Insights Daily Current Events, 15 December 2015
Paper 3 Topic: space.
Japan asteroid probe enters target orbit
The Japanese space probe Hayabusa 2 has successfully entered its target orbit and is on its way to meet with a distant asteroid.
About Hayabusa 2:
- Hayabusa 2 is an unmanned explorer. It was launched a year ago aboard Japan’s main H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Centre for its six-year mission to bring back mineral samples from the asteroid.
- It is expected to reach Ryugu, named after a mythical castle in a Japanese folk tale, in mid-2018 and spend around 18 months in the area.
- It will also drop rover robots and a landing package that includes equipment for surface observation.
- If all goes well, soil samples will be returned to Earth in late 2020.
Analyzing the extra-terrestrial materials could help shed light on the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
One-man commission on OROP appointed
The Union government has appointed Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, former Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, as the one-man judicial commission to look into the implementation of the one rank one pension scheme.
- The appointment of the committee is in keeping with the points of the notification issued by the government in November for implementing the scheme.
- The committee will make recommendations on removal of anomalies that may arise in the implementation of the OROP, which the government notified on November 7. It will also address inter-service anomalies, and any other matter referred by the Central Government.
Veterans have rejected this commission. They have been demanding for a five-member judicial commission with representatives from the military.
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.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: statutory bodies.
Notice issued to govt. on NHRC vacancies
The Supreme Court has sought the government’s response on pending appointments to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), including the posts of Chairperson, Director General of Investigation and a member.
- The apex court has issued notice to the Union Home Ministry on a petition contending that the top human rights body has been functioning without a chairperson for over six months.
- The petition contends that the “Commission cannot function without its Chairperson, member and Director General of Investigation. It has become handicapped due to the inaction of the government.”
- According to the petition, the vacancies have affected the pendency in the Commission. From a total 40,941 pending cases on June 30, 2015, the numbers have increased to 48,448 in September.
It is a statutory body established in 1993.
- It consists of a Chairman and 4 members. Chairman should be a retired Chief Justice of India. Members should be either sitting or retired judges of the Supreme Court or a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court and 2 persons having practical knowledge in this field.
- Ex officio members are the chairmen of National Commission for Scheduled Caste, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Minorities and National Commission for Women.
- The chairman and members are appointed on the recommendation of a 6 member committee consisting of Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, leaders of opposition in both the houses of parliament and Union Home Minister.
Term: Term of the chairman and members is 5 years or 70 years whichever is earlier. After retirement they are not eligible for further reappointment.
Removal: President has to refer the matter to Supreme Court and if after enquiry Supreme Court holds it right then they can be removed by the President.
- Its recommendations are just advisory and not binding in nature.
- It submits Annual report to the Central government and to the concerned state governments.
sources: the hindu, wiki.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation..
Lok Sabha passes ‘Atomic Energy Bill 2015’
The Lok Sabha recently passed the landmark “Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015”. The bill was passed with a voice vote. It will now be referred to Rajya Sabha for ratification.
- The Bill empowers the central government to produce, develop, control, and use atomic energy.
- The Bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, thus paving the way for Atomic Energy Units, including Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to enter into joint-ventures with other Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and government sector companies.
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.
Paper 1 Topic: Poverty and developmental issues.
India ranks 130th out of 188 on Human Development Index in 2014
Global Human Development report, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has placed India at 130 among 188 countries.
- With a score of 0.609 on HDI, India stands well below the average score of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group. But it is marginally above the South Asian countries’ average score of 0.607.
- India stands higher than neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan but lower than countries like Namibia, Guatemala and Tajikistan, even Iraq.
- Norway tops the HDI ranking, followed by Australia, Switzerland and Denmark.
- Data show that life expectancy at birth in India has over the past decade risen from 64.5 years (in 2005) to 68 years in 2014. Similarly, mean years of schooling have increased from 4.8 to 5.4 over the same period.
- Per-capita incomes in India have also risen significantly, from $3239 to $5497 (at 2011 purchasing-power parity).
- On the gender development index (GDI), with a value of 0.795, India ranks behind Bangladesh (0.917), Namibia, Guatemala, even Tajikistan. GDI measures gender inequalities on three dimensions — health (measured by female and male life expectancy at birth), education (measured by expected years of schooling for female and male children, and mean years for adults aged 25 years and older); and command over economic resources (measured by estimated female and male GNI per capita).
- On the gender inequality index (GII), India stands at 130 among 155 countries, well behind Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are ranked 111 and 121 respectively. GII is based on reproductive health (measured by maternal mortality and adolescent birth rates), empowerment (measured by the share of parliamentary seats held by women and attainment in secondary and higher education by each gender), and economic activity (measured by the labour market participation rate for women and men).
The Human Development Index is based on assessing progress on three dimensions of human development. First, a long and healthy life measured through life expectancy of the population. Second, access to knowledge measured by mean years of education among the adult population, and access to learning and knowledge measured by expected years of schooling for children of school-entry age. And last, standard of living measured by the country’s per-capita gross national income (GNI).
sources: the hindu.