Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 April 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 April 2017


Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Loan for Developing National Waterway-1


In a major boost towards realising country’s ambitious inland waterways project, the World Bank has approved a $375 million loan for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1(River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).


National Waterway-1:

The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

  • NW-1 will pass through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, serving the major cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Patna, Howrah, Haldia and Kolkata, and their industrial hinterland including several industries located in the Ganga basin.
  • Under the project, there are going to be three multi-modal terminals–one each at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Sahibganj (Jharkhand), and Haldia (West Bengal), two inter-modal terminals- at Kalughat and Ghazipur, a new Navigation Lock at Farakka, five Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) terminals, development of Ferry services at Varanasi, Patna, Bhagalpur, Munger, Kolkata and Haldia and Vessel repair and maintenance facilities.
  • The Project also includes proposal for Performance Based Maintenance Dredging Contract for Provision of Least Assured Depth (LAD) of 3 metres between Farakka to Kahalgaon, and Sultanganj to Barh; LAD of 2.5 metres between Barh to Doriganj, and Doriganj to Ghazipur; and LAD of 2.2 metres between Ghazipur to Varanasi.
  • In addition, the project will enable IWAI setting up of River Information Service System on NW -1 for the first time in India. River Information System (RIS) are equipment, hardware and software information technology (IT) related services designed to optimize traffic and transport processes in inland navigation.


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.


One Crore MGNREGA assets geotagged


Mahatma Gandhi NREGS has reached a new milestone today by geotagging one Crore assets and putting them in public domain.

  • The geotagging exercise started from 1st September, 2016. One Crore assets have been geotagged and put in public domain in the last seven months. It is expected that the exercise will lead to greater transparency and ensure accountability at field level.


Need for geotagging:

The scale of rural assets created under MGNREGA is very large. Since the inception of the programme in financial year 2006-07, about 2.82 Crore assets have been created under the programme. On an average, about 30 Lakh Assets are created annually which includes a variety of works such as water harvesting structures, plantations, rural infrastructure, flood control measures, individual assets for sustainable livelihood, community infrastructure and so on.


What is geotagging?

Geotagging is the process of adding geographical information to various media in the form of metadata. The data usually consists of coordinates like latitude and longitude, but may even include bearing, altitude, distance and place names.  



GeoMGNREGA is a unique endeavor of the Ministry of Rural Development in association with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO and National Informatics Centre. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Ministry of Rural Development with NRSC in June 2016 for geo-tagging the assets created under MGNREGS in each gram panchayat. Strength of Space technology has been leveraged.

Pursuant to the signing of MoU, training manuals were developed in consultation with NRSC. Training was imparted to around 2.76 Lakh personnel across the country with the help of National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR).


Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology. 


Indian Navy test-fires land attack version of BrahMos missile


Indian Navy recently successfully test fired BrahMos Land Attack Supersonic Cruise Missile from a ship. This variant of Long Range BrahMos Missile was fired from Indian Naval Ship Teg, a Guided Missile Frigate, on a target on land.


Key facts:

  • BrahMos Missile has been jointly developed by India and Russia, and its Anti Ship variant has already been inducted into Indian Navy.
  • Land Attack variant of BrahMos Missile provides Indian Naval Ships the capability to precisely neutralise selected targets deep inland, far away from coast, from stand-off ranges at sea.
  • The missile has a range of 400km.



The technology upgrade to the extended range BrahMos has come after India gained entry into the 34-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016, which “removed the caps” on the missile’s range. The MTCR basically prevents the proliferation of missiles and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) over the range of 300-km.


Sources: pib.


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


India and Republic of Korea sign Inter-Governmental MOU for Defence Industry Co-Operation in Shipbuilding

india-korea pact

India and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have signed an Inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Defence Industry Co-operation in Shipbuilding.

  • The Inter-Governmental MoU, was conceived under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between both sides as declared in the Joint Statement of the Prime Minister of India and the President of RoK in May 2015.  


The salient points of the MoU are as follows:  

  • Develop and strengthen defence industry co-operation between Republic of India and the Republic of Korea.
  • The two sides will recommend the organisations for collaborating in the implementation of specific projects.
  • The organisations recommended for co-operative projects may conclude separate agreements (contracts) between them to implement the specific projects.
  • The MoU will come into effect from the date of signature by both sides and will be initially valid for a period of five years and would be automatically extendable for further successive five year at a time.


Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


“Quality Mark” Award Scheme for Dairy Cooperatives initiated by NDDB


As part of the innovative initiatives under the “White Revolution” umbrella Schemes, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has supported the National Dairy Development Board(NDDB) developed initiative of “Quality Mark” Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives to promote and encourage enhancement of safety, quality and hygiene of milk and milk products manufactured by dairy cooperatives.


Aim of the scheme: It is aimed at bringing about process improvement in the entire value chain from producer to the consumer to ensure availability of safe and quality of milk and products both for the domestic and foreign market.


Key facts:

  • The Quality Mark” Award Scheme for dairy Cooperatives in the country has been initiated to instill confidence in the consumers for the quality of milk being marketed by them by ensuring availability of safe and good quality milk and milk products.
  • The initiative does not propose any new/ additional system for Food Safety and Quality Management but lays down minimum standards against each link of the processes required for ensuring quality and safety.


Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


‘Public data office’ (PDO) technology


The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) has developed a ‘public data office’ (PDO) technology solution to deliver low-cost Wi-Fi solutions. The mass PDO solution is priced at Rs 50,000.


Key facts:

  • The concept of PDO will enable vendors to sell low-cost Wi-Fi-based broadband services anywhere.
  • The vendor will get a tech solution pack including both software and hardware elements. It will include a Wi-Fi access point with e-KYC, one-time password authentication and a mechanism to manage service vouchers. A billing system will also accompany the package.
  • The service will be available over a license-free ISM (industrial, scientific and medical) band.
  • For commercial production of the device, C-DoT plans to transfer the technology to nearly 20 manufacturing partners including Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and Himachal Futuristic Communications (HFCL).
  • According to C-DoT, in semi-urban or rural areas, the technology will be available in 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHZ bands, which do not require any regulation for access.


About C-DOT:

The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) is an Indian Government owned telecommunications technology development centre. It was established in 1984 with initial mandate of designing and developing digital exchanges.

  • Sam Pitroda started the C-DOT as an autonomous telecom R&D organisation.
  • C-DOT has expanded to develop intelligent computer software applications. It is one of the 2 Indian Government organisations which have been appraised at Maturity Level 5 of CMMI-DEV v1.3, other being Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Software Technology Centre.


Sources: pib.


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


Inter-Ministerial Delegation to Participate in Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm Conventions in Geneva


An inter-ministerial Indian delegation headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ajay Narayan Jha, has left to participate in the 2017 Conference of Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm (BRS) Conventions.

  • The theme of the meetings and the high-level segment will be – “A future detoxified: sound management of chemicals and waste“.
  • Meetings of the COPs of BRS Conventions are generally held every alternate year. India has participated in the earlier meetings of the COPs of the BRS Conventions. Previously, COP 12 of Basel Convention and COP 7 meetings of Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions were held in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2015.


Key facts:

  • Conference of Parties (COPs) to the BRS Convention include – the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties to “Basel Convention (BC COP 13); the 8th meeting of the Conference of Parties to “Rotterdam Convention (RC COP 8) and 8th meeting of the Conference of Parties to “Stockholm Convention (SC COP 8).
  • While the Basel Convention will discuss the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, the Rotterdam Convention will deliberate on the prior informed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade” and the Stockholm Convention is on persistent organic pollutants (POPs)”.
  • The most important matters to be deliberated during COPs include – listing of chemicals under Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention may have an impact on industrial growth. The inclusion of chemicals under Rotterdam Convention does not ban the chemical.  However, importing countries need to follow the PIC procedure.


Agenda of the meetings:

The agenda of the 2017 BRS COPs meetings cover a wide gamut of issues including – technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment; technical guidelines for environmentally sound management of wastes, consisting of, containing or contaminated with low persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Basel Convention, national reporting, capacity building and technical assistance; listing of chemicals viz chrysotile asbestos,  paraquat dichloride, fenthion, trichlorfon, short chain chlorinated paraffins, tributyltin compounds, carbofuran and carbosulfan under Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention and listing of chemicals viz short chain chlorinated paraffins, decabromodiphenyl ether and Hexachlorobutadiene under Annex A, B, and C to the Stockholm Convention.


BRS Conventions – Brief Background:

The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.

  • To enhance cooperation and coordination among the BRS Conventions, their respective conferences of the Parties have taken a series of decisions. This “synergies process” aims to strengthen the implementation of the three conventions at the national, regional and global levels by providing coherent policy guidance, enhancing efficiency in the provision of support to Parties to the Conventions, reducing their administrative burden and maximising the effective and efficient use of resources at all levels, while maintaining the legal autonomy of these three multilateral environmental agreements.
  • In addition to initiating reforms to the secretariats of the three Conventions on an administrative as well as operational level, this process is changing the way in which the implementation of the Conventions are undertaken at the national and regional levels. Parties to the Conventions and entities supporting countries in the implementation of the Conventions, such as regional centres, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, also undertake efforts to increase coherence in the implementation of the Conventions.


Sources: pib.


Facts for Prelims:


Earth Day:

  • Earth Day 2017 is being celebrated around the world today (April 22).
  • This year’s campaign is dedicated to an ambitious goal – to achieve global climate and environmental literacy in the space of three years, by Earth Day 2020.
  • Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970. The idea for it was first proposed at a UNESCO conference a year earlier, when activist John McConnell suggested a day to honour the planet and the idea of peace. US senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in the US. It was made into an international day in 1990 and now is celebrated by over 193 countries every year.
  • The aim of the day is to bring attention to environmental issues to spark changes that will result in a healthy, sustainable environment. This includes addressing climate change and finding ways to protect the planet for future generations.