Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 November 2016

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 November 2016


 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

‘Smog could return’

 

According to experts, the heavy blanket of smog that enveloped Delhi for days after Diwali could return soon as the constant sources of pollution have remained largely the same.

 

Various factors responsible for this:

  • Drops in wind speeds and cooler temperatures in the weeks ahead could provide a favourable setting for smog to develop and stick around.
  • Burning of agricultural residue in neighbouring States could add to the problem. The government is yet to look at a long-term plan to prevent the practice.
  • Other sources of pollution, including industries, power plants and vehicles, have also remained largely untouched.    
  • In the wake of smog in early November, the government put in place some emergency measures. But action against sources of pollution has been minimal.

 

Background:

The government had remained slow to act on this matter. Hence, the judiciary took up the monitoring of air pollution. The Supreme Court has also asked the Centre and the NCR governments to come up with action plans.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indigenization of technology.

 

Agni-I missile test-fired

 

The strategic missile, Agni-I, was recently test-fired from the Wheeler Island, off Damra village on the Odisha coast. The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) fired the missile positioned on a massive truck called a road-mobile launcher.

 

agni-iKey facts:

  • Agni-I is a 12 tonne, 15 metre long, 700km range missile.
  • It has a specialised navigation system called Ring Laser Gyro- INS to ensure high degree of accuracy to hit the target.
  • It is a single stage missile that is powered by solid propellants and can carry a nuclear warhead of 1000kg.
  • Agni-I can be fired from both road and rail mobile launchers at short notice.
  • The DRDO has designed and developed the series of Agni missiles.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

A relook at defence blacklist

 

The Defence Ministry is all set to review cases of blacklisted firms as it prepares a new list of such entities following the new policy unveiled by it which is a mixture of heavy fines and graded banning.

  • The review will include about a dozen firms that came under blanket blacklisting in the previous regime, a move which the forces were unhappy about as it proved detrimental to their modernisation plans.

 

Background:

Recently, the defence acquisition council chaired by the defence Minister gave its nod for a new policy on dealing with arms companies guilty of corruption.

 

Highlights of the new policy:

  • Under its new liberalised blacklisting policy for arms companies, India will now be open to doing business even with a banned firm if there is no alternative available to its weapon system or equipment in the market.
  • This can be done on the grounds of national security, operational military readiness and export obligations, after the vice-chief of the Service concerned, the chief of the integrated defence staff or the additional secretary (defence production) signs a certificate to that effect and gets permission from the “competent authority”, who is the Defence Minister.
  • Another key element of the new policy is that unlike the blanket ban of 10 years, the government has said that ban on serious defaulters will be for minimum five years. The policy does not mention the maximum time period for ban.
  • The policy will have a graded system of punishment to deal with agents of the arms companies and weed out corrupt practices seen intrinsic to procurement of arms and ammunitions.
  • The new approach to blacklisting is aimed at removing major obstacles in the way of military modernisation.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Centre plans crop insurance scheme for small tea growers

 

The Centre is planning to roll out a crop insurance scheme for small tea growers. Initially, a pilot will be run in three regions in Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu for one crop-cycle spread over two years commencing 2016-17.

 

Key facts:

  • The Tea Board would be the nodal agency for the scheme and the cost will be shared between the Centre, the state governments and the growers in the ratio of 75:15:10. However, the growers would have to pick up the state government’s tab in case the government declines to contribute its share.
  • The scheme aims to protect growers from anticipated losses in revenue caused by drop in international/domestic prices, yield loss due to adverse weather or pest attacks or any other reason beyond human control.
  • During the pilot period, the scheme would benefit small growers, covering about 44,223.6 hectares of plantation area. Large growers can also join the scheme, but will have to pay the entire premium.
  • The three regions where the scheme is proposed to be run as a pilot are Golaghat (Assam), Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) and Coonoor (Tamil Nadu) for the crop cycle of March to November for two consecutive years.

 

Background:

The small tea growers, who are now an emerging force in the Indian tea industry (accounting for more than 35% of the production), have suffered crop damage due to hale storms, excess rainfall and pest attacks. There has been a massive crop loss ranging between 30 and 50% due to these factors.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

‘India’s wealth rises, as does disparity’

 

According to a report on Global Wealth by Credit Suisse, the total quantum of wealth is rising in India but so is the disparity between those who have wealth and those deprived of it.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • While wealth has been rising in India, growth is uneven. About 96% of the adult population remains at the base of the wealth pyramid with wealth below $10,000, and a small fraction of the adult population (0.3%) has net worth of more than $100,000.
  • Wealth in India is dominated by property and other real estate that make up 86% of its estimated household assets.
  • Wealth in India in local currency terms increased 5.1% in 2016 but due to adverse currency exchange movements, India’s household wealth fell by 0.8% to $3 trillion in dollar terms.
  • The annual growth of wealth per adult in rupees has averaged 6 per cent between 2000 and 2016.
  • The number of millionaires in India is at 1.78 lakh with $973 billion in wealth. Among these, ultra high-networth individuals increased by 5.2% to 2,260, including 1,040 with more than $100 million.
  • The number of millionaires is projected to increase by 9.5% in the next five years to 2.8 lakh in 2021. Meanwhile, personal debts are estimated to be 9% of gross assets in India, much lower than in most developed countries.

 

Global scenario:

Globally, the overall growth in wealth remained limited in 2016, continuing the trend that emerged in 2013 and contrasting sharply with the double-digit growth rates witnessed before the global financial crisis of 2008.

  • The total global wealth in 2016 edged up by 1.4% or $3.5 trillion to a total of $256 trillion, a rise in line with the increase in the world’s adult population.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

5th International Tourism Mart:

  • The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in association with the North Eastern States and West Bengal is organising the “International Tourism Mart” in Imphal, Manipur from 23rd – 25th November, 2016.
  • This is the 5th International Tourism Mart. It is an annual event organised in the North Eastern region with the objective of highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets.
  • It brings together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight North Eastern States and West Bengal. The event has been planned and scheduled to facilitate interaction between buyers, sellers, media, Government agencies and other stakeholders.
  • Buyer and Media delegates from around the world and from different regions of the country are participating in the Mart and will engage in one-to-one meetings with sellers from the North East Region. This will enable the tourism product suppliers from the region to reach out to international and domestic buyers, with the objective of promoting tourism to the region.
  • The International Tourism Marts are organised in the North Eastern States on rotation basis. The earlier editions of this mart have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong and Gangtok.
  • The highlight of this 5th International Tourism Mart 2016 is that it is being organised during the Sangai Festival. The Sangai festival is an annual major cultural festival organised by State Government of Manipur every year from November 21 to 30.