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. Gagan Shakti-2018

As part of ongoing exercise ‘GaganShakti-2018’, the Operational Commands of the IAF planned and executed Inter Valley Troop Transfer (IVTT) in coordination with affiliated Indian Army Commands. IVTT, a major Joint Operation, was conducted in the high hills of Northern and North-Eastern Sector. The aim of the exercise was to validate the capability of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army to quickly transfer and redeploy acclimatized troops, in the simulated objective area. These operations are conducted to reposition troops from one valley to another, to counter any evolving threat and to surprise or offensively exploit the weakness of the adversary.

In the mountainous terrain the movement of the troops from one valley to another is a challenging task. The redeployment of forces from one area of interest to another may at times take couple of days. IVTT operations help to reposition the desired forces within a couple of hours.

All the three commands of IAF conducted a company level exercise in their area of operations, in a time sensitive environment. This tactical transfer of troops not only validated Joint Operations between the IAF & the Indian Army, but also showcased the capability of the IAF to operationalise forward ALG’s by setting up communications and refueling facilities, and preparing aircraft operating surface. C-130 and AN-32 tactical transport aircraft and Mi-17 V5 / ALH helicopters are used for these missions. Owing to their versatile maneuvering capabilities, these platforms are most adaptable in an extremely demanding high altitude terrain.

The operations were meticulously planned by the planning staff and the aircrew executed the demanding and rigorous operations by flying in a coordinated manner, giving due importance to the flight safety. In addition to the aircrew, the maintenance and administrative personnel, worked relentlessly through day and night, to ensure smooth conduct of these high-intensity operations.

2. JIGYASA

Jigyasa, a student- scientist connect programme was officially launched in the national capital. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has joined hands with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to implement this programme. The focus is on connecting school students and scientists so as to extend student’s classroom learning with that of a very well planned research laboratory based learning.

CSIR has been contributing for several decades for socio-economic development in the country. It has been through development and deployment of knowledge base focused on Technology and Innovation. CSIR has also been playing a key role in human resource development, in particular, training of the young researchers through Ph. D. programmes in diverse fields.

The “JIGYASA” would inculcate the culture of inquisitiveness on one hand and scientific temper on the other, amongst the school students and their teachers. The Programme is expected to connect 1151 Kendriya Vidyalayas with 38 National Laboratories of CSIR targeting 100,000 students and nearly 1000 teachers annually.
The program will also enable the students and teachers to practically live the theoretical concepts taught in science by visiting CSIR laboratories and by participating in mini-science projects. The model of engagement includes:
 Student Residential Programmes;
 Scientists as Teachers and Teachers as Scientists;
 Lab-specific activities / Onsite Experiments;
 Visits of Scientists to Schools/Outreach Programmes;
 Science and Maths Clubs;
 Popular Lecture Series/ demonstration programme at Schools;
 Student Apprenticeship Programmes;
 Science Exhibitions;
 Projects of National Children’s Science Congress;
 Teacher Workshops; and
 Tinkering Laboratories.

3. IRDAI

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors is a global framework for cooperation and information exchange between insurance supervisors. International Association of Insurance Supervisors, Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding is a statement of its signatories’ intent to cooperate in the Field of information exchange as well as procedure for handling information requests. With increasing integration of financial market and growing number of internationally active insurance companies there is an increased need for mutual cooperation and information exchange between insurance industry supervisors.

In this background the IRDAI had become a signatory member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding. In the absence of any bilateral agreements the IAIS, MMoU provides a formal basis for cooperation and information exchange between the Signatory Authorities regarding the supervision of insurance companies where cross-border aspects arise. The scope of the IAIS MMoU is wider than the existing agreements as this agreement also provides for supervision of other regulated entities such as insurance intermediaries under Anti Money Laundering, (AML) and Combating the Finance of Terrorism (CFT).

4. GFXC

The Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) was established in May 2017 as a forum bringing together central banks and private sector participants with the aim to promote a robust, liquid, open, and appropriately transparent FX market in which a diverse set of participants, supported by resilient infrastructure, are able to confidently and effectively transact at competitive prices that reflect available information and in a manner that conforms to acceptable standards of behaviour.

The objectives of the GFXC are:

1. To promote collaboration and communication among the local foreign exchange committees (FXCs) and non-GFXC jurisdictions with significant FX markets;
2. To exchange views on trends and developments in global FX markets, including on the structure and functioning of those markets, drawing on information gathered at the various FXCs; and
3. To promote, maintain and update on a regular basis the FX Global Code (the Code) and to consider good practices regarding effective mechanisms to support adherence.
4. India is member of GFXC

5. Hamburg action plan

Recently G20 Summit was organised in Germany where groping has launched Hamburg action plan. This Plan sets out the G20’s strategy for achieving strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
 Closer partnership and action by G20 members will boost confidence and contribute to shared prosperity.
 Its actions laid out here aim to contribute to meeting the aspirations of our citizens for a better quality of life for their families, communities and future generations.
 The plan noted that challenges to growth include weak productivity growth, income inequality and ageing populations.
 In the action plan, the G20 members resolved that they would continue to use all policy tools — monetary, fiscal and structural — individually and collectively to achieve the goal of strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, while enhancing economic and financial resilience.

Hamburg Action Plan acknowledging steps by India:
 In its Hamburg Action Plan, G20 group acknowledged the steps being taken by India for sustainable and inclusive growth as well as support to global economy. The following steps were noted:
 Measures to enhance resilience of its economy: In the financial sector, India is popularising a number of derivative instruments in exchanges or electronic trading platforms.
 Encouraging innovation: India is facilitating external commercial borrowings (ECBs) by start-ups to encourage innovation and promote ease of doing business
 Promoting inclusive growth: India is introducing labour market reforms to provide security to workers, increase female participation in the workforce and make doing business easier in the country.

India’s efforts at improving rank in ease of doing business:
 The acknowledgement from the G20 Summit assumes significance in the wake of India trying hard to improve its global ranking for ease of doing business.
 The World Bank ranked the country at a low 130th position last year, an improvement of just one position from the previous year.
 The next update to the ranking is expected later this year.
 The Indian government has said it wants India to be ranked in the top-50 nations in terms of ease of doing business.

Where need to improve:
 The areas where India ranks poorly as per the World Bank ranking include starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
 India has implemented a spate of reforms in the recent months in areas like insolvency, taxation and starting a business and expects the rankings to improve substantially.

6. Malabar exercise

Naval co-operation between India, US and Japan epitomises the strong and resilient relationship between the three democracies. The MALABAR series of exercises, initiated in 1992 between the Indian and US Navies, have steadily grown in scope, complexity and participation into a multifaceted exercise with the participation of Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).

The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations. The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Aircraft Carrier operations, Air Defence, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Warfare, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Search and Rescue, Joint Manoeuvres and Tactical procedures. In addition, officials from the three countries will be flown onboard the ships at sea.
The Indian Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with its air wing, guided missile destroyer Ranvir, indigenous stealth frigates Shivalik and Sahyadri, indigenous ASW corvette Kamorta, missile corvettes Kora and Kirpan, one Sindhughosh class submarine, fleet tanker INS Jyoti and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I.

The US Navy will be represented by the ships from the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and other units from the US 7th Fleet. The US Navy forces will include the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Nimitz with its air wing, Ticonderoga-class cruiser Princeton, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Kidd, Howard and Shoup along with integral helicopters, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine and one Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8A. The exercise will also witness a separate interaction between IN and USN Special Forces and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams at the IN MARCOS training base INS Karna at Visakhapatnam. The JMSDF will be represented by JS Izumo, a helicopter carrier with SH 60K helicopters and JS Sazanami, a missile destroyer with SH 60K integral helicopter.
MALABAR-17 will be another milestone with participation of 16 ships, two submarines and more than 95 aircraft, towards strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing of best practices between the Indian, Japanese and US Navies. The exercise is a demonstration of the joint commitment of all three nations to address common maritime challenges across the spectrum of operations and will go a long way in enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, for the benefit of the global maritime community.

7. Walled city of Ahmadabad under unesco list as first world heritage

The earliest settlements were situated in south of current old city and on the bank of Sabarmati river. It was known as Ashaval or Ashapalli. In the eleventh century, Karna of Chaulukya dynasty ruling from Anhilwad Patan (1072-1094) made the town his capital and named it Karnavati (Karan’s town) or Shrinagar (prosperous city) and Rajnagar (king’s town).

Ahmed Shah I laid the foundation of Bhadra Fort starting from Manek Burj, the first bastion of the city in 1411 which was completed in 1413. He also established the first square of the city, Manek Chowk, both associated with the legend of Hindu saint Maneknath. His Gujarat Sultanate (1411-1573) ruled from the city until 1484. His grandson Mahmud Begada transferred capital from Ahmedabad to Muhammadabad from 1484 to 1535 but carried out second fortification of the city. Later Ahmedabad again became capital of sultanate until it fell to Mughals in 1573. During Mughal rule (1572-1707), Bhadra Fort served as the seat of Governor of Gujarat. The city flourished with addition of several settlements in and around the city. Of the population of the city no estimate has been traced.

There is some estimate of the size of city in works of the time: Ferishta, the Ain-i-Akbari, and the Mirat-i-Ahmadi. According to the Ain-i-Akbari (1580), there were 360 puras, of which only eighty-four were then flourishing; according to Ferishta there were, in 1600, 360 mahalla, each surrounded by a wall ; the Mirat-i-Ahmadi in one passage says, such was once its populous state that it contained 380 puras, each pura a considerable quarter almost a city; in another passage he mentions twelve city wards and others outside, and in his detailed account of the city he mentions by name 110 suburbs of which 19 were settled under Mughal rule.

German traveller Mandelslo (1638) mentioned the suburbs and dependent villages are nearly seven leagues round. During Mughal and Maratha struggle (1707–1753) to control the city, the city was harmed and several suburbs were depopulated. The city walls damaged in battles and the trade was affected. The city revenue was divided between Mughal and Maratha rulers.

Later during Maratha rule (1758–1817), the city revenue was divided between Peshwa and Gaekwad. These affected economy of the city due to more extraction of taxes. In 1817, Ahmedabad fell under British Company rule which stabilized the city politically and improved the trade. The population rose from 80,000 in 1817 to about 88,000 in 1824. During the eight following years a special cess was levied on ghee and other products and at a cost of £25,000 (Rs. 2,50,000) the city walls were repaired. About the same time a cantonment was established on a site to the north of the city. The population rose (1816) to about 95,000. The public funds available after the walls were finished were made use of for municipal purposes. The old city continued to the centre of political activities during Indian independence movement under Mahatma Gandhi.

Forts are Square in form, enclosing an area of about forty-three acres, the Bhadra fort had eight gates, three large, two in the east and one in the south-west corner; three middle-sized, two in the north and one in the south; and two small, in the west. The construction of Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad completed in 1423. As the city expanded, the city wall was expanded. So the second fortification was carried out by Mahmud Begada in 1486, the grandson of Ahmed Shah, with an outer wall 10 km (6.2 mi) in circumference and consisting of 12 gates, 189 bastions and over 6,000 battlements as described in Mirat-i-Ahmadi. The city walls of second fortification, running on the west for about a mile and three quarters along the bank of the Sabarmati, and stretching east in semi-circular form, include an area of two square miles in pas.

Gates are Most people believe that Ahmedabad had 12 gates but some historian suggested to have 16. Later some Indologist found that Ahmedabad had 21 gates. Bhadra fort had eight gates, three large, two in the east and one in the south-west corner; three middle-sized, two in the north and one in the south; and two small, in the west. In the city walls of second fort, there were eighteen gates, fifteen large and three small. Of the fifteen, one was closed, and two were added later.
These gates were, beginning from the north-west corner, three in the north-wall, the Shahpur in the north-west, the Delhi in the north, and the Dariyapur in the north-east; four in the east wall, the Premabhai, a gate built by British, in the north-east, the Kalupur in the east, the Panchkuva, a gate built by British, in the east, and the Sarangpur in the south-east; four in the south wall, the Raipur and Astodiya in the south-east, and the Mahuda, the closed gate, and the Jamalpur in the south; seven in the west wall, the Khan Jahan, Raikhad and Manek in the south-west; the three citadel gates, Ganesh, Ram, and Baradari in the centre; and the Khanpur gate in the north-west. Two new gates, Prem Darwaja and Panchkuva Gate added by British after opening of railways in 1864.

8. Aaykar Setu

The new step is an effort by the Income Tax Department (ITD) to directly communicate with the taxpayers, on a range of multiple informative and useful tax services aimed at providing tax information at their fingertips. The module compiles various tax tools, live chat facility, dynamic updates, and important links to various processes within the Income Tax Department in a single module. The tax payers will also be able to receive regular updates regarding important tax dates, forms and notifications on mobile numbers registered with the ITD.

All taxpayers who wish to receive such SMS alerts are advised to register their mobile numbers in the Aaykar Setu module.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) constantly endeavours to provide better taxpayer services and reduce taxpayer grievances. New schemes and e-initiatives to educate the taxpayers and deliver tax payer services in an effective manner are key to this effort.

9. Okinoshima

Okinoshima is an island, part of the city of Munakata, Fukuoka, Japan. It is considered sacred land by the local Munakata Taisha. The island’s population consists of a single employee of the shrine. He is one of about two dozen Shinto priests who spend 10-day intervals on the island, praying and guarding against intruders.

The entire island is considered a shinto kami, and the island is off limits to women. For centuries, only 200 men were allowed on the island on one day each year after they had “purified” themselves in the surrounding sea.

The island covers area of 97 ha (240 acres) and has a maximum elevation of 244 m (801 ft).
he Okitsu-gū shrine is located at the southwestern portion of Okinoshima. It was established in the mid 17th-century. Prior to the shrine’s establishment as a sacred natural site, the surrounding site served as a location for the worship of the kami. The shrine has been maintained in relatively the same condition since the Shōwa period 1932, prior to which, it had undergone repair and rebuilding several times.

The island’s deity was said to guard a popular trade route to Korea. In exchange for safe passage, fishermen provided offerings that included swords, flat-iron ingots, elaborate mirrors and bronze dragon heads. The offerings were concealed underneath stones or scattered between boulders.
In the 1600s a Christian feudal lord, Kuroda Nagamasa, collected the offerings and put them in a tower of his castle. According to legend, the tower began to shake, bright objects streaked through the sky, and diseases plagued Nagamasa’s people. Nagamasa returned the objects to the island, and the unsettling events stopped.

Today many of the treasures are on display in the Munakata shrine on Kyushu.
Japanese sacred island where women are banned gets UNESCO world heritage listing

10. Electrified Droplets Create Mini Saturn Planets

By electrifying tiny drops of fluid, scientists have created miniature versions of the ringed planet Saturn.
Though gorgeous to look at, the resulting “planet” has more than aesthetic value: The achievement could help lead to new ways of generating microscopic and uniform particles and capsules often used in products such as drugs, inks, cosmetics, paints and ceramics, researchers said.

When a drop of electrically conductive liquid is exposed to an electric field, the droplet responds by forming two electrically charged poles. Previous research has shown that these poles can get pulled toward the sources of the electric field, taking on cone shapes. If the pull is strong enough, the tips of the cones can spray jets of droplets.

Experiments regarding this effect, known as electrospraying, often involved drops of liquid surrounded by less electrically conductive fluids.
Previous research found that when a drop that is more electrically conductive than its surroundings gets caught between two electrified plates, its poles take on the opposite electric charge of those plates. When it comes to electricity, opposites attract, so the poles of the droplet get pulled outward (toward the plates) to become cones, with the drop taking on a football shape.

These new findings reveal that when a drop is less electrically conductive than its surroundings, its poles take on an electric charge that is the same as the electrodes (the electrified plates).

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