Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 September 2016

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 September 2016


 

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

Expansion of India – Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)

 

India and Chile have signed a pact on the expansion of the India–Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which is expected to considerably strengthen the commercial relations between both the countries.

 

Details:

  • Chile has offered concessions to India on 1798 tariff lines with margin of preference (extent to which duties are lower than those offered to other countries) ranging from 30% to100%.
  • India’s offer to Chile is on 1,031 products with a margin of preference between 10% and 100%.

 

Background:

India and Chile first signed a PTA in March 2006 but it was limited in scope. India’s offer list to Chile in the initial PTA consisted of 178 tariff lines with a margin of preference ranging from 10% to 50%. Chile’s offer list to India comprised 296 tariff lines with margin of preference ranging from 10% to 100%.

 

What is a PTA?

A preferential trade agreement is a trading bloc that gives preferential access to certain products from the participating countries. This is done by reducing tariffs but not by abolishing them completely.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Health Ministry launches the biggest Leprosy Case Detection Campaign in the country

 

In a bid to eradicate Leprosy from India, Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has launched the biggest Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC) in the country across 149 districts of 19 states/UTs.

 

Details:

  • This is a fortnight-long campaign. It will cover 1656 blocks/urban areas of these districts and screen a total of 32 crore people for leprosy. For this purpose, 297604 teams comprising of one lady ASHA worker and one male volunteer each would visit every house in their allotted area and screen all the family members for leprosy.
  • The states and UTs covered in this campaign are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi and Lakshadweep. The districts having a prevalence rate of more than one case per 10,000 population in any of the last three years have been included in this campaign.

 

About the campaign:

The Leprosy Case Detection Campaign is a unique initiative of its kind in the world where each and every member of the targeted population will be examined by the search team constituted of one male and one female volunteer at household level.

  • House to house visits will be done by the search team as per the micro plan prepared for the local area to detect hidden and undetected leprosy cases.
  • The objective of the campaign is the early detection of leprosy in affected persons so that they can be saved from physical disability and deformity by providing them timely treatment and thus also halting the transmission of disease at the community level.
  • The first LCDC was launched during March-April 2016 in 50 districts of 7 states covering a population of about 6.8 crores. During this campaign 65427 suspected cases were identified out of which 4120 were later confirmed.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Gas4India campaign

 

The center has launched Gas4India campaign, aimed at promoting the use of gas in the country.

 

What is it?

Gas4India is a unified cross-country, multimedia, multi-event campaign to communicate the national, social, economic and ecological benefits of using natural gas as the fuel of choice to every citizen who uses, or will use in the near future, gas in any way- cook, travel, light their homes, and power their business.

 

Details:

  • The campaign includes social engagement via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, and its official blogsite, as well as hyper local, offline events to directly connect with consumers through discussions, workshops and cultural events.
  • Public and private sector companies working in the sector have joined hands to promote the natural gas sector.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

Rs.20,000 Crore Long Term Irrigation Fund to be Raised

 

In a move that aims to address the perennial irrigation water crisis affecting rural India, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and NABARD signed an agreement to operationalise the Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) to be instituted in NABARD as part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

  • The agreement aims to complete the 99 prioritized irrigation projects as part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
  • The loans from NABARD will be provided at 6% interest rate for a period of 15 years. The Water Users associations will be formed for participatory management of the projects.

 

Key facts:

  • The Fund, with an initial corpus of about Rs 20,000 crore, was announced in the Union Budget 2016-17 by Finance Minister.
  • Corpus would be raised by way of budgetary resources and market borrowings to fund fast tracking of implementation of incomplete major & medium irrigation projects.

 

About PMKSY:

PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).

  • The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.
  • The major objective of PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water and enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).

 

Other details:

  • Programme architecture of PMKSY will be to adopt a ‘decentralized State level planning and projectised execution’ structure that will allow States to draw up their own irrigation development plans based on District Irrigation Plan (DIP) and State Irrigation Plan (SIP).
  • It will be operative as convergence platform for all water sector activities including drinking water & sanitation, MGNREGA, application of science & technology etc. through comprehensive plan.
  • State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State will be vested with the authority to oversee its implementation and sanction projects.
  • The programme will be supervised and monitored by an Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister with Union Ministers from concerned Ministries.
  • A National Executive Committee (NEC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog to oversee programme implementation, allocation of resources, inter ministerial coordination, monitoring & performance assessment, addressing administrative issues etc.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Govt approves 6 start-up centres

 

The Central government has approved six proposals to set up centres of excellence to promote and fund start-ups under the National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovation (NIDHI), a programme steered by the Department of Science and Technology.

  • The government has earmarked ₹500 crore to scale up the start-up eco system, under which seed funding of up to ₹10 lakh will be given to develop a prototype and access fabrication facilities in incubators.

 

About NIDHI:

NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations), an umbrella program is pioneered by the Department of Science & Technology(DST) for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups.

  • NIDHI focuses on building a seamless and innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem especially by channelizing youth towards it and thereby bringing in the positive impact on the socio-economic development of the country.
  • The program aims to provide technological solutions not only to the pressing needs of the society but also targets to create new avenues for wealth and job creation.
  • NIDHI, by design connects and strengthens all the links of the innovation chain from scouting to sustaining to securing to scaling to showcasing, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • The key stakeholders of NIDHI includes various departments and ministries of the central government, state governments, academic and R & D institutions, mentors, financial institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists, industry champions and private sectors.
  • NIDHI strongly addresses the new national aspirations by massively scaling up DST’s experience of three decades in promoting innovative startups.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

CSCs may assemble LED lamps to boost rural economy: Prasad

 

Looking at tapping the 2.29 lakh Common Service Centers (CSCs) in the country to boost rural economy, the government is planning to enable assembly and manufacturing of LED lights at these centers.

  • The government, through these centers, also will provide in rural regions, tele-consultation services for animal healthcare as well as legal issues. Kits for testing of dieseses such as malaria and dengue will also be made available at these centers.

 

What are CSCs?

Common Services Centers (CSCs) are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.

CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:

  • Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
  • Governance and services on demand.
  • Digital empowerment of citizens.

 

Significance of CSCs:

CSCs are more than service delivery points in rural India. They are positioned as change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods. They are enablers of community participation and collective action for engendering social change through a bottom-up approach with key focus on the rural citizen.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

  • Ministry of DoNER goes LIVE on e-office: The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region has gone LIVE on e-office. Required arrangements have been made. This includes a joint training of officers and other employees to bring them on the same page with regard to e-office procedures, understanding the modules of e-office etc. A Central Registry Unit and technical support team has been created to ensure smooth transition from physical files to the electronic platform. The e-office platform would not only digitize the entire office correspondence and file notings, but also ensure an audit trail of all entries and correspondence, thus providing an unprecedented level of accountability. It also migrates the chain of custody from the individual to the system allowing easy access to relevant documents at all times.

 

  • Sri Lanka is malaria free: The World Health Organisation has certified that Sri Lanka is a malaria-free nation. Sri Lanka had been among the most malaria-affected countries in the mid-20th century. But, the country had begun an anti-malaria campaign that successfully targeted the mosquito-borne parasite that causes the disease, not just mosquitoes. Health education and effective surveillance also helped the campaign. To prevent parasites re-entering the country, the anti-malaria campaign is working with local and international partners to maintain surveillance and screening.

 

  • Grauer’s gorilla: Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), a subspecies of eastern gorilla, the world’s largest ape, and confined to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The announcement was made at the IUCN World Conservation Congress currently underway in Hawaii. Critically Endangered status means that a species is considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction.  
Grauer's gorilla

Grauer’s gorilla