Insights Daily Current Affairs, 21 December 2017
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
India’s first National Rail and Transportation University at Vadodara
Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the Ministry of Railways’ transformative initiative to set up the first ever National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) in Vadodara to skill its human resources and build capability. This innovative idea will be a catalyst for transformation of rail and transport sector towards New India.
- The University will be set up as a Deemed to Be University under de novo category as per the UGC [Institutions Deemed to be Universities] Regulations, 2016.
- A not-for-profit Company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 will be created by the Ministry of Railways which shall be the Managing Company of the proposed university.
- The company will provide financial and infrastructural support to the university, and appoint Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor of the university.
- Board of Management, comprising professionals and academics, shall be independent of the Managing Company with full autonomy to perform its academic and administrative responsibilities.
- The funding of the new University/Institute is to entirely come from Ministry of Railways.
Significance of this move:
The university plans to use latest pedagogy and technology applications (satellite based tracking, Radio Frequency Identification and Artificial Intelligence) to improve on-the-job performance and productivity. Close collaboration with the Indian Railways will ensure that the stakeholders have access to Railways’ facilities, which will work as ‘live labs’ and they will be able to work on solving real life problems. It will have ‘Centres of Excellence’ showcasing high-end, niche technology like High Speed Train.
Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
Context: A Financing Agreement for IDA Credit of USD 125 million (equivalent) for the “Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement Operation (STRIVE) Project” was recently signed by the Government of India with the World Bank.
The Objective of the operation is to improve access to quality and market-driven vocational training provided in it is and apprenticeships.
About the Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) project:
What is it? STRIVE is an outcome focused scheme marking shift in government’s implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to results. STRIVE will focus to improve on the quality and the market relevance of vocational training provided in ITIs and strengthen the apprenticeship programme through industry-cluster approach.
The result areas for the project include Improved Performance of Industrial Training Institutes; Increased Capacities of State Governments to Support Industrial Training Institutes and Apprenticeship Training; Improved Teaching and Learning; and Improved and Broadened Apprenticeship Training.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill
Context: Lok Sabha has passed the Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill. The Bill amends the regulations governing compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes.
Highlights of the Bill:
- The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill 2017 amends the original 1952 Act to allow the Centre to reissue the acquisition notice in case the property’s owner wants to be given a hearing.
- As per the amendment, the compensation rates that will be payable will be fixed at the date of publication of the first notice in addition to an interest.
- The amended bill provides that the government need not pay compensation at the current market rate as is applicable on the date of issuing the fresh notice.
- The amended bill is aimed at addressing cases where the property owner is able, after prolonged litigation, to get the acquisition notice quashed in the court so as to be given a hearing.
The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act empowers the central government to requisition any immovable property and also to acquire them under certain specified conditions. The Act came into force in March 1952.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Context: The KP Plenary Session is being held at Brisbane, Australia. In one of the landmark decisions favoring India’s leading position in Diamonds globally, India was appointed as the Kimberly Process (KP) Vice Chair for 2018 & Chair for 2019 in the last plenary held in Dubai in November, 2016. The EU will be KP Chair for 2018.
About Kimberley process:
What is the Kimberley Process?
The Kimberley Process is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds. It aims to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds, while helping to protect legitimate trade in rough diamonds. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) outlines the rules that govern the trade in rough diamonds. The KPCS has developed a set of minimum requirements that each participant must meet. The KP is not, strictly speaking, an international organisation: it has no permanent offices or permanent staff. It relies on the contributions – under the principle of ‘burden-sharing’ – of participants, supported by industry and civil society observers. Neither can the KP be considered as an international agreement from a legal perspective, as it is implemented through the national legislations of its participants.
What are Conflict diamonds? “Conflict Diamonds” means rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments. It is also described in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Who is involved?
The Kimberley Process (KP) is open to all countries that are willing and able to implement its requirements. The KP has 54 participants, representing 81 countries, with the European Union and its Member States counting as a single participant. KP members account for approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds. In addition, the World Diamond Council, representing the international diamond industry, and civil society organisations, such as Partnership-Africa Canada, participate in the KP and have played a major role since its outset.
How does the Kimberley Process work?
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade. Under the terms of the KPCS, participating states must meet ‘minimum requirements’ and must put in place national legislation and institutions; export, import and internal controls; and also commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data. Participants can only legally trade with other participants who have also met the minimum requirements of the scheme, and international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KP certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles Sector (SCBTS)
Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for a new skill development scheme covering the entire value chain of the textile sector excluding Spinning & Weaving in organized Sector, titled “Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)” from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with an outlay of Rs. 1300 crore.
- The scheme will have National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) compliant training courses with funding norms as per the Common Norms notified by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
- The scheme will be implemented for the benefit of all sections of the society across the country including rural, remote, LWE affected, North East, J&K by imparting skills in the identified job roles. Preference will be given to various social groups, SC, ST, differently abled, minorities and other vulnerable groups.
- The skilling programmes would be implemented through textile Industry /Units, reputed training institutions and Institutions of Ministry of Textiles /State Governments having placement tie-ups with textile industry/units.
- The objectives of the scheme are to provide demand driven, placement oriented skilling programme to incentivize the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors; to promote skilling and skill up-gradation in the traditional sectors through respective Sectoral Divisions/organizations of Ministry of Textiles; and to provide livelihood to all sections of the society across the country.
Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Pare Hydroelectric Plant
Context: A Loan agreement and a Guarantee agreement for providing additional funding of Euro 20 million has been signed for the project ‘Pare Hydroelectric Plant’ under Indo-German Bilateral Development Cooperation.
About the Pare Hydroelectric project:
What is it? The Pare Hydro Electric Project (2 x 55 MW) is planned as a run-of-the-river scheme on the Dikrong River in the Papumpare District of Arunachal Pradesh.
The broad objective of the project is generation of hydroelectric power for socio-economic development of the North Eastern Region.
The purpose of the project is efficient and ecological friendly generation of electric power. This will contribute to the economic efficient generation of power, growth in the North East region and protection of global climate.
Facts for Prelims:
The Dikrong is one of the major north bank tributaries of the river Brahmaputra, which originates from the lesser Himalayan ranges in Arunachal Pradesh. The total length of river Dikrong is 145 kilometer. It flows through the hilly region of Arunachal Pradesh for a distance of about 113 kilometer and remaining 32 kilometers it flows through the plains of Assam.
Facts for Prelims:
What is it? It is a bilateral exercise between Indian Navy and Oman Navy. The exercise is also called as “Sea Breeze”. The 11th edition of this exercise was held in Muscat. The first exercise Indian Navy with Royal Navy of Oman was conducted in 1993 and this year marks 24 years of Indian Navy -Royal Navy of Oman bilateral exercises.