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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 18th April to 24th April, 2016

  • April 25, 2016
  • 1
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs April 2016, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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GS-2

MoU between India and Bhutan— Technical Cooperation in the Field of Capacity Building, Benchmarking and Bilateral Exchange in Infrastructure Engineering

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreement involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

India-Bhutan Relation-

  • India and Bhutan have had a long standing— Diplomatic + Economic + Cultural relations with each other
  • India-Bhutan friendship treaty signed in New Delhi in February (2007) also strengthens the mutual relations.

 

About MoU-

  • MoU is in furtherance of— Article 2,7 and 8 of the India-Bhutan friendship treaty
  • MoU will provide an Umbrella for— Educational + Scientific & technical research+ Environment protection which are also stated aim of the India-Bhutan foundation established in August 2003
  • Existence of an ongoing Hydro Power Cooperation between the two countries which provides an exemplary template for mutual cooperation.

Importance-

  • Through this MoU, the Central Public Works Department will stand to gain in terms of experience in hills road construction which is of paramount importance in—J&K + Himachal Pradesh + Uttarakhand and various States of North-East Region
  • CPWD also expects to garner some road construction projects in Bhutan.

 

MoU—Youth Exchange Programmes with foreign countries

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreement involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

About- MoU signed with Bahrain, Kuwait, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and BRICS Nations on Organising Youth Exchange Programmes with these countries

Importance-

  • Promote exchange of ideas and values amongst youth of different countries and help in developing international perspective among the youth.
  • Further, through people-to-people contacts, these Programmes promote peace and understanding and strengthen friendly relations between countries.

 

Cabinet approves signing the Paris Agreement

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreement involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

Aim- To enhance the implementation of the Convention and recognize the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances

Features of the Paris Agreement-

  • Paris Agreement acknowledges the development imperatives of developing countries.
  • Agreement recognizes the developing countries’ right to development and their efforts to harmonize development with environment, while protecting the interests of the most vulnerable.
  • Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption with developed countries taking the lead, and notes the importance of ‘climate justice’ in its preamble.
  • Agreement seeks to enhance the ‘implementation of the Convention’ whilst reflecting the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.
  • Objective of the Agreement further ensures that it is not mitigation-centric and includes other important elements such as-
  • Adaptation,
  • Loss and damage,
  • Finance,
  • Technology,
  • Capacity building
  • Transparency of action and support.
  • Developed country parties are urged to scale up their level of financial support with a complete road map to achieve the goal of jointly providing US $ 100 billion by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation by significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity building support.

 

Expansion of India – Chile Preferential Trade Agreement

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreement involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

India-Chile PTA-

  • India’s export basket with Chile is diversified and keeping in view the wide variety of tariff lines offered by Chile, the expanded PTA would immensely benefit India.
  • Under the expanded PTA-
  • Chile has offered concessions to India on- 1798 tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) ranging from 30%-100%
  • India has offered concessions to Chile on1031 tariff lines at 8-digit level with MoP ranging from 10%-100%.
  • Under the proposed expanded PTA, 86% of India’s exports to Chile will get covered with concessions, which is likely to result in doubling of our exports in the near future.

 

Importance- Expansion would be an important landmark in India-Chile relations and consolidate the traditional fraternal relations that have existed between India and LAC countries.

India-Chile relations-

India has friendly relations with Chile— Chile has been cooperating with India at the International fora and expansion of India Chile PTA will enhance the trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Empowering Women Officers: Progressive initiatives by Indian Navy

(Topic: Women empowerment)

About-Several progressive and first-time initiatives have been taken by the Indian Navy in the last few months towards empowering women officers.

Steps taken-

  • Recognising the importance of providing equal opportunities to women officers, seven women officers from the batch of Short Service Commission officers of the Educationbranch and Naval Constructor cadre, who joined in 2008-09, have been granted Permanent Commission.
  • Additional avenues for employment of women officers have also been opened up.
  • Starting in 2017, women officers can choose to join as Pilots of Maritime Reconnaissance planes viz. Boeing P8I, Dornier, etc, as also in the Naval Armament Inspectorate cadre.
  • Total of eight branches/cadres will be opened for women officers in the Navy.
  • Navy is also finalising the policy for women officers to serve on select warships that have appropriate facilities for women.
  • To demonstrate that women are second to none in tough adventure activities, a crew of six Naval women officers including the skipper, is meticulously preparing for the first, all-women, circumnavigation of the world in 2017by an Indian team, in an indigenously built ocean sailing vessel, Mhadei II.

 

Public Sector Energy Blue Chips Companies Likely to Launch Masala Bonds to Tap the UK Investor Community

(Topic: Effect of policies of developed and developing countries on India’s interests)

Context- India gears up to meet its ambitious renewable energy targets of 175 GW of installed capacity by 2022, the country is exploring international mechanisms of funding and is evaluating new and innovative tools to finance the renewables sector.

Steps taken-

  • Indian public sector giants are likely to examine rupee denominated debt instruments like Masala Bonds to create and develop a new market and identify benchmark prices for these new instruments.
  • Issuances which would be offered by blue chip government companies are expected to help evolve new vistas of funding for the renewable energy space.
  • Companies including NTPC, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Power Finance Corporation, Power Trading Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation are likely to launch these Masala Bonds totalling $1 billion in the next three or four months in the UK to gauge the investor appetite.
  • Tenure of these bonds is likely to be limited to a band of five to seven years and these are going to be in smaller denominations ranging from $150-250 million.
  • In 2015, IFC issued the first Masala bond listed on the London Stock Exchange.

 

Railway Minister directs to develop an online system for grievance redressal of both serving as well as retired Railwaymen

(Topic: Government polices and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

About- In an innovative measure aimed at staff welfare, Minister of Railways has directed railway administration to develop an online system for the redressal of grievances of Railway Employees both serving as well as retired.

NIVARAN-

  • IT Department of Indian Railways has started working on developing this system which will be called “NIVARAN” and will come into operation by 24.06.2016.
  • Under this system, railway personnel will be able to submit his grievances online and can also track the progress in resolution or disposal of the grievances.

 

Main focus areas of the grievance redressal-

  • Reimbursement of medical claims
  • Pension claim
  • Compassionate appointment
  • Improvement in staff quarters

 

GS-3

Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT)

(Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organised crime with terrorism)

About- INS Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command, along with a Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, are participating in the 22nd Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT), scheduled from 19-27 Apr 16 in the Andaman Sea.

22nd edition of the CORPAT-

  • Include participation of one warship and one Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both sides with the Closing Ceremony being held at Port Blair, Headquarters Andaman and Nicobar Command (HQANC)
  • It would bolster the already strong bilateral relationship between the two nations and contribute significantly to enhancing maritime security in the region.

 

Aim- Keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.

Importance- CORPAT has strengthened understanding and interoperability between the navies and facilitated institution of measures to prevent unlawful activities at sea as well as conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.

India-Thailand Relation-

  • India and Thailand have traditionally enjoyed a close and friendly relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which have strengthened over the years.
  • Maritime interaction between India and Thailand has been growing steadily with frequent port visits, participation in multilateral exercises and training exchanges.
  • Under the broad ambit of this strong maritime relationship, the two navies have been carrying out CORPATs along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2005.

 

15 Point Action Plan—Facilitating Large Scale Integration of Renewables 

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment, renewable energy)

About-

  • Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy released Report of the Technical Committee on Large Scale Integration of Renewable Energy, Need for Balancing, Deviation Settlement Mechanism (DSM) and associated issue.
  • Launched Ancillary Services Operations in India.

 

Committee recommendation-

  • Bringing flexibility in the conventional generation
  • Frequency control
  • Generation reserves
  • Ancillary services
  • Forecasting
  • Scheduling
  • Deviation settlement mechanism
  • Balancing requirement
  • Data telemetry and communication
  • Renewable Energy Management Centres (REMCs)
  • Transmission system augmentation and strengthening as well as certain compliance actions at renewable generation front.
  • Committee has put forth a 15 point Action Plan for facilitating large scale integration of renewables in the country, in a secure and reliable manner.
  • Focus has also been given on Capacity Building of State Load Despatch Centres (SLDCs) particularly in RE Rich States.
  • Report also talks about the Newer Technologies say-
  • Micro-Grids
  • Demand Response
  • Prosumers
  • Electricity Storage
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles etc.

 

Recommendations aim at- Making the grid secure and reliable even with large scale integration of renewable.

Ancillary Services-

  • In an electricity grid, the basic services are-
  • Power generation
  • Energy supply
  • Power delivery from the producer to the consumer.
  • Some system support services such as frequency and voltage control are required for secure & reliable grid operation. These support services are known as ‘Ancillary Services’ and are basically procured and pressed into service by the System Operator.
  • Amendment to the Tariff policy has also been notified, which mandates implementation of Ancillary Services.
  • Regulatory framework for implementation of Ancillary Services Operations has been notified by CERC.
  • National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) operated by POSOCO has been designated as Nodal agency for implementation of Ancillary Services.
  • Ancillary Services is being implemented for the first time in the country.

Help in- Better grid management even with large scale renewable generation addition in the grid

Importance- 

  • Initiative undertaken by the committee would not only lead to smooth and secure grid operation with large scale integration of renewable but is also environment friendly and would help in fulfilling our commitment to green and clean environment.
  • Reduce the carbon foot print and help in meeting our commitment towards reduction in carbon emission.

 

Textiles Minister launches Eco Friendly Jute Bag initiative in Delhi

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment, renewable energy)

Context-

  • Indiscriminate use of polythene bags is one contributor to the pollution problem in the national capital.
  • National Green Tribunal (NGT) has on multiple occasions, tried to ban use of plastic carry bags in Delhi. However, plastic carry bags continue to be used commonly.

 

Aim- To provide attractive, low cost jute bags at the thousand-odd booths of Mother Dairy/Safal in Delhi – NCR.

Joint Venture of- Mother Dairy + National Jute Board (NJB) + Birds Jute & Exports Ltd.(BJEL) have joined hands in this green venture.

Venture promoted by- NJB

Bags manufactured by- BJEL

Supplied to- Mother Dairy for distribution at its booths

Initiative-

  • Through this scheme, one can purchase one’s daily requirement of perishables from reliable outlets of Mother Dairy and Safal, along with the option of buying environment friendly, attractive, low cost jute bags too.
  • Available in the price range of Rs 25/- to Rs. 35/-, these bags are strong, washable and can be used several times over, making them cost effective.
  • Bags are provided at Mother Dairy and Safal outlets by Birds Jute & Exports Limited (BJEL), a PSU under the administrative control of Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • Mother Dairy has placed an initial order of 20,000 jute bags – 10,000 units each for Mother Dairy and Safal. Based on the response of residents of Delhi/NCR, repeat orders shall be placed.
  • Bags are being supplied by BJEL on cost to cost basis; any profit earned in future will be passed on to the artisans and members of the WSHGs.

 

India Urges Developed World to Declare Enhanced Action Plan

(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment, renewable energy)

About- India has urged the developed world to declare its enhanced action plan for the second period of Kyoto Protocol.

Highlights-

  • India has levied a Clean Environment Cess of $6 (Rs. 400) per tonne on coal and Minister added that if the developed world follows India in taxing its coal production, $100 billion can be raised.
  • Developed world must provide technological support to the developing nations in the fight against Climate Change.
  • India is leading by example on mitigation and adaptation.
  • India’s action on Climate Change after the Paris Agreement, 175 GigaWatt of Renewable Energy has been targeted by 2022, out of which 40 GW Renewable Energy capacities has been achieved by March 2016.
  • Government has decided to leapfrog from Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV) to Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission norms by April 1, 2020, thereby skipping BS-V emission norms altogether.
  • To promote blending of ethanol with petrol and its use as an alternative fuel and has taken a decision to tax SUVs and diesel vehicles.
  • Distribution of 93 million LED bulbs till April 12, 2016,resulted in energy savings of more than 33.3 million kWh every day
  • Emphasising the initiatives taken by the government on adaptation front, the Minister stated that farmers can get their inefficient agricultural pumps sets free of cost replaced with energy efficient pumps.
  • Some of the other initiatives taken by the Government include – Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana to improve water use efficiency, sustainable agriculture and efficient water use.
  • On the issue of pollution of lakes in Bengaluru, Ministry has issued directions under section 5 and section 18 of Environment Protection Act on pollution of lakes in Bengaluru.
  • Centre has extended an assistance of Rs. 800 crore under AMRUT scheme for cleaning up the lakes in Bengaluru.
  • Out of this, Rs. 500 crore is for laying down a 74 kms trunk sewage pipeline and Rs 162 crore have been provided to construct 4 Sewage Treatment Plant (STPs) in Bellandur lake.

 

Progress on Ease of Doing Construction  

(Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth)

About-

  • Three Municipal Corporations of Delhi have reported substantial progress in respect of ensuring single window clearances for construction projects in the stipulated 30 days time
  • Reviewed progress towards enhancing ease of doing business in Delhi and Mumbai with all the concerned agencies

Common Application Form-

  • Introduced by the MCDs of North, South and East for enabling single window clearances aimed at enhancing the ease of doing construction business in the national capital.
  • Common form enabling online approvals by other agencies like Delhi Fire Services, Delhi Urban Arts Commission, National Monuments Authority- applicants may be required to furnish even much less information if approvals of such agencies are not required.
  • Introduction of Common Application Form for construction projects, urban local bodies should stop receiving applications in the old format.

Progress scenario-

  • Airports Authority of India, National Monuments Authority etc for coming out with Color Coded Maps empowering respective urban local bodies to accord approvals, directed all the concerned to make it clear by explaining in details areas exempted for obtaining their approvals and otherwise.
  • MCDs reported that 10 agencies including DUAC, Heritage Conservation Committee, Delhi Fire Services, Delhi Jal Board etc. have already been integrated with the Common Application Form thereby doing away with the need for the applicant to separately approach these agencies for no objection certificates
  • Integration of Airports Authority of India into the online process will be ensured this week and tree cutting approvals by the end of this month.

 

PM exhorts official youth organizations to join hands for water conservation

(Topic: Water conservation)


About-Prime Minister reviewed the functioning of official youth organizations, including the NCC, NSS, Bharat Scouts and Guides, Indian Red Cross Society, and NYKS.

Highlights-

  • Discussed the immediate tasks ahead, where these organizations could play an important role.
  • PM said that in the next couple of months, there would be a massive effort under MGNREGA for water conservation and storage mechanisms and urged these youth organizations to mobilize to the greatest extent possible, to dovetail and contribute to these efforts.
  • Mentioned the tasks of Swachhta, creation of open-defecation free clusters, and inculcation of a fresh national spirit among the youth, as key objectives that the youth organizations should strive for.
  • Youth organizations can aid in Government’s Mission Indradhanush initiative to reach the unvaccinated children.
  • PM also called for synergy among various initiatives and programmes organized on National Youth Day on January 12th, so that a more meaningful impact could be achieved.
  • Youth organizations to keep a more active presence on social media, to generate a wider appeal, and better connect with the youth

 

Water Revolution in the Country 

(Topic: Water Conservation) 

About- Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has called for water revolution in the country.

Seminar organised by- Central Water Commission under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation as a part of 125th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Dr. BR Ambedkar to highlight Ambedkar’s contribution in water sector and discuss the way forward to realize his vision.

Highlights-

  • Announced that 100 villages dominated by SCs in the country will be selected under Jal Gram Scheme for water conservation.
  • Jal Gramis a scheme under Jal Kranti Abhiyan of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, in which two water starved villages will be selected from every district in the country for all round development of water resources.
  • Minister referred to little known contributions of Baba Saheb in water resources sector and announced that from next year her Ministry will celebrate Dr. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary as Jal Divas

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar contribution-

  • During his tenure as Member (Labour) of the Viceroy’s Executive Council (1942-1946), Dr. Ambedkar steered formation of a definite All-India Policy for the development of water resources in the country.
  • Laid foundation of Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission (CWINC) which was forerunner of the present day Central Water Commission (CWC).
  • Advocated the concept of River Valley Authority or corporation for integrated development of the rivers.
  • Introduced the concept of multi-purpose development of river basin in the country and his efforts in this direction have culminated with multipurpose development of Damodar, Mahanadi and other rivers immediately after independence.
  • He was instrumental in inclusion of Entry 56 of List 1 and introduction of Article 262 regarding the adjudication of disputes related to waters of inter-sate rivers or river valleys.

 

Mandatory standards for piped drinking water

(Topic: Consumer protection, quality of drinking water)

About- Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC),has expressed concern over quality of drinking water being supplied through pipeline and has recommended mandatory standards for drinking water irrespective of its source.

CCPC recommendation-

  • FSSAI should formulate standards for water being supplied through pipeline and steps to be taken to monitor its quality.
  • There should be guidelines for brand ambassadors of products and services and in the case of gross misrepresentation of the facts or misleading advertisements, brand ambassadors should also be made responsible.
  • “Grahak Suvidha Kendras” set up by Consumer Affairs Ministry are being directed to take up consumer complaints with the sector regulators or consumer courts on behalf of consumers (so far 5 such centres have been set up in Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Patna and Delhi and more will be set up in other parts of the country soon).
  • National Consumer Helpline is being strengthened; its capacity to attend consumer complaints is being enhanced three times more.

 

Smart Cities asked to pose projects for loan support from World Bank, ADB and BRICS Bank

(Topic: Important international institutions, agencies and further structure, mandate)

About- Ministry of Urban Development has urged the 20 Smart Cities selected in the first round of competition to quickly firm up bankable projects for obtaining loan assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the BRICS Development Bank.

Highlights-

  • Informed the cities that the ADB has in principle agreed to extend a loan of US $ 1 Billion while the World Bank is willing to extend a loan of US $ 0.50 billion for the implementation of Smart City Mission. BRICS Development Bank is keen to support smart city projects.
  • Stressing the importance of mobilization of resources through Municipal Bonds issue- urged the cities to act quickly to obtain credit ratings from agencies approved by the SEBI. (Municipal Bond?)
  • Process for credit rating of 85 cities has already been initiated under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and all the 500 Mission cities shall complete this process in the next one year.
  • During the discussion on resource mobilization through Municipal Bonds, it was informed that the US Treasury has expressed willingness to be the Transaction Advisor for such an issue by Pune Municipality which enjoys credit rating of ‘AA Stable’.

Eight cities that participated, furnished details of the projects that could be launched by June include-

  • Affordable housing projects,
  • 24 X 7 water supply projects,
  • Sewage Treatment Plants,
  • Transport projects,
  • Smart street lighting,
  • Roof top mounted solar paneling,
  • Solid Waste Management and waste water recycling projects
  • Technology based Pan-city projects like-
  • Intelligent Transport Solutions,
  • e-governance,
  • Provision of wifi services,
  • Common Payment Cards,
  • RFID based tags for individual household dustbins etc.

 

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