Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 May 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 May 2017


 

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

 

Hamas softens language, accepts pre-1967 border

 

Hamas, the Islamist movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, has unveiled a new policy document ahead of a first face-to-face meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, whose Fatah party remains at loggerheads with Hamas.

  • The document accepts for the first time pre-1967 armistice lines as a matter of “national consensus” — in what many interpreted as implicitly accepting the existence of Israel.
  • Some analysts see the move as an attempt by Hamas to ease tension with regional allies and assuage hostilities with global powers.

 

 

hamas.

What Is Gaza and Who Controls It?

The Gaza Strip is a Detroit-sized area on the border with Egypt up against the Mediterranean Sea that is one of the most densely packed places on Earth with 1.8 million people living in just 139 square miles. Technically part of the Palestinian Authority, it has been governed since 2007 by the militant group Hamas.

gaza

 

Background:

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group that has waged war on Israel since the group’s 1987 founding, most notably through suicide bombings and rocket attacks. It seeks to replace Israel with a Palestinian state. It also governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Start-up firms may get idle land from PSUs

 

The Heavy Industries Ministry is deliberating on a proposal to use large tract of unutilised land owned by central public sector companies, which government plans to divest or sell, as ready-to-move-in industrial space for start-up companies.

  • The idea is to “create a landscape for ready-to-move-in businesses” so that start-up companies do not have to face hurdles for setting up business and they can start work “immediately on the business opportunity without lag.

 

How will this help start-ups?

Various companies under the government of India are sitting over huge tracts of land. Instead of transferring land to other public sector units and state governments, it could be utilised to create industrial space for start-up companies. These lands will be readily available to companies looking to set up quickly. Land acquisition is one of the biggest problems for the enterprises.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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.

 

‘Skill councils have conflict of interests’

 

The Government may soon review the public report of Sharda Prasad committee, that suggested the challenges in vocational education and training system of the country and convergence, synergy and rationalization of sector skill councils (SSCs).

  • The committee has advised the skill development ministry to drastically reduce the number SSCs from 40 to around 20 by merging identical sector councils and curtail their powers of assessment of skill training centers. It is because these SSCs are overlapping in nature, and were unnecessarily floated without giving proper thought, making it difficult to manage a large number of them.

 

sector skill councils

What are SSCs?

Sector Skill Councils are set up as autonomous industry-led bodies by NSDC. They create Occupational Standards and Qualification bodies, develop competency framework, conduct Train the Trainer Programs, conduct skill gap studies and Assess and Certify trainees on the curriculum aligned to National Occupational Standards developed by them.

Till date, the NSDC Board has approved proposals for 38 Sector Skill Councils. There are approximately 450 Corporate Representatives in the Governing Councils of these SSCs.

 

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.

 

Large Hadron Collider restarts for 2017 run

 

The world’s largest and most powerful particle smasher Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has restarted circulating beams of protons for the first time this year, following a 17-week-long extended technical stop.

  • Each year, the machines shut down over the winter break to enable technicians and engineers to perform essential repairs and upgrades, but this year the stop was scheduled to run longer, allowing more complex work to take place.
  • Work this year included the replacement of a superconducting magnet in the LHC, the installation of a new beam dump in the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) and a massive cable removal campaign.
  • Among other things, these upgrades will allow the collider to reach a higher integrated luminosity — the higher the luminosity, the more data the experiments can gather to allow them to observe rare processes.

hadron collider

Large Hadron Collider:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

  • Built by: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
  • Aim: to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics and high-energy physics, and particularly prove or disprove the existence of the theorized Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetric theories.
  • The LHC consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way.

 

How it operates?

  • Inside the accelerator, two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before they are made to collide.
  • The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum. They are guided around the accelerator ring by a strong magnetic field maintained by superconducting electromagnets.
  • The electromagnets are built from coils of special electric cable that operates in a superconducting state, efficiently conducting electricity without resistance or loss of energy. This requires chilling the magnets to ‑3°C – a temperature colder than outer space. For this reason, much of the accelerator is connected to a distribution system of liquid helium, which cools the magnets, as well as to other supply services.
  • Just prior to collision, another type of magnet is used to “squeeze” the particles closer together to increase the chances of collisions. The particles are so tiny that the task of making them collide is akin to firing two needles 10 kilometres apart with such precision that they meet halfway.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Expedite work on Kishanganga Project: PMO directs power ministry and J&K government

 

Notwithstanding Pakistan’s challenge to Jammu and Kashmir’s 330 mw Kishanganga hydro-electric project, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has directed the power ministry and the J&K government to expedite work on the two major Kishanganga transmission lines that are to be commissioned along with the first unit of the crucial project.

  • Two transmission lines — the Kishanganga-Amargarh and the Amargarh-Wagoora lines — are to be commissioned by the power ministry.

Kishanganga

Background:

Pakistan has been consistently objecting to the Kishanganga hydro-electric project which is to be completed by India in three units of 110MW each, the first of which is set to be commissioned in the coming months. Last month, India had put on hold a World Bank-facilitated initiative for water secretary-level talks with Pakistan in Washington, owing to differences of opinion on technical issues on the Indus river hydro-projects like Kishanganga.

In January, Pakistan had reportedly asked India to suspend the ongoing construction of the Kishanganga project and asked the World Bank to set up a court of arbitration to mediate the dispute over the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan.

 

About the Project:

The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is an $864 million dam which is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin.

  • It is located 5 km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, India and will have an installed capacity of 330 MW. Construction on the project began in 2007 and is expected to be complete in 2016.
  • Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River (called the Neelum River in Pakistan). In February 2013, the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum amount of water for power generation.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Tarang Sanchar:

  • It is a portal launched by telecom department.
  • What is it for? It allows people to track radiation emitted from mobile towers within a locality and check their compliance with the stipulated norms.
  • It is aimed at clearing “myths and misconceptions” about mobile towers and emissions from them.

 

M.P. shifts fiscal year:

  • Madhya Pradesh will be the first State to switch to the January-December financial year from the present April-March cycle.
  • The change will mean the financial year will coincide with the calendar year.

 

‘Second-tallest’ flag post comes up in Kolhapur:

  • 300-foot flag post, said to be the country’s second-tallest, was recently inaugurated at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.
  • Kolhapur Street Beautification Project (KSBP), a trust, has installed this flag post.
  • The 360-foot flag post inaugurated on March 6 at Attari on Indo-Pak border is said to be the tallest in the country.

 

“Southern Sojourn” and “Southern Jewels”:

  • The Indian Railway PSU, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has decided to start two new circuits of their flagship luxury train Maharajas’ Express, this year.
  • These two new trips have been named as “Southern Sojourn” and “Southern Jewels” which will cover prominent destinations in West and South India.
  • The Southern Sojourn will cover Goa, Hampi, Mysore, Ernakulam, Kumarakom and Trivandrum.
  • The Southern Jewels will cover Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysore, Hampi and Goa.