Bilateral Swap Arrangement
- The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for entering into an Agreement for Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) between India and Japan.
- It authorizes the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to sign the Agreement for Bilateral Swap Arrangement between the RBI and the Bank of Japan for a maximum amount of USD 75 billion.
- The BSA is a very good example of mutual cooperation between India and Japan for strategic objective of assisting each other in times of difficulty and for restoring international confidence.
- This facility will enable the agreed amount of Capital being available to India on tap for use.
- Availability of such swap line to tide over difficulties arising out of Balance of Payment (BOP) would deter speculative attacks on the domestic currency and greatly enhance the RBI’s ability to manage exchange rate volatility.
- Mudiyettu is a ritualistic dance drama from Kerala.
- It is based on the mythological tale of a battle between the goddess Kali and the demon Darika.
- It is performed in the Bhadrakali temples of Central Kerala.
- It is a community ritual in which the entire village participates.
- It is also found a place in the UNESCO’s intangible heritage list in 2010.
Convention on Biological Diversity:
- At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” — meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations.
- One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity.
- The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.
- The ‘Aichi Targets’ were adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its Nagoya conference. It is a short term plan provides a set of 20ambitious yet achievable targets, collectively known as the Aichi Targets. They can be divided into:
- Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.
- Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
- Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
- Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building.
- Nagaland’s famed loin looms are being revived.
- Weaving with the use of the traditional loin loom is a skill and occupation that is passed down generations among women in tribal communities in the North-East.
- Traditionally, the loin loom has an economic significance as well and forms an important part of the socio-culture of tribal societies.
- The portable Naga loin loom has a back strap with a continuous horizontal warp.
- It is fastened to the wall of the house by loops that are set at a distance equal to the breadth of the cloth to be woven.
- The woven cloth tends to have a ribbed texture.
- Iran is witnessing revival of Lake Urmia which is one of the worst ecological disasters of recent decades.
- The lake is a saltwater lake.
- It is situated in the mountains of northwest Iran and is fed by 13 rivers
- In precise the lake is located in the west of the southern portion of the Caspian Sea.
- It is designated as a site of international importance under the UN Convention on Wetlands.
- According to the UN Environment Program, the lake has been shrinking since 1995, due to a combination of prolonged drought, over-farming and dams.
- The shrinking has threatened the habitat of shrimp, flamingos, deers and wild sheep and caused salt storms that pollute nearby cities and farms.
- Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – ‘Saubhagya’ was launched in September, 2017.
- Under Saubhagya free electricity connections to all households (both APL and poor families) in rural areas and poor families in urban areas will be provided.
- Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been designated as nodal agency for the Saubhagya scheme.
- The scheme aims to achieve universal household electrification in all parts of the country.
- All DISCOMs including Private Sector DISCOMs, State Power Departments and RE Cooperative Societies shall be eligible for financial assistance under the scheme in line with Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
- The prospective beneficiary households for free electricity connections under the scheme would be identified using SECC 2011 data. However, un-electrified households not covered under SECC data would also be provided electricity connections under the scheme on payment of Rs. 500 which shall be recovered by DISCOMs in 10 instalments through electricity bill.
Gadgil Committee on Western Ghats
- It defined the boundaries of the Western Ghats for the purposes of ecological management. It proposed that this entire area be designated as ecologically sensitive area (ESA).
- Within this area, smaller regions were to be identified as ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) I, II or III based on their existing condition and nature of threat.
- It proposed to divide the area into about 2,200 grids, of which 75 per cent would fall under ESZ I or II or under already existing protected areas such as wildlife sanctuaries or natural parks.
- The committee proposed a Western Ghats Ecology Authority to regulate these activities in the area.
National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)
- NALSA has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide free legal services to weaker sections of society. The aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.
- NALSA organises Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
- NALSA identifies specific categories of the marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes.
- Services provided by the agency include free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal.
- Free legal services include provision of aid and advice to beneficiaries to access the benefits under the welfare statutes and schemes and to ensure access to justice in any other manner.
Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
- Deletion of ‘Abor’ in serial No. 1, as it is the same as ‘Adi’ in Serial No. 16.
- Replace ‘Tai Khamti’ instead of ‘Khampti’ at serial No. 6.
- Inclusion of ‘Mishmi-Kaman’ (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi) and Taraon (Digaru Mishmi) in serial No. 8.
- Inclusion of Monpa, Memba, Sartang, Sajolong (Miji) in serial No. 9 in lieu of ‘Momba’.
- Inclusion of ‘Nocte’, ‘Tangsa’, ‘Tutsa’, ‘Wancho’ in lieu of ‘Any Naga Tribes’ in serial No. 10 in list of Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.
Chairman of Rajya Sabha
- Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is empowered — under Rule Number 255 of its Rule Book — to “direct any member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately” from the House. “…Any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall absent himself during the remainder of the day’s meeting.”
- The Chairman may “name a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council by persistently and wilfully obstructing” business. In such a situation, the House may adopt a motion suspending the member from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.
- The House may, however, by another motion, terminate the suspension. Unlike the Speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a member.