Himalai Celebrating 20th-year celebration, on this eve Himalai extending helping hands to the UPSC-IAS Aspirants of June 2018.
Most important exam oriented Current Affairs Concepts:

1. ARPAN Version 3.0

Defence Security Corps personnel now have a software ‘ARPAN’ which shall ease personal documentation and all issues related to their progression. The ARPAN software consisting of seven modules facilitates end to end human resource, financial management of Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks with major functional advantages of timely processing of postings, promotions, release of salary, publication of personal occurrences and processing of pension has been rolled out by DCOAS (IS &T) for the Defence Security Corps.

The software provides valuable data for decision and policy making for the Defence Security Corps Directorate. After launch of this software, Defence Security Corps troops would be able to access their service profiles, statement of accounts and adjustment of allowances at par with the
troops of Indian Army.

2. National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB)

The National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB), set up in August 1992, is responsible for promoting afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country, with special attention to the degraded forest areas and lands adjoining the forest areas, national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas as well as the ecologically fragile areas like the Western Himalayas, Aravallis, Western Ghats, etc. The detailed role and functions of the NAEB are given below.

1. Evolve mechanisms for ecological restoration of degraded forest areas and adjoining lands through systematic planning and implementation, in a cost effective manner;
2. Restore through natural regeneration or appropriate intervention the forest cover in the country for ecological security and to meet the fuelwood, fodder and other needs of the rural communities;
3. Restore fuelwood, fodder, timber and other forest produce on the degraded forest and adjoining lands in order to meet the demands for these items;
4. Sponsor research and extension of research findings to disseminate new and proper technologies for the regeneration and development of degraded forest areas and adjoining lands;
5. Create general awareness and help foster people’s movement for promoting afforestation and eco-development with the assistance of voluntary agencies, non-government organisations, Panchayati Raj institutions and others and promote participatory and sustainable management of degraded forest areas and adjoining lands;
6. Coordinate and monitor the Action Plans for afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development; and
7. Undertake all other measures necessary for promoting afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country.

3. Electoral Bond Scheme 2018

The Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible

4 . The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944. The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The IMF’s responsibilities: The IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other. The Fund’s mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.

The IMF’s fundamental mission is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system. It does so in three ways: keeping track of the global economy and the economies of member countries; lending to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and giving practical help to members.

Surveillance
The IMF oversees the international monetary system and monitors the economic and financial policies of its 189 member countries. As part of this process, which takes place both at the global level and in individual countries, the IMF highlights possible risks to stability and advises on needed policy adjustments.

Lending
A core responsibility of the IMF is to provide loans to member countries experiencing actual or potential balance of payments problems. This financial assistance enables countries to rebuild their international reserves, stabilize their currencies, continue paying for imports, and restore conditions for strong economic growth, while undertaking policies to correct underlying problems. Unlike development banks, the IMF does not lend for specific projects.

Capacity Development
IMF capacity development—technical assistance and training—helps member countries design and implement economic policies that foster stability and growth by strengthening their institutional capacity and skills. The IMF seeks to build on synergies between technical assistance and training to maximize their effectiveness.

5. Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT)

Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballot less voting system. VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for electronic voting machines that allows voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended and can serve as an additional barrier to changing or destroying votes.
Under VVPAT, a printer-like apparatus is linked to Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). When a vote is cast, a receipt is generated showing the serial number, name and symbol of the candidate. It confirms the vote and the voter can verify the details. The receipt, once viewed, goes inside a container linked to the EVM and can only be accessed by the election officers in rarest of rare cases.

The system allows a voter to challenge his or her vote on basis of the paper receipt for the first time. As per a new rule, the booth presiding officer will have to record the dissent of the voter, which would have to be taken into account at time of counting.

The VVPAT system was not manufactured due to doubts on the EVM, but was part of the up gradation of the system.

6. Tiger Reserves

Project Tiger was launched by the Government of India in the year 1973 to save the endangered species of tiger in the country. Starting from nine (9) reserves in 1973-2016 the number is grown up to fifty (50). A total area of 71027.10 km2 is covered by these project tiger areas.

Nagpur called the “Tiger Capital of India” as it connects many tiger reserves in India to the world.

7. Jan Sampark

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) of the Ministry of Women & Child Development has started a monthly “Jan Sampark” program to enable the public to have interaction with its officials and staff for seeking information related to Adoption as well as flagging their concerns.

Details pertaining to Immediate Placement and Special Needs Adoption Module of Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS) as well as the newly launched Grievance/Query portal were shared with all the stakeholders. Also many of the PAPs were counseled and motivated to go for adopting older children.

8. Gravitational Waves

Gravitational waves are invisible. However, they are incredibly fast. They travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). Gravitational waves squeeze and stretch anything in their path as they pass by.

He most powerful gravitational waves are created when objects move at very high speeds. Some examples of events that could cause a gravitational wave are:
1. When a star explodes asymmetrically (called a supernova)
2. When two big stars orbit each other
3. When two black holes orbit each other and merge

But these types of objects that create gravitational waves are far away. And sometimes, these events only cause small, weak gravitational waves. The waves are then very weak by the time they reach Earth. This makes gravitational waves hard to detect.

In 2015, scientists detected gravitational waves for the very first time. They used a very sensitive instrument called LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). These first gravitational waves happened when two black holes crashed into one another. The collision happened 1.3 billion years ago. But, the ripples didn’t make it to Earth until 2015.

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are nationally identified sites of global significance. The identification of KBAs is an important approach to address biodiversity conservation at the site scale i.e. at the level of individual protected areas, concessions and land management units. KBAs are identified using globally standardised criteria and thresholds, and have clearly defined boundaries. There is no maximum or minimum size of sites, because appropriate size varies according to the socio-economic criteria, such as land use and tenure.

KBAs are mapped by national conservation organizations using consistent global criteria and present an important approach to national gap analyses and prioritisation to increase effectiveness and establishment of protected areas as mandated by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. 1 In particular, Aichi Target 11 calls for an increase in the coverage of protected areas “…especially of areas of particular importance for biodiversity”. KBAs can be used to identify and document such areas of biodiversity importance. However further mechanisms are needed to legally protect the KBAs once identified, if the area is to be officially designated as a protected area. They are also of particular importance to the private sector, in providing ‘watch lists’ of sites at which development activities require a particularly high level of scrutiny to avoid negative impacts on biodiversity. Other uses of KBAs include informing safeguards and offsets design and conservation investments.

9. Rhabdops Aquaticus

A new species of burrowing aquatic snake has been discovered in the northern part of the Western Ghats. The Aquatic Rhabdops species named Rhabdops aquatic us, was discovered after eight long years of research and is endemic to India found in Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka. It was earlier mistaken to be an Olive forest snake.

This species is nocturnal, chiefly aquatic and seen foraging underwater. The young ones and adults are different in colour. This colour variation with growth may be due to their preference of habitat.
This species is presently known to live in a few locations. In Maharashtra, it was seen in the Koyna region, the Chandoli National Park, between Kolhapur and Sangli districts, Baraki in Kohlapur district and Amboli in Sindhudurg. In north Karnataka, it was identified from Castle Rock in Uttar Kannada and some areas in Goa. In Maharashtra, it is spotted in plateaus where water logging occurs. The largest known specimen is 950mm in length. It is non-venomous.

Earlier the species was considered as Olive Forest Snake owing to its similarities with it in characteristics and distribution. However, the aquatic nature of this species and the detailed study of the DNA and morphology of the both the specimens (the historical (Olive Forest Snake) and the new ones from various locations in the Western Ghats) helped the scientists arrive at the conclusion that this was a new species altogether. The Olive Forest Snake discovered in 1863 in Wayanad district of Kerala is seen in the two states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The findings of the research team and their detailed study confirmed the distinctiveness of the species and the results were submitted to a scientific journal Zootaxa published recently.

10. The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum.

The report has twelve pillars of competitiveness. These are:
1. Institutions
2. Appropriate infrastructure
3. Stable macroeconomic framework
4. Good health and primary education
5. Higher education and training
6. Efficient goods markets
7. Efficient labor markets
8. Developed financial markets
9. Ability to harness existing technology
10. Market size—both domestic and international
11. Production of new and different goods using the most sophisticated production processes
12. Innovation

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