Insights Daily Current Events, 02 May 2016
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Army depot turns to the sun to destroy old ammunition
In a major breakthrough, the central ammunition depot of the Army in Maharashtra has devised a method of utilising solar energy for disposing ammunition which have completed their shelf life. This is the first of its kind development in the world in field of demilitarisation of ammunition.
- This method uses steam generated by concentrated solar technology (CST). The steam is used to melt explosive material inside shells of munitions with calibres ranging from 40 mm to 130 mm.
- In CST, mirrors are used to concentrate solar energy to convert water to steam which is directed on the shells.
- Medium and high calibre ammunition is filled with Tri-Nitro-Toulene (TNT), which has a melting point of 80 degree Celsius which can be melted with steam.
- Shells treated this way are rendered 100% free from explosives and the recovered TNT filling can be re-casted for reuse.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.
Modi launches LPG scheme for poor women
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which aims to provide five crore LPG connections to women in Below Poverty Line (BPL) households over the next three financial years, at a cost of Rs. 8,000 crore.
- The scheme was launched at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.
About the scheme:
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, in March 2016, had given its approval to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
- The scheme will be partially funded from the savings accruing to the government from LPG users who gave up their subsidy as part of the Give It Up programme.
- The new users who receive LPG connections under the scheme will not have to pay the security deposit, while the Rs. 1,600 administrative costs, cost of pressure regulator booklet and safety hose will be borne by the government.
- The households will be selected using the socio-economic and caste census data. Consumers will have the option to purchase gas stove and refills on EMI.
Currently, India has 16.64 crore active LPG consumers with a requirement of about 21 million tonnes per annum.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure, energy.
The union government has launched National LED programme – Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) in Madhya Pradesh.
- The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Union Ministry of Power.
- UJALA is a flagship project of the Govt. of India where it wants every home in India to use LED bulbs so that the net power or energy consumption rate comes down and the carbon emission rates can also be checked.
Key features of the scheme:
- Under this Programme, 3 crore LED Bulbs will be distributed in the next 6 months in the State.
- Under the scheme, people of Madhya Pradesh will get energy efficient 9W LED bulbs at an upfront payment of just 85 rupees per LED bulb.
- The scheme will not only help reduce consumers their electricity bills but also contribute to the energy security of India.
- The scheme is being monitored in a transparent manner through a national dashboard (www.delp.in).
- The distribution of LED bulbs will happen through DISCOM offices, DISCOM bill collection centres, designated EESL kiosks, Weekly haat markets, etc.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Real Estate Act comes into force
The much awaited and widely acclaimed Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 has come into force from May 1, 2016.
- In this regard, Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) has notified 69 of the total 92 sections of the Act.
- The Act has set into motion the process of making necessary operational rules and creation of the institutional infrastructure to make the Act effective on ground.
- As per the notification, Rules under the Act have to be formulated by the Union and State Governments within a maximum period of six months from the act coming into force that is by 31 October 2016 under Section 84 of the Act.
- The law aims to protect homebuyers from real estate developers who fail to deliver on time, and regulate India’s murky real estate sector in the country.
- It ensures the timely completion and delivery of flats to the consumer by ensuring that strict regulations will be imposed on developers to ensure timely construction and delivery. It further provides that consumers are entitled to a full refund with interest, if there has been a long delay in the delivery of a flat.
- The law mandates that developers need to share final project plans as part of their disclosure terms, with no room for iterations. It also imposes a 10% project cost penalty and upto 3 years in jail.
- The developers need to deposit 70% of the collections from buyers in separate accounts towards the cost of construction including that of land.
- The law also ensures that all clearances are completed before the launch of a project. Liability of developers for structural defects has been increased from 2 to 5 years and they can’t change plans without the consent of two thirds of allottees.
- Also, Real Estate Regulatory Authority will be formulated within one year as per the mandate of Act. Regulatory Authorities will have to dispose of complaints in 60 days and Appellate Tribunals will be required to adjudicate cases in 60 days.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: conservation.
NABARD collaborates with German government for a special programme
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has collaborated with the German government for a special programme on ‘Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security’.
- As part of the collaboration, Nabard is anchoring two major programmes — soil conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land for food security in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and innovation of watershed development for rehabilitation of degraded soils and climate change adaptation in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan).
- The programme is part of the German government’s recently introduced special initiative ‘One World, No Hunger’ on addressing the food security needs of countries.
- ‘One World, No Hunger’ addresses areas such as food and nutrition security, promotion of innovation, protection and sustainable use of natural resources in rural areas and promotion of responsible land use and access to land.
- India is the only country in Asia chosen for this initiative.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- The Supreme Court has banned diesel taxis from operating in the national capital. Earlier in December last year, SC had directed that all diesel taxis be converted to CNG by March 1. The deadline was later extended to March 31 and then again to April 30.
- India’s first new conventional submarine in 16 years, Kalvari, has finally begun its sea trials off Mumbai, giving much-needed fillip to the Navy. Kalvari is Indian Navy’s first indigenous Scorpene-class stealth submarine. Kalvari is the first of the India’s six Scorpene-class submarines being built under the much-delayed Project 75. The vessels are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in collaboration with French company DCNS.
- Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu recently flagged-off the much awaited East-West corridor of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) – south India’s first underground metro.