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

  • July 28, 2016
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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GS-1

India’s First ‘Mixed’ Site on UNESCO World Heritage List

(Topic: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent)

About: Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP), Sikkim has been inscribed as India’s first “Mixed World Heritage Site” on UNESCO World Heritage List

Uniqueness: It fulfilled the nomination criteria under both natural and cultural heritage site

Where: At the 40th Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Istanbul, Turkey

Advisory bodies: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

Features of KNP

  • Exhibits one of the widest altitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide.
  • Has extraordinary vertical sweep of over 7 kilometres within an area of only 178,400 ha
  • Comprises a unique diversity of lowlands, steep-sided valleys and spectacular snow-clad mountains including the world’s third highest peak, Khangchendzonga.
  • Numerous lakes and glaciers, including the 26 km long Zemu Glacier, dot the barren high altitudes.
  • KNP lies within the Himalaya global biodiversity hotspot and displays an unsurpassed range of sub-tropical to alpine ecosystems.
  • The Himalayas are narrowest here, resulting in extremely steep terrain, which magnifies the distinction between the various eco-zones.
  • Covers 25% of the State of Sikkim, acknowledged as one of India’s most significant biodiversity concentrations.
  • Home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species and also has a high number of bird species.
  • Has the highest number of plant and mammal species recorded in the Central/High Asian Mountains, except compared to the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, in China

Cultural significance

Sacred site to world’s leading religious traditions: The notion of beyul or hidden sacred land, which extends to all of Sikkim, but has its heart in the territory of Khangchendzonga National Park, is important in Tibetan Buddhism, not only intrinsic to Sikkim, but in the neighbouring countries and beyond.

Coexistence and exchange between different religions and people: The multi-layered sacred landscape of Khangchendzonga and the cultural and religious relevance of the hidden land (beyul in Tibetan Buddhism and Mayel Lyang, in Lepcha tradition) is specific to Sikkim and is a unique example of co-existence and exchange between different religious traditions and people;

Outstanding traditional knowledge: The indigenous religious and cultural practices of the Lepcha with regard to the ecology and the specific properties of local plants, stand as an outstanding example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation.

Demographic Profile of Minorities

(Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India)

About: As per Census 2011, the ‘Literacy Rates’ and the ‘Work Participation Ratio’ for the minorities have shown considerable improvements in respect of minorities as compared to Census 2001.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has not conducted any specific socio-economic survey/ assessment of minorities in the country.

Result:

Literacy rate: 73%- Census 2011 as compared to 64.8%- Census 2001

  • Highest- Jains (94.9%) and Lowest- Muslim (68.5%)

Work Participation Ratio: 39.8%-Census 2011 as compared to 39.1%- Census 2001

(WPR= measure of the active portion of an economy’s labour force)

  • Highest- Buddhist (43.1%) and Lowest- Muslim (32.6%)

 

GS-2

India and Malaysia to proactively engage to combat the menace of ISIS

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

About: The visiting Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister met with Union Home Minister and expressed concern about the danger of enhanced activities of ISIS in democratic countries like India and Malaysia

Because: ISIS has started using these countries as recruiting ground and attract our youngsters with their extremist ideology

Need to:

  • Address it internally
  • Cooperate with each other through strong intelligence sharing
  • Stop this ideology from poisoning the minds of youngsters
  • Know more about Malaysia’s de-radicalisation programme

Proposal of:

  • Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes
  • Regular meetings under the ambit of the MoU on Cyber Security Cooperation

The two sides also discussed the issues such as Extradition Treaty and Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN).

 

SWAYAM Prabha-Educational Contents through DTH

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

About: Government has approved a project to launch the ‘SWAYAM Prabha’-a project for operationalising 32 Direct to Home (DTH) Television Channels

For: providing high quality educational content to all teachers, students and citizens across the country interested in lifelong learning.

Features:

  • Curriculum based course contents covering diverse disciplines such as arts, science, commerce, performing arts, social sciences and humanities subjects, engineering, technology, law, medicine, agriculture etc.
  • Covers all level of education: School education, undergraduate, postgraduate, engineering, out of school children, vocational courses and teacher training.

To be released by September 2016

Language: Initially the programmes will be in English but with the passage of time the programmes will be launched in regional languages also

 

Autonomous status to colleges

(Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies)

By: UGC

To: grant autonomous status to colleges accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) without on-the-spot inspection by an Expert Committee

Criteria:

  • A college which is accredited with the highest grade in two consecutive cycles
  • Also secures the highest accreditation grade in the third cycle from NAAC

Condition:

  • Obtains no objection certificate from the affiliating university
  • Adheres to UGC’s regulations viz.
  • curbing the menace of ragging in Higher Education Institutions Regulations 2012
  • UGC (Promotion of Equity in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations 2012
  • UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations 2012 etc. in letter and spirit.

 

Incubation center at IIFT Delhi

(Topics: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.)

Initiative: KITTES (Knowledge for Innovation in Trade & Technology for Entrepreneurial Start-ups)

What: a dynamic business incubation cell dedicated to start-ups in the domain of international business

Aim: the aim of KITTES is to provide hand holding support for MSME start-ups (expert advice and technical guidance) right from ideation stage to their internationalization towards taking a final leap into foreign markets.

Centre supported by: An advisory body consisting of industrialists, venture capitalists, technical specialists and managers

Help through: range of infrastructure, business advisory, mentoring and financial services

 

Restructuring Of DRDO

(Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government)

Why: (DRDO) is involved in R&D of Defence Technologies / Systems & is not directly involved in acquiring infrastructure for defence manufacturing in the country

DRDO: undertakes joint development with Indian industries as well as transfers technologies to the industries for manufacturing of products & systems in India.

Recommendations of Dr. P. Rama Rao Committee on review of DRDO

  • Nomination of Nodal Officers for structured interaction between DRDO and Services.
  • Introduction of Integrated Financial Advice (IFA) Scheme for financial decentralization.
  • Appointment of a dedicated Chief Controller for Human Resources (HR).
  • Creation of Seven Technology Domain based Clusters each headed by one Director General.
  • Restructuring of DRDO HQrs, Creation of Directorate of Systems Analysis and Modelling (SAM) and Directorate of Quality, Reliability and Safety (QR&S).

All have been approved by Government

 

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-NULM guidelines recast to benefit more urban poor

(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.)

About: Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has made substantial changes in the Guidelines for implementation of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Urban Livelihoods Mission to benefit more and more urban poor by relaxing the norms for implementation of the Mission.

Changes operational guidelines

  • Banks to directly accept applications for loans; Nodal bank for each State to increase loan linkages
  • Men in vulnerable vocations made eligible for assistance; Norms for formation of Self-Help Groups relaxed
  • Construction of shelters for urban homeless with corporate donations
  • Convergence with PMKVY, PMJDY, Social security schemes to be ensured

 

NITI Aayog & Intel India: Kick-off Atal Tinkering Lab Initiative for Young Innovators

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

About: NITI Aayog has introduced the Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATL) initiative as a part of its flagship programme – the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).

Objectives: to build relevant skill sets among youngsters and to provide access to technology that will enable solutions.

Target: These laboratories intend to impact 250,000 youth with innovation skills & skills for the future across 500 communities & schools.

Intel role: Support NITI Aayog in building capacities of mentors and developing linkages with Maker ecosystem for quality improvement of projects made by youth, facilitating ideation, design thinking and prototyping workshops through industry experts and co-lead an innovation festival

NITI Aayog’s CEO: If India needs to grow consistently at 9 to 10 percent over the next three decades, it is absolutely essential that India is able to build innovative solutions to its unique problems.

 

India—35th member of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

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

What: India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as its 35th member

Importance:

  • To ease the access to high technology for India’s space programme.
  • To move up the technology value chain by facilitating tie-ups for Make in India including in the defence sector.
  • India’s entry into the regime would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives.

Benefits from MTCR for Space Programme

  1. Strengthening our international cooperation activities in high technology areas with other space faring nations.
  2. Easing the procurements & supplies of export controlled high/ advanced technology items, components, materials, and equipment from other countries, especially MTCR partner states.
  3. Enhancing our commercial ventures in terms of export of sub-systems, satellites and commercial launch services etc.

India, as a Partner State of MTCR, can take part in the decision making process in ensuring non-proliferation of sensitive space technology related items, which are controlled through a list (called Technical Annex) and reviewed & revised annually through Technical Experts Meetings.

Related articles:

India to become 35th member of MTCR

 

Nuclear Suppliers Group Membership

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

About: India submitted an application for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on 12 May 2016 reflecting the progress in its engagement with the NSG that began in 2004.

Result: The NSG’s annual Plenary meeting in Seoul (June 23-24, 2016) discussed India’s membership but concluded without a consensus decision on the matter. However, it is understood that while no nation explicitly opposed India’s membership, one country raised procedural objections ostensibly on grounds of India’s non-NPT status. A few other countries raised issues regarding the process for India’s participation in the NSG.

Why NSG important:

  • It is important for India to be part of the “rule making” in the NSG rather than be in a position of “rule taking”.
  • Membership of the NSG would enable India to have enhanced and uninterrupted access to nuclear technology, fuel and materials required for its expanding civil nuclear programme.
  • It would create a predictable environment for the large investments required for setting up nuclear power plants in India, inter alia, to meet India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) pledge of 40% of its power capacity coming from non-fossil sources by 2030.

Related Articles:

The Big Picture – How important is it for India to be part of NSG?

Quest for another Holy Grail – Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

 

Civil Nuclear Deal with UK

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

About: Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy in 2015

Scope:

  • The supply of nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components or technology, training of personnel and transfer of technology, for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • The Government is cognizant of the importance of both nuclear energy and renewable energy resources for India’s growth strategy fuelled by clean energy.

Cooperation between India and UK in the area of renewable energy

  • Setting up a new Virtual Centre on Clean Energy
  • Setting up of India Innovation Lab for Green Finance
  • K.’s support for India’s new Global Solar Alliance initiative.
  • Separately, commercial deals worth 3.2 billion pounds were finalized with U.K. in the area of clean energy during the visit.

 

PM’s 15 Point Programme

(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.)

About: The Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the welfare of minorities is an overarching programme, covering 24 schemes/ initiatives of 11 different Ministries / Departments implemented throughout the country

Details of schemes / initiatives covered

(a) Schemes considered amenable to earmarking of 15% for minorities:

  1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Ministry of Human Resources Development);
  2. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme providing services through Anganwadi Centres (Ministry of Women & Child);
  3. National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) (erstwhile Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana / Aajeevika) (Ministry of Rural Development);
  4. National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) (erstwhile Swarn Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana) (Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation);
  5. Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) (Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship);
  6. Bank credit under priority sector lending (Department of Financial Services);
  7. Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) (Ministry of Rural Development).

(b) Schemes for minorities implemented by the M/o Minority Affairs (100% Budget provision meant for minorities):

  1. Pre-Matric Scholarship scheme;
  2. Post-Matric Scholarship scheme;
  3. Merit-cum-Means Scholarship scheme for technical & professional courses;
  4. Maulana Azad National Fellowship for Minority Students;
  5. Loan schemes of National Minority Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) for economic activities;
  6. Schemes of Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) for promotion of education
  7. Free Coaching and Allied scheme

(c) Schemes for which flow of funds to minority concentration areas is quantified:

  1. Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) (Ministry of HUPA);
  2. Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) (Ministry of Urban Development);
  3. Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) (Ministry of Urban Development); and
  4. National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) (Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation)

(d) Special Initiatives for welfare of minorities:

  1. Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarsa (SPQEM) (Department of School Education & Literacy);
  2. Scheme for Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutions (IDMI) (Department of School Education & Literacy );
  3. Greater Resources for Teaching Urdu – Scheme for Appointment of Language Teachers (Deptt. of School Education & Literacy);
  4. Recruitment of minorities in Govt. Departments/ Organizations (Deptt. of Personnel & Training); and
  5. Guidelines on communal harmony (Ministry of Home Affairs).

 

Development and Promotion of Textile Sector

(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.)

For Development

To: achieve sustainable growth, modernization, value addition, an increase in exports and for overall development of the textile sector in the country

Schemes:

  • Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS),
  • Schemes for the development of the Power-loom Sector,
  • Schemes for Technical Textiles,
  • Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP),
  • Integrated Skill Development Scheme(ISDS),
  • Integrated Processing Development Scheme (IPDS),
  • National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP),
  • Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS), etc.

For Promotion

To: promote Indian textiles as a brand in international market

  1. Annual Marketing Plan

MoT has developed a comprehensive and integrated Annual Marketing Plan in association with 11 sector Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) to promote Indian textiles in the world.

  • A common umbrella brand will be created for Indian Textiles.
  • A standard plan for doing pre-fair and post fair activities has been developed to be implemented by Export Promotion Councils.
  • An international media agency will be hired to ensure industry participation during road shows and India Eve.
  1. Annual Mega Event “Textiles India”

Ministry of Textiles shall be organizing an annual mega event titled “Textiles India” covering the entire value chain, i.e. from fibre to fashion.

Three components

  • Technical Conference titled “Advantage India: Sourcing Destination for The World”: bring renowned national and international speakers and delegates on one platform, to establish India’s relevance in global textile sourcing, key issues and way forward to achieve high growth.
  • Mega Exhibition: cover all sub-segments of textiles manufacturing value chain, from fibre to fashion. It is expected that there will be 800 to 1,000 Indian exhibitors participating in the event. About 2,500 international buyers and 1,000 Indian high volume retail buyers are expected to attend this mega event.
  • Allied events: In addition to core exhibition and stakeholder conference, allied events such as Fashion shows, Thematic displays, Cultural programmes and best display and design awards, etc. will also be organized.

Support for Global recognition of Indian Brands

Ministry of Textiles is promoting global recognition of various certification marks such as Handloom mark and Silk Mark and traditional products such as Baluchari Silk, Jamdani Cotton, Chanderi Saree, Pochhampally Ikat, tie-dye, etc.

Welfare Schemes for handloom weavers

  1. Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY)— Insurance cover to handloom weavers in case of natural death (Rs. 60,000/-), accidental death (Rs. 1,50,000/-), total disability (Rs. 1,50,000/-) and partial disability (Rs. 75,000/-).
  2. Health Insurance Scheme (HIS): In 12th Five Year Plan, the Government approved implementation of Health Insurance Scheme (HIS) on the pattern of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) of Ministry of Labour & Employment (MoLE).

 

MoU with Foreign Countries for Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture and Allied Sector

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

About: During last five years, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has signed 12 MoU/Agreements with foreign countries for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sector.

Year Country(s)
2011 Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh
2012 Sri Lanka, Australia, Vietnam
2013
2014 Morocco, Vietnam
2015 Mongolia
2016 (till date) Armenia, Madagascar, Lithuania

Areas for cooperation:

  • Cooperation in research and development
  • Increasing productivity
  • Post-harvest management
  • Value addition/food processing
  • Plant protection
  • Animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries
  • Enhancing trade and mutual exchange,
  • Reciprocal visits of scientists,
  • Mutual exchange of technical expertise,
  • Exchange of germ-plasm,
  • Transfer of technology,
  • Setting up of centers of excellence in different fields to demonstrate new technologies etc.

Schemes

  • National Food Security Mission (NFSM) on rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and commercial crops (cotton, jute & sugarcane)
  • Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI)
  • Crop Diversification Programme (CDP).

Technologies

  • Protected cultivation
  • Integrated pest and nutrient management
  • Quality planting material production through tissue culture
  • Drip irrigation
  • Cold chain development
  • Canopy management
  • Integrated pack houses
  • Reefer vans

ICAR: established a network of 645 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the country for assessment and demonstration of technologies/products and its dissemination through extension programmes including training of farmers to update their knowledge and skills.

 

Brexit & India

(Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.)

About: Government has assessed the impact of Brexit on the Indian economy. Thus far, India has not only avoided adverse impacts, it has in fact emerged as a safe haven for investors around the world.

For example

  • The rupee depreciated against the US dollar by around 1 per cent for one day post-Brexit referendum, while currencies of other emerging markets depreciated for many days.
  • Sensex fell only on one day by around 2 per cent while the equity index of many other developed and developing countries fell by a higher percentage for many days after Brexit referendum.

India and UK

  • As a part of the global economy, India will obviously be affected if there is slowdown in growth in the UK and EU following Brexit.
  • India’s exports in goods to the UK and EU (including UK) have been around 3 per cent and 17 per cent of our total exports. India also exports roughly $10 billion in software to both the UK and EU.
  • Overall though, India’s exports to both UK and Europe have been on a downtrend in the past two years on account of subdued demand led by a frail and scattered recovery in the region

Oil effect: However, these potential effects on India’s growth could be offset by the weaker price of oil, which will help maintain macro-stability, and by the likelihood of more policy support in the advanced economies.

Why less impact:

  • India’s macroeconomic fundamentals are strong while the Government and the RBI are closely monitoring the situation.
  • The strong forex reserves position can provide a buffer against any temporary episodes of volatility in the domestic foreign exchange market.
  • RBI’s proactive liquidity management could ensure stability and calm in money markets.
  • The Government and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) are keeping a constant vigil. SEBI has laid down various regulations and guidelines for protecting investors’ interest and ensuring orderly functioning of the stock market.

Related Articles:

BREXIT – Britain’s Exit from EU

Multiple articles of various dailies

GS-3

Reduction of Greenhouse Gases

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

About: In a declaration in 2009, India announced a voluntary goal of reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 20–25%, over 2005 levels, by 2020, despite having no binding mitigation obligations as per the Convention.

Subsequently: India in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has announced its intention to reduce emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 subject to availability of requisite means of implementation.

Due to various policy measures undertaken:

  • The emission intensity of GDP has reduced by 12% between 2005 and 2010
  • The same has been reported in India’s First Biennial Update Report (BUR).
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Emission Gap Report (year 2014), has recognized India as one of the countries on track to achieve the voluntary pre-2020 pledge.

CBDR-RC

  • It is the underlying theme of the Paris Agreement
  • India had maintained its stand for an ambitious and durable agreement based on the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC)
  • India affirms that: developed countries should take lead in this regard and the specific needs and special circumstances of the developing country parties, which are vulnerable to the effects of climate change should be recognized
  • India insisted that: developed countries should meet their commitments during the pre-2020 period through ambitious targets and actions.

 

Death of Elephants on Train Tracks and Electric Fencing

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

About: Reports of elephant mortalities, due to train accidents and electrocution, are received from States from time to time.

Because: No proposal at present with the Government to formulate the policy to prevent elephant deaths due to train accidents and electrocution.

Possible steps to prevent elephant mortalities due to train accidents and electrocution:

  • Clearance of vegetation on the sides of railway tracks
  • Underpasses/overpasses/girder bridges across vulnerable stretches of railway tracks to allow safe passage elephants
  • Signage boards at selected points to alert train drivers.
  • Sensitization programmes for Train Drivers/Guards/Station Masters
  • Engagement of elephant trackers and communication with Station Masters
  • keep Railway tracks free from food wastes, that attracts elephants

Structural additions

  • A permanent coordination committee has been constituted jointly by the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to share information and monitor the implementation of the advisory
  • Committees have been constituted between Zonal Railway Offices and State Forest Departments to develop specific strategies and Standard Operating Procedures and for better coordination
  • To regulate the speed of trains in identified vulnerable sections between sunset and sunrise.
  • Financial and technical assistance is provided to elephant range states under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Project Elephant’ for conservation and management of elephants.

Project Elephant

  • Twenty nine Elephant Reserves have been notified in 14 States for conservation of elephants
  • Elephant is included under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, to provide it highest degree of legal protection.
  • Improvement of elephant habitat, including Elephant Reserves and Corridors is carried out regularly

 

Estimated Generation of E-Waste

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

About: Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2005, estimated 1.46 lakh tonnes of e-waste generation in India, which was expected to exceed 8 lakh tonnes by 2012.

UN Report: As per “The Global E-Waste Monitor 2014”, 17 lakh tonnes of e-waste generation was reported in the country in 2014. No comprehensive State-wise inventorization of e-waste generation in the country has been done.

CPCB steps to enforce E-Waste Rules, 2011

  • General directions to all State Pollution Control Boards
  • Directions to producers
  • General directions to Ministries in Government of India and Public Sector Undertakings

-for compliance of the provisions related to reduction of hazardous substance of the E-Waste Rules, 2011

Scheme

  • Under Ministry of Environment and Forests
  • ‘Creation of Management Structure for Hazardous Substances’ is a Central Sector Scheme
  • Allocation of Rs 5.00 crore (FY 2015-16) and Rs 4.5 crore (FY 2016-17)

 

Study on Polluted Rivers

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

About: As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report in February 2015, 302 polluted river stretches have been identified on 275 rivers in the country based on Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) levels, a key indicator of organic pollution.

  • Pollution abatement of rivers is a continuous and ongoing process
  • Responsibility of the State Governments/ concerned local bodies to set up proper facilities for collection, transportation and treatment of sewage being generated and ensure that untreated sewage does not fall into the rivers
  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change supplementing abatement of pollution in identified stretches of various rivers under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and NGRBA (National Ganga River Basin Authority) programmes.
  • State Governments, apart from their own budgetary allocation, are also accessing financial assistance for creation of sewerage infrastructure, including sewage treatment plants, in various cities/towns under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) programme of Ministry of Urban Development and the Namami Gange programme

CPCB has directed

  • SPCBs to set up sewage treatment plants and utilize sewage generated in their respective States.
  • Municipal authorities of metropolitan cities and State capitals for proper treatment and disposal of sewage generated to control pollution in rivers and other water bodies.
  • Specific industries to install online 24×7 effluent and emission monitoring devices.

Industrial monitoring

  • To control discharge of industrial effluents
  • CPCB and SPCBs monitor industries with respect to effluents discharge standards
  • If non-compliance, action is taken under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Steps by CPCB to promote low waste and no waste concept, leading to Zero Liquid Discharge by grossly water polluting industries, particularly those located on the river banks.

 

India’s Gas Share is 6.5% Country’s Fuel Basket

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

About: as per the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2015, the present natural gas share in the country’s fuel basket is 6.5% vis-a-vis the world average of 23.8%.

Next step: In order to increase the present level of gas share in the county’s fuel basket to meet the demand of natural gas in the country, the following steps have been taken by the government:

  • Government has approved a new Hydrocarbon and Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP)
  • Government has approved policy for auctioning of 67 discovered small fields of ONGC/OIL through international competitive bidding for early monetization
  • Marketing and Pricing freedom for new gas production from Deepwater, Ultra Deepwater and High Pressure-High Temperature areas subject to certain conditions
  • Policy for grant of extension to the Production Sharing Contracts of 28 small and medium sized discovered blocks
  • New Domestic Natural Gas price Guidelines, 2014: Under these guidelines, gas price has been linked to the market/ important hub prices.
  • Appraisal of about 1.5 million sq. km un-appraised area of the Indian Sedimentary Basins
  • Re-assessment of Hydrocarbon Resources.
  • National Data Repository has been setup.
  • Policy for exploration and exploitation of Shale Gas/Shale Oil resources by NOCs under the Nomination Regime
  • Policy for exploration in the Mining Lease (ML) areas after the expiry of exploration period.
  • Policy on Non–exclusive Multi-client Speculative Survey for assessment of unexplored sedimentary basins has been operationalized

 

Steps to Tackle Vehicular Pollution

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

What: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken the following steps to tackle the problem of vehicular pollution

  • Introduction of alternate fuels
    • Flex fuel ethanol
    • Bio diesel
    • Bio CNG
    • Retrofitment of Hybrid Electric Vehicles
  • BS-VI fuel emission norms notified in February 2016

 

National Disaster Plan for Animals

(Topic: Disaster and disaster management)

About: Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries has prepared and launched Disaster Management Plan (DMP)

For: protecting animals and preventing and mitigating loss of livestock resources during various disasters

Stakeholders:

  • National Disaster Management Authority,
  • National Disaster Response Force,
  • National Institute of Disaster Management,
  • State Governments
  • Knowledge Institutions

Three parts of DMP

Pre-disaster preparedness

  • Detailed action plan relating to dissemination of early warning,
  • Identification of vulnerability amongst livestock,
  • Animal vaccination,
  • Feed and fodder supply
  • Capacity building of different stake-holders in disaster management etc.

Disaster response

  • Strategy/action plan relating to effective and prompt response,
  • Rescue of livestock,
  • Feed & fodder supply,
  • Measures against epidemics and diseases and
  • Maintenance of Sanitation etc

Post-Disaster Plan

  • Strategy for treatment of sick animals,
  • Disease surveillance,
  • Disposal of carcass,
  • Restoration and restocking of livestock population.

 

Drone based Agricultural Technology

(Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers)

About: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) through the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has formulated a collaborative research project entitled “SENSAGRI: SENsor based Smart AGRIculture”

Objective: to develop indigenous prototype for drone based crop and soil health monitoring system using hyperspectral remote sensing (HRS) sensors. The technology can also be integrated with satellite-based technologies for large scale applications

Funded by:

  • Information Technology Research Academy (ITRA)
  • Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY)
  • Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), Govt. of India
  • ICAR

Use of drone technology:

  • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has ability for smooth scouting over farm fields
  • Gathering precise information and transmitting the data on real time basis
  • Assessing land and crop health
  • Extent, type and severity of damage
  • Issuing forewarning, post-event management and settlement of compensation under crop insurance schemes

 

Protection and Conservation of Native Breeds of Cattle

(Topic: Economic of animal rearing)

About: Government of India complementing and supplementing the efforts made by the States for protection and conservation of indigenous breeds of cattle

Rashtriya Gokul Mission

  • A part of National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development
  • Exclusively for development and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds including indigenous breeds of cattle.

National Dairy Plan-I

  • A World Bank assisted project being implemented in 18 major dairy States
  • Covering 12 indigenous breeds of cattle and buffaloes

(i) Gir; (ii) Kankrej; (iii) Tharparkar; (iv) Sahiwal; (v) Rathi; and (vi) Hariana cattle breeds

(i) Marrah; (ii) Mehsana; (iii) Pandharpuri; (iv) Jaffarabadi; (v) Banni and (vi) Nili Ravi buffalo breeds.

Government established:

  • Central Cattle Breeding Farms (CCBFs)
  • Central Herd Registration Scheme and
  • Central Frozen Semen Production & Training Institute
  • For: development and conservation of indigenous breeds

(i) Tharparkar; (ii) Red Sindhi; (iii) Gir; (iv) Kankrej; (v) Ongole; (vi) Hariana and (vii) Rathi breed of cattle

(i) Surti; (ii) Murrah; (iii) Meshsana and (iv) Jaffarabadi breeds of buffaloes.

 

Contain Agriculture Price Rise

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

About: During last six months All India Average Retail prices of Tur and Moong in pulses, Mustard, Soya and Sunflower in Edible oil and Onion in Vegetables have declined while there has been increase in the prices of Gram and Urad dal.

Reason: factors such as

  • Shortfall in production owing to adverse weather conditions,
  • Increased transportation costs,
  • Supply chain constraints like lack of storage facilities and hoarding and
  • Black marketing

Plan Scheme: Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) to regulate price volatility of agricultural commodities

Steps taken by the Government to improve the availability and to contain prices of essential food items:

 

Contract between Income Tax Department and L & T Infotech Ltd

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

For: widening of tax-base and data mining to track tax evaders

  • The new technical infrastructure will also be leveraged for implementation of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Inter Governmental Agreement (FATCA IGA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS).
  • Implementation of reporting compliance management system will ensure that the third party reporting by reporting entities is timely and accurate.
  • A streamlined data exchange mechanism will also be set up with other Government Departments and exchange partners.

CMPCs

  • A new Compliance Management Centralized Processing Centre (CMCPC) will also be setup as part of the Project for handling preliminary verification, campaign management, generation of bulk letters/notices and follow-up.
  • Enable taxpayers to resolve simple compliance related issues in an online manner without visiting the Income tax office.

 

Conversion of Sea Water into Potable Water

(Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life)

About: Desalination of seawater is possible by using Thermal Desalination Technology and/or Membrane Technology like Reverse Osmosis (RO).

Medium: Thermal and/or Electrical energy from Atomic Power Station or Nuclear Research Reactor/s can be used for this purpose.

Where: A seawater desalination plant setup as part of Nuclear Desalination Demonstration Project (NDDP) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu produces 45 lakh litres of water per day by Thermal Desalination process, drawing nuclear low pressure steam from the operating Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) and 18 lakh litres of water per day using membrane based technology using electrical energy from MAPS grid.

The plant is the largest operating hybrid nuclear desalination plant in the world.

 

Foreign Investment under ‘MAKE IN INDIA’ Programme

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

FDI flow: October 2014 to May 2016, the FDI equity inflow has increased by 46%, i.e. from US$ 42.31 billion to US$ 61.58 billion

World Investment Report by UNCTAD: India has been ranked 3rd in the list of top prospective host economies for 2016-18

Who: The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has advised Ministries and State Governments to simplify and rationalize the regulatory environment through business process reengineering and use of information technology.

 

Sagar Purvi

(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.)

About: Government of India has deployed the Coastal Research Vessel [CRV] Sagar Purvi to study about ocean parameters along the coastal waters of India.

CRV Sagar Purvi for:

  • Monitoring of marine pollution levels and conservation and management of coastal resources including
  • Coral reef under Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMAPS) Programme,
  • Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management (ICMAM),
  • Swathe bathymetry survey of the Exclusive Economic Zone of India (EEZ) along the coastal waters of India.

Data and samples collected: Useful in understanding the

  • Marine pollution levels,
  • Biological wealth
  • Conservation of coastal resources in the coastal waters of India
  • Seabed morphological features and its geo-morphological implications

 

Development of Data Satellite by NASA and ISRO

(Topic:

  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.)

What: SRO and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/NASA are jointly working on the development of Dual Frequency (L&S band) Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging Satellite named as—

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR).

  • PL/ NASA will be responsible for design & development of L-band SAR, 12m unfurlable antenna & its deployment elements, GPS system and data recorder
  • ISRO will be responsible for design & development of S-band SAR, Spacecraft Bus, data transmission system, Spacecraft integration & testing, launch using GSLV and on-orbit operations.

Uses:

  • Natural resources mapping & monitoring
  • Estimating agricultural biomass over full duration of crop cycle
  • Assessing soil moisture
  • Monitoring of floods and oil slicks
  • Coastal erosion, coastline changes and variation of winds in coastal waters
  • Assessment of mangroves; surface deformation studies etc.

ISRO and JPL/ NASA are working towards realisation of this mission by 2021.

 

 

Solar Power Tree

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

What:

  • The Solar Power Tree harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells.
  • It thus reduces the requirement of land as compared to conventional Solar Photovoltaic layout, on one hand, while keeping the land character intact on the other.
  • Even the cultivable land can be utilized for solar energy harnessing along with farming at the same time.
  • The innovation finds its viability both in rural and urban areas.

Features:

  • It takes only 4 square feet of land for a 5 KW Solar Power tree, whereas in a conventional layout, it requires 400 square feet of land.
  • By holding the photovoltaic panels at a higher height, on an average it gets more sunrays for one hour in a day. As a result, it is possible to harness 10-15% more power in comparison to a conventional layout on ground.
  • It has a battery back-up of 2 hours on full load, hence giving light even after sunset.
  • It is facilitated with water sprinkler at the top for self-cleaning of panels, that increases the efficiency of the solar panels.
  • The estimated cost of the device is around Rs. 5 Lakh for a 5 KW specification.

 

INS VIRAAT SAILS ON HER OWN STEAM FOR ONE LAST TIME

(Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.)

About: INS Viraat leaves Naval Dockyard Mumbai, for ‘one last time’ under own power. This is the last sailing under her own propulsion as INS Viraat is slated for decommissioning later this year.

Facts:

  • INS Viraat is a Centaur-Class Aircraft Carrier
  • The second aircraft carrier of the country has spent 29 years under the Indian Flag and 27 years with the Royal Navy (United Kingdom).
  • The ship holds the Guinness Record for being the oldest serving warship.
  • She is commonly referred to as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ among the Naval community

Active participation in

  • Operation Jupiter in 1989 (Indian Peace Keeping operations in Sri Lanka) and Operation Vijay in the year 1999 (Kargil War).
  • The ship has also participated in various international joint exercises like Malabar (with US Navy), Varuna (with French Navy), Naseem-Al-Bahar (with Oman Navy)

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