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Insights Daily Current Events, 20 June 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 20 June 2015

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Brightest early galaxy named after Ronaldo

Scientists have discovered the brightest galaxy in the early universe that contains the first generation of stars.

  • They have nicknamed it after popular Portuguese football player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Details:

  • Scientists say that these massive, brilliant, and previously purely theoretical objects were the creators of the first heavy elements in history — the elements necessary to forge the stars around us today, the planets that orbit them, and life.
  • The newly found galaxy is labelled CR7.
  • The newly found galaxy is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known till now. The name was inspired by 30-year-old Ronaldo, who is known as CR7.

These first generation stars are also known as Population III stars — that were born out of the primordial material from the Big Bang.

Sources: The Hindu.

Solar effect

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved plans to generate 2,000 MW of grid-connected PV solar power on a Build-Own-Operate basis by solar power developers under the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

Total cost & funding by the government:

  • Generation of additional 2,000 MW of solar PV power will involve an investment of Rs.12,000 crore, of which viability gap funding will be to the tune of Rs.2,100 crore at the rate of Rs.1 crore per MW in the open category and Rs.1.31 crore per MW in the domestic content requirement category.
  • The investment of the government will be spread over the coming financial years. A sum of Rs.1,000 crore will come during 2016-17; Rs.260 crore during 2017-18; and Rs.210 crore each during the following three financial years.

Implementation of the scheme:

The scheme will be implemented by the Solar Energy Corporation of India as per the guidelines of the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy. Viability gap funding will be made available by the Ministry from the National Clean Energy Fund operated by the Finance Ministry.

Implications:

  • The solar mission project will reduce about 3.41 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission a year and generate jobs for 12,000 people in rural and urban areas.
  • While the State-specific utilities stand to benefit from the scheme, it will also create employment and infrastructure in States and Union Territories (UT). The State and UT utilities will be paid a specific rate for the grid-connected PV solar power.
  • Installation of 2,000 MW of solar power generation facility will generate a total of 3,320 million units of power a year, which can light up nearly a million households.
  • According to the project plans, price of the solar power will be Rs.5.43 per unit for the first year with an increase of five paise per unit per year till the tariff reaches the level of Rs.6.43 per unit. This will take place over a period of 21 years from which period, the price of power would remain at the same level.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission:

  • The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched in January, 2010.
  • The Mission has set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 and aims at reducing the cost of solar power generation in the country.
  • The mission also aims to create an enabling policy framework to achieve this objective and make India a global leader in solar energy.
  • One of the important objectives of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for its large scale diffusion across the country as quickly as possible.
  • The Mission has adopted a 3-phase approach: the 11th Plan and first year of the 12th Plan (up to 2012-13) has been considered as Phase 1, the remaining 4 years of the 12th Plan (2013-17) are included as Phase 2, and the 13th Plan period (2017-22) is envisaged as Phase 3.
  • At the end of each plan, and mid-term during the 12th and 13th Plans, there will be an evaluation of progress, review of capacity and targets for subsequent phases, based on emerging cost and technology trends, both domestic and global.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, jnnsm.

 

ADB threatens to close loan for sewage plant

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), which had extended a loan of about Rs. 85 crore towards the Rs. 200-crore sewage treatment plant for West Kochi at Mundamveli, has threatened to close the loan as no work has progressed even after a year of the two-year contract period.

  • This was stated after the ADB officials, who had visited the site to inspect the progress of work, were disappointed that no work worth mention had taken place.
  • The sewage treatment plant and sewerage lines are two components of the project. While laying of the sewerage lines had been sanctioned, the go-ahead for the treatment plant is yet to come by and is under the scrutiny of the National Green Tribunal. Hence, the project is getting delayed.

About ADB:

It is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 and is headquartered in Philippines. It aims to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia. It also aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty.

Membership:

  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.
  • Currently, it has 67 members – of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions.

Funding:

  • ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world’s capital markets.
  • ADB also rely on its members’ contributions, retained earnings from its lending operations, and the repayment of loans.
  • Japan holds the largest proportions of shares at 15.67%. The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.

Loans:

  • It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans.
  • The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.

Sources: The Hindu, ADB, Wiki.

Nowcast

The Union government recently launched a free SMS service called ‘Nowcast‘.

Why?

  • To provide alerts on extreme weather conditions like hailstorm every three hours to over one crore registered farmers on their mobile phones.
  • The SMS warnings on extreme weather conditions like thunderstorm, hail, and squall will help farmers take precautionary measures as needed and feasible.

Details:

  • The free SMS alerts, to be sent in English, Hindi and regional languages as per farmers’ request, will be issued to over one crore farmers whose mobile phones are already registered on the government’s mKisan portal.
  • The data for SMS service would be taken from the 146 weather stations of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • IMD’s has 17 doppler radars that feed information on extreme weather to these stations.
  • Under this initiative, the extreme weather data originated from IMD is being moved to mKisan portal using a web service. From mKisan portal, warnings regarding extreme weather conditions are automatically transmitted by SMS to farmers located at district and block level.

Sources: BS, PIB.

350th Foundation Day of Sri Anandpur Sahib

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently greeted the people on the 350th Foundation Day of Sri Anandpur Sahib saying the Sikh Gurus “have left a very deep impact on our culture and society.”

Quick facts-Anandpur Sahib:

  • Anandpur Sahib is a city in Rupnagar district (Ropar) in the state of Punjab, India.
  • It is known as “the holy City of Bliss.”
  • It is one of the Sikhs’ most important sacred places, closely linked with their religious traditions and history.
  • It was founded in 1665 by the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur when he bought a tract of land.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

Forex reserves hit all-time high of $354 bn

Recently released data show that the country’s foreign exchange reserves rose to yet another all-time high of $354.29 billion for the week ended June 12, recording a week-on-week rise of $1.57 billion.

  • The foreign exchange reserves have been rising this year, as the Reserve Bank of India has been mopping up dollar flows through public sector banks.

Forex reserves:

  • Foreign exchange reserves are an important component of the balance of payments and an essential element in the analysis of an economy’s external position.
  • The components of India’s foreign exchange reserves are foreign currency assets (FCA), gold, SDRs and reserve tranche position (RTP) in the IMF.
  • Foreign Currency Assets (FCA) is the biggest component of the forex reserves.

Sources: BS, IMF.

Insights Secure Prelims 2015

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