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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 11th July to 17th July, 2016

  • July 19, 2016
  • 2
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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Facilities to minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan residing in India

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors)                      

About- Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has approved the following facilities being extended to persons from Minority communities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians staying on Long Term Visa  (LTV) in India.

Aimed at easing out the difficulties being faced by them and includes the following-

  • Opening of bank account.
  • Permission for purchase of property for self occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self – employment.
  • Permission to take self employment.
  • Issue of driving licence, PAN card and Aadhar number.
  • Allowing free movement within the State /UT where they are staying.
  • Transfer of LTV papers from one State to other.
  • Waiver of penalty on non-extension of short term Visa /LTV on time.
  • Permission to apply for LTV from the place of present residence when the applicants have moved to the place without permission.

In order to facilitate such persons in acquisition of citizenship, Citizenship Rules 2009 will be amended.

Background-

  • Government has taken a number of steps during the last 2 years to facilitate the stay of persons belonging to minority communities of these countries.
  • However, persons belonging to minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians staying in India on Long Term Visa (LTV) continue to face difficulties with regard to several aspects of living. Cabinet approval will help ease out the difficulties faced by them.

 

15% disinvestment in NBCC

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors)            

About- Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by PM, has approved the disinvestment of 15% paid up equity of National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) out of Government of India’s 90% shareholding.

Result in-

  • Estimated receipts of approx. Rs.1,706 crore to the Government. However, the actual realization amount will depend upon the market conditions and the investor interest prevailing at the time of actual disinvestment.
  • Disinvestment would further broadbase NBCC’s shareholding and enhance the disinvestment receipts for making them available to the Government for utilization as per Disinvestment Policy.
  • In order to inculcate a sense of belongingness amongst the employees of NBCC, it has also been decided to allot additional shares to the eligible and willing employees at a discount of 5% to the Issue/discovered (lowest cut off) price of the OFS.

NBCC-

  • NBCC was incorporated in 1960 as a wholly owned Government of India enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of Urban Development
  • Objective: to become a leading company in the field of construction, engineering and project management consultancy services.
  • The issue and subscribed equity capital as on 31.3.2016 was Rs.120 crore. Government of India holds 90% of the equity and balance by the public.
  • NBCC IPO (Initial Public Offer) was launched in March, 2012, when the GoI divested 10% paid up equity capital of NBCC out of its 100% shareholding and got the Company listed on the stock Exchanges.

 

Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF)

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/ Services relating to health, education, human resources)

About- Ministry of Health launched nationwide “Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF)”. Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) will be observed from 11th to 23rd July across the country.

Measures taken by Government-

  • To reach out to the under-five children, the timing of the programme is very critical as this is just the onset of monsoon and diarrhoea is beginning to show up.
  • ASHAs shall visit all households with children below five years of age for pre-positioning the ORS. They shall also explain the benefits of these.
  • Importance of this activity is that ORS will be available in the household when needed at the time of diarrhoea. It is often observed that during critical stages of diarrhoea, ORS is not available in the households.
  • Secondly, all health facilities shall have ORS corners which shall continuously demonstrate the way to prepare the ORS mixture. These corners will also administer ORS and Zinc to children who are in need of these during diarrhoea.
  • With a sharpened focus on demand generation, an important component of the IDCF is IEC activities that shall not only create awareness but also generate demand.
  • Intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and promotion of ORS and Zinc therapy will be conducted at the state, district and village levels.

 

Indian Scenario-

  • There are about 10 crore children below five years of age across the country. During last year, due to the interventions carried out as part of IDCF, about 6.3 crore children were reached out to.
  • This year in order to expand the cover of this fortnight; the target is to cover all the under-5 children. 21 Lakh children could be prevented from hospitalisation and death due to Diarrhoea last year. More than 5 lakh schools participated in the IDCF campaign and more than 3.5 lakh ORS corners were set up in the country.
  • In order to ensure a sturdy mechanism for monitoring, this year, 23 national monitors shall assess the efficacy of the activities. This shall be complemented by monitors from the State governments and development partners.

The combination of ORS and Zinc has been found to be the most cost-effective intervention to prevent deaths due to diarrhoea and has been recognised as one of the best practices globally. 

 

India first nation to be formally acknowledged as yaws-free

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/ Services relating to health, education, human resources)

 

About- India is the first country to be officially acknowledged as being Yaws-free, as per official citation from WHO and UNICEF.

Accomplishment is significant as

  • India has achieved this important milestone of being Yaws-free much before the WHO global target year of 2020.
  • Also, India was validated for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in April 2015, much ahead of the global target date of December 2015.

Highlights-

  • Health Minister appealed to sustain this achievement of Maternal & Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) by health system strengthening; high routine immunization coverage and promotion of institutional/Clean Delivery/clean cord practices and effective surveillance system.
  • Gains in keeping India free from preventable deaths continues with introduction of newer vaccines such as Rotavirus vaccine, IPV, Adult JE and soon-to-be introduced Measles-Rubella in the public health programme of the country.
  • Achievements will not only improve the health of marginalized communities, but will also enhance their socio-economic status and contribute to India’s wider development.
  • India completed validation of MNTE in all of its 36 states and union territories in April 2015, much earlier than the target date of December 2015.
  • While progress continues to be made, by June 2016, 19 countries have still not reached the maternal and neonatal elimination status.
  • Elimination of Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus as a public health problem means that in India the annual rate of Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus is now less than 1 per 1000 live births.

 

Joint Statement by Indian Defence Minister and Japanese Defence Minister in New Delhi

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

 

About- Defence Minister of Japan Gen Nakatani is paying a bilateral visit to India at the invitation of Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar. The two Ministers held the annual Defence Ministerial Meeting on 14 July 2016 in New Delhi.

Highlights-

  • Ministers exchanged ideas in a constructive, productive and positive atmosphere under the framework of the “India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership”.
  • Shared recognition that imperatives of a stronger bilateral strategic partnership require deep and broad based cooperation and concrete actions in defence and security fields.
  • Two countries can work together to respond to global and regional challenges and jointly contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Exchanged views and ideas on a wide range of issues pertaining to the current regional and international security situation as well as deepening of bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges.
  • Explained respective defence policies to promote mutual understanding.
  • Shared their concerns about the growing threat and universal reach of extremism. They emphasized that the evolving character of terrorism called for stronger international partnership in combating terrorism.
  • Recognized the security and stability of the Seas connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans as indispensable for the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Expressed grave concern over North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. They urged North Korea to take concrete actions towards denuclearization and other goals as well as to fully comply with its international obligations, including under all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
  • Acknowledged the importance of ASEAN-centered dialogue mechanisms including the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus).They also welcomed other efforts under its framework including ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group (EWG) and recognized its utility.
  • Welcomed the signing of the bilateral Memorandum on Defence Co-operation and Exchanges between the two Defence Ministries, in September 2014, and the conclusion of Agreement concerning Transfer of Defence Equipment & Technology and Agreement Concerning Security Measures for the Protection of Classified Military Information during India-Japan summit meeting in December 2015. They expressed satisfaction at strengthening the foundation for bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges.
  • Underlined their intention to explore more concrete and effective cooperation and decided to promote cooperation and exchanges in the following areas-
  • High-level and Working-level Exchanges
  • Exchanges between Indian Army and Japan Ground Self-Defence Force
  • Exchanges between Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force
  • Exchanges between Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defence Force
  • Education and academic exchanges
  • Cooperation in Defence Equipment and Technology
  • Commitment to continue discussions to deepen the bilateral defence relationship including through technology cooperation and co-development.

 

GS-3

Nuclear power reactor unit at Kudankulam goes critical

(Topic: Achievements of Indians in science and technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology)

 

About- Second Nuclear power reactor Unit of 1000 MWe capacity at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu achieved criticality on, 10th July, 2016.

Kundankulam-

  • This is the second 1,000 MW pressurised water reactor to go critical in the country. The first unit at Kudankulam went critical in July 2013.
  • Unit will start commercial generation in four to six months’ time.
  • Prior to that, tests have to be conducted and then the unit will be connected to the Southern power grid.
  • Approach towards criticality started on Friday with the gradual removal of the control rods.
  • Once the second unit at Kudankulam starts power generation to its full capacity, the total atomic power capacity in Tamil Nadu would go up to 2,440 MW.

 

DRDO Embarked Major Success in Advanced Artillery Gun System

(Topic: Achievements of Indians in science and technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology)

 

About- DRDO achieved yet another technological breakthrough by successfully conducting the proof firing of Armament system for 155 mm x 52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) during the technical trials conducted recently at Proof & Experimental Establishment (PXE), Balasore.

ATAGS-

  • It is fully indigenous towed artillery gun system project undertaken in mission mode by DRDO as a part of artillery modernisation programme of Indian Army.
  • Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune is the nodal laboratory of DRDO for design & development of ATAGS along with other DRDO laboratories.
  • Armament system of ATAGS mainly comprise barrel, breech mechanism, muzzle brake and recoil mechanism to fire 155 mm calibre ammunitions held by Indian Army with a longer range, accuracy and precision and provides greater fire power.
  • ATAGS is configured with all electric drive to ensure maintenance free and reliable operation over a longer period of time.
  • It will have a firing range of 40 Km with advanced features in terms of high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automatic command and control system with night firing capability in direct fire mode.
  • Development trajectory of ATAGS aims at establishing indigenous critical defence manufacturing technologies with the active participation of- Ordnance Factories + DPSUs and Private industries including Bharat Forge Limited + Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and Mahindra Defence Naval System to meet the aspiration of Make in India initiative in defence sector.
  • DRDO is committed to develop and field ATAGS in the shortest timeframe with active participation by leading industries to meet the requirement of Indian Army. The first fully integrated gun system will be ready for user trials by early 2017.

 

Indian Engineering gets global attention at INNOPROM ’16, Russia

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

 

Context- India has put up an impressive show at INNOPROM 2016, the largest annual international industrial trade fair of Russia. India is the Partner Country for INNOPROM 2016.

Indian companies participating at INNOPROM 2016 will-

  • Highlight strengths in the area of engineering and innovation under the ‘Brand India Engineering’ campaign
  • Showcase strong potential for growth in India-Russia bilateral trade.
  • Stress on strong business to business ties between India & Russia.
  • India- Russia business forum is expected to form business associations between various Indian & global firms.

 

Recommendations of SIT on Black Money

(Topic: Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment)

 

SIT recommendations in the Fifth Report-

Cash transactions

  • SIT has felt that large amount of unaccounted wealth is stored and used in form of cash hence there is a need to put an upper limit to cash transactions.
  • SIT has recommended that there should be a total ban on cash transactions above Rs. 3,00,000 and an Act is framed to declare such transactions as illegal and punishable under law.

Cash holding

  • Given the fact of unaccounted wealth being held in cash which are further confirmed by huge cash recoveries in numerous enforcement actions by law enforcement agencies from time to time, the above limit of cash transaction can only succeed if there is a limitation on cash holding.
  • SIT has suggested an upper limit of Rs. 15 lakhs on cash holding. Further, stating that in case any person or industry requires holding more cash, it may obtain necessary permission from the Commissioner of Income tax of the area.

 

Revival of defunct Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni

(Topic: Agriculture produce and issues and related constraints)

 

About- Union Cabinet chaired by the PM has approved the revival of defunct Fertilizer Units in Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni.

Include two closed urea units of – Fertilizer Corporation India Limited (FCIL) at Sindri (Jharkhand) and Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Barauni (Bihar) unit of Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation Limited (HFCL).

About fertilizers units

  • These three fertilizers units would be revived by means of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Public Sector Units (PSUs) namely, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Coal India Limited (CIL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and FCIL/HFCL, through ‘nomination route’.

Significance-

  • Setting up of new units at Sindri, Gorakhpur and Barauni will meet the growing demand of urea of Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
  • Ease the pressure on railway and road infrastructure due to long distance transportation of urea from Western and Central Regions and thereby saving in Govt. subsidy on freight.
  • Accelerate the economic development of the region. Apart from growth of regional economy, these units will create opportunities for 1200 direct and 4500 indirect employments.
  • Units will serve as anchor customer for this pipeline and ensure its viability
  • M/s GAIL (India) Limited has planned to lay a gas pipeline from Jagdishpur to Haldia. Commissioning Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline (JHPL) is important for development of critical infrastructure in Eastern India and will have multiplier effect on economic growth of the region.
  • CCEA earlier had approved gas pooling for urea sector which will enable these units to get gas at pooled price on its revival which will make the urea units globally competitive.

Background-

  • These units were lying defunct since their closure during 1990-2002. Therefore, the units and other associated facilities were lying unutilized.
  • It is important to mention here that there is no functional urea unit in the Eastern part of the country except two small units at Namrup (Assam).
  • Earlier in 2015, Government had approved revival of these three units through ‘bidding route’. However, the bidding process could not be carried forward due to receipt of only one application each against ‘Request for Qualifications’ (RFQs) for revival of Gorakhpur and Sindri units of FCIL.
  • Annual consumption of urea in the country is approx. 320 LMT, out of which 245 LMT is produced indigenously and rest is imported.
  • To enhance the production of urea indigenously, Govt. had earlier also approved the revival of Talcher (Odisha) & Ramagundam (Telangana) units of FCIL by PSUs through ‘nomination route’.

 

National Workshop on Solid and Liquid Waste Management under Swachh Bharat

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

About- Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation had organized a two day National Workshop on Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) under Swachh Bharat Mission on July 15th-16th, 2016.

Aim of the workshop-

  • To share successful national and international models for effective SLWM
  • To arrive at a system to reflect the SLWM initiatives in the SBM Management Information System (MIS)
  • To ultimately move towards a Village Swachhta Index (VSI) which will be the national metric to measure cleanliness of Indian villages in objective terms.Clean village is broadly defined as a village which-
  • is Open Defecation Free
  • has effective Solid and Liquid Waste Management
  • has Visual Cleanliness

Highlights-

  • Segregation, collection, treatment and disposal of garbage should preferably be done in a decentralized manner.
  • Most villages of Kerala are doing this sustainably through vermin composting, biogas plants, soak pits, and water treatment practices, which can be an example for replication in many other States of the country. Kerala has adopted the slogan “My Waste is My Responsibility” as an important means to create public awareness.
  • State is working hard on developing and implementing decentralized waste management models using low cost technologies.
  • Kerala has taken up the Open Defecation Free (ODF) challenge and is aiming to become India’s second ODF State (after Sikkim) by November 1, 2016.

Status of SLWM in Kerala

  • State has the highest level of rural consumption, which means that it is one of the largest generators of rural waste. It has a highest density of population and high rural labour cost.
  • There are a number of unique strengths of the State, particularly its strong Gram Panchayats, the Self Help Group ecosystem, rising public awareness regarding waste due to spread of new-generation communicable diseases and ill-effects of waste on the tourism in the State, and an activist media. These strengths have led to a rich legacy of community efforts, a strong NGO sector, technological progress, and a strengthened capacity building system.
  • Green Protocol in the State under which all government events and offices are free from use of disposable plastic and paper items and there is a strong focus on minimizing wastage.
  • Government subsidy given for home composting systems for wet waste management at household level, adding that a number of citizens were taking up composting without availing subsidies simply to make natural compost to grow organic vegetables in their kitchen gardens.

 

TRI-NETRA – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers Infra-red, Enhanced Optical & Radar Assisted system

(Topic: Infrastructure- Energy, Ports, Airports, Railways)

About- Ministry of Railways, Railway Board has initiated a proposal to install TRI-NETRA systems on locomotives for enhancing the vision of Locomotive Pilots in inclement weather.

TRI-NETRA-

  • TRI-NETRA system shall be made up of- High-resolution optical video camera + High sensitivity infra-red video camera + Radar-based terrain mapping system. These three components of the system shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.
  • TRI-NETRA is designed to “see” the terrain ahead of the running locomotive during rough weather by combining the images captured by the three sub-systems and to create a composite video image which shall be displayed in front of the Loco Pilot on a computer monitor.
  • Concept developed by Development Cell under the guidance of Member Mechanical, Railway Board while brainstorming on how to use the technology employed by fighter aircrafts to see through clouds and operate in pitch darkness and the technology used by naval ships in mapping the ocean floor and navigating in the night.
  • Such an “assisted vision” system is not available readily in any of the advanced railway systems but the manufacturers and technology partners who develop components of such systems for defence are very excited with the concept.
  • There has been very enthusiastic response to this Expression of Interest (EoI) published by Railway Board and number of companies from Israel, Finland, USA and Austria have expressed interest in developing such a system.

 

Importance-

  • During fog, heavy rain and also during night, the locomotive pilots face serious challenges in looking out ahead to spot any obstruction on the track such as vehicles which get stuck while crossing the track or trees or boulders which have fallen across the track etc.
  • Because of the heavy momentum of the running train, the train driver has to always adjust the speed of the train such that he or she can stop the train on visually seeing the obstruction. In fair weather and in daytime, this is not a problem since train driver has a clear view of the track ahead. But in poor visibility, he has to reduce the speed suitably so that the brakes can be applied in time to stop the train without hitting the obstructions.
  • This is where TRI-NETRA will come into picture and give the locomotive pilot a clear view of the track ahead in bad visibility conditions so that he can apply brakes well in time. Conversely, he can speed up the train even in poor visibility if the TRI-NETRA system shows that the track ahead is clear of obstruction. The system shall also map the terrain ahead so that the driver knows when he is approaching a station or a signal.

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