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Group of 20

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

G20 summit is going to be held on June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan

What is G20?

  • The Group of 20, also called the G-20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union.
  • Formed in 1999, the G-20 has a mandate to promote global economic growth, international trade, and regulation of financial markets.
  • Its decisions are not legally binding
  • Initially, the group’s discussion had a focus on sustainability of sovereign debt and global financial stability. Those themes have continued as frequent topics at the G-20’s summits, along with discussions about global economic growth, international trade, and the regulation of financial markets.
  • Recent agenda items at G20 meetings have included cryptocurrency, food security, and trade wars.
  • The chairmanship of the G20 leaders’ summit rotates among four groups of countries. As each group’s turn comes up, its members negotiate among themselves to decide who chairs the meeting.

 

 

University Grants Commission to review quality of PhD theses over the last 10 years

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • The University Grants Commission has launched a review of PhD theses in Indian universities — Central, State and private — over the last ten years, amid concerns that doctoral degrees are being granted to candidates whose theses lack originality and quality.
  • While the study is to cover the whole country, findings may be given at the national as well as State-level.

 

What is the University Grants Commission (UGC)?

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is a statutory organisation set up by the Union government in 1956, charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education.
  • It provides recognition to universities in India, and disburses funds to such recognized universities and colleges.
  • It also fulfils the role of advising the Central and State governments on the measures necessary for improvement of university education.

 

 

Indian Air Force identifies vulnerabilities in its armour

Paper : General Studies 3

 

Why in news?

  • Post-Balakot IAF has identified that there is a shortage of Airborne Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) aircraft to provide round-the-clock surveillance.
  • There is also a shortage of high end fighter aircraft for short skirmishes.
  • Other immediate requirements include Software Defined Radios (SDR) and close-in weapons.
  • The IAF operates only three Israeli Phalcon AWACS and two indigenous Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). These platforms are not available all the time. On the other hand Pakistan has seven AEW&C)

 

What is an Airborne Early Warning and Control system?

  • An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes.
  • AEW&C units are also used to carry out surveillance, including over ground targets and frequently perform C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions similar to an Air Traffic Controller given military command over other forces.
  • When used at altitude, the radar on the aircraft allows the operators to detect and track targets and distinguish between friendly and hostile aircraft much farther away than a similar ground-based radar.
  • Like a ground-based radar, it can be detected by opposing forces, but because of its mobility, it is much less vulnerable to counter-attack.

 

Anthropocene Epoch

Paper : General Studies 3

 

Why in news?

  • Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) has voted in favour of designating a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene.
  • The panel plans to submit a formal proposal to the International Commission on Stratigraphy which oversees the official geological time chart.
  • The focus is now on identifying a definitive geologic marker or golden spike (technically called Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point) to signal the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch. The golden spike must be present globally and should be a part of deposits for geological record.

 

What is the Anthropocene Epoch?

  • The term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer to denote the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth.
  • According to the AWG, the phenomena associated with the Anthropocene include:
  1. An order-of-magnitude increase in erosion and sediment transport associated with urbanisation and agriculture,
  2. Marked and abrupt anthropogenic perturbations of the cycles of elements such as carbon,
  3. Environmental changes generated by these perturbations, including global warming, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification, rapid changes in the biosphere
  4. Proliferation and global dispersion of many new ‘minerals’ and ‘rocks’ including concrete, fly ash and plastics, and the myriad ‘technofossils’ produced from these and other materials.

 

 

East Container Terminal development deal signed by India, Japan and Sri Lanka

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • Sri Lanka, Japan and India on Tuesday signed an agreement to jointly develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port.
  • The joint initiative is estimated to cost between $500 million and $700 million
  • As per the agreement signed on Tuesday, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) retains 100% ownership of the East Container Terminal (ECT), while the Terminal Operations Company, conducting its operations, is jointly owned, the SLPA said in a statement.
  • The ECT is located some 3 km away from the China-backed international financial city, known popularly as “port city”, being built on reclaimed land on Colombo’s sea front.

 

Why is it significant for India?

  • It bolsters India’s neighbourhood first policy by focusing on development in its immediate neighbourhood and sphere of influence.
  • This move is seen as a counter to China’s increasing push towards infrastructure development around India in what is strategically called ‘String of Pearls’. China has earlier developed the Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka.
  • Such deals will also serve as a soft way out of increasingly predatory financial deals that countries have signed with China wherein they are unable to service the loans that they have taken.