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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 December 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 December 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


NITI Aayog launches the National Index for Performance on Health Outcomes


NITI Aayog has launched the National Index for Performance on Health Outcomes. With this, the NITI Aayog aims to nudge States towards transformative action in the Health sector.


About the Index:

This initiative is envisioned to bring about the much required improvements in social sector outcomes, which have not kept pace with the economic growth in this country.

  • It is meant to capture the annual incremental improvements by States, rather than focus on historical achievements.
  • It includes indicators in the domains of health outcomes governance and information and a few key inputs and processes.
  • It will be used to propel action in the States to improve health outcomes and improve data collection systems.
  • The index has been developed, with inputs from domestic and international experts, including academicians and development partners.
  • Monitorable indicators that form a part of Sustainable Development Goal in Health have been included in order to align these initiatives.
  • The exercise involves the participation of several partners including technical assistance from the World Bank, mentor agencies to hand-hold States, where required, during the exercise and third party organizations to validate the data submitted prior to calculation of the index.
  • Data will be entered and results published on a dynamic web portal hosted by NITI Aayog.


Way ahead:

The features of the index, measures and methods of data submission will be disseminated to the States through these workshops.

It is anticipated that this health index will assist in State level monitoring of performance, serve as an input for providing performance based incentives and improvement in health outcomes, thereby also meeting the citizens’ expectations.

Sources: pib.


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.


First 2G (Second Generation) Ethanol Bio-refinery in India to be set up at Bathinda (Punjab)


The government is planning to set up the country’s first Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-refinery at village Tarkhanwala, Bathinda (Punjab), with an approximate investment of Rs 600 crores.  Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), a Central Government Public Sector Undertaking, is setting up the project.

Ethanol Bio-refinery 2nd generation


The Government of India is encouraging production of Second Generation (2G) Ethanol from agricultural residues to provide additional sources of remuneration to farmers, address the growing environmental concerns and support the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme for achieving 10% Ethanol Blending in Petrol.


Key facts:

  • The Bathinda Bio-refinery will be utilizing agriculture residues for production of 100 KL per day or 3.20 crore litres per annum of ethanol which may be sufficient to meet the 26% of the ethanol blending requirement of the State.
  • The proposed Bio-refinery will generate employment for about 1200 -1300 persons in the Biomass supply chain and generate an additional income of approximately Rs 20 crores per annum for the farmers through purchase of their agriculture residues.
  • The project shall also help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which currently is being burnt after harvesting.
  • One of the major outputs of this Bio-refinery shall be Bio-fertilizer approximating 30,000 tonnes per annum which shall be incorporated into the soil for improving soil fertility and overall productivity of farms in Punjab.
  • The Bio-refinery shall also produce more than 1.00 lakh Kg of Bio-CNG per annum which can cater to transport and clean cooking requirements.


About 2G ethanol:

Second generation (2G) ethanol draws on previously unused (ligno-) cellulosic plant parts, such as straw or corn cobs. First generation biofuels are made from the sugars and vegetable oils found in arable crops, which can be easily extracted using conventional technology.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance, 2016


The President of India has promulgated the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance, 2016.


What is it all about?

After the Indo-China aggression in 1962, specific properties of Chinese nationals in India were vested in the Custodian in terms of Defence of India Rules, 1962. Subsequently, after the Indo-Pak conflict in 1965 & 1971, the movable / immovable properties of Pakistani nationals automatically got vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India and their vesting was continued in the Custodian by the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

  • The Government of Pakistan has disposed of all the properties of Indians impounded by them in Pakistan, including in erstwhile East Pakistan. Taking advantage of the interpretations of various judgments passed by the courts, claims are being made to regain these properties by the legal heirs and successors of the enemy nationals.
  • To prevent the vested properties, the Ordinance for the first time was promulgated on 7th January, 2016.
  • The amendments in the ordinance are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the principal Act to ensure that the enemy properties worth thousands of crores of rupees vested in the Custodian do not revert to the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm.


Enemy Properties Bill:

Enemy Properties Bill includes amendments to plug the loopholes of the Enemy Property Act, 1968. The bill is lying in the parliament.


The amendments include:

  • Once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death and others.
  • The law of succession does not apply to enemy property. There cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
  • A new section has been inserted in the Bill to say that “the Custodian, may, after making such inquiry as he deems necessary, by order, declare that the property of the enemy or the enemy subject or the enemy firm described in the order, vests in him under this Act and issue a certificate to this effect and such certificate shall be the evidence of the facts stated therein”.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Japan drags India to WTO against steps on iron, steel imports


Japan has dragged India to the World Trade Organisation’s dispute settlement body for imposing safeguard measures on steel products and minimum import price on iron and steel products.


What’s the issue?

India had imposed safeguard measures in steel in September 2015 and minimum import price (MIP) on iron and steel products in February this year.

  • Under MIP, products cannot be imported unless their import prices are at or above the imposed minimum.
  • Japan, world’s second largest steel producer, found these measures inconsistent with the WTO norms.


What next?

As Japan has filed the case, it will do bilateral consultations with India on the issue.

  • As per the WTO’s dispute settlement process, the request for consultations is the first step in a dispute.
  • Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation.
  • After 60 days, if consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


China open to India joining economic corridor


China has said it has an “open attitude” to India joining the $46 billion economic corridor but it wants to know New Delhi’s response to a top Pakistani army general’s offer to participate in the project.



Pakistan Southern Command Commander Lt Gen Amir Riaz had recently said that India should join the CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits.

India’s concerns over CPEC being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is one of the three major issues bedevilled the relations between the two countries besides China blocking India’s admission to Nuclear Suppliers Group, (NSG) and UN ban on JeM leader Masood Azhar.


About CPEC:

It is a 3,000-km corridor linking China’s far-western region to Pakistan’s south-western Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). It is massive project of road, rail, energy schemes, pipelines and investment parks.

  • The corridor is also expected to serve as a terminal for China to pump oil procurement from Persian Gulf. It is also being seen as a project to strengthen China’s connectivity with neighbouring countries and an initiative set to aid strategic framework for pragmatic cooperation between the nations.
  • The corridor would transform Pakistan into a regional hub and give China a shorter and cheaper route for trade with much of Asia, West Asia and Africa.
  • The corridor — expected to be ready in three years and provide about 10,400 MWs of electricity — gives China direct access to the Indian Ocean and beyond.
  • The corridor will pass through Pakistan’s poor Baluchistan province, where a long-running separatist insurgency that the army has vowed to crush will raise questions about the feasibility of the plan.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


National Consumer Day:

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution is celebrating the National Consumer Day this year with the theme “Alternate Consumer Disputes Redressal” on 24th December, 2016.
  • The National Consumer Day is observed every year on December 24. On this day, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President. The Day is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the national consumer movement and is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers.