Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 December 2016

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 December 2016


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

NITI Aayog announces launch of the schemes – Lucky Grahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana – for incentivising digital payment

 

NITI Aayog has announced the launch of the schemes Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana to give cash awards to consumers and merchants who utilize digital payment instruments for personal consumption expenditures.

 

Key facts:

  • The primary aim of these schemes is to incentivize digital transactions so that electronic payments are adopted by all sections of the society, especially the poor and the middle class.
  • It has been decided that National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) shall be the implementing agency for this scheme.
  • The schemes have been designed keeping in mind all sections of the society and their usage patterns. For instance, the poorest of poor will be eligible for rewards by using USSD. People in village and rural areas can participate in this scheme through AEPS.
  • The scheme will become operational with the first draw on 25th December, 2016 (as a Christmas gift to the nation) leading up to a Mega Draw on Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti on 14th April 2017.
  • To ensure that the focus of the scheme is on small transactions (entered into by common people), incentives shall be restricted to transactions within the range of Rs 50 and Rs 3000.

 

The announcement comprises of two major components, one for the Consumers and the other for the Merchants:

  1. Lucky Grahak Yojana [Consumers]:
  • Daily reward of Rs 1000 to be given to 15,000 lucky Consumers for a period of 100 days.
  • Weekly prizes worth Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10,000 and Rs. 5000 for Consumers who use the alternate modes of digital Payments.
  • This will include all forms of transactions viz. UPI, USSD, AEPS and RuPay Cards but will for the time being exclude transactions through Private Credit Cards and Digital Wallets.

 

  1. Digi-Dhan Vyapar Yojana[ Merchants]:
  • Prizes for Merchants for all digital transactions conducted at Merchant establishments.
  • Weekly prizes worth Rs. 50,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs. 2,500.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Second Meeting of Interim Board of CEPI

 

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India is partnering in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), a new global alliance between governments, industries, academia, philanthropy, inter-governmental institutions, the World Health Organization, and civil society.

  • The DBT is hosting the Second Meeting of the Interim Board of CEPI at New Delhi. The meeting is focused on identifying disease priorities, future strategy and setting of Permanent Secretariat for CEPI.
  • The meeting will be attended by Board members from countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America as well as civil society organizations including Medecins Sans Frontiers as well as the World Health Organization.

 

About CEPI:

CEPI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is a “public-private coalition that aims to derail epidemics by speeding development of vaccines”.

  • The concept is to develop early phases of vaccines without knowing the details for the form in which the infection will appear, but will still cut down the time to tailor the eventual vaccine to be effective to the epidemic.
  • The structure of CEPI was laid on August 31, 2016 in London and there is an interim Board currently chaired by Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary DBT. It is the highest decision making body of CEPI, and has supreme decision-making authority for all funding, policy, and product development aspects of CEPI’s operations.
  • The scientific input to the Board is provided by a Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) where Indian scientists are members and the joint coordinating group (JCG) is the co-ordination mechanism between CEPI and stakeholders including the vaccine companies.
  • The CEPI aim to finance and coordinate the development of new vaccines to prevent and contain infectious disease epidemics.
  • CEPI is currently being steered by five founding partners. They are: Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, GOI; Government of Norway; Wellcome Trust; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and World Economic Forum.
  • India’s participation in CEPI would provide the opportunity to leverage vaccine development capacities in India, access to vaccines as and when needed, protection of our population and boost our ability to have a competitive vaccine industry.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Shri Rajnath Singh chairs a meeting of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration

 

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh recently chaired a meeting with the delegation of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).

  • Gorkhaland mapDuring the meeting, it was decided to sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas, the Adivasis and other people of Darjeeling district and the Dooars region.
  • In respect of granting ST Status to 11 Gorkha communities, the Minister informed that the committee constituted for preparing a report for this purpose has been recently granted extension for a further period of four months. The Committee will be asked to try to give its report as per the schedule.
  • Regarding setting up of a Central University in GTA region, it was discussed that there is a general mandate for having a Central University in each State. However, there can be an exception to this and accordingly it was decided that the demand of setting up the Central University in GTA region would be considered.

 

About GTA:

Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) is a semi-autonomous administrative body for the Darjeeling hills in West Bengal.

  • GTA replaced the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, which was formed in 1988 and administered the Darjeeling hills for 23 years.
  • GTA presently has three hill subdivisions Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Kurseong and some areas of Siliguri subdivision under its authority.
  • The GTA has administrative, executive and financial powers but no legislative powers.

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Liquor vends on National, State highways banned

 

The Supreme Court has banned States and Union Territories from granting licences for the sale of liquor along National and State highways across the country, noting that drunken driving was the main culprit behind a large number of road accidents in the country.

 

Key facts:

  • The court ordered that the prohibition on sale of liquor alongside highways would extend to stretches of such highways that fall within limits of municipal corporations, city towns and local authorities.
  • The court also prohibited signages and advertising of availability of liquor on highways and ordered the existing ones to be removed forthwith from both national and State highways.
  • It ordered that no shop for sale of liquor should be visible from the National and State highways. Neither should they be directly accessible from the highways nor should they be situated within a distance of 500 metres from the outer edge of the highways or service lanes.
  • With this, the licences of liquor shops across the highways will not be renewed after March 31, 2017.

 

Background:

The judgment is a result of the deep concern the court had expressed recently on the 1.5 lakh fatalities annually in road accidents. It had blamed the Centre and the States for not doing enough as lives were lost on the roads.

An analysis of road accident data 2015 reveals that around 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads, resulting in 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour.

 

Way ahead:

The court ordered all the States and Union Territories to “strictly enforce the directions.” It gave the Chief Secretaries and the State police chiefs a month’s time to chalk out a plan for enforcement of the judgment.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Fifth India-Arab partnership forum in Oman

 

Fifth India-Arab partnership forum is being held in Oman. Minister of State for External Affairs, M J Akbar is leading the Indian delegation to the fifth India-Arab Partnership Conference.

 

About the conference:

The conference is being organised by Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) in collaboration with Arab League Secretariat, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), General Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Arab Countries (GUCCIAC) and Federation of the Arab Business (FAB).

  • The theme of the fifth India-Arab Partnership Conference is “Partnership towards Innovation and Information Technology Co-operation.”
  • The conference will hold panel discussions on the topics identified for the conference – technology and innovation, the renewable energy and clean technology, the health and drug industry, the higher education and skill development, food security and safety and tourism.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

Babur:

  • It is an enhanced version of an indigenously-designed cruise missile that can hit targets at 700 kms with all kinds of warheads.
  • It was recently test fired by the Pakistan Army.
  • Called ‘Babur’ after Mughal invader and founder of the dynasty of same name, the missile is part of Babur Weapon System version- 2 and is an enhanced version of the earlier missile.
  • It incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy.
  • It is a low flying, terrain hugging missile, which carries certain stealth features and is capable of carrying various types of warheads.