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Insights Daily Current Events, 14 July 2016

 

 


Insights Daily Current Events, 14 July 2016


 

Paper 3 Topic: awareness in space.

 

Juno Spacecraft Sends First Image From Orbit Around Jupiter

 

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent an image of Jupiter and three of its moons. It’s the first spacescape returned after the probe’s daring plunge through Jupiter’s lethal radiation belts.

insights ias current events

Details:

  • Juno took the photo while it was 2.7 million miles away from the solar system’s biggest planet.
  • In it, Jupiter’s beautiful atmospheric bands and shrinking Great Red Spot are visible. Also shown, hanging against the cosmic black, are three of the planet’s four Galilean moons-volcanic Io, humongous Ganymede, and watery Europa.

Background:

Juno was launched nearly five years ago on a mission to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution. It’s the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo. Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit recently, after a five year journey.

Other details:

  • The Juno spacecraft – named after the Roman goddess and wife of Jupiter – is packed with nine instruments capable of peering into the planet’s heart.
  • It will fly 2,600 miles above the cloud tops – 3,000 miles closer to the surface than any other mission has ever achieved.
  • Juno became the first spacecraft to cruise this far out into the solar system powered solely by the sun, beating Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft. A trio of massive solar wings sticks out from Juno like blades from a windmill, generating 500 watts of power to run its nine instruments.
  • Juno, built by Lockheed Martin, is an armored spacecraft – its computer and electronics are locked in a titanium vault to shield them from harmful radiation. Even so, Juno is expected to get blasted with radiation equal to more than 100 million dental X-rays during the mission.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Sebi notifies stricter transfer norms for Participatory Notes

 

To allay concerns over misuse of controversy-ridden P-Notes, regulator Sebi has notified new norms restricting transfer of these offshore instruments only to entities authorised for their use and that too after prior consent from the issuer foreign investor.

Details:

  • As per the new notification, a foreign portfolio investor will have to ensure that any transfer of offshore derivative instruments issued by or on behalf of it, is made subject to two specific conditions — such ODIs are transferred to persons fulfilling Sebi norms for subscription and a prior consent of the FPI is obtained for such transfer, except when the persons to whom the ODIs are to be transferred to are pre-approved by the FPI.
  • As per the Sebi regulations, no FPI can issue, subscribe to or otherwise deal in ODIs, directly or indirectly, unless they satisfy certain strict conditions. As per these conditions, the ODIs can be issued only to persons who are regulated by an appropriate foreign regulatory authority and they can be issued only after compliance to the prescribed ‘know your client’ norms.
  • Also, only the top-two categories of FPIs, including sovereign funds, central banks and multi-lateral institutions, and certain broad-based funds including insurers and pension notes, can issue or deal in ODIs.
  • The Category III FPIs, which mostly include hedge funds and individual investors, cannot issue, subscribe to or otherwise deal in ODIs, directly or indirectly.
  • All these conditions would now also apply for transfer of the ODIs.

What are P-notes?

Participatory Notes or Offshore Derivative Units are issued by Sebi-registered foreign portfolio investors to other overseas entities looking for an exposure to the Indian markets without getting registered directly to save on costs and procedures.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Asylum seekers can own property

 

The Union Cabinet has approved proposals for extending several benefits to “persecuted” minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh living in India on long-term visas.

Details:

  • The beneficiaries can buy property for self-occupation or use in self-employment. They are allowed free movement within the State of their stay, and can get their long-term visa papers transferred from one State to another.
  • The government has permitted them to apply for long-term visas from the place of their current residence, even if they have moved to the present place without seeking permission.
  • The Collector or District Magistrate would be empowered to authorise an officer not below the rank of Sub-divisional Magistrate for administering the oath of allegiance to the applicant.
  • The powers will be delegated to the Collectors of 16 districts in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for two years for registration as citizens of India.
  • The government has waived the penalty on late application for extension of their short- or long-term visas. The registration fees for citizenship will be reduced to Rs. 100 from Rs. 3,000-15,000.
  • Soon, the Citizenship Rules, 2009, will be amended to help such persons get citizenship.

Background:

Many members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities have come to India fearing persecution in their home countries.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Beijing could declare air defence zone over South China Sea

 

China is planning to set up an air defence zone in the South China Sea (SCS). This announcement comes shortly after a UN-backed tribunal ruled the country had no historic rights over islands in the contested region.

Implications:

Setting up an ADIZ would mean that international flights flying over the waters would be required to notify China. China had set up an ADIZ over the East China Sea in 2013, prompting angry reactions from the US and Japan, though the zone was not fully enforced.

Background:

An arbitral tribunal set up by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PAC) in The Hague recently ruled that China had violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines and caused harm to the coral reef environment. However, China dismissed the verdict, calling the tribunal “illegal” and the ruling “null and void”.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure- energy.

 

Many don’t have power in ‘power-surplus India’

 

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has released the Load Generation and Balance Report (LGBR) 2016-17.

Highlights of the report:

  • In India, 300 million people don’t have access to electricity, power cuts are rampant and per capita power consumption is significantly lower than the world average.
  • The deficit has reduced from 11% in 2008-09 to 2.9% in 2015-16 and for the first time, there will be a surplus in 2016-17. India is likely to experience the energy surplus of 1.1% in 2016-17. However, state discoms are unable to buy electricity due to poor financial health.
  • Transmission and distribution constraints are also responsible for power cuts. To solve this problem, the government launched the Ujjawal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in November 2015. By operational and financial turnaround of discoms, UDAY is expected to facilitate reliable, adequate and sufficient power supply to consumers, among other things.
  • On an average, in 2015-16, the per capita consumption in India was 1,070 kWh, less than the world average of 3,026 kWh. It is also the lowest among BRICS nations.
  • The low per capita consumption is mainly due to a large population, a low per capita income and a huge population not having access to electricity.
  • Note that six States — Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Sikkim, Mizoram, Tripura — will be power-surplus in 2016-17 but the per capita availability in the States is lower than the national average. Overall, 17 States will have power-surplus in 2016-17.
  • Power demand for India grew by 6.6% in 2014-15 and 4.2% in 2015-16. In the last two years, Bihar — which has the lowest per capita power availability, witnessed the highest percentage growth, with demand increasing by around 25% in both years. This is indicative of more people getting connected to the grid.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

 

Ashok Patnaik is NATGRID chief

 

The government has appointed a serving Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Ashok Patnaik as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID).

  • The appointment is being seen as the government’s effort to revive the project, which was conceived in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

What is NATGRID?

NATGRID was among the ambitious slew of intelligence reforms undertaken in the wake of the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. NATGRID is a centralised agency which stores sensitive personal information on citizens from almost two dozen agencies to be made available for counter-terror investigations. It will be an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It’s role:

  • NATGRID will become a secure centralised database to stream sensitive information from 21 sets of data sources such as banks, credit cards, visa, immigration and train and air travel details, as well as from various intelligence agencies.
  • The database would be accessible to authorised persons from 11 agencies on a case-to-case basis, and only for professional investigations into suspected cases of terrorism.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

India Post to sell collectible stamps

 

The Department of Post is planning to set up an independent company for its philately business with an aim to boost revenues from the sale of collectible stamps. The proposal would soon be sent to the Cabinet.

Details:

  • India Post Philately Company is proposed as a public limited company, fully owned by the government, with an authorised capital of Rs. 100 crore.
  • The proposed company will be a service-based one, which will not only sell its products to existing customers —collectors and philatelists — but will also try to attract new ones. It will focus on promotion of philately, mainly among the younger generation.
  • As per the proposal, the new firm will have a corporate office and four zonal offices. The board of directors will have seven officials. While the Secretary, Department of Posts, will be the non-executive chairman, India Post officials of the rank of Joint Secretary will be appointed as chairman and managing director on deputation. The board will have three persons from the department and four outsiders.

Background:

India Post is eyeing a jump of Rs. 100 crore, or over 250%, in turnover from the philately segment to Rs. 141 crore in the current fiscal. The earnings from this segment stood at Rs. 39.88 crore during 2015-16 and Rs. 32.85 crore during 2014-15.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.

 

New Central scheme targets skilling of one crore people

 

The Cabinet has cleared the decks for a Rs. 12,000-crore plan to train 60 lakh youths and certify 40 lakh informally skilled workers over the next four years with a revamped version of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), which includes a mechanism to revive the traditional Guru-Shishya approach to train youth with the help of local craftsmen and trade practitioners.

Details:

  • As per the approved plan, training centres will be categorised on the basis of their infrastructure and past performance and third party agencies will be deployed to validate their training efforts and placement records.
  • Members of Parliament will also be roped in to mobilise youth for training, monitor the scheme in their constituencies and post-training placement of trainees.
  • For youths from the Kashmir Valley, the Leh region, the north-eastern States and Left-wing extremism-affected districts, residential programmes will be promoted.
  • Training partners under the scheme will be required to ensure valid Aadhaar numbers of trainees at the time of enrolment and subsequently track attendance through students’ biometrics.

PMKVY:

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is the flagship outcome-based skill training scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE). The objective of this skill certification and reward scheme is to enable and mobilize a large number of Indian youth to take up outcome based skill training and become employable and earn their livelihood.Under the scheme, monetary reward would be provided to trainees who are successfully trained, assessed and certified in skill courses run by affiliated training providers.

Sources: the hindu.