Insights Daily Current Events, 08 April 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 08 April 2016

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

World military spending up in 2015, India in sixth position

As per the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India is the sixth largest military spender in 2015 having spent $51.3 billion.

Key facts:

  • World military expenditure rose by 1% in 2015. It stood at $1,676 billion in 2015. This reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states.
  • The U.S. remained by far the world’s largest spender in 2015 despite its defence expenditure falling by 2.4% to $596 billion followed by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and U.K.
  • China’s expenditure rose by 7.4% to $215 billion.

India’s performance:

  • India moved one rank up from last year accounting for 3.1% of global military expenditure. Over a ten-year period from 2006-15 this represents a 43% jump.
  • India is also ahead of countries like France, Germany and Israel who happen to be among its top arms suppliers.

Concerns:

The military spending in 2015 presents contrasting trends. On the one hand, spending trends reflect the escalating conflict and tension in many parts of the world; on the other hand, they show a clear break from the oil-fuelled surge in military spending of the past decade.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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.

Make GM mustard data public: CIC

In an order intended to make the decision-making process on transgenic food crops in India more transparent, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) — the apex regulatory body for GMOs (genetically modified organisms) — to make public the non-confidential biosafety dossier of GM mustard and other GMOs by April 30.

  • The order has been issued on the application of an environment activist who sought information on field trials of GM mustard, arguing that biosafety data could not be confidential since it pertained to results of testing of a GMO for public safety assessment.

What next?

Under the CIC order, the GEAC is expected to put out all the biosafety details in public domain after separating confidential information.

What the CIC says?

It says, “People should know how and why GM mustard is being permitted or denied because they have to consume that food or feed and face the consequences. It is a policy decision by the public authority which needs to be revealed to the public in general as mandated because they are going to be affected if GM mustard is marketed.”

Background:

The GEAC, which comes under the environment ministry, had refused to part with the information saying sharing of data would breach the commercial confidence of the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants of Delhi University that had approached the regulator for clearing commercial release of the GM mustard (DMH11). But the Central Information Commission rejected the central regulator’s argument.

  • The decision to release GM mustard for commercial cultivation is currently pending with the central regulator.
  • At present, only GM cotton is allowed for commercial cultivation in India. Although the central regulator has given its nod for scientific field trials of many transgenic varieties of food crops including rice, wheat and maize among others, it has so far not cleared any GM food crop for commercial release.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure- energy.

Govt. launches two new energy efficiency schemes

The Centre has launched two new energy efficiency schemes:

  1. National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme.
  2. National Energy Efficient Fan Programme.

These schemes will be implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of public sector undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Power.

National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme:

Under the National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme, farmers can replace their inefficient pumps free of cost with the new BEE star rated energy efficient agricultural pump-sets.

  • These pumps will come enabled with smart control panel and a SIM card, giving farmers the flexibility to remotely control these pumps from their mobile phones and from the comfort of their homes, an official press release said.
  • EESL will distribute 200,000 BEE star rated pump-sets to the farmers under this programme, which will lead to 30% of energy savings by 2019. This translates into an annual savings of approximately Rs 20,000 crore on agricultural subsidies or a saving of 50 billion units of energy every year.

National Energy Efficient Fan Programme:

With the usage of the 50 Watts BEE 5 Star rated ceiling fans, to be distributed under the National Energy Efficient Fan Programme, it is estimated that consumer’s electricity bills will come down by about Rs. 700-730 per year. Thus, the cost recovery of purchasing these fans would be less than two years.

  • These fans are 30% more energy efficient as compared to conventional fans, which range from 75-80 watts. At present, two energy efficient fans will be provided to each consumer at Rs 60 a month per fan on EMI basis. The EMI amount will be added to the consumers’ electricity bills for two years.
  • This scheme will be available to the consumer on providing a copy of latest electricity bill along with a copy of residence proof at the designated distribution centre. The consumer can also purchase the fan by paying Rs. 1250 upfront.

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.

ISBN Portal

The centre has launched a portal for registration and allotment of International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

About the Portal:

The ISBN portal is a part of central government’s e-governance initiative for streamlining the process of registration for publishers and authors which will make the process user friendly.

  • The portal has been created to facilitate publishers and authors to register for ISBN number. ISBN gives an identity to a book without which the bookshops will not sell it.
  • The ISBN portal seeks to completely automate the process of seeking application, their examination and allotment of ISBNs. The developed software has several modules including users’ registration and online application submission.
  • The automation process also seeks to maintain inventory as well as process the data that will be provided by the users. There will be doing away with receipt of hard copy of any document unless considered appropriate for establishing the identity of the applicant and for confirming the book publishing activity.

What is ISBN?

ISBN is a unique number used to identify monographic publications. Displayed in barcode format, ISBN is a 13-character identification allotted by the International ISBN Agency based in Britain through the National ISBN Agency. It provides access to bibliographic data bases used by the book industry and libraries to provide information.

Significance:

This initiative is aimed at ensuring ease of registration, enhanced accessibility, wider transparency, trust and credibility and greater efficiency for the book writing fraternity in the country.

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.

New health initiatives and Mobile APPS launched on World Health Day

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda has launched several new e-Health and m-Health initiatives to mark the World Health Day (April 7th). These include:

ANM Online application-ANMOL:

ANMOL is a tablet-based application that allows ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) to enter and updated data for beneficiaries of their jurisdiction.

  • This will ensure more prompt entry and updation of data as well as improve the data quality since the data will be entered “at source” by providers of health services themselves.
  • Since the Application is Aadhaar-enabled, it will help in authentication of the records of field workers and beneficiaries.

E-RaktKosh initiative:

It is an integrated Blood Bank Management Information System that has been conceptualized and developed after multiple consultations with all stakeholders. This web-based mechanism interconnects all the Blood Banks of the State into a single network.

  • The Integrated Blood Bank MIS refers the acquisition, validation, storage and circulation of various live data and information electronically regarding blood donation and transfusion service.
  • Such system is able to assemble heterogeneous data into legible reports to support decision making from effective donor screening to optimal blood dissemination in the field.
  • This initiative will be of great use to persons and families in need of blood transfusion.
  • The Application will enable not only information of the nearest blood bank on a mobile but also of the availability of the particular blood group in a given radius.

India Fights Dengue:

This application will find wide use. As the fight against Vector Borne Diseases, especially Dengue, can be won only with effective community participation, this App empowers the community members how to contribute towards prevention of Dengue.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 1 Topic: art and culture.

Hindu New Year

Hindu New Year is being welcomed in different parts of the country today with traditional festivities and celebrations.

  • The Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Navareh, Navroz and Chetti Chand are the same festivals in different names, marking the occasion.

Key facts:

  • People of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana use the term Ugadi and Karnataka use the term Yugadi /Ugadi for this festival.
  • The people of Maharashtra term the same festival, observed on the same day, Gudi Padwa.
  • The Marwari of Rajasthan celebrate the same day as their new year day Thapna.
  • The Sindhis, people from Sindh, celebrate the same day as Cheti Chand, which is the beginning of their calendar year.
  • The Manipuris also celebrate their New Year as Sajibu Nongma Panba on the same day.
  • The Hindus of Kashmir call it as Navreh.
  • The Hindus of Bali and Indonesia also celebrate their new year on the same day as Nyepi.

Sources: pib, wiki.


 

Facts for Prelims from “The Hindu”:

  • Punjab state government has approved the launch of ‘Dr B R Ambedkar Scholarship Scheme’ for meritorious students of Class X and XII of government schools. The decision was taken by Mr Badal while presiding over a meeting of 125th Dr B R Ambedkar Janam Shatabdi Utsav Committee to finalise the year-long celebrations.
  • 3rd SAARC Agricultural Ministers’ meeting was recently held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.