Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 April 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 April 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

MoU between India and Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet has approved MoU between India and Bangladesh for fairway development of Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara river and Sirajganj-Daikhawa stretch of Jamuna river in the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route by undertaking necessary dredging jointly by the two countries.

Benefits of this MoU:

The MoU will considerably reduce the logistics cost of cargo movement to North Eastern India. It will also reduce the congestion through the Siliguri Chicken’s Neck corridor.

bangladesh

Background:

The Kushiyara River is a distributary river in Bangladesh and Assam, India. It forms on the India–Bangladesh border as a branch of the Barak River, when the Barak separates into the Kushiyara and Surma. The waters of the Kushiyara thus originate in the state of Nagaland in India and pick up tributaries from Manipur, Mizoram and Assam. The Kushiyara rejoins with the Surma at Markuli in Ajmiriganj upazila and flows south upto Bhairab Bazar receiving the name Kalni. The Kalni meets with the Dhanu, a branch of the Surma and renamed as the meghna.

The Jamuna River is the main distributary channel of the Brahmaputra River as it flows from India to Bangladesh. The Jamuna flows south and joins the Padma River, near Goalundo Ghat, before meeting the Meghna River near Chandpur. It then flows into the Bay of Bengal as the Meghna River.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Cabinet approves agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production between India and Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet has approved the agreement on Audio Visual Co-Production India and Bangladesh.

Salient features of the Agreement:

  • The Agreement would cover co-production of films, documentaries, and animations films.
  • An audio-visual co-production made in accordance with the proposed Agreement shall be entitled to all the benefits which may be accorded to any national audio-visual work by both countries in accordance with their respective laws and regulations.
  • It will lead to exchange of art and culture among the two countries and create goodwill and better understanding among the peoples of both the countries.
  • Co-productions provide an opportunity to create and showcase our soft power.
  • It leads to generation of employment among artistic, technical as well as non-technical personnel engaged in the arena of Audio-Visual Co- production including post-production and its marketing, thus adding to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both the countries.
  • The utilization of Indian locales for shooting raises the visibility / prospect of India as a preferred film shooting destination across the globe.

 

Background:

India has so far entered into audio-visual co-production agreements with Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Canada, China and the Republic of Korea.

 

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.

 

Cabinet approves extension of implementation of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project by one year 

cctns

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of the implementation phase of the Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project for another year beyond 31st March 2017.

  • The extension would help in achieving the remaining objectives of the project comprehensively.

Impact of the CCTNS Project will lead to:

  • Citizen portals in all states and Centre that will facilitate transparency and speed in police service delivery, online registration of complaints and reporting and search of missing persons and stolen goods in self-service mode.
  • Pan-India search on complete National Crime and Criminal database that is accessible to the Investigating Officers throughout the country.
  • Search facility will be available to Police in regional languages for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.
  • Reliable network connectivity to all Police Stations in the country.
  • National level crime analytics that will be published at, increased frequency to help policy and law makers in taking data backed timely actions and in making appropriate policy interventions.
  • Integration with various e-Governance projects such as Aadhaar, National Population Register, Vaahan Project of the Ministry of Surface Transport, Passport Seva and National Emergency Response System Project thus increasing the synergies and benefit accrued from these individual systems. It will expedite various kinds of police verification requests and investigation.
  • Advanced features such as biometric based identification, trend and pattern analytics etc. that will be incorporated to enhance hi-tech investigation capability.

 

What is CCTNS project?

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level.

  • This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”.
  • CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.

 

What it does?

  • The Project will interconnect about 15000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country and digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all Police Stations.
  • It will not only automate Police functions at Police station and higher levels but will also create facilities and mechanism to provide public services like registration of online complaints, ascertaining the status of case registered at the police station, verification of persons etc.
  • In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

 

Benefits

  • The Full implementation of the Project with all the new components would lead to a Central citizen portal having linkages with State level citizen portals that will provide a number of citizen friendly services like Police Verification for various purposes including passport verification, reporting a crime including cyber-crime and online tracking of the case progress etc.
  • The project will enable National level crime analytics to be published at increased frequency, which will help the policy makers as well as lawmakers in taking appropriate and timely action, it will also enable Pan-India criminal/accused name search in the regional language for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.
  • This would lead to development of a national database of crimes and criminals.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

India and the UK announce joint UK-India Fund  

India and the UK have announced the launch of an Early Market Engagement for the joint UK-India Fund, namely a Green Growth Equity Fund which aims to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to invest in green infrastructure projects in India.

  • Both governments have reaffirmed their commitment to anchor invest up to £120 million each (i.e. totally £ 240 million) in the joint fund which will be established under the NIIF framework.
  • To begin with, the fund aims to raise around £500 million, with the potential to unlock much more in future.

 

About Green Growth Equity Fund:

The Green Growth Equity Fund will be a sub-fund of NIIF.  The Green Growth Equity Fund, promoted jointly by India and the UK, aims to leverage private sector investment to finance investments in the green infrastructure space in India.

  • The GoI (through NIIF) and the UK government have committed to anchor-invest up to £120 million each in the joint Fund which aims to raise around £500m, and has the potential to unlock much more in future.
  • A secondary benefit will be to attract investors based in the City of London into the Fund and/or its investee companies.
  • The Fund will invest in mid to large-sized companies in the green infrastructure space in India. It will pursue a strategy of acquiring a mix of minority and majority stakes (when it is essential to align interests and professionalize governance).
  • GGEF would be managed by a third-party investment manager, selected by NIIF Limited and the UK government through an efficient and robust screening and selection process. At the same time, both partners will keep a watchful oversight on fund expenses and manager incentives, targeted to be kept at optimal levels to ensure best possible returns to investors.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Cabinet approves closure of Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana 

The Union Cabinet has approved closure of the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) which was set up in 2012 to address the social security-related issues of the Emigration Check Required (ECR)-category workers going abroad for employment to ECR countries.

mgpsy

Why?

The subscription under the MGPSY was very low and no new subscription was received for more than a year. Closure of the scheme will, therefore, obviate the avoidable recurring administrative and record-keeping expenditure.

About the scheme:

Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana is a special social security scheme which includes Pension and Life Insurance, introduced by Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for the overseas Indian workers in possession of Emigration Check Required (ECR) passports.

  • It is a voluntary scheme designed to help workers to meet their three financial needs: saving for retirement, saving for their return and resettlement, and providing free life insurance offering coverage for death from natural causes.

 

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.

 

Geotagging of assets created under RKVY

The government has proposed to prepare inventory of the assets created in the last one decade (2007-2017) under RKVY through Geotagging technique

  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), wing of Indian Space Research Organisation is providing technical support to RKVY division and has come up with a detailed procedure for the same.
  • The institute is involved in preparation of the required app, imparting training to the states etc.
  • The trained officers at the field level will take the photographs (with details of latitude, longtude, year of creation etc.) of the assets and upload on to the Bhuvan-RKVY platform of NRSC.

 

What is geo tagging?

It is the process of adding geographical identification like latitude and longitude to various media such as a photo or video. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information from a device. It provides users the location of the content of a given picture.

 

Why is Geotagging important?

Several assets are created in the states under various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture.  Under RKVY also, states have been utilising substantial amount of funds for creation of infrastructure/assets in agriculture and allied sectors such as soil testing labs, pesticide testing labs etc. Monitoring of such wide spread activities is of paramount importance to states and Government of India to understand flow of funds, inventorising the assets, bringing in transparency, planning of assets for future, and finally informing the farmers about the facilities available.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Cabinet approves Collaboration Agreement to support the Belmont Forum Secretariat

 

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a total estimated expenditure of Euro 40,000. The Cabinet also approved continued financial support to Belmont Forum Secretariat beyond 2017.

belmont forum

What is Belmont Forum?

The Belmont Forum, created in 2009, is a high level group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils.

 

What it does?

It provides an opportunity to identify study and deliver international environmental research priorities, for the society, in an accelerated way through trans­national research collaboration between natural and social scientists and alignment of international resources

 

Members:

India is a member of Belmont Forum, besides Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, Netherland, South Africa, UK and USA etc.

 

Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), represents India in the Belmont Forum since 2012.

Secretariat:

In order to coordinate the activities of the Belmont, a Secretariat is hosted by one of the Belmont forum member on rotational basis. ANR, France is hosting the Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017. Expenditure for hosting the Secretariat will be borne by Belmont Forum member countries in kind or cash contribution.

Significance of the agreement signed by India:

The Agreement will help to maintain a certain degree of continuity in the operations of the Forum and also help in smooth coordination of the activities of Belmont Forum.  As India is already participating in 4 Collaborative Research Actions (CRAs) and Secretariat will be coordinating the activities of Belmont Forum, Indian scientific community will ultimately benefit from this agreement.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Rail regulator gets green light

 

The Centre has cleared the decks for setting up an independent rail regulator, named Rail Development Authority (RDA).

rda

economic times

Background:

The need for a regulator has been emphasised by various committees, including the Dr. Bibek Debroy Committee on Mobilisation of Resources for Major Railway Projects and Restructuring of Railway Ministry in 2015, the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) in 2014 and Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Dr. Rakesh Mohan in 2001. 

 

Key facts:

  • RDA will be based in Delhi with an initial corpus of Rs. 50 crore and will be set up through an executive order.
  • The RDA will act within the parameters of the Railway Act, 1989 and only make recommendations to the Ministry which will take a final call on passenger and freight fares.

 

Functions of RDA:

The Authority’s primary functions will be to recommend tariff “commensurate with costs,” frame principles for social service obligation, and ensure a level playing field for stakeholders by suggesting policies for private investment. It will also fix efficiency standards and resolve disputes related to future concession agreements. It will also collect, analyse and disseminate information and statistics concerning the rail sector.

 

Composition of RDA:

The Authority will have a Chairman and three members with a fixed term of five years and will be allowed to engage experts from various fields. “The RDA will be an independent body with separate budget. The independence is ensured through separate budget, appointment and removal process,” the statement added.

The Chairman and members of the Authority will be appointed by a Search and Selection Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary with members including the Railway Board Chairman, Department of Personnel and Training Secretary and Chairman of any regulatory body of the Central Government nominated by the Cabinet Secretary.

 

Significance of this move:

  • The move will improve the services offered to passengers, provide comfort to investors in the rail sector and will enhance transparency and accountability.
  • Keeping rail fares within affordable limits has led to cross-subsidisation as the goods fares have increased considerably more than the passenger fares in the past. Now, the regulator should be the final authority in determining the fares instead of making recommendations.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Mexico to put endangered vaquita porpoises in refuge

 

In a bid to save the world’s smallest species of porpoise from extinction, the Mexican government has announced plans to place some of them in a temporary refuge. The plan would be carried out with the help of international organisations.

vaquita

Controversy:

The plan is controversial with conservationists, some of whom say the vaquita is not an animal that can thrive in captivity.

 

Background:

Scientists warned in February that there are only 30 vaquita remaining, saying the species faced extinction by 2022.

 

About Vaquita Marina porpoise:

  • The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is the world’s smallest cetacean. Its name means “little cow” in Spanish.
  • A dark ring around the eyes is its most striking feature, along with a proportionally large dorsal fin.
  • The vaquita is unique among the porpoises as it is the only species of that family found in warm waters, and the size of the dorsal fin is believed to be an adaptation to that, allowing for extra body heat to dissipate.
  • Vaquita only live in the northern Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.
  • Like many other species of porpoise, vaquita tend to be shy and elusive, avoiding boats when approached. They are most commonly sighted in shallow waters up to 50 metres deep.
  • It is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN.

 

What are Porpoises?

Porpoises are among the smallest members of the cetacean family (whales, porpoises and dolphins). They are only distant relatives of dolphins (they last had a common ancestor roughly 15 million years ago). There are only seven species of porpoise; the most popular being the widely distributed harbour porpoise.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

MoU between India and Bangladesh:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved MoU on passenger cruise services on the coastal and protocol routes between India and Bangladesh for starting regular movement of passengers and tourists in water crafts between the two countries.
  • The operationalization of this MoU will promote people to people contact and cooperation between the two countries in respect of economic, social and cultural advancement. It will also generate employment opportunities for the people of India and Bangladesh.

 

National Maritime Day:

  • 54th National Maritime Day was observed on April 5th. It was first celebrated on April 5, 1964.
  • In India, April 5 is marked as the National Maritime Day commemorating the first voyage of the SS Loyalty, the first ship of Scindia Steam Navigation Company towards United Kingdom on this day in 1919.