GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Ban Ki-Moon To Head Boao Forum For Asia.

Background

  • Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was on 9th April, 2018 elected as the new chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia, in a diplomatic boost to the think-tank modelled after the World Economic Forum which is held annually in Davos.
  • Ban replaces former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda.
  • His appointment took place during the four-day annual session of Forum which started on 8th April, 2018. Over 2,000 officials and business leaders from Asia and around the world are taking part in the meeting.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde are attending this year’s Forum at the invitation of China.
  • President Xi Jinping will address the Forum during which he is expected to unveil new measures concerning China’s opening up and reform as well as his vision for the world.
  • Ban, who was the UN Secretary General from 2007 to 2016, was expected to elevate the global profile of the BFA.
  • The Federation of Chambers of Commerce of India (FICCI) is one of the founding members of BFA and famous Industrialist Ratan Tata was one of the board members.
  • Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong was appointed BFA secretary-general, said a statement released after the meeting of the newly elected Board of Directors of BFA, which was held during the ongoing BFA annual conference.
  • China’s former central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan was designated as China’s chief representative to BFA.
  • According to the BFA Charter, Zhou is ex-officio member of the Board of Directors and vice chair of BFA.
  • Of the 19-member BFA Board of Directors, 12 are newly elected, including Ban, Zhou and Li. Other new directors are former senior government officials, business leaders, or other eminent persons from Asia and around the world.
  • Founded in 2001, BFA meets every year around this time.
  • This year’s BFA conference, which runs from April 8 to 11 in Boao, a town in the southern island province of Hainan, has the theme featuring ‘An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity’.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India, Swaziland Sign 2 Agreement On Health, Visa Waiver.

Background

  • India and Swaziland have signed two agreements in the field of Health and Medicine and Visa department on 9th April, 2018.
  • One of the agreement deals with granting of the visa waiver for the diplomats and officials holding relevant passports while the other is to ensure cooperation in the field of health and medicine.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The agreements were signed in the presence of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on his maiden official visit to Swaziland as part of his three-nation tour in Africa.
  • Earlier on the day President Kovind inspected a guard of honour in front of the Lozitha Palace in Swaziland and then met Swaziland’s King Mswati III at the Lozitha Palace.
  • President Kovind is on a three-nation state visit to the African countries- Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland and Zambia from April 7 to 12, 2018.

Sources- Business-Standard.

GS Paper III- Technology.

India’s First High-Speed Electric Locomotive Of 12000HP Capacity Launched.

Background

  • As part of the Prime Minister’s flagship Make in India project, Indian Railways inducted the first high-speed electric locomotive to its list of transport vehicles.
  • The 12,000 horsepower high-speed electric locomotive was flagged off from Bihar’s Madhepura loco factory by PM Narendra Modi on 10th April, 2018.
  • The Indian Railways has entered into an agreement with France’s Alstome for 800 high-speed locomotives. The first five electric engines will be imported while the remaining 795 will be manufactured in the country over a period of 11 years.

 

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The Rs 20,000-crore project includes the Rs 1,300 crore cost for setting up the factory at Madhepura and two loco maintenance depots at Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra), beside building 800 locos. The average cost of each locomotive is estimated to be Rs 25 crore.
  • The heavy-haulage locos will have a maximum speed of 110 km per hour. India’s most powerful electric engine till now was of 6,000 horsepower(HP). With this induction, India will join an elite list of countries, including Russia, China, Germany and Sweden, that have 12,000 HP and above capacity electric locomotives.
  • In the current fiscal year, five locomotives will be rolled out. About 35 locos will be manufactured at the Madhepura facility in the next fiscal (2019-20) and 60 in 2020-21. After that every year 100 locos will pe produced. The new locomotives are aimed at bringing down operating costs for the Railways and cutting down the greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The high horsepower locos will be pressed into service as freight trains. It will be used to transport coal and iron ore. This will help decongest saturated routes by improving the speed and carrying capacity of freight trains.

Sources- The Indian Express.