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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 September 2016
Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Cleanest Districts in India
The ‘Swachh Survekshan’ for rural India was recently released.
A total of 22 hill districts and 53 plain areas were assessed under the Gramin Swachh Survekshan launched in May 2016. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation had commissioned Quality Council of India (QCI) to carry out the assessment.
Each district has been judged on four distinct parameters. Maximum weightage was places on accessibility to safe toilets and water. The parameters to judge sanitation status include:
- Households having access to safe toilets and using them (toilet usage, water accessibility, safe disposal of waste) (40%).
- Households having no litter around (30%).
- Public places with no litter in the surrounding (10%).
- Households having no stagnant wastewater around (20%).
Highlights of the study:
- Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) and Sindhudurg (Maharashtra) are the cleanest districts in India.
- Mandi was judged as the cleanest district in “Hills” category and Sindhudurg as the cleanest in the “Plains” category.
- Districts of Sikkim, Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Nadia (West Bengal) and Satara (Maharashtra) have also featured at the top of the index.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
GSLV Successfully Launches India’s Weather Satellite INSAT-3DR
In its tenth flight (GSLV-F05) conducted recently, India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, equipped with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), successfully launched the country’s weather satellite INSAT-3DR, into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
- The launch took place from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India.
- This was the first operational flight of GSLV equipped with CUS and the fourth to carry the indigenous CUS.
- This flight was the third consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenous CUS.
- The 2211 kg INSAT-3DR is the heaviest satellite to be launched from the Indian soil.
- INSAT-3DR satellite is now orbiting the Earth with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169.76 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 36,080.5 km with an orbital inclination of 20.62 deg with respect to the equator.
About INSAT- 3DR:
INSAT-3DR is an advanced meteorological (weather observation) satellite built by India to provide a variety inputs essential for accurate weather forecasting.
- For this, it is equipped with three payloads (instruments), namely, a Multispectral Imager, Sounder and weather Data Relay Transponder.
- INSAT-3DR also carries a satellite aided Search and Rescue Transponder that picks up and relays alert signals originating from distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land based users.
- In the coming days, INSAT-3DR’s orbit will be raised from its present GTO to the final circular Geostationary Orbit (GSO) by firing the satellite’s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in stages.
- The major users of the service will be the Indian Coast Guards, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Directorate General of Shipping, Defence Services and fishermen.
- The Indian service region will cover a large part of the Indian Ocean and will also include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania for providing distress alert services.
Multi-spectral Imager: It will generate images of the Earth from a geostationary altitude of 36,000 km every 26 minutes and provide information on parameters such as sea surface temperature, snow cover, cloud motion winds, among others.
19 channel sounder: It will provide information on the vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone.
Data Relay Transponder: It will provide service continuity to ISRO’s previous meteorological missions.
Search and Rescue payload: It can pick up and relay alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land-based users to the Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC).
Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Delhi HC quashes appointment of 21 AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries
The Delhi High Court has set aside the AAP government’s order appointing 21 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries since it lacked the approval of the Lieutenant Governor (LG), the administrative head of Delhi.
- The Election Commission will now decide whether to continue hearing a petition asking for the disqualification of the legislators.
The Delhi government had in March last year appointed 21 of its MLAs as parliamentary secretaries in various ministries to speed up public work.
- Following criticism by members of the opposition, who called it unconstitutional, the government passed a bill was which intended to provide security cover for those legislators appointed as parliamentary secretaries.
- Through the bill, the Delhi government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997. The bill aims to exclude the post of parliamentary secretary from the office of profit and exempt the post from disqualification provisions.
What has the court said?
The court has held that it is mandatory under the constitutional scheme to communicate the decision of the council of ministers to the Lt. Governor even in relation to the matter in respect of which power to make laws has been conferred on the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi under Article 239AA of the Constitution and an order thereon can be issued only where the Lt Governor does not take a different view and no reference to the Central government is required.
What the law says?
Section 15 of the government of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991 says a person shall not remain an MLA if he or she holds any office of profit under the Centre or government of a state or UT.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Popularise municipal bonds
U.K. Sinha, chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), has urged the country’s municipal bodies to improve their accounting standards and suggested that other financial regulators allow regulated entities to invest in municipal bonds.
- He has asked the Municipal bodies to move to a standard accounting practice. This will not only attract better credit rating but also demand from more investors.
- The chairman has also asked stakeholders to engage with other financial regulators such as IRDAI (insurance regulator), PFRDA (pension regulator) and EPFO (employee provident fund organization).
- The Sebi chief also said he would be taking up this matter with the government so that municipalities can better tap the capital markets to part meet their capex bills, which according to some studies will be to the tune of Rs 40 trillion over the next two decades.
According to government statistics, a cumulative amount of Rs.1,750 crore has been raised through municipal bonds in India while South Africa saw $1.8 billion being raised through such bonds in a single quarter alone. Incidentally, $304 billion was raised in the U.S. through municipal bonds in just one single year.
About Municipal Bonds:
A municipal bond is a bond issued by a local government, or their agencies.
- ‘Muni bonds’ are very popular among investors in many developed nations, especially in the U.S., where these have attracted investments totalling over $500 billion and are among preferred avenues for household savings.
- The Bangalore Municipal Corporation was the first municipal corporation to issue a municipal bond of Rs.125 crore with a State guarantee in 1997. However, the access to capital market commenced in January 1998, when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) issued the first municipal bonds in the country without State government guarantee for financing infrastructure projects in the city. AMC raised Rs.100 crore through its public issue.
- Among others, Hyderabad, Nashik, Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Nagpur municipal authorities have issued such bonds
- As per guidelines of the Urban Development Ministry, only bonds carrying interest rate up to maximum 8% per annum shall be eligible for being notified as tax-free bonds.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- International Literacy day: Celebrated on September 8. This year marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and UNESCO is celebrating it under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”. Fifty years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed 8 September International Literacy Day to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies. This is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this context the vision of literacy is aligned with lifelong learning opportunities with special focus on youth and adults. Literacy is a part of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. The target is that by 2030 all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.
- Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) has been launched as part of International Literacy Day. This is a new and ambitious initiative to make all major stakeholders pull together to promote literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning. It aims to mobilize investment and promote innovative initiatives, with a focus on gender and new information and communication technologies.
- Cleanest state: Sikkim has been adjudged the cleanest state in the list on the condition of sanitation in rural areas of 26 states. The results of survey carried out last year by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) was released recently. Jharkhand has occupied the last position. Gujarat is ranked 14th. Following Sikkim come Kerala, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Meghalaya among the top 10 States. Sikkim scored 98.2% on a scale of 100. Kerala scored 96.4 while neighbouring Tamil Nadu notched up just 39.2.