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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 March 2017



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 March 2017


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


Projects approved for Swift Implementation of Namami Gange Programme in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi


Picking up pace, projects worth nearly Rs 1,900 crore have been approved by the Executive Committee (EC) of National Mission for Clean Ganga.

  • Out of 20 projects approved, 13 are in Uttarakhand that includes creating new sewage treatment plants, upgrading existing STPs and laying of sewage networks in Haridwar at an estimated cost of approximately Rs 415 crore.
  • Among other projects approved in Uttarakhand are four pertaining to pollution abatement works for river Alakananda to ensure cleaner flow of the river downstream. This includes interception and diversion of drains along with creation of new small STPs at four crucial locations – Joshimath, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag and Kirti Nagar at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 78 crore.
  • All these projects will be fully funded by the Central Government, including even the expenditure on operation and maintenance of these projects.


About National Mission for Clean Ganga:

National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG) was registered as a society on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860.It acted as implementation arm of National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA),1986. NGRBA has since been dissolved with effect from the 7th October 2016, consequent to constitution of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council).

  • It now works under the control of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The aim is to clean Ganga and its tributaries in a comprehensive manner.
  • NMCG has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. Both of them are headed by Director General, NMCG. Executive Committee has been authorized to accord approval for all projects up to Rs.1000 crore. Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees.
  • The Director General(DG) of NMCG is a Additional Secretary in Government of India. For effective implementation of the projects under the overall supervision of NMCG, the State Level Program Management Groups (SPMGs) are, also headed by senior officers of the concerned States.

Sources: Pib.


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


Cabinet apprised of MoUs for cooperation in Youth and Sports Matters with Indonesia and the Kyrgyz Republic


Union Cabinet was recently apprised of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed between India and Kyrgyz Republic for cooperation in the field of youth development.

  • The MoU envisages organizing Youth Exchange Programmes with Kyrgyz Republic, and cooperation in other youth and sports related matters.



International Youth Exchange programmes promote exchange of ideas, values and culture amongst youth and help in developing international perspective among the youth. Further, these Programmes promote peace and understanding, and strengthen friendly relations between countries. Cooperation in other youth and sports-related matters also helps in youth development and sports promotion in partner countries.

The benefits arising from bilateral exchange programmes in the field of Youth and Sports would be equally available to all youth irrespective of their caste, religion and gender.


About Kyrgyz Republic:

It is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.

  • The mountainous region of the Tian Shan covers over 80% of the country (Kyrgyzstan is occasionally referred to as “the Switzerland of Central Asia”, as a result).
  • Issyk-Kul Lake, or Ysyk-Köl in Kyrgyz, in the north-eastern Tian Shan is the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan and the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca. The highest peaks are in the Kakshaal-Too range, forming the Chinese border.

Sources: pib.


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


Cabinet approves of MoU between India and Bangladesh on Aids to Navigation (AtoNs)


The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) between India and Bangladesh. A navigational aid (also known as aid to navigation, ATON, or navaid) is any sort of marker which aids the traveler in navigation; the term is most commonly used to refer to nautical or aviation travel. Common types of such aids include lighthouses, buoys, fog signals, and day beacons.


The MoU envisages cooperation between Bangladesh and India:

  • To extend advice on lighthouses and beacons.
  • To extend advice on Vessel Traffic Service and chain of Automatic Identification System (AIS).
  • To impart training as per International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) training module to AtoN Managers and Technicians for Bangladesh.


The MoU will enable both the countries to collaborate in the following areas:

  • To provide advice on AtoNs.
  • Provide academic interaction by imparting training to AtoN personnel.
  • Provide necessary cooperation in organizing workshops/conferences for enhancement of skills in AtoN field.


Significance of this MoU:

India and Bangladesh are two important developing nations in the South Asian region. Both countries maintain a long tradition of friendly and cordial relations which has been manifested in the several bilateral visits of dignitaries from both sides during recent years.

The MoU will help in greater cooperation in capacity building in the field of AtoN training in the South Asian region. This will give a boost to imparting training on the management of marine aids to navigation based on IALA Model Course E-141/1 and accordingly facilitate the delivery of a professional training course as per the IALA guidelines.



IALA is the international body coordinating and harmonizing the use of all Aids to Navigation. India represented through DGLL, is a member of IALA Council. As a step towards regional cooperation, India and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation on AtoN.

  • As per the MoU, the DGLL on behalf of Ministry of Shipping, Government of India shall advise its counterpart Department of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh on AtoNs including Vessel Traffic Service, Chain of Automatic Identification System.
  • In order to train AtoN personnel of Bangladesh, DGLL shall organize training as per IALA training module to AtoN Managers and Technicians, organize Workshops/Conferences. This will help in capacity building of Bangladesh AtoN Personnel.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Cabinet approves Policy for Early Monetization of Coal Bed Methane Gas Marketing and Pricing Freedom for CBM Gas


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for marketing and pricing freedom to the Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Contractors to sell the CBM at Arm’s Length Price in the domestic market.


Key facts:

  • According to the policy, while discovering the market price for Arms Length Sales, the Contractor has to ensure a fully transparent and competitive process for sale of CBM with the objective that the best possible price is realized for the gas without any restrictive commercial practices.
  • CBM contractors have also been permitted to sell the CBM to its any affiliate, in the event contractor cannot identify any buyer. Royalty and other dues to the Government, however, shall be payable on the basis of Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) notified prices or selling prices, whichever is higher.
  • The policy is expected to incentivize the CBM operation in the country to boost gas production and will generate economic activities which in turn will be beneficial for creating more employment opportunities in CBM operations and related activities.


About Coal Bed Methane:

Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal deposits or coal seams. CMB is formed during the process of coalification, the transformation of plant material into coal. It is considered a valuable energy resource with reserves and production having grown nearly every year since 1989. Varied methods of recovery make CBM a stable source of energy.

  • CBM can be recovered from underground coal before, during, or after mining operations. It can also be extracted from “unminable” coal seams that are relatively deep, thin or of poor or inconsistent quality. Vertical and horizontal wells are used to develop CBM resources. Extraction requires drilling wells into the coal seams and removing water contained in the seam to reduce hydrostatic pressure and release absorbed (and free) gas out of the coal.


India’s CBM potential:

Coalbed Methane (CBM), an unconventional source of natural gas is now considered as an alternative source for augmenting India’s energy resource. India has the fifth largest proven coal reserves in the world and thus holds significant prospects for exploration and exploitation of CBM. The prognosticated CBM resources in the country are about 92 TCF (2600 BCM) in 12 states of India.

  • In order to harness CBM potential in the country, the Government of India formulated CBM policy in 1997 wherein CBM being Natural Gas is explored and exploited under the provisions of OIL Fields (Regulation & Development) Act 1948 (ORD Act 1948) and Petroleum & Natural Gas Rules 1959 (P&NG Rules 1959) administered by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MOP&NG).
  • The Gondwana sediments of eastern India host the bulk of India’s coal reserves and all the current CBM producing blocks. The vast majority of the best prospective areas for CBM development are in eastern India, situated in Damodar Koel valley and Son valley. CBM projects exist in Raniganj South, Raniganj East and Raniganj North areas in the Raniganj coalfield, the Parbatpur block in Jharia coalfield and the East and west Bokaro coalfields.

Sources: pib.


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.


World Consumers Day


15 March is World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. It marks the date in 1962 President John F Kennedy first outlined the definition of Consumer Rights.

  • It is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.


Key facts:

  • WCRD was first observed on 15 March 1983, and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action.
  • Consumers International (CI), which was founded in 1960 organises WCRD. It is the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers and has over 220 member organisations in 115 countries around the world.
  • Every year a theme is chosen for this day, and this year it is ‘Building a digital world consumers can trust’.

Sources: pib.


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


Govt to launch pilot scheme to promote ornamental fishery


The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has envisaged a programme to unlock the potential of country’s ornamental fisheries sector. In this regard, the government will launch a pilot scheme for promoting ornamental fisheries sector with an outlay of Rs 61.89 crore to meet rising demand in domestic and export markets.


Key facts:

  • The project will be implemented in eight states — Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
  • The pilot project will focus on creating an enabling environment for a sustainable and holistic development of ornamental fisheries for the socio-economic development of the people involved in this activity as well as for exports.
  • The thrust areas have been identified for enhancing ornamental fisheries production through cluster-based farming and conservation of natural resources, both inland and marine, through habitat restoration, the statement said.
  • The major objectives are: (i) to promote ornamental fish culture with cluster-based approach (ii) to augment ornamental fisheries trade and export earnings (iii) to create employment opportunities for the rural & periurban population and (iv) use of modern technology and innovation to make ornamental fisheries a thriving activity.
  • The pilot project on ornamental fisheries shall be implemented by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) through the Fisheries Departments of States/UTs.



Ornamental fisheries sector is a sub-sector of the fisheries sector dealing with breeding and rearing of coloured fish of both freshwater and marine water.

  • In India it is small but vibrant and there is a potential for tremendous growth. About 400 species of marine ornamental fishes and 375 freshwater ornamental varieties are available in various parts of the country.
  • Ornamental fisheries generate livelihood and income for the rural and periurban population, especially women and unemployed youth as part-time activities. The low production cost and high returns within a short span of time and the ever growing demand, both in domestic and international markets, etc are the major attractions.

Sources: pib.


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


Mission Fingerling to achieve “Blue Revolution”


Recognising the potential and possibilities in the fisheries sector, Government of India has envisaged a program ”Blue Revolution” to unlock the country’s latent potential through an integrated approach.

Key facts:

  • Blue Revolution, in its scope and reach, focuses on creating an enabling environment for an integrated and holistic development and management of fisheries for the socioeconomic development of the fishers and fish farmers. Thrust areas have been identified for enhancing fisheries production from 10.79 mt to 15 million mt in 2020-21.
  • Greater emphasis will be on infrastructure with an equally strong focus on management and conservation of the resources through technology transfer to increase in the income of the fishers and fish farmers.
  • Productivity enhancement shall also be achieved through employing the best global innovations and integration of various production oriented activities such as: Production of quality fish seeds, Cost effective feed and adoption of technology etc.
  • Fish Fingerling production is the single most important critical input visualised to achieve fish production targets under the Blue Revolution. It need to establish more hatchery to produce Fry/PL required for different categories of water bodies.
  • The Department has identified 20 States based on their potential and other relevant factors to strengthen the Fish Seed infrastructure in the country.
  • This program with a total expenditure of about Rs. 52000 lakh will facilitate the establishment of hatcheries and Fingerling rearing pond to ensure the fish production of 426 crores fish fingerling, 25.50 crores Post Larvae of shrimp and crab in the country.

Sources: pib.


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


Launch of Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES)


The government has launched the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES). The Scheme is focussed on addressing the needs of the exporters. The scheme replaces a centrally sponsored scheme — Assistance to States for creating Infrastructure for the Development and growth of Exports (ASIDE).


About TIES:  

The objective of the proposed scheme is to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure, first mile and last mile connectivity for export-oriented projects and addressing quality and certification measures.

  • The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ Authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the EXIM policy of Government of India; are eligible for financial support under this scheme.
  • The Central Government funding will be in the form of grant-in-aid, normally not more than the equity being put in by the implementing agency or 50% of the total equity in the project. (In case of projects located in North Eastern States and Himalayan States including J&K, this grant can be upto 80% of the total equity). The grant in aid shall, normally, be subject to a ceiling of Rs 20 Cr for each infrastructure project.
  • The implementing agencies shall provide details of the financing tie-ups for the projects which will be considered before approval of the project. Disbursement of funds shall be done after financial closure is achieved.
  • The scheme would provide assistance for setting up and up-gradation of infrastructure projects with overwhelming export linkages like the Border Haats, Land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, dry ports, export warehousing and packaging, SEZs and ports/airports cargo terminuses.

Sources: pib.


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


India’s contribution to United Nations rose 55% to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16


India’s contribution to the United Nations rose 55% to Rs 244 crore in 2015-16 compared with the previous fiscal. The government has also made voluntary contributions to the tune of Rs 22 crore to international organisations, including UN agencies, in the last financial year.



Each UN member is required to contribute to the organisation’s Regular and Peacekeeping budgets. These obligatory contributions are calculated based on a member’s relative ‘capacity to pay’.

  • This is defined through a scale of assessment that takes into account the member country’s Gross National Income relative to the Global Gross National Income, adjusted further for the level of its national external debt and low per capita income.
  • For Peacekeeping budget, since all permanent members of the Security Council bear special responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security, they must contribute additional amounts.

Sources: pib.


Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


Hyderabad best city to live in, beats Delhi, Mumbai for third time


Mercer’s Quality of Living rankings 2017 has been released. Mercer’s survey is one of the comprehensive and annual feature to enable multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

  • The parameters taken into account for the survey include political and social environment, medical care and health considerations, public services, recreation facilities and natural environment amongst others.


Key facts:

  • Hyderabad has scored a hat trick of sorts. It has emerged as the best city in terms of quality of living among Indian cities for the third time in a row.
  • In contrast, the national capital New Delhi stays rock bottom for the second consecutive year among the Indian cities surveyed.
  • Hyderabad and Pune rank higher than the country’s business centres Mumbai and New Delhi. However, on a global scale Hyderabad dropped five places compared to last year to rank 144.
  • Globally, Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the eighth year running, with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities: Zurich (2), Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place.
  • The only non-European cities in the top ten are Auckland, (3) and Vancouver (5). The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25) and Montevideo (79), respectively.

Sources: toi.