Essential Facts (Prelims) – June 5 & 6, 2019

Long March 11

Category: International

  • China launched a space rocket- Long March 11- from sea for the first time.
  • China now spends more than Russia and Japan on its civil and military space programmes.
  • Earlier this year, China became the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the moon.


Category: Economy

  • The country’s services sector activity increased at the slowest pace in a year in May.
  • The seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index fell to 50.2 in May, from 51.0 in April.
  • In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.


Category: Economy

  • The current financial year has had the best start in a long time in terms of inflows from foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).
  • In the first two months of the current fiscal, FPIs have invested a net amount of ₹29,113 crore in Indian equities, the highest-ever in the last 17 years since data became available.
  • This is only the fourth time that net foreign inflows had crossed ₹20,000-crore in just two months at the start of a financial year.
  • The previous high in terms of cumulative flows from FPIs in April and May was seen in 2013-14.
  • The effect of the strong inflows is evident with the benchmark Sensex and Nifty hitting record highs almost on a daily basis.

Global Growth

Category: International

  • The World Bank Group has downgraded global real GDP growth to 2.6% for 2019, down by 0.3 percentage points from its previous forecast in January.
  • Growth is expected to increase marginally to 2.7% in 2020.
  • India’s growth forecasts are projected to be 7.5% per annum in 2019, 2020 and 2021 – not having been downgraded from their January estimates.
  • Bank’s June 2019 Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, titled, ‘Heightened Tensions, Subdued Investment’ says the global economy “has continued to soften and momentum remains weak” and investment, sluggish.
  • Downside risks to global growth, as per the report, include rising trade barriers, a build-up of government debt and slowdowns that were deeper-than-expected in several major economies.
  • Advanced economies, as a group, are expected to slow down in 2019, particularly the Euro area, due to weaker investments and exports.

Gender Index

Category: International

  • India ranked 95th out of a total 129 countries in the first-ever SDG Gender Index.
  • Gender Index measures strides made in achieving gender commitments against internationally set targets.
  • The index has been developed by Equal Measures 2030.
  • The index finds that no country has fully achieved the promise of gender equality and that the global average score of 65.7 out of 100 is “poor”.
  • This means that almost 1.4 billion, or 40%, of the world’s girls and women live in countries failing on gender equality and another 1.4 billion live in countries that barely pass.
  • Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany, Canada, Ireland, and Australia rank as the top 10 countries in the index, while the bottom 10 comprise Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Yemen, Congo, DR Congo and Chad.
  • A score of 100 indicates the achievement of gender equality in relation to the underlying indicators.
  • A score of 50 would indicate that a country is about halfway to meeting its goal.
  • India’s score of 56.2 means that it is among 43 countries in the ‘very poor’ category.
  • India scores the highest in health (79.9), followed by hunger (76.2) and energy ( 71.8). Among the SDGs, on which the country performs poorly are patnerships (18.3), industry, infrastructure and innovation (38.1) and climate (43.4).

Food Safety

Category: International

  • World Health Organisation (WHO)has released figures that estimate 600 million cases of food-borne diseases occur annually worldwide. This translates into one in 10 people falling ill after eating contaminated food.
  • Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the food-borne disease burden with 1,25,000 deaths every year.
  • First-ever World Food Safety Day was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in December 2018 and this year it would be celebrated on June 7 with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) facilitating member-States’ effort to celebrate it.


Category: Sc/tech

  • An experimental drug has protected monkeys against infection with Nipah virus, a lethal disease and emerging pandemic threat for which there is no approved vaccine or cure.
  • The antiviral drug, Remdesivir, is also being tested against the Ebola virus in the outbreak now under way in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The only current treatment for Nipah virus infection is a monoclonal antibody that is still experimental.