Current Affairs 26th September 2018

edited October 2018 in Daily Current Affairs

Central Zonal Council

The 21st Central Zonal Council meeting was held in Lucknow and was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The Council discussed various issues including road transport, Pradhanmantri Gramin Sadak Yojna, measures to tackle Naxal violence, modernization of Police, infrastructure development of airports, minimum support price, National health mission and issues related to primary schools.

What are zonal councils?

Zonal councils have been established by the Parliament to promote interstate cooperation and coordination. They are statutory bodies established under the States Reorganisation Act 1956 and not constitutional bodies. They are only deliberative and advisory bodies.

There are 5 five Zonal councils namely:

The Northern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal.

The Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

The Southern Zonal Council is composed of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territory of Puducherry.


Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.
Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
Advisers- One person nominated by the Planning Commission (which has been replaced by NITI Ayog now) for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone.
Union Ministers are also invited to participate in the meetings of Zonal Councils depending upon necessity.

The main objectives of setting up of Zonal Councils are:

Bringing out national integration.
Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies.
Enabling the Centre and the States to co-operate and exchange ideas and experiences.
Establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.

Facts for Prelims: The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya (vii) Sikkim and (viii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils and their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972.

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Zonal Councils- objectives, significance, composition and issues associated.

Indian Culinary Institute

Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) has been inaugurated at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. It is promoted by Union Ministry of Tourism.

About ICI:

The main objective of setting up of the Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) is to institutionalize a mechanism to support efforts intended to preserve, document, promote and disseminate Indian Cuisine, meet the sectoral requirement of specialists specific to Indian Cuisine, as also of promoting Cuisine as a Niche Tourism product.
The ICIs will be Centres of Excellence which will offer structured regular programmes of study specific to culinary arts and culinary management leading to graduate and post graduate level degrees, promote research and innovation, organize demand driven certificate and diploma courses, document and create data base specific to Indian cuisine and commission studies and survey on cuisine.


The need for ICI was felt as the formal education specific to Indian cuisine, a culinary art, with pan India sweep is conspicuous by its absence. There is no regular credible institutional source at apex level for supply of cuisine specialists to the Sector. Also, there was no institutional mechanism to document and disseminate knowledge related to cuisine and gastronomy.


In India, at present, there is a dearth of state-of-the-art training ground to groom top-of-the-line chefs of international standards. To fill this void, the Indian Culinary Institute would provide the appropriate training platform at par with the elite “Chef Schools” functioning in different parts of the developed world.
This effort will facilitate building a super-speciality food production work-force to assure positions of culinary experts in the hospitality industry. The ICIs will also help the local youth to get trained in these streams as well as create entrepreneurs and make them self-sufficient.
The hotel and tourism industry in the proximity of these institutes will also get benefitted by getting the trained and skilled manpower which in turn will enhance their business.

What to study?

For Prelims: Where is it located?
For Mains: Need and significance of the institute.

Study on spending on education and health care by various countries

A study on spending on education and health care by various countries by various countries has been released. The study is based on analysis of data from sources, including government agencies, schools, and health care systems.

The study was conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the request of the World Bank.
It is the first of its kind to measure and compare the strength of countries’ “human capital”.
The study underscores that when a country’s human capital score increases, its economy grows.

India’s relative performance:

India ranks 158th in the world for its investments in education and health care. The nation is placed behind Sudan (ranked 157th) and ahead of Namibia (ranked 159th) in the list.
South Asian countries ranking below India in this report include Pakistan (164), Bangladesh (161) and Afghanistan (188).
Countries in the region that have fared better than India in terms of human capital include Sri Lanka (102), Nepal (156), Bhutan (133) and Maldives (116).


India has improved its performance from its position of 162 in 1990. However, India is falling behind in terms of health and education of its workforce, which could potentially have long-term negative effects on the Indian economy.

Global performance:

The study places Finland at the top.
The U.S. is ranked 27th, while China is at 44th and Pakistan at 164th.
Turkey showed the most dramatic increase in human capital between 1990 and 2016.
Asian countries with notable improvement include China, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Within Latin America, Brazil stands out for improvement.
All these countries have had faster economic growth over this period than peer countries with lower levels of human capital improvement.
In addition, the greatest increase among sub-Saharan African countries was in Equatorial Guinea.

Significance of human capital:

The findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP which policy-makers ignore at their own peril. As the world economy grows increasingly dependent on digital technology, from agriculture to manufacturing to the service industry, human capital grows increasingly important for stimulating local and national economies.
What to study?

For Prelims: Highlights of the study.
For Mains: Performance of India- potential, concerns and ways to address them, India’s relative performance.

Global Media Compact to raise awareness of SDGs

UN has announced Global Media Compact to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals. India’s ministry of information and broadcasting is part of it.

About SDG Media Compact:

SDG Media Compact is an initiative marking a new drive to advance awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were unanimously adopted by all world leaders at the United Nations in 2015.
The Compact seeks to inspire media and entertainment companies around the world to leverage their resources and creative talent to advance the Goals.
The Compact is an initiative of the United Nations, in collaboration with the UN Foundation and with the support of FleishmanHillard.


The SDG Media Compact is inclusive and aims to embrace media companies from all regions and all platforms. Participating organizations will have the opportunity to create content partnerships with the United Nations, whereby the organization will increase its efforts to source and share high-value media content and newsworthy opportunities relating to the SDGs. Regular monitoring and review meetings will gauge engagement.

Collectively, the founding members of the SDG Media Compact already comprise an audience in the billions spanning over 80 countries on 4 continents and many more companies are expected to join.

About the SDGs:

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by world leaders at the historic Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. Encompassing everything from health, to gender equality, and education, the Goals will mobilize efforts around the world to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

What to study?

For Prelims: SDGs- overview, about Global Media Compact.
For Mains: Need for awareness on SDGs, significance of SDGs.

Financial Inclusion Index

Financial Inclusion Index has been launched.

Financial Inclusion Index:

Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance will release an Annual Financial Inclusion Index (FII). The single composite index gives a snap shot of level of financial inclusion that would guide Macro Policy perspective.

The index will be a measure of access and usage of a basket of formal financial products and services that includes savings, remittances, credit, insurance and pension products.

The index will have three measurement dimensions:

Access to financial services.
Usage of financial services.

Utility of the Index:

The various components of the index will help to measure financial services for use of internal policy making.
Financial Inclusion Index can be used directly as a composite measure in development indicators.
It enables fulfillment of G20 Financial Inclusion Indicators requirements.
It will also facilitate researchers to study the impact of financial inclusion and other macro-economic variables.

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Highlights and significance of FII.

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