Daily Current Affairs : 14/2/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Trans Fats
  2. National Board for wildlife
  3. Bhartiya Shiksha Board (BSB)
  4. Forex Reserves

1 . Trans Fats

Context : In a first, Kerala Health Department has drawn up an action plan to generate public awareness on the harmful effects of trans fatty acids (TFA) in commercially available food items and to encourage the local food industry to meet the current statutory limits set for TFA.

What are trans fats?

  • There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats.
  • Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats.
  • Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
  • The primary dietary source for trans fats in processed food is “partially hydrogenated oils.

Why do some companies use trans fats?

  • Trans fats are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture.
  • Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers.

How do trans fats affect health?

  • Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
  • Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
  • It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Action Plan

2 . National Board for Wildlife

Context : India’s apex National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) — charged with allowing forest land in Protected Areas to be diverted for industry — cleared 682 of the 687 projects (99.82%) that came up for scrutiny, according to a response to a query in the Lok Sabha earlier this month. Only five projects were rejected since August 2014.

About National Board for Wildlife

  • The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).
  • The NBWL, formally headed by the Prime Minister, adjudicates on industrial projects, road diversions or the like that could encroach into Protected Areas or eco-sensitive zones of forests.
  • A smaller Standing Committee of the NBWL is charged with deliberating on the merits of projects that come to it for scrutiny; the committee comprises scientists and government officials and is chaired by Union Environment Minister

Standing Committee

  • The environment ministry has delegated all powers of the NBWL to a compliant Standing Committee which regularly meets and clears projects in Protected Areas
  • The National Board may, at its discretion, constitute a Standing Committee under sub-section (1) of Section 5B.
  • The Standing Committee shall consist of the Vice-Chairperson (Union Minister in charge of Forests and Wildlife) the Member Secretary and not more than ten members to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the National Board.

Specific provisions in the WLPA

  • S 33 (a): No construction of commercial lodges, hotels… shall be undertaken except with the prior approval of the National Board
  • S 35(5): No alteration of the boundaries of a National Park except on a recommendation of the National Board;
  • S 35(6): No destruction, removal of wildlife or forest produce from a National Park or diversion of habitat unless State Government in consultation with the National Board authorizes the issue of such permit
  • S 38-O (g): Ensure Tiger Reserves and areas linking one protected area with another are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses except in public interest and with the approval of the National Board
  • S 38-W(1) & (2): No alteration or denotification of Tiger Reserves without the approval of the National Board for Wildlife

3 . Bhartiya Shiksha Board (BSB)

Context : The governing council of the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan (MSRVP) – a fully-funded autonomous body under the HRD Ministry working on promotion of ‘ved vidya’ – has given its in-principle approval to set up a Bhartiya Shiksha Board (BSB).

About BSB

  • Function of Bharatiya Shiksha Board shall be to standardise Indian Traditional Knowledge, blend with modern education by way of forming syllabus , conducting examination, affiliating and recognising different forms of schools, issuing certificates of Indian Traditional Knowledge / Indian Traditional Knowledge blended with modern education up to senior Secondary level.

4 . Forex Reserves of India

Context : Foreign exchange reserves crossed $400 billion for the first time in four months in the week ended February 1, 2019, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of India. Total forex reserves grew over $2 billion from $398.17 billion in the week ended January 25 to hit a four-month high of $400.2 billion on February 1.

India’s Forex Reserve

  • The reserves are managed by the Reserve Bank of India for the Indian government
  • Reserve Bank of India Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 set the legal provisions for governing the foreign exchange reserves. 
  • Reserve Bank of India accumulates foreign currency reserves by purchasing from authorized dealers in open market operations.
  • Foreign exchange reserves of India act as a cushion against rupee volatility

The Foreign exchange reserves of India consists of below four categories

  1. Foreign Currency Assets
  2. Gold
  3. Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
  4. Reserve Tranche Position

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