Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 3, 2018

Cabinet Decisions

Cabinet approves Policy Framework for exploration and exploitation of Unconventional Hydrocarbons


  • The Union Cabinet has approved the policy to permit exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons such as Shale oil/gas, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) etc.
  • It will be carried out under the existing Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), CBM contracts and Nomination fields to encourage the existing Contractors in the licensed/leased area to unlock the potential of unconventional hydrocarbons in the existing acreages.

Enlighten about the benefits of the programme

  • This policy will enable the realization of prospective hydrocarbon reserves in the existing Contract Areas which otherwise would remain unexplored and unexploited.
  • With this policy dispensation, new investment in Exploration and Production (E&P) activities and chances of finding new hydrocarbon discoveries and resultant increased domestic production thereof is expected.
  • Exploration and exploitation of additional hydrocarbon resources is expected to spur new investment, impetus to economic activities, additional employment generation and thus benefitting various sections of society.
  • This will lead to induction of new, innovative and cutting-edge technology and forging new technological collaboration to exploit unconventional hydrocarbons.

Enlighten about the background

  • As per existing contractual regime of PSCs, existing Contractors are not allowed to explore and exploit CBM or other unconventional hydrocarbons in already allotted licensed/leased area.
  • Similarly, CBM Contractors are not allowed to exploit any other hydrocarbon except CBM.
  • Acreages held at present by various Contractors in PSCs and CBM blocks and National Oil Companies (NOCs) in nomination regime constitute a significant part of India’s sedimentary basin.

Shale gas

  • In preliminary studies, ‘in place’ probable Shale gas resources in the range of 100-200 TCF in 5 Indian sedimentary basins have been assessed by various international agencies.
  • Presence of Shale oil/gas has a strong possibility in basins such as Cambay, Krishna- Godavari (KG), Cauvery etc. where mature organic rich Shale exist.
  • With the approval of this policy, there will be complete shift from ‘One hydrocarbon Resource Type’ to ‘Uniform Licensing Policy’ which is presently applicable in Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licensing Policy (HELP) and Discovered Small Field (DSF) Policy.

Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

Cabinet approves Re-structuring of the Agricultural Scientists' Recruitment Board (ASRB)

  • The ASRB will now be a 4 Member body instead of 3 Members. It will have a Chairperson and 3 Members.
  • ASRB would be for a period of three years or till attainment of 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.
  • For the purpose of autonomy, secrecy, accountability and efficient functioning ASRB shall be delinked from ICAR and to be attached with Deptt. of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) under Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare.
  • The budget head for ASRB may also be delinked from ICAR and be created under DARE, and the ASRB may have its own cadre of administrative staff in the secretariat and have independent administrative control.
  • The four Member body comprising of one Chairperson and three Members would help in expediting the work and functioning of ASRB.
  • It would support in expediting the recruitment process which would be beneficial for the agrarian community and agriculture at large.
  • It will ensure more transparency and efficiency in recruitment of meritorious scientists to various scientific positions in lCAR, the premier agency for agricultural research and education in the country.

Enlighten about Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board

  • In November 1973, the Cabinet approved inter alia setting up of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board with a whole-time Chairman, to function as an independent recruitment agency in recruitment to various scientific positions in Agricultural Research Service and Research Management Positions of ICAR/DARE.
  • In view of the significant increase in work load of ASRB a proposal was initiated for restructuring of the Board, and the Cabinet approved the proposal in October 1986 by increasing the membership from one to three of ASRB.
  • Since the last restructuring of ASRB in 1986, the work load of ASRB have substantially increased and significant changes have occurred in the field of agricultural science, and hence, there was a need to enlarge the composition of the board and to expand the zone of expertise to choose the Chairman and Members of the Board.

Ministry of Defence

Ballistic Missile Interceptor AAD Successfully Flight Tested Successfully test-fired indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile


  • DRDO conducted the successful test of the Ballistic Missile Interceptor Advanced Area Defence (AAD
  • The endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms was launched against multiple simulated targets of 1500 km class ballistic missile.
  • One target among simultaneously incoming multiple targets was selected on real time, the weapon system radars tracked the target and the missile locked on to it and intercepted the target with a high degree of accuracy.
  • The complete event including the engagement and interception was tracked by a number of electro-optical tracking systems, radars and telemetry stations. All the mission objectives were successfully met.

NITI Aayog

Move Hack, global mobility hackathon to crowdsource solutions for future of mobility in India Launched by NITI Aayog


  • NITI Aayog has launched Move Hack, a global mobility hackathon to crowdsource solutions aimed at the future of mobility in India.

Move Hack

  • Move Hack is the first platform in the world which has enmeshed public transport, private transport, road safety, multimodal connectivity, and new age transport technologies such as zero emission vehicles and intra city aerial transport in a hackathon platform spearheaded by a Government.
  • Envisaged to be one of the largest hackathons globally, Move Hack is focused on 10 themes and structured over three legs: online, followed by Singapore leg, and the finals in New Delhi.

Enlighten about Move Hack

  • Transportation and mobility are emerging as potential drivers of innovation and economic growth of the 21st century.
  • Move Hack aims to bring about innovative, dynamic and scalable solutions to problems pertaining to mobility.
  • The hackathon has two-pronged campaign approach: (a) “Just Code It”: aimed at solutions through innovations in technology / product / software and data analysis, and (b) “Just Solve It”: innovative business ideas or sustainable solutions to transform mobility infrastructure through technology.
  • Move Hack is open to individuals from all nationalities, making it a truly global hackathon.
  • The hackathon is organized in partnership with Government of Singapore and is powered by Hacker Earth.
  • PwC is the Knowledge Partner and NASSCOM is the Strategic Partner.
  • The evaluations will be done by jury comprising of subject matter experts, venture capitalists, business leaders and successful entrepreneurs

Intellectual Property

Logo for geographical indication (GI) certified products


  • Union Government has imposed safeguard duty of 25% on import of solar cells (whether or not assembled in modules or panels) from China and Malaysia.

Unveiled by

  • Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry has unveiled tricolour logo for geographical indication (GI) certified products.

Tagline of the logo

  • Invaluable Treasures of Incredible India


  • The purpose of logo and tagline for GI selected is to increase awareness about intellectual property rights (IPRs) and also and importance of GI products in the country.

Enlighten about the logo and tagline

  • GI-registered goods will sport logo and tagline to make them more attractive Geographical Indication (GI)

Enlighten about GI

  • GI tag is name or sign used on certain products which correspond to specific geographical location or origin.
  • It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods having special quality and established reputation.
  • The goods and products having tag are recognised for their origin, quality and reputation and gives it required edge in global market.
  • It also ensures that none can use their name, giving them exclusivity.
  • The registration of GI is valid for 10 years after which it needs to be renewed.
  • Violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law.
  • The purpose of GI tag enables stakeholders to authenticate their production while earning a premium and derive an improved livelihood.
  • GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.
  • At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, GI tag Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it.
  • This Act is administered by Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also Registrar of Geographical Indications and is based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • Total of 320 products have been conferred GI status in India(as of now).
  • Darjeeling Tea, Tirupathi Laddu, Kangra Paintings, Nagpur Orange and Kashmir Pashmina are among registered GIs in India.
  • Karnataka tops with 38 GI products, followed by Maharashtra which has 32 GI products. Tamil Nadu comes third with 25 GI products

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , Indian Express