Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 3, 2017

Bilateral Relations

World Bank has allowed India to construct Kishanganga, Ratle hydroelectric power

  • Kishanganga & Ratla hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of Jhelum and Chenab
  • Pakistan had opposed the construction of the Kishanganga (Jhelum River) and Ratle (Chenab River) hydroelectric power plants built by India in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • IWT has given Pakistan full control over these three western rivers for unrestricted use. Besides, it also allows India to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers along with other uses, subject to constraints specified in annexure to the treaty.

Enlighten about Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

  • It is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan which was brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development).
  • It deals with sharing of water of Indus water system having six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between the two countries.
  • It was signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan in Karachi on September 19, 1960. It is most successful water treaty in world. Even, it has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965 Ayub Khan in Karachi on September 19, 1960. It is most successful water treaty in world. Even, it has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil stand off
  • As per treaty, control over three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was given to India
  • While control over three western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab was given to Pakistan.
  • It allows India to use only 20% of the water of Indus river, which ows through it rest for irrigation, power generation and transport. Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty.

Defence

Humraaz app for soldiers to track promotions, postings

  • Indian Army develops Humraaz app for soldiers to track promotions
  • The Indian Army has developed Humraaz mobile application through which serving soldiers can track details like postings and promotions.
  • The app will also enable soldiers to view their monthly salary slips, Form 16 and also download them.
  • The Humraaz mobile app has been developed in-house by the Army.
  • For security reasons, its installation has been linked to verication of Aadhar details
  • On installing the app, serving soldiers will be veried with the Army database over National Information Centre (NIC) cloud and they will get a one-time-password (OTP) on their registered mobile number

International Relations

MoU between India and Spain on Cooperation in renewable energy

  • The Memorandum of Understanding MoU was signed in May 2017 at Spain.
  • The MoU aims at strengthening bilateral cooperation between both countries with the exchange of expertise and networking of information in renewable energy.
  • Under the MoU, both sides will establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity.
  • The MoU also envisages establishing a Joint Working Committee (JWG) to review, monitor and discuss matters relation to areas of cooperation.

Reforms

Proxy voting for NRIs

  • The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and overseas Indians.
  • Currently, only service personnel are permitted to vote through proxy.
  • To make proxy voting for NRIs a reality, government is going to introduce bill to amend the Representation of People Act.
  • This decision will enable nearly 16 million NRIs to cast vote their in Indian elections (assembly and Lok Sabha elections) by appointing proxies residing in their constituencies.
  • Overseas electors will have to appoint a nominee afresh for each election — one person can act as proxy for only one overseas voter.
  • Government (Election Commission) will frame suitable rules and guidelines to make this move effective soon.
  • Currently, Indian voters residing abroad can only cast their votes in their respective constituencies where they are registered. This regulation is seen as restrictive as only a few thousand Indians living overseas have registered themselves as voters (maximum from Kerala). Of these, barely anyone has travelled to the country to exercise his or her franchise during the elections.
  • An expert committee in the Election Commission of India (ECI) working on the issue in 2015 had forwarded the legal framework to the Union Law ministry to amend electoral laws to allow overseas Indians use proxy voting.
  • According to rough estimates, there are about 1 crore Indians settled abroad, of which 60 lakh may be within eligible voting age
  • .By granting them proxy voting rights, NRIs will be able to exercise franchise during elections and also need not to spend foreign currency to come to India during elections. Moreover, this decision will also enable NRIS and overseas Indian to considerably sway in election results, especially in states such as Punjab, Kerala and Gujarat where a number of expats hail from

Science and Technology

Venus - Israel’s first environmental research satellite

  • It is considered the smallest satellite of its kind in the world
  • Israel has launched its first environmental research satellite named as Venus (Vegetation and Environment Monitoring New Micro-Satellite).
  • It is a joint venture between the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and its French counterpart CNES
  • It was launched on board of Arianespace Vega launcher from the European spaceport in French Guiana.

Enlighten about VENUS

  • The Venus satellite is an earth-observation micro-satellite. It weighs only 265 kilogram.
  • It will be placed in sun-synchronized orbit at an altitude of 720 kilometers. It will circle the earth 29 times in each 48-hour period and will stay in commission for 4.5 years.
  • The mini-satellite is equipped with a special camera that can visualize details on Earth that are not visible to the naked eye. Venus Satellite has a dual mission-science and technological. The scientific mission will monitor Earth’s vegetation using a camera capable of recording 12 narrow spectral bands.

Venus satellite will be used to -

  • Survey and monitor large areas to study soil, vegetation, forests, agriculture, water and air quality and other aspects of the environment.
  • It will help to obtain high-resolution photographs of specific sites to track environmental issues such as erosion, desertification, pollution, natural disasters, and other phenomena linked to climate change

Bills and Amendments

NABARD (Amendment) Bill, 2017

  • Passed by Lok sabha
  • The Lok Sabha has passed the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by voice vote
  • The Bill seeks to amend the NABARD Act, 1981. NABARD is responsible for providing and regulating facilities like credit for agricultural and industrial development in the rural areas

Enlighten about the bill

  • The Bill Increase in capital of NABARD.
  • The Bill allows Union Government to increase capital of NABARD to Rs 30,000 crore from Rs. 5000 crore.
  • It allows Union Government to increase it to more than Rs 30,000 crore in consultation with the RBI, if necessary.

Transfer of the RBI’s share to Union government:

  • The Bill provides that the Union Government alone must hold at least 51% capital share of NABARD. Further, it transfers share capital held by the RBI valued at Rs 20 crore to the Union Government.
  • Currently RBI holds 0.4% of the paid-up capital of NABARD and the remaining 99.6% is held by the Union government and this causes conflict in the RBI’s role as banking regulator and shareholder in NABARD.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) terms:

  • The Bill replaces the terms ‘small-scale industry’ and ‘industry in the tiny and decentralized sector’ with the terms ‘micro enterprise’, ‘small enterprise’ and ‘medium enterprise’ as defined in MSME Development Act, 2006. Further, it allows NABARD to provide financial assistance to banks if they provide loans to the MSMEs.,

Banking Regulation ( amendment bill) 2017

  • Passed by Lok Sabha
  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by voice vote.
  • It will replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.
  • The bill seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 to insert provisions for handling cases related to stressed assets or non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks.

Enlighten about the Bill

  • Stressed assets (NPAs) are loans defaulted by borrower in repayment or the loan which has been restructured by changing the repayment schedule
  • It will enable the Central government to authorize the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to direct banking companies to resolve stressed assets by initiating insolvency resolution process
  • These proceedings will be under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • It empowers RBI to issue directions to banks for resolution of stressed assets from time to time.
  • It enables RBI to specify committees or authorities to advise banks on resolution of stressed assets.
  • RBI will appoint or approve members on such committees
  • Applicability to State Bank of India (SBI) and also to Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)