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Insights Daily Current Events, 22 April 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 22 April 2015

E-Samiksha launched

The Indian Railways recently launched E-Samiksha, an online monitoring mechanism.


To monitor implementation of various ongoing projects including Rail Budget proposals.


This portal would help to keep an eye on the implementation of budget commitments. This portal will mainly focus on Budget Review, Board Meetings, Zonal Railway Review, Infrastructure Targets and Project Implementation Review.


  • E-Samiksha is a real time, on-line system for monitoring of follow-up action on the decisions taken during the presentations made by different Ministries/Departments to the Prime Minister.
  • The follow-up action in respect of each decision is to be updated by the concerned Ministry/Department/Agency as and when the status changes or at least every month.
  • The software is designed by NIC.
  • The software is currently being used by Cabinet Secretariat, PMO and other Ministries for monitoring progress implementation of various programmes and follow-up of meetings.

Sources: PIB.


Three new havens for tigers

The Centre has planned to form three new tiger reserves.

Their locations:

In-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for creation of reserves in:

  1. Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh.
  2. Sunabeda in Odisha.
  3. Guru Ghasidas in Chhattisgarh.

Other decisions taken by the NTCA:

  • The NTCA has accorded final approval to a proposal to declare Kudremukh National Park in Karnataka and Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand as tiger reserves.
  • Seeking to provide more protected spaces for the endangered species, State governments have been asked to send conservation proposals for the following areas: Suhelwa in Uttar Pradesh, Mhadei in Goa, Srivilliputtur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary/ Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary/ Varushanadu Valley in Tamil Nadu, Dibang in Arunachal Pradesh and Cauvery-MM Hills in Karnataka.
  • Punishments for violation of tiger reserve rules and hunting or altering the boundaries of tiger reserves have been enhanced. As per the Ministry’s country-level assessment, India hosted an estimated 2226 tigers in 2014.


The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 was amended in 2006 keeping in view the needs of the Project Tiger for providing enabling provisions for constitution of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau.

The functions of NTCA are as follows:

  • Ensuring normative standards in tiger reserve management
  • Preparation of reserve specific tiger conservation plan
  • Laying down annual/ audit report before Parliament
  • Instituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation.
  • According approval for declaring new Tiger Reserves.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, Wiki.


Green tribunal’s thumbs up for waste-to-energy projects

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has permitted the States, including Karnataka, to use incinerator technology for producing Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), commonly known as waste-to-energy. This is being seen as a setback to those opposing burning of municipal solid wastes (MSW).

What else has the Tribunal said?

  • The Tribunal has said that no waste could be directly put into the incinerators or for power generation, except the specifically permitted. Only those wastes that are found unrecyclable after segregation should be put into the incinerators.
  • Also, the tribunal emphasised that it was not putting any absolute restriction on Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) being used as power generation fuel, but first effort should be made for composting of wet waste. The States are free to use RDF for generating fuel with due care and caution by framing necessary guidelines.
  • The NGT has also directed dividing the State into clusters for locating sufficient number of incinerator plants. Authorities are asked to provide maximum space for plants to have large storage and processing area for wastes; ensure green belt of higher density around plants, and adopt new technologies.

The Central Pollution Control Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forests were directed to prescribe specific guidelines for emissions from incinerators.


  • The directions were issued on a case between MSW expert Almitra H. Patel vs. Union of India that was referred to the NGT by the Supreme Court, which since 1996 had issued several directions on management of MSW across the country.
  • Based on this case, the Centre had formulated the MSW (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.

Refuse-derived fuel (RDF):

Also called as Solid recovered fuel/ specified recovered fuel (SRF) is a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste (MSW) with a Waste converter technology.

  • RDF consists largely of combustible components of municipal waste such as plastics and biodegradable waste.
  • RDF is extracted from municipal solid waste using a mix of mechanical and/or biological treatment methods.

The production of RDF may involve the following steps:

  • Bag splitting/Shredding
  • Size screening
  • Magnetic separation
  • Coarse shredding
  • Refining separation

Uses of the Fuel:

  • RDF can be used in a variety of ways to produce electricity.
  • It can be used alongside traditional sources of fuel in coal power plants.
  • RDF can be fed into plasma arc gasification modules, pyrolysis plants and where the RDF is capable of being combusted cleanly or in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, RDF can provide a funding source where unused carbon credits are sold on the open market via a carbon exchange.

However, the use of municipal waste contracts and the bankability of these solutions is still a relatively new concept, thus RDF’s financial advantage may be debatable.

Incinerator technology:

It is a waste treatment technology, which includes the combustion of waste for recovering energy.

  • Incineration coupled with high temperature waste treatments are recognized as thermal treatments.
  • During the process of incineration, the waste material that is treated is converted in to IBM, gases, particles and heat. These products are later used for generation of electricity. The gases, flue gases are first treated for eradication of pollutants before going in to atmosphere.
  • Incineration reduces the mass of the waste from 95 to 96%. This reduction depends upon the recovery degree and composition of materials. This means that incineration however, does not replace the need for landfilling but it reduced the amount to be thrown in it.

For further reference:

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, MoEF.


Indira, Rajiv names dropped from two Hindi awards

The government has dropped the names of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi from two awards for propagating Hindi.

  • The two awards have been discontinued by the Union Home Ministry, which instead launched two new schemes for doing outstanding work for promoting the progressive use of official language.
  • The ‘Indira Gandhi Rajbhasha Puraskar’ and ‘Rajiv Gandhi Rashtriya Gyan-Vigyan Maulik Pustak Lekhan Puraskar’, launched more than two decades ago, have given way for ‘Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar’ and ‘Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar’

Sources: The Hindu.


Maglev train rockets into record books

Japan’s state-of-the-art maglev train recently clocked a new world speed record in a test run near Mount Fuji, breaking the 600-kmph mark. Japan has planned to sell the technology abroad.

  • The seven-car maglev (short for magnetic levitation) train hit a top speed of 603 kmph, and managed nearly 11 seconds at over 600 kmp.
  • The new record came less than a week after the company recorded a top speed of 590 kmph, breaking its own 2003 record of 581 kmph.

Sources: The Hindu.

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