Insights Daily Current Affairs, 17 September 2016
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
MoU for speed implementation of Namami Gange Progamme
Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR) has signed an MoU with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) for speedy implementation of Namami Gange programme.
Significance of this MoU:
Being a multi-disciplinary programme, the success of Namami Gange largely depends upon the participation of other ministries, state governments and local communities. Signing of this MoU will ensure effective and efficient implementation of various projects of Namami Gange.
Namami Gange Programme:
The Union government approved “Namami Gange” Program in May 2015. It integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner.
Focus of the programme:
Among other things, the programme will focus on pollution abatement interventions namely Interception, diversion & treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation / appropriate in-situ treatment / use of innovative technologies.
- The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
- The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.
In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of:
- High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level.
- State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level.
- District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
- The program has a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the next 5 years.
- Under this programme, the focus of the Government is to involve people living on the banks of the river to attain sustainable results.
- The programme also focuses on involving the States and grassroots level institutions such as Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions in implementation.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
NASA’s Cassini to make final, closest observations of Saturn
After studying Saturn, its rings and moons for more than 12 years, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its epic voyage during which it will make the closest-ever observations of the planet.
- The conclusion of the historic scientific odyssey is planned for September 2017.
- Cassini’s final phase, called the Grand Finale, begins in earnest in April next year. A close flyby of Saturn’s giant moon Titan will reshape the spacecraft’s orbit so that it passes through the gap between Saturn and the rings, an unexplored space only about 2,400 kilometers wide.
- During the Grand Finale, Cassini will make the closest-ever observations of Saturn, mapping the planet’s magnetic and gravity fields with exquisite precision and returning ultra-close views of the atmosphere.
- Cassini’s orbit will send the spacecraft just past the outer edge of the main rings. These orbits, a series of 20, are called the F-ring orbits.
- During these weekly orbits, Cassini will approach to within 7,800 kilometres of the centre of the narrow F ring, with its peculiar kinked and braided structure.
About Cassini Mission:
Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit.
- Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan. The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005. The spacecraft was launched on October 15, 1997. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.
- Determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn.
- Determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object.
- Determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus’s leading hemisphere.
- Measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the magnetosphere.
- Study the dynamic behavior of Saturn’s atmosphere at cloud level.
- Study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes.
- Characterize Titan’s surface on a regional scale.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
MFIs see higher growth in urban India than rural: Report
According to an annual report by Sa-Dhan- the Bharat Microfinance Report 2016, the self-regulatory body for MFIs, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have seen their business grow faster in urban India than in rural in last one year.
Highlights of the report:
- In 2016, total loan amount disbursed increased by Rs.13,433 crore over 2015, there is a growth of 23% where amount increased in rural areas by 14% and in urban areas by 27%.
- 94% of the loans disbursed in 2015-16 were used for income-generating purposes, up from 80% in the previous year.
- However, the loans are being put to increasingly productive uses with a higher proportion of them going towards income generation than before.
- In 2011, RBI (Reserve Bank of India) regulation stipulated that a minimum of 70% of the MFI loans are to be deployed for income generating activities. Analysis of the loan portfolio held by reporting MFIs for 2014-15 and 2015-16 shows that the proportion of income generation loan to non income generation loan is 94:06.
- Within the income-generating loans, the largest proportion—39%—went to the animal husbandry sector, followed by 29% to the trading & small business category. Agriculture received 15% of the loans.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Proposals pending for inclusion in the VIII Schedule
There are 38 proposals pending for inclusion in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution with the government. The government had instituted an official group to look into the inclusion of these languages in the VIII Schedule. The committee has given its report and the government is examining it.
The proposal to include English along with 37 other regional languages like Bhojpuri, Chattisgarhi, Khasi and Bundelkhandi in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution, granting it an official status, has been pending with the Centre for 12 years now.
Procedural requirement for inclusion of languages in the Eighth Schedule:
A Committee was set up in September, 2003 under the Chairmanship of Shri Sitakant Mohapatra to evolve a set of objective criteria for inclusion of more languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. The Committee submitted its report in 2004.
- The report of the Committee is under consideration in consultation with the concerned Minorities/Departments of the Central Government.
- However, no time frame is fixed for consideration of the demands for inclusion of more languages in Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
Constitutional provisions relating to Eighth Schedule:
The Constitutional provisions relating to the Eighth Schedule occur in articles 344(1) and 351 of the Constitution.
Article 344(1) provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President on expiration of five years from the commencement of the Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement, which shall consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule to make recommendations to the President for the progressive use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union.
Article 351 of the Constitution provides that it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily, on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.
The Eighth Schedule was mainly intended to promote the progressing use of Hindi and for the enrichment and promotion of that language.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Arjuna Award: Cricketers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were recently conferred with Arjuna Awards. Rohit Sharma was conferred Arjuna Award for the year 2015 and Ajinkya Rahane for the year 2016. The Arjuna Awards, instituted in 1961, are given to sportspersons for consistently outstanding performance for four years preceding the year of award and who have also shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline. The awardees are given a statuette, a certificate, ceremonial dress and award money of Rs. 5 lakh.
- Task force on Innovation: The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has decided to set up a Task Force on Innovation. The Task Force will assess India’s position as an innovative country, suggest measures to enhance the innovation eco-system and thus improve the country’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII). It comprises members from the industry and the government.
- Best Museums in India: Five Indian museums have featured among the best 25 in Asia. Leh’s ‘Hall of Fame’ has topped the India list as a “must-visit” place by travellers in a survey. The other top four most rated museums of India are — Bagore Ki Haveli (Udaipur), Victoria Memorial Hall (Kolkata), Salar Jung Museum (Hyderabad) and Jaisalmer War Museum (Jaisalmer). TripAdvisor will honour the ranked museums with its Travellers’ Choice awards. The list was determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period. However, no museums from India feature in the top 25 world list, which is topped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horse in China topped the Asia list.