Insights Daily Current Events, 23 April 2015

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Insights Daily Current Events, 23 April 2015

IMD forecasts deficit monsoon

According to the recently released India Meteorological Department (IMD)’s annual monsoon forecast the southwest Monsoon’s overall rainfall prediction for 2015 is 93%, three percentage points below normal. The probability of deficit rainfall is higher at 33% over normal rainfall pegged at 28%.

  • The report also notes that El Nino conditions are likely to persist during the south-west monsoon.

India Meteorological Department (IMD):
It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It was established in 1875.

  • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
  • IMD is headquartered in New Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.
  • It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region, including the Malacca Straits, the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.
  • IMD became a member of the World Meteorological Organization after independence in April 1949.
  • In collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the IMD also uses the Indian Remote Sensing series and the Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) for weather monitoring of the Indian subcontinent.
  • IMD was the first weather bureau of a developing country to develop and maintain its own satellite system.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

Cabinet nod for juvenile law changes

The Union Cabinet recently cleared amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act that would allow juveniles aged between 16 and 18 to be tried as adults for heinous crimes such as murder and rape.

Details:

  • The Bill, which seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice Act 2000, will be presented before Parliament in this session.
  • The proposed new law gives the Juvenile Justice Board the power to assess whether the perpetrator of a heinous crime aged between 16 and 18, had acted as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult.’
  • The board will be assisted in this process by psychologists and social experts.

The amendments to the draft Bill strike a fine balance between the demands of the stakeholders asking for continued protection of rights of juveniles and the popular demand of citizens in the light of increasing incidence of heinous crimes by young boys.

Impacts of this decision:

The Ministry of Women and Child Development says that this two-stage trial brings about a balance that is sensitive to the rights of the child, protective of his legitimate interests and yet conscious of the need to deter crimes, especially brutal crimes against women

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2014:

The Ministry of Women and Child Development had introduced the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2014 in the Lok Sabha in August 2014.

Aim of the Bill: This Bill sought to make more robust, effective and responsive the legislative framework for children in need of care and protection as well as children in conflict with law.

Important provisions in the Bill:

  • The bill clearly defines and classifies offences as petty, serious and heinous, and defines differentiated processes for each category. Keeping in view the increasing number of serious offences being committed by persons in the age group of 16-18 years and recognizing the rights of the victims as being equally important as the rights of juveniles, special provisions are proposed to tackle heinous offences committed by individuals in this age group.
  • It also proposes to streamline adoption procedures for orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children.
  • It establishes a statutory status for the Child Adoption Resources Authority (CARA).
  • It also proposes several rehabilitation and social integration measures for institutional and non-institutional children. It provides for sponsorship and foster care as completely new measures.
  • Mandatory registration of all institutions engaged in providing child care is required according to the Bill.
  • New offences including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, the use of children by militant groups, and offences against disabled children are also incorporated in the proposed legislation.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, prsindia.org.

 

ZSI to erect memorial at its founder’s grave

ZSI has decided to set up a plaque on the grave honouring its founder’s contribution to the organisation and science at large. ZSI is celebrating 2015 as its centenary year.

Who was the founder?

Thomas Nelson Annandale was the first Director General of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) who travelled across the country and also to China, Malaya, Japan and Morocco looking for different species of fauna in the beginning of 20th century.

  • He was a Scottish zoologist.

About ZSI:

Established in 1916, it is a premier organization in zoological research and studies. It has its genesis in the establishment of the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875.

  • It was established to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the region.
  • The activities of the ZSI are coordinated by the Conservation and Survey Division in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Main objectives:

  • Exploration and Survey of Faunal Resources
  • Taxonomic Studies
  • Status Survey of Endangered Species
  • Publication of Results through Departmental Journals
  • Publication of Fauna of India
  • Maintenance and Development of National Zoological Collections

Red Data Book: Similar to the Red Data Book produced by IUCN, ZSI also releases a Red Data Book on Indian Animals. It was first published in 1983.

The ZSI also participates in the Indian Antarctic Program, since its inception in 1989.

Sources: The Hindu, zsi.gov.in, Wiki.

 

India ranks second in Cyber Attacks through social media

According to a report from Symantec, a Security Solutions provider, India ranked second among nations that were most targeted for cyber crimes through the social media in 2014, after the US.

Notable observations made by the Report:

  • While email remains a significant attack vector for cybercriminals, they continue to experiment with new methods across mobile devices and social networks to reach more people with less effort. India’s growing social media population proved to be a ready base for them.
  • In 2014, India had the second highest number of social media scams globally and the highest in the Asia Pacific region. Over 80% of these scams were shared manually as attackers took advantage of people’s willingness to trust content shared by friends.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Supreme Court seeks govt. view on Army’s exit promotion policy

The Supreme Court has sought the Centre’s response on whether it approved of the Army’s “command exit promotion” policy, quashed by the Armed Forces Tribunal, for officers of the rank of Colonel and above from January 2009.

Background:

  • The Bench is hearing the appeal of the Defence Ministry against Armed Forces Tribunal’s decision to quash Army’s “command exit promotion” policy on the ground that it is violative of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution. The Supreme Court had on March 25 stayed the March 2 decision of AFT to quash the Army’s promotion policy.
  • Some Army officers had claimed that the new promotion policy had adversely affected them as it is arbitrary and highly skewed in favour of Infantry and Artillery, as compared to other branches of the Army.

What is command exit promotion policy?

It was implemented in 2009. The policy rigged promotions in favour of the two biggest arms – the infantry and artillery – by allocating them an unfairly large number of promotion vacancies at the “commanding officer” rank of colonel.

Issues:

  • The infantry, which has 350-odd battalions, is also allocated responsibility to command 110 battalions of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and Assam Rifles (AR), which are manned by officers from every arm/service. Reserving command for the infantry increased its colonel vacancies by 30%, from 350 to 460.
  • To compound this advantage, the command tenure for the infantry was kept the shortest, just 2½ years. With 460 infantry colonels needed every 2½ years, that meant 184 colonel vacancies each year. The engineers and signals, both combat support arms, were arbitrarily given command tenures of 4 years, reducing the number of colonels required from those arms. The logistics services were given 5 year command terms.
  • The artillery’s command tenure was shortened from 3½ to just 3 years, similarly boosting its colonel vacancies.
  • Overall, this has resulted in up to 60% of infantry and artillery lieutenant colonels being approved for promotion to colonel rank, while some other branches had approval ratings as low as 26 %. This goes “against the fundamental right of equality of opportunity”.

Sources: The Hindu, BS.

 

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting gets ISO 9001:2008 Certification

British Standard Institute (BSI) has conferred the certificate of registration to Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for the Quality Management System as per the requirement of ISO 9001:2008 in respect of various permissions / licenses issued by the Ministry for the broadcasting, print and films sectors.

  • These include permission / license for satellite television channels, teleports, multi-system operators, community radio stations, direct-to-home services, publication of Indian editions of foreign, technical and scientific foreign magazines of news and current affairs sector and facsimile edition of foreign newspapers and grant of permission for foreign film producers.
  • The Ministry has been taking several initiatives to bring in more transparency and efficiency in the processes relating to grant of various permissions / licenses to the eligible applicants.
  • The Ministry has put in place a well defined procedure and measures for ensuring quality of services offered to the customers on the basis of ISO 9001:2008. This will ensure delivery of services by the Ministry in a qualitative manner.

The ministry of steel was the first central ministry to be awarded ISO 9001:2008, Quality Management System certification.

About ISO 9001:2008:

  • ISO 9001:2008 specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • To get certified the organization should aim to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • All requirements of ISO 9001:2008 are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product provided.
  • Third-party certification bodies provide independent confirmation that organizations meet the requirements of ISO 9001.

Sources: The Hindu, iso.org.

 

 

Proposal to permit Reserve Bank of India to enter into Currency Swap Agreement with the central bank of Sri Lanka

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, has given its ex-post-facto approval for entering into an agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for extending US$1.1 billion as a special /ad-hoc swap outside the Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries.

  • India has a Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries since 2012.
  • The facility is available to all SAARC member countries with a floor of US $100 million and ceiling of US $ 400 million within overall limit of US$ 2 billion and is valid till November 14, 2015.
  • RBI has proposed to make available US$400 million to Sri Lanka under this Framework and the remaining US$1.1 billion as a special/ad-hoc swap facility outside the Framework, but with the same terms and conditions, for 6 months against the request of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

How would this help Sri Lanka?

This will help Sri Lanka in availing a safety net against the probable volatility of their currency and provide short-term liquidity that would contribute to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery. This will also strengthen India’s bilateral relations and economic ties with Sri Lanka.

What is this Currency Swap Arrangement (CSA)?

This is an arrangement, between two friendly countries, which have regular, substantial or increasing trade, to basically involve in trading in their own local currencies, where both pay for import and export trade, at the pre-determined rates of exchange, without bringing in third country currency like the US Dollar.

  • In such arrangements no third country currency is involved, thereby eliminating the need to worry about exchange variations.

Sources: PIB.

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