Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 October 2017
GS2 Topic : India and its neighborhood- relations.
New U.S. policy is a game changer: Ashraf Ghani
Highlights of the visit:
- Regional counter-terror efforts and enhancing India’s defence assistance to Kabul were discussed
- New South Asia policy of the U.S was appreciated by both the countries. It is viewed as an opportunity for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan & South Asia.
New US South Asia policy:
- Deployment of additional US troops soldiers to train and buttress Afghan forces with gradual pull out plans at apt period as a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists.
- Strong focus on Pakistan to make sure it abides by its commitments. Pakistan being watched closely by his administration to keep check on the country becoming safe havens for terrorist organizations.
- US administration’s South Asia policy is to further develop the US’s strategic partnership with India. India was viewed as part of the problem and now Trump is arguing that India should be viewed as part of a solution to the Afghan imbroglio.
India – Afghanistan recent developments:
- Training of Afghan personnel at Indian military academies.
- India-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show in New Delhi generated business worth over US $ 200 million.
- Opening of the air freight corridor between Kandahar and Kabul and Delhi.
- Afghan cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat have been connected directly by air to Delhi.
Source: the hindu
GS2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models
CVC to develop Integrity Index of 25 Organizations
- In line with the broader strategy and emphasis on preventive vigilance, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) believes that the next level of systemic change can be through the tool of Integrity Index.
- The CVC has therefore decided to go in for development of the Integrity Index-based on bench-marking of internal processes and controls within an organisation as well as management of relationships and expectations of outside stakeholders.
The main objectives of Integrity Index:
- Define what constitutes Integrity of Public Organizations.
- Identify the different factors of Integrity and their inter-linkages.
- Create an objective and reliable tool that can measure the performance of organizations along these above factors.
- Validate the findings over a period of time to improve upon the robustness of the tool that measures Integrity.
- Create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity where public organizations lead the way.
CVC has adopted a research-based approach for creating an integrity index that various organizations can use to measure themselves
GS2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
SAATHI: EESL to provide powerloom equipment to small units
The Ministry of Power along with the Ministry of Textiles have launched its new initiative named Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to help small Industries.
The Powerloom sector in India is predominantly an unorganized sector and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 57 percent of the total cloth in the country. Most of Powerloom units in this country, use obsolete technology. Upgradation of Powerlooms as part of Power Tex India will lead to higher productivity, better quality and more than 50 percent additional value realisation.
- Under the initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient powerlooms, motors and repair kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium powerloom units at no upfront cost.
- The SAATHI initiative of the Government will be jointly implemented by EESL and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis.
- To kick start the implementation, cluster wise demonstration projects and workshops will be organized in key clusters such as Erode, Surat.
- The government expects that the efficient equipment would result in energy savings and cost savings to the unit and the unit would repay in installments to EESL over a 4 to 5 year period.
- Unit owner neither has to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment nor does it have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments to EESL are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipment and cost savings.
GS3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
SC bans dirty pet-coke, furnace oil in Haryana, Rajasthan, UP
Supreme Court banned the use of dirty furnace oil and pet-coke in Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh from November 1, 2017. This ban is already in place in Delhi. Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) lauds this directive as a big win for Delhi and NCR as well as the rest of the country fighting a tough battle against toxic pollution.
The order comes in response to the recommendations of the Environment Protection (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) that has found very high sulphur levels more than 20,000 PPM to 74,000 PPM as opposed to only 50 PPM sulphur in BSIV(Bharat Stage-IV) transport fuels
- It has further directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) to notify the standards for nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) for the industry sector and the industry has to comply with the standards by December 31, 2017.
- MOEFCC will have to pay a fine of Rs 200,000 to the Supreme Court delaying the process of setting and notifying emissions standards
- It eliminates dirtiest industrial fuels in Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and mandates first ever stringent NOx and SOx standards for the industry sector nationwide
- It has enormous pollution reduction potential from the industrial sector.
- Order will have nationwide impact as the entire industrial sector will have to comply with the new standards for SOx and NOx that are not regulated currently in India.
Source: down to earth
GS3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
₹2.11 lakh crore for PSU banks to boost lending
The Centre unveiled an ambitious plan to infuse ₹2.11 lakh crore capital over the next two years into public sector banks (PSBs).
- PSBs are burdened with high, non-performing assets(Asset Quality Review , RBI)
- Twin-Balance Sheet Problem
- Private investment is cut down
- Govt has taken massive step to capitalise PSBs in a frontloaded manner, to support credit growth and job creation.
- Govt plans to fund through budgetary provisions of 18,139 crore and the sale of recapitalisation bonds worth 1.35 lakh crore.
- The balance would be raised by the banks themselves by diluting the government’s equity share.
- Cabinet also approved 5.35 lakh crore for massive road infrastructure investment under Bharat Mala Programme.
These steps will boost flagging economic growth and create jobs.The effect of recapitalisation on the fiscal deficit would be determined by the type of bonds and as to who the issuing authority would be.
Twin-Balance Sheet Problem:
The balance sheets of both public sector banks (PSBs) and some corporate houses are in terrible shape and it has been seen as a major obstacle to investment and reviving growth. The problems faced by the Public Sector Banks are linked directly to that of the corporate sector. Companies borrowed a lot of money from banks to invest in infrastructure and commodity- related businesses, such as steel, power, infrastructure etc. But now, due to slump in both these sectors, the corporate profits have hit new lows. With low profits, the corporates are not able to repay their loans and their debts are rising and in turn cut down on investments.
The BharatMala project will include economic corridors (9,000 km), inter-corridor and feeder route (6,000 km), national corridors efficiency improvement (5,000 km), border roads and international connectivity (2,000 km), coastal roads and port connectivity (2,000 km) and Greenfield expressways (800 km).
- Further, the remaining road projects of 10,000 km under the National Highways Development Project will form a part of the programme.
- The government has identified new routes between economically important cities that would be 20% longer in terms of distance but take relatively less travel time.
Source: The Hindu
GS3 Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
IAF show scorches Lucknow-Agra highway
A major touchdown exercise of the Indian Air Force was held on the Agra Lucknow expressway at Bangarmau in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh today. As many as 20 fighter aircraft took part in the special exercise.
• The drill witnessed the participation of a C-130J transport aircraft with Garud commandos for assault landing as well as three Jaguars, six Mirages, six SU 30s in touch down and take off operations.
• This is the second time that a touchdown exercise was held at Agra Lucknow expressway.
Objective of this exercise:
The exercise was conducted to test the capability of the Indian Air Force to land its fighter jets and transport aircrafts on highways in the event of an emergency or in a war-like situation.
• This operation has boosted the IAF’s capability to undertake unhindered operations even during non-availability of standard runways.
• It has demonstrated the expert flying skills of its fighter and transport aircrew, and the capability of its ground crew in activating such expressway airstrips on short notice.
C-130J Super Hercules:
• The C-130J Super Hercules, which is of U.S. origin, is utilised for special operations and relief work during HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) operations.
• They supply relief material during calamities such as floods and earthquakes, and are also used for evacuation.
Source: The Hindu
GS3 Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas
INS Sukanya at Indonesia for Coordinated Patrol of IMBL
INS Sukanya arrived at Belawan Indonesia to participate in the 30th edition of CORPAT (Coordinated Patrol) and 3rd bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy. The exercise is aimed to foster closer maritime ties with countries located on the rim of the Indian Ocean.
CORPAT is a bilateral maritime exercise between India and Indonesia. Both countries have been carrying out maritime exercise twice a year since 2002. The CORPAT exercise between the two navies aims to enhance mutual understanding and inter-operability between the navies , carries search and rescue operations, institutes measures for vessels indulged in unlawful activities as well as control pollution.
- It demonstrates India’s commitment to its ties with Indonesia and to the maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.
- The exercise seeks to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and Indonesia
- As part of the Indian Government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ surveillance, Search and Rescue and other capability enhancement activities
Muddle over nod for GM mustard
In May, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) cleared the controversial transgenic mustard, DMH-11, for commercial cultivation. However, the records of that meeting, held on May 12 and now made public, do not record any such approval.
Though cleared by the GEAC, a full release is contingent on approval by the Environment Minister.
- It is established under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
- It is the apex body for approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants
- It is also responsible for approval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products including experimental field trials
- The GM mustard in question (DMH-11) has been developed by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants of Delhi University.
- If it gets the green light from the environment ministry’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), it will be the first GM food crop to be commercially cultivated in India.
- Right now, only GM cotton is allowed.
- GEAC is the environment ministry’s regulator for GMOs and transgenic products.
Source: The Hindu
Fact for Prelims:
- World’s oldest astrolabe that guided ships to India found in shipwreck of a ship called the Esmeralda. Navigation tool may have been used in Vasco da Gama expedition. Astrolabe is an elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers and navigators to measure the inclined position in the sky of a celestial body, day or night.
- CPC General Secretary, Xi Jinping becomes the third Chinese leader to have his name and ideology enshrined in the Constitution besides two other former Presidents — Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” and The “Belt and Road” initiative, an ambitious programme to build infrastructure linking China with its neighbours and beyond, was also included in the party Constitution.
- Website for the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) was launched by Commerce Ministry. CIPAM is set up under the aegis of DIPP with a mandate to effectively implement the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy. The website is interactive providing regular updates on all upcoming events including awareness and sensitization programs being conducted, as also information on all Intellectual Property Rights
- Eminent classical singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away. A legendary singer of the Benaras gharana, Girija Devi was awarded the Padma Shri in 1972, the Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016.
-Thumri is a common genre of semi-classical Indian music.
-The term ‘thumri’ is derived from the Hindi verb thumakna which means “to walk with dancing steps so as to make the ankle-bells tinkle.”
-The form is, thus, connected with dance, dramatic gestures, mild eroticism, evocative love poetry and folk songs of Uttar Pradesh, though there are regional variations.
-The text is romantic or devotional in nature, and usually revolves around a girl’s love for Krishna. Thumri is characterized by its sensuality, and by a greater flexibility with the raag.