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Insights Daily Current Events, 23 July 2016

 

 


Insights Daily Current Events, 23 July 2016


 

Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.

 

Solar Power Tree

 

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, recently launched the ‘Solar Power Tree’.

Who developed it?

It has been developed by the CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI), a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

What’s good about this?

Solar Power Tree innovatively addresses the challenge of increasing demand for Green Energy by gainfully utilizing scarce land resources in the country.

  • The Solar Power Tree harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells. It thus reduces the requirement of land as compared to conventional Solar Photovoltaic layout, on one hand, while keeping the land character intact on the other.
  • Even the cultivable land can be utilized for solar energy harnessing along with farming at the same time. The innovation finds its viability both in rural and urban areas.

The Salient Features of the Solar Power Tree are:

  • It takes only 4 square feet of land for a 5 KW Solar Power tree, whereas in a conventional layout, it requires 400 square feet of land.
  • By holding the photovoltaic panels at a higher height, on an average it gets more sunrays for one hour in a day. As a result, it is possible to harness 10-15% more power in comparison to a conventional layout on ground.
  • It has a battery back-up of 2 hours on full load, hence giving light even after sunset.
  • It is facilitated with water sprinkler at the top for self-cleaning of panels, that increases the efficiency of the solar panels.
  • The estimated cost of the device is around Rs. 5 Lakh for a 5 KW specification.

Way ahead:

The device has been functioning effectively at three places in West Bengal as a pilot project. As a future prospect, the Solar Power Tree would be developed in a rotatable module, which would have a motorized mechanism to align itself with the movement of the Sun during the day. Hence, it would be possible to harness 10-15% more power over and above the current capacity.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday.

 

Facebook Internet drone ‘Aquila’ passes first full-scale test

 

Facebook has completed its first successful test of its solar-powered Aquila drone, being developed to deliver internet service to remote areas of the world. The test flight represents a major milestone for Facebook’s efforts to bring the internet to underserved locations of the planet.

Background:

The lightweight Aquila is Facebook’s ambitious project, which aims at providing affordable internet access across the globe. Facebook has invested billions of dollar in getting more people online through the not-for-profit internet.org and by building drones.

  • The project consists of a solar-powered aircraft with a wingspan bigger than a Boeing 737 that can stay up for months on end.
  • The plane uses a laser to beam data to a base station on the ground.
  • The plane will operate between 60,000ft (18km) and 90,000ft (27km) – above the altitude of commercial airplanes – so it would not be affected by weather.
  • It will climb to its maximum height during the day, before gliding slowly down to its lowest ebb at night, to conserve power when its solar panels are not receiving charge.
  • Lacking wheels, or even the ability to climb from ground level to its cruising altitude without aid, it will be launched with the help of helium balloons, which will rise it to its preferred height.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Parliamentary panel approves debt recovery law with changes

 

Suggesting some changes to the proposed debt recovery law, a Parliamentary panel has submitted its report on the bill which seeks to expedite disposal of over 70,000 pending cases involving more than Rs 5 lakh crore.

  • The Joint Parliamentary Committee has proposed amendments, ranging from definitions to several terms such as company, financial lease, and secured creditor, to the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill.
  • The Bill seeks to facilitate expeditious disposal of debt recovery applications. There are around 70,000 cases are pending in Debt Recovery Tribunals involving more than Rs 5 lakh crore.

Important proposals:

  • The committee proposed amendment to the net owned fund for a securitisation or reconstruction company.
  • The Committee suggested relaxation of restrictions on holding controlling interest in the capital of Asset Reconstruction Companies so as to have no restrictions on the composition of board of directors of ARCs.
  • The panel recommended that passing of an ex-parte order after the show cause notice of 30 days of the service of summons may be a violation of the principles of natural justice.

Background:

The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is important legislation which seeks to amend the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 and the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 and make consequential amendments in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and the Depositories Act, 1996.

  • The legislation proposes to give RBI powers to regulate asset reconstruction companies, priortise secured creditors in repayment of debts and provide stamp duty exemption on loans assigned by banks and financial institutions to asset reconstruction firms.
  • The object of the amendments proposed in the Bill is to improve the ease of doing business and facilitate investment leading to higher economic growth and development.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

India ranks 110th on Sustainable Development index

 

India has ranked a low 110 out of 149 nations assessed on where they stand with regard to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, according to a new sustainable development index.

Key facts:

  • The index is topped by Sweden and shows all countries face major challenges in achieving these ambitious goals.
  • The countries which are closest to fulfilling the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries.
  • Sweden is followed by Denmark and Norway on the top three performing countries.
  • Germany (6) and the UK(10) are the only G7 countries to be found among the top ten performers.
  • The US ranks 25th on the index, while Russia and China rank 47th and 76th respectively.
  • India ranks 110th on the list followed by Lesotho on 113th position, Pakistan (115), Myanmar (117), Bangladesh (118) and Afghanistan (139).
  • Poor and developing countries understandably score lowest on the SDG Index as they often have comparably little resources at their disposal.
  • The Central African Republic and Liberia are at the bottom of the Index and still have the longest way to go in achieving the SDGs.
  • No country has achieved the SDGs and even top Sweden scores “red” on several goals.
  • The report shows how leaders can deliver on their promise and urges countries not to lose the momentum for important reforms. The report notes that in order to achieve the ambitious goals, immediate and comprehensive action is needed in the crucial first years of implementation of the new global agenda.
  • The report highlights major challenges per region: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries struggle to meet the goals on inequality, sustainable consumption, climate change and ecosystems, while many developing countries face major difficulties in providing basic social services and infrastructure access to their populations.
  • In spite of significant progress in recent years in Sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region faces major challenges across almost all SDGs, with extreme poverty, hunger and health as major areas where substantial improvement is needed.

About the index:

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung launched a new Sustainable Development Goal Index and Dashboard to provide a report card for tracking Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) progress and ensuring accountability.

  • The index collected available data for 149 countries to assess where each country stands in 2016 with regard to achieving the SDGs.
  • It ranks countries based on their performance across the 17 global goals, a set of ambitious objectives across the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability, underpinned by good governance.
  • The index helps countries identify priorities for early actions and shows that every country faces major challenges in achieving the SDGs.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

  • Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare draft Ganga Act. Justice Shri Girdhar Malviya (Retd.) is the Chairman of the committee. The Committee has been asked to prepre a Draft Act on Ganga ensuring wholesomeness of the River. The Act should have provisions to ensure cleanliness (Nirmalta) and uninterrupted e-flow (avirlta)) of Ganga. The Committee may take into consideration any other issue which it may deem fit in the drafting of the Act. The tenure of the Committee would be for a period of three months which may be extended by another three months, if required.

 

  • Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare guidelines for desiltation of river Ganga from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (West Bengal). Shri Madhav Chitale (Expert Member, NGRBA) has been appointed as Chairman of the committee. The committee has also been asked to establish difference between desilting and sand mining and also to establish need for desilting for ecology and e-flow of the river Ganga. The tenure of the committee would be for a period of three months.