(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Coal India is addressing its customer needs in a big way and made ‘ease of doing business’ a major consumer commitment. The launching of the app is also one of the initiatives of CIL towards achieving the much cherished goal of ‘Digital India’ and transparency.
Helps achieve transparency in despatch operations, as a tool to monitor, whether the despatches are made on the fair principle of ‘First in First Out’ and keeps track of all the activities from issuance of Sale Order to physical delivery of coal by road.
Helps in logistics planning for lifting of coal in tune with the loading programmes
The app provides date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against the Sale Orders.
SHe-Box Online Complaint Management System
(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
To ensure the effective implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (the SH Act), 2013
A historic step since it is probably the first ever time that the government of any country has launched an online portal to receive complaints of sexual harassment at workplace
Once a complaint is submitted to the portal, it will be directly sent to the ICC/LCC of the concerned employer. Through this portal, WCD as well as complainant can monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICC/LCC.
This is a proactive step taken by MWCD in the wake of the worldwide social media campaign #MeToo, where women have related their experience of facing sexual harassment and abuse.
MoU between India and Philippines on agriculture and related fields:
Will improve bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture and will be mutually beneficial to both countries.
Will promote understanding of best agricultural practices in the two countries and will help in better productivity as well as improved global market access.
Provides for cooperation in the fields of rice production and processing, multi cropping system, dryland farming systems, bio-organic farming, solid and water conservation and management, soil fertility, sericulture, agro forestry, livestock improvement etc
Provides for constitution of Joint Working Group composed of equal number of representatives; The Joint Working Group shall meet once every two years alternatively in the Philippines and India.
Agreement between India and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income: Will stimulate flow of investment, technology and personnel from India to HKSAR & vice versa, prevent double taxation and provide for exchange of information between the two Contracting Parties. It will improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
Protocol amending the Agreement between India and Kyrgyz for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income
Joint Interpretative Declaration between India and Colombia regarding the Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments signed: would impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing Agreement as it includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses, including, the definition of investor, definition of investment, Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET), National Treatment (NT) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, expropriation, Investor – State Dispute Settlement provision and Denial of Benefits.
Appointment of Second National Judicial Pay Commission for Subordinate Judiciary in the country:
Will examine the present structure of emoluments and conditions of service of Judicial Officers in the States and UTs
The Commission aims to evolve the principles which would govern pay structure and other emoluments of Judicial Officers belonging to the Subordinate Judiciary of the country
It will examine the work methods and work environment as also the variety of allowance and benefits in kind that are available to Judicial Officers in addition to pay and to suggest rationalization and simplification thereof.
The Commission will devise its own procedures and formulate modalities necessary for accomplishing the task. The Commission also aims at making the pay scales and conditions of service of Judicial Officers uniform throughout the country.
The recommendations of the Commission will help in promoting efficiency in Judicial Administration, optimizing the size of judiciary etc. and to remove anomalies created in implementation of earlier recommendations.
Continuation and Restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme: to make it outcome-based, competitive and better monitored with increased focus on sustainability (functionality) of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population
Creation of National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions: In view of the need to have a specialized body in India like the most advanced countries, the Finance Minister in the Budget speech of 2017-18 had announced setting up of a National Testing Agency (NTA) as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.
Utilisation of pulses from the buffer stock through Central Government Schemes having nutrition component: The objective of the approval is to enable the concerned administrative Ministries/Departments to ensure that pulses from the buffer are utilized as in ‘kind’ component of the Centre’s contribution in such schemes, in lieu of its financial contribution of equivalent amount.
India Signs Loan Agreement with World Bank for US$ 119 Million for “Odisha Higher Education Programme for Excellence and Equity (OHEPEE) Project
(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate)
Objective of the project: To improve the quality of ‘students’ equitable access to selected institutions and enhance governance of the higher education system in Odisha.
Project Component: Result Areas are
Improved quality of and students’ equitable access to selected institutions of higher education: Institutional Development Plan (IDP) Grants (performance –based Financing
Enhanced governance of the higher education system: Improvement of governance in colleges & Improvement of financial and procurement management and accounting in all government and government-aided colleges.
(Topic: Infrastructure: Transportation)
Best City Bus Services Award for succeeding in attracting 87% of the private vehicle and auto rickshaw users to use city buses – Surat
Best Non-Motorised Transport – Mysuru for Public Bicycle Sharing
Best Urban Transport Initiative Award for completing its Metro Rail Project in a quick time besides integrating the metro with other modes of transport – Kochi
‘Commendable Initiative Award’ under ‘Best Intelligent Transport Project’ category – H-TRIMS of Hyderabad, the Traffic Integraged Management initiative; enables automatic adjustment of signal timings based on traffic flows, pedestrian controlled signals and SMS based alerts to the citizens. This initiative brought down waiting time at traffic junctions by over 33%.
‘Commendable Initiative Award’ for the city police’s initiative for improving road safety – Chittor; Chittore police introduced ‘no helmet-no petrol’ policy for two wheelers
COP23 climate change summit in Bonn: All you need to know about
(Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation)
UN Climate Change Conference 2017 Aims for Further, Faster Ambition Together
The world’s nations are meeting for the 23rd annual “conference of the parties” (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which aims to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”, ie halt global warming.
Aim: launching nations towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path; The Conference, coming just two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, will also further fuel momentum among cities, states, regions, territories, business and civil society in support of national climate action plans, the internationally-agreed temperature goal and the wider objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Will be presided over by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji — the first time that the small island nation will be at the helm of a major international climate conference
Two critical and inter-linked areas of action:
Governments working to increase climate action under the terms of the Paris Agreement and the UN Climate Change Convention
Showcasing, fostering and launching new and expanding global climate action initiatives by all actors with a view towards better coordination that aligns efforts in more efficient, effective and transformative ways.
Major Talk Points-
The 2015 Paris accord set a target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. But diplomats didn’t agree on the details of how their nations will reach that ambitious goal. The Bonn talks will flesh out the rule book that countries have to abide by. This includes coming up with international standards for how to measure carbon emissions, to make sure that one nation’s efforts can be compare to another’s.
A second debate centers around how countries take stock of what’s been achieved and set new, more ambitious goals for curbing carbon emissions after 2020.
The third big issue concerns money. Experts agree that shifting economies away from fossil fuels and preparing countries for some of the inevitable consequences of climate change will require vast financial resources — including some from the US administration of President Donald Trump, which is doubtful about man-made climate change.
Conference Going Green
Germany is setting aside a part of the 117 million euro ($136.3 million) budget for a fleet of bicycles and electric buses to ferry people between venues.
Each participant will receive a bottle to fill with tap water — a move that will save half a million plastic cups.
Germany’s environment ministry is also investing in renewable energy projects to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by people from all over the world flying into Bonn for the talks.
In its NDC, India had promised to
Reduce its emissions intensity— greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP—by 33 to 35 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030
To ensure that at least 40 per cent of its energy in 2030 would be generated from non-fossil fuel sources, like solar, wind or bio-fuels
Rapidly increase its forest cover so that an additional carbon sink equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide is created by the year 2030
Policies and institutional mechanisms to advance India’s climate actions
Though India’s per capita emissions are only one-third of global average, and its contribution to global stock of carbon dioxide is less than 3%, it has still moved ahead with implementation of path breaking initiatives
Achieving about 58.3 GW of Renewable Energy Capacity out of a targeted 175 GW for 2022
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for providing free LPG connections and Ujala for embracing energy efficient LED bulbs dedicated towards supporting citizens move towards sustainable lifestyle.
The broad policy initiatives of the central government are supplemented by actions of the State Governments. 32 States and Union Territories have put in place the State Action Plan on Climate Change attempting to mainstream climate change concerns in their planning process.
As part of our mission on strategic knowledge on climate change, we have established 8 Global Technology Watch Groups in the areas of Renewable Energy Technology, Advance Coal Technology, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Green Forest, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustainable Agriculture and Manufacturing.
India is one of the few countries where, despite ongoing development, forest and tree cover has increased transforming country’s forests into a net sink owing to national policies aimed at conservation and sustainable management of forests.
A number of schemes for transformation and rejuvenation of urban areas have been launched including Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. These schemes have integrated appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures for environment protection.
Swachh Bharat Mission has been launched with aim to make India clean and litter free. Government has recently revised following waste management rules to make them more effective, efficient and stringent.
Government has revised six waste management rules which are more effective, efficient and stringent. These include rules for solid waste, Plastic waste, E-waste, bio-Medical and Hazardous and Construction and Demolition Waste.
Greening of India’s extensive Railway routes and Highways is being undertaken.
Air Quality Index launched in over 30 cities to provide real-time data of air pollution on daily basis.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana has been formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has been launched for farmers’ welfare. Another scheme has been launched to provide Soil Health Card to every farmer. Further Government of India has set up the goal is to double the income of the farmers by 2022.
Second Phase of Science Express Climate Action Special train with the aim to create awareness among various sections of society, especially students, on the science of climate change, the observed and anticipated impacts, and different possible responses as to how climate change can be combated.
Government has launched “Skill India” with the target to provide skill training in various sectors including sustainable development to about 400 million people by 2022.
Zero Effect, Zero Defect is a policy initiative to enhance energy efficiency and resources efficiency in Medium & Small Industries.
Another important initiative relating to rivers is the National Mission for Clean Ganga which seeks to rejuvenate the river along its length of more than 2,500 km.
Digital India has been launched to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy.
India has been ranked as the sixth most vulnerable country in the world in a fresh list of nations facing climate risk
India’s theme for COP 23 – “Conserving Now, Preserving Future”
Climate Risk Index (CRI): CRI is based on an analysis of the number of deaths (due to climatic conditions) per 100,000 inhabitants, extent of financial losses and loss per unit of GDP of countries. India was at number four last year in CRI ranking. Economic and population data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was taken into account while arriving at the rankings.
DRDO Conducts Successful Flight Trial of ‘NIRBHAY’ Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile
(Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology)
India’s first indigenously designed and developed Long Range Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile which can be deployed from multiple platforms.
The missile has the capability to loiter and cruise at 0.7 Mach, at altitudes as low as 100 m.
The flight test achieved all the mission objectives completely from lift-off till the final splash, boosting the confidence of all scientists associated with the trial.
The guidance, control and navigation system of the missile is configured around the indigenously designed Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) and MEMS based Inertial Navigation System (INS) along with GPS system.
Guru Ghasidas Jaitkham: At Girodhpuri in Chhattisgarh
Guru Ghasidas was a remarkable social reformer among the dispersed community of this region almost 200 years ago. He struggled against social evils and injustice, and fought for the poor and downtrodden.
His message was simple: that truth and noble conduct are synonyms for God.
He made efforts to eliminate the practice of untouchability, and emphasised fraternity and social harmony. He also stressed women’s rights and supported widow marriage.
‘Paradise Papers’ [based upon expose done by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)] indicate that out of 180 countries represented in the data of offshore entities held by persons of different nationalities, India ranks 19th in terms of number of names.
AstroSat, India’s multi-wavelength space telescope, has successfully accomplished the extremely difficult task of measuring X-ray polarisation.
BharatNet – a flagship project of the Government of India to provide Broadband services in rural and remote areas
Indian Boxer Mary Kom clinches the gold at the ASBC Asian Confederation Women’s Boxing Championships
Chennai has been included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its rich musical tradition
Blue Economy is a catalyst in India’s progress: The major ports in India have recorded a growth of 3.27% during the period April to September, 2017 and together handled 383 Million Tonnes of cargo as against 371 Million Tonnes handled during the corresponding period of previous year.
1.5 MW Small Hydro Power Plant in Biaras Drass, Kargil (J&K) becomes first project to be commissioned under Prime Minister’s Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative
Notable points from ‘India Disaster Response Summit’ –
India needs to prepare itself for moving towards Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) from an approach of traditional Disaster Management.
Disaster Mitigation Strategy should be areas of priority for addressing Disaster Risk Management.
Reaching out to the people and communities is the primary responsibility of all stakeholders and efforts should be to make people aware, informed and to guide them during emergency situations. Community groups and stakeholders should find innovative ways to inform people on time in scenarios of Disaster Management.
The efficacy of Disaster Management requires a well-defined guideline and the role of media is vital when disaster strikes and even in executing rescue and relief operations. Communities should come forward with new techniques of sharing information on real time basis for better handling of situation at disaster scenario. Technology can be leveraged in providing a quick response and information to people at time of need.
Collaboration with various stakeholders including NGO’s and private players could provide the necessary base for response with a vision towards ‘Capacity Building’ to handle disaster risk situation for addressing emergency rescue situations. Government will act as facilitator towards information and communication among various stakeholders by helping evolve new modes of communication for better contact between the ‘Government and the People’.
Social media affects everybody’s life and common sources of communication through social media have played a vital role in day-to-day information communication, which needs to be leveraged in proper direction. Efforts should be in the direction of better planning towards evolving technology in line with better communication tools for disaster response planning.
Disaster Information Volunteers (DIV) programme is where a network of trained volunteers would provide supplementary information on disasters in their local communities to assist Government relief efforts through the Facebook Workplace platform. Facebook will now share its disaster maps, developed using aggregated, de-identified data, with NDMA. These maps can aid swift disaster response by providing real-time, actionable information.
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