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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 26th March to 1st April, 2017

  • April 26, 2017
  • 2
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis
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IASbaba Press Information Bureau (PIB) – 26th March to 1st April 2017

Table of Contents

ARCHIVES

GS-1

Ugadi celebrations

(Topic: Culture)

About:

  • Ugadi begins on the first new moon after the Spring Equinox. This date usually falls in late march or early April in the western calendar and this date moon signifies a change in the seasons and essentially means Ugadi is a spring festival.
  • Thus, Ugadi which heralds the arrival of spring and warmer weather, signifies the start of a new year in many parts of South India, particularly the people of the Telugu and Kannada communities. The nine day long spring festival of Vasanta Navratri (Chaitra Navratri) begins on this day and concludes on Ram Navami.
  • In Maharashtra it is known as Gudipadawa.
  • The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ?di (starting) – ‘the beginning of a new age’.
  • Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya’s astronomical calculations in the 12th century determined the date of Ugadi from the sunrise on as the beginning of the New Year, new month and new day.

Promotion of Indian Food Culture

(Topic: Culture)

About: India has a rich culinary heritage. Most of our traditional food has evolved over centuries, transferred from one generation to the next. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Almost all states have their unique recipes.

Government has undertaken following steps to promote Indian food culture

  • Collaborative project on National Directory of Traditional Food Recipes of India has been initiated.
  • Launch of book focusing on regional cuisine of India.

Programmes Of Ministry of Culture to Promote Local Dialects

(Topic: Culture)

About: Sahitya Akademi, an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, is organising many programmes to promote literature in local dialects of the country.

Details of the programmes organized by the Sahitya Akademi

  • Adi Language Convention at Pasighat, East Siang, Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Warli Language Convention at Thane, Maharashtra.
  • Kumauni Language Convention at Almora, Uttarakhand.
  • Halbi Language Convention at Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh.
  • Literary Forum on Contribution of Oral Literature of Tribes to the Development of the Contemporary Literature of the Hmar, Paite, Tangkhul and Thadou Kuki languages at Canchipur, Manipur.
  • Seminar on The Silence of Dying Voices: Literatures on the Verge of Extinction in India’s North East and the World at Agartala, Tripura.
  • Seminar on Route to Oral Literature at Gangtok, Sikkim.
  • Literary Forum programme on Pena and Manipuri Literature at Agartala, Tripura.
  • Tribal Writers’ Meet, a convention of writers from 10 tribal languages of Odisha on at Bhubaneswar.
  • Paite Language Convention at Imphal.

Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat

(Topic: Culture)

About: ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ programme, aims to actively enhance interaction between people of diverse cultures living in different States and UTs in India

Objective: Promoting greater mutual understanding between diverse people and culture

  • As per the programme, each year, every State/UT would be paired with another State/UT in India for reciprocal interaction between the people.
  • It is envisaged through this exchange, that the knowledge of the language, culture, traditions and practices of different states will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between one another, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India.
  • An indicative list of activities has been drawn up and circulated to the State Governments / UT Administrations and to the key Central Ministries. The States/ UTs may choose, evolve and develop their interaction pattern based on the suggested list as per operational suitability in the course of their interactions.

GS-2

Credit Rating of Urban Local Bodies gain momentum.

(Topic: Infrastructure Development)

About: 94 cities assigned Credit Ratings as Smart Cites and AMRUT cities gear up to issue Municipal Bonds.

Details

  • With the exercise of Credit Rating of cities and towns gaining momentum, 94 of the 500 cities included in Smart City Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) have obtained such ratings which are necessary for issuing Municipal Bonds for mobilization of resources.
  • The 94 cities that have so far been assigned Credit Ratings are spread across 14 States. Ministry of Urban Development is promoting Credit Rating of cities as one of the five Transformational Reforms under which about 500 cities and towns that account for about 65% of total urban population were to be given Credit Ratings during this year.
  • Of the total 20 ratings ranging from AAA to D, BBB- is the ‘Investment Grade’ ratings and cities rated below BBB- need to undertake necessary interventions to improve their ratings for obtaining positive response to the Municipal Bonds to be issued.
  • Ratings of different cities
    • NDMC, Navi Mumbai and Pune lead with AA+ Rating
    • Ahmedabad, Visakahapatnam, Hyderabad come next with AA Rating
    • Kolkata-A+, Bhopal and Jaipur-A-, Thiruvananthapuram and Panaji-BBB, Ranchi-BBB-, all investment grade
  • As per the reforms timelines suggested by the Ministry of Urban Development, 39 cities that have got Credit Ratings below the investment grade (BBB-) have to undertake necessary interventions for improving the ratings in one year.

Forest Right Committees

(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections)

Objective— As per ‘The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006’ (in short FRA), responsibility for implementation of the Act lies with the States/UTs.

  • As per information received from the State Governments, upto 31.01.2017, Gram Sabhas have constituted Forest Rights Committees under FRA in all the States, except (i) Arunachal Pradesh (ii) Manipur (iii) Meghalaya (iv) Nagaland (v) Sikkim.
  • Manipur, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh State Governments reported that they feel that the FRA is not so relevant in their State because of the prevalent customary community ownership of forest land.
  • Sikkim reported that there are no forest dwelling STs and Other Forest Dwellers in the true sense of the term and most of STs of Sikkim hold revenue land in their own name and they are not solely dependent on the forests for their livelihood.
  • Nagaland has informed that the land holding system and the village system of Naga people is peculiar in that the people are the landowners.

Broad Policy to Eliminate Chronic Diseases

 (Topic: Issues related to health)

About: The Government has approved the National Health Policy 2017. The Policy seeks to move away from Sick- care to Wellness, with thrust on prevention and Health promotion.

The policy inter-alia seeks to:

  • Reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 25% by 2025,
  • Achieve global target of 2020 for HIV/AIDS i.e. – 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, – 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression
  • Achieve and maintain a cure rate of >85% in new sputum positive patients for TB and to reduce incidence of new cases to reach elimination status by 2025,
  • Reduce prevalence of blindness to 25/1000 by 2025 and disease burden by one third from current levels and
  • Achieve and maintain elimination status of Leprosy by 2018, Kala-Azar by 2017 and Lymphatic Filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017.

Zero Tolerance Policy

(Topic: Governance Issues)

About: The Central Government is fully alive and committed to implement its policy of “Zero Tolerance against Corruption”

Measures to combat corruption and improve functioning of government

  • To increase transparency in government and effectiveness of RTI Act, an Online RTI web Portal (https://rtionline.gov.in) is launched in 2013
  • Issue of Instructions by the CVC asking the organizations to adopt Integrity Pact in major procurement activities
  • Ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2011
  • Placing of details of immovable property returns of all Members of the All India Services and other Group ‘A’ officers of the Central Government in the public domain
  • Setting up of additional Special Courts exclusively for trial of CBI cases in different states
  • Introduction of e-governance and simplifications of procedure and systems
  • Disbursement of welfare benefits directly to the citizens under various schemes of the Government in a transparent manner through Direct Benefit Transfer initiative.

Key findings of Transparency International on corruption in Asia-Pacific region:

  • 53% People in India were most positive about their governments’ efforts in fighting corruption
  • Only 41% respondents in India think that the level of corruption has increased. This is substantially lower than countries like China (73%), Indonesia (65%), Malaysia (59%), Vietnam (56%), South Korea (50%) and Hong Kong (46%).
  • In the Asia-Pacific region, police forces are perceived to have the highest level of corruption of all the public services accessed by the people.

Survey not conducted at the behest of the central government.

G20 Framework Working Group

 (Topic: International Relations)

About: G-20 Framework Working Group (FWG) discussed the Current State of the Global Economy as well as G-20 agenda on Inclusive Growth and Reports on Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth & G-20 Enhanced Structural Reform Agenda among others.

  • It was hosted by Ministry of Finance and RBI.
  • G-20 FWG is one of the core Working Group of G-20 and deliberates on matters related to global economy and on the policy co-ordination that is required between the major economies of the world to face global economic challenges. India co-chairs this group with Canada.
  • Germany is presently holding the Presidency of G-20 in 2017.
  • The 4th Meeting of G-20 FWG Meeting under the German Presidency will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

India and IEA announce activation of Association Status of India with IEA

(Topic: International Relations)

About: International Energy Agency is a Paris based autonomous organisation established in 1974.

It’s mandate is to work towards ensuring reliable, affordable and clean energy mainly for its 29 member countries by coordinating collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through release of oil stocks into the global markets.

In the recent times, IEA has evolved its scope to a full mix of energy resources and has acquired an important part of global dialogue on energy, providing research, data/statistics, analysis and recommendations on the global energy sector.

Four main focus areas of IEA are

  • Energy security
  • Economic development
  • Environmental awareness
  • Energy engagement

India’s relation with IEA was of Partnership in 2013. Now it has been upgraded to Association Status.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

(Topic: Scheme for vulnerable)

About: Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.

Under the Scheme, the following Aids and Assisted-Living Devices will be provided to eligible elderly beneficiary senior citizens, depending upon their physical impairment :-

  • Walking sticks
  • Elbow crutches
  • Walkers / Crutches
  • Tripods / Quadpods
  • Hearing Aids
  • Wheelchair
  • Artificial Dentures
  • Spectacles

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Operational Plan (OP) 2016-25

(Topic: International Relations)

About: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a total of nine projects costing $2.42 billion as part of the Operational Plan (OP) 2016-2025 of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program.

The nine projects comprise of two rail projects in Bangladesh, two economic corridor initiatives (a project and program loan) and a bridge project in India, trade facilitation and airport projects in Bhutan and key SASEC road and energy projects in Nepal.

Background

  • Established in 2001
  • SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program
  • Bringing regional cooperation to a higher level, the SASEC OP plans to extend physical linkages not only within SASEC but also with East and Southeast Asia by the next decade.

GS-3

DE-INDUCTION OF TU 142M

(Topic: Defence)

About: The Indian Navy is preparing for de-induction of TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft after its 29 years of dedicated service to the nation.

Details of TU 142 M                       

  • The TU142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft was inducted into Indian Navy at Dabolim Goa from erstwhile USSR in 1988.
  • The aircraft subsequently shifted base permanently to INS Rajali in 1992 and became the most formidable LRMR ASW aircraft of the Indian Navy.
  • The aircraft has done the Indian Navy proud by participating in all major naval exercises and operations with distinction. The aircraft saw action during operation ‘Cactus’ in Maldives and participated in operational missions off Sri Lanka to provide airborne surveillance.
  • TU142M aircraft with its 04 powerful engines, contra rotating, slender fuselage and swept wings is the fastest turboprop aircraft in the world and reportedly has been difficult to intercept by fighters. With its enhanced endurance, speed, long range weapons and sensors the aircraft transformed the aspects of Maritime Reconnaissance and airborne ASW for the Indian Navy and was one of the most formidable platforms around the world.

Third meeting of G-20 framework working group to be held at Varanasi

(Topic: Finance)

About– The 3rd G-20 Framework Working Group (FWG) Meeting under the G-20 German Presidency is being co-hosted by Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Varanasi. Previously, India had hosted the G-20 FWG Meetings in Neemrana, Rajasthan (2012 under Mexican Presidency), in Goa (in 2014 under G-20 Australian Presidency) and in Kerala (2015 under G-20 Turkish Presidency).

Important issues to be covered:

  • Will discuss the current global economic situation as well as deliberate on the policy options that countries can pursue to counter the important development challenges.
  • One important focus of this meeting will be to deliberate on the inclusive growth agenda of G-20 and to formulate a framework that will enable countries to help frame country specific inclusive growth policies.

About G-20

  • The G-20 is the group of 19 countries and European Union (EU) deliberating on global economic issues and other important development challenges.
  • G-20 Framework Working Group (FWG) is one of the core working groups of G-20. The mandate of FWG is to deliberate on the challenges facing the global economy and the policy options that countries can use to address these challenges. India along with Canada has been co-chairing this group.

Industrial Corridors

(Topic: Commerce and Industry)

About: Government of India gave its concurrence for engaging the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for carrying out feasibility study and preparing the Conceptual Development Plan for East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC) linking Kolkata in the East through Chennai to Tuticorin in South in a phased manner.

Details:

  • ADB has submitted the final report on Conceptual Development Plan of Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC).
  • Master planning of two nodes namely Visakhapatnam and Srikalahasti-Yerpedu has been initiated.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $631 million (Rs. 4165 crore) in loans and grants for infrastructure development along the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) on 20th September, 2016.
  • A proposal has been received from Government of Puducherry for inclusion of Puducherry as a node in ECEC. ADB has agreed for feasibility study.

Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO

(Topic: Commerce and Industry)

About: India tabled the “Concept Note for an initiative on Trade Facilitation in Services” at the WTO to facilitate discussion among WTO members with an aim to achieve an outcome.

India’s proposal on Trade Facilitation in Services and the US visa fee hike for H-1B and L-1 categories are different issues and are being taken up separately at the appropriate level.

Issues

  • Government of India has been consistently taking up the issue of tightening norms for skilled foreign workers with the Government of UK at the highest levels.
  • The UK Government has been urged to not accept the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in the interest of the bilateral trade in services between India and the UK.

730 million Internet users are anticipated in the country by 2020-NASSCOM.

(Topic: Science & Technology)

About: due to fast adoption of digital technology, it is expected that number of internet users will increase in the country.

Details

  • The National Telecom Policy-2012 envisages 600 million broadband connections by the year 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed.
  • Further, as per National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM) –Akamai report launched on 17.08.2016 regarding “The Future of Internet in India”, 730 million Internet users are anticipated in the country by 2020.
  • Government has allocated 965 Megahertz spectrum through auction in October 2016 to various telecom service providers for access services. This will enable the telecom service providers to roll-out 3G and 4G services which will facilitate proliferation of high speed internet facility.
  • Further, for provision of broadband facility in rural areas, BharatNet project is also being implemented to provide 100 Mbps broadband connectivity to all Gram Panchayats (approx. 2.5 lakh) in the country by using an optimal mix of underground fibre, fibre over power lines, radio and satellite media.

Ratification of Kyoto Protocol

(Topic: Environment)

About: The Government of India has decided to ratify the Second Commitment Period (2013- 2020) of the Kyoto Protocol.

  • Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol enables developed countries to invest in “Clean” projects in developing countries to gain emissions credits (Certified Emission Reduction-CER).
  • Indian Industry has benefited from trading in CERs in the international market. Of late, due to lack of demand internationally, prices of CERs have been very low leading to low activities under this mechanism.

Assessment of EAC and River Valley Projects and Hydro-Electric Projects

(Topic: Environment)

About: The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for environmental appraisal for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects is constituted in terms of provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006. It appraises the project thoroughly by examining environment impact assessment report, environmental management plan, public hearing proceedings, presentation made during the meeting etc.

The EIA Notification mandates 4 steps for considering environmental clearance namely Screening, Scoping, Public Consultation and Appraisal.

The Step-3, “Public Consultations” has two components

  • A public hearing is held at the project site for ascertaining concerns of the project affected persons; and
  • Obtaining responses in writing from public at large. A set procedure has been prescribed in the EIA Notification, 2006 and amendment thereof, for conducting public consultations.

Extreme Changes in Climate

(Topic: Environment)

About: As per the fifth Assessment report (AR5) of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2014, globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature has risen by 0.85 0C (0.65 to 1.06) over the period 1880 to 2012.

  • Many extreme weather and climate events like heat waves, heavy precipitation and tropical cyclones have been observed since about 1950.
  • According to IMD, all India mean temperatures have risen nearly 0.60 C over the last 110 years. IMD studies have highlighted that extreme events like heat waves have risen in the last 30 years.
  • Government has launched the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in June 2008 to deal with the climate change and related issues.
  • NAPCC has 8 missions in specific areas of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, habitat, water, sustaining Himalayan ecosystems, forestry, agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.
  • It addresses the issues relating to mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change on environment, forests, habitat, water resources and agriculture.
  • All States and Union Territories (UTs) have also been requested to prepare State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) in line with the objectives of the NAPCC
  • India ratified the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016. It involves implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by India to the UNFCCC.
  • India has committed to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.

Other goals are:

  • Achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF)
  • Create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

New Initiatives and Policy for Power Sector

(Topic: Energy and Power)

About: The Government has initiated several initiatives and policies for the development and improvement of power sector. These are:

  • Preparation of state specific action plans for ‘24X7 Power for All’ covering adequacy of generation, transmission capacity and distribution system.
  • Focus on 4Es– Electricity for all, Efficiency to ensure affordable tariffs, Environment for a sustainable future, Ease of doing business to attract investments and ensure financial viability.
  • Launching of a scheme called Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) for rural areas for separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders, strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure and rural electrification
  • Launching of Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for urban areas
  • Operationalization of Power System Development Fund (PSDF)– for creating necessary transmission system of strategic importance, installation of shunt capacitors etc. for improvement of voltage profile in the grid, Renovation and Modernisation of transmission and distribution systems etc.
  • Launching of Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) for operational and financial turnaround of Discoms.
  • Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) have been developed for carrying out competitive bidding for procurement of power and transmission services.
  • Approved an innovative mechanism for utilisation of stranded gas based capacity by making available Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) along with interventions by all stakeholders

Inauguration of ‘Test Bed’ of Integrated Automatic Aviation Meteorological Systems (IAAMS) at INS Rajali

(Topic: Science and Technology)

About:

  • The IAAMS is an ambitious project of the Indian Navy to modernise the meteorological infrastructure of the nine Naval Air Stations (NAS).
  • At INS Rajali, the complete integrated system has been tested for its reliability, performance and functioning.
  • The IAAMS project will give a major fillip to aviation safety, through automation of weather monitoring process.
  • IAAMS undertakes automatic and continuous recording of relevant weather parameters that are vital for accurate weather forecasting.
  • It has a special alarm feature that alerts the duty staff during abnormal change of weather parameters that may affect safe flying operations.

Rare Species of Flora & Fauna

(Topic: Environment)

About: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and Botanical Survey of India (BSI) under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change conduct surveys of threatened and important species of fauna and flora respectively of the country.

For protection of the interests of flora and fauna, the Government has established a country-wide protected area network (678 Protected Areas (PAs) including 102 National Parks, 515 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 4 Community Reserves, and 57 Conservation Reserves in different biogeographic regions)

Moreover, 9 of the 18 Biosphere Reserves in India are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.

India is signatory to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). India is also a signatory to many international convention and treaties viz. Ramsar Convention, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Conference of Parties (CoP) etc. which are aiming at conservation of wildlife in the country.

Several steps to conserve/protect the wildlife and species of flora and fauna undertaken by the Ministry/Govt. are:

  • Project Tiger and Project Elephant have been setup for protection of charismatic species and their habitat including associated flora and fauna. There are Ramsar sites of wetland importance and Natural Heritage Sites declared by the Government of India for creating conducive environment for rare species of animals.
  • State Governments have been requested to strengthen the field formations and intensify patrolling in and around the Protected Areas.
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up for control of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and its products.
  • On policy front- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; National Biodiversity Act, 2002, etc. – ensure protection of threatened species and their habitats. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats’ has been modified in 2008-09 by including a new component namely ‘Recovery of Endangered Species’ and 16 species have been identified for recovery. Funds for following species are being provided:
    • Hangul in Jammu and Kashmir
    • Snow Leopard in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand
    • Vulture in Punjab
    • Haryana and Gujarat
    • Swiftlet in Andaman & Nicobar Islands
    • Nilgiri Tahr in Tamil Nadu
    • Sanghai Deer in Manipur
    • Snow Leopard in Arunachal Pradesh

BOP on Indo-Bangladesh Boarder

(Topic: Science and Technology)

About: The Government has adopted a multi pronged approach for security arrangements at the borders to curb smuggling and infiltration.

  • The arrangements include deployment of Border Guarding Force (BGF), construction of border fence, construction of border roads, installation of floodlights, construction of Border Out Posts (BOPs), introduction of Hi-tech surveillance equipments, providing advanced weapons and specialized vehicles to Security Forces, etc.
  • The Government of India has approved for providing security and logistic support to Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) by way of using Indian border roads in the States of Tripura and Mizoram for construction of Border Out Posts (BOPs) by BGB in Chittagong Hill Tracts area.
  • To promote border trade, among other measures, Border Haats and Integrated Check Posts are being established on Indo-Bangladesh Border.

NERSD Scheme

(Topic: Commerce and Industry)

About: Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region launched a scheme in 2016 namely ‘North-East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS).

It aims at rehabilitation/up-gradation of important but neglected inter-State roads of the region to be implemented by National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).

The following 4 roads were taken up for implementation by NHIDCL under the scheme:

  • Upgradation of Doimukh to Harmuti Road in Arunachal Pradesh & Assam.
  • Upgradation of Tura-Mankachar road in Assam.
  • Rehabilitation and upgradation of Saiphai-Bagha Bazar (16.5 km) portion in Assam of the Sherkhan-Bagha Bazar road.
  • Rehabilitation of Wokha-Merapani-Golaghat road in Nagaland and Assam.

However, the road at S. No. 3 was later on taken up by the Government of Assam under different sources of funding and as such NHIDCL is implementing 3 (three) roads as on now.

India becomes Net Exporter of Electricity for the first Time

(Topic: Energy and Power)

About: As per Central Electricity Authority, the Designated Authority of Government of India for Cross Border Trade of Electricity, 1st time India has turned around from a net importer of electricity to Net Exporter of electricity.

  • During 2016-17, India has exported around 5,798 Million Units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar which is 213 Million units more than the import of around 5,585 Million units from Bhutan.
  • Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-Eighties, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal
  • Export of power to Bangladesh from India got further boost with commissioning of 1st cross border Interconnection between Baharampur in India and Bheramara in Bangladesh in 2013.
  • A few more cross border links with neighbouring countries are in pipe line which would further increase export of Power

Lithium Battery Technique

(Topic: Science and Technology)

About: ISRO has developed 4 types of lithium ion battery for satellite and launch vehicle applications.

  • 5Ah and 50 Ah– for space applications
  • 5Ah and 100Ah– for induction in space applications.
  • ISRO has supplied 50 Ah lithium-ion cells to Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
  • Lithium-ion battery developed by ISRO was successfully demonstrated in a prototype two-wheeler at the Symposium on International Automotive Technologies (SIAT 2017). The prototype uses a 48V, 50Ah lithium-ion battery, which can attain speeds of 40-50 kmph and can run up to 98 km once charged for 2 hrs.
  • Technology is ready for transfer to Indian industries for undertaking the production of Li-ion batteries. BHEL has expressed interest in the transfer of technology.

Li-ion Battery

  • It is a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging.
  • Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery.
  • The electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion battery cell.
  • Lithium-ion batteries are common in home electronics. Beyond consumer electronics, LIBs are also growing in popularity for military, battery electric vehicle and aerospace applications.
  • Lithium-ion batteries can pose unique safety hazards since they contain a flammable electrolyte. An expert notes “If a battery cell is charged too quickly, it can cause a short circuit, leading to explosions and fires”. Thus, testing standards are more stringent than those for acid-electrolyte batteries.

India’s longest road tunnel

(Topic: Infrastructure Development)

About: India’s longest road tunnel – the 9 kilometre long “Chenani – Nashri Tunnel”

  • The tunnel on NH-44 which connects Jammu with Srinagar, will reduce travel time between the two cities by upto two hours.
  • It achieves a distance-reduction of 31 kilometres, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches. The estimated daily fuel savings are to the tune of Rs. 27 lakhs.
  • The tunnel will provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur, to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar.
  • The tunnel is equipped with world-class security systems, and is expected to boost tourism and economic activities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Key features

  • It is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35 metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres.
  • There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with “Cross Passages” connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres.
  • It also has smart features such as an Integrated Traffic Control System; Surveillance, Ventilation and Broadcast Systems; Fire Fighting System; and SOS call-boxes at every 150 metres.
  • The project has been completed at a cost of over Rs. 2500 crore

Bharat Mala Project

(Topic: Infrastructure Development)

About: The Bharatmala Pariyojna, inter-alia, comprises development of Corridors, Border roads, Coastal and Port Connectivity roads etc.

  • The highways are envisaged to be constructed under PPP pattern like Build-Operate-Transfer (Toll) and Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM) as well as under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode.
  • The Government has also approved a project for upgradation of NH-51 and NH-54 in the states of Meghalaya and Mizoram with soft loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
  • Bharatmala is a roads and highways project.
  • Sagarmala is a strategic and customer-oriented initiative to modernize India’s Ports. The programme aims to promote port-led development in the country by harnessing India’s 7,500-km long coastline, 14,500-km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to up a separate Enforcement Department

(Topic: Economy)

About: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is setting up a separate Enforcement Department.

  • The Enforcement Department is to separate those who oversee the possible rule breaches and those who decide on punitive actions so that enforcement process operates fairly and is evidence based.
  • It shall develop a broad policy for enforcement and initiate enforcement action against the Regulated Entities (REs) for violation consistent with such policy.
  • EFD would serve as a centralized department to deal with banks only for enforcement action.

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