Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 19 May 2021

In Today’s News:

  1. Machine learning and clusters stars
  2. Special Economic Zone
  3. Customs(Import of Goods at Concessional Rate of Duty) Rules,2017

1. Machine learning

News Summary

Indian Astronomers have developed a new method based on Machine Learning that can identify cluster stars– an assembly of stars physically related through the common origin, with much greater certainty.

Prelims GS – Science & Technology

Machine learning:
  • Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building.
  • It is a branch of artificial intelligence based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention.
  • Two of the most widely adopted machine learning methods are supervised learning and unsupervised learning.
  • Applications:
    • Image recognition
    • Speech recognition
    • Medical diagnosis
    • Automated customer support
    • Product Recommendations
    • Online Fraud detection
    • Search engine result refining

Courtesy: SAS website.

Mini Insights

Mains GS3 – Science & Technology:

Machine learning in astronomy:
  • A team of Astronomers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India used European Space Agency (ESA)’s recently released Gaia Early Data Release 3 (EDR3) which gives very accurate information about the brightness, parallax, and proper motion of more than a billion stars with an accuracy of 1 milli-arc-second (equivalent to seeing a person standing on the moon) to pick out the stars that are cluster members
  • IIA team identified the crucial measurements for this task and understood the complex relationship between these parameters, using a machine learning technique called Probabilistic Random Forest.
  • This uses a combination of parallax, proper motion, temperature, brightness, and other parameters to classify each star as a cluster member or a non-member.
  • The IIA team trained their algorithm using the most likely members from a model called the Gaussian Mixture Model, which can identify clumps of co-moving stars.
  • The Probabilistic Random Forest algorithm then learns how to identify a typical cluster member star and efficiently takes out stars that share only similar proper motions or only similar velocities as the cluster itself.
  • They used 10 parameters to identify members, after performing a trade study of all available parameters in the catalogue.
  • The newly developed method can now identify cluster stars with much greater certainty and pinpoint individual stars that behave differently from their siblings. The team will apply the algorithms to more clusters in the future.
  • Manual identification of stars belonging to a star cluster is a daunting task owing to an armload of data to be analyzed.
  • The new Artificial Intelligence-based algorithm is very promising in automating and greatly speeding this process and may also find uses in other areas of analysis of patterns in biology and materials science.

Click here to view the Courtesy: official PIB release.

2. Special Economic Zone

News Summary

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves the proposed acquisition of an additional 25% shareholding of Adani Krishnapatnam Port Limited by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited.

Prelims GS – Economic Development

SEZ act 2005:
  • The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, was passed by Parliament in May 2005 which received Presidential assent on the 23rd of June, 2005
  • The SEZ Act 2005 envisages a key role for the State Governments in Export Promotion and the creation of related infrastructure.
  • A Single Window SEZ approval mechanism has been provided through a 19 member inter-ministerial SEZ Board of Approval (BoA)
  • SEZs come under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Approval mechanism of SEZ:
  • The developer submits the proposal for the establishment of SEZ to the concerned State Government.
  • The State Government has to forward the proposal with its recommendation within 45 days from the date of receipt of such proposal to the Board of Approval. The applicant also has the option to submit the proposal directly to the Board of Approval.
  • The Board of Approval has been constituted by the Central Government in the exercise of the powers conferred under the SEZ Act. All the decisions are taken in the Board of Approval by consensus.
Administrative setup:
  • The functioning of the SEZs is governed by a three-tier administrative setup.
  • The Board of Approval is the apex body and is headed by the Secretary, Department of Commerce.
  • The Approval Committee at the Zone level deals with the approval of units in the SEZs and other related issues.
  • Each Zone is headed by a Development Commissioner, who is the ex-officio chairperson of the Approval Committee.

Mini Insights

Mains GS3 – Economic Development/Infrastructure

The main objectives of the SEZ Act are:
  • Generation of additional economic activity
  • Promotion of exports of goods and services
  • Promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources
  • Creation of employment opportunities
  • Development of infrastructure facilities

Click here to view the official website of SEZ.

3. Customs(Import of Goods at Concessional Rate of Duty) Rules,2017

News Summary

The Central Board of Customs and Indirect Taxes (CBIC) has issued a Circular No.10/2021-Customs, dated 17th May 2021 in order to assist the trade in understanding the improvements in the Customs (Import of Goods at Concessional Rate of Duty Rules, 2017 (IGCR, 2017 ))so that they may make full use of the new facilities.

Prelims GS – Economic Development

Enhancement of facilities under IGCR 2017:
  • The IGCR, 2017 lays down the procedures and manner in which an importer can avail the benefit of a concessional Customs duty on import of goods required for domestic production of goods or providing services.
  • One major change that accommodates the needs of trade and industry is that the imported goods have been permitted to be sent out for ‘job work’. The absence of this facility had earlier constrained the industry especially those in the MSME sector which did not have the complete manufacturing capability in-house.
  • Importantly, even importers who do not have any manufacturing facility can now avail the IGCR, 2017 to import goods at concessional Customs duty and get the final goods manufactured entirely on job work basis.
  • However, some sectors such as gold, jewelry, precious stones, and metals have been excluded.
  • Another major incentive now provided is to allow those who import capital goods at a concessional Customs duty to clear them in the domestic market on payment of duty and interest, at a depreciated value. This was not allowed earlier and manufacturers were stuck with the imported capital goods after having used them as they could not be easily re-exported.
  • Further, the procedure for availing the concessional Customs duty under these rules has been reviewed and rationalized.
  • The required intimations and records can be sent by email to the jurisdictional Customs officer thereby obviating any physical interface.

Click here to view the Courtesy: official PIB release.




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