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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 February 2017



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 09 February 2017



Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Committee of Secretaries setup to speed up the implementation of Namami Gange Programme


The government has announced setting up of a Committee of Secretaries to speed up the implementation of Namami Gange Programme. The Committee will meet at least once in a fortnight.


Namami Gange Programme:

The Union government approved “Namami Gange” Program in May 2015. It integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga River in a comprehensive manner.


Focus of the programme:

Among other things, the programme will focus on pollution abatement interventions namely Interception, diversion & treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation / appropriate in-situ treatment / use of innovative technologies.



  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
  • In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
  • The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.
  • The programme also focuses on involving the States and grassroots level institutions such as Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions in implementation.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies. 


56th Meeting of the Central Geological Programming Board


The 56th Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Ministry of Mines is being held in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Secretary, Ministry of Mines Shri Balvinder Kumar.

  • During the meeting, the board will deliberate and discuss recommendations of all the 12 thematic committees of the CGPB as well as the State Geological Programming Boards (SGPBs) and finalize the Field Season Program of GSI for the year 2017-18.


About CGPB:

The Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) is an important platform for the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Ministry of Mines wherein the Annual Field Season Program (FSP) of GSI is finalized.

  • The members of CGPB and other stakeholders like State Governments, Central/State Government Exploration Agencies, PSUs etc. present their proposals for collaborative work with GSI.
  • Based on the priorities set by the Government of India and the importance and urgency of proposals presented by the members and stakeholders, the Annual Program of GSI, for Survey & Mapping, Exploration, Research and Development, and Training & Capacity building, during the forthcoming financial year is given a final shape.

Sources: pib.


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.


Cabinet approves ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’


The Union Cabinet has approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (PMGDISHA) to make 6 crore rural households digitally literate. The outlay for this project is Rs.2,351.38 crore to usher in digital literacy in rural India by March, 2019.


Implementation of the programme:

  • Under the scheme, 25 lakh candidates will be trained in the FY 2016-17; 275 lakh in the FY 2017-18; and 300 lakh in the FY 2018-19.
  • To ensure equitable geographical reach, each of the 250,000 Gram Panchayats would be expected to register an average of 200-300 candidates.
  • The implementation of the Scheme would be carried out under the overall supervision of Ministry of Electronics and IT in active collaboration with States/UTs through their designated State Implementing Agencies, District e-Governance Society (DeGS), etc.


Significance of this programme:

As per the 71st NSSO Survey on Education 2014, only 6% of rural households have a computer. This highlights that more than 15 crore rural households (@ 94% of 16.85 crore households) do not have computers and a significant number of these households are likely to be digitally illiterate. The PMGDISHA being initiated under Digital India Programme would cover 6 crore households in rural areas to make them digitally literate. This would empower the citizens by providing them access to information, knowledge and skills for operating computers / digital access devices.

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.


E-pills that can monitor patient health in the offing


MIT scientists have developed a small battery that runs on stomach acids and could power next-generation ingestible electronic pills which may monitor patient health or treat diseases by residing in the gastrointestinal tract for extended periods of time.


How it operates?

Researchers took inspiration from a very simple type of voltaic cell known as a lemon battery, which consists of two electrodes – often a galvanised nail and a copper penny – stuck in a lemon.    

  • The citric acid in the lemon carries a small electric current between the two electrodes.
  • To replicate that strategy, the researchers attached zinc and copper electrodes to the surface of their ingestible sensor.
  • The zinc emits ions into the acid in the stomach to power the voltaic circuit, generating enough energy to power a commercial temperature sensor and a 900-megahertz transmitter.

Sources: ie.


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.


Arunachal Becomes First NE State to Implement e-Cabinet


Arunachal Pradesh has become the first state in the northeast to implement e-Cabinet solution for the state cabinet members.


Key facts:

  • Using this system, the cabinet members can access the cabinet notes before the meeting. The entire business of the Cabinet can be conducted using the e-Cabinet solution.
  • Implemented by the department of Information Technology and Communication, the solution lets Ministers prepare for cabinet meetings, conduct them and review minutes, entirely without paper.
  • The e-Cabinet solution will give remote access to the Ministers to view Cabinet notes and the same will be circulated well in advance for proper analysis and feedback.
  • The system is a multi-user secure solution that keeps relevant information organised and updated in real time, giving ministers a clear overview of each item under discussion.
  • Once Arunachal Pradesh adopts the e-Cabinet system fully, the average length of the cabinet meetings will go down from 4-5 hours to just 30-90 minutes and the government can also eliminate the need to print and deliver thousands of pages of documents.

Sources: ie.


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


Centre not in favour of new law for CBI


The Central government has turned down the recommendation of a Parliamentary Committee to come up with a new law for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to replace the 70-year-old Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act which governs the agency, stating that it might impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution.



The 85th report of the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, which was recently tabled in Parliament, had strongly recommended that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) revisit the 24th report of the committee on “The Working of the Central Bureau of Investigation.”


Why have a new law?

The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 governs the working of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Committee is of the view that the powers given to the CBI under the DSPE Act are not adequate considering the pace of changing times and in this context, the Committee recommended for a separate statute for the CBI.

Also, the Committee is of the view that the CBI is the only agency in India which has acquired and accumulated the necessary expertise in successfully investigating wide hues of transnational, terrorist and organised crimes and that enacting an enabling legislation for the CBI will be a major step toward evolving it into an independent and accountable agency which specialises in prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes.   


Why the government is not willing to enforce a new law?

In its action-taken reply, the DoPT said the agency, since the submission of the 24th report, had grown into a more dynamic and efficient organisation. It also listed the measures taken to strengthen the CBI.

Also, the government says the new law may impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution and the mandate of Parliament to enact a law which would be in conflict with Entry 2 of List II which is in the domain of the States.


Present scenario:

The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 governs the working of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


RBI to set up in-house enforcement cell


The Reserve Bank of India has decided to set up an enforcement department to speed up regulatory compliance.


Key facts:

  • The department will be operational from the next financial year.
  • It will mainly deal with the penalties imposed on banks for violation of norms. Currently, the penalties are decided by the banking and non-banking supervision departments.
  • The department aims to develop a sound framework and process for enforcement action.



Enforcement deals with cases of non-compliance with regulations were noticed either through the surveillance process or otherwise. Enforcement is an integral part of the supervisory process. RBI takes enforcement action even now. But focussed attention will increase the regulatory compliance.

Sources: the hindu.


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


India to pitch global services accord to WTO chief Azevedo


India is all set to make a presentation to World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo and India Inc. on New Delhi’s proposal for a global pact to boost services trade.


What is TFS Agreement all about?

The proposed Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement at the WTO-level aims to ease norms including those relating to movement of foreign skilled workers/professionals across borders for short-term work.

  • Among the objectives of the proposed pact, is ensuring portability of social security contributions, as well as making sure fees or charges for immigration or visas are reasonable, transparent, and non-restrictive (or impairing the supply of services) in nature.
  • It also aims to pave the way for a single window mechanism for foreign investment approvals.
  • The proposed TFS pact is also about ‘facilitation’ – that is making market access ‘effective’ and commercially meaningful and not about ‘new’ (or greater) market access.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.


RBI to set up panel on strengthening cyber security


In a bid to strengthen cyber security system, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to set up an inter-disciplinary panel on cyber security to examine various threats and suggest measures to deal with it.



While banks have taken steps to strengthen their defences, the diverse and ingenious nature of recent cyber-attacks necessitates an ongoing review of the cyber security landscape and emerging threats. Towards this end, RBI decided to set up an inter-disciplinary Standing Committee on cyber security.


Role of the committee:

  • The panel will review the threats inherent in the existing or emerging technology on an ongoing basis.
  • Besides, it will also study adoption of various security standards/protocols and also act as interface with stakeholders.
  • The committee will also suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience.


Cyber security threats in India:

In the biggest-ever breach of debit card data, as many as 32.14 lakh cards were compromised last year. 641 customers across 19 banks were duped of Rs. 1.3 crore using stolen debit card data.

There are around 75 crore debit cards operational in India.

Sources: the hindu. 



Facts for Prelims


Gujarat Becomes First State To Establish Cashless System:

  • Gujarat has become the first state in the country to establish cashless distribution of food grain.
  • The beneficiaries under NFSA (National Food Security Act) will need to carry only Aadhaar cards for getting their food grain in Gujarat.
  • Gujarat government for installing Aadhaar Enabled Payment System in 17,250 Fair Price Shops (FPS) much before the target, March 31.