06/10/2017 UPSC PRELIMS 2018 CURRENT AFFAIRS


PART II - CONTINUED : CLICK HERE FOR PART I


Future of free speech


QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION : Whether a minister or a public functionary could claim freedom of speech while airing views in matters of official business of the State, such as criminal investigation ?


REFERAL TO LARGER BENCH :This question was referred to 5-Judge constitution bench of Supreme Court of India for consideration.


ART. 19(1)(a) :

  1. Freedom of expression is the foundational fundamental right—and that the Indian Constitution does a poor job of protecting it with too many caveats and restrictions that prioritize community rights over individual rights.

  2. Judges expressed concern over the misuse of social media platforms and said that people disseminated wrong information even about the court proceedings.

WAY FORWARD : How this debate shapes up and whether states can accommodate the reality of changing communication technology without compromising freedom of expression are crucial questions.



New nanomaterial can create hydrogen fuel from seawater


NEWS : New nanomaterial can create hydrogen fuel from seawater.

SO WHAT> It will ease demand for fossil fuels and boost the economy of countries where sunshine and seawater are abundant


HOW> Scientists developed a method of fabricating a photocatalyst composed of a hybrid material. Tiny nanocavities were chemically etched onto the surface of an ultrathin film of titanium dioxide, the most common photocatalyst.Those nanocavity indentations were coated with nanoflakes of molybdenum disulfide, a two-dimensional material with the thickness of a single atom.By controlling the density of sulphur vacancy within the nanoflakes, they can produce energy from ultraviolet-visible to near-infrared light wavelengths, making it at least twice as efficient as current photocatalysts.




Minister reviews Army reforms :


NEWS :Defence Minister NirmalaSitharamantook stock of the progress in implementing the ambitious reform process in the Army

BACKGROUND : Reforms are based on the recommendation of the Committee of Experts under Chairmanship of Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar.


  • Out of 99 recommendations – 65 approved /34 pending.

Major reforms concerning the following have been approved:

  1. Optimisation of Signals Establishments.

  2. Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army.

  3. Redeployment of Ordnance echelons.

  4. Better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units.

  5. Closure of Military Farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations.

  6. Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.

  7. Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.


By December 2019 – All reforms will be completed, this may result in savings of up to Rs. 25,000 crore in defence expenditure


Dhaka defends China’s OBOR project :

  1. In May, India had refused to attend China’s Belt and Road Forum.

  2. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary ShahidulHaque - striking a counter to India’s tough position against China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative - “We cannot be isolated in the name of sovereignty…There are times when you have to put the sovereignty issue behind, in the back seat, to the economic benefits to your people.”

  3. India warned that OBOR has massive infrastructure projects which involves high costs. This may result in“debt trap” for leading smaller SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.



Snow leopard photographed in Arunachal


Snow leopard spotted in Arunachal Pradesh using camera traps in select areas.


To understand the current distribution of snow leopards and other mammals – researchers tapped into the knowledge of locals — including herders and former hunters in Community Conserved Area (CCA).


WHAT IS CCA ?


  • In 2004, WWF-India introduced the concept of CCAs in the State to empower local communities to become active decision-makers and implement conservation initiatives.

  • Local communities in these CCAs form committees to undertake wildlife monitoring, patrolling and community-based tourism activities.

WHY CCA >Only a fraction of snow leopard habitat in the state falls into two protected areas namely Dibang Biosphere Reserve and Namdapha National Park. The presence of the big cat beyond these protected areas highlights the importance of community support for conservation given that large natural areas in Arunachal Pradesh fall under the custodianship of local communities.


Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 22 priority landscapes of the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program.


ABOUT GSLEP :

  • The GSLEP is a joint initiative of range country governments, international agencies, civil society, and the private sector.

  • Its goal is to secure the long-term survival of the snow leopard in its natural ecosystem.

  • The goal of the GSLEP is for the 12 snow leopard range countries, with support from conservation agencies, NGO’s and others to work together to identify and secure at least 20 healthy populations of snow leopards across the cat’s range by 2020, or "20 by 2020".

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