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Insights Daily Current Events, 09 May 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 09 May 2016

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Govt. starts UBIN drive for budding entrepreneurs

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has begun an exercise for issuance of Unique Business Identification Number (UBIN) for budding entrepreneurs to start their new businesses without any delay.

  • The move is aimed at doing away with the need for separate registration with authorities ranging from the registrar of companies to the direct and indirect tax wings, the labour department and for export and import.

Current practice:

Currently, entities first need to get a Company Identification Number (CIN) from registrar of companies, followed by PAN from the income tax department and labour identification number.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Nagaland police bags award for smart policing

The SMS-based Vehicle Monitoring System of Nagaland police has bagged the National Award for Smart Policing instituted by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

  • The award is presented for the Best Practice in the category of Road Safety and Traffic Management.


The SMS-based Vehicle Monitoring System was launched in April last year and has resulted in substantial reduction in theft of four-wheelers across the state while more than 100 vehicles have been recovered so far using the application. It provides an easy platform for policemen and citizens to report vehicle theft and alert the various field formations of police across the state by sending a SMS.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3 Topic: space.

Second Exomars in 2020

The European Space Agency has announced that the second Exomars mission will be launched in 2020. Exomars is the mars mission launched jointly by Russia and Europe.

  • Like the first mission, the second Exomars mission will also be launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan with the help of a Proton rocket. It involves a Russian-led surface platform and a European-led rover.


On March 14, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency had launched the Exomars 2016 mission which is due to reach Mars in October this year.

  • The successful implementation of both missions will allow Europe and Russia to jointly explore and validate cutting-edge technology for Mars entry.
  • It will also help in descent and landing, control of surface assets and to develop more systems that can be used in other missions to explore the solar system.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Bird flu: Alert sounded across Karnataka

An alert has been sounded across Karnataka, after the outbreak of bird flu in a privately-owned poultry farm in Bidar district of Karnataka.

  • Poultry farm owners have been instructed to take precautionary measures to prevent infection of chicken with H5N1 virus.
  • In the case of viral infection, scientists have advised farm owners not to sell or move any of the birds/eggs and material out of farm. They have been instructed to adopt adequate bio-security measures.
  • Karnataka has around 7,000 poultry farms, which are both layers and broilers varieties. The farms have stock of more than five crore birds. The state’s daily egg production is about 1.2 crore.

About Bird flu:

Avian influenza (AI), commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds often causing no apparent signs of illness.

Spread: AI viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these AI viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or subclinical infections in humans and other mammals.

Effects on Humans:

  • Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans; however some, such as A(H5N1) and A(H7N9), have caused serious infections in people.
  • The majority of human cases of A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) infection have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry. There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly cooked food.
  • Initial symptoms include high fever, usually with a temperature higher than 38°C, and other influenza-like symptoms (cough or sore throat). Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums have also been reported as early symptoms in some patients.

Controlling the disease in animals is the first step in decreasing risks to humans.


  • Evidence suggests that some antiviral drugs, notably oseltamivir, can reduce the duration of viral replication and improve prospects of survival.
  • In cases of severe infection with the A(H5N1) or A(H7N9) virus, clinicians may consider increasing the recommended daily dose or/and the duration of treatment.

Immediate measures taken by the Government to reduce the outbreak:

  • The entire infected poultry population and its eggs, feed, litter and other infected material will be stamped out within a radius of one km.
  • Restrictions on the movement of poultry will be imposed and the affected area will be cleaned up and disinfected.
  • Regular surveillance will be maintained, especially in vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Digital DBT aids rural job schemes

Recently released data by the Union Finance Ministry shows that the government has electronically transferred more than Rs.61,000 crore in the last financial year through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme.


  • 61,824.32 crore was transferred to 30.8 crore beneficiaries in 59 schemes. Out of this, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) payments made up Rs.25,800 crore, or 42% of total DBT schemes.
  • This also means that 85% of the MGNREGA payments made in 2015-16 were done directly into the beneficiary’s bank accounts.
  • The second largest head under which DBT transfers were made was the PAHAL scheme for the electronic transfer of LPG subsidies. The government transferred Rs.21,400 crore under the PAHAL scheme in 2015-16, which is 35% of the total amount transferred through DBT.
  • The data also show that 3.34 crore duplicate, fake, or inactive consumers were blocked under the PAHAL and related schemes as of April 1, 2015.
  • The Department of Higher Education (Rs.1,975 crore), Ministry of Minority Affairs (Rs.1,134 crore) and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (Rs.955 crore) were the other government agencies that made substantial payments using the DBT model.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

‘Cooling-off time’ for Christian divorces may be cut

The Law Ministry is proposing to amend the Divorce Act, 1869 to reduce by half — from two years to one — the waiting period for Christians who have already decided to divorce.

  • The present law mandates Christian couples to live separately for two years before they can apply for dissolution of marriage.
  • The Centre’s move is triggered by the Supreme Court’s comments that this condition, called judicial separation, “makes no sense” today.

Significance of this move:

This proposed amendment would end the disparity between the Christian divorce law and other personal laws, including the Hindu Marriage Act, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act and even the Special Marriage Act, all of which mandate only a year’s judicial separation.


The apex court, in two separate orders on July 13 and October 12 last year, had urged the Centre to take a decision and amend the law. The court had asked the Ministry of Law and Justice not only to file its reply but also take a decision on whether or not Sub-Section (1) of Section 10A [the legal provision which mandates a two-year pause before filing for dissolution of marriage] of the Divorce Act, 1869 is to be amended.

The court’s intervention again began in March 2015 when a petition contended that the two-year mandatory waiting period for Christians amounted to “hostile discrimination”. The petition argued that this was plain “oppression to the members of the Christian community intending to seek divorce by mutual consent.”

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

India may solve Venezuelan defaults

The Commerce Ministry has proposed a mechanism to address the issue of non-payment of dues by Venezuelan importers to Indian exporters. The ministry has written to the Venezuelan government to resolve the issue of payment defaults. However, Venezuela has not given its approval to the proposed payment mechanism. Talks on the issue will soon be held with the RBI.

What’s proposed?

Under the proposed payment mechanism when Indian importers pay for oil and other imports from Venezuela, a certain portion of the payment will be held by an Indian public sector bank in Venezuela.

  • Then through a vostro account that money will be kept in the Indian branch of that public sector bank and will later be converted to Indian rupees. (‘Vostro’ is an Italian term meaning ‘yours’, and vostro account refers to holding ‘your’ money or Venezuela’s money in this case.)
  • When India’s exports to Venezuela, the Venezuelan buyer (importer) will certify that they have received the goods and instruct the concerned Venezuelan bank to release the payment to the concerned Indian exporters. This instruction will be passed on to the Indian public sector bank in Venezuela and then to Indian branch. Finally, Indian branch will release the payment to Indian exporters by debiting from the vostro account.


Venezuela, an economy that relies on oil exports, has been severely hit by a drastic fall in oil prices. This has in turn resulted in the value of the Venezuelan currency plunging to record lows and a high demand for dollars. India’s goods exports to Venezuela in 2014-15 were $258 million. Owing to the crisis in Venezuela, India’s exports in FY16 (April-February) have touched only $125.5 million. The trade balance is still hugely in Venezuela’s favour.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Army chief orders rightsizing study

In an attempt to make the world’s third largest standing Army a leaner and meaner fighting force, the Chief of the Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh, has ordered a high-level study to determine and recommend measures to improve its tooth-to-tail ratio.


  • The study will be undertaken by a committee headed by an Army Commander. The report is expected by August-end, after which recommendations will be considered for implementation.
  • The study will comprehensively look at all arms and services, including logistics organisation and establishment to achieve right-sizing. Operational logistics will be reviewed, along with the philosophy and concepts to arrive at an optimal substance model both in peace and war.
  • The other objective of the study is to achieve savings in manpower and cutting down on the burgeoning revenue expenditure to free up resources for military modernisation.
  • The study will also look at the impact of equipment modernisation and automation levels improved communication and critical infrastructure development to review stock levels, inventory management models and logistics chain which add to the “tail”.

What is tooth-to-tail ratio?

The tooth-to-tail ratio, referred to as T3R in the Army, is the ratio of fighting arms, which wage the actual battle such as infantry and armoured wings, to support services, such as logistics, signals and ordnance.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

  • Scientists have discovered a “bizarre” fossil of the animal. Its head was poorly preserved, but it seemed to have a flamingo-like beak. The fossil resembled a crocodile-sized ’hammerhead’ creature, that lived 242 million years ago in what today is southern China. It is also thought to be the earliest known example of a plant-eating marine reptile. The reptile’s name, Atopodentatus unicus, hints at its muddled past — it is Latin for “unique strangely toothed.”


  • Gujarat Government has issued a government resolution (GR) giving minority status to the Jain community. This move is aimed at benefitting the poor among the Jain community. Jain institutions will now get special status like the one given to Christian and Muslim institutions. Religious education on Jainism can now be taught in Jain institutes which will also be free from government interference. The move comes nearly two years after the then UPA government granted minority status to Jains in June 2014 at the national level.