Insights Daily Current Events, 03 December 2015
Paper 3 Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Cabinet okays Bill on Regional Centre for Biotechnology
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of Regional Center for Biotechnology Bill, 2015.
Objective of the Bill: to provide a legal status to the Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad so as to function independently as an autonomous body and also an ‘institution of national importance’ for education, training and research in the areas of biotechnology.
- The Centre is a regional hub for interdisciplinary education, training and research in biotechnology with emphasis on novel education programmes relevant to industry.
- The centre would offer training in the related areas of biotechnology including bio-drug discovery science, nano-science and medicine, imaging techniques, designer crops, bioengineering and biomaterials, intellectual property, technology transfer and regulation to fulfil and overcome the acute shortage of skilled human resources in India.
- The center would also act as a hub of biotechnology expertise in the countries in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region, and more generally in the Asia region. And thus address human resources needs in the region.
- It would also address designing of new and novel programmes for education and training which could then be assimilated by the existing universities in India and the Region.
The Centre has already been established by an executive order of the Government of India in November, 2008 after the approval by the Union Cabinet. It is currently operational at the NCR Biotech Science Cluster, Faridabad and the enactment does not involve any financial implications at this stage.
Paper 3 Topic: conservation.
MoU between India and Israel
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel in the field of water resources management and development cooperation.
- This MoU will benefit both the countries in strengthening the techniques in efficient use of water, micro-irrigation, recycling/re-use of waste water, desalination, aquifer recharge and in-situ water conservation techniques.
- A Joint Working Group will also be formed to monitor the activities to be carried out in fulfillment of the MoU.
- India has already entered into agreements with Australia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq, Fiji, China and Bahrain in the field of water resources management and development cooperation.
The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has been envisaging bilateral cooperation with other countries in water resources development and management through sharing of policy and technical expertise, conducting of training courses, workshops, scientific and technical symposia, exchange of experts and study tours.
- Keeping in view the success of Israel in water use efficiency, micro-irrigation, reuse of waste water, desalination, aquifer recharge, etc., the government had decided to have an agreement with Israel to benefit from their experience and expertise.
Paper 3 Topic: energy.
Govt approves pact with Germany for solar energy
The government has approved a post facto agreement with Germany to expand bilateral cooperation in the field of solar energy.
- The government gave its approval to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed in October, 2015.
- The MoU was signed between India and Germany, to expand bilateral development cooperation in the field of Solar Energy by increasing use of solar energy in India through technical as well as financial cooperation.
- Under the agreement, Germany would provide concessional loans in the range of one billion Euros over the next five years through Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW).
- The funds of KfW will also be utilized for providing soft loans to the end-users through partner banks.
The MoU will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries and also help India achieve its ambitious target of having 100 GW solar power generation capacity by 2022 under the National Solar Mission.
Cabinet approves six new IITs
The Union Cabinet has approved proposal of setting up of six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jammu, Kerala and Karnataka.
- Of the six, IITs at Palakkad (Kerala) and Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) have already started classes this year. The remaining IITs are proposed to come up in Goa, J&K, Chattisgarh and Karnataka.
- Each new IIT will have an initial intake of 180 students in its first year which would increase to 450 in the second year and to 928 (840 Undergraduates, 80 Postgraduates and 8 Ph.D.) in the third year of their operation.
- The new IITs will be operated from their temporary campuses for the initial period of three years before shifting into their permanent campuses in the fourth year. Each IIT will have a sanctioned strength of faculty members, with a faculty-student ratio of 1:10.
- The total cost for running these IITs would be 1,411.80 crore and will be incurred between 2015-16 and 2018-19.
- The 16 existing IITs admit a total of 10,000 students at the undergraduate level. With the six new institutions, the intake will go up by another 1080 seats.
- The Cabinet has also given its approval for operationalisation of these IITs initially by forming of Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in order to give a legal status to them till the amendment for their incorporation in The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 is enacted.
It should be noted here that the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, contains no provision to enable establishment of new IITs. Hence, for the establishment of every new IIT, an amendment to the Act is necessary.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Protocol between Government of India and the Government of Japan
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of Protocol between India and Japan for amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) signed between the two countries in 1989 for avoidance of double taxation and for prevention of fiscal evasion, through a protocol.
- The Protocol will facilitate exchange of information, as per accepted international standards, on tax matters including bank information and information without domestic tax interest.
- There is a further provision in the Protocol for sharing any information received from Japan, with authorization of the competent authority in Japan and vice versa, in respect of a resident of India, with other law enforcement agencies.
- The Protocol also has a provision for India and Japan to lend assistance to each other in collection of revenue claims, as well as for exemption of interest income from taxation in the source country, with respect to debt-claims insured by the Government or Government-owned financial institutions.