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Insights Daily Current Events, 08 December 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 08 December 2015

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Atomic Energy Bill 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha today

The Union government has introduced Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in Lok Sabha.

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, in order to overcome difficulties encountered in the setting up of new nuclear projects and enhancement of nuclear power generation.

Highlights of the bill:

  • As per the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, a government company is one in which at least 51% of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government. Paid-up share capital is the capital received by a company from the issue of shares. But, the Bill expands this definition to include companies where the whole of the paid up share capital is held by one or more government company and whose articles of association empower the central government to constitute its Board of Directors.
  • As per the Act, a license is required for acquisition, production, use, export and import of any plant designed for the production and development of atomic energy or research. But, the Bill makes consequential amendments to state that such license will only be granted to entities such as a government company or a department of central government.
  • The Bill states that any license granted for matters such as: (i) producing atomic energy, and (ii) acquiring and using substances or minerals from which atomic energy can be obtained etc., will be cancelled if a licensee ceases to be a government company.

sources: pib.

 

Topic: general awareness.

INDRA NAVY- 15

The 8th edition of INDRA NAVY has begun in the Bay of Bengal in Visakapathnam, Andhra Pradesh.

About INDRA NAVY:

  • INDRA NAVY is a bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian and Russian navies and epitomises the strategic relationship between the two countries.
  • Initiated in 2003, the exercise has matured over the years with increasing scope, complexity of operations and level of participation.
  • The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability between the two navies and develop common understanding of procedures for maritime security operations.
  • The scope of INDRA NAVY- 15 includes wide- ranging professional interactions during the Harbour phase and a diverse canvas of operational activities at sea across a spectrum of maritime operations.
  • INDRA NAVY-15 will help to further strengthen mutual confidence and interoperability, and also enable sharing of best practices between both navies.
  • The exercise will be another milestone in strengthening maritime security cooperation between the two navies and will also serve to reinforce the long standing bond of friendship between the two countries.

sources: pib.

 

Paper 3 Topic: energy.

Rajasthan Joins UDAY Scheme

Rajasthan Government has conveyed its in-principle approval to Ministry of Power (MoP) for joining UDAY Scheme (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) .

ABOUT UDAY SCHEME:

  • The Scheme – UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) has been launched to improve financial and operational efficiencies of power distribution companies (DISCOMs).
  • It envisages to reduce interest burden, cost of power and AT&C losses. Consequently, DISCOM would become sustainable to supply adequate and reliable power enabling 24×7 power supply.
  • The scheme provides that States would take over 75% debt of Discoms, as on 30th September, 2015 in two years.
  • UDAY has inbuilt incentives encouraging State Governments to voluntarily restructure their debts. These incentives include taking over of DISCOM debt by the States outside the fiscal deficit limits; reduction in the cost of power through various measures such as coal linkage rationalization, liberal coal swaps and priority/additional funding through schemes of MoP & MNRE.
  • UDAY is different from earlier restructuring schemes in several ways including flexibility of keeping debt taken over outside fiscal deficit limit, reduction in cost of power and a series of time bound interventions for improving operational efficiency.
  • UDAY also provides for measures that will reduce the cost of power generation, which would ultimately benefit consumers.

sources: pib.

 

Paper 3 Topic: pollution.

China issues first red alert on pollution

Chinese government has issued its first red alert for pollution in Beijing due to hazardous air quality caused by severe air pollution.

  • The government has warned that severe pollution would cloak the Chinese capital for several days.
  • Currently, the air quality index stands at 250 in Beijing, classed as “very unhealthy” and 10 times higher than World Health Organization recommended levels.

The warning is an upgrade from an orange alert issued over the weekend, part of China’s four-colour warning system that includes yellow and blue levels for less polluted conditions.

Details:

  • The Beijing city government has ordered all outdoor construction work to stop on red alert days, besides urging schools to close.
  • The notice, issued after days of heavy smog last week, also puts traffic restrictions on certain types of vehicles in the city of 22.5 million people.
  • Construction waste, excavation transport vehicles, cement trucks, gravel transport vehicles and other large-scale vehicles are also prohibited from driving on roads.
  • Chinese researchers have identified pollution as a major source of unrest around the country.

China’s leadership has vowed to crack down on environmental degradation, including the air pollution that blankets many major cities, following decades of unbridled economic growth.

sources: bs.

 

Paper 2 Topic: challenges of corruption.

Anti-corruption bill sent to select committee

The Rajya Sabha has referred the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, to a Select Committee after members raised objections over certain clauses. They pointed to an overlap with the provisions of the Lokpal Act and sought greater clarity.

Highlights of the Bill

  • The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 amends the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • The Bill covers the offence of giving a bribe to a public servant under abetment. The Bill makes specific provisions related to giving a bribe to a public servant, and giving a bribe by a commercial organisation.
  • The Bill redefines criminal misconduct to only cover misappropriation of property and possession of disproportionate assets.
  • It also modifies the definitions and penalties for offences related to taking a bribe, being a habitual offender and abetting an offence.
  • Powers and procedures for the attachment and forfeiture of property of public servants accused of corruption have been introduced in the Bill.
  • It also requires prior sanction to prosecute serving public officials. The Bill extends this protection to former officials.

sources: the hindu.