Insights Daily Current Events, 28 May 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
North Eastern Council likely to be upgraded as resource centre
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the recently held the North Eastern Council Plenary meeting, hinted at the possibility of upgrading the North Eastern Council (NEC) as a state-of-the-art resource centre capable of meeting the aspirations of the people. The meeting was attended by Governors and Chief Ministers of all North Eastern states.
- At the meeting, the PM also said that his government intends to connect all north-eastern States by rail and upgrade road, telecom and power networks.
- He also dedicated to the nation the Doppler Weather Radar at Cherrapunji.
About the North Eastern Council:
The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The chief ministers and governors represent them.
- The headquarters of the council is situated in Shillong, and it functions under Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.
- The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament.
- The Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which the north-eastern states have a common interest and advise the Central Government as to the action to be taken on any such matter.
- The funding of council mainly lies with the central government with small portions contributed by the state governments as well.
- The NEC act has been amended in 2002 to add Sikkim and restructure it as the regional planning body for the North Eastern Region.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in Space.
Launching Aditya-L1 satellite for solar study underway- ISRO chairman
ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar recently revealed that the scientific mission of launching Aditya-L1 satellite for solar studies is underway. Aditya-L1 is slated for lift-off in 2018-2019.
About the mission:
- It is India’s first solar mission. It will study the sun’s outer most layers, the corona and the chromospheres and collect data about coronal mass ejection, which will also yield information for space weather prediction.
- The project costs approximately Rs 400 crores and is a joint venture between ISRO and physicists from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru; Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, and other institutes.
- The data from Aditya mission will be immensely helpful in discriminating between different models for the origin of solar storms and also for constraining how the storms evolve and what path they take through the interplanetary space from the Sun to the Earth.
- In order to get the best science from the sun, continuous viewing of the sun is preferred without any occultation/ eclipses and hence, Aditya- L1 satellite will be placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the sun-earth system.
What are Lagrangian points and halo orbit?
Lagrangian points are the locations in space where the combined gravitational pull of two large masses roughly balance each other. Any small mass placed at that location will remains at constant distances relative to the large masses. There are five such points in Sun-Earth system and they are denoted as L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5. A halo orbit is a periodic three-dimensional orbit near the L1, L2 or L3.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Panel submits report on new education policy
A committee headed by the former Cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian for the evolution of the soon-to-be-announced national education policy has submitted its report to the Human Resource Development Ministry.
- The Committee has examined a large body of outcome documents, recommendations and suggestions received and also had several meetings with various stakeholders and undertook field visits to educational institutions.
The HRD Ministry had undertaken a consultation process for framing a New Education Policy (NEP) and this process included online, grassroots and national level thematic deliberations on 33 themes.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Ministry of Power and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched India’s first integrated web portal (www.nzeb.in) designed to promote and mainstream Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) in India. A first of its kind, the portal provides complete information about Net Zero Energy Buildings – those that generate as much energy as they use – as well as how to achieve near-zero energy status through the use of efficient lighting and equipment, integration of renewable energy technologies, and best practice design strategies. In addition, the portal hosts the NZEB Alliance, an industry-wide body setup to drive the Indian markets toward highly energy-efficient buildings.
- Lakshadweep has become the first Union Territory (UT) to sign “24×7 Power for All” document. The document chalks out a plan to increase solar capacity of the region from 2.15 MW to 8.45 MW. At present, 10 inhabited islands of Lakshadweep are being fed by diesel mostly. The plan also envisions reduction of AT & C losses from current level of 21% to 6.7% till 2019 by increasing the collection efficiency up to 99 %. The ‘Power for All’ programme aims to provide each household access to electricity, 24×7 Power supply by 2019. As on date, 22 States have already signed the ‘24×7 Power For All’ Documents.
- Shrinking grasslands have become a cause of concern for the 344-sq km Nameri Tiger Reserve (NTR) in Sonitpur district in Assam. The latest assessment report on NTR’s predator and prey status has revealed that it has lost nearly 50% of its grasslands between 1973 and 2011. The assessment, carried out between 2012 and 2014, said NTR has around five to eight tigers, with a big cat density of 1.3 to 1.5 tigers per 100 sq km. The tiger reserve is bound by the Jia-Bhoreli river on its west and the Bor-Dikorai river on its east. The Naduar and Balipara reserved forests in Sonitpur, which forms NTR’s buffer zone, have also borne the brunt of encroachment over the years, leading to a further decline of grasslands. Located on the northern part of Sonitpur, NTR adjoins Arunachal Pradesh’s Pakke Tiger Reserve. Despite its small size, it is known for its rich flora and fauna.
- Gurgaon is all set to have a reserved forest zone for black bucks. An area of 140 hectares has been allotted by the forest department that will be the reserved forest zone for the endangered species. The area has been sanctioned in Sarbasirpur. NCR already has a Sultanpur national park and bird sanctuary which is providing a habitat for migratory birds. The reserve area will be developed over a period for four years and will provide a natural habitat for the black bucks. The animal prefers grassy plains and hot and humid environment.
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into India increased by 29% to a record $40 billion during in the financial year ended March. If re-invested earnings, other capital and equity capital of unincorporated bodies are taken into account along with $40 billion worth equity inflows, the total FDI flows in FY’16 is the highest-ever at $55.4 billion. Of the FDI inflows (equity) in FY’16, services sector (including financial, banking, insurance, non-financial / business, outsourcing, R&D, courier, technology testing and analysis) attracted maximum investments of $6.88 billion followed by computer hardware and software ($5.90 billion), trading business ($3.84 billion) and automobile industry ($2.52 billion). Maximum inflows (equity) were from Singapore ($13.69 billion), followed by Mauritius ($8.35 billion), the US ($4.19 billion), the Netherlands ($2.64 billion) and Japan ($2.61 billion). The previous highest FDI inflow was in FY12 when the country received $46.55 billion, which was a 34 per cent increase over $34.8 billion it got in FY11.