Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 January 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 January 2017


Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.


Centre sets up a negotiation panel on river Mahanadi and its tributaries


Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a negotiations committee to assess availability and utilisation of waters of Mahanadi and its tributaries.



The committee has been set up with reference to complaint of State of Odisha under section 3 of the ISRWD Act, 1956 regarding utilisation of waters of Mahandi Basin.


Key facts:

  • The committee will be chaired by Member (WP&P), Central Water Commission and will have 11 other members comprising representatives from the States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Union Ministries of Agriculture, Environment Forest and Climate Change, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India Meteorological Department and Central Water Commission.
  • The committee will also examine existing water sharing agreements on river Mahanadi and will consider claims of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand regarding availability and utilisation of waters of these rivers.
  • The committee has been asked to submit its report within three months.


What’s the dispute?

The 850km length of the Mahanadi river is divided almost equally between Chhattisgarh, where it is born, and downstream Odisha. Last year Odisha government opposed barrages that Chhattisgarh has been constructing.

Odisha government alleges that these barrages are meant to feed industrial projects and will block the flow of water into Odisha whose dependence on the river is greater. Chhattisgarh has denied this allegation pointing out that much of the river in Odisha flows untapped and straight into the sea.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Workshop on MSME Cooperation amongst Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Member Countries


Workshop on MSME Cooperation amongst Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Member countries was recently held in India. This workshop aims to strengthen economic relationship amongst the member countries in the field of trade and investment facilitation especially in MSME sector.

  • This Workshop will facilitate exchange of ideas, concerns and experiences of IORA member states and would help evolve a common MoU to address the emerging challenges in the region in MSME sector.



Workshop on MSME Cooperation amongst IORA member countries was organized in pursuance of the commitment made by India in the Economic Business Conference – II (EBC- II) held in Dubai in April, 2016.


Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA):

It is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean. IORA was established in 1997 to promote cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. It was formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).

  • The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
  • It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.
  • It seeks to expand mutually beneficial cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach.
  • IORA is the only regional forum linking most countries on the Indian Ocean rim through an annual Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
  • The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.
  • The Association comprises 20 member states and 7 dialogue partners, the Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation and the Indian Ocean Research Group has observer status.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


CCI imposes penalty on bidders for cartelisation in tenders of Indian Railways


The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed penalties on three firms for bid rigging of tenders floated by Indian Railways for procurement of Brushless DC fans in the year 2013.

  • CCI has held that the firms had shared the market by way of allocation of tenders of Indian Railways for Brushless DC fans amongst themselves under an agreement/ arrangement and indulged in bid rigging/ collusive bidding in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3)(c) and 3(3)(d) read with Section 3(1) of the Act.



The anti-competitive conduct of the firms has been established based on exchange of rates to be quoted in upcoming tenders amongst the errant firms, numerous calls amongst the key persons of these firms before and during the period of the tenders and admission by one of the firms which confirmed and revealed the existence and modus operandi of the cartel.


About CCI:

Competition Commission of India is a body responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India. It was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009.

  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
  • The duty of the Commission is to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.


The Competition Act, 2002 prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and Merger and acquisition), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.

Sources: pib.


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.


India Innovation Index to measure performance of Indian states


The World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Cornell University are working together to develop an India Innovation Index that will provide impetus to Indian states to drive the innovative spirit.


Key facts:

  • This index will encourage states to compete with each other and, in turn, lead to better policies for inclusive growth.
  • Each partnering organisation will nominate a working group member to work on the index. The first ranking is expected to be released at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi in October 2017.
  • The index will be based on key pillars of innovation and sub-indices that together will assist in tailoring policies that promote inclusive growth. The pillars include the strength of institutions, capacity of human capital and research, supporting infrastructure and the level of business sophistication, among others.
  • The index will measure and rank the innovation performance of all Indian states with the aim of moving India towards an innovation-driven economy.
  • The index will spur competition and ensure progress towards innovation at the local level in India.

Sources: et.


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. 


FIPB clears 6 FDI proposals worth Rs 1,187 crore


Inter-ministerial body FIPB has approved six investment proposals, including that of Sanofi Synthelabo India, Star Den Media Services and Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services, envisaging foreign investments of Rs 1,186.5 crore.



India allows FDI in most sectors through the automatic route, but in certain segments considered sensitive for the economy and security, the proposals have to be first cleared by FIPB.


About FIPB:

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), housed in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, is an inter-ministerial body, responsible for processing of FDI proposals and making recommendations for Government approval.


Main tasks:

  • It considers and recommends foreign direct investment (FDI) which does not come under the automatic route.
  • It provides a single window clearance for proposals on FDI in India.


FIPB comprises of the following Secretaries to the Government of India:

  • Secretary to Government, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance – Chairperson
  • Secretary to Government, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
  • Secretary to Government, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
  • Secretary to Government, Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs
  • Secretary to Government, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.


On what basis decisions on FDI are taken by the FIPB?

The extant FDI Policy, Press Notes and other related notified guidelines formulated by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry are the bases of the FIPB decisions.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.  


NASA aims to send spacecraft to giant ‘metal’ asteroid


NASA is preparing to send a spacecraft to a giant “metal” asteroid that may tell scientists the secret of how our solar system was formed.


Key facts:

  • The mission is called “Psyche”. It is focused to know whether the asteroid, called “16 Psyche” and thought to be made of iron and nickel, could be part of what was an earlier planet perhaps as large as Mars.
  • Psyche robotic mission will launch in October 2023 and will arrive at the asteroid in 2030, following an Earth gravity assist spacecraft manoeuver in 2024 and a Mars flyby in 2025.


About 16 Psyche:

’16 Psyche’ is the only known object of its kind in the solar system. It is nearly three times farther away from the sun than is the Earth. The asteroid measures about 210 kilometres in diameter.

Scientists believe that the asteroid might have lost its outer core through a series of collisions and the mission could shed light on how planets and other masses broke up into cores, mantles and crusts years ago.

Sources: et.