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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 04 September 2017

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 04 September 2017


Paper 1:


Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Sitharaman becomes India’s first full-time woman defence minister

Nirmala Sitharaman addresses the media

Nirmala Sitharaman has become the first woman to become a full-time defence minister of the country. Sitharaman will now be a member of the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security.


Facts for Prelims:

1st full time and overall 2nd woman to become defence minister: Sitharaman is the second woman to take charge of the crucial ministry as Indira Gandhi, as the prime minister, had also held the portfolio in the ’70s.

Members of the Cabinet Committee on Security include the prime minister, home minister, external affairs minister and the finance minister.


Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


Ahmedabad gets status of India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO


The commercial capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, has been formally accorded the status of India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO. In July, the UN agency had inscribed Ahmedabad as India’s first World Heritage City at a meeting held in Poland.


Facts for Prelims:

  • The honour makes the walled city of Ahmedabad the first city in India, and the third in Asia, to be on the list. The other two cities are- Bhaktpur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.
  • India is second after China in terms of number of world heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, and overall seventh in the world.
  • India now has a total of 36 World Heritage Inscriptions — 28 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed site.



Founded in the 15th century by Sultan Ahmad Shah, the walled city of Ahmedabad, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage. It has 28 Archaeological Survey of India’s centrally protected monuments.


World Heritage Cities:

The World Heritage Cities Programme is one of six thematic programmes formally approved and monitored by the World Heritage Committee. It aims to assist States Parties in the challenges of protecting and managing their urban heritage. The programme is structured along a two-way process, with 1) the development of a theoretical framework for urban heritage conservation, and 2) the provision of technical assistance to States Parties for the implementation of new approaches and schemes.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2:


Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.


China Wants India To Go Slow On Asia-Africa Corridor

Image result for China Wants India To Go Slow On Asia-Africa Corridor

China has initiated a move to persuade India to go slow on the Asia Africa Growth Corridor, which New Delhi has formulated along with Japan.

  • Beijing is now trying to persuade India and South Africa to merge the project with the BRICS platform and keep its rival, Japan, out of it. Once merged into BRICS, India’s influence on Africa through the project will also get diluted.


About Asia- Africa Corridor:

The Asia Africa Growth Corridor project was planned by India and Japan with the active support of the African Development Bank and several African countries including South Africa who wish to reduce their dependence on Beijing. The idea is to “create a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific region’ by rediscovering ancient sea-routes and creating new sea corridors” by integrating the economies of South, Southeast, and East Asia with Oceania and Africa. It primarily focuses on Development Cooperation Projects, Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity, Enhancing Skills, and People-to-People Partnership.


Why is China worried?

It is seen by many as an alternative Silk Road to tap the African market. China sees the move as a source of major competition that will reduce its economic and political influence over the African continent.


What’s China doing in this regard?

It is now trying to persuade both India and African countries to merge the initiative with the BRICS agenda so it can have better control over it. China is also pushing the New Development Bank, the Shanghai based financial institution, which has been created by BRICS countries to expand its lending to different African countries even though they may not be members of the organization.


Sources: et.


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


5 banks of BRICS nations sign pact for credit lines


Five banks of the BRICS Bank Cooperation Mechanism have agreed to establish credit lines in the national currencies and cooperate on credit ratings.

  • Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), Vnesheconombank, Export-Import Bank of India, China Development Bank and Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) have signed an agreement to establish credit lines in the national currencies, as well as a memorandum of cooperation on credit ratings.


Key facts:

  • The agreement on credit ratings allows the ICM members to share information about internal credit ratings assigned to clients, as well as rating assessment and assignment methodologies.
  • The use of local currencies will help promote mutually beneficial economic cooperation, mitigate currency risks, increase trade, and facilitate companies in accessing the BRICS markets.


The BRICS interbank cooperation mechanism:

In order to develop and strengthen economic ties and investment cooperation between BRICS countries, in 2010 state financial institutions for development and export support of the BRICS nations entered into a Memorandum on cooperation, thus creating the BRICS interbank cooperation mechanism.

  • One of the main purposes of cooperation is to set up a scheme designed to provide financing and banking services for future investment projects that could be beneficial for the economic development of the BRICS countries.
  • On the basis of agreements that have been signed within the framework of the BRICS interbank cooperation mechanism, the member banks have taken steps towards developing multilateral financial cooperation within the BRICS countries and created basic mechanisms for settling payments and financing investment projects in local currencies.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3:


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Tigers to make a comeback in Buxa reserve


Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal has been identified for the tiger augmentation programme by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).


Where will tigers come from?

Tigers from the forest reserves of Assam, which have a similar flora and fauna, will be introduced in Buxa. The reserve is located very close to Assam’s Manas Tiger Reserve, and some experts believe that animals from Manas often come to Buxa using Bhutan as a corridor.


What are the challenges?

Human habitation: The initial plan is to introduce six tigers at Buxa, but this poses a challenge to forest officials as there is human habitation in the area. The tiger reserve has an area of about 757.9 sq km, of which 390 sq km lies in the core area and 367 sq km in the buffer zone. There are about 38 villages in Buxa and 49 villages in the fringe area.

A number of tea gardens are located on the periphery of the reserve. The people residing in the villages mainly work at the tea plantations. In an attempt to mitigate the human versus animal conflict, the Forest Department has started awareness programmes in the villages before introducing the tigers.

Presence of broad gauge rail: Besides the population pressure, another major challenge at Buxa is the broad gauge rail line passing through the reserve, connecting Siliguri and Alipurduar. Over the past few years, a number of elephants and other animals have died, having been run over by trains.


About Buxa Tiger reserve:

Notified as a tiger reserve in 1983, Buxa consists of moist, deciduous and evergreen forests. It stretches to a length of 50 km from west to east and 35 km from north to south. Northern boundary of Buxa Tiger Reserve runs along the international border with Bhutan. The Sinchula hill range lies all along the northern side of BTR and the eastern boundary touches that of the Assam state.

The Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to the north of BTR. Manas National Park lies on east of BTR. BTR, thus, serves as international corridor for Asian elephant migration between India and Bhutan.

Over the past few years, the number of tigers in the Buxa reserve has been hotly debated by wildlife enthusiasts. While Forest Department officials claimed there were tigers in the reserve, almost no sighting of the big cats raised questions about their presence. The survey of tigers in 2011 based on DNA analyses of scat put the number of tigers at 20.


Sources: the hindu.


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


Breakthrough Listen

Image result for Breakthrough Listen

Astronomers working for Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Listen (BL) project detected a mysterious signal in a distant galaxy and termed it a possible extra-terrestrial communication which sparked a controversy. They reportedly picked up 15 fast radio bursts (FRBs) from a source unknown and are not sure if they came from neutron stars, black holes or extraterrestrial lives across the universe.


What is a fast radio burst?

In radio astronomy, a fast radio burst (FRB) is a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin manifested as a transient radio pulse lasting only a few milliseconds. Fast radio bursts are bright, unresolved (pointsource-like), broadband (spanning a large range of radio frequencies), millisecond flashes found in parts of the sky outside the Milky Way. Unlike many radio sources the signal from a burst is detected in a short period of time with enough strength to stand out from the noise floor.


About Breakthrough Listen Project:

Breakthrough Listen is a program to search for intelligent extraterrestrial communications in the Universe. With $100 million in funding and thousands of hours of dedicated telescope time on state-of-the-art facilities, it is the most comprehensive search for alien communications to date.

The project uses radio wave observations from the Green Bank Observatory and the Parkes Observatory, and visible light observations from the Automated Planet Finder. Targets for the project include one million nearby stars and the centers of 100 galaxies.


Sources: the hindu.