Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 September 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 September 2017


 

Paper 2:

 

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

Directorate General of Quality Assurance Celebrates its Diamond Jubilee

 

Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) has completed 60 years of its existence.

  • The organisation has quality assured Defence stores worth Rs. 28,878 crore during the financial year 2016-17.
  • In addition, the organisation has been providing assistance to the User and Manufacturer in difficult and trying situations, warranting the technical expertise and hands-on experience.

 

About DGQA:

The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) is under Department Of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence. This organisation is more than hundred years old and provides Quality Assurance (QA) cover for the entire range of Arms, Ammunitions, Equipments and Stores supplied to Armed Forces.

 

Functions:

  • Apart from QA activities, the organisation is responsible for import substitution and associates with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the development projects.
  • It also ensures Documentation, Codification and Standardisation Action for minimizing the variety of components / equipments.
  • The other services rendered are promotion of small scale industries, Post procurement services, Defect Investigations and Technical Consultancy to the users, Ministry and the Production Agencies.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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.

 

VVPAT to be used in Gujarat polls

VVPAT to be used in Gujarat polls

The Election Commission of India will use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) gadgets with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in all 50,128 voting booths in Gujarat, which goes to the Assembly polls at the end of this year.

This is the first time an entire assembly poll will be conducted using EVMs equipped with VVPAT.

 

What is VVPAT?

VVPAT stands for Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail. VVPAT system maintains a physical trail of all votes cast. Small slips of paper records the details of the vote. The Election Commission (EC) first introduced VVPAT in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

 

How is it related to EVMs?

When a vote is cast on the electronic voting machine, a small paper slip bearing the name and symbol of the candidate is generated. This paper appears for about 10 seconds. The slip will then automatically fall in a sealed safe box, attached to the EVM, thus maintaining a physical paper trail of all the votes cast.

 

Background:

In 2013, conduct of Election Rules, 1961 was amended to facilitate the introduction of VVPAT units. For the first time, VVPAT with EVMs was used for the Noksen Assembly seat in Tuensang district of Nagaland.

In the case of Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India (ECI), the Supreme Court held that VVPAT is “indispensable for free and fair elections” and directed the ECI to equip EVMs with VVPAT systems. The apex court had directed the EC to introduce EVMs in a phased manner for the next General Elections in 2014, saying it would ensure free and fair polls. SC also directed the Centre to provide financial assistance for introducing VVPAT system.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

India signs MoU to train Afghan police

 

India and Afghanistan have exchanged a memorandum of understanding, which will see Afghan police forces trained in India for the first time.

 

Aim of the MoU: The MoU on Technical Cooperation on Police Training and Development will see India expand its capacity building of Afghan troops to include policemen and security forces, who are facing the brunt of Taliban attacks in the country, under a UN Development Programme project.

 

Background:

India has earlier trained Afghan national army officers and the MoU for training Afghan police is expected to further deepen security cooperation between the two countries. According to the government, the MoU will help in capacity building of Afghanistan National Police and improving the security apparatus in the region.

India has been helping trouble-torn Afghanistan in capacity building besides extending assistance in social, medical and educational fields.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

ADB plans to raise lending up to $4 billion to India

 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to raise its annual lending to India to a maximum of $4 billion to support the country to accelerate inclusive economic transformation toward upper middle-income status, as laid out in a new ADB country partnership strategy (CPS) for 2018-2022 endorsed recently.

 

Key facts:

  • ADB’s programme in India will focus on three main pillars of activity during the 5-year period — boosting economic competitiveness to create more and well-paid jobs, improved access to infrastructure and services, and addressing climate change and improving climate resilience.
  • The planned lending level, which includes private sector operations, compares with an average of $2.65 billion a year in loans extended in the period 2012-2016.
  • Financing will also go for public sector management, agriculture, natural resources and rural development as well as skills development and urban health, the statement said.
  • The new lending will be complemented by technical assistance to undertake strategic studies, build capacities and prepare projects.
  • ADB said it will also explore co-financing opportunities, including climate funds for relevant projects.

 

 

About ADB:

It is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 and is headquartered in Philippines. It aims to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia. It also aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty.

 

Membership:

The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.

Currently, it has 67 members – of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.

 

Voting:

ADB was modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions.

 

Funding:

  • ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world’s capital markets.
  • ADB also rely on its members’ contributions, retained earnings from its lending operations, and the repayment of loans.
  • Japan holds the largest proportions of shares at 15.67%. The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.

 

Board of Governors:

  • It is the highest policy-making body of the bank.
  • It is composed of one representative from each member state.
  • The Board of Governors also elect the bank’s President who is the chairperson of the Board of Directors and manages ADB.
  • The Alternate Board of Governors are nominated by Board of Governors of ADB’s 67 to represent them at the Annual Meeting that meets formally once year to be held in a member country.

 

Loans:

It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans. The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

World Maritime Day 2017

World-Maritime-day-2017

The World Maritime Day was formally celebrated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on 28 September 2017.

  • World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day. Every year, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work.
  • This day also serves as a reminder to all and sundry that a vibrant and sustainable blue economy is a boon to all mankind.

 

Theme: “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” is the theme of World Maritime Day this year. this theme was chosen by the IMO to provide an opportunity to focus on the many diverse sectors and people involved in the shipping and logistics areas.

 

About IMO:

The IMO is the United Nations specialised agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

  • It has 171 Member States and three Associate Members.
  • The IMO’s primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
  • IMO is governed by an assembly of members and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly.
  • The IMO’s structure comprises the Assembly, the Council, the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Legal Committee, the Technical Cooperation Committee, and the secretariat, headed by a Secretary-General.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Paper 3:

 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

13th Formation Day of NDMA

 

 

13th Formation Day of NDMA

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) recently celebrated its 13th formation day. The theme of this year’s Formation Day is School Safety.

 

About NDMA:

On 23 December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.

 

NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters. Towards this, it has the following responsibilities:

  • Lay down policies on disaster management.
  • Approve the National Plan.
  • Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan.
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan.
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects.
  • Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management.
  • Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation.
  • Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government.
  • Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary.
  • Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.

 

Way ahead:

There was no institutional framework for disaster management earlier, but after the setting up of NDMA, a mechanism has been developed not only for disaster management, but also for disaster risk reduction.

  • India got appreciation due to NDMA’s work at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting on Disaster management held in Kyrgyzstan last month. India had extended help to earthquake-hit Nepal in 2014 and also India had sent NDRF team to Japan for help.
  • Its time to further strengthen the legal and institutional systems in place for disaster management.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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.

4th gravitational wave detected by LIGO, Virgo observatory

 

A fourth gravitational wave has been detected — this time with help from Italy-based equipment — after two black holes collided, sending ripples through the fabric of space and time.

  • The newly produced spinning black hole has about 53 times the mass of our Sun. While this new event is of astrophysical relevance, its detection comes with an additional asset: this is the first significant gravitational wave signal recorded by the Virgo detector.

 

Background:

Gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago as part of his theory of general relativity, but the first hard evidence of their existence came only in 2015, when two U.S. detectors found the first such signal.

 

About Virgo detector:

The Virgo collaboration includes more than 280 physicists and engineers belonging to 20 different European research groups.

  • The Virgo detector — an underground L-shaped instrument that tracks gravitational waves using the physics of laser light and space — recently underwent an upgrade, and while still less sensitive than its U.S. counterparts, it was able to confirm the same signal.
  • Known as interferometers, these high-tech underground stations do not rely on light in the sky like a telescope does, but instead sense vibrations in space and can pick up the “chirp” created by a gravitational wave.

 

What are gravitational waves?

In simple terms, gravitational waves can be explained as ripples in the fabric of space-time which can only be caused by massive astronomical events such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other so that these waves would finally radiate from them.

These gravitational waves, if detected, will carry signatures of their origin, explaining much about the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe. They had remained elusive till their detection was first announced last year.

 

Sources: the hindu.