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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 1 April 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 1 April 2017


Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Cabinet approves signing of Agreement for CIRDAP establishment Centre in Hyderabad


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between Ministry of Rural Development and Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) for establishment of CIRDAP Centre at National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), Hyderabad.


Significance of this move:

  • CIRDAP Centre in NIRD&PR premises would give NIRD&PR an advantage of having first-hand knowledge of networking with organizations specialized in rural development programmes which in turn would help in building a repository of institutional knowledge for NIRD&PR.
  • This Centre will also help NIRD&PR to enhance its status in the region through linkages with other Ministries/Institutes in the CIRDAP Member Countries (CMCs).
  • The faculty of the NIRD&PR and the Ministry officials would benefit from exchange visits to the best practices in the CMCs.



The CIRDAP is a regional Inter – Governmental and autonomous institution which came into existence in 1979 at the initiative of the countries of Asia Pacific region and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) with support from several other UN bodies and donors.

  • India is one of the key founder members of this Organisation.
  • Its Headquarters is located at Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • The objective of CIRDAP is to promote regional cooperation and act as a serving institution for its member countries for promotion of integrated rural development through research action, training, information dissemination etc.
  • CIRDAP has one sub – regional office in Jakarta, Indonesia. This sub – regional office of CIRDAP in south-east Asia (SOCSEA) was established in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1997.
  • There are 46 countries in Asia Pacific Region, therefore CIRDAP has great potential for expansion for which they would be assisted by CIRDAP Centres.


Sources: pib.


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


Cabinet approves ratification of the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for ratification of the two fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization namely:

  • Minimum Age Convention concerning minimum age for admission to employment:
  • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention concerning the prohibition and immediate action for elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour.



Minimum Age Convention:

The Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, is a Convention adopted in 1973 by the International Labour Organization.

  • It requires ratifying states to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work.
  • Countries are free to specify a minimum age for labour, with a minimum of 15 years. A declaration of 14 years is also possible when for a specified period of time. Laws may also permit light work for children aged 13–15 (not harming their health or school work). The minimum age of 18 years is specified for work which “is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or morals of young persons”. Definitions of the type of work and derogations are only possible after tripartite consultations (if such a system exists in the ratifying country).


Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention:

The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, known in short as the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999.

  • By ratifying this Convention, a country commits itself to taking immediate action to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labour.
  • The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is responsible for assisting countries in this regard as well as monitoring compliance. One of the methods used by IPEC to assist countries in this regard are Time-bound Programmes.
  • The convention includes forms of child labour, which are predefined worst forms of child labour. They are also sometimes referred to as automatic worst forms of child labour.



India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which came into existence in 1919.

  • At present, the ILO has 187 members.
  • The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol.
  • India has so far ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these 4 are Fundamental or Core Conventions.


Sources: pib.


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


SASEC Operational Plan 2016-25 includes nine projects worth $2.4 Billion


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a total of nine projects costing $2.42 billion as part of the Operational Plan (OP) 2016-2025 of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program.

Key facts:

  • The nine projects comprise of two rail projects in Bangladesh worth $890 million, two economic corridor initiatives (a project and program loan) and a bridge project in India worth an aggregate of $1.2 billion, trade facilitation and airport projects in Bhutan worth $27 million and key SASEC road and energy projects in Nepal worth $302 million.
  • All these projects are aligned with the SASEC OP’s thrusts of developing road and rail links aligned closely with trade routes toward the east, streamlining trade procedures, and improving energy infrastructure.
  • These projects will receive ADB financing of $1.43 billion. These nine projects represent a significant increase compared to the previous 15 years, when the annual average value of projects approved was only about $500 million.


About SASEC:

Established in 2001, the SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.

  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program, which to date has supported a total of 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • The SASEC OP, endorsed in June 2016 by the SASEC member countries, is SASEC’s first comprehensive long-term plan to promote greater economic cooperation among the member countries in the areas of transport, trade facilitation, energy, and economic corridor development.
  • Bringing regional cooperation to a higher level, the SASEC OP plans to extend physical linkages not only within SASEC but also with East and Southeast Asia by the next decade.


Sources: pib.


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


Cabinet approves MoU between Forum of Regulators and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Forum of Regulators (FOR) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in the area of large-scale Grid Integration of Renewable Energy.

  • The MoU envisages to promote information exchanges in the areas of Renewable Energy integration regulations and balancing using gas, storage, and demand-side approaches, energy imbalance markets.
  • It will enhance the efforts of India’s power system for better management of large-scale integration of Renewable Energy into the power grid.


About the Forum of Regulators:

The Forum of Regulators was constituted by the Ministry of Power under provisions of section 166(2) of the Electricity Act, 2003 with the primary objective of harmonization of regulations in the power sector framed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) and Joint Electricity Regulatory Commissions (JERCs).


Sources: pib.


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


Cabinet approves the fixation of Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) rates


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the Fixation of Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers for the year 2017-18.

  • As compared to 2016-17, the subsidy for the period 2017-18 has decreased from Rs. 13.241/kg to 11.997/kg (decrease of Rs. 1.244/kg) for P, from Rs. 15.470/kg to 12.395/kg (decrease of Rs. 3,075/kg) for K whereas the subsidy of N has increased from Rs. 15.854/kg to 18.989/kg (an increase of Rs. 3.135/kg) and of S from Rs. 2.044/kg to 2.240/kg (an increase of Rs. 0.196/kg).


About NBS Policy:

Government has been implementing Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Policy for decontrolled P&K fertilizers.

  • Under this policy, the subsidy on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers is announced by the Government on annual basis for each nutrient i.e., Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potash (K) and Sulphur (S) on per kg basis which is converted into subsidy per tonne depending upon the nutrient content in each grade of the fertilizers.
  • These rates are determined taking into account the international and domestic prices of P&K fertilizers, exchange rate, inventory level in the country etc.
  • The fertiliser manufacturers and marketers are free to fix the maximum retail price at reasonable rates under NBS.


Sources: pib.


Paper2  Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Notify HIV-hit children as disadvantaged group: SC


The Supreme Court has ordered State governments to consider issuing a notification under the Right to Education law, declaring children living with/affected by HIV as a ‘disadvantaged group deserving additional rights to help them gain free and compulsory education, a fundamental right under the Constitution.


Key facts:

  • The court has given States four weeks to issue the notification under Section 2 (d) of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009, which mandates the State governments concerned to issue a notification that a child belongs to a disadvantaged group based on reasons ranging from caste, social, cultural, linguistic, geographical, gender, etc. The Act makes education compulsory for children between six and 14 years of age.
  • The court ordered that those States which are “unwilling” to issue a notification under Section 2 (d) should file an affidavit “explaining why they consider it unnecessary” to inform that children living with HIV do not belong to a disadvantaged group. The court however noted that at least 11 States have already issued the notification.



The order was based on a petition which pointed out that HIV-hit children face denial of admission, outright expulsion, segregation, breach of confidentiality to being given chores like cleaning toilets. According to NACO estimates in 2012-2013, around 20.9 lakh people were living with HIV in 2011. Children less than 15 years of age account for seven percent (1.45 lakh) of all infections.


Right to Education (RTE) Act:

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. Article 21-A and the RTE Act came into effect on 1 April 2010.

  • It is seen as the most historic development in universalisation of elementary education in the country. It implies that every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years has Right to elementary education. They are entitled for free and compulsory education.


Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


Project Saksham:

  • The Government has approved Rs. 2,256 crore outlay for Project Saksham to bolster the information technology network for the new GST regime.
  • Project Saksham is the name given to CBEC’s IT Infrastructure Project. This IT Infrastructure project will enable not just the implementation of Goods and Services tax (GST) but also support all existing services in Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax.
  • In addition, it will also enable extension of the Indian Customs Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) and other taxpayer-friendly initiatives under Digital Indian and Ease of Doing Business of CBEC.
  • It will enable setting up of an information exchange mechanism with GSTN through the use of pre-agreed Application Programming Interface (API) or other secure methods of message exchange.


Hyderabad becomes first city to have 1 GBPS internet speed: 

Internet Service Provider (ISP) ACT Fibernet has announced the launch of 1Gbps (gigabits per second) wired broadband internet services in Hyderabad, making the `City of Pearls’ India’s first `Giga City’.   


El Salvador makes history as first nation to impose blanket ban on metal mining:

  • El Salvador has made history after becoming the first country in the world to ban metal mining.
  • El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Latin America and, while rainfall is plentiful, holding on to the water is a major issue because of unsustainable farming practices and inadequate industrial controls that have led to widespread soil erosion and the almost total destruction of its forests.
  • More than 90% of El Salvador’s surface waters are estimated to be polluted by toxic chemicals, heavy metals and waste matter. The water crisis has steadily deepened since the pro-business Arena Party granted an array of permits for mineral exploration.