GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.
Nepal Bans Solo Climbers From Mount Everest Under New Rules.
- Nepal has banned solo climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents.
- The new safety regulations also prohibit double amputee and blind climbers from attempting to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak without a valid medical certificate.
- A record number of climbers have tried to climb Everest in 2017. But among the record-breaking attempts, there has been the familiar tally of casualties.
Highlights Of The Development–
- The death toll so far this season stands at six, including 85-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan, who died attempting to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to reach the top.
- World-renowned Swiss climber Ueli Steck, who was known as the “Swiss Machine”, also died during a solo climb to a peak neighbouring Everest.
- Under the new regulations, foreign climbers will have to be accompanied by a guide. The authorities hope this new rule will create more job opportunities for Nepali mountain guides.
- The government’s decision to ban double amputees and visually impaired climbers was criticised by some, but was later clarified to prohibit only those without medical dispensation.
- More than 200 people have died on Everest since 1920, with the vast majority of those deaths taking place since 1980.
- Mountaineers on Everest die for a number of reasons – more than 20% are killed by exposure or acute mountain sickness.
- According to statistics given by the Himalaya Database in 2015, by far the highest number of people who died did so because of avalanches (29%), with falls being the next largest cause of death (23%).
GS Paper II- Governance, Social Justice.
MHRD Releases AISHE 2016-17 Report; Enrolment In Higher Education Increased By 8.2 Million.
- The Union Minister for Human Resource and Development (HRD), Prakash Javadekar released the AISHE or All India Survey on Higher Education for the year 2016-17 in New Delhi on 6th January, 2018.
- On the occasion he also launched the survey for the year 2017-18. In a tweet, Prakash Javadekar said that quality, autonomy, research and innovation are key pillars of our vision for improving higher education in India.
- Speaking on the occasion Shri Prakash Javadekar informed that there is an increase in overall enrolment from 27.5 million in 2010-11 to 35.7 million in 2016-17 and improvement in Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) which is a ratio of enrolment in higher education to population in the eligible age group (18-23) years, from 19.4% in 2010-11 to 25.2 in 2016-17 which is a significant achievement.
Highlights Of The Development-
- Javadekar also hoped that GER ratio will reach 30% by the year 2020. He further informed that the Gender Parity Index (GPI), a ratio of proportional representation of female and male, has improved from 0.86 to 0.94 to the corresponding period.
- The number of educational institutes listed on the AISHE portal has also increased. All India Survey of Higher Education Report has detailed information on 864 universities and 40,026 colleges.
- In the AISHE 2016-17, the efforts have been made for the first time to collect data of teachers in the portal ‘Gurujan’ which is designed specifically for the teachers.
- The first survey was initiated in 2011 and has been carried out since then. In a press release, MHRD said that the portal based survey has reduced the time lag between conducting the survey and releasing the result of the survey. The survey covers almost all the Higher Education institutions (HEIs) in the country including Universities, Colleges and Stand-Alone institutions.
GS Paper III- Economic Development.
India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves Surge To New Lifetime High Of $409.4 Billion.
- Scaling new peaks for the second consecutive week, the country’s foreign exchange reserves surged by a whopping $4.444 billion to touch a new life- time high of $409.366 billion in the week to December 29, Reserve Bank data showed on 6th January, 2018.
- In the previous week, foreign exchange reserves had spurted by $3.53 billion to reach $404.921 billion.
- The central bank said the surge was due to a massive spike in foreign currency assets, which is a key component of the reserves.
Highlights Of The Development-
- The reserves had crossed the $400-billion mark for the first time in the week to September 8, 2017 but has since been fluctuating.
- In the reporting week, the foreign currency assets rose by $4.423 billion to $385.103 billion.
- Expressed in the US dollar terms, the foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies such as the euro, the pound and the yen held in the reserves.
- Gold reserves remained unchanged at $20.716 billion, the central bank said.
- The special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by $8.9 million to $1.511 billion.
- The country’s reserve position with the IMF also increased by $12.1 million to $2.035 billion, the central bank said.