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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 07 November 2016
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.
DRDO Signs MoU With IIT Delhi to Establish JATC
Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi to establish a ‘Joint Advanced Technology Centre’ (JATC).
What will the JATC do?
The objective for creation of JATC is to undertake and facilitate multi-disciplinary directed basic and applied research in the jointly identified research verticals.
- It will enable Directed, Basic & Applied Research and will engage with premier research institutes through multi-institutional collaboration.
- The researchers will get the opportunity to work in advanced areas of research namely Advanced Materials for Ballistic Protection, Advanced Mathematical Modelling and Simulation, Advanced Electromagnetic Devices and Terahertz Technologies, Smart & Intelligent Textile Technologies, Brain Computer Interface & Brain Machine Intelligence besides Photonic Technologies, Plasmonics and Quantum Photonics, etc.
- The focused research efforts at the centre will lead to realization of indigenous technologies in these critical areas, which will be used for speedy self-reliance.
- JATC will be located in the campus of IIT Delhi at the upcoming Science and Technology Park (Mini-Science Park ‘MSP’).
- As per the MoU, DRDO will support JATC in equipping it with advanced and unique research facilities that will enable the faculty and scholars to conduct advanced research and transform the JATC as Centre of Excellence.
- DRDO scientists and engineers will work with the academic research faculty and scholars in addressing scientific problems to find an innovative solution.
- DRDO will facilitate towards advanced research to utilize technology outcome in the futuristic applications.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
New Delhi Declaration, Asian Regional Plan adopted at AMCDRR 2016
The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 recently came to an end with the adoption of the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ and the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’.
What is New Delhi Declaration?
The ‘New Delhi Declaration’ is a political statement spelling out the commitment of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk, and strengthening the resilience of communities, nations and the Asian region.
- Recognising the need to accelerate the implementation of global frameworks, it commits to a people-centred and whole-of-society approach towards Disaster Risk Reduction.
- It also emphasises the need to enhance the capacity of communities and ensure participation of all stakeholder groups towards achieving resilience.
What is Asian Regional Plan?
The ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’ focuses on the ‘How to’ reduce disaster risk at national and local levels. It has arrived at a longer term road map of cooperation and collaboration, spanning the 15-year horizon of the Sendai Framework, as well as a two-year action plan to further disaster risk reduction with specific, actionable activities.
Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Retired judges to wield the gavel again
The Union government has agreed to a resolution passed by the judiciary in the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Annual Conference 2016 to use the services of retired High Court judges with proven integrity and track record to tackle pendency of cases.
Keeping in view the large pendency of civil and criminal cases, especially criminal appeals, where convicts are in jail, the judiciary had requested for enhancing the strength of judges to deal with the backlog of cases. The resolution had been hanging fire since April.
The provision to use the services of retired judges is open to the Chief Justices of High Courts under Article 224A of the Constitution with the previous consent of the President as an extraordinary measure to tide over case pile-ups.
Why this is necessary?
The pendency of cases in the High Court has been stagnant for over three years; 43% of the pendency is of cases of over five years; concentration of ‘five years plus’ cases in a few High Courts; and stagnant pendency figures of five years plus cases (33.5% in 2015) in district courts. The 24 High Courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges. Nearly three crore cases are pending in courts across India.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
AERA to hold talks on new airport tariff
The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) has initiated a process to adopt a hybrid-till approach for calculating airport fees and the regulator is slated to hold talks with airlines and airport operators next week to seek their views.
- In this regard, the regulator has called for a meeting of airlines, airports, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Authority of India (AAI), state governments, consumers’ organisation, fuel suppliers, and ground handling companies, among others.
What is hybrid-till model?
Under hybrid-till model 30% of airport operator’s non-aeronautical revenues would be used to subsidise airport costs.
- This move may marginally increase costs at 13 other major airports (with capacity of more than 15 lakh passengers) such as Ahmedabad, Calicut, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, among others.
- This move also may revive private developer interest in running airports as the model increases their revenue.
The National Civil Aviation Policy has called for adopting a hybrid-till model for all airports. So far, single-till model was adopted for determining aeronautical tariffs that can be set by airports, wherein passengers and airlines are charged less. Under the single-till model, both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues are taken into account to calculate passenger fee. Apart from its core operations, airports earn income from the non-aeronautical side which includes food and beverages, duty-free shops, advertising, car parking and hotels.
Airlines are in favour of a single-till model as it reduces their charges and passenger fees. Airport costs constitute 10-14% of an airline’s operational costs.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims
International Agrobiodiversity Congress:
- The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress – IAC 2016 – has begun at New Delhi.
- It will gather 900 delegates from 60 countries.
- This international Congress will initiate and encourage a dialogue among relevant stakeholders – including farmers – to better understand everyone’s role in agrobiodiversity management and the conservation of genetic resources.
- It is co-organized by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Bioversity International, a CGIAR Research Center headquartered in Rome, Italy. It received support from many Indian and international organisations engaged in the conservation and use of genetic resources.
- Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization. Bioversity International delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.
First World Tsunami Awareness Day commemorated:
- The recently concluded three-day Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 commemorated the first World Tsunami Awareness Day to spread awareness on tsunami.
- The observance of the day stressed on the importance of early warning systems and preparedness of communities in order to mitigate damage from the often devastating natural hazard.
Indian elected to UN International Law Commission:
- Aniruddha Rajput, a young Indian lawyer, has been elected to the UN International Law Commission. He bagged the highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group.
- Aniruddha Rajput is among 34 individuals elected by the UN General Assembly as members of the International Law Commission that is tasked with the progressive development of international law and its codification.
- The five-year term of the newly elected members will commence from January 2017.
- The members to the Geneva-based body have been elected from five geographical groupings of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean and Western Europe.
- The commission was established by the UNGA in 1947.