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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 February 2017

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 February 2017


 

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

 

New format for police officials recording road accidents

 

To address the growing number of road accident cases in the country, the road transport and highways ministry has come out with a new road accident recording format to capture the actual circumstances under which an accident had occurred.

 

Background:

An expert committee was constituted by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to review the format for reporting of road accidents.  The committee headed by Senior Adviser of the   Transport Research Wing and consisting of experts from IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, WHO, senior officers from the Police and Transport Departments of States, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, submitted its recommendations, which have also been accepted by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

 

Key facts:

After a series of deliberations the committee has developed a uniform accident Recording Format to be adopted by the police in all states and UTs.  The accident Recording Form has five sections designed to capture all relevant information like accident identification/location, road condition, vehicles involved and victim details.

  • Section A contains accident identification details like location, vehicle type etc.
  • Section B captures road conditions and features like culvert, gradient, pothole etc.
  • Section C would capture details about vehicle – both motorized and non motorized, overloading etc.
  • Section D would capture traffic violations by drivers and Section E would capture details about persons other than drivers involved in the accident.
  • The form is simple and would be easy for the police persons at thana levels to understand and fill up. It also minimizes subjective elements.
  • In addition to the above, the committee has also developed a set of corresponding annual road accident data Reporting Format consisting of 17 forms in which the states/ UTs would be required to furnish the annual road accident data to TRW of the Ministry within one month of the completion of a calendar year.

 

Need for new rules:

The recording of accident data is done in FIRs at police stations. These records are liable to be subjective as the police personnel fill it up according to their understanding and assign reasons for accidents as per their interpretation. There are apprehensions that due to limited technical understanding, the police persons recording the data are not able to recognize the role of road engineering defects, the nature of impacting vehicles and other such technical details that may have caused the accident. As a result, these aspects that are so vital for ensuring road safety but remain unreported or under reported.

 

Significance of this move:

This development is important as the data forms the basis for analyzing the cause of accidents, identifying black spots and taking corrective steps to eliminate the same. This is also the data that gets compiled by the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry in its annual publication Road Accidents in India.  Over a period of time the data will reveal patterns which will provide solutions and enable action to be taken.

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.

 

Amnesty faults sedition law

 

Amnesty International has released its State of the World’s Human Rights Report for the year 2016-17. AI’s annual report is a comprehensive survey of the state of human rights in 159 countries.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • The report has expressed concerns over a range of human rights violations in India. It has slammed the use of legislation such as the Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and the sedition law to silence government critics and crack down on civil society organisations.
  • It noted the suspension of FCRA registration of Lawyers Collective, and government’s refusal to renew the FCRA licences of 25 NGOs “without offering valid reasons”, which constitute a violation of the right to freedom of association.
  • The report expressed concerns over extra-judicial killings in different States, including Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The report criticised the Indian state’s handling of the protests in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
  • It pointed out that India’s draft national education policy released last August “made no mention of human rights education.”
  • The report notes, “Human rights activists and journalists faced intimidation and attacks from both state and non-state actors in India.”
  • The report also noted that “Dalits and Adivasis continued to face widespread abuses”.
  • Besides, the report drew attention to India’s amendment to the child labour law, which allows children under 14 to work in “family enterprises”, and children between 14 and 18 years to work in occupations not classified as “hazardous.”

 

About Amnesty international:

Amnesty International is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights. The stated objective of the organisation is “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.”

  • The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its “campaign against torture,” and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.
  • In the field of international human rights organisations, Amnesty has the second longest history, after the International Federation for Human Rights and broadest name recognition.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Corbett gets nod to kill poachers

 

In a stringent anti-poaching measure, authorities at Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) have issued shoot-at-sight orders “to prevent killing of big cats in the reserve”.

  • Besides the shoot-at-sight orders, various other steps are being taken by the authorities, including barring villagers in the vicinity from entering the protected area and subjecting visitors to the park to extensive frisking.

 

Background:

Incidents of poaching of tigers and leopards have been on the rise in Uttarakhand. The hill state reported seizure of 22 leopard skins and bones in 2016, according to a report. Numbers are equally alarming when it comes to tigers. Between 2012 to March 14, 2016, 50 tiger deaths were reported from CTR, out of which 13 big cats were killed by poachers. In March 2016, the special task force (STF) of Uttarakhand police in the biggest haul of its kind seized the skins of five tigers from a gang of poachers.

 

About Corbett tiger reserve:

Corbett National Park is situated in the foothills of the Sub- Himalayan belt in Nainital districts of Uttarakhand state in India.

  • Established in the year 1936 as Hailey National Park, Corbett has the glory of being India’s oldest and most prestigious National Park. It is also being honored as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973. This unique tiger territory is best known as the father who gave birth of the Project Tiger in India to protect the most endangered species and the Royal of India called Tigers.
  • Corbett National Park covers an area of 521 sq. km and together with the neighboring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas, forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
  • Corbett is one of the richest bird regions of the Country and has been declared as an ‘Important Bird Area’ (IBA) by Birdlife International.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

India, Rwanda sign aviation, visa deals

 

India and Rwanda have concluded three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU). These agreements were concluded between the two countries during Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s visit to Rwanda.

 

Key facts:

  • One MoU relates to a bilateral air services agreement enabling direct flights between the two countries. Rwandan Airways is to begin direct flights between Kigali and Mumbai in April.
  • The other two MoUs pertained to the setting up of an entrepreneurial development centre in Rwanda and exemption of visa for entry of diplomatic and official passports.

Rwanda:

Rwanda, in east-central Africa, is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Steep mountains and deep valleys cover most of the country. Lake Kivu in the northwest, at an altitude of 4,829 ft (1,472 m), is the highest lake in Africa. Extending north of it are the Virunga Mountains, which include the volcano Karisimbi (14,187 ft; 4,324 m), Rwanda’s highest point.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Cauvery Tribunal gets new head

 

The government has appointed Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre of the Supreme Court as chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. He was nominated for the post by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar. The post fell vacant following the resignation of Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan.

 

Background:

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was constituted by the Government of India on 2nd June 1990 to adjudicate the water dispute regarding inter-state river Cauvery and the river valley thereof.  The Tribunal had also passed an Interim Order in June, 1991 and further Clarificatory Orders on the Interim Order in April, 1992 and December, 1995. The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal has submitted its reports and decision under Section 5 (2) of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 to Government on 5th February, 2007.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Global wealth migration up

 

According to New World Wealth’s latest report on global wealth and wealth migration trends in 2016, Global wealth migration is accelerating as around 82,000 ultra-rich people shifted overseas in 2016, compared to 64,000 in 2015.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • Australia is the top country for millionaire inflows. An estimated 11,000 millionaires moved to Australia in 2016 compared to 10,000 that moved to the U.S. and 3,000 that moved to the U.K.
  • The reasons behind Millionaires preferring Australia to the U.S. and the U.K. is that it has one of the best healthcare systems in the world and its location makes it a good base for doing business in emerging Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and India.
  • Moreover, Australia is relatively immune to the turmoil in the West Asia and the related refugee crisis in Europe and it has lower inheritance taxes than the U.S. and much lower inheritance taxes than the U.K. Other countries that experienced large inflows of HNWIs in 2016 include Canada, UAE, New Zealand and Israel.
  • On the other hand, countries that lost large numbers of HNWIs in 2016 included France, Turkey and Brazil. Large outflow of millionaires from France (over 12,000 millionaires is 2016) is notable. France is being heavily impacted by rising religious tensions between Christians and Muslims.

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.

 

Green tea-laced capacitor to power wearable devices  

 

Scientists have used green tea compounds to develop a new flexible and compact rechargeable energy storage device which may power more comfortable wearable electronics.

 

How was it developed?

The researchers prepared polymer gels in green tea extract, which infuses the gel with polyphenols.

  • The polyphenols converted a silver nitrate solution into a uniform coating of silver nanoparticles. Thin layers of conducting gold and poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) were then applied.
  • The resulting supercapacitor demonstrated power and energy densities of 2,715 watts per kg and 22 watt- hours per kg — enough to operate a heart rate monitor, LEDs or a bluetooth module.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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. 

 

BharatQR

 

India has reached a new milestone in cashless transaction by launching BharatQR, the world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution. This is the second big ticket initiative from the Centre, after BHIM, towards pushing digital transactions.

 

What is QR code?

Quick Response Code (QRCode) is a two-dimensional machine-readable unique pattern that contains information on a specific task.

 

How does QR codes work for online payments?

In case of retail payments, QR code eliminates the need of a Point of Sale (PoS, or card swipe) machine for carrying out electronic transaction. If the merchant and the customer are using the same payment application, such as PayTM or a bank’s app, then the customer can scan the merchant’s QR code to make the payment.

 

What is BharatQR code?

BharatQR code is an interoperable payment acceptance solution. Even if the merchant and customer are on different payment platforms, BharatQR will enable payment from one to the other. This means that merchants need to display only one QR code instead of multiple ones for different payment platforms. It has been jointly developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Mastercard, and Visa, BharatQR code would require.

 

Need for BharatQR:

The main reason for this is, it is ideal for small roadside mer chants who find it tough to invest in point-of-sale terminals for card payments. For them, BharatQR is an asset-light and cheap payment solution. There is no need to invest on a terminal hardware, the merchant just needs a smartphone and a QR code printed sticker to accept digital payments.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

Four new tiny frog species found in Western Ghats:

  • Scientists exploring the forests of the Western Ghats have come across four new species of tiny frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail.
  • The newly discovered frogs include: Athirappilly Night Frog, Sabarimala Night Frog, Radcliffe’s Night frog and the Kadalar Night Frog.
  • These species are among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ discovered by the researchers.
  • Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachus genus endemic to the Western Ghats and represent an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70 to 80 million years ago.
  • The discovery has taken the total number of known Nyctibatrachus species to 35, of which 20% are diminutive in size (less than 18 mm).