Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 April 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 April 2017


 

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

 

Multi-Modal Terminal at Sahibganj

 

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently laid the foundation stone of the multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj, Jharkhand.    

Sahibganj

Key facts:

  • The terminal at Sahibganj is an important component of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for the augmentation of the navigation capacity of National Waterway-1 (Ganga) from Varanasi to Haldia (1390 km).
  • A Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal at Sahibganj will provide critical connectivity to Bihar at Manihari for the cross –river movement of loaded and empty trucks. This will considerably reduce the cost and time of cargo movement between Sahibganj and Manihari.
  • The state of the art terminal at Sahibganj will have cargo handling capacity of 2.24 Million Tons Per Annum (MTPA) on completion in 2019. The overall cost of the Sahibgang terminal is estimated to be Rs 467 Crore.
  • The construction of multi-modal terminal and Ro-Ro terminal will help create substantial direct and indirect employment in Sahibganj and Jharkhand. Overall additional employment opportunities for 1.5 lakh persons are expected to be generated under the Jal Marg Vikas Project on Ganga river.

 

Benefits for Jharkhand:

  • The Sahibganj Multi Modal Terminal will link the city and the landlocked state of Jharkhand to foreign shores through the Bay of Bengal.
  • The terminal will generate considerable direct and indirect employment for local people also.
  • Jharkhand is richly endowed with mineral resources. The multi-modal terminal at Sahibganj will play an important role in transportation of domestic coal from the local mines (in Rajmahal area) to various thermal power plants located along NW-1.

 

Background:

Sahibganj terminal is the second multi-modal terminal (out of the three) to be constructed on NW-1. In May 2016, IWAI had awarded the contract for the construction of a multi-modal terminal at Varanasi. The third terminal will be constructed at Haldia in West Bengal where the work is expected to commence soon. River Ganga is being developed under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) with the technical and financial assistance of World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs. 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

 

NW 1: Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system from Allahabad to Haldia was declared as National Waterway No.1. The NW-1 passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and serves major cities and their industrial hinterlands.

 

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. 

 

Centre hands over to SC accreditation guidelines for NGOs, Vos 

 

The Centre has handed over to the Supreme Court the new guidelines framed for accreditation of nearly 30 lakh NGOs and voluntary organisations (VOs) in the country.

 

Background:

The Ministry of Rural Development has framed the accreditation guidelines to regulate “manner in which the VOs/NGOs, which are recipient of grants, would maintain their account, the procedure for audit of the account, including procedure to initiate action for recovering of the grants in case of misappropriation and criminal action.”

 

Some of the important guidelines are as follows :

  • NITI Aayog has been appointed as the nodal agency for the purpose of registration and accreditation of VOs/NGOs seeking funding from the Government of India. The Aayog has been also tasked with maintaining of database systems to manage and disseminate information relating to NGOs/VOs.
  • As per the new guidelines, an NGO will be blacklisted if it provides false and misleading information to the Centre.
  • Under the stringent guidelines, NGOs would be provided a unique ID and subjected to the Income Tax Act and Foreign Contribution Regulations act. They would be granted accreditation after their internal governance and ethical standards are evaluated.
  • Past record of NGOs too would be scrutinized before they are given accreditation. A three-tier scrutiny would be in place to evaluate utilization of funds and the process would also include quality of work done by the NGOs.
  • It would be mandatory for the NGOs to execute a bond to refund the amount with 10% interest if they fail to execute the project for which the grant is allocated. Misappropriation of funds would invite both criminal and civil cases.

 

Need for the new guidelines:

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

  • The court had ordered that any NGO, found in the audit, to have cooked its books or indulged in misappropriation of the public funds should be subject to immediate criminal prosecution. Besides, the government should initiate civil recovery proceedings from these rogue NGOs. The court had demanded that the government file a compliance report by March 31, 2017.
  • The judicial order was unprecedented as defaulting NGOs were till then only subjected to blacklisting by the government.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Ties severely damaged, says China

 

The row between India and China on the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh has spiralled with the Chinese Foreign Ministry asserting that the Tibetan leader’s visit to the State will escalate the dispute in border areas and will damage Sino-Indian ties.

Arunachal_Pradesh

Border issue between India and China:

Arunachal Pradesh is at the heart of the Sino-Indian boundary dispute in the eastern sector.

  • The dispute in this zone is over territory south of the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh, which includes Tawang — which is on the Dalai Lama’s itinerary.
  • The McMahon Line was the result of the 1914 Simla Convention, between British India and Tibet, and was rejected by China.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

Supreme Court proposes joint trial of Babri cases

Noting that the 25-year pendency of the dual Babri Masjid demolition case trials in Lucknow and Raebareli amounts to “evasion of justice”, the Supreme Court has indicated that it proposes to order a joint trial in a Lucknow court after reviving criminal conspiracy charges against BJP veterans L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and other Sangh Parivar leaders in connection with the razing down of the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 by kar sevaks.

babri_masjid_intact

Is court empowered to order joint trial of cases?

In this context, the court has invoked its extraordinary constitutional powers under Article 142.  

Article 142: The Supreme Court may pass such decree or order as is necessary for doing complete justice n any cause or matter pending before it.

Background:

The recent highyway liquor ban was also imposed by the court under Article 142.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

FMCG is highest paying sector in India: Randstad

 

FMCG is highest paying sector in India, according to a survey by Randstad.

fmcg

Highlights of the survey:

  • Employees of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry receive the highest salaries in India at ₹11.3 lakh a year as the average annual cost-to-company (CTC) across all levels and functions.
  • The FMCG sector is followed by power and information technology, where employees earn average annual salaries of ₹9.8 lakh and ₹9.3 lakh respectively, according to Randstad 2017 Salary Trends Study findings.
  • Pharma and healthcare, offering an average annual CTC of ₹8.8 lakh and telecom ₹8.7 lakhs take the fourth and fifth position in the list as India’s most lucrative industries.
  • As far as the location-specific salary trends are concerned, Bengaluru, the IT capital of India tops the chart as the highest paying city in the country, with an average annual CTC of ₹14.6 lakhs while Mumbai offered ₹14.2 lakh.

 

Background:

In a country like India where job loyalty is considerably low, salary becomes one of the most critical parameters that workforce takes into consideration while changing jobs. For employers too, it is an imperative to get the internal compensation structure right, which is primarily a function of various facets like capability, experience, location, job profile, industry of operation etc.

 

Sources:  the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries. 

 

Thailand’s king signs new constitution

 

Thailand’s new king has signed an army-drafted constitution that sets the country on the path to elections while cementing the grip of the military over any future government.

  • The constitution is the nation’s 20th since the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932.

thai king

Key features of the new constitution:

  • The new charter introduces a different electoral system, a modified proportional method of choosing the 500 members of the lower house of parliament in which people vote for one of 350 constituency candidates; those votes are totalled to determine which of the remaining 150 party list seats go to which party. Under the previous system voters cast two ballots, one for the candidate and one for the party.
  • Along with weaker governments, the constitution stipulates that an unelected, 250-seat upper house, or senate, will wield significant influence in the years following the election, currently expected at the end of 2018.
  • Membership of the senate will be essentially determined by the military, giving the generals enormous sway over future governments, which would need three quarters of the seats in the lower house to have a majority in both houses.
  • Elected governments will also be bound in this constitution to follow the military’s 20-year blueprint for Thailand, and it will be easier for the “independent” bodies, like the Constitutional Court, which will have enhanced powers, to constrain those governments even further.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Pape 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.

 

Centre kicks off programme on cyber physical systems

 

With autonomous vehicles and robot-executed surgeries becoming commonplace around the world, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has initiated a Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) programme.

cps-logo

About the programme :

  • CPS is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the deployment of computer-based systems that do things in the physical world, such as, for instance, the self-driven cars produced by Google and Tesla.
  • Even smart grids (where electricity is optimally distributed on the basis of calculations in real time by micro-processors) as well as autonomous unmanned vehicles and aircraft navigation systems qualify as ‘cyber physical systems.’
  • Still at a nascent stage, it has been conceived as a ₹3,000-crore exercise that would, at first, take root in some of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), according to officials familiar with the project. An initial budget of ₹100 crore has been earmarked for the project in the current financial year.
  • The thrust of the initiative would be to “break silos” in academia and encourage greater synergy between the university scientists and industry.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

India takes over control of Kudankulam Unit 1

 

India has taken over full operational control of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). An agreement was signed in this regard recently.

  • With the deal, the Russian and the Indian sides have confirmed fulfilment of all warranty terms and obligations of the contractor (ASE Group of Companies) for the construction of Unit 1.

nuclear-power-corporation

About Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant:

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

  • The reactors are pressurised water reactor of Russian design. Thermal capacity is 3,000 MW, gross electrical capacity is 1,000 MW with a net capacity of 917 MW.
  • When completed the plant will become the largest nuclear power generation complex in India producing a cumulative 2 GW of electric power.

 

Pressurized water reactors (PWRs) are one of three types of light water reactor (LWR), the other types being boiling water reactors (BWRs) and supercritical water reactors (SCWRs). In a PWR, the primary coolant (water) is pumped under high pressure to the reactor core where it is heated by the energy released by the fission of atoms. The heated water then flows to a steam generator where it transfers its thermal energy to a secondary system where steam is generated and flows to turbines which, in turn, spin an electric generator. In contrast to a boiling water reactor, pressure in the primary coolant loop prevents the water from boiling within the reactor. All LWRs use ordinary water as both coolant and neutron moderator.

Sources: the hindu.