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Insights Daily Current Events, March 7-8-9, 2014

March 7 to 9, 2014



Glass Ceiling Index- A glass ceiling is a political term used to describe “the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.

A glass ceiling inequality represents:

  1. “A gender or racial difference that is not explained by other job-relevant characteristics of the employee.”
  2. “A gender or racial difference that is greater at higher levels of an outcome than at lower levels of an outcome.
  3. “A gender or racial inequality in the chances of advancement into higher levels, not merely the proportions of each gender or race currently at those higher levels.”
  4. “A gender or racial inequality that increases over the course of a career.”

The glass ceiling metaphor has often been used to describe invisible barriers (“glass”) through which women can see elite positions but cannot reach them (“ceiling”). These barriers prevent large numbers of women and ethnic minorities from obtaining and securing the most powerful, prestigious, and highest-grossing jobs in the workforce.


National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project-

The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is a project to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) Gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs.20, 000 crore ($4 billion).

The project provides internet access using existing optical fiber and extending it to the Gram panchayats. The project was intended to enable the government of India to provide e-services and e-applications nationally.

A special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was created as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Companies Act of 1956 for the execution of the project. The project will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and was estimated to be completed in 2 years.

The implementation framework, budget, technology architecture and other issues related to NOFN were worked out by a high level committee constituted by the Department of Telecom (DoT) under the chairmanship of an adviser to the Prime Minister and Chairman UIDAI.

The Special-Purpose Vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was incorporated to execute the project, implemented by three prominent telecom PSUs. To grant right of way, a draft tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) among the government of India, the SPV and the State governments of India was sent to the state governments and Union Territories for their concurrence.

The National Informatics Centre (NIC) was assigned a project by DOT/USOF for geographic information system (GIS) mapping of the existing OFC network of the various telecom operators such BSNL, Rail Tel, Power Grid, etc.

National Optic Fibre Network uses Gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology indigenously developed by Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT).

A passive optical network (PON) brings fiber cabling and signals to the home using a point-to-multipoint scheme that enables a single optical fiber to serve multiple premises. Encryption maintains data security in this shared environment. The architecture uses passive (unpowered) optical splitters, reducing the cost of equipment compared to point-to-point architectures.

The GPON standard differs from other passive optical network standards in that it achieves higher bandwidth and higher efficiency using larger, variable-length packets. GPON offers efficient packaging of user traffic, with frame segmentation allowing higher quality of service (QoS) for delay-sensitive voice and video communications traffic.

Government policy for driving National Broadband-

The National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2012 states the following:

  • Affordable and reliable broadband on demand by 2015.
  • Target of 175 Million Connections by 2017.
  • Target of 600 Million Connection by 2020 at minimum 2 mbps speed and higher speed upto 100 mbps on demand.
  • Recognize Telecom and BB connectivity as a basic necessity like education and health and work towards, “Right to Broadband”.
  • Synergy between existing on-going and future Government programs viz e-Gov, e- Panchayat, MGNREGA, NKN, Aakash, etc. and Broadband roll-out and sharing of infrastructure



India-Ukraine relations-

Diplomatic relations between India and Ukraine were established in January 1992

More than 17 bilateral agreements have been signed between India and Ukraine, including agreements on Co-operation in Science and Technology, Foreign Office Consultation, Co-operation in Space Research, Avoidance of Double Taxation and Promotion and Protection of Investments.

Trade relations-

  • The India Ukraine trade relation and economic co-operation has developed on the basis the long-standing friendship between the two countries. In March, 1992 the Treaty on Friendship and Co-operation was signed between India and Ukraine, providing a major boost to India-Ukraine trade relations.
  • The main items being imported by Ukraine from India are drugs, pharmaceutical production, Ores and minerals, tobacco products, tea, coffee, spices, silk and jute. The main items imported by India from Ukraine are chemicals, equipment, machines and engines.
  • After Russia, Ukraine is India’s second largest trading partner in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Ukraine is not a new member in the Indian industry as its enterprises are actively involved and form the backbone of Indian power sector and heavy industries among others.

Science and technology relations-

  • Joint S&T Committee meets annually to discuss implementation of projects, holding of exhibitions and co-operation in scientific research.
  • National Space Agency of Ukraine and ISRO have ongoing co-operation in the space sector. Ukraine has a very strong IT Sector. Many offshore call centres have been successful. Aptech Limited from Mumbai has signed an Agreement in May 2004 with International Institute of Personnel Management (the biggest IT training centre in Ukraine) to organize IT programmes for schools and institutions in Ukraine. Bio-technology is the latest sector where companies such as Biocon, Genome etc. are co-operating with each other. It also supplies turbines for thermal, hydel and nuclear power plants.


  • Ukrainian military facility provides engines for military helicopters of Russian origin, which account for a quarter of the world’s medium, medium-heavy and heavy lift helicopters. India also has contracts for sourcing naval engines.
  • During the Soviet times, Ukraine was home to 30 per cent of the country’s military industrial complex and it is now attempting to modernize its defence industry. In this scenario, India senses it will be able to duplicate its approach towards Russia of moving away from the buyer-seller relationship and going in for an R&D-joint production model such as the pacts with Moscow for Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, Military Transport Aircraft and BrahMos.
  • Ukraine is already modernizing India’s 100-plus fleet of military transport aircraft and has been active in providing engines for naval vessels and military spares.
  • Ukraine in turn assured India of its support in a bid to join four international export control organizations, including the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.
  • The two sides also inked an agreement on exchanging nuclear safety-related information. Ukraine operates 15 reactors of the same type as the ones being put up by Russia at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu

Commonwealth of Independent States-

The Commonwealth of Independent States (also called the Russian Commonwealth) is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The CIS is a loose association of states. Although the CIS has few supranational powers, it is aimed at being more than a purely symbolic organization, nominally possessing coordinating powers in the realm of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security. It has also promoted cooperation on cross-border crime prevention. Some of the members of the CIS have established the Eurasian Economic Community with the aim of creating a fully fledged common market.

There are nine full member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Since its inception, one of the primary goals of the CIS has been to provide a forum for discussing issues related to the social and economic development of the newly independent states. To achieve this goal member states have agreed to promote and protect human rights.

The CIS treaty offers some valuable innovations that are not found in other organizations especially regional human rights treaties such as the European Convention on Human Rights in terms of the human rights it protects and the means of protection. These include the combination of social and economic rights and rights to professional education and citizenship. It also offers former Soviet Union states the opportunity to deal with human rights matters within a more familiar cultural setting.

The CIS Charter establishes the Council of Ministers of Defense, which is vested with the task of coordinating military cooperation of the CIS member states.

The Council develops conceptual approaches to the questions of military and defense policy of the CIS member states; develops proposals aimed to prevent armed conflicts on the territory of the member states or with their participation; gives expert opinions on draft treaties and agreements related to the questions of defense and military developments; issues related suggestions and proposals to the attention of the CIS Council of the Heads of State. Also important is the Council’s work on approximation of the legal acts in the area of defense and military development.