Insights Daily Current Events, 30 June 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 30 June 2016


 

Paper 3 Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Surface-to-air missile test successful

 

A new generation Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM), developed by India and Israel, was recently successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range off Odisha Coast.

  • This is the first time that the MRSAM system was tested in India. In the next few days, a series of tests will take place before the system joins the Indian Air Force arsenal.

Key facts:

  • The missile is similar to the Barak-8 missile used by the Navy’s new destroyers.
  • The supersonic missile system was jointly developed with the Israel Aerospace Industries. 400 scientists, including 100 from Israel, worked for seven years to make this weapon system.
  • The missile is designed to defend any type of airborne threat including aircraft and helicopters. It can intercept supersonic aircraft and even missiles.
  • The MR-SAM has strike ranges from 50 to 70 km. Once inducted into Indian Armed forces, it will provide the users capability to neutralise any aerial threats.
  • The system also includes a multi-functional surveillance and threat alert radar for tracking, detection and guidance of the missile.
  • Companies like Bharat Electronic Limited, L&T, Bharat Dynamics Limited and the Tata Group have developed sub systems that have been put to use in this flight test.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: conservation.

 

ZSI to record climate change impact on animals

 

The Zoological Survey of India has started five long-term monitoring plots in the Himalayas to document the impact of climate change on the animal world.

Key facts:

  • The project is funded by the Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It will monitor indicators in species like fish, butterflies, bees and other insects to find out how their distribution has been affected by climate change.
  • ZSI will compare the distribution of species in the past and present to come out with a study report on the impact of climate change on their survival.
  • The project will run for three years in West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and more than Rs. 2 crore has been earmarked for the exercise.

About ZSI:

Established in 1961, it is a premier organisation in zoological research and studies. It was established to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the region.

  • The activities of the ZSI are coordinated by the Conservation and Survey Division in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Main objectives:

  • Exploration and Survey of Faunal Resources.
  • Taxonomic Studies.
  • Status Survey of Endangered Species.
  • Publication of Results through Departmental Journals.
  • Publication of Fauna of India.
  • Maintenance and Development of National Zoological Collections.

Red Data Book:

  • Similar to the Red Data Book produced by IUCN, ZSI also releases a Red Data Book on Indian Animals. It was first published in 1983.

The ZSI also participates in the Indian Antarctic Program, since its inception in 1989.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP)

 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP).

  • The NMEP primarily aims at accelerating the exploration activity in the country through enhanced participation of the private sector.

Highlights:

  • The policy emphasizes on making available baseline geoscientific data of world standards in the public domain, quality research in a public-private partnership, special initiatives for search of deep-seated and concealed deposits, quick aerogeophysical surveys of the country, and creation of a dedicated geoscience database etc.
  • The Ministry of Mines will carry out auctioning of identified exploration blocks for exploration by private sector on revenue sharing basis in case their exploration leads to auctionable resources. The revenue will be borne by the successful bidder of those auctionable blocks.
  • If the explorer agencies do not discover any auctionable resources, their exploration expenditure will be reimbursed on normative cost basis.
  • Government will carry out a National Aerogeophysical Program for acquiring state-of-the-art baseline data for targeting concealed mineral deposits.
  • A National Geoscientific Data Repository is proposed to be set up to collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central & state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and to maintain these on geospatial database.
  • Government proposes to establish a not-for-profit autonomous institution that will be known as the National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT) in collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for scientific and technological research to address the mineral exploration challenges in the country.
  • There are also provisions for inviting private investment in exploration through attractive revenue sharing models.
  • On the lines of UNCOVER project of Australia, the government intends to launch a special initiative to probe deep-seated/ concealed minerals deposits in the country in collaboration with National Geophysical Research Institute and the proposed NCMT and Geoscience Australia.

In order to implement the recommendations of the NMEP, initially an amount of about Rs.2116 crore over 5 years would be required over and above the annual plan budget of the Geological Survey of India under the Ministry of Mines. The NMEP will benefit the entire mineral sector across the country.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Services) Bill 2016

 

The Union Cabinet recently cleared the Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016.

Highlights:

  • The law will allow shops, malls and cinema halls, among other establishments to run 24×7 throughout the year.
  • It covers establishments employing 10 or more workers except manufacturing units and will provide freedom to operate 365 days with flexibility on timing to open and close.
  • It also provides for women to be employed on night shifts with adequate security, and calls for better working conditions for employees such as drinking water, canteen, first-aid, lavatory and creche.
  • The law also provides exemption to highly-skilled workers like those in IT and biotechnology from daily working hours (9 hours) and weekly working hours (48 hours).
  • There are also provisions in the bill regarding powers of Government to make rules regarding adequate measures to be taken by the employer for the safety and health of workers.

Way ahead:

As per the proposal mooted by Labour Ministry, the model law can be adopted by states with a provision to modify it as per their requirements. This is designed to bring in uniformity in legislative provisions, making it easier for all states to adopt it and ensure uniform working conditions across the country. It should be noted here that the model law will not require Parliament’s approval.

Background:

The Centre has been receiving suggestions from time to time to enact the model law, which states could consider for enforcement either by adopting the central law or through necessary modification by the state law.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

New members to UNSC

 

The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly has elected Sweden, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan to serve on the UNSC for a period of two years, starting from 1 January 2017. With this, now only one non-permanent Council seat remains to be filled.

  • The newly-elected countries will replace Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand, Angola and Venezuela.

Background:

Under the UN Charter, the Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security, with all UN Member States required to comply with Council decisions.

  • The Security Council has 15 members, including five permanent. The five permanent members, each with the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other current non-permanent members are Japan, Egypt, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay.
  • The Council’s 10 non-permanent seats are allocated according to a rotation pattern set by the Assembly in 1963, to ensure a proportionate representation over time from the different parts of the world: five from African and Asian States; one from Eastern Europe; two from Latin American States; and two from Western European and Other States.
  • The Security Council is also responsible for determining the existence of a threat against peace and to respond to an act of aggression. It is also responsible for finding peaceful means to settle a conflict or a dispute between States.
  • In some cases, the Council can resort to sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
  • The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), Bhutan. The MoU is aimed at strengthening the existing relationship between RCSC and UPSC. It will facilitate sharing of experience and expertise of both the parties in the area of recruitment. The areas of cooperation include the sharing of experience and expertise in recruitment and selection of officers, development of professional skills of the officers, use of Information Technology in examination processes and digitization of records among other things.

 

  • Four Indian-Americans, including Google CEO Sunder Pichai, are among 42 US nationals to be honoured with this year’s prestigious “Great Immigrants: The Pride of America” award for their inspiring professional accomplishments. The other three Indian-Americans are Hari Sreenivasan, anchor and senior correspondent, PBS NewsHour, Vikram Malhotra Chairman of the Americas, McKinsey & Company and Bharati Mukherjee National, Book Critics Circle Award-winning author.

 

  • Indigenously-built heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo Varunastra has been successfully inducted in the navy, making India one of the eight countries to have the capability to design and build such a system. The submarine is developed by Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), a premier laboratory of DRDO.