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

Stephen Hawking: Visionary Physicist Dies Aged 76.

Background

  • On 14th March, 2018, Stephen Hawking, one of the biggest stars of modern science passed away, aged 76. His family in a statement confirmed his death at his home in Cambridge.
  • The renowned and highly respected Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author among other designations.
  • Hawking’s masterpeice The Brief History of Time, one of the iconic books of the 20th century, talks of mysteries of space, time and black holes. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explained how the prospect of an early death urged him through numerous intellectual breakthroughs.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Born on January 8, 1942, the famous theoretical physicist suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was confined to an electric wheelchair for much of his adult life. Diagnosed at age 21, he was one of the world’s longest survivors of ALS. The illness left him wheelchair-bound and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.
  • A Cambridge University professor, Hawking was the first to propound a theory of cosmology explained through a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He also showed that the universe had a beginning by describing how Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity eventually breaks down when time and space are traced back to the Big Bang and endend in black holes.
  • Hawking’s work was also the subject of the 2014 film The Theory Of Everything, which starred Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.
  • In 1963, Hawking contracted motor neurone disease and was given two years to live. Yet he went on to Cambridge to become a researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. From 1979 to 2009 he held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663.
  • Among many of his famous works and theories, the most celebrated work is the Brief History Of Time, with the more accessible sequel The Universe in a Nutshell updating readers on concepts like super gravity, naked singularities and the possibility of an 11-dimensional universe.
  • A Brief History of Time, first published in 1988, earned him worldwide acclaim, selling at least 10 million copies in 40 languages and staying on the best-seller list of the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper for a record 237 weeks.
  • The book included only one equation: E = mc2, or the equivalence of mass and energy, deduced by Albert Einstein from his theory of special relativity.
  • He imparted his knowledge through an American-accented speech synthesiser after a life-saving tracheotomy in 1985 took away his ability to speak.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

Cabinet Apprised Of An MoU Signed Between India And Sri Lanka For Promoting Cooperation In The Field Of Information Technology And Electronics.

Background

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Sri Lanka for promoting cooperation in the field of Information Technology and Electronics.
  • The MoU was signed on 15th January, 2018 during the visit of Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad to Sri Lanka.
  • The MoU intends to promote closer co-operation in the areas of e-Governance, m-Governance, e-Public Services Delivery, cyber security, software technology parks, start-ups ecosystem etc.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The MoU shall be implemented by establishing a Working Group on IT&E composed of representatives of the two Parties. Bilateral Cooperation in ICT domain both B2B and G2G will be enhanced.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been mandated to promote international cooperation in the emerging and frontier areas of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) under bilateral and regional framework of cooperation.
  • MeitY has entered into MoUs / Agreements with counterpart organizations/agencies of various countries to promote close cooperation and exchange of information in the area of ICT. To further enhance cooperation with various countries, particularly in view of the new initiatives taken by Government of India like “Digital India”, “Make in India” etc., there is an increased need for exploring business opportunities in the technology sector which are of interest.
  • The Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka in 2015 did a synergy in India’s neighbourhood first policy. To extend the cooperation to IT sector, the Indian Mission in Colombo and MEA had emphasized on evolving a framework for active cooperation. In this regard, the MeitY negotiated a comprehensive MoU for a focussed cooperation in ICT areas such as in e-Governance, cyber security, B2B partnership, IT education and research / innovation, etc.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

Cabinet Approves Agreement For Avoidance Of Double Taxation Between India, Iran.

Background

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14th March, 2018 approved an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income between India and Iran.
  • The agreement will stimulate the flow of investment, technology and personnel from India to Iran and vice versa, and will prevent double taxation. It will provide for the exchange of information between the two countries as per latest international standards.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The agreement will, thus, improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
  • The agreement is on similar lines as entered into by India with other countries. The proposed agreement also meets the treaty related minimum standards under G-20 OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, in which India participated on an equal footing.
  • As far as India is concerned, the Central Government is authorised under Section 90 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to enter into an agreement with a foreign country or specified territory for avoidance of double taxation of income and for the exchange of information for the prevention of evasion or avoidance of income-tax chargeable under the Income-tax Act, 1961.
  • On a related note, Iran President Hassan Rouhani visited India last month (February, 2018).

Sources- ANI.