National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 16th November 2018

Super-Earth’ found orbiting Sun’s nearest single star


Topic: Science and Technology

IN NEWS: Astronomers have discovered a frozen planet with a mass over three times that of the Earth, orbiting the closest solitary star to the Sun.

More on the Topic:

  • The potentially rocky planet, known as Barnard’s star b, is a ‘super-Earth’ and orbits around its host star once every 233 days.
  • The findings, published in the journal Nature, show the planet lies at a distant region from the star known as the ‘snow line’ This is well beyond the habitable zone in which liquid water, and possibly life, could exist.
  • The planet’s surface temperature is estimated to be around -170°C. However, if the planet has a substantial atmosphere the temperature could be higher and conditions potentially more hospitable.

The Barnard’s Star

  • At nearly six light-years away Barnard’s star is the next closest star to the Sun after the Alpha Centauri triple system.
  • It is a type of faint, low-mass star called a red dwarf. Red dwarfs are considered to be the best places to look for exoplanet candidates, which are planets outside our solar system.
  • Barnard’s star b is the second closest known exoplanet to our Sun.
  • The researchers used the radial velocity method during the observations that led to the discovery of Barnard’s star b.
  • This technique detects wobbles in a star which are likely to be caused by the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet. These wobbles affect the light coming from the star.

The Closest Star

  • The closest lies just over four light-years from Earth. That exoplanet, Proxima b, orbits around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.

Source:The Hindu

SC pulls up States for delay in recruitment of judges


Topic: Polity and Governance

IN NEWS: The Supreme Court  pulled up various State governments and the administrative side of the High Courts for delay in filling vacancies in subordinate judicial services.

More on the Topic:

  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had taken suo motu cognisance of more than 5,000 vacancies for subordinate judicial posts even as pendency touched crores.
  • It found that the source of the problem lay in poor infrastructure, from courtrooms to residences for judges, and a sheer lackadaisical approach to conducting the appointment process on time.

Appointment of the Judges to The Lower Judiciary:


  • The district courts of the State governments in India for every district or for one or more districts together taking into account the number of cases, population distribution in the district. They administer justice in India at a district level.
  • The judges of subordinate courts are appointed by the Governor in consultation with the chief justice of the High Court of the concerned State.
  • A minimum of seven years of practise as a lawyer at bar is a necessary qualification for direct entry level to become a District Judge upon a written examination and oral interview by a committee of High court judges, the appointment of district judges is notified by the state Government.
  • This is referred to as direct recruitment. District judges are also appointed by way of elevation of judges from courts subordinate to district courts provided they fulfil the minimum years of service.

Source:The Hindu

Bharat Net

Topic: Government Schemes


In news: The Department of Telecom has instructed State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL) to submit reports every day on the progress made in the Bharat Net project that seeks to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country through high-speed broadband by March 2019, forming the backbone of the government’s ambitious Digital India programme.

More on the Topic:

  • Despite fortnightly/weekly reviews for the last two years at my level, it is observed that there is an unprofessional shirking of responsibility; along with inability to resolve on-field problems and inter organisational issues between BBNL and BSNL.
  • This is hampering progress of this vital project.

Bharath Net

  • BharatNet is a project of national importance to establish, by 2017, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
  • The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.
  • The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.
  • The project is a Centre-State collaborative project, with the States contributing free Rights of Way for establishing the Optical Fibre Network.

Source: The Hindu

India, China agree to expand military ties

Topic: International Relations

In news: India and China are set to expand their military ties, in tune with the spirit of the Wuhan informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April.

More on the Topic

  • For the first time, cadets from Indian and Chinese military academies, as well mid-level officers, will meet each other regularly.
  • The two senior officials also agreed to continue with visits at the level of military commands and civilian officers of the Ministry of Defence.
  • During the dialogue, a decision has been taken to add new confidence-building measures to maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders.

Source:The Hindu

Inclusive Indo-Pacific Region


Topic: International Relations

In news: India was committed to a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he called for enhancing multilateral cooperation and economic and cultural ties among member-nations at the 13th East Asia Summit in Singapore.

 More on the Topic

  • The EAS consists of 10 ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the U.S. It was formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.

Significance of Indo Pacific Region:

  • As world trade has increased, the importance of Sea Lines of Communications (SLOC) has also increased. The resource hungry nations have now moved to the oceans to satisfy their needs. Thus, the importance of Indo-Pacific littorals has increased in a strategic sense due to the following reasons
  • US’s pivot to Asia: In order to counter China’s rise, the US is rebalancing its foreign policy and giving more importance to Asia. That has increased the importance of Indo-Pacific region.
  • Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP): TPP is a major Free Trade Agreement backed by the US which will bind the region in a tight economic embrace.
  • Sea Lines of Communications: This region contains very important SLOCs which have a direct bearing on the economic security of many nations. SLOCs through which nearly 55% of Indian trade passes through. This makes it strategically imperative for us to safeguard our maritime interests.
  • South China Sea Resources: There are indications of presence of hydrocarbon assets in the South China Sea Region. This increases the importance of this region manifold. China’s increasing assertiveness in SCS will not only devoid us of mineral (oil etc.), marine, rare earth metals and other resources ( important for energy and food security) but China’s naval/military presence in SCS will reduce our strategic edge in our backyard (IOR).
  • China’s ‘Blue Water’ Ambitions: In order to stake claim to disputed area of the South China Sea as well as safeguard its SLOCs, China has rapidly expanded its navy. This poses a strategic threat to India and other littorals in the region.
  • In the wake of slowing down of EU and U.S economy (especially after 2008 recession),focus has shifted towards Indo-pacific littorals as it houses many of the world’s biggest economies and largest markets.

Source:The Hindu

Swadesh Darshan Scheme


Topic: Government Schemes

In news: Two major projects under Swadesh Darshan Scheme inaugurated in Arunachal Pradesh.

More on The Topic:

  • These projects are “Development of North East Circuits: Bhalukpong- Bomdila – Tawang Project & Nafra- Seppa- Pappu, Pasa, Pakke Valleys- Sangdupota- New Sagalee- Ziro- Yomcha Project “.
  • Development of Tourism in North Eastern Region is a prime area of focus for the Ministry of Tourism.
  • The Ministry has taken several initiatives for the growth of domestic and international tourism in the region.
  • One of the many challenges the region faces in development of tourism is the absence of quality infrastructure, services and awareness about the array of tourism products region has to offer.

Swadesh Dharshan Scheme:

  • Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of the Ministry of tourism for the development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner.
  • Under this scheme, the Government is focussing on the development of quality infrastructure in the country with the objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth.
  • The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date, the Ministry has sanctioned 73 projects worth projects for Rs. 5873.99 Crore to 30 States and UTs. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year. 6 projects have been inaugurated as on date under the scheme.

Source: Pib


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