Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 January 2018
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Council for Trade Development and Promotion
Context: Shri Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry recently chaired the 3rd meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion.
About the Council for Trade Development and Promotion:
The Council for Trade Development and Promotion was constituted in July 2015 under the chairpersonship of the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, in pursuance to the provisions of Foreign Trade Policy statement 2015-20.
Objective: The objective was to ensure a continuous dialogue with the governments of states and Union Territories on measures for providing an international trade enabling environment in the states and to create a framework for making the states active partners in boosting India’s exports.
Composition: The State Ministers of Commerce and Industry, Secretaries of concerned central departments/Ministries and heads of other export related organizations/trade bodies are Members of the Council.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Central Water Commission
Context: Central Water Commission has received Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) Special Recognition Award 2018 for Excellence in Health & Safety of Large Dams.
The award has been given in recognition of the contribution made by the Central Water Commission (CWC) for promoting the health and safety of large dams in India through the World Bank aided Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India, with assistance from the World Bank, is implementing the DAM REHABILITATION AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (DRIP), which would be a six-year project. The Central Dam Safety Organisation of Central Water Commission, assisted by a Consulting firm, is coordinating and supervising the Project implementation.
Goals: The project originally envisaged the rehabilitation and improvement of about 223 dams within four states namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu and later Karnataka, Uttarakhand (UNVNL) and Jharkhand (DVC) joined DRIP and total number of dams covered under DRIP increased to 250. The project will also promote new technologies and improve Institutional capacities for dam safety evaluation and implementation at the Central and State levels and in some identified premier academic and research institutes of the country.
The project development objectives of DRIP are: (i) to improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner, and (ii) to strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at central level.
Facts for Prelims:
About CWC: Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
Functions: The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development. It also undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
H5 Avian Influenza
Context: An outbreak of H5 Avian Influenza has been reported from Dasarahalli village from Bengaluru Urban District in Karnataka. On the directions of the Centre, the Karnataka Government has notified the outbreak and initiated the control and containment operations.
A central team of Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries comprising of two experts has been deputed to Bengaluru for overseeing the operation and to assist the State Government.
Avian influenza or Bird flu:
Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds with a tendency of causing large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Although most influenza viruses do not infect humans, A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) have caused serious infections in people.
Symptoms: Fever, cough, sore throat, muscle, body aches, nausea can lead to severe breathing problems, pneumonia, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Treatment: Human infections with bird flu viruses usually can be treated with the same prescription drugs that are used to treat human seasonal flu viruses.
Risk factors involved: According to WHO, a few A(H5N1) human cases have been linked to consumption of dishes made of raw, contaminated poultry blood. However, slaughter, handling carcasses of the infected poultry, and preparing poultry for daily consumption in households are likely to be risk factors.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Indian diaspora.
ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya
Context: The annual ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is being celebrated at Singapore. The conference, which will be attended by top leaders and businessmen from Singapore and India, will discuss the contribution of the Indian diaspora community in Southeast Asia.
Aim of the event: To highlight the “ancient human, maritime, cultural, commercial and religious links between India and Southeast Asia” and to promote greater economic, cultural and diplomatic cooperation between the two regions.
Theme: “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic Asean-India Partnership.”
Significance of the event:
The event coincides with the 25th anniversary of India-Asean dialogue partnership, which will be marked by a summit on Jan. 25 in New Delhi. Asean leaders have been invited by India to be chief guests at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26.
About Pravasi Bharatiya Divas:
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated every year on January 9 to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.
These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and Indian communities in India for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Context: The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on bio-toilets has found 1,99,689 defects in 25,000 toilets installed in Railways. Also, according to the data released by national auditor to Parliament, the Indian Railways needs to buy 3,350 truckloads of cow dung at Rs 42 crore in 2018 to “recharge”— add bacteria to activate degradation — leaky, malfunctioning ‘bio-toilets’ that it has fitted on 44.8% of trains and hopes to expand to all trains by 2018.
What are Bio- toilets?
The bio-toilets are fitted underneath the lavatories and the human excreta discharged into them; these toilets incorporate microbes with an anaerobic digestion process to digest human waste. A colony of anaerobic bacteria acts upon the collected waste and converts the waste into water and biogases (mainly methane and carbon dioxide). While the gases escape into the atmosphere, the wastewater is discharged after disinfection onto the track, thus putting an end to the crisis of railway tracks strewn with excreta.
Each bio-toilet requires 60 litres — or three large bucketfuls — of inoculum, a mix of cow dung and water. This inoculum begins the process of breaking down 3,980 tons of human excreta. Anaerobic bacteria are abundantly available in cow dung.
Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Context: Britain is considering implementing a “latte tax” to curb the consumption of disposable coffee cups. The fee would amount to 50 cents on top of every coffee sold, and it’s intended to encourage people to use reusable coffee cups.
Need for levy on this:
In the UK, 500 takeaway coffee cups are thrown away every minute. Most takeaway cups aren’t recyclable; they’re laminated with plastic or polyethylene that is difficult to strip away and most recycling facilities aren’t equipped to recycle them.
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT.
Context: Ethereum has hit $1,000 for the first time, while investors eye at alternative currencies such as ripple, ethereum and litecoin besides bitcoin. Earlier Ethereum was the second-most valued currency after bitcoin, but now ripple has outpaced it lately. The market capitalization of ripple is $121 billion while ethereum’s market cap is little less than $100 billion on Saturday. Bitcoin, the big daddy of cryptocurrency, still rules the world of digital currencies with a whopping market cap of $280 billion.
What is Ethereum?
It, like most cryptocurrencies, shares the same basic traits as bitcoin. It has underlying blockchain technology with a tethered token, which in this case is known as “Ether.” Ether is the token investors are purchasing.
How is it different from other cryptocurrencies?
Unlike most blockchains, Ethereum’s has an added component that’s particularly attractive to enterprise clients: smart contracts. These protocols help to verify, facilitate, or enforce the negotiation of a contract in an efficient and secure manner.
About Blockchain technology:
Blockchain is the digital and decentralized ledger that records transactions without the need for a financial intermediary, which in most cases is a bank.
The advantages of blockchain technology are aplenty. First, is the potential for smaller transaction fees as a result of having no third-party involved. Secondly, the decentralization of blockchain ensures that there’s no central hub cybercriminals could attack.