Insights Daily Current Affairs, 21 June 2018
Topic: Women related issues.
‘Women Wizards Rule Tech’ programme
What is it? It is a programme for women techies unveiled by NASSCOM. It aims to increase the number of women in senior levels in the Information Technology (IT) industry.
The Women Wizards Rule Tech was announced in March at the Nasscom Diversity and Inclusion Summit in Chennai as a joint initiative by the Nasscom Sector Skills Council and the Data Security Council of India.
Details of the programme:
- The programme is designed to support women who are moving up the career ladder, while also paving the way for potential leaders of the future.
- The initiative will aid women techies in core technologies like IT-Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES), Business Process Management (BPM), product and research and development (R&D) sectors by equipping them with the skills required for an edge in their career.
Facts for Prelims:
About Nasscom: The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Established in 1988, NASSCOM is a non-profit organisation.
- For Prelims: About NASSCOM and ‘Women Wizards Rule Tech’ programme.
- For Mains: Women in IT industry- status, challenges and efforts in this regard.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
India Smart Cities Awards
Context: Nine awards have been announced under the India Smart Cities Awards.
What are Smart Cities Awards?
India Smart Cities Award were launched on 25 June 2017 with an objective to reward cities, projects and innovative ideas, promoting sustainable development in cities.
- Eligible Participants were Smart Cities only, where respective ULBs / Smart City SPVs were to submit proposals.
- There are 3 categories of awards- Project Award, Innovative Idea Award and City Award.
The city award is being given to Surat for showing great momentum in implementation of projects especially in the categories of urban environment, transport and mobility and sustainable integrated development.
The Innovative Idea award is being given to a project/idea particularly remarkable for its innovative, bottom-up and transformative approach towards achievement of sustainable integrated development. Joint winners in this category are Bhopal for their Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) and Ahmedabad for Safe and Secure Ahmedabad (SASA) Project.
The Project awards are being given to most innovative and successful projects in seven categories that have been completed by April 1, 2018.
The Projects selected are:
- PMC Care from Pune under ‘Governance’ category.
- Smart Place Making from Pune under ‘Built Environment’.
- Smart Class rooms from NDMC and Jabalpur, Smart Campus from Visakhapatnam, Lighthouse from Pune under ‘Social Aspects’ category.
- B Nest Incubation Centre from Bhopal and Conservation of Rajasthan School of Arts from Jaipur under ‘Culture and Economy’ category.
- Public Bike Sharing from Bhopal, Pune, Coimbatore and Waste to Energy Plant in Jabalpur under ‘Urban environment’ category.
- Integrated Transit Management System (TMS) from Ahmedabad and Surat under ‘Transport and Mobility’ category.
- Smart Water Management through SCADA from Ahmedabad under ‘Water and Sanitation’ category.
For Prelims and Mains: Smart Cities Mission and Smart Cities awards- features and significance.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
National Testing Agency
Context: The National Testing Agency, which is being set up to relieve the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) of the burden of conducting multiple examinations, will also train paper setters to set better question papers and provide better model answers.
In pursuance of the Budget Announcement 2017-18, the Union Cabinet, in November 2017, approved creation of the National Testing Agency (NTA) as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country.
Composition: It will be chaired by an educationist who will be appointed by the MHRD. The agency will have a board of governors who will represent the member institutions.
- The NTA would initially conduct those entrance examinations which are currently being conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The examinations will be conducted in online mode twice a year in order to give adequate opportunity to candidates to bring out their best.
- Among the examinations that will be transferred to the NTA are the prestigious Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission to engineering colleges like the IITs and NITs and the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to all medical colleges in the country, except AIIMS and JIPMER, Puducherry.
- In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, NTA would locate the centres at sub-district/district level and as far as possible would provide hands-on training to the students.
For Prelims and Mains: NTA- need, significance and functions.
Topic: Issues related to health.
National Health Resource Repository (NHRR)
Context: The Union ministry of health and family welfare has launched the National Health Resource Repository (NHRR).
About the NHRR project:
- The NHRR project aims to strengthen evidence-based decision making and develop a platform for citizens and provider-centric services by creating a robust, standardised and secured Information Technology (IT)-enabled repository of India’s healthcare resources.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the project technology partner for providing data security.
- NHRR shall be the registry of authentic, standardised and updated geo-spatial data of all public and private healthcare.
- This resource repository shall enable advanced research towards ongoing and forthcoming healthcare challenges arising from other determinants of health such as disease and the environment.
- It shall also enhance the coordination between central and state government for optimisation of health resources, making ‘live’ and realistic state project implementation plans (PIPs) and improving accessibility of data at all levels, including state heads of departments, and thus decentralise the decision making at district and state level.
- Some key benefits of the NHRR project are to create a reliable, unified registry of country’s healthcare resources showing the distribution pattern of health facilities and services between cities and rural areas.
- Additionally, it shall generate real-world intelligence to identify gaps in health and service ratios, and ensure judicious health resource allocation and management.
- It shall also identify key areas of improvement by upgrading existing health facilities or establishing new health facilities keeping in view the population density, geographic nature, health condition, distance.
For Prelims and Mains: NHRR- features, significance and uses.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
Nuclear arsenals around the globe
Context: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released its 2018 edition of the yearly report on the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security.
- There are nine countries which have nuclear warheads. They include Russia, the US, the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
- China continues to modernise its nuclear weapon delivery systems and is slowly increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal. The country now has an estimated 280 nuclear warheads. In 2017 report, the number was 270.
- The US and Russia still constitute a major share of approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons that exist in the world. Both together account for nearly 92% of all nuclear weapons despite reducing their strategic nuclear forces pursuant to the implementation of the 2010 Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.
- Despite the overall decrease in global nuclear weapons year-on-year, India and Pakistan have increased their stockpiles. India, which had an estimated 120-130 nuclear warheads as per 2017 report, now has 130-140 warheads. Similarly, Pakistan, which had 130-140 warheads now has increased to 140-150 warheads. Both countries are also developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.
- Nuclear warheads in other countries: UK (215 warheads), France (300 warheads), Israel (80 warheads) and North Korea (10-20 warheads). The figures for North Korea are uncertain.
Nuclear weapons remain uniquely dangerous because they are uniquely destructive. The renewed focus on the strategic importance of nuclear deterrence and capacity is a very worrying trend. The world needs a clear commitment from the nuclear weapon states to an effective, legally binding process towards nuclear disarmament.
Facts for Prelims:
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. Based in Stockholm, SIPRI also has a presence in Beijing, and is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide.
- For Prelims: SIPRI and nuclear- weapon states.
- For Mains: Nuclear disarmament- need, challenges and global efforts.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
UN Human Rights Council
Context: The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council accusing it of a “chronic bias against Israel”. Washington’s withdrawal is the latest US rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Why does the US have a problem with the UNHRC?
- The US problem with the body is twofold: the make-up of its membership and what it considers a disproportionate focus on allegations of human rights abuses committed by its ally, Israel.
- In 2006, when the council was established, then-US President George W Bush refused to join because the organisation included members accused by Washington of human rights violations.
- The country changed tack under the former Obama administration, but the ascent of Trump put Washington’s continued membership back under the spotlight.
- Rights groups have criticized the Trump administration for not making human rights a priority in its foreign policy. Critics say this sends a message that the administration turns a blind eye to human rights abuses in some parts of the world.
- The US withdrawal from the body could bolster countries such as Cuba, Russia, Egypt and Pakistan, which resist what they see as UN interference in sovereign issues.
- The UN body was established in 2006 with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations.
- It is made up of 47 member states, which are selected by the UN General Assembly on a staggered basis each year for three-year-long terms.
- Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.
- The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.
- For Prelims: UNHRC- functions.
- For Mains: Implications of withdrawal by the US.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Context: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is planning to introduce a globally accepted and well-recognised cross-border insolvency framework, fine-tuned to suit the needs of aspirational Indian economy. The Government has taken initiative for Cross-Border Insolvency within the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the Code) to provide a comprehensive legal framework.
Need for cross-border insolvency framework:
As the size of the Indian economy grows, business and trade have adopted an increasingly international character. Creditors and corporates frequently transact business in more than one jurisdiction. Foreign banks and creditors finance Indian companies and Indian banks have foreign exposure. Also, as part of its Ease of Doing Business and Make in India policies, India seeks to attract foreign companies to set up manufacturing facilities in India.
Besides, global experience demonstrates that cross-border investment decisions and their outcomes, are considerably affected by the insolvency laws in force in a country. Towards this end, even though the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 has resulted in significant improvement in India’s insolvency regime, there is a need to include cross-border insolvency in the Code to provide a comprehensive insolvency framework.
- Inclusion of cross-border insolvency framework will further enhance ease of doing business, provide a mechanism of cooperation between India and other countries in the area of insolvency resolution, and protect creditors in the global scenario.
- Also, it will make India an attractive investment destination for foreign creditors given the increased predictability and certainty of the insolvency framework.
On the global scale, the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, 1997 (Model Law) has emerged as the most widely accepted legal framework to deal with cross-border insolvency issues while ensuring the least intrusion into the country’s domestic insolvency law. Due to the growing prevalence of multinational insolvencies, the Model Law has been adopted by 44 States till date, including Singapore, UK and US.
- For Prelims: Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016- key features.
- For Mains: Cross-Border Insolvency- need, challenges and global practices.
Facts for Prelims:
100th Smart City:
- Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya has been selected as 100th Smart City after evaluating the proposal submitted by it.
- So far, 99 smart cities have been selected in four rounds of competition and with Shillong, selection of 100 cities has been completed under the Smart Cities Mission.
4th International Yoga Day 2018:
The International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on June 21. It was first introduced by the United Nations on June 21, 2015. The main aim is to create an awareness worldwide on the importance of staying fit and healthy.
This year, the theme is ‘Yoga for peace’.
Why was June 21 selected to be International Yoga Day? June 21 is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed this date at the United Nations General Assembly 2014.
Gujarat gets world’s1st centre for humanitarian forensics:
International Centre for Humanitarian Forensics (ICHF) was recently inaugurated at the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU).
- This will be the world’s first international centre for humanitarian forensics.
- It is a joint venture of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Delegation for India, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives, and GFSU.
- It was inaugurated at the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU).
- This centre will help in proper management of bodies in times of crisis.
Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU) is a state university in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. It is the first university in the world solely dedicated to forensic and investigative science.
Canada becomes second nation in the world to legalize marijuana:
- Canada has become the second nation in the world the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana.
- Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana’s production, sale and consumption in December 2013.
‘Rani Rashmoni’ commissioned:
Context: The last of the five Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) project of Indian Coast Guard ‘Rani Rashmoni’ was recently commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard. The FPV was indigenously built by Hindustan Shipyard.
- The FPVs are equipped with advanced sensors and state-of-the-art equipment and are designed to perform multifarious tasks such as surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue, anti-smuggling and anti-poaching, operations.
- Other vessels: So far four such ships such as ICGS Rani Abbakka, ICGS Rani Avanti Bai, ICGS Rani Durgavati and ICGS Rani Gaidinliu, have been commissioned and are in active service at various locations on the eastern seaboard.