Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 November 2017
GS3 Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
CCEA gives nod to Rs10,000 crore SBA for fertiliser subsidy
Govt gave ex-post facto clearance to implementation of the Special Banking Arrangement (SBA) of Rs10,000 crore for payment of outstanding claims of fertiliser companies towards fertiliser subsidy in 2016-17.
- Under the SBA, a total loan of Rs 9,969 crore for settlement of outstanding subsidy bills with SBI was raised by the government. The loan amount, along with interest liability, on the part of the government amounting to Rs 80.9 crore was paid to SBI.
- The government is making available urea and 21 grades of P&K (phosphate and potassium) fertilisers to farmers at subsidised prices through fertiliser manufacturers and importers.
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA):
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is one of the standing committees of cabinet constituted by government of india.
- The major function of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is to review economic trends on a continuous basis, as also the problems and prospects, with a view to evolving a consistent and integrated economic policy framework for the country.
- Matters regarding fixation of prices of agricultural products as well as reviewing progress of activities related to rural development including those concerning small and marginal farmers are in CCEA’s competence.
- Price controls of industrial raw materials and products, industrial licensing policies including industrial licensing cases for establishment of Joint Sector Undertakings, reviewing performance of Public Sector Undertakings including their structural and financial restructuring are also within the purview of CCEA, as are all matters relating to disinvestment including cases of strategic sale, and pricing of Government shares in Public Sector Undertakings (except to the extent entrusted to an Empowered Group of Ministers).
- CCEA facilitates finalization of factual reports on the accomplishments of the Ministries, Agencies and Public Sector Undertakings involved in implementation of prioritized schemes or projects for evaluation by the Prime Minister. The CCEA also considers cases of increase in the firmed up cost estimates/revised cost estimates for projects etc. in respect of the business allocated to the CCEA.
Source: livemint, arthapedia
GS2 Topic: Issues relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Cabinet approves National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Cabinet gave its approval for introduction of a Bill in Parliament which will amend the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) Act, 1993, namely the National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Act, 2017.
The NCTE Act, 1993 enacted by Parliament aims to achieve planned and coordinated development of teacher education system, regulation and ensure proper maintenance of norms and standards in said system. It establishes NCTE to achieve these objectives. It has separate provisions for recognising teacher education courses and to lay down guidelines for compliance by recognized Institutions/Universities
- Objective – The amendment will ensure that students studying in these Institutions/Universities, or already passed out from here, find employment as teacher.
- The amendment will grant retrospective recognition to all such Central/State/Universities which were found to be conducting teacher education courses without NCTE permission.
- This retrospective recognition is being given only as a onetime measure so not to jeopardize the future of students who have either passed out or are enrolled in these institutions.
- All institutions running Teacher Education Courses such as B.Ed. and D.El.Ed. have to obtain recognition from the National Council for Teacher Education under section 14 of the NCTE Act. Further, the courses being taught at all such recognised Institutions/Universities have to be permitted under section 15, of the NCTE Act
GS2 Topic: Indian Economy
EESL launches $454 million ‘Creating and Sustaining Markets for Energy Efficiency’ project in partnership with the GEF
Currently around two-thirds of total power generation capacity in India is based on fossil fuels. By 2030, India is committed to achieve 40% of the installed capacity based on clean energy sources.
Project will receive a composite funding of $454 million comprised of the GEF grant of $20 million and co-financing of $434 million in the form of loans and equity, including a $200 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). EESL further proposes Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund (EERF) for sustainable funding mechanism of energy efficiency projects in the country.
- New technologies of super-efficient ceiling fans, tri-generation technologies & smart grid-applications will be financed for proof testing
- Energy efficiency programmes like street lighting, domestic lighting, five-star rated ceiling fans and agricultural pumps will be undertaken.
- EESL has partnered with UN Environment’s District Energy in Cities Initiative, which has already identified $600 million of projects across five cities in India.
- Significant step considering India’s efforts towards a low emission-economy and focusing on energy efficiency programmes,
- It is imperative to create awareness in the citizens, especially among youth, to encourage energy efficiency measures like use of electric vehicles, energy efficient building codes etc
- To facilitate sustainable growth by addressing climate change issues, boosting the economy and generating greater employment in the country.
GS3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Carnivorous plants use CO2 to lure prey
Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Gardens and Research Institute here have come up with evidence that some carnivorous plants use carbon dioxide (CO2) to attract insects and ants to their prey traps.
- Carnivorous plants have been known to employ a variety of techniques like nectar, smell, colour and ultraviolet florescence to lure and capture prey.
- The Indian pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana) uses the gas, both to attract prey and to aid the digestive process. The open Nepenthes pitchers were found to emit CO2 constantly. CO2 inside the pitchers was produced by the respiration of tissues within the cavity.
- CO2 is found to trigger the release of antifungal compounds into the pitcher fluid, preventing infections from incoming prey. It might also act as a tranquilliser for the trapped prey
- Unopened pitchers of the plant are carbon dioxide-enriched, with a gas concentration of 2,500 to 5,000 ppm, approximately 10 times that in the earth’s atmosphere.
- Nepenthes pitchers have the potential to be used as natural models mimicking an anticipated elevated CO2 scenario on earth.
Source: the hindu
GS2 Topic: Indian Judiciary
Centre asks states to speed up trial against tainted politicians
March 10, 2014 order to complete the trial in all these cases within a year’s time had been complied with or not.
- The Supreme Court asked the government to frame a central scheme for setting up special courts across the country to exclusively try criminal cases involving ‘political persons.’
- The Centre has written to the chief ministers and chief justices of high courts to fix responsibility on district administrations to expedite probe and trial of MPs and MLAs facing charges for serious crimes.
- If for some extraordinary circumstances, the court concerned is not able to conclude the trial within one year from the date of framing of charges, such court shall submit a report to the CJs of high courts indicating reasons for not adhering to the time limit.
- A report card to be submitted by December on the status of the 1,581 criminal cases pending against Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies at the time of the 2014 elections.
- While the trial in cases against MPs/MLAs has to be completed within a year, the investigating officer and the senior superintendent of police may be held personally responsible for any lapse and may be liable for disciplinary proceedings for non-compliance.
- If such trials are delayed, he or she would have served as a minister or legislator several times over.
- It is a determined effort to cleanse politics of criminality and corruption
- It will make the criminal justice system more responsive and effective.
The law ministry has already started an e-court expansion project and very soon all cases related to undertrials shall be available on the click of a mouse that would help the higher authorities take action against any authority which may be responsible for delay in trial.
Source: the hindu
GS2 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Holy sites ‘may offer clues to antibiotic resistance
Anti-Microbial Resistance(AMR) Study Report says Mass-bathing in the Ganga during pilgrimages may be contributing to anti-microbial resistance.
Travel can be pointed to as one of the reasons for the rise of antibiotic resistance. How large gatherings of people could become hotspots for the spread of the genes that cause resistance.
- Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is controlled by naturally occurring genes. These genes are found on plasmids, small rings of DNA that are separate from chromosomes.
- Plasmids can move easily between bacteria, allowing them to acquire traits, such as antibiotic resistance, very quickly.
- Many people have some organisms in their gut that contain these genes. Generally, these do not affect a person until they take certain antibiotics.
- When the amount of human waste entering the river rises , the resistant organisms in people’s guts can be washed into the river in faeces.
- The faecal organisms tend not to live very long, but the plasmids that carry antibiotic resistance genes can be quickly transferred to other organisms in the river.
- This increases the probability that people will ingest bacteria with antibiotic resistant genes when they drink or bathe in the water.
- Once they are exposed, they can then carry them back to their own towns and cities in their gut – carrying antibiotic resistance genes to the wider world.
- The spread of the antibiotic resistance genes adds to existing health concerns. This study is important in tackling the spread of antibiotic resistance. They could provide clues to the mechanisms behind its spread.
- Research helps in understanding the importance of the environment in evolution of antimicrobial resistance.
Source: the hindu, bbc.
GS3 Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
The security of India and Bhutan is “indivisible and mutual”
President thanked the King for his “personal involvement” in addressing the Doklam crisis, the first time a reference has been made to his role during the tensions between India and China.
The face-off between India and China took place after Bhutanese troops registered a protest against Chinese military building a road on the plateau. Indian troops—stationed in the area under a special security pact between India and Bhutan—intervened after the Chinese troops ignored the Bhutanese warnings. The Chinese road construction plans also had India worried that Beijing could cut off the Indian mainland’s access to its northeastern states.
- India and Bhutan enjoy unique ties of friendship, which are characterized by deep understanding and mutual trust.
- The visit would provide an opportunity to both the sides for reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation, including plans for befitting celebrations of golden jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations between two countries in the year 2018 and to advance the special bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation.
- Bhutan is also key for India’s plans to push subregional cooperation. It will help accelerate regional integration within BIMSTEC
- A transport agreement among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal was mooted in 2014 but is yet to take shape given Bhutan’s worries about the impact of pollution and loss of businesses if trucks and cars from India, Bangladesh and Nepal roll into the country.
- The Himalayan country has a hydel power potential of 30,000 megawatt (MW) of which 23,000MW can be tapped. India is involved in developing a number of hydel power projects in Bhutan already and is keen to deepen the cooperation.
- It is a signal that Bhutan’s India first policy is intact against the backdrop of China trying to make inroads into a country seen as firmly within India’s sphere of influence in South Asia.
- It is significant as it seeks to end speculation over India’s decision to send troops into land caught in a dispute between Bhutan and China.
- It signals a tacit endorsement of India’s actions during the Doklam crisis, as well as a reaffirmation of ties.
Source: the hindu, livemint.
GS3 Topic: International Relations
Cabinet approves agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance between India and Armenia in custom matters
- This agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the second month after both parties notify each other in through diplomatic channels, that the necessary national legal requirements for entry into force of this agreement have been fulfilled.
- The agreement will further help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of customs offences.
- It is also expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between both 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. The draft text of the Agreement has been finalized with the concurrence of the two Customs Administrations. The draft Agreement takes care of Indian Customs’ concerns and requirements, particularly in the area of exchange of information on the correctness of the Customs value declared and authenticity of certificates of origin of the goods traded between the two countries.
GS2 Topic: Government Schemes
CCEA nod for extending Rs 15,722cr RKVY-RAFTAAR till 2019-20
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared the continuation of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for three years till 2019-20.
- It is aimed at making farming a remunerative economic activity through strengthening the farmer’s effort, risk mitigation and promoting agribusiness entrepreneurship
- The scheme will incentivise states in enhancing more allocation to agriculture and allied sectors.
- This will also strengthen farmer’s efforts through creation of agriculture infrastructure that help in supply of quality inputs and market facilities.
- This will further promote agri-entrepreneurship and support business models that maximise returns to farmers.
There is allocation for special sub-schemes of RKVY-RAFTAAR of national priorities for 20 percent of the annual outlay; and 10 per cent of annual outlay including two per cent of administrative costs for innovation and agri-entrepreneur development through creating end-to-end solution, skill development and financial support for setting up the agri-enterprise.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana:
RKVY was launched during 2007-08 to achieve 4% annual growth in agricultural sector by ensuring holistic development. The scheme was under implementation from XI Five Year Plan. It has provided considerable flexibility and autonomy to states in planning and executing programmes for incentivizing investment in agriculture and allied sectors. It also has enabled adoption of national priorities without affecting autonomy and flexibility of states availability of appropriate technology and natural resources. DAPs and SAPs ensured accommodation of local needs, cropping pattern, priorities etc.
GS3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
There’s a huge gap between the Paris climate change goals and reality
In 2015 in Paris, the countries of the world agreed to hold the rise in global average temperatures to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Industry-related carbon emissions plateaued, mainly due to the remarkable slowdown in Chinese coal consumption and reductions in carbon intensity across the world. But it’s a relatively mild and short-lived trend.
- New economic growth bring in more burden
- Massive, ongoing investment in fossil-fuel technologies and reserves implies emissions far in excess of our global carbon budget.
- Overall greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise due to the growing contribution of land use, land-use change and forestry, or LULUCF, emissions.
Collectively, the carbon reductions pledged by the world’s countries in Paris are woefully inadequate. Even assuming all countries fulfill their pledges, it would account for only about a third of the needed emission reductions to get to 2 degrees.
Source: the hindu