Insights Daily Current Events, 23 June 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 23 June 2016


 

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

 

Not all is bright and shining with LED light: Study

 

According to a study, excessive blue light emitted by light emitting diodes (LED) can adversely impact human health. The report looked at LED street lighting on U.S. roadways.

Why blue light emitted by LED is harmful?

  • The human eye perceives the large amount of blue light emitted by some LEDs as white. Blue light directly affects sleep by suppressing the production of the hormone melatonin, which mediates the sleep-wake cycle in humans. Compared with conventional street lighting, the blue-rich white LED street lighting is five times more disruptive to sleep cycle.
  • Available evidence suggests blue light leads to a long-term increase in the risk for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity caused by chronic sleep disruption.
  • The excessive blue wavelength also contributes to glare effects as a result of larger scattering in the human eye. Contrary to the popular notion that bright LED lighting increases road safety, discomfort and disability glare caused by unshielded, bright LED lighting negatively impacts visual acuity, thus “decreasing safety and creating road hazards”. Glare forms a veil of luminance that reduces the contrast, thus in turn reducing the visibility of a target.
  • Besides, unshielded LED lighting causes papillary constriction, leading to “worse night-time vision between lighting fixtures.” Intense blue spectrum can even damage the retina.

What’s the solution?

The correlated colour temperature (CCT) of first-generation LEDs, which are currently used, is 4,000K. Higher CCT values indicate greater blue light emission, and in the case of 4,000K LED lighting, 29% of the spectrum is emitted as blue light. Hence, researchers prefer 3000K LED. At 3,000K, the blue light emitted is only 21% and appears slightly warmer in tone. While discomfort and disability glare is reduced, there is only a 3% drop in energy efficiency compared with 4,000K LED lighting.

Also, experts suggest more attention should be paid to proper design, shielding and installation so that no light shines above 80 degrees from the horizontal.

LED:

The LED is a light source which uses semiconductors and electroluminescence to create light. The LED uses a small semiconductor crystal with reflectors and other parts to make the light brighter and focused into a single point.

  • Unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs, they don’t have a filament that will burn out, and they don’t get especially hot. They are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, and they last just as long as a standard transistor.

What determines the color of an LED?

The material used in the semiconducting element of an LED determines its color. The two main types of LEDs presently used for lighting systems are aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP, sometimes rearranged as AlInGaP) alloys for red, orange and yellow LEDs; and indium gallium nitride (InGaN) alloys for green, blue and white LEDs. Slight changes in the composition of these alloys changes the color of the emitted light.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure-energy.

 

Cabinet extends UDAY scheme deadline

 

The Cabinet has approved an extension in the deadline for implementing the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) by a year to March 31, 2017. The Cabinet decision extends this provision from the earlier deadline of March 31, 2016.

Implications:

  • This decision would allow states, which could not participate in UDAY earlier to join the scheme.
  • The extension of the timeline is also to give states that have given their in-principle approval a little more time to order their finances before signing the official document.

So far, 19 States have given in-principle approval to join the scheme, out of which 10 states—Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir—have signed MoUs with the Centre.

About UDAY:

The UDAY scheme is aimed at bringing ailing power distribution companies (discoms) to a state of operational efficiency, with state governments taking over up to 75% of their respective discoms’ debt and issuing sovereign bonds to pay back the lenders.

UDAY envisages a permanent resolution of past as well as potential future issues of the sector The scheme seeks to achieve this through several simultaneous steps including reducing the interest burden on the discoms by allowing the states to take over the bulk of their debt, reducing the cost of power, and increasing the operational efficiencies of the discoms by providing capital and infrastructure like coal linkages.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Textiles get tax sops in output impetus

 

The Centre has announced a Rs.6,000-crore special package, with tax and production incentives, for the textile and apparel sector to enable domestic firms to compete globally. The package aims to help in creating one crore jobs, mostly for women, in the next three years.

Key facts:

  • The package includes several tax and production incentives. The package also provides the sector more flexible labour laws and financial incentives. The government hopes the package will create one crore new jobs in three years, attract Rs74,000 crore in investment and generate $30 billion in exports earnings.
  • In a first-of-its-kind move, a new scheme will be introduced to refund the state levies which were not refunded so far. Of the Rs.6,000 crore package, Rs.5,500 crore is for an additional 5% duty drawback for garments. Drawback at ‘all industries rate’ would be given for domestic duty paid inputs even when fabrics are imported under ‘Advance Authorization Scheme.’
  • The remaining Rs.500 crore will be for additional incentives under Amended Technology Upgradation Funds Scheme (ATUFS), where the subsidy provided to garmenting units under the scheme is being increased from 15% to 25%, providing a boost to employment generation.
  • The package breaks new ground in moving from input-based to outcome-based incentives; a unique feature of the scheme will be to disburse subsidy only after expected jobs have been created.
  • To ensure increased earnings for workers, the package specifies that overtime hours for workers shall not to exceed eight hours per week — in line with International Labour Organisation norms.
  • Taking note of the seasonal nature of the garment industry, fixed term employment will be introduced for the sector and a fixed term workman will be considered at par with permanent workman in terms of working hours, wages, allowances and other statutory dues.
  • Considering the industry’s seasonal nature, the provision of 240 days under Section 80JJAA of Income Tax Act (allowing deduction of 30% of additional wages paid to new regular employees for three years where the worker has worked at least for 240 days in a previous year) would be relaxed to 150 days for the garment industry.
  • Also, the government said it will bear the entire employer’s contribution of 12 per cent under the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, for new employees of garment industry earning less than Rs. 15,000 per month, for the first three years.

Background:

Compared with Bangladesh and Vietnam India was the leader in apparel exports between 1995 and 2000. Bangladesh’s apparel exports exceeded that of India in 2003, while Vietnam surpassed India in 2011.

With the package the Indian textile and apparel sector would be strengthened by improving its cost competitiveness in the global market. With policy support, India can again regain its position in the next three years.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

India has to complete a long process for SCO membership

 

The government has confirmed that a long-drawn process lies ahead for India to complete its entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which will begin its annual summit on June 23-24 at Tashkent.

  • India will attend the summit as an “Acceding Member” but will speak from the category of “Observers.”

What next?

  • At this upcoming summit, the process of India’s accession to the SCO will start with a signature on the ‘base document’ which is called the ‘Memorandum of Obligations.
  • The Memorandum of Obligations will begin a process of more intense engagement. The memorandum will also provide opportunity to intensify anti-terror cooperation between India and China.
  • Also, there is a schedule laid down for India to sign up to the other documents that are required that India needs to accede to and that will happen as the year goes by. India would have to sign at least 30 sets of documents.

About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

It is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. These countries, except for Uzbekistan, had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996; after the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation.

  • The SCO is seen as a counter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
  • With observer states included, its affiliates account for about half of the world’s population.
  • The SCO has established relations with the United Nations, where it is an observer in the General Assembly, the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
  • India and Pakistan were accepted as full members of the organization in July 2015.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

DGCA to get more punitive powers

 

The Civil Aviation Ministry will soon send a proposal to amend the Aircraft Act, 1937, to the Law Ministry, to empower the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to impose fines for violations under the Act. DGCA will be empowered to penalise airlines and airports for various offences and non-compliance of air regulations. .

  • Under the present rules, the DGCA is authorised to either suspend the operations of airlines or airports or take away their licence, but has no powers to impose fines or penalties.

Key facts:

  • The violations under the act include operating aircraft without the specified minimum crew, flying without a valid pilot licence or medical fitness, not maintaining records, fraudulent entry in logbooks and not maintaining airports. However, the DGCA will not impose a fine on airlines on commercial matters.
  • The DGCA may be empowered to fill vacancies on deputation or promote its employees without getting the consent of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • The DGCA will be given full financial autonomy, enabling it to spend money without taking the consent of the Civil Aviation Ministry, through a notification.

About DGCA:

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory body for civil aviation under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The DGCA is responsible for implementing, controlling, and supervising airworthiness standards, safety operations, crew training in India. This directorate investigates aviation accidents and incidents.

Sources: the hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:

  • The iconic high courts of Bombay and Madras may soon undergo a change in their nomenclature. Amid demands, the Centre is mulling changing the names of the two high courts through an Act of Parliament. The Law Ministry has started working on a bill to rename Bombay and Madras high courts to correspond to the present names of the cities. There have been demands to rename the high courts as Mumbai High Court and Chennai High Court after the metros were rechristened in the 1990s. The proposal of the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry is to bring a bill to rename the two high courts established in the 1860s under the Indian High Court Act, 1861. The ‘Indian High Court Act’ of 1861, vested in the Queen of England to issue letters patent to establish high courts of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.

 

  • The Cabinet has approved the establishment of ‘Fund of Funds for Startups‘ (FFS) at Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for contribution to various Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) registered with SEBI which would extend funding support to startups. The fund will be built up over the 14th and 15th Finance Commission cycles to provide a stable and predictable source of funding for startup enterprises and facilitate large scale job creation. The central government has already sanctioned Rs 500 crore for the project in 2015-16, while Rs 600 crore has been earmarked in the 2016-17. Provisions will also be made to grant assistance through gross budgetary Support by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), which will monitor and review performance in line with the ‘Start up India Action Plan’.

 

  • Expanding its horizons, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently launched 20 satellites through a single rocket, surpassing its 2008 record of launching 10 satellites in a single mission. Besides the primary Cartosat-2 Series satellite, the PSLV C-34 rocket launched two satellites from Indian universities and 17 foreign satellites, including one for a Google company. The 725.5-kg Cartosat-2 series satellite would be for Earth observation and its imagery would be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, and utility management like road networking. In 2014, Russian Dnepr rocket launched a record 37 satellites in a single mission.