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Insights Daily Current Events, 26 June 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 26 June 2015

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New schemes launched

Three mega urban schemes viz., Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All in urban area were launched by the Prime Minister of India recently. For these schemes PPP model will be the main resource of resource mobilization.

 

  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) mission:

In a bid to recast the country’s urban landscape, the Centre had given nod to the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), with an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore.

What is AMRUT?

AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). But, in a significant departure from the earlier mission, the Centre will not appraise individual projects.

Details of the Mission:

  • AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.
  • Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  • AMRUT, which seeks to lay a foundation to enable cities and towns to eventually grow into smart cities, will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above.
  • It would cover some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few state capitals and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
  • Under this mission, states get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring.
  • States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central government will not appraise individual projects.
  • Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
  • Under the mission, states shall transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds to be made failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

 

  • Smart Cities Mission:

Under Smart Cities Mission 100 smart cities would be built.

Aim of the Mission: The aim of the mission is to more efficiently utilise available assets, resources and infrastructure to enhance quality of urban life and provide a clean and sustainable environment.

Selection of the Cities:

  • Cities to be developed will be selected through a ‘competition’ intended to ascertain their ability to achieve mission objectives. Each state will shortlist a number of smart city aspirants, which will prepare proposals for the Centre.
  • Each selected city would get central assistance of Rs 100 crore per year for five years.
  • To begin about 20 cities would be selected after the state governments come forward with names of cities they want nominated.
  • There will be special emphasis on participation of citizens in prioritising and planning urban interventions.

Implementation:

  • The Mission will be implemented through ‘area based’ approach, which includes retrofitting, redevelopment, pan-city initiatives and development of new cities.
  • Under retrofitting, deficiencies in an identified area will be addressed through necessary interventions.
  • Redevelopment enables reconstruction of an area that is already built but not amenable for any interventions.
  • Pan-city components could be interventions like intelligent transport solutions that benefits residents by reducing commuting time.
  • The focus will be on core infrastructure services like adequate and clean water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, affordable housing for the poor, power supply, robust IT connectivity, governance, especially e-governance, and citizen participation.
  • Special Purpose Vehicles will be set up for implementation of smart city plans with 50:50 equity of States and Urban Local Bodies.
  • To avoid delays and non-completion of projects, states and Union Territories will be required to indicate resource tie-ups under state-level action plans.
  • Bench marks to be achieved include: 10% of energy needs to be met from renewable sources, 80% of building construction to be green and 35% of housing in green field projects to be for economically weaker sections.

No time frame has been provided for completion of the smart city project, except that 20 cities will be chosen through a two-pronged competition this financial year for ventral assistance and the remaining 80 in the following two years. Once 100 cities are selected by the states, they will compete among themselves for making it to the first list of 20. The competition will be based on points given for a city’s vision, proposal, financing ability, cost effectiveness of a project, innovation and so on. The government has said that the central assistance should be used only for infrastructure projects which have larger public benefit.

  • Housing for All:

The programme was mentioned in the President’s Address to Parliament in June 2014 where he said “By the time the nation completes 75 years of its Independence, every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24×7 electricity supply and access.”

  • The same commitment was made in the Budget for 2014-15 where the Finance Minister had announced Housing for All programme. The Finance Minister had said “Our government is committed to endeavour to have housing for all by 2022.”

The programme proposes to build 2 crore houses across the nation by 2022.

The components of the scheme are as follows:

  • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource;
  • Promotion of affordable housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy;
  • Affordable housing in partnership with Public & Private sectors and
  • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction or enhancement.

Details of the scheme:

  • Central grant of Rs. one lakh per house, on an average, will be available under the slum rehabilitation programme. A State Government would have flexibility in deploying this slum rehabilitation grant to any slum rehabilitation project taken for development using land as a resource for providing houses to slum dwellers.
  • The scheme will be implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme except the credit linked subsidy component, which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.
  • The Mission also prescribes certain mandatory reforms for easing up the urban land market for housing, to make adequate urban land available for affordable housing. Houses constructed under the mission would be allotted in the name of the female head of the households or in the joint name of the male head of the household and his wife.
  • A Technology Sub-mission under the Mission would be set up to facilitate adoption of modern, innovative and green technologies and building material for faster and quality construction of houses. The Technology Sub-Mission will also facilitate preparation and adoption of layout designs and building plans suitable for various geo-climatic zones. It will also assist States/Cities in deploying disaster resistant and environment friendly technologies.
  • The Technology Sub-Mission will coordinate with various regulatory and administrative bodies for mainstreaming and up scaling deployment of modern construction technologies and material in place of conventional construction. The Technology Sub-Mission will also coordinate with other agencies working in green and energy efficient technologies, climate change etc.
  • In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the Mission will provide flexibility to States for choosing best options to meet the demand of housing in their states.
  • The process of project formulation and approval in accordance with Mission Guidelines would be left to the States, so that projects can be formulated, approved and implemented faster. The Mission will provide technical and financial support in accordance to the Guidelines to the States to meet the challenge of urban housing.
  • The Mission will compile best practices in terms of affordable housing policies of the States/UTs designs and technologies adopted by States and Cities with an objective to spread best practices across States and cities and foster cross learning.
  • The Mission will also develop a virtual platform to obtain suggestions and inputs on house design, materials, technologies and other elements of urban housing.
  • Ownership of houses will be in the name of woman or jointly with husband.

Sources: PIB.

 

NDRF observes 2nd Rescuers Day

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) recently observed the “2nd Commemoration Day of Rescuers Day” to pay homage to the NDRF personnel who were martyred during Rescue Operations in Kedarnath two years ago.

NDRF:

The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

  • Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.
  • NDRF has been proving its importance by highly skilled rescue and relief operations, regular and intensive training and re-training, capacity building & familiarization exercises within the area of responsibility, carrying out mock drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.

ROLE AND MANDATE OF NDRF:

  • Specialized response during disasters
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations
  • Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards)
  • Community Capacity Building Programme
  • Public Awareness Campaign

Why it is said to be UNIQUE?

  • It is the only dedicated disaster response force of the world.
  • The only agency with comprehensive response capabilities having multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone nature.
  • Experienced paramilitary personnel specially trained and equipped for disaster response.
  • Capabilities for undertaking disaster response, prevention, mitigation and capacity building.

Sources: PIB, ndrfandcd.gov.in.

 

Health Ministry organises a workshop on Kayakalp Awards

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently organised an awareness and orientation workshop on the Kayakalp Awards.

  • At the workshop, the states were asked to work resolutely on improving cleanliness in the public health facilities which is the mandate of the Kayakalp awards. They were also informed that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare would be supporting the states in their endeavors.
  • In the current financial year, two hospitals in large states would get cash awards of Rs. 50.0 lakh for the best hospital and Rs. 20.0 lakh for the runner-up award. The Best District Hospital in small states would be awarded Rs 50.0 lakhs.

About Kayakalp awards:

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has instated the Kayakalp Awards under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan launched by Prime Minister on 2nd October 2014.

  • It focuses on promoting cleanliness in public spaces.
  • KAYAKALP promotes a clean environment in public health facilities, which are essential to the dignity, comfort and speedy recovery of the patients.
  • The Health Ministry has also issued Swachh Hospital Guidelines which lay down the protocol and processes for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene at public health facilities.
  • ‘KAYAKALP’ guidelines will also help public health facilities to attain National Quality Standards pertaining to cleanliness.

Sources: PIB.

MRPL dispatches first consignment from polypropylene unit

Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) recently dispatched its first consignment of polypropylene pearls — Mangpol — manufactured at its recently commissioned polypropylene unit here, to one of its dealers, Petrotech Products in Bengaluru.

  • MRPL is the only refinery in South India producing polypropylene. Indian Oil Corporation’s Panipat refinery is the other major producer of polypropylene in the country.

Polypropylene- basic facts:

  • Polypropylene is a high-grade plastic and a by-product in crude oil refining.
  • A thermoplastic polymer, polypropylene is used in the production of a wide range of applications, including packing and labeling, textiles, stationery, furniture, vehicles.
  • Polypropylene would greatly help in production of lighter vehicles that would offer enhanced mileage.
  • Polypropylene does not get damaged by water exposure because its moisture absorption is very low.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

It’s Polavaram project now, officially

The multi-purpose Indira Sagar (Polavaram) project has been rechristened as Polavaram irrigation project, according to the orders issued by the Andhra State government.

About the project:

Polavaram Project is a multi-purpose irrigation project which has been accorded national project status by the central government.

  • This dam across the Godavari River is under construction located in West Godavari District and East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh state and its reservoir spreads in parts of Chhattisgarh and Orissa States also.
  • The project is multipurpose major terminal reservoir project on river Godavari for development of Irrigation, Hydropower and drinking water facilities to East Godavari, Vishakhapatnam, West Godavari and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The project is likely to displace over 1.88 lakh people across 222 villages and so far, 1,730 persons in six villages have been rehabilitated by the government.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

China, India fast-track BCIM economic corridor project     

China and India are adding fresh momentum to the establishment of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, which is expected to develop gradually before more ambitious goals are achieved.

About the corridor:

The Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor is an initiative conceptualised for significant gains through sub-regional economic cooperation within the BCIM.

  • The multi-modal corridor will be the first expressway between India and China and will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • The project will link Kolkata with Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province, passing through Myanmar and Bangladesh, with Mandalay and Dhaka among the focal points.
  • The economic advantages of the BCIM trade corridor are considerable, most notably: access to numerous markets in Southeast Asia, improvement of transportation infrastructure and creation of industrial zones.
  • At present, this route is problematic because it enters a small portion of Arunachal Pradesh over which India and China have a territorial dispute. Besides, a part of this stretch is insurgency-prone, and therefore unsafe.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

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