Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 December 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Chairman of Auroville Foundation
Dr Karan Singh, an eminent scholar and Rajya Sabha Member has been re-nominated as the Chairperson of the Governing Board of Auroville Foundation. Dr Singh has been re-nominated for a term of four years.
About Auroville Foundation:
The Government of India notified the constitution of Auroville Foundation as a Statutory Body on 29th January, 1991 as per the Auroville Foundation Act, 1988.
- The Auroville Foundation, headed by a chairman, is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- The Auroville Foundation consists of three authorities, the Governing Board, the Resident’s Assembly and Auroville International Advisory Council.
- The Auroville Foundation Act vests the Governing Board with the responsibility and the authority for superintendence, direction and management of the Foundation’s affairs.
What is Auroville?
Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township in Viluppuram district mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India with some parts in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
- It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (known as “the Mother”) and designed by architect Roger Anger.
- Auroville was meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.
- Auroville is recognized as International living experiment in human unity, endorsed by the UNESCO and supported by the Government of India.
- It is also a centre for applied research in environmentally sustainable living practices, experimenting new system of education, social research and cultural activities.
Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Funds tracking system will trim Centre’s costs
The Centre is planning to speed up the process of implementation of Public Financial Management System in the country.
- The new system, when implemented, will save a significant amount on interest costs. The system allows the government to monitor and access the more than Rs.1 lakh crore of idle funds lying with it under various heads.
There are about Rs.1-1.5 lakh crore of idle funds lying with the government. Now, if the government can access these funds through PFMS, it need not borrow that amount. At 7% interest, that works out to a saving in interest costs of at least Rs.7,000 crore.
About Public Financial Management System:
PFMS, administered by the department of expenditure, is an end-to-end solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting. It is a web based application.
- The PFMS platform compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information regarding all government schemes, and, significantly, provides the government real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes.
- In addition, the platform will allow government expenditure to adopt a Just-in- Time (JIT) approach, with payments made only when they are needed.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Centre takes steps to drain excess cash
The Centre has decided to increase the limit of bonds that can be issued under a market stabilisation scheme to mop up excess liquidity from the banking system arising out of its demonetisation move.
- In this regard, the government has decided to revise the ceiling for issue of securities under the Market Stabilisation Scheme (MSS) to Rs. 6,000 billion (6 lakh crore).
- The move is aimed to facilitate liquidity management operations by the central bank and the liquidity in the banking system was expected to rise further for sometime.
Following demonetisation, the banks received huge inflows of funds as people started depositing old Rs. 500 and Rs.1,000 notes in bank’s and post offices. Till November 27, Rs. 8.45 lakh crore was deposited and exchanged in the banking system, according to RBI data.
About Market Stabilization Scheme:
The MSS scheme was launched in April 2004 to strengthen the RBI’s ability to conduct exchange rate and monetary management. The bills/bonds issued under MSS have all the attributes of the existing treasury bills and dated securities. These securities will be issued by way of auctions to be conducted by the RBI. The timing of issuance, amount and tenure of such securities will be decided by the RBI.
- The securities issued under the MSS scheme are matched by an equivalent cash balance held by the government with the RBI. As a result, their issuance will have a negligible impact on the fiscal deficit of the government.
- MSS (Market Stabilisation Scheme) securities are issued with the objective of providing the RBI with a stock of securities with which it can intervene in the market for managing liquidity. These securities are issued not to meet the government’s expenditure.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
New Delhi nod for Karmapa’s Arunachal visit
The government has allowed Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, to address a public gathering at Mon in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The move comes six months after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, allowed the Karmapa to travel abroad.
- The Gyalwang Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu school, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He escaped from Tibet in 2000.
In 2011, police had recovered Rs 1.2 crore of unaccounted foreign currency, including Chinese currency, from the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. The monastery is the temporary home of the Karmapa.
The police had registered a case against the Karmapa and the then UPA government placed further restrictions on his travel. After the NDA government came to power in 2014, the CCS reviewed the Karmapa’s case and he was allowed to travel freely within as well as outside India.
About Karma Kagyu school:
The Karma Kagyu lineage belongs to one of the 4 main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. As a lineage of direct oral transmission it places particular emphasis on meditation and the realization of the direct experience of mind gained through the guidance of a teacher.
- The Karma Kagyu lineage has its roots in the teachings of the historical Buddha and developed into a practical way to enlightenment in India and Tibet.
- For over a 1000 years Buddhist Masters (Mahasiddhas) such as Naropa and Maitripa in India as well as the famous Tibetan Yogis Marpa and Milarepa shaped the lineage as a practical everyday practice for lay people.
Since the 12th century the Karmapas have been the heads of the Karma Kaygü lineage and responsible for the continuation of this direct transmission lineage.
The present 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye Dorje was born in 1983 and in 1994 he managed to flee the oppression of Tibet and came to India.
Sources: the hindu.
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.
New way to produce nuclear fuel using electricity
Scientists in Russia have developed a unique, low-cost method for producing high-quality nuclear fuel using electricity.
The main type of fuel for nuclear power reactors is the uranium oxide pellet composition. It is produced from a powder by granulation, pressing, and sintering with the subsequent control of the quality and size of the pellets.
About the new method:
The researchers have proposed an alternative mode of production, which forms the basis of powder metallurgy: electric pulse sintering under pressure.
The key idea in this method is heating by an electric current passing through the mold with the powder placed in. Under these circumstances, the uranium oxide fuel is simultaneously influenced by the powerful pulse discharge and mechanical pressure.
Advantages of the new technology:
- The new technology allows one to obtain products of high quality and to reduce the number of production stages without increasing the cost.
- The new method increases the production rate and improves the product quality.
- Using the new method, the fuel pellets may be produced even from uranium dioxide powder, which is not suitable for the conventional technology.
- With its help it is possible to obtain high-quality samples of fuel, including that for fast breeder reactors.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
SC okays Centre’s action plan to tackle air pollution in Delhi-NCR
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to put in place a pollution coding mechanism with a graded response system to tackle New Delhi’s growing foul air.
- The grading system will ensure that certain steps can be automatically introduced. When air quality dips, the odd-even car rationing formula will kick in, along with closure of schools, a four-fold hike in parking fee, ban on entry of trucks, and halt in construction activities.
- The graded response also fixes responsibility on the agency that has to enforce the measure.
- The court also asked the CPCB to install real-time and manual pollution monitoring stations in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to check air quality for the graded response.
The order came after the top court approved the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) “graded response action plan” that outlines measures based on air quality — moderate to poor, very poor, severe, and severe-plus or emergency. A separate set of action plan has been suggested for each category.
- The air quality index is measured on the basis of PM2.5 and PM10 in the atmosphere, which are tiny particles of dust that can cause grave respiratory disorder and damage the lungs.
- The situation becomes severe or emergency when PM2.5 level is above 300 microgram per cubic meter or PM10 crosses the 500-mark. In such a scenario, authorities will close schools, stop the entry of diesel trucks into the Capital, halt construction activities, introduce the odd-even scheme for private vehicles, and hike parking fees.
- Ban on diesel generators, construction and burning of garbage on landfill sites will kick in if the air index is very poor, with PM2.5 between 121 and 250.
- When air quality is moderate or poor, the steps to be taken are ban on garbage burning, watering of fly ash ponds, closure of brick kilns and polluting industries, and mechanised sweeping of roads.
Sources: the hindu.