Insights Daily Current Events, 14 April 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 14 April 2016

Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

Indian, Germany sign agreement to rejuvenate Ganga

India and Germany have signed an agreement to adopt and replicate, wherever possible, the river basin management strategies of the European rivers Rhine and Danube to rejuvenate the river Ganga.

Objective of the agreement:

The objective of the agreement is to enable responsible stakeholders at national and state level to apply integrated river basin management approach for the rejuvenation of the river Ganga. This will be based on Indo-German knowledge exchange and practical experience on strategic river basin management issues, effective data management system and public engagement.

Key facts:

  • The agreement was signed between the ministry of water resources and Ganga rejuvenation of India and the German International Cooperation (GIZ) of Germany under the ‘Namami Ganga’– a flagship programme of the government with a renewed impetus to decrease river pollution and conserve the country’s national river.
  • The project duration will be of three years (from 2016 to 2018) where the German contribution would be to the tune of Rs 22.5 crore.
  • Though initial actions will be focussed on the stretch of the river in Uttarakhand, it will later be expanded to other Ganga states.
  • The project will closely cooperate with other national and international initiatives, including Indo-German bilateral projects like Support to National Urban Sanitation Policy (SNUSP) and Sustainable Environment-friendly Industrial Production (SEIP).

Namami Gange Programme:

The Union government approved “Namami Gange” Program in May 2015. It integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner.

Focus of the programme:

Among other things, the programme will focus on pollution abatement interventions namely Interception, diversion & treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation / appropriate in-situ treatment / use of innovative technologies.


  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
  • In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
  • The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.

Other details:

  • The program has a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the next 5 years.
  • Under this programme, the focus of the Government is to involve people living on the banks of the river to attain sustainable results.
  • The programme also focuses on involving the States and grassroots level institutions such as Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions in implementation.


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

Proposals on Biology of childhood under nutrition invited by DBT

The department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the union Ministry of Science and Technology has called for proposals on Biology of childhood undernutrition and healthy growth with an emphasis on linear growth retardation.


Childhood under nutrition is a major national concern, which needs urgent remedies to optimise our human resource development. Under nutrition, especially linear growth retardation, probably occurs through several inter-related or independent mechanisms. However, the precise biological or pathogenic pathways are unknown and require optimization for designing of public health intervention packages.

What has the DBT said?

The DBT has called for research and development proposals in thematic areas such as measuring under nutrition, especially biomarkers and functional correlates, genetic and epigenetic influences on healthy growth, endocrine influences facilitating linear growth, nutrition requirements and dietary composition for healthy growth among others.

  • This call for proposals is intended to enhance our understanding to facilitate healthy growth in children at the population level.
  • Proposals can be submitted by clinicians, scientists, inter-disciplinary groups working in recognised R&D institutions. The proposals can be submitted online on the DBT website by May 6.


Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

Cabinet nod to adopt statute of South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network to check wildlife crimes

The Union Cabinet has given its nod for India adopting the statute of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) which will help in checking cross border wildlife crimes.

  • The approval allows the country to become a formal member of SAWEN in order to strengthen ties with the member countries in controlling the trans-boundary wildlife crime through communication, coordination, collaboration, capacity building and cooperation in the region.

What is SAWEN?

SAWEN is a regional network comprises eight countries in South Asia –Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

  • It aims at working as a strong regional intergovernmental body for combating wildlife crimes by attempting common goals and approaches for combating illegal trade in the region.

Significance of SAWEN:

The South Asia region is very vulnerable to illegal traffic and wildlife crimes due to presence of precious biodiversity and large markets as well as traffic routes for wildlife products in the region. The collaboration in harmonising as well as enforcing the wildlife protection in the region is considered very important for effective conservation of biodiversity.

How will this statute benefit India?

Now, India along with other member countries will take initiatives to bring “harmonisation and standardisation” in laws and policies to conserve fauna and flora and will also document the trend of poaching, illegal trade and related threats to the natural biodiversity.

  • This will also strengthen institutional responses to combat wildlife crime by promoting research and information sharing, training and capacity building, technical support, sharing experiences and outreach and to encourage member countries to prepare and implement their national action plans in curbing wildlife crime.



Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

HC upholds legal provision against foreign tax havens

The Madras High Court has upheld the Constitutional validity of Section 94A(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which empowers the government to declare any country, with which it lacks effective exchange of information, a ‘notified jurisdictional area.’ Section 94A(1) was inserted into the Act in 2011 through an amendment.

  • This is being seen as a major boost to the Centre’s efforts to prevent infusion of black money through shell companies in foreign tax havens.

What the Court says?

The insertion of Section 94A(1) did not amount to disrespecting international bilateral treaties to avoid double taxation.


These observations were made by the court while dismissing a batch of writ petitions challenging this provision.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

World output faces risk of 3.9 % drop by 2021

The decline in oil prices has helped countries such as India improve their external positions, but low commodity prices have kept risks elevated in emerging market economies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest Global Financial Stability Report.

  • The financial stability report assesses the risks faced by the global financial system and the current edition surveys the issues that surfaced since October 2015.

Important observations made in the report:

  • The spill-over effects of the growing uncertainty about China’s economy and setbacks to growth and confidence in advanced economies are other factors undermining global financial stability. These developments tightened financial conditions, reduced risk appetite, raised credit risks and stymied balance sheet repair.
  • Global output could decline 3.9% by 2021 if action isn’t taken to address the risks faced by the financial system.

The main message of this report is that additional measures are needed to deliver a more balanced and potent policy mix for improving the growth and inflation outlook and securing financial stability. In the absence of such measures, market turmoil may recur. However, if timely measures are taken, world output could expand by 1.7%, relative to the baseline, by 2018.

Suggestions made by the report:

The report identifies a window of opportunity in the current economic recovery to deal with what it calls a “triad of global challenges,” namely, the legacy issues in advanced economies, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and greater systemic market liquidity risks. IMF suggests that in advanced economies, banks must deal with bad assets and other legacy issues.

Sources: the hindu.

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

Global Connectivity Index

Huawei has announced its third Global Connectivity Index report during the Global Analyst Summit 2016 in Shenzhen, China. The report sheds light on various global improvements in the field of internet connectivity.

  • In terms of numbers, United States, Singapore and Sweden top the rankings.

India’s performance:

  • India with a GCI score of 30 ranks number 44 in the report, and is seen as starter in the world of ICT deployment.
  • The report notes that India may not have ranked well, but the situation might change rapidly in 2017. The Indian government’s Digital India initiative is driving growth, and improved broadband penetration. The report says the initiative will enable last mile connectivity, bringing many people online for the first time, and enables a whole new opportunity for telecom operators.

About GCI:

The 2016 Global Connectivity Index (GCI) is a study that benchmarks where a country stands within its journey to connectivity.

  • This was the third Global Connectivity Index report announced by the Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company Huawei, during the Global Analyst Summit 2016 in Shenzhen, China.
  • The report measures the growth of various global improvements in the field of internet connectivity.
  • The GCI findings are sourced from 50 countries that, in total account for 90% of global GDP and 78% of the global population, on investment and deployment of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).


Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology.

Akash Missile Test Fired For Second Consecutive Day

India’s indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash missile was recently test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha.

Key facts:

  • Akash is a medium range surface-to-air anti-aircraft defence system developed by the DRDO as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
  • Akash missile has a strike range of 25 km and can carry warhead of 60 kg.
  • Akash is powered by Ramjet-rocket propulsion system, which renders thrust for the missile to intercept the target at supersonic speed without any retardation.
  • It can fly at supersonic speed ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5 and can engage aerial targets up to a range of approximately 25 km.

Sources: pib.

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

Cabinet nod for India-UAE MoU to prevent human trafficking

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between India and United Arab Emirate to prevent human trafficking.

Key facts:

  • Under this MoU a joint task force with representatives from both sides would be constituted to monitor its implementation.
  • This MoU will strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and increase bilateral cooperation on issues of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking, especially of women and children, expeditiously.
  • The MoU will strengthen cooperation to prevent all forms of human trafficking and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organised crime syndicates in either country.
  • It will ensure taking preventive measures that would eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking.
  • Anti-trafficking cells and task forces will work on both sides to prevent human trafficking. Police and other concerned authorities will work in close cooperation and exchange information which can be used to interdict human traffickers.
  • The repatriation of victims would be done as expeditiously as possible and the home country will undertake the safe and effective re-integration of the victims.

Sources: pib.


Facts for Prelims:

  • Sushila Karki has become the first female acting Chief Justice of Nepal’s Supreme Court.
  • India and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation and mutual assistance in development of ports. The MoU is expected to help both countries to encourage and facilitate development of ports, port-related industries and maritime relationship. It will also enhance cooperation in the tasks of sharing of technology, experiences in the fields of port development and operation, exchange of information on construction, building, engineering and related aspects in the field of port development, among others.