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Insights Daily Current Events, 12 December 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 12 December 2015


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Southern Zonal Council

Andhra Pradesh government is all set to host the 26th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council which will be chaired by the union Home Minister. The meeting will discuss security related issues with the Union Home Ministry officials.

  • The Southern Zonal Council is composed of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • The purpose of the annual meeting is to promote the habit of cooperative working in several key areas.The last meeting was held at Hyderabad.
  • The Council has set up a standing committee consisting of Chief Secretaries of the member States of their zonal council.

Zonal councils:

Zonal councils have been established by the Parliament to promote interstate cooperation and coordination.

  • They are statutory bodies established under the States Reorganisation Act 1956 and not constitutional bodies.
  • They are only deliberative and advisory bodies.

There are 5 five Zonal councils namely:

  1. The Northern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh;
  2. The Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh;
  3. The Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal;
  4. The Western Zonal Council, comprising the States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli; and
  5. The Southern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

The North Eastern States i.e. (i) Assam (ii) Arunachal Pradesh (iii) Manipur (iv) Tripura (v) Mizoram (vi) Meghalaya (vii) Sikkim and (viii) Nagaland are not included in the Zonal Councils and their special problems are looked after by the North Eastern Council, set up under the North Eastern Council Act, 1972.


  • Chairman – The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these Councils.
  • Vice Chairman – The Chief Ministers of the States included in each zone act as Vice-Chairman of the Zonal Council for that zone by rotation, each holding office for a period of one year at a time.
  • Members- Chief Minister and two other Ministers as nominated by the Governor from each of the States and two members from Union Territories included in the zone.
  • Advisers- One person nominated by the Planning Commission for each of the Zonal Councils, Chief Secretaries and another officer/Development Commissioner nominated by each of the States included in the Zone.
  • Union Ministers are also invited to participate in the meetings of Zonal Councils depending upon necessity.

The main objectives of setting up of Zonal Councils are:

  • Bringing out national integration;
  • Arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies;
  • Enabling the Centre and the States to co-operate and exchange ideas and experiences; and
  • Establishing a climate of co-operation amongst the States for successful and speedy execution of development projects.

A Zonal Council may discuss, and make recommendations with regard to:

  • any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning;
  • any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport; and
  • any matter connected with, or arising out of, the re-organisation of the States under the States Reorganisation Act.

sources: the hindu, pib, laxmikant.


Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure; energy.

TS signs up with Centre for ‘Power for All’

Telangana has become the sixth State in the country to sign up for ‘Power for All’ scheme.

  • Under the scheme, an investment of Rs 18,983 crore and Rs 23,817 crore has been planned for 2018-19 for strengthening and augmenting transmission and distribution network respectively in the State.
  • In addition to strengthening the network and massive capacity expansion programme of the State government, emphasis will also be laid on sustainability through capacity addition by solar and wind power and energy efficiency measures.

About the scheme:

  • `Power for All’ is a joint initiative of the Centre in collaboration with State governments for supply of quality and reliable 24 x 7 power to agricultural, industrial and domestic consumers.
  • The scheme is aimed at addressing all the key aspects and activities to be undertaken across generation, transmission and distribution, including achieving 100% household electrification.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: space.

NASA plans to exit space station

NASA is planning to move out of the International Space Station (ISS) by 2024. The U.S. space agency, NASA, is planning to move up to the cislunar spacethe area of space surrounding the moon — for an ambitious human exploration programme.

  • ISS is reported to become inoperative in either 2024 — or if given another extension — till 2028 at the latest.
  • The programme’s budget, about $3 billion annually, is projected to rise to nearly $4 billion by 2020.
  • According to NASA, it would like to see the private space industry take over the low-Earth orbit.
  • The ISS orbits Earth at about eight km per second. When decommissioned, NASA will likely deorbit the spacecraft and Earth’s gravitational pull and atmosphere will break it apart.

About the International Space Station (ISS):

  • The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit.
  • The ISS is now the largest artificial body in orbit.
  • The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets as well as American Space Shuttles.
  • The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields.
  • The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.
  • The ISS maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km by means of reboost manoeuvres using the engines of the Zvezda module or visiting spacecraft. It completes 15.54 orbits per day.
  • ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US.
  • The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.
  • The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations.

sources: the hindu, iss.


Paper 3 Topic: pollution.

NGT bans registration of new diesel vehicles in the capital

In a significant measure to curb the alarming pollution level, the National Green Tribunal has issued an interim order that new diesel-run vehicles will not be registered in Delhi and there will be no renewal of registration of such vehicles which are more than 10-year-old.

  • The tribunal has also said that the central and state government must stop buying diesel cars in Delhi. These will be interim steps till the next date of hearing on January 6.
  • In April, the tribunal had banned diesel vehicles over 10 years old in the city labelled world’s most polluted.
  • The move comes at a time the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition seeking a complete ban on diesel cars in Delhi and other cities.

Delhi is the sixth largest market for passenger vehicles and companies sold 182,115 vehicles in the year ended March. The total number of cars registered in Delhi stood at 2.6 million as of March 2015. It is estimated one of every three passenger vehicle sold in Delhi is diesel driven. Around 23% of the cars registered in Delhi are diesel. Diesel cars can legally emit 7.5 times more particulate matter than the petrol versions and produce more toxic nitrogen dioxide. Diesel emissions are also cancer causing, says the World Health Organisation.

sources: bs.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

Government slaps anti-dumping duty on stainless steel

The Centre has imposed an anti-dumping duty ranging from 5 to 57% on import of cold-rolled flat products of stainless steel for five years. The duty has been imposed on China, South Korea, the US, South Africa, Thailand and Taiwan, besides the European Union.

  • The highest duty has been levied on steel imports from China at 57.39%, followed by the European Union at 52.56%. Imports from Thailand will have the least duty imposition of 4.58 %.
  • The government’s decision comes in the wake of rising incidence of dumping hampering the performance of domestic industry and with steel prices on a decline.
  • China, the world’s largest consumer and producer of the commodity, has been dumping various grades and varieties of steel across the globe on the back of surplus supply.

What is anti dumping duty?

Anti dumping is a measure to rectify the situation arising out of the dumping of goods and its trade distortive effect. The purpose of anti dumping duty is to rectify the trade distortive effect of dumping and re-establish fair trade. The use of anti dumping measure as an instrument of fair competition is permitted by the WTO. It provides relief to the domestic industry against the injury caused by dumping. It is levied on distrustfully low-priced imports, so as to protect the domestic manufacturers.

sources: bs.