testing Laboratories.


Need for a scheme in this context:

Wind sector in India is growing at a rapid pace with increased utilization of wind energy for the power development. The modern wind turbines have higher hub heights, larger rotor diameter, higher capacity and improved Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF) along with technological improvements.

Under these developments, there is a need for comprehensive document which provides the complete technical requirements which shall have to be complied by the wind turbines for the safe and reliable operation by all the stakeholders viz, OEMs, Independent Power Producers (IPPs), wind farm developers, Financial Institutions, Utilities and others. Also, there is a need for technical regulations which shall facilitate common ground for OEMs, Developers, Investors and Financial Institution for systematic development.


Sources: pib.

Topic: IPR related issues.


Global Digital Content Market 2018

What to study?

  • For Prelims: About GDCM, WIPO.
  • For Mains: Aim, objectives and significance of the conference.


Context: The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is hosting a conference on Global Digital Content Market (GDCM)2018.


Key facts:

  • The conference will feature sessions on music, film, broadcasting and publishing, as well as collective management, emerging models and the implications for the market and policy makers.
  • India has been chosen as a host nation for the conference by World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) due to the strong creative industry in the country in films, music and media.
  • The focus for this year’s conference is the Asia Pacific region.


About Global Digital Content Market (GDCM)2018:

  • GDCM is a platform to discuss vital issues and enhance development of the digital and IP generating industries such as publishing, films, music, and gaming all of which are major contributors to the Indian GDP.
  • The GDCM 2018 will see participation of professionals from various creative fields, the digital industry around the world and delegates of the diplomatic community from Missions to the United Nations.
  • The aim of GDCM 2018 is to give industry stakeholders a platform to come together and discuss new avenues in the films, music, gaming and creative industry along with points of challenge that is presented due to the changing creative landscape because of the disruption brought about by digital technologies.


Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


INDRA 2018:

  • What is it? It is a joint military exercise between Indian and Russia on combating insurgency under the aegis of United Nations (UN).
  • Why in News? The latest edition is being conducted at Babina Field Firing Ranges, Babina Military Station.
  • The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct to enhance interoperability of the two Armies in the peace keeping/ enforcement environment under the aegis of the UN. It focuses upon training on enhancing team building, special tactical level operations such as Cordon and Search, house intervention, handling and neutralisation of Improvised Explosive Devices and integrated employment of force multipliers.


#PowerOf18 campaign:

What is it? It is a campaign launched by Twitter India aimed at encouraging youth to contribute in public debates and participate in civic engagement for the 2019 general elections.

Significance: The campaign will serve as resource for young Indians to find more information about elections, support social causes they are passionate about and join public conversation.


Editorial: Ripples of discord: on gravitational waves



What are Gravitational Waves?

“These are ripples in the fabric of space-time that are produced, when black holes collide and stars explode”, gravitational waves are produced when objects accelerate.

Gravitational waves were first proposed, 100 years ago by Albert Einstein, as part of the Theory of Relativity.

The discovery can pave the way for proving the general theory of relativity, so that we can look deeper and deeper into the universe. It also throws up the possibility of detectors that can look at the beginning of the universe.


How this Gravitational Waves have been Identified?

On February 11th, 2016, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) made history when they announced the first detection of gravitational waves.

The 2017 Nobel Physics Prize was awarded “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.

The waves detected by the laureates came from the collision of two black holes some 1.3 billion light years away. A light year is about 9.5 trillion km.

LIGO’s feat was among the most electrifying announcements in recent years.

As per the Theory of General Relativity, the pair of black holes orbiting around each other lost energy, through the emission of gravitational waves.

Black Holes are region of space-time. It exhibits strong gravitational effects, due to which, particles and electromagnetic radiation cannot escape from it.

It acts like an ideal black body reflecting no light. It continues to grow, by absorbing mass from its surroundings.


Why do gravitational waves matter to us?

The discovery is due to an extremely delicate experiment. Gravitational waves were predicted by Einstein almost 100 years ago. After about 50 years of experimentation the waves were detected for the first time in September 2015.

The discovery and the repeated detection (four times now) has made the possibility of gravitational wave astronomy very real.

Gravitational wave astronomy is a way of mapping out some of the most violent processes in the universe such as black hole or neutron star mergers that cannot be detected with light or the conventional methods.


Gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation, a form of radiant energy similar to electromagnetic radiation.

Newton’s law of universal gravitation, part of classical mechanics, does not provide for their existence, since that law is predicated on the assumption that physical interactions propagate instantaneously (at infinite speed).

Gravitational waves can penetrate regions of space that electromagnetic waves cannot. They are able to allow the observation of the merger of black holes and possibly other exotic objects in the distant Universe.


In 2017, some group of scientists questioned the validity:

They argued that the two detectors belonging to LIGO were correlated and this led to a correlation in the noise factor. Weeding out noise from the signal is crucial in any such experiment.

This had not been done properly in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). Since then, a version of their pre-print has been published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics.

After a long silence, the LSC has put up a clarification on its Website.


Benefits for India by the LIGO-India project:

The project will bring unprecedented opportunities for scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier.

The LIGO-India project will also bring considerable opportunities in cutting-edge technology for the Indian industry which will be engaged in the construction of the eight-km long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain.

With its establishment, India will join the global network of gravitational wave detectors.

Establishing an observatory in India also assumes importance because the further the distance between the observatories, the greater will be the accuracy in locating gravity waves.

Adding a new detector to the existing network will increase the expected event rates, and will boost the detection confidence of new sources and ability of localizing GW sources in the sky will be enhanced. It will also have an aspirational value for young Indian Scientists.

LIGO can act as platform to unravel the mysteries of universe and India’s association with it is going to help us in the future.


Things predicted by General theory of relativity by Einstein include:

As light gets closer to the sun, it bends towards the sun twice as much as classical physics (the system used before general relativity) predicts.

Redshift from gravity: When light moves away from an object with gravity (moving away from the centre of the valley), it is stretched into longer wavelengths. This was confirmed by the Pound-Rebka experiment.

The Shapiro delay: Light appears to slow down when it passes close to a massive object. This was first seen in the 1960s by space probes headed towards the planet Venus.

Gravitational waves: They were first observed on 14 September 2015.


Way Forward in Gravitational Waves:

This is how science makes progress in leaps and bounds, with thoughtful critiques and interventions in between.

In this case, the attendant controversy captured the interest of even those beyond the World of Science. Now, the LSC plans to come out with a paper that carries detailed explanations.

Initially, there is dis-agreement regarding the Einstein’s theory of relativity. But now, a consortium of astronomers confirmed the prediction of Einstein’s key theory of relativity.

Einstein had posited that large gravitational forces could stretch light, much like the compression and stretching of sound waves we perceive with the change of pitch of a passing train.

India is also working to have its own detector under the consortium known as INDIGO.

However, the successful completion and discovery of Gravitational waves from Indian consortium needs cooperation from all across the world as it cannot be done by a single nation due to technical issues.

There is need to build on this to provide more such opportunities to the scientist community of India.

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