Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 January 2017

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 January 2017


 

Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

All states except Uttar Pradesh ink pact to achieve 24/7 power

 

All states and Union Territories barring Uttar Pradesh have inked agreements with the Centre to achieve the milestone of providing ’24×7 Power For All (PFA)’.

 

What is the 24×7 “Power For All” Plan?

`Power for All’ is a joint initiative of the Centre in collaboration with State governments for supply of quality and reliable 24 x 7 power to agricultural, industrial and domestic consumers.

  • The scheme is aimed at addressing all the key aspects and activities to be undertaken across generation, transmission and distribution, including achieving 100% household electrification.
  • The plans aims to provide each household access to electricity, 24×7 reliable power supply and adequate supply to agricultural consumers as per state policy by 2019.
  • The plans for each State/UT envisions reduction of AT&C losses by increasing the collection efficiency and effective metering so as to achieve financially viable 24×7 Power Supply.
  • It also emphasizes on the development of transmission and sub transmission network which plays vital role in providing round the clock power supply.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Draft Notification for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2016

 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has invited comments on the draft notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules), 2016.   The Ministry will be notifying the proposed draft Rules in the Gazette of India for public information.

  • The objective of the Rules is to make dog breeders and their marketers accountable and to prevent infliction of any cruelty in this process.

 

Background:

There were also no specific rules, or guidelines for mandatory registration of breeders and establishments and requirements to be met by such breeders. Dog breeding and their marketing trade also mushroomed all around. At times, some cruelty has been caused in breeding and marketing of dogs, with little or no accountability.

 

The proposed Rules provide as under:

  • It will be mandatory for all dog breeders and the dog breeding establishments to register themselves with the State Animal Welfare Board of the respective State Governments.
  • It defines the breeding requirements/conditions for sale.
  • It defines the requirements to be met by the breeders and the establishments used for breeding, or housing dogs, such as health-related requirements, housing facilities, manner of housing dogs, conditions for sale, breeding, micro-chipping, vaccination etc.
  • An inspector authorised by the State Board can inspect the establishment.
  • It is mandatory for dog breeders to maintain proper records of both male and female dogs, their breed, micro-chip number, number of litters, sale, purchase, death, rehabilitation etc.
  • Every dog breeder is required to submit yearly report to the State Board regarding animals sold, traded, bartered, brokered, given away, boarded or exhibited during previous year or any other information asked for by the State Board.

 

Violation of Rules: Non-compliance of the proposed Rules will lead to cancellation of the registration of the dog breeder.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

 

SC orders audit of 30 lakh NGOs

 

The Supreme Court has directed the government to audit nearly 30 lakh NGOs which received public funds but consistently failed to explain how they spent the money.

  • Besides, asking the government to initiate civil recovery proceedings against such rogue organisations, the court has ordered that any NGO found to have cooked its books or indulged in misappropriation should be subject to immediate criminal prosecution.
  • The court has also asked the government to frame guidelines for accreditation of NGOs, the manner in which these organisations should maintain their accounts and the procedure for recovery in case they fail to submit their balance sheets.
  • The Supreme Court demanded that the government file a compliance report by March 31, 2017.

 

Significance of this ruling:

The order is unprecedented because defaulting NGOs so far have been only blacklisted by the government. Though public funds to the tune of thousands of crores are spent on NGOs and voluntary organisations annually, the CBI had submitted that only about three lakh of about 32 lakh NGOs file their balance sheets with the government.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Study throws light on groundwater, rainfall link

 

According to a recently conducted study, the groundwater level in north India has been declining at a rate of 2 cm per year during the period 2002-2013, while in north-central and south India, it has increased by 1-2 cm per year during the same period. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar.

 

Highlights of the study:

  • While changes in monsoon rainfall pattern during the period of study can largely explain the total variability of groundwater storage in north-central and south India, the usage of groundwater for irrigation purposes accounts for groundwater variability in northwest India.
  • The increased usage of groundwater for irrigation in northwest India is, in turn, linked to changes in monsoon rainfall pattern. In Punjab and Haryana, groundwater extraction was mainly responsible for declining groundwater storage.
  • For instance, over the Gangetic Plain and other parts of north India monsoon rainfall has been declining since 1950, leading to reduced recharge of groundwater.
  • Also, as a result of declining monsoon rainfall and intensive agriculture, groundwater withdrawals in the country have increased over tenfold since the 1950s — from 10-20 cubic km per year in 1950, to 240-260 cubic km per year in 2009.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

China deepens military ties with Malaysia

 

For the first time, a Chinese submarine has docked at a port in Malaysia, signalling deepening military ties between the two countries, which are already partners in the development of the Beijing-led Maritime Silk Road.

  • The visit of the submarine is adding a prominent military dimension to China’s ties with Malaysia which is fast emerging as Beijing’s top partner, close to the Strait of Malacca, along the Maritime Silk Road (MSR).

 

Key facts:

  • Analysts say docking of Chinese submarine signals the emergence of special ties between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.
  • Submarine port visits can only happen when mutual trust between two navies has reached new heights, as submarine operations are very secretive and sensitive. Therefore, this move is being seen as a trigger for elevated tensions in the South China Sea (SCS). The Malaysian port has a naval base facing the SCS.

south china sea

Why is South China Sea considered so important?

The SCS is a busy international waterway, being one of the main arteries of the global economy and trade. More than $5 trillion of world trade ships pass through the SCS every year. The SCS is also resource rich, with numerous offshore oil and gas blocks.

So what is the dispute about?

There are a few hundred small islands in the SCS, a part of the Pacific Ocean. Some of the main ones are Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal — the bone of contention between China and the Philippines. China claims most of these islands as its own. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims. China has said it will not permit other nations to infringe on what it considers its sovereign rights in the strategically vital area.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Cash for land is just not done: SC

 

Agreeing to hear the plight of the landless victims of the Sardar Sarovar Project in detail, the Supreme Court recently observed that giving cash instead of land to farmers who lost their fertile lands to the mega dam project is “tentatively” not acceptable. The court also observed that farmers in the region should not be left to suffer due to land acquisition.

Background:

Earlier, the apex court had dismissed an application by the Madhya Pradesh government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority for a modification of the apex court judgments of 2000 and 2005 upholding land rights for adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Project-affected farmers.

 

About Sardar Sarovar project:

The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat in India. It is the largest dam and part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada river. The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity. The project will irrigate more than 18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi), most of it in drought prone areas of Kutch and Saurashtra.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Effects of Endosulfan devastating: SC

 

The Supreme Court has given the Kerala government three months to disburse Rs 500 crore as compensation for over 5,000 persons who suffered from various deformities and health complications after using Endosulfan pesticides in the state.

  • The court has also asked the state to consider setting up a centre to provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims.
  • The court also observed that the state government was at liberty to take necessary measure to recover compensation paid to victims from the Centre through appropriate proceedings.

 

Background:

The directive came while the bench disposed off a public interest petition filed by Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) in 2012, which complained about the adverse effects of Endosulfan.

Both the Centre and Kerala were opposed to the ban of the pesticide due to their effectiveness on pests, but the top court stopped its usage in 2012. The Supreme Court had ordered the immediate ban of Endosulfan while disregarding pleas of over 150 private export companies. It had said “any decision affecting human life, or which may put an individual’s life at risk, must call for the most anxious scrutiny.”

 

About Endosulfan:

Endosulfan is one of the most toxic pesticides available in the market. It is an organic contact insecticide, first registered in Germany in 1954. Endosulfan has been banned in over 80 nations due to its ‘high toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor’.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

National Youth Festival

  • National Youth Festival is organized every year by the Department of Youth Affairs of Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda on January 12.
  • This time the festival is being organized in Rohtak, Haryana.
  • Theme- Youth for Digital India.
  • The Mascot of the festival has also been decided in view of the long standing skewed sex ratio especially in a state like Haryana.Selection of ‘Lado’ reflect the sensitivity of the state government towards the gender inequality in the state and to bring women at par with men which both the government is committed to combat.

 

Petroleum Ministry receives Silver Award for Excellence in Citizen Centric Services:

  • Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and the Oil Marketing Companies Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL collectively received Silver Award for Excellence in Citizen Centric Services in the National Awards on e-Governance 2016-17.
  • The award is in recognition of the achievements of the Ministry and OMCs for significant innovations in the area of e-governance and various initiatives for the LPG sector like Sahaj (online issue of new connections), online refill payment, etc.

 

Income Tax Department receives Silver Award for e-filing of Income Tax Returns project:

  • The Income Tax Department has been conferred the Silver Award in the National Awards on e-Governance-2016-17 for the e-filing of Income Tax returns and other forms project in the category “Incremental Innovations” in existing projects.
  • The award is in recognition of the achievements of the Department in the area of e-Governance and for significant innovations in successful e-Governance programs in the current Award period. The e-filing of Income Tax returns project had already won the Silver Award in the National Awards on e-Governance in 2007-08.