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Showing posts from August 1, 2017

India's search for uranium could displace 4,000 in 13 tribal villages of Madhya Pradesh (downtoearth)

At around 3 pm on a hot April day, the tranquillity of Kochamau, a tribal village in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district, was disrupted by the sound of helicopters flying past. As people ran out of their houses, they saw huge machines dangling from the helicopters that were whirring precariously close to the roofs of their houses. Nobody knew what was happening. The sporadic flights continued for weeks, sometimes two-three times a day, till the village residents were informed by Shramik Adivasi Sangathan (SAS), a non-profit working in the region, that the government was exploring the area for uranium deposits and that the helicopters carried machines to send electromagnetic waves to scan underground deposits.

The secrecy of the operation was such that no notice boards were on display in the area. When Down To Earth (DTE) visited the forest surrounding Kochamau, there were two giant machines and a few tents. But the guards refused to speak and denied permission to photograph the machines …

Meet the villagers who protect biodiversity on the top of the world (downtoearth)

It was a chilly February day. Dangwen and his wildlife monitoring team patrolled along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The river was frozen solid, easy for poachers to walk over.

That day, they encountered 220 blue sheep, five white-lipped deer, and a line of otter footprints. On the infrared camera traps that they had set up throughout the valley, three snow leopards appeared, a mother and two cubs – and the cubs had grown much bigger than three months earlier.

Dangwen comes from Yunta, a village located in Sanjiangyuan, Qinghai Province on the Tibetan Plateau. Sanjiangyuan, is a 400,000 km² area that serves as an important habitat for rich and unique biodiversity and a watershed of the three largest rivers in Asia, the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong, which serve a billion people downstream.

Dangwen isn’t officially a researcher or an activist. But he has taken upon himself the task of monitoring local wildlife with a team of other villagers, as part of a conservation project dr…

International community lauds China's efforts towards greening of Kubuqi Desert ( downtoearth)

The sixth Kubuqi International Desert Forum was held from July 29 to July 30 in the Kubuqi Desert in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. Participating guests from other countries visited Kubuqi and witnessed the successful practices of Kubuqi’s desertification control. The forum offered them better understanding of the Kubuqi Model. They believe that the Kubuqi Model will play an important role in desertification control in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative. International conferences held in China are becoming attractive platforms for sharing effective experiences in promoting global ecological development.

Effective systematic planning

The core pillars of the Kubuqi Model are government policy support, industrial investment, market-oriented participation of farmers and herdsmen and sustainable ecological improvement.

Former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said the systematic design of the Kubuqi Model was a unique success, and that its reproducibility was worthy of study.

Pradeep…

For a pot of water (.hindu)

The series of reports, “MMC hostels go without water” (July 30), “A moi virunthu in Washington” (July 30) and “5 more quarries to be tapped for water” (July 29, all Tamil Nadu editions), show that there is a gross mismanagement of traditional water management systems in Tamil Nadu and Chennai city. It is a paradox that after the massive flood of 2015, the city is now in the grip of a punishing drought that continues well into 2017. And it is unlikely that the monsoon in 2017 will help the city tide over the crisis. As a region wholly dependent on a good northeast monsoon, planners cannot afford to be complacent. Most of the innumerable dams and irrigation channels in the State remain bone dry or have reached dead storage levels. One cannot blame a poor monsoon season either.

Tamil Nadu is a top groundwater exploiter whereby the extraction of groundwater outstrips recharge. Therefore the conservation of groundwater needs to be given topmost importance. There needs to be constant vigil…

‘Dr.’ here too (.hindu)

In India, a significant percentage of the population depends on traditional systems of medicine and homoeopathy. In India, a NEET examination is the entry point for all systems of medicines. Apart from basic subjects, every system of traditional medicine and homoeopathy has its own subjects. Irrespective of the system of medicine they practise, all medical graduates have an equal right to be called a doctor. Instead of splitting hairs, the authorities should be looking at those who obtain their medical degrees from Russia, China and other countries where the standards of medical education in allopathy are suspect.

In the report, the sentence “MBBS doctors grumbling about traditional medicine practitioners and homoeopaths calling themselves ‘doctors’” was uncalled for. I am sure a prestigious newspaper such as The Hindu does not intend to be the mouthpiece of “some grumblers” (“The ‘Dr’ is in (or is it?)”, July 28).

Dr. Beena Amar Bodhi,

The only way to deal with the Chinese is directly, says Shivshankar Menon (.hindu)

As the Doklam spat between Beijing and New Delhi flares, the former NSA and old China hand says the neighbours need a new strategic dialogue to recalibrate their relationship

As the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Bhutanese territory of the Doklam plateau enters its second month, former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who is an old China hand, says Beijing is changing the status quo with its actions in the area, and it is time for a new “modus vivendi” between the two countries.

Excerpts from the interview:

You have been Ambassador to China, Foreign Secretary, National Security Adviser and the Special Representative on border talks. How serious is the situation in Doklam?

I think it is different from previous such occasions. The last most serious one was Depsang in 2013 and we had Chumar after that (2014). But basically you could say that since the 1980s we have had a modus vivendi with the Chinese. It was formalised during Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1988 and…

Country without a PM

Nawaz Sharif is a distracted leader; the Supreme Court’s next step will determine if he’s seen to be victim or culprit

The office of Pakistan’s Prime Minister is subject to pulls and pressures far in excess of those in other democracies. But even by these standards, Nawaz Sharif is under inordinate stress. He is facing a court case and a scathing media trial.

A three-member Bench of the Supreme Court is yet to give a final verdict regarding his disqualification. The decision will be based on the report by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) established by the orders of the court to investigate Mr. Sharif and his family’s assets after the leak of the Panama Papers related to holdings in offshore companies.

The question now is whether the Chief Justice will give a verdict based on the decision of the three judges or call for a larger Bench. The judiciary might like to get the decision popularly accepted by calling for a larger Bench. It is not as if all onlookers are convinced about the j…

The Reserve Bank is off target (hindu)

The idea that interest rates are the right way to tackle inflation in India needs a serious rethink

“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.” These lines from John Maynard Keynes come to mind when observing the recent performance of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with respect to the conduct of monetary policy. Strenuous effort has been made to lead the citizen to believe that one of the many significant actions of the government of the day is to have moved monetary policy in India onto a “modern” plane. The centrepiece of this claim is that the central bank will now be judged entirely in terms of its record on inflation. That is, the RBI has been reconfigured as an ‘inflation-targeting’ central bank. As part of this arrangement, it has been set an inflation ta…

Dangerous escalation: On Russia’s expulsion U.S. staff (.hindu)

Russia’s expulsion of U.S. mission staff could lock the two countries into a retaliatory spiral.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to cut the U.S. diplomatic presence in the country by 755 signals a serious escalation in tensions between the two superpowers. His move came three days after the U.S. Senate passed a sanctions Bill targeting Moscow and allies. The scale of the cut is unprecedented and is comparable to the shutdown of the American diplomatic mission in Russia after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. The decision also signals that Mr. Putin, who had pinned hopes on the Donald Trump administration to improve ties, is losing heart about such a reset. When Barack Obama expelled Russian diplomats in the last leg of his presidency over Moscow’s alleged interference in the presidential election, Mr. Putin did not retaliate, apparently hoping to strike a new beginning with the incoming administration. During his campaign, Mr. Trump himself had expressed interest in building…

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 31 July 2017

Q-1) Consider the following statements regarding National Investigation Agency (NIA)

a) The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the state.
b) NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks
1) a only
2) b only
3) both a and b
4) neither a and b

Q- 2) Consider the statements regarding Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) scheme

a) The limit has been increased to 4 kg from 0.5kg.
b) The Bonds are issued by the Reserve Bank of India on behalf of the government.
1) a only
2) b only
3) both a and b
4) neither a and b


Q- 3) Consider following statements regarding NHB.

a) It is designed by a technical advisory committee comprising Government representatives, lenders and property market players.
b) Base year (2012-13)
1) a only
2) b only
3) both a and b
4) neither a and b.
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Answer  1-3,  2-3,  3-3

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 30 July 2017

Q- Which of the following statements best describes the term ‘Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A)’, recently seen in the news?

(a) It is a procedure for considering ecological costs of developmental schemes formulated by the Government.
(b) It is a scheme of RBI for reworking the financial structure of big corporate entities facing genuine difficulties.
(c) It is a disinvestment plan of the Government regarding Central Public Sector Undertakings.
(d) It is an important provision in ‘The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’ recently implemented by the Government.


Q- Which of the following is correct regarding Geographic Information System?

1. GIS is designed to store, retrieve, manage, display and analyze different types of geographic and spatial data
2. GIS allows users to produce maps and other graphic displays of geographic information for analysis
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None


Q- Which of the following is correct regarding Regional Comprehensive Economic P…

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 29 July 2017

Q- Which of the following is correct regarding termination of pregnancy in India?

1. In India no pregnancy would be allowed to be terminated if the foetus has crossed the 15-week mark
2. It is covered under PC-PNDT act.
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q- Which of the following ports are matched correctly with their country?

1. Chabahar : Iran
2. Hambantota : Sri Lanka
3. Gwadar : Bangladesh
A. 1,3
B. 1,2
C. 2,3
D. All


Q- Which of the following is part of Indradhanush plan to revamp banks?

1. It is applicable to both public and private sector to make them compatible to Basel III norms
2. An Independent authority Bank Board Bureau would be made under this plan
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None.
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 Answer 1-D,  2-B,  3-B

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 28 July 2017

Q1) Consider the statements regarding National Authority for Legal Services.

a) Was formed in1995 under the authority of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987.
b) The Chief Justice of India is patron-in-chief of NALSA while second seniormost judge of Supreme Court of India is the Executive-Chairman
c) To organize Lok Adalats.
1) a only
2) a and b only
3) c only
4) a,b,c


Q 2) Consider the statements regarding Non Performing Assets (NPAs)

a) In the year 1991 Narsimham committee was formed to recommended reforms to tackle NPAs.
b) Mission Indradhanush is also step towards tackling NPAs
1) a only
2) b only
3) both a and b
4) Neither a and b


Q 3)Consider the statements regarding Ramon Magsaysay

a) The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
b) Acclaimed as the most prestigious continental award in Asia, in par with the West's Nobel Prize.
1) a only
2) b only
3) both a and b
4) neither a and b.
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Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 26 July 2017

Q: 1) Which of the following country does not belong to RCEP?

a) Indonesia
b) Thailand
c) Belgium
d) Malaysia


Q: 2) Statement 1: India’s trade deficit with RCEP nations is about $100bn annually

Statement 2: Half of the trade deficit of India with RCEP nations is with China.

Which of the above statements true?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 and 2


Q: Yash pal who passed away recently is a renowned?

a) Sportsperson
b) Musician
c) Painter
d) Scientist

 Answer  1-C,  2-C,  3-D

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 25 July 2017

Q:1) Which is to host 2020 Olympics
a) Brazil
b) China
c) India
d) Japan


Q: 2) Choose the correct statements regarding Banking Regulation Bill.

a) The Bill seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated
b) The RBI will be empowered to issue directives for resolution and appoint authorities or committees to advise the banking companies on stressed asset resolution.
i) Only a
ii) Only b
iii) Both a and b
iv) Neither a nor b


Q: 3) Behdienkhllam is festival of?

a) Jaintia
b) Jarawas
c) Santhals
d) None of the above.
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 Answer  1-A,  2-111,  3-D

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 24 July 2017

Q- Which of the following is correct regarding Ordinances?

1. Any house of the parliament can promulgate Ordinances
2. Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six months of reassembling or they shall cease to operate.
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None


Q- Which of the following is correct regarding Su-30?

1. It is supermaneuverable fighter aircraft developed by Russia
2. It will replace all MIG aircrafts
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None


Q- Which of the following is correct regarding Payment banks?

1. It can take deposits upto Rs. 1 lakh per account and it can issue debit cards and credit cards
2. RBI has mandated the minimum paid-up equity capital for payments bank at Rs. 100 crore
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None.
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 Answer 1- D,  2-A,  3-B