Insights Daily Current Affairs, 30 May 2018
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Context: Former Supreme Court judge Justice R K Agrawal has been appointed the President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), India is a quasi-judicial commission in India which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The commission is headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India.
Section 21 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 posits that the National Consumer shall have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint valued more than one crore and also have Appellate and Revisional jurisdiction from the orders of State Commissions or the District fora as the case may be.
Section 23 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, provides that any person aggrieved by an order of NCDRC, may prefer an Appeal against such order to Supreme Court of India within a period of 30 days.
- For Prelims: NCDRC, Consumer Protection Act- Key features.
- For Mains: Dispute redressal mechanisms and their significance.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.
Context: In a bid to rein in errant distribution companies (discoms) that delay payments to power generation companies, the Power Ministry has launched the Praapti web portal, that aims at bringing transparency in power sector of India.
PRAAPTI, Payment Ratification and Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators, will contain all details related to payments.
- The app will enable citizens to monitor the payments that are being made to power generation companies. The app will also allow its users to know the details related to the payments made by the discoms to the power generation company and when it was made.
- PRAAPTI will also enable the consumers to know the performance of their discoms in terms of payments that are being made to the generation companies. Later, the performance of the discoms will be ratified on the basis of payments that were made.
For Prelims and Mains: PRAAPTI app and its significance.
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
TRAI proposes use of blockchain technology
Context: Telecom regulator Trai has issued new draft norms to curb pesky calls and SMSes by using blockchain technology. When implemented, Trai will become first organisation to implement this kind of regulation.
- The new technology aims to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to those who have subscribed to them, and that too by authorized entities. The draft proposes to check misuse of repeated unsolicited calls being made even to those subscribers who have given consent.
- The new technology based norms will record all communication between subscribers and entities, capturing customer consent for information and authorised telemarketing agencies.
- A subscriber may have given consent for a service but that consent is liable to be misused. Under the proposed regulation. The subscriber will be able to revoke consent given to entities whenever he or she desires through Trai app and other mechanism that will be provided under the regulation.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is the digital and decentralized ledger that records transactions without the need for a financial intermediary, which in most cases is a bank. A blockchain is an anonymous online ledger that uses data structure to simplify the way we transact. Blockchain allows users to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the help of a third party.
How it works?
Blockchain enables two entities that do not know each other to agree that something is true without the need of a third party. As opposed to writing entries into a single sheet of paper, a blockchain is a distributed database that takes a number of inputs and places them into a block. Each block is then ‘chained’ to the next block using a cryptographic signature. This allows blockchains to be used as a ledger which is accessible by anyone with permission to do so. If everyone in the process is pre-selected, the ledger is termed ‘permissioned’. If the process is open to the whole world, the ledger is called unpermissioned.
Benefits of blockchain technology:
A blockchain is anonymous, protecting the identities of the users. This makes blockchain a more secure way to carry out transactions. The algorithm used in blockchain reduces the dependence on people to verify the transactions.
Blockchain is still a (relatively) new technology and is not without its problems. For a start, there are ongoing concerns about privacy in the settlement and storage of securities – blockchain providers are working hard to address.
Banks are also at threat with blockchain, since more and more firms (using their IT service providers from India and elsewhere) will build systems that can create and exchange ‘blocks’ with one another completely legally, without ever having to use the banks as a financial intermediary.
Blockchain is not a panacea for all issues facing the banking system today. However, blockchain is an ideal technology to ensure proof of integrity to the data and reduce incidents of fraud.
- For Prelims: Blockchain- how it works.
- For Mains: Prevention of fraud, use of technology in this regard.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
4th Room-Temperature Ferromagnetic Element: Ruthenium
Context: A platinum-group chemical element called ruthenium (Ru) is the fourth single element to have unique ferromagnetic properties at room temperature.
- Ruthenium is a chemical element with symbol Ru and atomic number 44. It is a rare transition metal belonging to the platinum group of the periodic table. Like the other metals of the platinum group, ruthenium is inert to most other chemicals.
- Most ruthenium produced is used in wear-resistant electrical contacts and thick-film resistors. A minor application for ruthenium is in platinum alloys and as a chemistry catalyst. A new application of ruthenium is as the capping layer for extreme ultraviolet photomasks.
- Ruthenium is generally found in ores with the other platinum group metals in the Ural Mountains and in North and South America. Small but commercially important quantities are also found in pentlandite extracted from Sudbury, Ontario and in pyroxenite deposits in South Africa.
- From an application perspective, Ru is interesting because it does not oxidize easily and theoretical predictions indicate it is particularly temperature-stable, which is an important property allowing scaling of magnetic memories.
Significance of the discovery:
The discovery could be used to improve sensors, devices in the computer memory and logic industry, or other devices using magnetic materials.
Facts for Prelims:
- Ferromagnetism is the basic mechanism by which certain materials form permanent magnets, or are attracted to magnets.
- So far, only three single elements were found to be ferromagnetic at room temperature: iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni); the rare earth element gadolinium (Gd) nearly misses by only 8 degrees Celsius.
- Magnetic materials are very important in industry and modern technology and have been used for fundamental studies and in many everyday applications such as sensors, electric motors, generators, hard disk media, and most recently spintronic memories.
Topic: IP related issues.
GI tag for rural crafts
Context: The Chau mask of Purulia, the wooden mask of Kushmandi, the Patachitra, the Dokras of Bengal, and Madhurkathi (a kind of mat) have been presented with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indication Registry and Intellectual Property India.
Significance of this recognition:
GI tags for these five rural crafts would not only help the artisans create their own brand but would also provide legal protection to artisans practising the crafts against attempts to duplicate them in other regions. It will also have a direct impact on the occupation of 5,000-6,000 families in the State.
About GI tag:
What is it?
A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
Significance of a GI tag:
Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: conservation of biodiversity.
NGT issues notices on plea to halt road through Corbett
Context: A plea seeking a stay on the construction of a link road linking Kotdwar to Ramnagar through the Corbett Tiger Reserve has led the National Green Tribunal to seek responses from the Uttarakhand government and the Centre.
What’s the issue?
The petition alleges that the construction of the road through the park was in violation of previous Supreme Court orders that prohibited the construction of any road through the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
About Corbett tiger reserve:
- Corbett National Park is situated in the foothills of the Sub- Himalayan belt in Nainital districts of Uttarakhand state in India.
- Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett has the glory of being India’s oldest and most prestigious National Park. It is also being honored as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973. This unique tiger territory is best known as the father who gave birth of the Project Tiger in India to protect the most endangered species and the Royal of India called Tigers.
- Corbett National Park covers an area of 521 sq. km and together with the neighboring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas, forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
- Corbett is one of the richest bird regions of the Country and has been declared as an ‘Important Bird Area’ (IBA) by Birdlife International.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Braille-enabled signboards to be used during Maheshtala bypoll:
Context: Election Commission of India for the first time will start the use of Braille-enabled signboardsfor visually challenged voters in the upcoming Maheshtala Assembly by-election in West Bengal.
The initiative of Braille-enabled signboards was part of the drive to make elections more accessible to persons with disabilities (PWD). The decision to use Braille-enabled signboards is a State-specific measure to ensure hassle-free polling experience for visually impaired voters.