Tuesday, 12 April 2016 03:59


RMI'S Current Affairs - https://www.facebook.com/RMIS-Current-Affairs


12-APRIL- 2016



UNESCO’s General Conference President Stanley Mutumba Simataa and UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova signed two new recommendations on Education and Training that reflect new global trends and support the Education 2030 Framework for Action at UNESCO Headquarters inParis.

The two recommendations are Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (ALE) and the Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Salient Features of the two Recommendations

• The revision of these key international instruments responds to the request of Member States to adapt them to reflect new educational, social, economic, cultural and political trends.

• The Recommendations were enthusiastically adopted by Member States at the 38th session of the General Conference held in Paris, in November 2015.

• They are the most up-to-date and comprehensive tools for decision-makers, practitioners, social partners, civil society and other stakeholders in these two complementary areas.

• They will be used around the world to guide the transformation and expansion of equitable learning opportunities for youth and adults.

• Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (ALE) gives momentum to strengthening ALE as it lays out guiding principles and a comprehensive, inter-sectoral approach to its promotion and development worldwide.

• The Recommendation concerning TVET reflects new trends in TVET as it provides an integrated and holistic approach to education and training that ensures the promotion of a broad spectrum of knowledge, skills and competencies for work and life.

• The simultaneous adoption of both instruments is a reflection of the high priority placed by the international community on the development of lifelong learning.

• The instruments stress the importance of opportunities for lifelong learning, adult learning and education, and skills development for inclusive economic growth, employment and decent work, the alleviation of poverty, social well-being, gender equality and sustainable learning societies.

• The adoption of the instruments is timely as they are valuable resources to support Member States’ policy reforms as implementation of the Education 2030 Framework for Action and the wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development get underway.


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released Trends in world military expenditure, 2015 report.

As per the report, while the USA remained as world’s biggest spender in 2015, India moved up one spot in the global rankings to reach the sixth position in terms of military expenditure.

Military Expenditure 2015

Highlights of Trends in world military expenditure, 2015

• World military expenditure totalled almost 1.7 trillion US dollars in 2015, an increase of 1 per cent in real terms from 2014. This was the first increase in military spending since 2011.

• The increase reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe and some Middle Eastern states.

• At the same time, spending decreased in Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, the global military expenditure picture is mixed.

• The United States remained by far the world’s biggest spender in 2015, despite its expenditure falling by 2.4 per cent to 596 billion US dollars.

• Among the other top spenders, China’s expenditure rose by 7.4 per cent to 215 billion US dollars, Saudi Arabia’s grew by 5.7 per cent to 87.2 billion US dollars—making it the world’s third-largest spender.

• A combination of high oil prices and new oil discoveries and exploitation has contributed to a surge in military spending in many countries around the world in the past decade.

• However, the crash in oil prices that started in 2014 has begun to reverse this trend in many oil revenue-dependent countries. Further cuts in spending are expected in 2016.

• The most dramatic oil revenue-related reductions in spending in 2015 were in Venezuela (–64 per cent) and Angola (–42 per cent).

• Decreases were also recorded in, among others, Bahrain, Brunei, Chad, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Oman and South Sudan.

• Russia’s expenditure was lower than projected in its budget, and Saudi Arabia’s spending would have fallen but for the additional 5.3 billion US dollars cost of its military intervention in Yemen.

• Military spending in North America and Western and Central Europe has been decreasing since 2009, largely as a result of the global economic crisis, as well as the withdrawal of most US and allied troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

• There were signs in 2015, however, that this decline was coming to an end. For example, US military spending was down by 2.4 per cent in 2015, a much slower rate of decline than in recent years.

• Military spending in Asia and Oceania rose by 5.4 per cent in 2015 and was heavily influenced by China.

• Heightening tensions between China and various countries in the region contributed to substantial increases in expenditure by Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, and triggered the start of a reversal of the long-term downward trend in Japan’s military spending.

Report with respect to India

• India moved up one spot in the global rankings to reach the sixth position in 2015 for military spending.

• India had 3.1 percent share of world military expenditure of the 15 states with the highest spending in 2015.

• India’s military spending in 2015 was 51.3 billion US dollars or 2.5 percent of national GDP. It was an increase of 0.4 percent compared to 2014.

• India plans to increase military expenditure by about 8 percent (in real terms) in 2016, partly to fund many large ongoing and planned procurement programmes.


• The Stockholm-based organisation monitors the developments in military expenditure worldwide.

• It also maintains the most comprehensive, consistent and extensive data source available in military expenditure.

• It discourages use of terms like arms spending when it refers to military expenditure as spending on armaments.

• It uses the term Military expenditure in a broad sense and refers to all government spending on current military forces and activities.

• It includes salaries and benefits, operational expenses, arms and equipment purchases, military construction, research and development, and central administration, command and support.


Indian men won the 2016 Asian Nations Cup Chess tournament with a 3-1 victory over Vietnam in the final round played in Abu Dhabi.

In the final round match against Vietnam, Grandmasters S P Sethuraman and K Sasikiran won on the second and fourth boards while B Adhiban and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi drew their respective matches on top and third boards.

To clinch the title, India collected 17 points, two more than World and Olympiad champions China. India drew Mongolia and beat the rest of the teams in a 22-team tournament.

Top seed China who stood at second position in the ranking chart defeated UAE 4-0 in their final round match. Kazakhstan and Iran took the third and fourth places respectively.

This was the third time that Indian men won the event. They won at Esfahan, Iran in 2005 and Kolkata 2009 when China did not participate on both occasions.

In the women's section, top seed China won the title with 15 points. Uzbekistan was second with 14 and Kazakhstan third with 13 points. Indian women finished fourth with 12 points.


Union Government launched the low cost micro solar device, Surya Jyoti. The solar dome would help rural and urban population to have a reliable access to electricity.

This low cost and environment-friendly solar lighting device was launched by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. The device would light up homes without electricity and save millions of units of power.

The device has been developed under the aegis of the Department of Science & Technology.

Salient features of the device

• According to preliminary estimates, if this technology is adopted in 10 million households only, it has the potential of saving 1750 million units of energy.

• It would also lead to an emission reduction of about 12.5 million ton of CO2 equivalent, hence giving a fillip to the mission of ‘Clean India, Green India’.

• The manufacturing process, being labour-intensive, would also generate huge job opportunities in the economy.

Functioning process of the device

• The Micro Solar Dome captures sunlight through a transparent semi-spherical upper dome and concentrates it inside a dark room.

• The light passes through a sun-tube having a thin layer of highly reflective coating on the inner wall of the passage.

• It also contains a lower dome having a shutter at the bottom that can be closed if light is not required in the daytime.

• It is leak proof and works for almost 16 hours daily, that is, throughout the day and 4 hours after sunset.

The Photo-Voltaic Integrated Micro Solar Dome costs about 1200 rupees and the Non Photo-Voltaic version around 500 rupees. These cost figures are expected to get further reduced to 900 rupees and 400 rupees respectively post the scaling-up of the manufacturing process and future linkages with the subsidies under various schemes of the Ministries of Urban Development, Rural Development and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

According to a TERI University test report, the illumination level of the light during mid-day goes as high as a 15W LED bulb. Extensive Testing of the device for select parameters has been completed at IIT Bombay, TERI University and Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Kolkata. Field trials have been conducted and 300 Micro Solar Domes are being installed in the slums of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru.


Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval to the Recommendations on Fiscal Deficit Targets and Additional Fiscal Deficit to States during Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) award period 2015-20 under the two flexibility options.

Important Recommendations of Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC)

• The commission adopted the fiscal deficit threshold limit of 3 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the States.Further, It was also provided a year-to-year flexibility for additional fiscal deficit to States.

• It took the development needs and the current macro- economic requirement into account and provided additional headroom to a maximum of 0.5 per cent over and above the normal limit of 3 per cent in any given year to the States that have a favourable debt-GSDP ratio and interest payments-revenue receipts ratio in the previous two years.

• However, the flexibility in availing the additional fiscal deficit will be available to State if there is no revenue deficit in the year in which borrowing limits are to be fixed and immediately preceding year.

• The States will not get any benefit of additional borrowings for 2015-16 as the year is already completed. However, the implications for the remaining period of FFC award that is 2016-17 to 2019-20, would depend upon respective States eligibility based on the criteria prescribed by FFC.

• For the year 2016-17, the following fiscal parameters need to be taken into account before determining states eligibility for additional borrowings of 0.5 percent of GSDP recommended by FFC.

a) The revenue position of the State as per Finance Account for t-2 and as available from Revised Estimates for t-1. To illustrate, for the year 2016-17, the revenue position of the State for 2014-15 (actual as per Finance Accounts) and 2015-16 (RE) would be relevant.

b) The IP/TRR ratio and Debt/GSDP ratio based on the data as contained in Finance Account for t-2. To illustrate, for determining States’ eligibility for 2016-17, the IP/TRR ratio and Debt/GSDP ratio as disclosed in Finance Account of States for 2014-15 would be relevant.

• If a State is not able to fully utilise its sanctioned fiscal deficit of 3 per cent of GSDP in any particular year during the 2016-17 to 2018-19 of FFC award period, it will have the option of availing this un-utilised fiscal deficit amount (calculated in rupees) only in the following year but within FFC award period.

• For the purpose of calculating the unutilised borrowing space, the unutilised fiscal space as compared to FD limit of 3% of GSDP is to be reckoned. Similarly, any additional borrowings availed beyond the State’s entitlements shall be adjusted from Net Borrowing Ceiling of the following year.


Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh, laid the foundation stone of Haryana State University of Horticultural Sciences at Karnal, Haryana.

The establishment of a fully fledged horticultural university will cater the needs to support the gap between teaching, research and extension activities in the state.

Key highlights of Haryana State University of Horticultural Sciences

The university will be built on 118 acres. It will meet the demand of skilled human resources.

The varsity will establish the convergence and synergy to disseminate latest technology and horticulture education to the young generation.

The university is expected to help in improving productivity levels and to adopt appropriate crop diversification to suit the agro climatic conditions of the region.

It will also act as a skill development centre to cater the larger demand for trained manpower in the production, post harvest and processing industries.


  • Amid protests by the outstation students at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Govt said that there was no plan to move the institution out of the State as demanded by a section of the students.
  • M.J. Zarabi, Chairman of Board of Governors of the NIT said that the exams would be held as per the schedule from April 11.
  • The other demands of the students — action against NIT workers “who had sided with anti-national students” and the policemen who resorted to the baton charge — would be considered after the State inquiry was completed.
  • An email would be provided to students for redress of complaints against the teaching staff.
  • Tension at the NIT — fuelled by the clashes between local and outstation students over the West Indies-India cricket match and the police action
  • Hours after BJP national secretary R.P. Singh called a ‘Chalo NIT’ march to express solidarity with the non-local students, the JKLF called a shutdown for Tuesday.


  • The Centre will sanction contracts worth Rs.60,000 crore to modernise ports by May 26, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
  • Modernisation, mechanisation and computerisation of the ports will be undertaken. Since the NDA came to power two years ago, investment worth Rs.83,361 crore had come to the port sector.
  • The ‘Sagarmala’ project, aimed at promoting port-led development along India’s 7,500 km coast, has been finalised with the views of all stakeholders present at the meeting.
  • The government was hopeful of investments worth Rs.4 lakh crore and one crore jobs under the project.
  • The capacity of 12 major ports increased by 4.3 per cent, when global trade had gone up by just 0.5 per cent.
  • The improvement in efficiency in ports has lowered the logistics costs leading to a benefit of Rs.400-500 crore to the Indian trade. But compared with China and European countries, the logistics costs in India were higher.


  • Over 1,300 villages in Uttar Pradesh have been electrified under the rural electrification programme since the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre two years ago.
  • Govt aimed to provide electricity to each and every household in the State before 2019.
  • Mr. Goyal said after becoming the Power Minister, he “was surprised to find the status of rural electrification in Uttar Pradesh wherein only three villages were electrified during 2012-2014.”
  • The Centre had sanctioned the highest amount, Rs. 6,946 crore, to the State government under the Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojna and Rs. 5,651 crore under the Integrated Power Development Scheme.
  • Under the Centre’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), U.P. would benefit by Rs. 33,000 crore in the coming years. In January, U.P. became the fourth State, and the first non-NDA ruled, to formally join UDAY.
  • The State government has also promised to ensure electrification of one lakh villages and hamlets in U.P. by July 2016.
  • The government has asked officials to make sure that the drought-hit Bundelkhand region gets at least 20 hours of electricity every day.
  • U.P. had become the fastest State to replace one crore “bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs,” distributed under the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) programme.
  • The price of LED bulb had dropped to Rs. 80 in U.P. due to the “transparent procurement by EESL and the removal of VAT” in the State.


  • The Colombo Port City project, which both China and Sri Lanka have decided to develop into a financial hub, will not have any impact on Indian security, visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
  • “We have discussed it with India and we are willing to discuss it with India further. As you know, this is not going to be a China-Sri Lanka venture. It is going to open to everyone and already many Indian businessmen have told me that they are willing to come to the port city,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
  • Sri Lanka has been planning to establish a financial and business hub in the Indian Ocean and we selected the port city to be the location. So from a landfill and real estate [project], it has become a financial hub.
  • The Port City would become part of efforts to turn Sri Lanka’s western province into a mega-polis of eight million people.
  • The Prime Minister highlighted that his government wanted to turn the port of Hambantota into another Shenzhen— the city that was at the heart of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s reforms.
  • He rejected the contention that like Gwadar in Pakistan, the Chinese will manage the operations of the port.
  • Sri Lankans were talking to Andhra Pradesh about greater cooperation between Sri Lankan ports and Visakhapatnam once an economic and technology agreement with India is materialised.
  • Mr. Wickremesinghe said during his visit “a comprehensive economic strategy” between Sri Lanka and China had been defined, which would be relevant for the next two decades.
  • The Prime Minister pointed out that with China as one of the core partners, his country had devised a regionally inclusive “economic plan”, which would establish Sri Lanka as a “financial, business and logistics hub”.


  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on the Taliban to re-enter peace talks with Kabul during an unannounced visit on Saturday to show his support for Afghanistan’s unity government, which he helped create 18 months ago.
  • His visit comes as Kabul desperately tries to bring the insurgent group back to the negotiation table to end their conflict which began in 2001.
  • “We discussed our shared goal of launching peace talks with the Taliban,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.


  • For the first time, the International Space Station (ISS) will be equipped with an expandable habitable structure that has the potential to revolutionise work on the orbital laboratory.
  • SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, launched on a Falcon 9 rocket, is delivering almost 3,175kg of cargo, including the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), to the ISS.
  • BEAM will arrive in Dragon’s unpressurised trunk and, after about five days, will be removed and attached to the station. Expansion is targeted for the end of May.
  • Expandable habitats are designed to take up less room on a rocket, but provide greater volume once expanded.
  • This first in situ test of the module will allow researchers to gauge how well the habitat protects against solar radiation, space debris and contamination.
  • BEAM is a 21st-century reincarnation of NASA’s TransHab, which never got beyond blueprints and ground mock-ups in the 1990s.


  • An international team of scientists has successfully detected a mysterious new state of matter that causes electrons, thought to be nature’s indivisible building blocks, to break into pieces.
  • The state, known as a quantum spin liquid, was found in a two-dimensional material with a structure similar to graphene.
  • First predicted 40 years ago, quantum spin liquids were thought to be hiding in certain magnetic materials, but had not been conclusively sighted in nature.
  • In a typical magnetic material, electrons each behave like tiny bar magnets. When a material is cooled to a low enough temperature, they will order themselves so that all the north magnetic poles point in the same direction.
  • But in a material containing a spin liquid state, even if cooled to absolute zero, the bar magnets would not align but form an entangled soup .
  • The researchers used neutron scattering techniques to look for experimental evidence of fractionalisation in crystals of ruthenium chloride (RuCl3) to measure the first signatures of fractional particles known as Majorana fermions.


  • The birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar, father of the Indian Constitution, will be observed on April 13 at the United Nations for the first time with focus on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The Permanent Mission of India to the U.N., in association with the Kalpana Saroj Foundation and Foundation For Human Horizon, will commemorate Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary at the U.N. headquarters, a day before his date of birth.
  • The landmark 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises that combating inequality within and among countries, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth and fostering inclusion are interdependent.
  • The vision of Dr. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, to achieve social justice and equality also finds resonance in the core message of the 2030 Agenda.
  • On the occasion, a panel discussion will be organised on the topic “Combating inequalities for the achievement of SDGs” with the objective of raising awareness of the importance of addressing all forms of inequality for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • United Nations Development Group Chair and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme Helen Clark will deliver the keynote speech.


  • India has told Britain that by tightening norms for skilled foreign workers it was mixing up Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) with immigration and this could affect bilateral ties.
  • The commerce ministry will seek legal advice on whether the new guidelines on ICTs discriminate against India and are inconsistent with the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services.
  • The move comes amid concerns by Indian tech firms which are worried that the tighter norms for foreign skilled workers would chip away at their bottom line.
  • The Indian IT/ITeS sector is mainly affected by the stipulation that from April 2017 onwards a company (including India-based), looking to bring a worker into the U.K. for short duration, specifically to carry out the work of another organisation, will have to pay them a minimum annual salary of £41,500.
  • This minimum threshold represents a 67 per cent increase from the extant limit of £24,800.
  • Industry believes that these impacts will not achieve either of the government’s aims of a decrease in migration or an increase in U.K. skilled workers but negatively impact overall UK productivity.
  • It was found that Indian IT workers account for over 90 per cent of migrants in the category known as “ICTs for third-party contracting”.
  • Noting that skilled migrant workers have helped in boosting its economy and reducing the costs of companies, Britain, however, said the skilled worker visa “reforms” were taken to safeguard employment opportunities for its residents as well as to bring down the reliance of the U.K. enterprises on skilled labour from other countries.
  • The new norms also state that from autumn 2016, all intra-company transferees will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.
  • The U.K. will review the extent to which allowances may be counted as salary to ensure it has appropriate safeguards in place against undercutting of the resident labour market.
  • However, to provide flexibility, the minimum salary threshold for intra-company transferees working in the U.K. for between five and nine years has been reduced from £155,300 to £120,000.


  • Having different digital wallets for different e-commerce sites could well be a thing of the past. Now, you can have only one wallet, which is essentially your bank account, from where all payments could be made for any transactions.
  • It does not need the entry of bank account details and 11-character Indian Financial System (IFSC) code in every time transaction. All you need is an e-mail like Unified Payments Interface (UPI) address.
  • In UPI, money transfer is possible in both send mode and collect mode. The present system of mobile payments offers only send mode.
  • You can send money. But, one cannot pull the money from another account. Of course, approval from the person whose account will be debited, will be required to complete the transaction.
  • A merchant or an individual can send a request to the UPI user for money which will be transferred after the user’s approval. The difference with the present system is that, the person who is sending is not initiating the action.
  • Also, one does not need to add any beneficiary account, unlike while transferring money through Internet banking. There is a limit of Rs.1 lakh per transaction through the UPI platform.
  • One need not give a bank account number or any code to do a transaction. “Only using the virtual address of UPI, one can send money or allow someone to pull money. The individual can either choose a static pin or a one time password to carry out transactions.
  • But the real game changer is that this would end the need to have different wallets for different e-commerce sites. Complete interoperability is what the UPI platform aims to achieve.
  • There are about 35-36 wallets in the payments system, which the banking regulator has approved.


  • The government has decided to stop issuing new smart cards to beneficiaries of government schemes as Aadhaar is now backed by a law
  • The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has issued strict instructions to the Information Technology Ministry to ensure that States and the Central governmentstop issuing smart cards for new programmes for beneficiaries, and to rely on the Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer platform instead.
  • The move will impact ministries such as Labour, Social Justice and Health, which are in the process or have already rolled out smart cards.
  • The government had said earlier that over 100 crore people, constituting 93 per cent of the adult population, had a unique identification (UID) number under the Aadhaar platform.
  • Last month, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment had announced that all differently abled persons would soon get a unique identity card to avail welfare schemes. .
  • State governments had also planned to use smart card technology for welfare schemes. For instance, Odisha was mulling smart cards for construction workers in the State.
  • The PMO sent a separate communiqué to Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal in the context of a proposal to issue 40 crore smart cards to informal sector workers, called the Unorganised Workers’ Identification Number (U-WIN).
  • The UWIN cards were to be used by these workers to access benefits under schemes such as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana , Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana , Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana.
  • The PMO rejected the proposal noting that Aadhaar would act as a “universal unique identifier for each citizen.”
  • A UWIN number would not only duplicate work, but also introduce further problems in linking up with other databases which have already been linked with Aadhaar.
  • Smart cards work using cryptography, which is more fool-proof than biometrics. Biometrics allow for remote, covert and non-consensual identification.
  • Smart card vendors, however, said the move may not impact their market.



The greatest Sin of which the Mind is capable is Ignorance; for the Mind that knows not the things that are, nor their natures, is blinded, and rushes and dashes against the bodily Passions; not ruling but ruled. This is the greatest mischief of the Mind of Man. But Knowledge is the Virtue of the Mind, for he that knows is good and serves the All-Being.

Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men's actions...

#‎RAY‬ - ‪#‎Empowering‬ ‪#‎Talent‬ ‪#‎Since‬ 1971

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2016 03:25