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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 August 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 August 2016


Paper 3 Topic: Disaster and disaster management.


Report on the Spot Study of Water Situation in Drought Affected Areas of the country

The report of on the Spot Study of Water Situation in Drought Affected Areas of the country (2015-16) was recently submitted to the government. The study was carried out by Central Water Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

  • Various long/short term measures to mitigate water scarcity situation have been recommended which are region/area/state specific.


  • The study says that at almost all places minimum domestic water requirements are being met through importing water from other regions, by digging local deep bore wells and also by tankers.
  • Ground water levels have been reported as falling in almost all regions of the country due to over exploitations and inadequate recharging mechanism for ground water.
  • No specific observation on water quality has been reported at most of the areas except in Gujarat, where problem of salinity in coastal areas has been reported.
  • According to the report, the water scarcity situation is prevailing in the country, but some pockets like Marathwada in Maharashtra, Bundelkhand in U.P. and MP, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are more affected by water scarcity situation.

Main cause of water scarcity:

According to the report, the main cause of water scarcity in country is consecutive failure of monsoon, resulting low storages in dams, during last two years. Rainfall deficit in country as a whole during 2015 was 14% and in 2014 it was 12%. Earlier, year 2012 was also a rainfall deficit year with 11% deficit. Consecutive less rainfall also resulted less carryover storage in reservoirs.

Important recommendations made by the report:

  • Construct water harvesting structures, create awareness among citizens for water conservation and construct new water storage structures.
  • Interlinking of rivers is also necessary in some regions of the country. This is especially necessary in regions like Marathwada of Maharashtra, Bundelkhand of UP and MP.
  • Renovation and repair of existing water bodies should also be carried out.
  • Water budgeting and planning the cropping patterns for the oncoming agricultural seasons is necessary in water scarce regions. The strategy for avoiding water intensive crops to the extent in consultation with the relevant expert departments is also crucial for checking such situation, according to the report.
  • Micro irrigation (sprinkler and drip) should be adopted to achieve more crops per drop.

Sources: pib.


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

Central Board for Workers’ Education renamed


The government has renamed Central Board for Workers’ Education as “Dattopant Thengadi National Board for Workers Education and Development”.

About Dattopant Thengadi:

Born on 10th November, 1920 Shri Dattopant Thengadi devoted entire his life for the upliftment of the poor people and promotion of social harmony in the country.

Dattopant Thengadi
Image Source:
  • He was a great thinker, intellectual and efficient organizer, a towering personality in the Labour Movement in India and founder of many national level social organizations.
  • Dattopant Thengadi contributed very immensely for the economic growth of the county and was a well-known trade unionist of national repute.

About the board:

The Dattopant Thengadi National Board for Workers Education and Development having national network is a Central Autonomous Body, under Government of India, Ministry of Labour & Employment.

  • It is engaged in generating awareness about various subjects relating to labour, industry, nation and other socio-economic issues, besides Government’s schemes amongst both organized and unorganized/ rural sector workers for the last 59 years in the country.
  • It has been working since 1958 with its network of 50 Regional Directorates, 9 Sub Regional Directorates, 6 Zonal Directorates.
  • The Headquarter is situated at Nagpur. It also has an Apex National Training Institute i.e. Indian Institute of Workers’ education at Mumbai.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


India and Germany join hands on skill agenda


India and Germany are deepening their collaboration in the area of skill development. In this regard, an implementation agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and (German International Cooperation (GIZ), to initiate a new project focused on adapting elements of the German dual system in select industrial clusters in India.


  • This new project will run for three years starting August 2016 with a budget of 22.6 Crores INR – made available by the German Government.
  • The project aims to foster conditions which will help create and improve cooperative workplace-based vocational training in India’s industrial clusters.
  • The project will be implemented in three selected clusters, which include the Automobile cluster in Maharashtra and Electronics cluster in Bangalore.
  • German technical assistance will be used to enhance industry institute partnerships between Indian and German organizations, build capacity of local training institutions and foster industry linkages which will help adapt elements of the German dual system, into the Indian context.
  • This new project will also play an important role in supporting MSDE’s existing programmes to scale up apprenticeship training.
  • The project will be implemented under the umbrella of the ‘Joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Skill Development and Vocational Education and Training (VET)’, signed during the Indo- German intergovernmental consultations in October 2015.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Join agreement against parental abduction: U.S.


The United States has urged India to join ‘Hague Abduction Convention’ to safeguard the rights of children born to Indian-American couples.


Almost a hundred children born to Indian-American couples are facing an uncertain future due to the trauma of separation of their parents and the complex legal issues involved.

Why India should sign this convention?

To create a more effective response to deal with abduction cases and prevent inter-country parental child abduction.

What is Inter-country parental child abduction?

Inter-country parental child abduction is a situation that is attained when one parent takes a child or children to a foreign country to prevent the other parent from seeking custody of the child.

Indian scenario:

India’s case-load (regarding IPCA) is second largest in the United States which is followed by Mexico. At least 90 children from 80 Indian-American families were affected by separating parents and the legal problems involved. As more and more Indians are studying and working in the U.S, such cases are growing in number and it is necessary to get a better mechanism to deal with this.

About Hague Abduction Convention:

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.

  • The Convention entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983.
  • The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.
  • The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court.
  • The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16.
  • 94 states are party to the convention. Philippines is the latest country to accede to the convention.

Sources: the hindu.


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


U.S.’ security assistance to Pakistan falls by 73 per cent since 2011


According to a report, the US’s security assistance to Pakistan has declined by 73% since 2011 due to the deterioration in ties following the killing of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. The report prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) covers both military and economic assistance given between 2002 and 2015 as well as those earmarked for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.


  • Besides decline in security assistance, the report also shows a 53% decrease in economic assistance since 2011.
  • Security aid fell from nearly $1.3 billion in 2011 to $343 million in 2015. Economic aid declined from nearly $1.2 billion in 2011 to $561 million in 2015.
  • Recently, the US decided not to pay $300 million in military reimbursements to Islamabad over its alleged reluctance to act against the Haqqani network. The cancelled $300 million payments were in the form of Coalition Support Fund CSF, under which Pakistan has received $14 billion since 2002. Nearly half the CSF assistance to Pakistan is used for food and ammunition.
  • The data shows that CSF accounts for 43% of $32.2 billion worth of US government financial transfers to Pakistan from 2002 to 2015. Economic aid comprises 33% of transfers at $10.6 billion followed by 24% in security aid at $7.6 billion.
U.S.’ security assistance to Pakistan


The bilateral relationship started deteriorating after the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a daring US Navy SEALs raid in Abbottabad and a U.S. airstrike on a Pakistani border post in Salala that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

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 Locker Authority soon to push paperless governance


The Centre is planning to appoint an authority to administer and manage its Digital Locker initiative, one of the key projects under Digital India programme, as it looks to push paperless governance.


Digital Locker Advisory Group has advised the government to appoint Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) to take up the role of the Authority for regulation purposes, while Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) may be made responsible for drafting and maintenance of specifications and audits.

Functions to be performed by the authority:

  • The Digital Locker Authority will be responsible for granting licenses and to authorise a private entity to offer these services.
  • It will prepare standards and guidelines, while also ensuring compliance by service providers. These guidelines include those for data retention and migration, audit and security and privacy.
  • The authority will also need to notify the fee or service charges a subscriber will have to pay for availing Digital Locker services from authorized service providers. Currently, the services are offered for free.

About DigiLocker:

It is dedicated personal storage space, linked to each resident’s Aadhaar number. DigiLocker can be used to securely store e-documents as well as store Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) link of e-documents issued by various issuer departments. The e-Sign facility provided as part of DigiLocker system can be used to digitally sign e-documents.

  • The initiative was launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, under the Ministry of Communications and IT.
  • Here, the users can store their documents such as insurance, medical reports, PAN card, passport, marriage certificate, school certificate and other documents in the digital format.
  • With this, the government is trying to create an electronic version of documents, which can be easily verified and stored in printable format.
  • At present, the digital locker gives 10MB of free space for individuals to store documents and links of government department or agency-issued e-documents. The government is also planning to subsequently increase the storage space to 1 GB.


  • It will minimize the use of physical documents and will provide authenticity of the e-documents.
  • It will provide secure access to Govt. issued documents.
  • It will also reduce administrative overhead of Govt. departments and agencies and make it easy for the residents to receive services.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

  • Akashvani Maitree: It is All India Radio’s new channel for Bengali listeners. It is an initiative which will provide a platform for blending content both from India and Bangladesh and preserving Bengali culture. Akashvani Maitree will serve as one more bridge of friendship between people of India and Bangladesh. The channel will be broadcast from a state-of-the-art brand new high power 1000Kw DRM transmitter with a capacity to reach the entire length and breadth of Bangladesh through medium wave and will be also available globally on its website and mobile app.


  • India 7th wealthiest country: India is ranked seventh among top 10 wealthiest countries in the world, according to a report by New World Wealth. The United States topped the chart. With a total individual wealth of $5,600 billion, India stood at No. 7 in the list, ahead of Canada ($4,700 billion), Australia ($4,500 billion) and Italy ($4,400 billion), which came in at 8th, 9th and 10th slots, respectively. The US is the wealthiest in the world in terms of total individual wealth held ($48,900 billion) while China ($17,400 billion) stood second and Japan third with $15,100 billion. Others in the top 10 club were the United Kingdom, Germany and France.