IASbaba Press Information Bureau 1st to 7th January,
MoU between India and Israel on Cooperation in the Oil and Gas Sector: To provide impetus to India – Israel ties in the energy sector. The cooperation envisaged under the agreement will facilitate promotion of investments in each other’s countries, technology transfer, R&D, conducting joint studies, capacity building of human resources and collaboration in the area of Start-ups.
MoU between India and the USA for co-hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 (GES-2017) in India: The MoU delineated the responsibilities, areas of co-operation including logistics and venue related requirements between the parties for smooth conduct of the Summit. The Summit –
- Provide opportunities for meeting with global industry leaders, networking of international entrepreneurs, innovators, investors.
- Provide forum for pitching competition, strategic workshops and sector-programmes to help in creating new collaborations amongst entrepreneurs and Investors.
- Provide for significantly increased economic opportunities for young entrepreneurs, especially, women entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Agreement between India and Myanmar on Land Border Crossing: The Agreement will facilitate
- Regulation and harmonization of already existing free movement rights for people ordinarily residing in the border areas of both countries
- Movement of people on the basis of valid passports and visas which will enhance economic and social interaction between the two countries.
- Provide connectivity and enhance interaction of the people of North Eastern States of India with the people of Myanmar.
- Would give a boost to the economy of the North East and allow us to leverage our geographical connections with Myanmar to boost trade and people to people ties.
- Will safeguard the traditional rights of the largely tribal communities residing along the border which are accustomed to free movement across the land border.
MoU between India and Belgium on Cooperation in the field of ICT&E: The MoU intends cooperation between India and Belgium including sharing of best practices in the area of ICT&E policy; Digital agenda technology and research with special emphasis on developing ICT&E manufacturing and services; e-Governance and e-Public Service Delivery, participation in conferences, study visits and exchange of experts, cyber security and to resolve issues of data adequacy, market access, trade and services.
MoU between India and Italy on cooperation in the field of renewable energy: The MoU envisages establishing a Joint Working Committee to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation. It aims for exchange of expertise and networking of information and helps in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
MoU between India and ‘Transport for London’: The MoU will help to improve the overall public transport system in the country, improve passenger services and promote the use of high capacity buses in India. It will go a long way in strengthening ties and promoting bilateral relations between India and United Kingdom. ‘Transport for London’ is a statutory body established under the Greater London Authority Act, 1999 (UK) to improve Public Transport in India.
Use of Bio-Diesel in Railways
(Topic: Infrastructure: Railways)
- Indian Railways has tested the bio-diesel of different feed stock (Jatropha, Mahua, pongamia, waste cotton seed, Fish Oil, Soyabeen oil, Palm stearin etc.)
- The power performance of engine has been found satisfactory without any adverse impact on engine working. Bio-diesel is found to reduce certain emission parameters which would have otherwise caused pollution in environment.
- Key Advantages of Bio-Diesel:
- Renewable Energy source
- Derived from Vegetable oil
- Non-toxic & Biodegradable
- Contains no sulphur that causes acid rain
- Higher Cetane number, better ignition quality
- Used directly in unmodified Diesel engines, neat or blended in any ratio with HSD
- Higher Lubricity – Can prolong engine life
- Flashpoint higher than HSD-safer to store & transport
- Environment friendly-less emissions
- Has rural employment potential.
Qn 1: The initial generations of Bio-fuels have been seen as a threat to the food security of the country. Comment on these various generations and explain how do the third generation bio-fuels address these food security problems? (200 Words, 10 Marks)
Qn 2: Saumitra Committee recommendations propose for the shift towards alternate fuels to reduce India’s dependence upon petrol and diesel. Critically examine the recommendation and suggest a way forward.
Milestone achieved by ISRO
(Topic: Awareness in the fields of Space)
- In April 2016, seven satellites constellation for Navigation system NavIC was established.
- In August 2016, first experimental mission of Scramjet engine towards realization of Air Breathing system was successfully tested.
- In February 2017, 104 satellites were placed in a single launch.
- In May 2017, South Asia satellite was launched, which was a gift to neighbouring countries.
- In June 2017, GSLV Mk-III was launched successfully carrying GSAT 19 communication satellite.
- In June 2017, Cartosat satellite was launched successfully by PSLV C-38
Indian Space Programme has placed Astrosat, a multi-wavelength observatory in August 2015. It observes universe in optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum, whereas most other scientific satellites are capable of observing a narrow range of wavelength band.
Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is designed to orbit Mars. It is functioning well since its positioning in Mars orbit in September 24, 2014. The designed mission life of MOM was six months but has successfully completed more than three years and is expected to function further. All scientific payloads continue to perform well.
- Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP): For capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 (NW-1)
Issue: One of the major problems for a commercially viable and safe navigation on NW-1 is low depth upstream of Farakka due to low discharges from tributaries and difficult hydro morphological characteristics of river Ganga.
- Alternative mode of transport that will be environment friendly and cost effective – will contribute in bringing down the logistics cost in the country.
- Mammoth Infrastructure development like multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, Roll on – Roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities, ferry services, navigation aids.
- Socio-economic impetus; huge employment generation.
2. Mahaparinirvan Diwas: Death anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
3. Savitribai Phule – India’s first woman teacher
- A crusader for women empowerment, she broke all stereotypes and spent her life promoting the noble cause of women’s education
- Savitribai was married at a very young age of 9 to social reformer Jyotirao Phule. Jyotirao was 12 years old at the time of marriage. It was Jyotirao who helped her learn how to read and write. He helped her attain high levels of education and live her life with her head held high.
- Savitribai set up India’s first women’s school from different castes in Bhidewada, Pune and became first woman teacher in the country. In her lifetime she built 18 such schools in the region.
- She also worked towards preventing female infanticide and set up a home, Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha, to prevent the killing of widows. She also campaigned against child marriage and sati pratha, which undermined the existence of women. As part of the Satyashodhak Samaj, the Phule couple organised marriages without a priest, without dowry, and at a minimum cost. The wedding vows in these marriages were the pledges taken by both the bride and the bridegroom.
- In 2014, the Maharashtra government in a tribute to Savitribai Phule renamed Pune University in her name.
4. New Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016: The Act establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India and has enabling provisions for
- The Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security.
- For making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory.
- Allows multiple type of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against a standard which will give simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards and get certificate of conformity.
- The Central Government to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity.
- There is provision for repair or recall, including product liability of the products bearing Standard Mark but not conforming to the relevant Indian Standard.
- The new Act will further help in ease of doing business in the country, give fillip to Make In India campaign and ensure availability of quality products and services to the consumers.
5. Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)
- Implementation by: Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)
- Programme: A major credit-linked subsidy programme, aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth.
- Since its inception, a total of 4.47 lakh micro enterprises have been assisted with a margin money subsidy of Rs 9326.01 crore providing employment to an estimated 37.32 lakh persons from inception till 2017-18
6. Online portal NARI: Will provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women – tips on good nutrition, suggestions for health checkups, information on major diseases, tips for job search and interview, investment and savings advice, information on crimes and against women and reporting procedures, contacts of legal aid cells, simplified adoption procedures and much more. It will endow women with the power of information to build their life skills and facilitates them in taking full advantage of the services provided by the Government for them.
7. e-Samvad portal: To provide a platform for NGOs and Civil Societies to interact with the Ministry of Women & Child Development
8. Classical languages of India: Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Odia
A proposal for granting of classical status to Marathi language has been received from Marathi Language Department, Government of Maharashtra.
The Criteria adopted by the Government to determine the eligibility of a language for granting classical language status, are as under:
- High antiquity of its early texts/ recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
- A body of ancient literature/ texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
- The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
- The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
9. Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme
It has been designed to meets the financial requirements of farmers at various stages of farming. The scheme aims at providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system under a single window with flexible and simplified procedure to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs as indicated below:
- To meet the short term credit requirements for cultivation of crops;
- Post-harvest expenses;
- Produce marketing loan;
- Consumption requirements of farmer household;
- Working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture;
- Investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities.
The KCC scheme also provides the facility of ATM enabled RuPay Card, one-time documentation, built-in cost escalation in the limit and any number of drawals within the limit.
10. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)
- To provide social security during old age and to protect elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions. The scheme enables old age income security for senior citizens through provision of assured pension/return linked to the subscription amount based on government guarantee to Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
- Provides an assured return of 8% per annum for 10 years. The differential return, i.e. the difference between return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8% per annum would be borne by Government of India as subsidy on an annual basis.
11. Mission Raftar of Indian Railways: To increase speed of trains in Indian Railways; the mission envisages a target of doubling of average speed of freight trains and increasing the average speed of all non-suburban passenger trains by 25 kmph in the next 5 years.