Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 June 2018

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 June 2018


 

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.

 

Governor’s rule in J&K

Context: The state of Jammu and Kashmir is all set to see a governor’s rule following the sudden break in ties between BJP and PDP and subsequent resignation of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

 

What’s so special about this?

The imposition of governor’s rule in J&K is slightly different than that in other states. In other states, the president’s rule is imposed under the Article 356 of Constitution of India. In J&K, governor’s rule is mentioned under Article 370 section 92 – ‘ Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in the State.’

 

Article 370 section 92: Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in the State:

  1. If at any time, the Governor is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, the Governor may by Proclamation-
  2. Assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State and all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by anybody or authority in the State.
  3. Make such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the Governor to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to the objects of the Proclamation, including provisions for suspending in whole or in part the operation of any provision of this Constitution relating to anybody or authority in the State.
  4. Any such Proclamation may be revoked or varied by a subsequent Proclamation.
  5. Any such Proclamation whether varied under subsection (2) or not, shall except where it is a Proclamation revoking a previous Proclamation, cease to operate on the expiration of six months from the date on which it was first issued.
  6. If the Government or by a Proclamation under his section assumes, to himself any, of the powers of the Legislature to make his laws, any law made by him in the exercise of that power shall, subject to, the terms there of continue to have effect until two years have elapsed from the date on which the proclamation ceases to have effect, unless sooner.
  7. No Proclamation under this section shall, except where it is a Proclamation revoking a previous Proclamation, be laid before each House of the Legislature as soon as it is convened.

 

What is President’s Rule in the Indian context?

The imposition of Article 356 of the Constitution on a State following the failure of constitutional machinery is called President’s Rule in India. Once the President’s Rule has been imposed on a state, the elected state government will be temporarily dissolved, and the Governor, who is appointed by the government at the Centre, will replace the Chief Minister as the chief executive of the State.

  • The state will fall under the direct control of the Union government, and the Governor will continue to be head the proceedings, representing the President of India – who is the Head of the State.
  • The imposition of the President’s rule requires the sanction of both the houses of Parliament. If approved, it can go on for a period of six months. However, the imposition cannot be extended for more than three years, and needs to be brought before the two houses every six months for approval.

 

What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: Difference between President’s Rule under Article 356 and Governor’s Rule in J&K, Special status for J&K under Article 370.

 

Sources: the hindu.


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

 

National targets for off-shore wind power

Context: To give confidence to wind industry, Government has declared national targets for off-shore wind power.

 

The targets:

  • Medium target of 5 GW by 2022.
  • Long term target of 30 GW by 2030.

 

Significance of the move:

Offshore wind power would add a new element to the already existing basket of renewable energy for the country.

 

Why off- shore wind farming is beneficial?

The offshore wind faming is attractive because of several reasons such as stronger winds for efficient generation of power; no impact on real estate value of land as in case of onshore wind farming; its ability to fulfil the demand of the heavily populated coastal regions and no significant environment costs.

 

Challenges:

  • It is difficult to install large wind power turbines in open seas. Offshore wind turbines are of much larger dimensions and capacities than onshore turbines.
  • The PLF (plant load factor) of off-shore wind turbines will be higher than the on-shore projects.
  • The cost per MW of off-shore wind power project will be higher by 50-100% as compared to on-shore projects depending on the water depth.
  • Further deep sea wind farms come with the challenges of assigning no-go areas for commercial shipping. There would be a need to devise new lanes, proper lightning for ships to pass on.

 

National Off-Shore Wind Policy:

  • The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy had notified National Off-Shore Wind Policy in October 2015 to realize the offshore wind power potential in the country.
  • With this, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been authorized as the Nodal Ministry for use of offshore areas within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country and the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has been authorized as the Nodal Agency for development of offshore wind energy.
  • Government has paved way for development of the offshore wind farms up to the seaward distance of 200 Nautical Miles (within its Exclusive Economic Zone) from the base line.

 

Way ahead:

India is making significant progress in the development of the onshore wind power plants. However, so far progress in the offshore wind power generation has been almost nil. Since India has more than 7600 Kilometres of coast, the prospects of development of offshore wind power are very bright. At global level, it has been observed that, offshore wind energy while being better than onshore wind in terms of efficiency is also becoming competitive and comparable in terms of tariffs.

With the introduction of the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, India is trying to replicate the success of the onshore wind power development in the offshore wind power development.

 

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: India’s renewable energy targets, highlights of National Off- Shore Wind Policy.
  • For Mains: Off- shore wind energy- benefits, challenges and India’s efforts in this regard.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.

 

National Digital Library of India

 

What is it? National Digital Library of India (NDLI) is a project of the Ministry of Human Resource Development under the aegis of National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT). It is developed by IIT Kharagpur.

Objective: The objective of NDL is to make digital educational resources available to all citizens of the country to empower, inspire and encourage learning.

 

Key facts:

  • NDL is the Single Window Platform that collects and collates metadata from premier learning institutions in India and abroad, as well as other relevant sources.
  • It is a digital repository containing textbooks, articles, videos, audio books, lectures, simulations, fiction and all other kinds of learning media.
  • It makes quality learning resources available to all learners and has 1.7 Crore content from more than 160 sources, in over 200 languages.

 

About NMEICT:

The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been envisaged as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to leverage the potential of ICT, in teaching and learning process for the benefit of all the learners in Higher Education Institutions in any time anywhere mode.

  • The Mission has two major components – providing connectivity, along with provision for access devices, to institutions and learners; and content generation.
  • The Mission aims to extend computer infrastructure and connectivity to over 25000 colleges and 2000 polytechnics in the country including each of the departments of 419 universities/deemed universities and institutions of national importance as a part of its motto to provide connectivity up to last mile.
  • LAN of up to 400 nodes on average has also been envisaged to be provided to the universities under the NMEICT scheme. The Mission, in addition to utilize the connectivity network of service providers, shall explore the possibility to provide connectivity utilizing Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), Virtual Private Network (VPN) and EduSat channels.

 

What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: NMEICT and NDLI- key features and significance.

 

Sources: pib.


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

 

Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK)

 

Context: The Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK), India and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect have jointly started the pilot “Training of Trainers (ToT) Course on Civilian Protection and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” in Delhi.

 

Key facts:

  • The course is being attended by 30 officers including eight from Friendly Foreign Countries.
  • The course is designed for mid-level military officials from the countries that are active “Troop Contributing Countries” to the UN peacekeeping operations.

 

About CUNPK:

The Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK), has been set up in New Delhi, drawing on India’s vast experience in the field of UN Peacekeeping. It functions under the directions of a Board of management under the Chairmanship of Vice Chief of the Army Staff.

 

Role and important functions:

  • The Centre conducts International Training Capsules for Military Contingent Officers, Military Observers, and Staff and Logistics Officers.
  • The Centre regularly organizes Seminars, Joint Working Groups and Command Post Exercises at the National and International level.
  • It is also a repository of information on India’s involvement in UN Peacekeeping and is continuing to build and update its research on peacekeeping related issues.

 

What you need to know about UN Peacekeeping?

  • United Nations Peacekeeping was created in 1948. Its first mission involved the establishment of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), which served to observe and maintain ceasefire during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  • UN Peacekeeping maintains three basic principles: Consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of Force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
  • The UN Peacekeepers are led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DKPO).
  • There are currently 17 UN peace operations deployed on four continents.
  • UN Peacekeepers are from diverse backgrounds, from areas all around the world. They include police, military and civilian personnel. They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets.
  • The UN Peacekeeping Force won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.
  • The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action to maintain international peace and security. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  • The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect seeks to transform the principle of the Responsibility to Protect into a practical guide for action in the face of mass atrocities.
  • The Global Centre was founded by a number of supportive governments, leading figures from the human rights community, as well as by International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International, Refugees International, and WFM-Institute for Global Policy.

 

What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: About UN Peacekeeping, About CUNPK and the Global Centre for the Responsibility.

 

Sources: pib.

 


 

Paper 3:

Topic: Conservation related topics.

 

International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028

 

Context: Republic of Tajikistan and United Nations are jointly organizing a high-level Conference on “International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028”. The Conference will discuss key water related issues of sustainable development goals adopted by UN member countries.

 

International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028:

  • In order to accelerate efforts towards meeting water-related challenges, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”.
  • The Water Action Decade commenced on World Water Day, 22 March 2018, and will end on World Water Day, 22 March 2028.

 

Objectives:

  • The objectives of the Decade focus on the sustainable development and integrated management of water resources for the achievement of social, economic and environmental objectives and on the implementation and promotion of related programmes and projects.
  • It will also focus on the furtherance of cooperation and partnership at all levels in order to help to achieve internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The Decade also highlights the importance of promoting efficient water usage at all levels, taking into account the water, food, energy, environment nexus; and stresses the importance of the participation and full involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including women, children, young people, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and local communities.

 

Facts & Figures:

  • 1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services (WHO/UNICEF 2017).
  • 5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services (WHO/UNICEF 2017).
  • Water scarcity already affects four out of every 10 people (WHO).
  • 90% of all natural disasters are water-related (UNISDR).
  • 80% of wastewater flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused (UNESCO 2017).

 

Facts for Prelims:

SDG 6 calls for clean water and sanitation for all people.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges.

 

Social media communication hub

Context: Public sector firm Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd., which is supposed to be handling the Social media communication hub project, has extended the last date for tenders. This is the fourth time the date has been extended.

 

What is Social media communication hub?

  • The hub proposes to monitor social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even email) handles at the very local level in multiple languages to carry out “sentiment analysis”, track down the influence-making social media users and to categorise the conversations on social media into positive, negative and neutral sections.
  • It also aimed to track real time the way social media receives news on government’s schemes and announcements and also political events.

 

Social media managers:

As per the proposal, the project is meant to strengthen the social media division and recruit social media managers to be deployed in 712 districts of the country. Each district will have one social media manager who will be entrusted with the tasks of keeping a close eye on the regional and local media, collecting data of regional media and of local events, providing content for social media and supporting media units at the regional level for social media publicity.

 

Role of social media managers:

These social media managers will also monitor local editions of newspapers, local cable channels, local audio channels (FM) and key local social media handles for important local developments. They will make a daily analysis report incorporating local sentiments to be sent to region head in the PIB as well as the media hub (command centre).

 

Concerns:

The proposal to set up such a hub had turned controversial, as many called it an indirect measure to “snoop” on and influence voters.

 

What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Social Media Hub- features and concerns, Social media managers- roles.
  • For Mains: Controversy surrounding the proposed Social Media Hub.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

 

Facts for Prelims:

 

World’s tallest girder railway bridge:

Context: SAIL is supplying Steel for World’s Tallest Girder Rail Bridge.

Key facts:

  • World’s tallest girder railway bridge is being built in the North East as part of the upcoming 111-kilometres long Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line.
  • Bridge No.164 is being built across the valley of river Ijai near Noney and has been designed to take a maximum train speed of 120 kmph.
  • The Jiribam–Tupul–Imphal railway line cuts across the lower Himalayan ranges necessitating series of tunnels through the hills and tall bridges across the deep valleys. The line will connect Manipur’s state capital Imphal to Jiribam which is on the western-most boundary of the state. Jiribam is an area that adjoins the Cachar district of Assam. As of now Manipur’s capital Imphal has no railway connectivity.
  • It is located in Seismic Zone-V, making it highly vunerable to earthquakes.

 

Chrysilla volupes:

What is it? It is a spider belonging to the family of jumping spiders (Salticidae).

Why in news? Scientists recently rediscovered this species, which was believed have become extinct, from Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) located in the Western Ghats region of Kerala. It was previously discovered in Periyej Lake in Gujarat in 1868. But subsequently it had vanished.