Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 October 2016
Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 October 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Cabinet approves revision of ethanol price
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the mechanism for revision of ethanol price for supply to Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to carry out the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme.
The new mechanism is as follows:
- For the next sugar season 2016-17 during ethanol supply period from 1st December, 2016 to 30th November, 2017, the administered price of ethanol for the EBP Programme will be Rs.39/- per litre.
- Additionally, charges will be paid to the ethanol suppliers as per actuals in case of Excise Duty and VAT/GST and transportation charges as decided by OMCs.
- If the need arises to increase/reduce the retail selling price of Petrol by Public Sector OMCs, then such increase/reduction would proportionately factor in the requirement of maintaining the fixed cost of purchase of ethanol during the ethanol supply year.
- The prices of ethanol will be reviewed and suitably revised by Government at any time during the ethanol supply period that is from 1st December, 2016 to 30th November, 2017 depending upon the prevailing economic situation and other relevant factors.
Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme was launched by the Government in 2003 which has been extended to the Notified 21 States and 4 Union Territories to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. This intervention also sought to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.
- However, since 2006, OMCs were not able to receive offers for the required quantity of ethanol against the tenders floated by them due to various constraints like State Specific issues, Supplier related issues including Pricing issues of ethanol.
- In order to augment the supply of ethanol, a need was felt to put in place a new mechanism for pricing of ethanol. Accordingly, the Government in December, 2014 decided that the delivered price of ethanol at OMC depots would be fixed in the range of Rs. 48.50 per litre to 49.50 per litre including Central/State Government taxes and transportation charges.
- The decision has helped in significantly improving the supply of ethanol. Ethanol supplies increased to 67.4 crore litres in 2014-15 and the projected supplies for ethanol supply year 2015-16 are around 120 crore litres.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Cabinet nod for Exim Bank’s MoU with New Development Bank
The Union Cabinet has given its nod to Exim Bank of India for entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on general cooperation with the New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS nations.
- This MoU will be signed through the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, which was established by five banks from the BRICS nations to enhance trade and economic relations among the BRICS countries and enterprises.
- The MoU is a non-binding umbrella agreement aimed at establishing a cooperation framework in accordance with the national laws and regulations, besides skills transfer and knowledge sharing amongst the signatories.
- The proposal will enhance trade and economic relations among the BRICS countries. There is no financial implication involved with signing of the MoU. The participating institutions from the BRICS nations will be benefitted by this MoU.
The establishment of the NDB — in July 2014 — reflects the close relations among the BRICS countries and provides a powerful instrument for increasing their economic cooperation and help India play an enhanced international role.
About EXIM bank:
Export–Import Bank of India was established in 1982 under the Export-Import Bank of India Act 1981. Since its inception, Exim Bank of India has been both a catalyst and a key player in the promotion of cross border trade and investment. Over the period, it has evolved into an institution that plays a major role in partnering Indian industries, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises, in their globalisation efforts, through a wide range of products and services offered at all stages of the business cycle, starting from import of technology and export product development to export production, export marketing, pre-shipment and post-shipment and overseas investment.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
India to eliminate use of HFC-23 by 2030
Taking the lead on tackling climate change, India has announced that it will eliminate the use of HFC-23, a greenhouse gas that harms the ozone layer, by 2030.
The announcement came at a meeting of parties to the Montreal Protocol at Kigali in Rwanda where final negotiations are taking place to substantially reduce the use of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) by 2030. The Montreal Protocol, which came into force in 1989, is aimed at reducing the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer.
- As per Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment, the move will potentially check emissions of HFC-23 equivalent to 100 million tonnes of CO2 over the next 15 years.
- Companies have been asked to internalize the cost of this environmental externality and create sufficient storage facility to take care of down time and run the incinerators to ensure that HFC-23 is not released in the atmosphere.
- With this domestic legislation to control the emissions of HFC-23, India is also sending a strong signal to the world that it is serious about the climate change issue.
About HFC 23:
HFC-23 is a potent greenhouse gas with global warming potential of 14,800 times more than that of CO2. It is a by-product of HCFC-22, which is used in industrial refrigeration.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
SC says jails are overcrowded by 150 %, laments plight of inmates
The Supreme Court has expressed concern over the pathetic condition of jails in the country. The court has also blamed Delhi and other state governments for paying “little or no attention” to the fundamental rights of under trials and convicts.
- According to official data, two of every three persons incarcerated in India have not yet been convicted of any crime.
- The number of convicts in jails grew by 1.4% from 2012 to 2013, but the number of undertrials shot up by 9.3% during the period.
- Men make up more than 90% of all prison inmates. Nearly 2,000 children of women inmates live behind bars, 80% of those women being undertrials.
- Undertrials are younger than convicts — nearly half are under the age of 30 and over 70% have not completed school.
Important observations made by the court:
- The court, in a judgment on a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL), observed that prisons are crammed with inmates by over one and a half times the permissible limit.
- The judgment also observed that “Fundamental rights and human rights of people, however they may be placed, cannot be ignored only because of their adverse circumstances.”
- The court also said that that it was “unfortunate that in spite of directions by the Court, the prison authorities have not been able to take any effective steps for reducing overcrowding in jails”.
Authorities have defied repeated orders of the Supreme Court to draw a “viable” plan of action to de-congest jails. Instead, prison authorities have banked on ad hoc proposals like the construction of additional barracks or jails, and these proposals have no time limits for implementation.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development is yet to frame a Manual for Juveniles in Custody under the recently amended Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The court has ordered the Ministry of Home Affairs to receive and collate plans of action for de-congesting jails from the various States and Union Territories in the next six months. Moreover, the SC directed the government to prepare a viable Plan of Action within the next six months and hand it over to the apex court by March 31, 2017.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Women of India Festival 2016:
- ‘Women of India Festival 2016’ of organic products by women was recently inaugurated in New Delhi.
- The Festival will offer on sale the biggest selection of organic products ranging from food, fabrics and furniture to wellness, personal care and solar products.
- It is being organised and sponsored by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development.
- It celebrates and promotes women entrepreneurs from across India. Participants from the remotest areas of the country will travel to Delhi for the entire duration of the festival and sell their unique products in the capital.
- This initiative is a move to benefit women entrepreneurs, and also actively promote organic food and products.
- The Women of India Festival is also intended to highlight the health and environmental advantages of organic goods, provide a platform for women engaged in this economy and encourage the development of sustainable and easily accessible sales outlets for organic producers from remote areas.
IIM at Jammu:
- The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment and operationalisation of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Jammu.
- The Cabinet also approved formation of an IIM Jammu Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- IIM Jammu will be run and managed by the Society with a Board of Governors (BOGs) to be constituted by the Government of India, which will administer the Institute and would be responsible for establishment and operationalisation of the Institute.
- At present, there are nineteen IIMs.
Nobel Prize for Literature:
- The American singer songwriter Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel prize for literature.
- He is the first musician to win the award.