Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 December 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
MoU between India and Afghanistan
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and Afghanistan on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
- The MoU envisages cooperation between the two countries for application of space technologies in education, agriculture, weather forecasting, telecommunications, rural health, sanitation and urban development among others.
The MoU will benefit both countries in the following manner:
- Development of space sector in Afghanistan.
- Burnish India’s credentials as a nation with advanced space technology, one that can also assist other countries.
- Afghanistan will move towards self-reliance in the space sector.
- Help deepen bilateral ties and mutual understanding and trust between India and Afghanistan.
- Provide India with a foothold in Afghanistan’s strategic space and communication sector.
- It will boost high-tech jobs in the two countries in both core Science & Technology and R&D fields, and also the field of implementation.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Expansion of the mandate of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project Implementation Trust Fund
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the expansion of the mandate of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project Implementation Trust Fund (DMIC-PITF Trust) and its re-designation as National Industrial Corridor Development & Implementation Trust (NICDIT) for integrated development of Industrial Corridors.
- NICDIT has also been permitted to utilize financial assistance already sanctioned within extended period up to 31st March, 2022.
- NICDIT would be an apex body under the administrative control of DIPP for coordinated and unified development of all the industrial corridors in the country.
- It will channelize Gol funds as well as institutional funds while ensuring that the various corridors are properly planned and implemented keeping in view the broad national perspectives regarding industrial and city development.
- It will support project development activities, appraise, approve and sanction projects.
- It will also coordinate all central efforts for the development of Industrial Corridor projects and will monitor their implementation.
- DMICDC will function as a knowledge partner to NICDIT in respect of all the Industrial Corridors in addition to its present DMIC work, till Knowledge Partner(s) for other Industrial Corridors are in place.
- An Apex Monitoring Authority under the chairpersonship of the Finance Minister will be constituted to periodically review the activities of NICDIT and progress of the projects. It will consist of Minister-in-charge of Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Minister of Railways, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Minister of Shipping, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog and Chief Ministers of States concerned as Members.
Significance of this move:
The formation of the NICDIT will enable development and implementation of Industrial Corridor Projects across India by bringing in holistic planning and development approach and sharing the learning from development of Industrial Corridors, which will enable innovation in areas such as planning, design development and funding of such projects. This will help enhance the share of manufacturing in the country, attract investment in manufacturing and service industry sectors, which will have a catalytic effect on up-gradation and development of skills of the workforce and generation of employment opportunities.
To accelerate the growth in manufacturing and for ensuring scientifically planned urbanization, Government of India (Gol) has adopted the strategy of developing integrated Industrial Corridors in partnership with State Governments with focus on manufacturing. Five Corridors namely, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC), Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIG), Bengaluru- Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC) and Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) have been planned for development by Government of India.
The five Industrial corridors presently cover the States, namely, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu.
Paper 3 Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
Centre to review fertilizer subsidy rates after 6 months
The government has approved the proposal of half-yearly review of nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) rates for phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilizers for 2016-17 against the present practice of annual review.
- The government has also decided to ensure that any fall in international prices will be reflected by the fertilizer companies with subsequent reduction in maximum retail prices.
- These moves are expected to result in increase in consumption of P&K fertilizers which will result in balanced fertilization.
The government has been implementing Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy for decontrolled phosphate and potash (P&K) fertilisers since April 2010. Under this policy, MRP is fixed by the fertiliser companies as per market dynamics.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
PSLV-C36 Successfully Launches RESOURCESAT-2A Remote Sensing Satellite
In its thirty eighth flight (PSLV-C36), ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has successfully launched the 1,235 kg RESOURCESAT-2A Satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty seventh consecutively successful mission of PSLV.
- With this launch, the PSLV has yet again demonstrated its reliability. The total number of satellites launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV including today’s RESOURCESAT-2A has now reached 122, of which 43 are Indian and the remaining 79 are from abroad.
RESOURCESAT-2A is a Remote Sensing satellite intended for resource monitoring. It is a follow on mission to RESOURCESAT-1 and RESOURCESAT-2, launched in 2003 and 2011 respectively.
- RESOURCESAT-2A is intended to continue the remote sensing data services to global users provided by RESOURCESAT-1 and RESOURCESAT-2.
- RESOURCESAT-2A carries three payloads which are similar to those of RESOURCESAT-1 and RESOURCESAT-2. They are a high resolution Linear Imaging Self Scanner (LISS-4) camera, medium resolution LISS-3 camera, and a coarse resolution Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) camera.
- RESOURCESAT-2A carries two Solid State Recorders with a capacity of 200 Giga Bits each to store the images taken by its cameras which can be read out later to ground stations.
- The data sent by RESOURCESAT-2A will be useful for agricultural applications like crop area and crop production estimation, drought monitoring, soil mapping, cropping system analysis and farm advisories generation.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
SC seeks Parliamentary panel report on Lokpal amendments
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to place before it a copy of the report of a Parliamentary standing committee suggesting amendments to the Lokpal law.
What’s the issue?
The court is hearing a petition filed by NGO Common Cause which has sought a direction to the Centre to make the appointment of chairperson and members of Lokpal as per the amended rules framed under Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
- The NGO in its plea has also sought a direction to the Centre to ensure that the procedure for selecting the chairperson and members of Lokpal must be transparent as envisaged under the Act.
- According to the NGO, the inaction of the government in making the appointment of Lokpal is arbitrary and unreasonable and hence violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
The appointment of anti-corruption ombudsman is hanging in balance since the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, which received Presidential assent on January 1, 2014 because the legislation provides for the LoP to be on the selection committee, but in the present Lok Sabha the largest opposition party does not have the required number of MPs for its leader to be designated as Leader of Opposition.
- Earlier, the court had said the requirement of LoP on the panel was “dispensable” and can be substituted with the leader of the largest opposition party.
- In Lok Sabha, the largest opposition party Congress has only 45 members and lacks the requisite 10% of total 545 seats, giving rise to the need to amend the present Lokpal Act.
What the law says?
The law provides for selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, LoP in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting SC judge nominated by the him, and an eminent jurist to be nominated by President of India on the basis of recommendations of first four members of selection panel.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Veterans Outreach Android App:
- In an attempt to reach out to Army veterans, and create an interactive mechanism, the government has launched a mobile app called “Veterans Outreach App”. This will provide certain specific facilities to Army Veterans & Veer Naris on their android based mobiles.
- The app was prepared under the Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV), which functions under the Adjutant General Branch and runs a web portal specifically meant for veterans and Veer Naris called ‘Indian Army Veterans Portal” (www. indianarmyveterans.gov.in ).
- The Veterans Outreach App has specific features like “Ask a question” and “Locator Services” that enable locating Ex-Serviceman Cells, ECHS Polyclinics, Station Canteens and Sainik Aram Garh’s all across the country.
- The app also facilitates route guidance on a google map to any chosen service facility.
- The App also facilitates “Findings Coursemates” from amongst veterans who are registered on the Indian Army Veterans Portal and thereby enabling them to reconnect with old mates.
- An additional feature incorporates providing links to various web portals run by Directorate General Recruiting, Directorate General Resettlement, Kendriya Sainik Board. Indian Army. Portal and Principle Controller of Defence Accounts.
India International Science Festival (IISF-2016) inaugurated in New Delhi:
- India International Science Festival (IISF-2016) was recently inaugurated.
- It is the largest festival of science in this country with its focus on “Science for the Masses”.
- India International Science Festival (IISF) as a major science event was conceptualized last year. It was a great success and also won the distinction of Guinness Book of World Record for successful conduct of Largest Practical Science Lesson by 2000 school students.
- The success of first IISF in 2015 gave the impetus to launch IISF-2016 with expanded scope, mandate and operation.
- IISF-2016 aims to encourage and develop scientific temper and attitude, promote exchange of knowledge and ideas among young minds including showcasing of recent developments and contributions of India in science and technology involving all our scientific departments.
- IISF-2016 will showcase India’s S&T prowess, technological developments, history of Indian Science and science education involving more than 10000 young researchers, school students, academicians and top level Indian scientists.