IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 25th Feb to 3rd March, 2017

  • April 14, 2017
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB) – 25th Feb to 3rd March 2017



National Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

(Topic: Infrastructure development)

About: To effectively address the emerging urbanization challenges, the Ministry of Urban Development has come out with a multi-pronged policy framework to promote living close to mass urban transit corridors. This new initiatives seeks to promote ‘Transit Oriented Development (TOD)’ which enables people to live within walking or cycling distance from transit corridors like the Metros, Monorail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, currently being taken up on a large scale.

Importance of TOD

  • A viable solution to many of the challenges like haphazard urban growth and sprawl, mobility, rapidly rising private vehicles on roads, pollution, housing choices etc.
  • This new urban design and planning in the form of TOD, is being incentivesed by the Ministry under two more initiatives viz., Metro Policy and Green Urban Mobility Scheme.
  • Under TOD, city densification will be promoted along mass transit corridors through vertical construction by substantially enhancing FARs (Floor Area Ratio) backed by  promotion of Non-motorised Transport Infrastructure for walking and cycling to transport stations, development of street networks in the influence zone of transit corridors, multi-modal integration, effective first and last mile connectivity through feeder services to enable people access public transit in 5 to 10 minutes  from home and work places.

4th India – CLMV Business Conclave

(Topic: International Relations)

About—4th India – CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) Business Conclave held in Jaipur. Trade with the CLMV countries grew from USD 1.5 bn to more than USD 10 bn in the last 10 years and expressed hope that India will be able to partner in more trade initiatives with these countries to develop a strong India-CLMV vertical within the ASEAN market.

  • The CLMV conclave is an annual feature which provides an opportunity for Indian business leaders to interact with government and business stakeholders representing the four countries.
  • There are clear verticals for India to facilitate trade with these countries like
  • Organic agriculture produce from Myanmar
  • Value added products from coffee & pepper produce of Vietnam
  • Two & three wheeler exports to Lao PDR etc

India and CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) Countries

  • CLMV countries namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have a unique position in the regional value chains in Southeast Asia region.
  • These countries are gateway for market access to China, European Union.
  • The key advantage of positioning India on the regional value chains is securing on a long term basis, a dedicated market for Indian raw materials and intermediate goods besides a dedicated source for inputs and raw materials for Indian industry.
  • While opportunities are a plenty in CLMV region, Indian entrepreneurs’ endeavors in these countries have, thus far, been limited due to limited information, infrastructure and other contingent risks.
  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval to create a Project Development Fund (PDF) for catalysing Indian economic presence in the CLMV countries viz. Cambodia, Laos Myanmar and Vietnam. The PDF will have corpus of Rs 500 Crore and shall be housed in Department of Commerce. It will be operated through the EXIM Bank.
  • The PDF shall benefit India’s industrial community for business expansion, and to maintain cost competitive supply chains, besides integrating with global production networks.



Country’s first Antyodaya Express running between Ernakulam – Howrah

(Topic: Infrastructure Development)

About— Antyodaya Express are long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes.

New Catering Policy (Some features)

  • IRCTC shall manage catering service on all mobile units including catering services on all new trains/ trains
  • Pantry car contracts awarded by zonal railways shall also be reassigned to IRCTC.
  • IRCTC may involve/empanel Self Help groups for providing catering related services.
  • Zonal Railways will manage static units (catering/milk stalls, trolleys etc.) except base kitchens and kitchen units to be handed over to IRCTC.
  • IRCTC shall be responsible for catering services in static unit viz., Food Plazas, Food Courts and Fast Food Units.
  • 33% sub quota for women in allotment of each category of minor catering units at all category of stations has been provided.

Business Parcel policy

  • To provide end to end parcel services to the customers by effective partnership between Indian Railways and Department of Post.
  • Trains chosen for allotment of parcel space by DOP.
    • Howrah-Guwahati
    • Hyderabad-Howrah
    • Mumbai-Howrah
    • Hyderabad-Delhi
    • Hyderabad-Cochin

Humsafar Express: Humsafar Express are completely 3-tier AC sleeper trains designed by Indian Railways. These are going to be overnight trains. Fourth Humsafar Express to be launched and it will cross the entire country from North to South.

Facilities and new Features of Humsafar Express

  • These trains will feature side curtains on the corridors like 2ac which were removed from 3-tier AC sleepers.
  • LED screen display to show information about stations, train speed etc. and will have announcement system as well.
  • Vending machines for tea, coffee and milk.
  • Charging ports for charging electronic devices such as mobiles, laptops etc.
  • The berths will more comfortable than the previous 3-tier AC sleeper rakes.
  • Bio toilets in compartments.
  • The exterior of coaches will have a futuristic look with the use of Vinyl sheets.
  • Safety measures in compartments such as introduction of smoke alarms and CCTV cameras.
  • If you bring your own food, you can keep it warm or cold as the train has a heating chamber as well as a refrigerating box.
  • Each and every coupa and side birth having curtains to maintain privacy.
  • Providing with new khadi bed rolls.

India and ADB sign $375 million in loans and grants for first phase of ECEC

(Topic: Infrastructure Development)

About: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed here $375 million in loans and grants to develop 800-kilometer Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor, which is the First Phase of a planned 2,500–kilometer long East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC). The Corridor is expected to spur development on India’s eastern coast in line with the Government of India’s Make in India policy to stimulate manufacturing, and Act East policy to integrate the Indian economy with Asia’s dynamic global production networks.

Importance of ECEC

  • The project is an important milestone in the process of developing the corridor and realizing the objectives of Make in India.
  • Enhance industrial growth and create high-quality jobs
  • Along with the ADB loans, agreement was also signed for a $5 million grant from the multi-donor Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund that is managed by ADB to build climate change resilient infrastructure.
  • The Government of India will provide extra funding of $215 million to the $846 million project.

First Integrated Heliport

(Topic: Infrastructure Development)

About: The First Integrated Heliport was dedicated to the Nation by Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Pawan Hans at Rohini Heliport, Delhi.

Aviation sector

  • Helicopter services could become economically viable if the prevailing 25% tax on ATF was reduced.
  • It is part of National Aviation Policy to have four heliports, one in each region and Rohini’s heliport is the first step. Helicopter operations could be shifted from Indira Gandhi International Airport to Rohini.
  • It promote Regional Air connectivity through helicopters in the northern part of the country for regular passenger services, heli services, landing & parking of helicopters, Helicopters Maintenance Services (MRO), disaster management, helicopter emergency medical services (HeMS), law & order surveillance, providing medical emergency, public safety and enhancing tourism.
  • Pawan Hans Ltd working to develop four “heli-hubs” in line with the concept lines of the “Airport-Hubs” and Rohini is the First step into this series. These heli-hubs will be a one-point solution for the helicopter business and will act as a heliport for public passenger services.


Three Forest Research Institutes Develop High-Yielding Varieties of Plant Species

(Topic: Environment)

About: Three institutes of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun, have developed 20 high-yielding varieties of plant species. The Variety Releasing Committee (VRC) of ICFRE, granted approval for the release of these varieties of plant species.

  • Melia, popularly known as Dreake, or Malabar Neem, has a high productivity per unit area and an excellent bole form, which is a desirable characteristic for plywood industry.
  • There have been three clones of Eucalyptus tereticornis, the timber of which is in high demand in the industry. These clones have also been found to be resistant to pink disease and wall gasp.
  • One research institute has developed five inter-specific hybrids of Casuarina equisetifolia X Casuarina junghuhniana for use as timber while another research institute has developed two varieties of medicinal plant Rauvolfia serpentina.

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun

  • It is an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It carries out the holistic research on forestry species.
  • The nine Institutes under ICFRE are actively engaged in improvement of plantation tree species to improve yield, quality and productivity to meet the demand for domestic consumption by industries.
  • In 2010, 2011 and 2014, ICFRE released 27 high-yielding clones of Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus Hybrid, Casuarina equisetifolia, Casuarina junghuhniana and Dalbergia sissoo. They are in commercial production now.

NDDB’s Cattle Feed Knowledge Portal

(Topic: Agriculture)

About: National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has developed a Cattle Feed Knowledge Portal, an interactive knowledge platform on various aspects of compound cattle feed production. The portal will also have information on least cost formula for feeds, suppliers of feed ingredients, raw material specifications as well as a discussion forum to share information.

Improving feed production efficiency & quality control aspects of cattle feed plants

  • Even though India is the largest milk producer in the world, there is ample scope to improve per animal productivity.
  • With the increase in demand for milk, productivity of dairy animals should increase.
  • It is time to refocus our efforts in providing good quality feed and mineral mixture and put up concerted efforts in promoting different variants of compound cattle feed for different categories of animals.
  • For ensuring quality in feed production, we need to have qualified trained manpower, efficient plants and machinery and technical expertise to produce right type of feeds.
  • India’s model of milk production is based on feeding crop residues and agricultural by-products and using family labour to add value to resources which otherwise have limited alternative economic value.
  • It is in this context that the role of compound cattle feed in animal nutrition to help support the increase in milk production becomes significant.

Benefits of cattle feed plants

  • Feeding balanced ration can help the milch animals produce milk commensurate with their genetic potential with the attendant benefits of lower cost,
  • Increased SNF(Solid Not Fat): Total solids content is the entire residue left after complete evaporation of water from milk. This includes fat protein, lactose and mineral matter. These solid constituents exist in milk in a mechanical mixture.
  • Higher immunity to disease
  • Improved reproductive efficiency and reduced methane emissions.
  • In the absence of adequate quantity of quality green fodder, concentrate feeds provide bulk of essential nutrients in the diet of dairy animals.

OECD Economic Survey of India 2017

(Topic: Economic Development)

About: The latest OECD Economic Survey of India 2017 finds that the acceleration of structural reforms and the move toward a rule-based macroeconomic policy framework are sustaining the country’s longstanding rapid economic expansion.

The Indian economy is expanding at a fast pace, boosting living standards and reducing poverty nationwide. Further reforms are now necessary to maintain strong growth and ensure that all Indians benefit from it, according to a new report from the OECD.

Findings of the survey

  • It finds that the acceleration of structural reforms and the move toward a rule-based macroeconomic policy framework are sustaining the country’s longstanding rapid economic expansion.
  • The survey hails India’s recent growth rate of more than 7 percent annually as the strongest among G-20 countries.
  • The implementation of the landmark GST reform will contribute to making India a more integrated market.
  • There is a need to make income and property taxes more growth-friendly and redistributive. A comprehensive tax reform could help raise revenue to finance much-needed social and physical infrastructure, promote corporate investment, enable more effective redistribution and strengthen the ability of states and municipalities to better respond to local needs.
  • Achieving strong and balanced regional development will also be key to promoting inclusive growth.
  • Recent changes in India’s federalism model have given states more freedom and incentives to modernize regulations and tailor public policies to local circumstances.
  • Raising living standard in poorer states will require increasing productivity in the agricultural sector. With employment expected to gradually shift away from the agricultural sector, urbanization will gather pace. Thus, better urban infrastructure will be needed to fully exploit cities’ potential for job creation, productivity gains and improving the quality of life.

A Government Panel recommends legal framework for protection of interests of migrants in the country

(Topic: Growth and Development)

About: The ‘Working Group on Migration’ set by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviationin 2015 who submitted their Report to the Government has recommended necessary legal and policy framework to protect the interests of the migrants in the country, stating that the migrant population makes substantial contribution to economic growth and their Constitutional rights need to be secured.


  • Protocols of the Registrar General of India needs to be amended to enable caste based enumeration of migrants so that they can avail the attendant benefits in the States to which migration takes place.
  • Migrants should be enabled to avail benefits of Public Distribution System (PDS) in the destination State by providing for inter-State operability of PDS.
  • Referring to Constitutional Right of Freedom of Movement and residence in any part of the territory of the country, the Group suggested that States should be encouraged to proactively eliminate the requirement of domicile status to prevent any discrimination in work and employment.
  • States are also to be asked to include migrant children in the Annual Work Plans under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to uphold their Right to Education.
  • Vast network of post offices need to be made effective use of by reducing the cost of transfer of money to avoid informal remittences.
  • Migrants should be enabled to open bank accounts by asking banks to adhere to RBI guidelines regarding Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and not insist on documents that were not required.
  • The Group suggested that the hugely underutilized Construction Workers Welfare Cess Fund should be used to promote rental housing, working Women Hostels etc., for the benefit of migrants.
  • Quoting data of Census 2011 and National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), the Group stated that migrants constitute about 30% of the country’s population and also of the total working force.
  • The recent Economic Survey noted that annual migration in the country increased from 3.30 million in 2011 to 9.00 million in 2016.

A Government Panel recommends legal framework for protection of interests of migrants in the country

(Topic: Science and Technology)

About: Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad, a premier research laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited (JSHL) signed the Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology of High Nitrogen Steel (HNS) for armour applications.

  • HNS technology is a step forward towards Army’s quest for lighter and high performance armouring material compared to the currently used materials.
  • HNS is not only tough but also has good strength
  • In addition to being nonmagnetic as well as corrosion resistant, the HNS cost is about 40% less compared to Rolled Homogenous Armour Steel (RHA).
  • This material has potential for a number of defence and civil applications like armouring, mine trawls, oil industries etc.
  • DRDO developed a breakthrough technology for armour applications.

Successful Test Firing of AAD Endo-Atmospheric Interceptor Missile

(Topic: Science and Technology)

About: DRDO conducted the successful launch of the interceptor missile Advanced Area Defence (AAD) from Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha. The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms successfully destroyed the incoming missile. All the mission objectives were successfully met.

This the second time that the missile has been test-fired in less than a month and is part of an effort to put in place a multi-layer missile defence system. The launch has proved the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) prowess of the country.

Endo-atmospheric missile

  • The missile defense battle space is divided between intercepts in the atmosphere, what is called endo-atmospheric, and out of the atmosphere, what is called exo-atmospheric.
  • An endo-atmospheric missile is one that remains within the earth’s atmosphere, i.e., at an altitude below 100 kilometers.
  • For endo-atmospheric missions, three desirable sensor characteristics are a wide field of regard that includes radiation detection when the missile is at a low angle of attack (i.e., forward-looking detection).

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