Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 June 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 June 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: Information for All

 

Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) has issued a clarification note stating that the BBBP scheme has no provision for individual CASH TRANSFER COMPONENT by Government of India.

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme focuses on challenging mindsets and deep rooted patriarchy in the societal system, strict enforcement of PC&PNDT Act, advancing education of the girl child: focus is on issues of women empowerment on a life cycle continuum. It is not a DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) scheme.

 

Beti-Bachao-Beti-Padhao-Abhiyaan

What you need to know about BBBP?

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.

  • The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.
  • The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.
  • It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
  • In the first phase, 100 districts with low Child Sex Ratio were selected for the Scheme implementation for creating awareness and advocacy about the issue.

 

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.

 

APQN Quality Award to NAAC

 

National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) of India has received prestigious International Award of Asia Pacific Quality Network (APQN) titled “APQN Quality Award 2017 for International Co-operation in Quality Assurance.”

  • APQN Quality Award are among the most prestigious International Awards in quality assurance of higher education.

 

NAAC

What you need to know about NAAC?

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an organisation that assesses and accredits institutions of higher education in India. It is an autonomous body funded by University Grants Commission of Government of India headquartered in Bangalore. NAAC was established in 1994 in response to recommendations of National Policy in Education (1986).

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

MITS Mega Food Park at Rayagada, Odisha

 

The first Mega Food Park in the state of Odisha M/s MITS Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd. Was recently inaugurated at Rayagada. This is the 7th Mega Food Park operationalized in the last 3 years by the present government.

food-park

 

What you need to know about these mega food parks?

To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.

The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.

 

What these food parks provide?

They facilitate the efforts to increase the level of processing of agricultural and horticultural produce, with particular focus on perishables, in the country and thereby to check the wastage.

 

Mode of operation:

  • The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
  • The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
  • CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC. The minimum area required for a CPC is 50 acres.
  • The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.

 

Implementation and financial assistance:

Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. State Government/State Government entities/Cooperatives applying for setting up a project under the scheme are not required to form a separate SPV.

The financial assistance for Mega Food Park is provided in the form of grant-in-aid at 50% of eligible project cost in general areas and at 75% of eligible project cost in NE Region and difficult areas (Hilly States and ITDP areas) subject to maximum of Rs. 50 crore per project.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

 

Rajasthan leads in child marriages

 

The report of a study conducted on child marriages by Young Lives in coordination with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been released.

 

child-marriage

Highlights of the report:

  • Rajasthan has reported the highest incidence of child marriages in the country. 2.5% of marriages of minor girls were reported in Rajasthan.
  • Rajasthan is followed by 15 States, including Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Nagaland, Assam, Maharashtra, Tripura, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Karnataka.
  • Rajasthan also topped in the percentage (4.69%) of boys marrying below the legal age of 21 years. Thirteen other States reported a higher percentage of child marriages among boys when compared with the national average.
  • No marriage below 10 years of age was reported across the country.
  • Across the country, 12.9% of girls got married in the age of 10-17 years and 43.6% between 18-20 years. However, only 4.9% of boys got married in the 10-17 years age group and 11.2 % in the 18-below 21 age group.
  • There is a minor decline of 0.1% in the marriage of minor girls. The decline in rural India, between 2001 and 2011 Census, was marginally higher than in the whole of the country. However, the incidence of child marriage among girls increased substantially in urban India from 1.78% in 2001 to 2.45% in 2011. The absolute number of girls married below legal age was 5.1 million.

 

Background:

The study is based on the 2011 Census. The study zeroes in on 70 districts spread across 13 States, which comprise more than 20% of child marriages. It has empirically studied the current situation vis-à-vis various possible factors.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

India, Russia ink nuclear plant pact

 

India and Russia have signed the much-awaited agreement on setting up two more units of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu.

 

nuclear pact

Background:

PM Modi and Putin had come to an agreement in 2015. Under that agreement, the deal for building unit 5 and unit 6 of nuclear reactors at the plant was supposed to be inked in 2016. The deal ran into a hurdle with regard to the line of credit that was to be extended by Russia.

 

What’s the issue?

The KKNPP was the result of an inter-government agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988. During the same period, two other similar proposals were defeated as protest stymied government’s plans to build plants in Peringome near Kannur and Bhoothathankettu in Ernakulam, both districts in Kerala.

KKNPP ran into hurdles as protests stopped the government from moving ahead with the project. However, slowly the government has managed to take the project ahead. Over the years, four reactor units were built and operationalised. The plant though didn’t yield promised power during warranty testings. Its generation was only about 52%.

 

What next?

The last two reactor units will be built and installed jointly by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and Atomstroyexport. The latter is a subsidiary of Rosatom–regulatory body of Russian nuclear complex. Each of the units will have a power generation capacity of 1,000 MW.

 

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):

They 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.


 

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

 

Investment pact system needs review

 

Experts have stressed the need for review and reform of the system of International Investment Agreements (IIA) — including the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.

 

Need for reforms:

Reforms are necessary because the IIA system currently has a pro-investor bias — with an aim to protect only capital and not labour, indigenous people, migrants, or consumers, all of whom have linkages with investment.

Also, the current ISDS mechanism, which is ad hoc, unpredictable and often arbitrary, needs urgent review as the current ISDS regime can be quite costly for host countries.

 

Background:

The pitch for reforming the IIA system assumes significance as India, along with countries including South Africa, had recently opposed efforts by nations including China, Brazil, Australia and South Korea to begin discussions on a proposal for an investment facilitation agreement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)-level that reportedly seeks to incorporate provisions including the controversial ISDS mechanism.

 

What you need to know about IIA?

An International Investment Agreement (IIA) is a type of treaty between countries that addresses issues relevant to cross-border investments, usually for the purpose of protection, promotion and liberalization of such investments. Most IIAs cover foreign direct investment (FDI) and portfolio investment, but some exclude the latter.

  • Countries concluding IIAs commit themselves to adhere to specific standards on the treatment of foreign investments within their territory. IIAs further define procedures for the resolution of disputes should these commitments not be met.
  • The most common types of IIAs are Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and Preferential Trade and Investment Agreements (PTIAs). International Taxation Agreements and Double Taxation Treaties (DTTs) are also considered as IIAs, as taxation commonly has an important impact on foreign investment.
  • Countries conclude IIAs primarily for the protection and, indirectly, promotion of foreign investment, and increasingly also for the purpose of liberalization of such investment. IIAs offer companies and individuals from contracting parties increased security and certainty under international law when they invest or set up a business in other countries party to the agreement. The reduction of the investment risk flowing from an IIA is meant to encourage companies and individuals to invest in the country that concluded the IIA.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Third gravitational wave merger detected

 

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors in the U.S. have detected yet another merger of two black holes.

 

Gravitationalwaves

Key facts:

  • Named GW170104, this signal marks the third confirmed detection of gravitational waves coming from a binary black hole merger.
  • It is of great interest to the scientific community that the black holes, having masses nearly 31 times and 19 times the sun’s mass. Until the first detection of gravitational waves by LIGO in 2015 (GW150914) it was not known that such massive black holes could exist.
  • The latest detection has revealed not merely a black-hole merger but also the alignment of the spins of the black holes. This can shed light on the way the black holes might have formed. In this event, the spins of the individual black holes making up the merger are probably not aligned along the same direction. This supports the theory which says that black holes form independently in a star cluster, then sink to the centre of the cluster and eventually merge.
  • The observation also supports Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. According to this theory, gravitational waves, unlike light waves, will not disperse as they travel through space. This, too, has been confirmed by the analysis of the latest signal.

 

What are Gravitational Waves?

Gravitational waves are the ripples in the pond of spacetime. The gravity of large objects warps space and time, or “spacetime” as physicists call it, the way a bowling ball changes the shape of a trampoline as it rolls around on it. Smaller objects will move differently as a result – like marbles spiraling toward a bowling-ball-sized dent in a trampoline instead of sitting on a flat surface.

 

Why they are useful?

These waves will be particularly useful for studying black holes (the existence of which was first implied by Einstein’s theory) and other dark objects, because they’ll give scientists a bright beacon to search for even when objects don’t emit actual light.

  • With this, mapping the abundance of black holes and frequency of their mergers could get a lot easier.
  • Since they pass through matter without interacting with it, gravitational waves would come to Earth carrying undistorted information about their origin.
  • They could also improve methods for estimating the distances to other galaxies.

 

Why it is difficult to detect these waves?

The reason that gravitational waves have been so difficult to detect is that their effects are tinier than tiny. In fact, the signals they produce are so small that scientists struggle to remove enough background noise to confirm them.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

INAM-Pro +:

It is a Web Platform for Sale and Purchase of Construction Material and Service launched recently by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping. INAM-Pro+ is an upgraded version of INAM-Pro, the web portal designed by National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL).

INAM-Pro+ to include the A to Z of construction materials, equipments/machinery and services like purchase/hiring/lease of new/used products and services in the domains of Construction Materials viz, cement, steel, bitumen, stone aggregates, concrete, bricks, wood, sanitary items, paint etc.