Paper Brief Details

03-September-2018 : TOD

  • 03/09/2018


  1. Sahitya Parishat to promote Kannada literature in rural areas
  2. A file photo of the Kannada Bhavan in Bengaluru.
  • As a tribute to the writers and poets who have contributed to the development of Kannada literature, the Karnataka Sahitya Parishat (KSP) is set to establish Kannada Bhavans in the home towns of select authors.
  • They will be named after the literatures and will come up in rural areas.
  • The idea is to promote the State’s culture and tradition through literary works.
  • The bhavans will be established in 15 villages and taluks across the State. it will not only promote Kannada literature and help preserve our folklore, but will also assist in reviving traditional folk singing styles such as gigi pada , janapada and old Kannada plays.
  1. Why water ATMs are at loss
    The water ATMs are a big hit in Mumbai’s railway stations.
  • Struck by consecutive droughts, which forced villagers to travel kilometres on end for a few drops of potable water, a grand scheme was envisioned to draw water from borewells, purify it, and sell it for just 2 for 20 litres.
  • While more than 16,000 such water units have been built, becoming the lifelines of a number of villages, the economics of maintaining them is leading to a rethink of strategy for giving out cheap water.
  • At present, the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department runs around 13,700 water ATMs, while the remaining are handled using the local area funds of elected representatives.
  • Faced with myriad problems — from electricity to drying up of water source to malfunctioning filters — many have started to go defunct.
  • In the perennially drought-hit Pavagada taluk of Tumakuru, where high fluoride content in groundwater is an issue.
  1. Hybrid seed & more yield for silkworm farmers
    A view of mulberry plantations (left); silkworms feeding on mulberry leaves.— Photos: M.A. SRIRAM
  • Sericulture farmers could soon see higher yields of silkworm cocoons, with the Central Silk Board notifying some of the recently developed races of mulberry (which feeds on mulberry leaves) and vanya (forest-based) silkworm eggs. These races are now authorised for commercial production.
  • The newly developed hybrid of mulberry silkworm (PM x FC2) can produce 60 kg of cocoons per 100 Disease Free Layings (silkworm eggs) and is said to be ‘better than’ the earlier race titled PM x CSR.
  • The tropical tasar silkworm (BDR-10) has 21% more productivity than the traditional Daba breed and the Eri silkworm (C2) race is found to be ‘better’ than the local breed, according to industry experts. It can produce 247 numbers of Eri cocooons per 100 DFLs.
  • In the south, some tasar silk is produced in Andhra Pradesh (A.P.). That apart, almost all the silk produced is the mulberry variety. Within this, production of bivoltine silkworm is high in T.N. and A.P.
  • The new hybrid of mulberry silkworm is suitable for farmers across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra.
  • The national average of cocoon production for mulberry silkworm is 50-55 kg per 100 DFLs.
  • This can, however, vary for each State. The recently developed hybrid can produce 60 kg of cocoons per 100 DFLs. The silk yield from the cocoons will also be higher. As a result, a farmer’s income can go up 5-10%.
  • the total annual raw silk requirement in the country is 30,000 tonnes. Production of the bivoltine variety is close to 6,000 tonnes and almost 4,000 tonnes are imported. Efforts are on to improve import substitute bivoltine raw silk production.


  1. US-India 2+2 Pact
    Nirmala Sitharaman with the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in New Delhi in 2017. R.V. Moorthy
  • COMCASA is meant to provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate “interoperability” between their forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links. The general agreement signed by the US is called the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) but the name was changed to COMCASA to reflect its India-specific nature.
  • It is part of a set of three military agreements that the US considers “foundational” for a functional military relationship. In August 2016, India had signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which allows the military of each country to replenish from the other’s bases. Negotiations on the third agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), have not yet begun.
  1. NGT take steps to conserve Ghats
    Panel says the extent of the Eco-Sensitive Zones should not be reduced in view of the Kerala floods.K. Murali Kumar
  • The six Western Ghats States, including Kerala, have been restrained by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) from giving environmental clearance to activities that may adversely impact the eco-sensitive areas of the mountain ranges.
  • The panel directed that the extent of Eco-Sensitive Zones of Western Ghats, which was notified by the Central government earlier, should not be reduced in view of the recent floods in Kerala.
  • The Madhav Gadgil-led Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) report had created a political furore in the State with most of the political parties and a section of the church opposing it.
  • The WGEEP had earlier proposed “much larger areas for being included in the eco-sensitive zone” though the Kasturirangan-led High Level Working Group, also appointed by the MoEF and CC to look into the WGEEP report, had reduced it. The Ministry had accepted the Kasthurirangan report and issued the draft notifications on ecologically sensitive zones.
  • The Principal Bench of the tribunal, which noted that the ecology of the Western Ghats region was under serious stress, also highlighted the fact that Western Ghats region was one of the richest biodiversity areas which needed to be conserved.
  1. Social Audit to check benefit deliveries to Construction workers
  • Social audit pilot projects to check if construction worker welfare boards are registering workers and giving them benefits, and also to weed out non-workers registered illegally, are scheduled to begin this week in Rajasthan and Delhi.
  • The Labour Ministry has also issued the draft framework for the social audit on implementation of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (BOCW), in accordance with the Supreme Court’s orders.
  • The construction industry is India’s second largest employer, with estimates suggesting that there are between five and seven crore workers in the sector, of whom less than half are registered.
  1. US reduces financial aid to Pakistan
    War on terror: NATO soldiers taking part in a military exercise in Logar Province, Afghanistan.
  • The U.S. military plans to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s lack of “decisive actions” in support of American strategy in the region, the.
  • The U.S. has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on militant safe havens in the country, and announced a freeze on aid at the beginning of the year that could be worth almost $2 billion.
  • The White House believes that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency and other military bodies have long helped fund and arm the Taliban for ideological reasons, but also to counter rising Indian influence in Afghanistan. It also believes that a Pakistani crackdown could be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the long-running war in Afghanistan.
  1. Turkey vows to abandon trade in dollars
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Ankara would pursue non-dollar transactions in trade with Russia and other countries, accusing the US of behaving like "wild wolves".
  • Both Turkey and Russia are reeling from punitive economic measures imposed by Washington.
  • He said his country was in negotiations with Russia over non-dollar trade.
  • Ties between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members Washington and Ankara hit a new low last month as US President Donald Trump announced steep new tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium in response to the detention of an American pastor in Turkey.
  • The Turkish lira shed a quarter of its value last month as the trade war with the US ratcheted up.
  • Russia meanwhile saw its ruble tumble to two-year lows in August after the US announced fresh sanctions in connection with a nerve agent poisoning incident in the British city of Salisbury.
  • Since July 2016, over 55,000 people have been arrested over coup links in Turkey, while more than 140,000 public sector employees have been sacked or suspended.
  1. Public Credit Registry

What is PCR?

  • A public credit registry is an information repository that collates all loan information of individuals and corporate borrowers.
  • A credit repository helps banks distinguish between a bad and a good borrower and accordingly offer attractive interest rates to good borrowers and higher interest rates to bad borrowers.
  • The move is based on the recommendations of a committee, headed by M. Deosthalee.
  • PCR will address issues such as information asymmetry, improve access to credit and strengthen the credit culture among consumers.
  • It can also address the bad loan problem staring at banks, as corporate debtors will not be able to borrow across banks without disclosing existing debt.
  • A PCR may also help raise India’s rank in the global ease of doing business index.
  • Setting up the PCR will help improve India’s rankings in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.
  • The committee has suggested the registry should capture all loan information and borrowers be able to access their own history. Data is to be made available to stakeholders such as banks, on a need-to-know basis. Data privacy will be protected.

Why PCR is necessary

  • Credit information is now available across multiple systems in bits and pieces and not in one window.
  • Data on borrowings from banks, non-banking financial companies, corporate bonds or debentures from the market, external commercial borrowings (ECBs), foreign currency convertible bonds(FCCBs), masala bonds, and inter-corporate borrowings are not available in one data repository.
  • PCR will help capture all relevant information about a borrower, across different borrowing products in one place.
  • It can flag early warnings on asset quality by tracking performance on other credits.
  • PCR in other countries now include other transactional data such as payments to utilities like power and telecom for retail consumers and trade credit data for businesses. Regularity in making payments to utilities and trade creditors provides an indication of the credit quality of such customers.
  • Access to credit information, including debt details and repayment history would drive innovation in lending.
  • For example, currently most banks focus on large companies for loans and consequently the micro, small and medium enterprises are left with limited options for borrowing.
  • With satisfactory payment history and validated debt details made available, it will increase the credit availability to micro, small and medium enterprises along with deepening of the financial markets. This will support the policy of financial inclusion.
  1. UN treaty to regulate high seas,2020
  • United Nations on Tuesday kicked-off talks on a 2020 treaty that would regulate the high seas, which cover half the planet yet lack adequate environmental protection.
  • In 1982, the UN adopted the Convention on the Law of the Sea, but left the high seas free from restrictions.
  • Some whale-hunting nations, like Japan, Iceland and Norway, are expected to be more cautious than others because they fear overly strict fishing restrictions.
  • The U.S. is also reticent because they are opposed to all regulation of marine genetic resources and they did not ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.