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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 June 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 19 June 2017


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


NASA’s Orion spacecraft passes key safety tests


NASA’s Orion spacecraft – designed to take astronauts to deep space destinations such as the Moon and Mars – has successfully completed a series of tests for its critical safety systems. Researchers tested the abort motor for Orion’s launch abort system.

nasa's orion


Know about the abort system:

The launch abort system is an important part of making sure crew members stay safe on the launch pad and on their way to space.

  • The launch abort system is positioned on top of the Orion crew module and will play a critical role protecting future crews travelling to deep space destinations in Orion.
  • The abort motor is responsible for propelling the crew module away from the Space Launch System rocket in case of an emergency, and one of three total motors that will send the crew module to a safe distance away from a failing rocket and orient it properly for a safe descent into the Atlantic Ocean if such a situation ever occurs.


About Orion:

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


India top remittance-receiving country in 2016: UN report


The report of the ‘One Family at a Time’ study by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has been released. It talks about the foreign remittances. The study is the first-ever of a 10-year trend in migration and remittance flows over the period 2007-2016.


Performance of India:

India has become the top remittance-receiving country surpassing China in 2016. Indians working across the globe sent home USD 62.7 billion last year.


Global scenario:

  • About 200 million migrants globally sent more than $445 million in 2016 as remittances to their families, helping to lift millions out of poverty.
  • Remittance flows have grown over the last decade at a rate averaging 4.2% annually, from $296 billion in 2007 to $445 billion in 2016.
  • 80% of remittances are received by 23 countries, led by India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Pakistan.
  • India was the top receiving country for remittances in 2016 at $62.7 billion, followed by China ($61 billion), the Philippines ($30 billion) and Pakistan ($20 billion).
  • The top 10 sending countries account for almost half of annual flows, led by the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  • Asia is the highest originating region with 77 million migrants; with 48 million remaining within the region. Over the past decade, remittances to Asia and the Pacific increased by 87 per cent, reaching $244 billion, while migration grew by only 33% in comparison.
  • Asia remains the main remittance-receiving region, with 55% of the global flows and 41% of total migrants. It is projected that an estimated $6.5 trillion in remittances will be sent to low and middle-income countries between 2015 and 2030.


Importance of remittances:

Migration flows and remittances are having large-scale impacts on the global economy and political landscape. Total migrant earnings are estimated at $3 trillion annually, approximately 85 per cent of which remains in the host countries. The money sent home averages less than one per cent of their host’s GDP. Taken together, these individual remittances account for more than three times the combined official development assistance (ODA) from all sources, and more than the total foreign direct investment to almost every low—and middle-income country.

Currently, about 200 million migrant workers support some 800 million family members globally. In 2017, an expected one-in-seven people globally will be involved in either sending or receiving more than $450 billion in remittances.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


UN approves creation of new office on counter-terrorism


The UN General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new office to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts, a move welcomed by India as a “much awaited first step” that will align the world body with needs of the global community in the fight against the menace.


What you need to know about the new office on counter-terrorism?

Under the new structure, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter- Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), currently in the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) will be transferred to the new office, together with their existing staff and all associated regular and extra-budgetary resources.

  • The Secretary-General had proposed that the new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.


The Office would have five main functions:

  • Provide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General from across the United Nations system.
  • Enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  • Strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States.
  • Improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts.
  • Ensure that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the Strategy.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Global Innovation Index 2017


The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has released its 10th edition of the ‘Global Innovation Index (GII)’.



What you need to know about Global Innovation Index (GII)?

The Global Innovation Index (GII), co-published by World-Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD with CII as a Knowledge Partner since inception, has been ranking world economies including India since 2007 according to their innovation capabilities and outcomes using 82 indicators among a host of other important parameters.  It has established itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for policy makers.


Performance of India and its neighbours:

  • India’s position in the 2017 Global Innovation Index has moved up six ranks from last year to 60. The country has also proven itself to be the rising innovation centre of Asia by taking the top spot in central and southern Asia.
  • The report also noted India’s continual improvement in terms of investment, tertiary education, quality of its publications and universities, its information and communication technology (ICT) services exports and innovation clusters.
  • Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka took the 90th spot whereas Nepal was at 109th. Pakistan came in at 113 followed by Bangladesh at 114.
  • India performed well across a number of parameters, coming to the top spot in ICT services exports. It is ranked 10th in category of graduates in science and engineering, 27th on e-participation, 14th on the presence of global research and development companies, 33rd on government’s online service, 32nd in general infrastructure, 18th on creative goods exports, 30th on knowledge impact and 29th on intellectual property payments.
  • India is 2nd in innovation quality for the second consecutive year. India outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for seven years in a row. India has shown improvement in most areas, including in infrastructure, business sophistication, knowledge and technology and creative outputs.


Top performers:

Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the US and UK retained their top spots as the most-innovative countries.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate. 


India re-elected to UN body on economic, social issues; Pakistan loses out


India has been re-elected to the UN’s principal organ on economic, social and environmental issues for another three-year term. India was among 18 nations to win election to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). India obtained 183 votes, the second highest after Japan in the Asia Pacific category. Election to fill the 18 vacancies in ECOSOC.


Elected members:

Having obtained the required two-thirds majority, the nations elected members of ECOSOC for a three-year term beginning January 1 2018 are Belarus, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Japan, Malawi, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Spain, Sudan, Togo, Turkey and Uruguay.


What you need to know about ECOSOC?

ECOSOC, one of the six main organs of the United Nations, is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.



The Council’s 54 member Governments are elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms. Seats on the Council are allotted based on geographical representation with 14 allocated to African states, 11 to Asian states, 6 to Eastern European states, 10 to Latin American and Caribbean states, and 13 to Western European and other states.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.


Nitty-gritty of bankruptcy code


Reserve Bank of India’s internal advisory committee (IAC) has identified 12 accounts, which account for 25% of non-performing assets of the Indian banking system for immediate resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The gross bad debt in the banking system as on March was ₹7.11 lakh crore, which means the 12 accounts contribute to about ₹1.78 lakh crore.

  • RBI has hinted that stress was coming from sectors such as power, telecom, steel, textiles and aviation.


What does bankruptcy mean?

A company is bankrupt if it is unable to repay debts to its creditors (banks, suppliers etc). The inability to repay debts by some of the Indian firms has resulted in a huge pile of non-performing assets for the banking system. A mechanism to free up the money stuck as bad loans is one of the key for the banking system. IBC is seen as one such.


How the RBI came into the picture of referring accounts for resolution under IBC?

The government had recently amended the RBI Act, which gave powers to the central bank to direct banks to take punitive action against individual accounts under IBC.


How does the process work under IBC?

To being with any creditor including banks can start bankruptcy proceedings against defaulters by filing a petition with the National Company Law Tribunal.

  • After that, an insolvency professional with significant powers is appointed to take control of the defaulting company and assist the process.
  • A creditors committee is formed to represent the interest of lenders and any other party that have been affected due to the default by the company.
  • The committee should come up with a resolution plan (which may include selling off defaulted loans or liquidate the company outright). The resolution would require a nod from 75% of the creditors on the committee.
  • The insolvency professional gets 180 days to come up with a feasible solution on the default issue. The timeline can be extended by another 90 days. If no solution is found within 270 days, a liquidator is appointed. The company can also opt for voluntary liquidation by a special resolution in a general meeting.


Sources: the hindu.