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Prelim Bits 04-07-2019

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July 04, 2019

Artificial gravity

  • A team from the University of Colorado is working on making a device which could create artificial gravity in space
  • Artificial gravity is a force that simulates the effect of gravity in a spaceship.
  • It is not caused by the attraction to the Earth but is instead caused by acceleration or centrifugal force.
  • Artificial gravity or rotational gravity is thus the appearance of a centrifugal force in a rotating frame of reference.
  • The research centrifuge is called as ‘Human Eccentric Rotator Device’ (HERD) and the device is compact enough to fit into a small room.
  • A rotating circular space station can create artificial gravity.
  • The rate of rotation is necessary to duplicate the Earth's gravity depends on the radius of the circle.
  • Future astronauts heading into an artificial-gravity room to spend time on a small revolving system.
  • It is built with the aim of counteracting the negative effects of weightlessness.

Economic Survey

  • It is the flagship document of the finance ministry which provides detailed statistical data covering all aspects of the economy.
  • It is a technocrat’s advice to the government.
  • It is a review of the developments in the Indian economy over the previous 12 months.
  • It also sketches out short and medium-term prospects of the economy and it suggests problems that the economy is facing and possible solutions for them
  • It is prepared by the Economic Division of the Department of Economic Affairs along with the Chief Economic Adviser in the finance ministry.
  • It is tabled in the Parliament a day before the Union budget.
  • It is nowhere mentioned in the constitution, but now it becomes a practice of Government to present it every year before the budget.
  • In the past few years, the Budget was advanced by a month and the Economic Survey was split into two parts.
  • The first volume focussed on research and analysis about the challenges of the Indian economy.
  • The second volume provided the data and more descriptive review of the fiscal year.
  • It is also used to convey some key idea, like the colour of the 2018 Survey’s cover was ‘Pink’.
  • It was chosen as a symbol of support for the growing movement to end violence against women and to stress special emphasis on gender issues.
  • It also paints a variety of future scenarios, highlighting likely challenges and pointing to possible solutions.

Financial Stability Report:

  • The Reserve Bank of India released the 19th issue of the ‘Financial Stability Report’(FSR). It is a biannual publication.
  • It analyses the overall state of the various segments and it highlights the risk-related issues which can cause potential challenges.
  • It also discusses issues relating to the development and regulation of the financial sector.
  • According to the report NPAs peaked out in March 2018, are now set to steadily diminish.
  • The state of the banking system as the Gross NPA ratio is 9.3% for all banks as of March 2019 and is likely to come down to 9 % by March 2020.
  • The report points out that the problem areas in terms of NPAs still remain metals, mining and engineering where the ratios are above 25%
  • The RBI has also indicated that the recovery rate for the cases under the IBC is around 40-45 % (prior to IBC it was <20 %)
  • Recent developments in the NBFCs sector have brought the sector under greater market discipline as the better-performing companies continued to raise funds.
  • The report further stated that Public Sector Banks showed a noticeable improvement with recapitalisation and hence the efforts to improve the balance sheets of banks should therefore continue.
  • The number of banks having very high NPA ratio (more than 20%) came down in March 2019 as compared to September 2018
  • The Provision Coverage Ratio (PCR) of all banks rose sharply to 60.6% in March 2019 from 52.4% in September 2018, increasing “the resilience of the banking sector”.
  • The credit growth of commercial banks picked up, with PSU banks registering near-double-digit growth.
  • The report cautioned that CAR (capital adequacy ratio ) for 55 banks is projected to fall from 14% in March 2019 to 12.9% in March 2020.
  • In short, the system is fairly stable but the risks need to be recognised and worked upon to ensure smooth progress.

Japan Resumes Commercial Whaling

  • Japan resumes commercial whaling after three decades as it withdrew from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) last year.
  • Whale hunting was banned in 1986 by the IWC due to dwindling whale populations, with a worldwide moratorium placed on the practice to allow the species to rebound.
  • But Japan then began what it called scientific whaling.
  • Japan has been whaling in their own waters every year, despite the moratorium on whaling in 1986.
  • Whaling is deeply ingrained in Japanese culinary culture and the Whale meat also served as critical sources of protein in the post-war period as the nation grappled with poverty.
  • The Japanese government was trying hard to persuade the IWC to allow its commercial whaling operations.
  • IWC refused to budge and rejected the proposal which made Japan to move out of IWC.
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates nearly 32,000 whales have been killed by whaling since the moratorium was imposed.
  • Iceland and Norway are the only other nations which allow commercial whaling.
  • Whales are directly affected by climate change, plastic pollution, oil exploration, industrial fishing and habitat loss.

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

  • The IWC is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.
  • The IWC was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in 1946.
  • In 1986, IWC adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling to protect the world’s last remaining whales.
  • In addition to regulation of whaling, today's IWC works to address a wide range of conservation issues including bycatch and entanglement, ocean noise, pollution and debris.

Source: Indian Express

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