Insights Daily Current Affairs, 28 December 2017
Topic: Role of women and women’s organization.
Triple Talaq bill
Context: The government has introduced in the Lok Sabha the much talked-about Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which seeks to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq (or ‘talaq-e-biddat’).
Highlights of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill:
- The Bill seeks to prohibit “any pronouncement (of divorce) by a person upon his wife by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form, or in any other manner”.
- The proposed law seeks to make triple talaq a punishable offence and describes the practice as against “constitutional morality” and “gender equity”. Anyone who pronounces instant divorce “shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and a fine”, the bill proposes.
- As per the provisions of the Bill, the husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.
- The proposed law will be applicable only to instant triple talaq and will empower the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children. The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
The Supreme Court had termed the practice of instant triple talaq unconstitutional while considering a petition to that effect. The then CJI J S Khehar had directed the government to bring in a legislation in this regard.
Several Muslim clerics and Muslim organisations have opposed the Bill, terming the government’s stand as “uncalled for interference” in the personal laws of the community. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) opposed the legislation holding it against the Sharia law and may potentially destroy families if made into a law.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
25th National Children’s Science Congress
Context: The 25th edition of National Children Science Congress (NCSC-2017) was recently held Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The theme of the five-day Congress this was ‘Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development’ with the special focus on persons with disabilities.
About the National Children’s Science Congress:
What is it? National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) is a nationwide Science Communication programme started in the year 1993. It is a programme of National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India organised nationally by NCSTC-Network, New Delhi.
Objectives: The primary objective of the Children’s Science Congress is to make a forum available to children of the age-group of 10-17 years, both from formal school system as well as from out of school, to exhibit their creativity and innovativeness and more particularly their ability to solve a societal problem experienced locally using the method of science.
Significance: The Children’s Science Congress encourages a sense of discovery. It emboldens the participants to question many aspects of our progress and development and express their findings in their vernacular.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
The Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy Bill, 2017
The Parliament has passed the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy Bill, 2017.
Highlights of the Bill:
Institution of national importance: The Bill establishes the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy, Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It declares the Institute as an institution of national importance. The Institute aims to provide high quality education and research focussing on the themes of petroleum, hydrocarbons and energy.
Authorities of the Institute: The key authorities of the Institute are as follows: (i) the General Council; (ii) the Board of Governors; (iii) the Senate; and (iv) any other authorities declared by the statutes.
Composition and powers of the Board of Governors: The Board of Governors will comprise 13 members including: (i) the President (to be appointed by the central government); (ii) the Director of the Institute; (iii) two persons from the Board of Directors of companies that contribute to the Institute’s endowment fund (to be nominated by the central government); (iv) five eminent experts in the field of petroleum technology and energy; and (v) two professors of the Institute.
Powers of the Board of Governors include: (i) instituting courses of study and laying down standards of proficiency and other academic distinctions; (ii) considering proposals for taking loans for the Institute; (iii) creating academic, administrative, technical and other posts; and (iv) fixing fees and other charges.
Composition and powers of the General Council: The Council will comprise up to 20 members including the: (i) Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Chairman); (ii) Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Limited; (iii) Secretary, Oil Industry Development Board; and (iv) Principal Advisor (Energy), NITI Aayog.
The powers of the Council include: (i) reviewing the broad policies and programmes of the Institute; (ii) advising the Board with respect to new technologies in the domain of energy and hydrocarbon development; and (iii) suggesting improvements in fiscal management of the Institute.
Appointment of the Director: The Director of the Institute will be appointed by the central government. The Director will be the principal academic and executive officer of the Institute.
Funding: The Institute will be required to maintain a fund which will be credited with the funds that it receives from the central government, fees and money received from any other sources (grants and gifts). The accounts of the Institute shall be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor- General of India.
Settlement of disputes: Any dispute arising out of a contract between the Institute and any of its employees will be referred to an internally constituted Tribunal of Arbitration. The Tribunal will consist of: (i) one member appointed by the Institute; (ii) one member nominated by the employee; and (iii) an umpire appointed by the Visitor (President of India). The decision of the Tribunal of Arbitration will be considered final. In case of any dispute between the Institute and the central government, the decision of the central government will be considered final.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: e governance- applications.
Fiber grid project
Context: President Ram Nath Kovind recently dedicated the Andhra Pradesh Fibre Grid project which aims to provide on-demand affordable broadband connectivity.
About the Fiber Grid Project:
- The project, in partnership with the government of India and the private sector, will provide internet speeds of 10 Mbps for all households and 1-10 Gbps for all institutions by 2018.
- The AP Fibre Grid was conceptualised to provide high-speed internet service to every household in the state at a nominal rate. The project, when completed by 2019, will cover over one crore households, 50,000 schools and educational institutions, all government offices, over 5,000 government hospitals and health centres and all panchayat offices.
- Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Limited (APSFL), which is implementing the AP Fiber Grid project, will provide three services at tariffs starting as low as `149 for 5 GB data, along with 250-odd TV channels and a free telephone connection.
- Called triple play services, it includes broadband of 15 Mbps to households and 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps connection to government offices and corporates, IPTV offerings 250-odd channels and free telephone connection with no rentals and calls fee within fibre grid network.
- The fibre grid will also offer services like video-conferencing and movies on demand. The district command control centres, all public CCTVs, the AP State Wide Area Network will be integrated into the grid.
Significance of the project:
The project is expected boost digital literacy and skill development in the state, and provide citizen services on digital platform to every household. It also expected to facilitate setting up BPOs or call centres in rural areas.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: animal rearing.
Context: Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has launched Livestock Disease Forewarning –Mobile Application (LDF-Mobile App).
About the LDF-Mobile App:
The app has been developed by ICAR-National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology and Disease Informatics (ICAR-NIVEDI), Bengaluru. ICAR-NIVEDI uses Monthly Bulletin system to send out early warning.
- Apart from early warning, the app will also provide information about clinical samples for the diagnosis in case of the epidemic so that immediate action in case of the epidemic.
- This app will be beneficial for the consumers and stakeholders engaged in disease control programmes.
India’s first pod taxi on the way, to follow U.S. safety norms
Context: The much-awaited India’s first pod taxi project- also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)- has moved a step closer to reality after a high-level panel recommended inviting fresh bids for the same conforming to the strictest safety standards on the lines of those prescribed by an American body.
The committee set up for technical and safety standards of PRT has recommended issuance of a fresh EOI (expression of interest) incorporating (automated people movers) APM standards and specifications, along with other general safety parameters with Niti Aayog recommendations.
Proposed safety standards:
The automated people mover (APM) standards in the US as recommended by the committee for the maiden PRT in India have been prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and these constitute the minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT. The APM standards include minimum requirements for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the various sub-systems of an APM system and are in general relevant for a PRT. These include vehicle arrival audio and video visual warning system, platform sloping, evacuation of misalighted vehicles, surveillance/CCTV, audio communication, emergency call points and fire protection, among other advanced systems.
About the project:
This pilot project will cover a stretch of 13 kilometres from the Gurugram-Delhi border to Badshapur Mod on Sohna Road with a total of 16 stations. For this, a budget of Rs 850 crore has been estimated. The feasibility report for the same has been submitted by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Every pod of Metrino taxi can accommodate up to five passengers.
What is Personal rapid transit (PRT) network?
Sized for individual or small group travel, personal rapid transit (PRT) is a transport mode combining small automated vehicles, known as pods, operating on a network of specially built guideways. The network consists of a number of stations or stops for passengers to get on and get off. The average speed of the pods is 60 kilometres per hour.
Brief history of Personal rapid transit (PRT) network:
- The modern PRT concept began around 1953 when Donn Fichter, a city transportation planner, began research on PRT and alternative transportation methods
- In 1967, Aramis project, an experimental personal rapid transit system was started by aerospace giant Matra in Paris. The project was, however, cancelled when it failed its qualification trials in November 1987
- Between 1970 and 1978, Japan operated a project called “Computer-controlled Vehicle System” (CVS). In a full-scale test facility, 84 vehicles operated at speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour on a 4.8 kilometres guideway.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: infrastructure- roadways.
Government eyes 100% electric public transport through FAME II
The Centre is targeting a fully electric fleet for country’s public transport, including buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws under the second phase of FAME India scheme. This move is mainly aimed at reducing pollution in the country.
The pilot phase or phase I of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) was launched by the government in 2015, which expires on March 31, 2018. Thereafter, the phase II will be launched.
About FAME India scheme:
What is it? With an aim to promote eco-friendly vehicles, the government had launched the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-India) scheme in 2015.
Aim: The FAME India Scheme is aimed at incentivising all vehicle segments, including two-wheelers, three wheeler auto, passenger four-wheeler vehicle, light commercial vehicles and buses. The scheme covers hybrid and electric technologies like a strong hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.
Facts: FAME India – Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. The scheme envisages Rs 795 crore support in the first two fiscals starting with the current year. It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry.
Facts for Prelims:
Kabul-Mumbai cargo service on:
India and Afghanistan have launched an air freight corridor service connecting Kabul with Mumbai. The air corridor marks an important bilateral development as it comes as Afghanistan joined Pakistan and China in a trilateral talk in Beijing which marked Kabul’s opening up to Islamabad.
According to a research report by ratings agency CARE, the 9.85% ratio of bad loans in banks has put India in the group of those nations that have very high nonperforming assets (NPAs). The only major countries with similar ratios are the troubled EU nations: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain — commonly referred to as PIIGS.