MICS CURRENT AFFAIRS 24th Feb 2018

1 . 5th  International  data  science  summit , New Delhi

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Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the National Standards Body of India, in association with Data Science Foundation organized the 5th international data science summit in New Delhi recently .

Eminent speakers from across the globe discussed various topics and aspects of big data, including Big Data Standardization, Challenges with Big Data, Machine Learning, Application of Big Data Analytics in Media, Artificial intelligence.

What is Big Data?

Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.

While the term “big data” is relatively new, the act of gathering and storing large amounts of information for eventual analysis is ages old. The concept gained momentum in the early 2000s when industry analyst Doug Laney articulated the now-mainstream definition of big data as the three Vs:

1 . Volume. Organizations collect data from a variety of sources, including business transactions, social media and information from sensor or machine-to-machine data.

2 . Velocity. Data streams in at an unprecedented speed and must be dealt with in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors and smart metering are driving the need to deal with torrents of data in near-real time.

3 . Variety. Data comes in all types of formats – from structured, numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, email, video, audio, stock ticker data and financial transactions.

Two additional dimensions can be considered in today’s context-

4 . Variability. In addition to the increasing velocities and varieties of data, data flows can be highly inconsistent with periodic peaks.

5 . Complexity. Today’s data comes from multiple sources, which makes it difficult to link, match, cleanse and transform data across systems.

Significance of Big Data

In the recent past, the topic ‘Big data’ have gained significant popularity globally because of its capability to revolutionize the businesses and services. In fact, Big data has an impact on every aspect of our daily life. The emerging technology areas like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial intelligence, machine learning are fuelled by Big data and analytics only.

Standardization in Big data is going to play a major role in facilitating the exchange and sharing huge volume of data across multiple platforms, multiple applications and multiple sectors. With proper standardization in place, huge volume of data generated within a system can be effectively utilized by other systems/services and applications.

In India also Big data has become the major focus of scientists and technologists because of  government’s new initiatives like ‘Digital India’.

 

2 .  ‘Rashtriya  Sanskriti  Mahotsav’ begins  in  Madhya  Pradesh

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To celebrate the idea of unity in diversity, Ministry of Culture is organising a Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav under the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat matrix in Madhya Pradesh beginning February 24 for a duration of 7 days. The States paired with Madhya Pradesh are Nagaland and Manipur.

The Mahotsav will cover a profusion of art forms from classical and folk music and dance, theatre to literature and the visual arts and would offer the chance to experience the best in established and emerging virtuosity.A handloom and handicrafts-utsav is part of the proposed event. The gastronomic culture of Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and several other partnering states will be showcased through a food festival.

Know About Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat

The ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ programme, aims to actively enhance interaction between people of diverse cultures living in different States and UTs in India, with the objective of promoting greater mutual understanding amongst them. As per the programme, each year, every State/UT would be paired with another State/UT in India for reciprocal interaction between the people.

It is envisaged through this exchange, that the knowledge of the language, culture, traditions and practices of different states will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between one another, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India. The States and UTs are to embark on a mission to enhance their cultural, academic and economic ties by entering into a wide range of mutual engagements with the paired States/UTs covering the spheres of music, drama, cuisine, language, history, tourism and other forms of exchange between the people.

 

3 . Frame a law to oversee auditors- SC 

The Supreme Court has directed the government to frame a law to regulate the auditing profession, saying “failures of auditors have resulted in scandals in the past.”

In a judgment, a Bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit highlighted the manner in which multi-national accounting firms violate auditing and financial laws.

The apex court said these firms comply with Indian laws and code of ethics only in form and not in substance.

Background

The judgment came on a petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation seeking an investigation into PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Limited (PwCPL) and their network audit firms operating in India for alleged violations of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy, the Reserve Bank of India Act (RBI) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

The apex court directed the Centre to constitute a three-member committee of experts within two months to frame a law for an oversight mechanism over auditors.

 

4 . US tightens H-1B visa rules, Indians to be hit

The Donald Trump administration has just made it more difficult for companies and individuals to get H-1B work visas. And even if one gets it, it may not be for a full three years, as has been the practice. Indians and Indian IT companies will feel the impact the most because they are the biggest users of this visa. The shorter durations may even make the transition from H-1B to a Green Card next to impossible.
A policy memorandum issued by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services on February 22 said its officers could seek detailed documentation and more evidence from firms to establish that they have specific assignments in a specialty occupation for the H-1B beneficiary, and that they have these assignments for the entire time requested on the petition.

H1-Visa

If the company is able to only demonstrate that the beneficiary will have the specified work for less than three years, the visa would be granted for that lesser period.

Currently, H-1Bs are issued for three years, and, for a long time, they were extended for three years with few questions asked. Over the past year, the administration has made the process of extension more difficult, compelling Indian IT firms to tell employees on H-1Bs that they may have to return earlier than anticipated. The new rules imply that one may not even now get the initial full three years.

 

5 . Fertilizer imports surge in third quarter

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The third quarter of this financial year saw a sharp increase in imports of urea and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), the most widely-used fertilizers, mainly due to pre-stocking ahead of the rabi season and a rise in prices of raw materials that forced consumers to turn to overseas markets for finished fertilizers.

While urea imports went up nearly a third, DAP imports shot up 66.4%. The third widely-used fertilizer, muriate of potash (MOP), however, saw a marginal decline in imports during the quarter.

The price of natural gas, which constitutes more than three-fourths of the cost of fertilizer, mainly urea, saw a 17% increase to $2.89 per metric million British thermal unit (mmBtu) during the quarter, and ammonia prices too firmed up.

Domestic urea production, which constitutes about 60% of the overall fertilizer production, was down 1.6% while imports increased 27.6%, indicating that the decline in local output was compensated by the increase in imports, Care Ratings said in a report.

 

6 . India-Canada trade likely to double in three years: PHD Chamber of Commerce

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Trade between India and Canada is expected to double to USD 10 billion in the next three years according to the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

India’s bilateral trade with Canada grew from USD 1.09 billion in 2001 to USD 5.62 billion in 2016. India’s imports from Canada stood at USD 3.65 billion in 2016 whereas India’s exports to Canada stood at USD 1.97 billion in 2016.

India can enhance its export trajectory to Canada by increasing its exports basket to products like pharmaceutical products, furniture, natural pearls and semi precious stones, plastic articles, among others.

India has growing production possibilities and an intensive global presence in these products and the total exports can be increased to the level of USD 4 billion in the next three years by 2021 from the current level of USD 1.97 bn .