Insights Daily Current Affairs, 26 July 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 26 July 2017


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Mekedatu: Karnataka replies to CWC

 

The Karnataka State government has replied to clarifications sought by the Central Water Commission (CWC) on its proposal to build a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery at Mekedatu at a cost of Rs. 5,912 crore.

mekedatu

Background:

Karnataka had sought the CWC’s permission to start work on Mekedatu project, which has been opposed by Tamil Nadu alleging that it violates the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal order. The State had submitted the Detailed Project Report on Mekedatu to the chief engineer of CWC in June, 2017. After this, the CWC had sought a few clarifications on the DPR, including whether the project violates the final award of Tribunal and whether the construction of a balancing reservoir would affect flow of water to Tamil Nadu.

 

What is Mekedatu dispute all about?

Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk. It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.

However, Tamil Nadu objected saying Karnataka had not sought prior permission for the project. Its argument was that the project would affect the flow of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

 

Know about CWC:

It is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.

Central Water Commission CWC is headed by a Chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

National Anti-profiteering Authority

 

The GST Council has formed a Selection Committee under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to identify and recommend eligible persons for appointment as the Chairman and Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST.

anti profiteering

What you need to know about the National Anti-profiteering Authority?

The National Anti-profiteering Authority is tasked with ensuring the full benefits of a reduction in tax on supply of goods or services flow to the consumers.

  • When constituted by the GST Council, the National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be responsible for applying anti-profiteering measures in the event of a reduction in rate of GST on supply of goods or services or, if the benefit of input tax credit is not passed on to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in prices.
  • The National Anti-profiteering Authority shall be headed by a senior officer of the level of a Secretary to the Government of India and shall have four technical members from the Centre and/or the States.
  • The constitution of the National Anti-profiteering Authority is expected to bolster consumer confidence and ensure all stakeholders reap the intended benefits of GST.

 

Powers and functions of the authority:

In the event the National Anti-profiteering Authority confirms the necessity of applying anti-profiteering measures, it has the power to order the business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed along with interest to the recipient of the goods or services. If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the recipient, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund. In extreme cases the National Anti-profiteering Authority can impose a penalty on the defaulting business entity and even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Nai Roshni Scheme

 

NITI Aayog had conducted an evaluation study on ‘Nai Roshni’- the scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women in 2015-16. The main objective of the study was to assess the impact of the scheme on minority women and to identify policy/ programme impediments in implementation of the scheme.

nai roshni scheme

Performance of the scheme:

According to NITI Aayog, majority of the findings of the study indicate that the programme has been appreciated by most of the segments of the population of the society and it has assisted in creating confidence among minority women and developing leadership spirit in them. Moreover, the trained women are also utilizing their enriched knowledge within their surroundings and thereby helping their families as well as neighbours in raising their essential demands and claims from various Government authorities.

 

About Nai Roshni scheme:

The scheme aims to empower and instill confidence among minority women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, Banks and other institutions at all levels.

The scheme is implemented through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The scheme is implemented with the involvement of the Gram Panchayat at village level and Local Urban bodies at the District level.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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

 

Amendment to NMC Bill

 

A four member Committee headed by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, which was constituted to examine all options for reforms in the Medical Council of India (MCI) and suggest a way forward, has framed a draft “National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill” which provides for constitution of NMC in place of MCI.

  • The draft Bill has been relooked by a Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted for the purpose. The GoM has approved the draft Bill with some modifications.

national medical bill

About the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill:

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2016 was introduced by the NITI Aayog. It extends to the whole country. It aims to create world class educational system.  The bill seeks to repeal Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and be replaced by a body called National Medical Commission.

 

The Bill aims to:

  • Ensure adequate supply of high quality medical professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  • Encourage medical professionals to incorporate the latest medical research in their work and to contribute to such research.
  • Provide for objective periodic assessments of medical institutions.
  • Facilitate the maintenance of a medical register for India and enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services.
  • Ensure that the medical institutes are flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of a transforming nation.

 

As per the Bill, the Central Government shall constitute a Commission, to be called the National Medical Commission:

The Commission shall be a body corporate by the name aforesaid, having perpetual succession and a common seal, with power, subject to the provisions of this Act, to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable, and to contract, and shall, by the said name, sue or be sued.

The Central Government shall, by notification, establish autonomous Boards under the overall supervision of this Commission, to fulfil the functions related to the conduct of under-graduate and post-graduate education, assessment and rating of medical institutions and registration of medical practitioners and enforcement of medical ethics.

 

Sources: pib.


 

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. 

 

Transfer unclaimed accruals to fund: IRDA

 

As per the new direction from IRDA, insurance companies can no longer retain unclaimed amounts of policyholders if those accruals are more than 10 years old. Such sums need to be, instead, transferred to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF) of the Centre.

 

irda

Background:

The direction from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has come in the backdrop of the amendment made in April to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund Rules. The amendment expanded the purview beyond the unclaimed amounts in small savings and other saving schemes of the Centre, PPF and EPF.

It brought in unclaimed amount lying with banks, including cooperative banks and RRBs; dividend accounts, deposits and debentures of companies coming under the Companies Act; insurance companies and Coal Mines PF.

 

About the Senior Citizens Welfare Fund:

The Centre brought in Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund Act, 2015 (SCWF) as part of the Finance Act, 2015, which mandates transfer of unclaimed amounts of policyholders to the fund (SCWF) after a period of 10 years.

  • The fund will be administered by an Inter-Ministerial Committee, headed by a Chairperson. The Committee will be competent to spend money from the fund for satisfying various objectives.
  • The accounts of the fund will be open to audit by CAG, regularly. The Central Government will present the annual report and the one furnished by CAG to be laid before the Parliament.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Sri Lanka clears revised deal for Hambantota port

 

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has cleared a revised deal for the Chinese-built port in Hambantota. The modified agreement is believed to be more profitable to Sri Lanka and also addresses security concerns raised by other countries.

  • As per the deal, while the Chinese would manage port operations, no naval ship, including Chinese ones, can call at Hambantota without Sri Lanka’s permission.

Hambantota

Why is India worried?

India’s apprehensions about the apparently growing Chinese presence in the island are well known, given the two countries’ competing strategic interests in the island. The Hambantota port is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese control of Hambantota, which is part of its modern-day “Silk Route” across Asia and beyond, as well as a plan to acquire 15,000 acres (23 sq miles) to develop an industrial zone next door, had raised fears that it could also be used for Chinese naval vessels.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

India rejects OIC move on vigilantism

 

India has strongly rejected the resolutions of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that had expressed concern about the recent attacks on people by cow-vigilante groups. India has termed the resolutions adopted at the OIC’s latest foreign ministers’ meeting as “factually incorrect”.

 

Background:

The OIC noted that incidents of violence against the Muslim community were being committed by extremist Hindu groups and said it viewed such incidents “with grave concern”.

 

About the OIC:

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states. The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony“. The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.

 

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.

 

Human antibodies produced in lab for first time

 

In a first, scientists have produced human antibodies in the laboratory using a technique that could usher the rapid development of new vaccines to treat a wide range of infectious diseases.

 

What are antibodies and why are they produced?

Antibodies are produced by the body’s B cells to fight off infections by bacteria, viruses, and other invasive pathogens. When an individual B cell recognises a specific pathogen-derived “antigen” molecule, it can proliferate and develop into plasma cells that secrete large amounts of antibody capable of binding to the antigen and fending off the infection.

 

About the new technique:

In addition to encountering a specific antigen, B cells need a second signal to start proliferating and developing into plasma cells. Researchers provided this second signal by short DNA fragments called CpG oligonucleotides, which activate a protein inside B cells named TLR9.

  • However, treating patient-derived B cells with CpG oligonucleotides stimulates every B cell in the sample, not just the tiny fraction capable of producing a particular antibody. Researchers produced specific human antibodies in the laboratory by treating patient-derived B cells with tiny nanoparticles coated with both CpG oligonucleotides and an antigen.
  • With this technique, CpG oligonucleotides are only internalised into B cells that recognise the specific antigen, and these cells are therefore the only ones in which TLR9 is activated to induce their proliferation and development into antibody-secreting plasma cells.

 

Significance of this discovery:

This approach will help researchers rapidly generate therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of infectious diseases and other conditions such as cancer. Specifically, it should allow the production of these antibodies within a shorter time frame in vitro and without the need for vaccination or blood/serum donation from recently infected or vaccinated individuals.

This method also offers the potential to accelerate the development of new vaccines by allowing the efficient evaluation of candidate target antigens.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

 

First Two NOPVs Shachi and Shruti Launched

 

Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) has launched the first two Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) at their shipyard in Pipavav, Gujarat.

 

indian navy sachi n shruti

Key facts:

  • The ships are part of a five ship project being constructed for the Indian Navy.
  • The primary role of NOPVs is to undertake surveillance of the country’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) besides operational tasks such as anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations, maritime security of offshore assets, coastal security operations, and protection of shipping lanes.
  • The NOPVs would increase the ocean surveillance and patrolling capabilities of the Indian Navy.
  • The NOPVs are patrol ships and are armed with 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) system along with two 30mm AK-630M guns which provide medium range and short range offensive and defensive capabilities.
  • The armament is remotely controlled through an electronic Fire Control System.
  • The ships are fitted with diesel engine driven propulsion systems and can deliver speeds upto 25 knots.
  • All ship operations are controlled by an intelligent Integrated Platform Management System which has interfaces for all operational activities onboard the ship.

 

Sources: pib.