Insights Daily Current Affairs, 26 June 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Costa launch unique Start-up portal
Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Costa recently launched a unique startup Portal – the India-Portugal International StartUp Hub (IPISH) – in Lisbon.
What you need to know about IPISH?
This is a platform initiated by Startup India and supported by Commerce & Industry Ministry and Startup Portugal to create a mutually supportive entrepreneurial partnership.
- IPISH hosts a range of tools and will provide information on the start-up hotspots of Bangalore, Delhi and Lisbon; and on associated subjects, such as policy, taxation, and visa options. It will develop a Go-To-Market Guide to support start-ups.
- IPISH is expected to help in mutual capacity building, and enable connections between start-ups, investors, and incubators from relevant sectors. It is also expected to establish a network of honorary ambassadors based in India and Portugal to guide start-ups from both countries.
There are strong complementarities between India and Portugal in the start-up sector. Portugal has one of the highest rates of business creation in Europe and has emerged as one of the most vibrant European eco-systems for entrepreneurship. Lisbon is also hosting the Web Summit – a key annual international technology conference – for 3 years from 2016 onwards.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
States’ fiscal deficit soars to Rs 4.93 trillion in FY16
RBI has released second edition of it’s statistical publication titled ‘Handbook of Statistics on States 2016-17‘.
- The publication follows the ‘one-indicator-one table’ approach and covers all sub-national statistics on socio- demographics, state domestic product, agriculture, industry, infrastructure, banking and fiscal indicators across the states over a period ranging from 1950-51 to 2016-17.
- It also offers data on state-wise availability of power, per capita availability of power, installed capacity of power, and power requirement, length of national highways, roads and state highways, and railheads.
Highlights of the report:
- Led by the most populous Uttar Pradesh and the largest Rajasthan, the gross fiscal deficits of all the states skyrocketed to Rs 4,93,360 crore in fiscal 2016 from Rs 18,790 crore in FY1991.
- Uttar Pradesh had a fiscal deficit of a paltry Rs 3,070 crore in FY91, which zoomed to Rs 64,320 crore in FY16 and but is projected to improve to Rs 49,960 crore in FY17.
- Rajasthan, which had a gross fiscal deficit of Rs 540 crore in FY91, saw it soaring to Rs 67,350 crore in FY16 and is projected to decline to Rs 40,530 crore in FY17.
- Maharashtra, one of the most urbanised and industrialised states, had a gap of Rs 1,020 crore in FY91 but the same jumped to Rs 37,950 crore in FY16 which is projected to improve to Rs 35,030 crore in FY17.
- Gujarat, which had seen rapid industrialisation during the period of data analysis, had only Rs 1,800 crore in fiscal deficit in FY91 but the same had jumped to Rs 22,170 crore in FY16 and is projected to further deteriorate in FY17 to Rs 24,610 crore.
- Reflecting its improved finances on the back of rising investments following better law and order situation, Bihar is slated to improve its finances with fiscal deficit of Rs 16,010 crore in FY17 against Rs 28,510 crore in FY16. The state which had for long been the badland of the nation had Rs 15,90 crore deficit in FY91.
- West Bengal, despite having high debt levels, has been improving its finances with its fiscal deficit projected to improve to Rs 19,360 crore in FY17 from Rs 25,180 crore a year ago and a healthy Rs 1,630 crore in FY91.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Kanyashree Scheme For Girls In Bengal Wins UN Award
The West Bengal government is among the winners to receive the prestigious UN Public Service Award for its initiative to combat child marriage and ensure education to the girl child in the state. The West Bengal government was among the 12 institutions from 11 countries that were recognised by the world body on UN Public Service Day, commemorated on June 23rd.
- India was named first in the Asia-Pacific group for the category: ‘Reaching the Poorest and Most Vulnerable through Inclusive Services and Participation’.
West Bengal has been awarded for the ‘Kanyashree Prakalpa‘ initiative that sought to reduce the high child marriage rates and low female education rates in the state. Through the initiative, cash was deposited into the bank account of girls for every year they remained in school and were unmarried. This initiative led to a “drastic reduction in child marriage, increase in female education and female empowerment.”
UN Public Service Awards:
The UN Public Service Awards are given by the world body to institutions from across the world for their innovation and excellence in providing public services. It highlights the pivotal role of public services in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Awards aim at discovering innovations in governance; reward excellence in the public sector; motivate public servants to further promote innovation; enhance professionalism in the public service; raise the image of public service; enhance trust in government; and collect and disseminate successful practices for possible replication.
The UN Public Service Day is celebrated every year to recognise public service innovations and excellence that have led to more effective and inclusive public service delivery contributing to the achievement of the SDGs in countries worldwide.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
EC disqualifies Minister in M.P.
The Election Commission has disqualified Narottam Mishra, Minister in the Madhya Pradesh government from membership of any State legislature and contesting polls for the next three years for filing wrong accounts of election expenditure.
What you need to know about the issue?
Powers of election commission to disqualify:
Membership of the minister was revoked under section 10A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, to be read with Sections 77 and 78 of the Act. This relates to providing wrong information to the Commission on expenses incurred during the polls.
Advisory Jurisdiction & Quasi-Judicial Functions of Election Commission:
Under the Constitution, the Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures. Further, the cases of persons found guilty of corrupt practices at elections which come before the Supreme Court and High Courts are also referred to the Commission for its opinion on the question as to whether such person shall be disqualified and, if so, for what period. The opinion of the Commission in all such matters is binding on the President or, as the case may be, the Governor to whom such opinion is tendered.
- The Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed by law. The Commission has also the power for removing or reducing the period of such disqualification as also other disqualification under the law.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Yettinahole hits a hurdle in coffee land
The ongoing land acquisition for the Yettinahole drinking water project has hit a hurdle with some farmers unhappy with the price chart fixed by the district committee and are refusing to part with land. Though the Karnataka Cabinet approved direct acquisition as a special case to speed up the process, this could mean a slowdown.
Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (KNNL) is currently acquiring land in Sakleshpur taluk and coffee estate owners are unhappy with the prices fixed under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act.
About Yettinahole project:
The Yettinahole project envisages to pump about 24 tmc ft of water from Yettinahole, a tributary of River Netravathi.
- It involves construction of dams and reservoir, pumping of water, flowing of water with gravitational force and finally filling of lakes.
- As per the project, 24 tmc ft of water from Yettinahole and a couple of other tributaries of Netravathi River will be drawn by constructing minor dams.
- The project envisages diverting the water to drought prone Chikkaballapur, Tumkur and Bangalore rural districts.
- The total cost of the project is Rs 8,323 crore.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
NASA’s CHESS to study interstellar clouds
NASA is launching a sounding rocket CHESS to study vast interstellar clouds and know about the earliest stages of star formation.
Deep in space between distant stars, space is not empty. Instead, there drifts vast clouds of neutral atoms and molecules, as well as charged plasma particles called the interstellar medium — that may, over millions of years, evolve into new stars and even planets. These floating interstellar reservoirs are the focus of the NASA-funded CHESS sounding rocket mission, which will check out the earliest stages of star formation.
What you need to know about CHESS?
The Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph will measure light filtering through the interstellar medium, which provides crucial information for understanding the lifecycle of stars.
- CHESS will train its eye at Beta Scorpii — a hot, brightly shining star in the Scorpius constellation well-positioned for the instrument to probe the material between the star and our own solar system.
- This is the third flight for the CHESS payload in the past three years, and the most detailed survey yet.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Places in News- Lisbon:
PM Modi recently paid a visit to Lisbon, Portugal.
Location: Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. It is continental Europe’s westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus.
Metro rail tunnels under Hooghly set a record:
The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) has completed the construction of India’s first set of underwater transportation tunnels. The two tunnels, 16.1 metres apart, with a diameter of 5.5 metres each, link the two banks of the Hooghly river — Howrah Maidan and Sealdah on one side with Kolkata on the other. The tunnels are at a depth of 13 metres below the riverbed, and 30 metres from the land surface.