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

Jacinda Ardern Set To Become World’s Youngest Female Leader.

Background-

  • The 37-year-old daughter of a New Zealand police officer is set to join a new generation of leaders overturning the political establishment in some of the world’s most-developed countries.
  • Jacinda Ardern will become the world’s youngest female leader after cutting a deal to form a coalition government in New Zealand. Her swift rise to power, less than three months after taking the reins of the struggling Labour Party, has drawn comparisons with the generational shift seen in Austria, Ireland, Canada and France.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • Ardern has electrified supporters since becoming Labour leader on Aug. 1, 2017, stirring up what the media dubbed “Jacinda-mania” as she pledged to tackle social issues such as child poverty and affordable housing. She transformed the center-left party’s poll ratings, which had slumped to 24 percent, roughly half of outgoing Prime Minister Bill English’s National Party.
  • Although Labour finished second in the Sept. 23 (2017) election, National failed to secure a majority — leaving both needing the backing of the New Zealand First party to take office. After 12 days of negotiations, the small, nationalist party’s leader Winston Peters threw his support behind Ardern, saying that capitalism needed to regain its “human face.”
  • The local currency dropped to a five-month low Friday, 20th October, 2017, amid concerns the new government’s policies, such as a potential cut in immigration, may curb economic growth. The kiwi traded at 69.93 U.S. cents at 5:02 p.m. in Wellington — near its lowest level since May 24. Stocks also dropped as much as 1.2 percent in early trading although the S&P/NZX 50 Gross Index recovered to close slightly higher, extending a winning streak to 14 days.
  • The Labour caucus met Friday, 20th October to discuss the agreements with New Zealand First and the Greens that saw Ardern oust a three-term National Party-led government. It named 21 members who will be ministers alongside seven from its smaller partners. Ardern will allocate portfolios over the weekend, and expects the new cabinet to be sworn in Oct. 26.
  • Ardern takes Labour into office for the first time in nine years, with her coalition controlling 63 of 120 seats in parliament. No party has won an outright majority since New Zealand introduced proportional representation in 1996.

Sources- Bloomberg.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

NRCB Signs Agreement With Andhra Pradesh Govt.

Background

  • The National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB), Tiruchi, has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Andhra Pradesh government and would serve as a knowledge partner in developing technologies relating to banana production.
  • S.Uma, Director, NRCB, and M.Girija Shankar, Secretary to Government, Industries and Commerce Department, Andhra Pradesh, signed the agreement recently in the presence of N.Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • NRCB, an institution under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, will be the ‘knowledge partner’ in developing technologies towards value chain management, supporting banana export, organic production and waste utilisation.
  • It will provide training, human resource development and hand hold growers and entrepreneurs to promote indigenous and commercial varieties for domestic and export markets, the release said.
  • Andhra Pradesh is the leading producer of several crops including banana. The post harvest losses being 25-35%, special impetus was given to food processing industry.
  • The Andhra Pradesh government had brought out a Food Processing Policy and had sought R&D support from select institutes in the country and ICAR-NRCB was one among them.
  • Dr. Uma briefed Mr.Naidu about the latest developments in research in banana cultivation and export market.

Sources- The Hindu.

 

GS Paper III- Technology.

Nasscom To Set Up Centres Of Excellence On Artificial Intelligence, Data Science.

 

Background

  • The software industry lobby Nasscom is setting up centres of excellence on artificial intelligence (AI) and data sciences for a better understanding on the emerging technologies.
  • With the tech world getting divided between whether or not to regulate AI, the body feels that technologies should be freely allowed to mature first before any regulation comes in, President R Chandrasekhar has said.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Chandrasekhar said that they are setting up a centre of excellence on AI and data sciences in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. They will look at mapping the resources available in the country, promoting start-ups in that area and also best practices globally, including regulatory aspects.
  • He, however, did not offer the investment that will go into these proposed centres nor a timeline as to when the first centre of excellence will be functional.
  • When sought his views on regulation of technologies, he said, in the new-age technologies, regulation is important but it need not always precede the advent of technology as technology is evolving so quickly that regulation has only to keep pace with that.
  • It can be noted that the tech world has been vertically divided over the aspect of regulation, with Tesla founder Elon Musk pitching for regulation, while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg opposing it.
  • Whichever side you are on, the time has not come to make laws which will guide behaviour of robots and create an IPC (Indian Penal Code) for robots, Chandrashekhar said.
  • He said we have been too pessimistic because of the advent of new technologies and its impact on the sector, which gets US revenues of upwards of $150 billion and creates 4 million direct jobs.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.