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Insights Daily Current Events, 30 May 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 30 May 2015


GDP grows by 7.3 % but fails to overtake China

A recently released data by the Central Statistics Office shows that India’s economy grew by 7.3% during 2014-15 failing to overtake China as the world’s fastest growing major economy.

Other Details:

  • Capital formation continued to be lower at 28.7% of GDP against 29.7% during 2013-14.
  • Gross fixed capital formation – a barometer for investments – slowed for the second straight year.
  • The manufacturing sector grew by 7.1% against the 2013-14 growth of 5.3%.
  • The prime drivers of the growth were the significantly stronger performance of ‘manufacturing’, ‘electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services’ and the ‘financial, real estate and professional services’.
  • Almost all sectors of the economy picked up during the year. The exceptions were the sectors of ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’, ‘mining and quarrying’ and ‘public administration defence and other services’ that’s linked to government spending.

The International Monetary Fund has projected that India will outpace China during the current fiscal year.

Sources: The Hindu.


Leak not radioactive, says AERB

Alarm bells were sounded at the Indira Gandhi International Airport recently when a leak from a medicinal consignment that was thought to be radioactive was reported in the cargo area of the airport.

  • However, after investigation, security personnel said that the reports of a radioactive leak were false.

What happened?

A package arrived from a foreign country carrying Iodine 131 which is used in radiotherapy for thyroid. Next to these containers was another container carrying N Venal Pyrodine, which is not radioactive, that had leaked.

Iodine 131:

  • Iodine-131 (131I), also called radioiodine, is an important radioisotope of iodine.
  • It has a radioactive decay half life of about 8 days.
  • Its uses are mostly medical and pharmaceutical. It also plays a role as a major radioactive hazard present in nuclear fission products.
  • It is a major uranium fission product, comprising nearly 3% of the total products of fission.
  • It is used in nuclear medicine therapeutically and can also be seen with diagnostic scanners if it has been used therapeutically.
  • Major uses of 131I include the treatment of thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism) and some types of thyroid cancer that absorb iodine.
  • The 131I isotope is also used as a radioactive label for certain radiopharmaceuticals that can be used for therapy for imaging and treating pheochromocytoma and neuroblastoma.

The only naturally occurring isotope of iodine is stable iodine-127.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.



Revamp on cards

An expert panel set to expedite roll out of broadband in rural areas has suggested revamp of national optical fibre network (NOFN) initiative, increasing the scope of the project that will entail three fold increase in cost to Rs.72,778 crore from about Rs.20,000 crore approved earlier.

Other details:

  • The committee has estimated the total cost of the revised project at Rs.72,778 crore, which is three fold higher than Rs.20,000 crore approved earlier.
  • The report stresses on involvement of States, besides private players, for speedier implementation of the project that has fallen far behind its planned schedule.
  • The report stresses on involvement of States, besides private players, for speedier implementation of the project that has fallen far behind its planned schedule.
  • The Committee has also re-worked the timelines for implementation, stating that the project can be commissioned by December 2017.

Seven States have proposed to come up with their own model to roll out broadband network under BharatNet programme.

National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN):

The NOFN project was approved by Cabinet in 2011 and deadline to connect all panchayats was fixed by end of 2013 then deferred to September 2015 by UPA government. The Narendra Modi-led government re-examined project status and set target to complete roll out in 50,000 village panchayats by March 31, 2015, and another 1 lakh by March 2016 and the rest by end of 2016.

  • It is a project to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) Gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs.20,000 crore.
  • The project provides internet access using existing optical fiber and extending it to the Gram panchayats. Connectivity gap between Gram Panchayats and Blocks will be filled.
  • The project was intended to enable the government of India to provide e-services and e-applications nationally.
  • A special purpose vehicle Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) was created as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Companies Act of 1956 for the execution of the project.
  • The project will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and was estimated to be completed in 2 years.
  • The project envisaged signing a tripartite MoU for free Right of Way (RoW) among the Union Government, State Government and Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).
  • All the Service Providers like Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), ISPs, Cable TV operators etc. will be given non-discriminatory access to the National Optic Fibre Network and can launch various services in rural areas. Various categories of applications like e-health, e-education and e-governance etc. can also be provided by these operators.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, NOFN.


No date set to roll out one-rank one-pension

Union Defence Minister recently said that he could not fix a date for the implementation of the One-Rank One-Pension (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen. However, he also made it clear that the government will soon put in place the Scheme.

One-rank one-pension scheme:

This is a scheme which will ensure that soldiers of the same rank and the same length of service receive the same pension, irrespective of their retirement date. In simple words, it demands equal pensions for those who have retired in one particular year, as those who retire in another year at the same position, and for the same duration of services rendered.

  • The difference in the pension of present and past pensioners in the same rank occurs on account of the number of increments earned by the defence personnel in that rank.
  • So far, there was no such rule. While every pay commission bumps the salaries of government servants, pensions of ex-servicemen remain the same.

The implementation of one rank, one pension is also expected to push up the Centre’s defence pension payments by a record 40%, posing fresh challenges to keep the Centre’s fiscal deficit within the budgetary target of 4.1% of the Gross Domestic Product.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.

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