India Current Affairs 2017

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ICRISAT, ICAR join hands for crop improvement

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have signed an agreement to work together

They will work together on crop improvement and agronomy programmes for grain legumes and dryland cereals. It will benefit small farmers in India and globally.

Key Facts
  • The agreement has identified climate smart crops, smart food and digitalisation of breeding database as some of the core areas of research.
  • The other areas of focus include developing genetic and genomic resources of finger millet and enhancing genetic gains for priority traits, integrating systems modelling tools for upscaling climate resilient agriculture.
  • On crop improvement front, it will facilitate research on pigeonpea and chickpea for insect resistance. Dryland cereals and grain legumes are branded as smart foods.

About International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT)

  • ICRISAT is a non-profit agricultural research organization headquartered in Patancheru in Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • It was founded in 1972 by a consortium of organizations convened by the Ford and the Rockefeller Foundations.
  • Its charter was signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • It has several regional centres around globe- Niamey (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and research stations Bamako (Mali), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe).
  • Since its inception, India has granted special status to ICRISAT as a UN Organization operating in the Indian Territory making it eligible for special immunities and tax privileges. 

About Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India. It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education under the Union Ministry of Agriculture. The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.

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29 lakh debit cards subjected to malware attack: Government

The Union Government has announced that total of 29 lakh debit cards were subjected to malware attack in through ATMs that were connected with the switch of Hitachi.

 It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The reply mentioned that the malware-induced security breach between May and July 2016 had compromised only 3,291 cards as reported by banks to the RBI. 

Measures taken after security breach
  • The Hitachi Payment Services (HPS) had appointed SISA Infosec for The Payment Card Industry (PCI) forensic investigation. NPCI had not carried out independent investigation.
  • The forensic report suggested that the only ATM infrastructure of HPS was breached and not the POS (point of sale) infrastructure.
  • RBI had advised banks to improve and maintain customer awareness and education with regard to cyber security risks.
  • RBI also has set up a Cyber Security and IT Examination (CSITE) Cell within its Department of Banking Supervision in 2015.
  • The central bank also had issued a comprehensive circular in June 2016 covering best practices pertaining to various aspects of cyber security.
  • It had instructions on banks cyber-security framework, asking them to put in place a board-approved cyber security policy, make arrangement for continuous surveillance and prepare a cyber-crisis management plan.

About Malware

Malware is short form of malicious software. It is any software used to disrupt computer or mobile operations, gain access to private computer systems, gather sensitive information, or display unwanted advertising. Before the term malware was coined by Yisrael Radai in 1990, malware was referred to as computer viruses.

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India’s contribution to UN increases to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16: Government

India’s contribution to the United Nations has rose by 55% to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16 compared with the previous fiscal. In 2014-15, India had contributed Rs 157 crore.

It was announced by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha. In the same period, India also made voluntary contributions to tune of Rs 22 crore to international organisations, including UN agencies.

For the period 2016-18, India’s Scale of Assessment for the UN’s Regular and Peacekeeping budgets has been fixed at 0.737% and 0.1474%, respectively.

How countries contribute to UN?

Each UN member is required to contribute to the organisation’s Regular and Peacekeeping budgets. These obligatory contributions are calculated based on a member’s relative ‘capacity to pay’. It is defined through a scale of assessment that takes into account the member country’s Gross National Income relative to the Global Gross National Income, further adjusted for the level of its national external debt and low per capita income. For Peacekeeping budget all permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) bear special responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security, but they also contribute additional amounts.

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