Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 January 2016



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 January 2016


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


Government issues notification of ‘Indian Skill Development Service’


The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has issued the notification of setting up of Indian Skill Development Services (ISDS). This service has been created for the Training Directorate of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

  • With notification of this service the skill ecosystem is expected to get strengthened and modernised in line with the current scientific and industrial development in the country.



The purpose of instituting a formal service in Group ‘A’ category was initiated almost two years back when the Ministry was formed and the union cabinet approved its creation on October 7, 2015.


Key facts:

  • ISDS will be a Group ‘A’ service where induction will take place through Indian Engineering Service Examination conducted by UPSC.
  • ISDS will be a Group ‘A’ service of the technical cadre of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSD&E).


Why was it created?

  • To improve skill development administration in the country.
  • To enhance the capacity and efficiency of the organization.


Their roles:

  • The new cadre of officers will run the skill development and entrepreneurship ministry, help implement various skill and apprenticeship schemes conducted by the ministry as well as those by the Directorate General of Training (DGT).
  • The new officers will help formulate skill policies, devise a road map for improving the apprenticeship system, revamping ITIs and also help revamp course work for various schemes.


Significance of this move:

It is an attempt to attract young and talented administrators for Skill Development. The knowledge acquired by the engineers recruited will give new impetus to the initiative of the government to the skill development and also efficient and effective implementation of the schemes. This is also a step forward to meet the target of skilling 500 million people by 2022.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Central Board of Direct Taxes signs three Advance Pricing Agreements


CBDT has signed three more advance pricing agreements pertaining to the Engineering Goods and Shipping sectors.

  • The three APAs signed pertain to the Engineering Goods and Shipping sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in these agreements include Intra-group Services and Support Services.
  • With this, the total number of APAs entered into by the CBDT has reached 120 which includes 7 bilateral APAs and 113 Unilateral APAs.



The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax Act in 2012 and the “Rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014. The scheme endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance. Since its inception, the APA scheme has evinced a lot of interest from taxpayers and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) being filed in just four years.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Uruguay


The Union Cabinet has approved signing and ratifying an Agreement between India and Uruguay regarding Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters.


Key facts:

  • The Agreement will help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences.
  • The Agreement is also expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between the countries.
  • The Agreement would provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries and help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.



Uruguay is an important trading partner of India among members of the MERCOSUR, a trading block in Latin America. India signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the MERCOSUR which came into effect from 1st June, 2009. Trade between India and the Uruguay has been expanding gradually.


What is Mercosur?

Mercosur is an economic and political bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname are associate members.

Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency. The official languages are Spanish, Portuguese and Guarani. It is now a full customs union and a trading bloc.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


IPR Enforcement Toolkit for Police


The government has launched an IPR Enforcement Toolkit for Police.


Key facts:

  • The toolkit has been jointly prepared by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  • This toolkit will be a ready reckoner for police officials across the country in dealing with IP crimes, specifically Trade Marks counterfeiting and Copyrights piracy.
  • In addition to details of offences under various laws, it provides for checklists for registering a complaint and conducting search and seizures.
  • It also lays down general guidelines for search and seizure in case of IP crimes.
  • This toolkit will be provided to all state police departments across the nation and will assist them in dealing with the cases relating to Trademarks and Copyrights infringements.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Ken-Betwa river-linking project faces new hurdle


A new hurdle has come in the way of the Ken-Betwa river interlink project in its terms of financing. The NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) has recommended that Madhya Pradesh contribute 40% of the project cost, with the Centre contributing 60%. The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) has opposed this and requested that 90% of the funds be routed through the Centre.

  • A lack of clarity on the funding pattern could mean more delays to the Rs. 10,000-crore project that would be the first ever inter-State river interlinking project.



The project was given a go-ahead by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) last August. An environment clearance panel has also cleared the project.


About the project:

The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.

  • The Rs. 10,000-crore Ken-Betwa project will irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region but, in the process, also submerge about 10% of the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, feted as a model tiger conservation reserve.
  • The main feature of the project is a 230-km long canal and a series of barrages and dams connecting the Ken and Betwa rivers that will irrigate 3.5 lakh hectares in Madhya Pradesh and 14,000 hectares of Uttar Pradesh in Bundelkhand.
  • The key projects are the Makodia and Dhaudhan dams, the latter expected to be 77 metres high and responsible for submerging 5,803 hectares of tiger habitat in the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.


Ministry not in favour of concessions for Apple manufacturing unit


The commerce and industry ministry is not in favour of extending concessions to US-based iPhone maker Apple for setting up manufacturing unit in India as no other firm has asked for any incentive.



The Cupertino-based technology major Apple had asked for several tax and other incentives to enter India in the manufacturing sector. Currently, Apple’s products are manufactured in six countries, including Korea, Japan and the US. The company sells its products through Apple-owned retail stores in countries such as China, Germany, the US, the UK and France, among others. It has no wholly-owned store in India and sells its products through distributors such as Redington and Ingram Micro. 


Why the government is not in favour of extending any concessions?

It is because the government already provides benefits under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) to boost electronic manufacturing in the country. The scheme provides financial incentives to offset disability and attract investments in the electronics hardware segment. It also gives a subsidy for investments in Special Economic Zones, among other benefits.

  • Also, the MSIPS policy incentivises electronics and component makers to manufacture domestically by providing them a host of incentives including 20-25% subsidy on capital expenditure.

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.


Mesentery, the New Organ Discovered in the Human Body


Irish scientists have recently identified a new human organ that has existed in the digestive system for hundreds of years.


Key facts:

  • Named as the mesentery, the organ connects the intestine to the abdomen and had for hundreds of years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts.
  • Mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen, and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen.
  • During the initial research, the researchers have found that the mesentery, which connects the gut to the body, was one continuous organ.
  • Better understanding and further scientific study of the mesentery could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs.

mesentry new organ

Sources: et.


Facts for Prelims


Bunkar Mitra:

  • “Bunkar Mitra” is the Government of India’s Helpline for Handloom Weavers. The helpline was launched by the government on the occasion of “Good Governance Day” recently.
  • The helpline provides a single point of contact to handloom weavers across the country for addressing queries and providing guidance. This helpline can be accessed by dialing the toll free number 1800-208-9988.
  • Services that are available through this helpline include- Assistance on technical issues, Access to marketing linkages and Information about various schemes and procedure to avail benefits.


China begins first freight train service to London:

  • China has begun its first freight train service to London from Yiwu, a famed wholesale market town in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
  • The train will travel for 18 days over more than 7,500 miles (12,000km) to reach Britain from China.
  • It will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in London.