Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 June 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 23 June 2017


 

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

 

Amendment of the Social Security Agreement between India and the Netherlands

 

The Union Cabinet has approved Amendment of the bilateral Social Security Agreement (SSA) between India and the Netherlands by incorporating the “Country of Residence” Principle into the said SSA.

india-netherlands

The circumstances where the “country of residence” principle will apply to a few instances of Indian nationals include the following:

  • An Indian worker who dies in the Netherlands and has his/her spouse and children living in India.
  • An Indian worker who gets disabled while working in the Netherlands and returns to India.

 

Background:

A bilateral Social Security Agreement, (SSA) was signed between India and the Netherlands on 22nd October 2009 and came into force on 15th June 2010.

The SSA allows exemption from double contribution to the social security system in both jurisdictions, exportability of accumulated social security benefits across jurisdictions (applicable even to the self-employed), and totalization of serving periods.

  • Beginning 1st January 2013, a new social security legislation came into force in the Netherlands, consequent to which the Netherlands began to apply the “country of residence” principle on certain social security benefits exported to other countries.
  • The principle sought, is to bring in equity in exportability of social benefits to the class of Dutch citizens who reside outside the Netherlands.
  • As on date, India has signed and operationalized SSAs with 18 countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and South 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.

 

NATGRID can soon access PAN, I-T records

 

The Centre has empowered the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), the integrated mechanism to keep track of security-related data, to access the Income Tax department’s records on individual taxpayers as well as PAN card holders. NATGRID and the I-T department could sign a pact soon to operationalise the data sharing arrangement.

 

pancard

What is NATGRID?

NATGRID is an ambitious counter terrorism programme, which will utilise technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyse the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks. It will connect, in different phases, data providing organisations and users besides developing a legal structure through which information can be accessed by the law enforcement agencies.

 

Background:

NATGRID is a post Mumbai 26/11 attack measure. It aims to mitigate a vital deficiency — lack of real time information, which was considered to be one of the major hurdles in detecting US terror suspect David Headley’s movement across the country during his multiple visits between 2006 and 2009.

 

It’s role:

  • NATGRID will become a secure centralised database to stream sensitive information from 21 sets of data sources such as banks, credit cards, visa, immigration and train and air travel details, as well as from various intelligence agencies.
  • The database would be accessible to authorised persons from 11 agencies on a case-to-case basis, and only for professional investigations into suspected cases of terrorism.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

A law, this time for Antarctica

 

India is drafting a dedicated Antarctica policy and a law that will likely be tabled in the winter session of Parliament. Ministry of Earth Sciences will draft the law.

antarctica

 

Background:

India, being among the countries that have acceded to the Antarctica Treaty, is expected to have a clear policy on the consequences of its activities in the region. India is expanding its infrastructure development in Antarctica. The government is rebuilding its station, Maitri, to make it bigger and last for at least 30 years. Dakshin Gangotri, the first Indian base established in 1984, has weakened and become just a supply base.

 

Know about Antarctic Treaty:

The treaty is framed to ensure ‘in the interests of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.’

  • To this end it prohibits military activity, except in support of science; prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear waste; promotes scientific research and the exchange of data; and holds all territorial claims in abeyance.
  • Several related conventions, such as the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972) and the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980), are appended to this treaty for protection.

 

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.

 

Cartosat-2 launch: India puts another smart eye in the sky

 

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has launched the Cartosat-2 series satellite—a dedicated satellite for defence forces—along with 30 co-passenger satellites from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. This is the 40th flight of PSLV and 17th flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors).

 

pslv cartosat2

 

Key facts:

  • PSLV-C38 launched the 712 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 30 co-passenger satellites together, weighing about 243 kg at lift-off, into a 505-km polar sun synchronous orbit.
  • The co-passenger satellites include 29 Nano satellites from 14 countries—Austria, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America—besides a nano satellite from India.
  • The international customer nano satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), commercial arm of ISRO and International customers.

 

Know about Cartosat-2:

Cartosat-2 is a remote sensing satellite and it is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series with the objective of providing high-resolution scene specific spot imagery.

  • It has a resolution of 0.6 metres, which means it can spot even smaller objects within a square of 0.6 m by 0.6 m.
  • Once this satellite becomes operational, it would be handed over to the defence forces, which have their own infrastructure, which includes ground stations, and trained manpower to access data.

 

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Indian Naval Material Management Service (INMMS) as an Organized Group ‘A’ Engineering Service:

The Union Cabinet has approved constitution of an organized Group ‘A’ Engineering Service, namely Indian Naval Material Management Service (INMMS) and consequent changes in cadre structure of existing Group ‘A’ cadre of Naval Store Officers of the Indian Navy.

  • The proposed INMMS would attract the best talents available and will provide a reservoir of technically qualified Material Managers for handling the Materials Management functions of Indian Navy.
  • It will improve the functional efficiency of Material Management of Naval Stores and ensure operational readiness of the Navy at all times as well as provide better career prospects for the incumbents.

 

Uttarakhand and Haryana declared 4th and 5th ODF States in the country:

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), rural Uttarakhand and rural Haryana have declared themselves as the 4th and 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) States of India. They have joined the league of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, which were the first three states to be declared ODF. Nationally, the sanitation coverage has increased from 42% to over 64% in just two and a half years since the launch of SBM. With the total number of ODF States now rising to 5, more than 2 Lakh villages and 147 districts have also been declared ODF across the country.

 

India’s biggest municipal bonds programme launched in Maharashtra:

To finance its 24×7 water supply project, the Pune Municipal Corporation has launched India’s biggest municipal bonds programme. The project looks to raise Rs 2,264 crore in five years.

 

What are Municipal Bonds?

Municipal bonds are debt instruments through which a corporation or municipality raises money from individuals or institutions. The civic body floating the bonds returns the principal amount on a maturity date with a specific amount of interest. There are usually two kinds of bonds – general bonds, where money is raised without mentioning the cause in particular, and revenue bonds, where funds are raised for income-generating projects and revenue from the projects is used to repay the buyers.

 

‘Moncoes do Reino’ (Monsoon correspondence):

These are the digital copies of 62 volumes of the collection recently handed over to the National Archives of India by the Torre do Tombo (National Archives of Portugal. These volumes were originally part of over 456 volumes that cover the period from 1568 to 1914 and form the largest of all record collections in the Goa State Archives.  The collection consists of direct correspondence from Lisbon to Goa and is important primary source for the study of the Portuguese expansion in Asia, their trade rivalries with the Arabs and European powers and their relations with neighbourings Kings in South Asia and East Asia.

 

Meet on preserving endangered Manipur deer held:

A workshop on how people and brow-antlered deer (Sangai), can co-exist, recently concluded in Manipur. Due to lack of funds and poaching, sangai may become extinct sooner than expected.

 

Key facts on Sangai:

  • The sangai is an endemic, rare and endangered subspecies of brow-antlered deer. It is also state animal of Manipur.
  • The Sangai is now restricted to the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) in the Southeastern fringe of Loktak Lake in Manipur. Phumdis, floating vegetation occupy about two-third of the surface area of the lake. They feed, live and breed on this 9 km area of Phumdis.
  • It is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.