Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 30, 2017

Niti Ayog

NITI Aayog launches Ease of Doing Business Report

An Enterprise Survey of Indian States

  • NITI Aayog launched the Ease of Doing Business report based on an Enterprise Survey of 3,500 manufacturing firms across Indian states and union territories.
  • The survey has been conducted, along with the IDFC Institute, to assess the business regulations and enabling environment across India from firms’ perspective.

The Survey was released by the Union Minister of Commerce

  • The Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Shri Arvind Panagariya, his successor Rajiv Kumar who assumes office on 1st September

CEO NITI Aayog - Shri Amitabh Kant

The major findings of this report are as follows:

  • Firms located in high-growth states also report 25% less power shortages in a typical month, compared to firms in low-growth states.
  • Newer and younger firms re¬port a more favorable business environment in that they take less time in obtaining approvals than older firms
  • Young firms report that most regulatory processes do not constitute a major obstacle to their doing business.
  • Informational gaps - States need to enhance awareness of the steps being undertaken by them to the improve ease of doing business.
  • Less information about single window facilities introduced by state governments for setting up a business.
  • Labor regulations are a bigger constraint for labor intensive
  • Hiring contract labor is a major or very severe obstacle.
  • Lose a greater number of days due to strikes and lockouts.
  • Higher average time for environmental approvals and longer power shortages.
  • Firms with more than 100 employees took significantly longer to get necessary approvals than smaller firms with less than 10 employees..

Bilateral Relations

MNRE & GIZ Signs Agreement to Improve Framework Conditions for Grid Integration of Renewable Energies

Implementing agency –

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE),

Government of India

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH India on behalf of the

Government of the Federal Republic of Germany

  • Signed an agreement on technical cooperation under the “Indo-German Energy Programme –
  • Green Energy Corridors (IGEN-GEC)”

Objective –

  • Is to improve the sector framework and conditions for grid integration of renewable energies.

Enlighten about the programme -

  • Germany is a very reliable partner country and has been supporting India in achieving its goal for sustainable development through bilateral cooperation for almost six decade now
  • Both the countries have very constructive dialogue under the Indo-German Energy Forum (IGEF).
  • Green Energy Corridors scheme of the Government of India which is a prerequisite for large scale grid integration of renewable energy thus contributing to achieve the 175 GW target of the Government of India for renewable energy generation capacity by 2022.


Government to hold Pan India Handloom and Handicraft Camps

  • Hastkala Sahyog Shivir to cover more than 200 Handloom clusters and 200 Handicraft Clusters
  • The Ministry of Textiles proposes to organize Pan India camps in handlooms and handicrafts clusters, under the initiative “Hastkala Sahyog Shivir”.
  • The camps will be organized during 7th October to 17th October, 2017.
  • This initiative is dedicated to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Garib Kalyan Varsh, the birth centenary year of Pandit Deendayal Upadhayay.

The following services will be provided to the weavers and artisans in these camps:

a) Issuance of credit facilities through MUDRA scheme
b) Assistance for technological upgradation under Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata
c) Distribution of modern tool kits and equipments
d) Issuance of Yarn Pass Book
e) Enrollment under IGNOU/NIOS courses
f) Access to Common Service Centre facilities
g) Buyer-seller meets and expos


NMCG Awards Contracts for Three STPs (sewage treatment plant) on Hybrid Annuity Mode

  • In a big push to Namami Gange programme, National Mission for Clean Ganga under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has awarded for the first time contracts for three STPs under hybrid annuity model.
  • Two STPs of 68 MLD and 14 MLD will be set up at Haridwar and one STP of 15 MLD at Varanasi.
  • This Hybrid Annuity model is first of its kind in the country’s waste water management sector.
  • The Central Government will completely fund the STPs construction ensuring that there is no shortage of resources for the project.
  • The unique financial model will ensure the transparency and accountability of the running of sewage treatment infrastructure.
  • The contractors will not only establish the sewage treatment plant but they will also operate and maintain it for a period of 15 years.

Ease Of Doing Business

World’s first diamond futures contracts


  • The Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX)


  • To provide exporters with a hedging tool


  • India is a global diamond polishing hub where 14 out of every 15 rough diamonds in the world are polished.
  • The futures contracts will enable companies involving in cut and polished gems business to better hedge price risks.
  • ICEX has received approval from market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to commence trading with diamond futures contracts.

Enlighten about ICEX -

  • The ICEX has started trading in 1 carat/100 cent contracts and eventually in future will add 50 cent and 30 cent contracts.
  • It has put in place necessary infrastructure to handle deposits, grading and sealing, vaulting and delivery of diamonds for the diamond futures contracts.
  • To avail futures contracts sellers will need to get the diamond certified by De Beers-promoted International Institute of Diamond Grading and Research.
  • The certification will allow getting credit in electronic form equivalent to the carat deposited.
  • Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) ICEX is deemed recognized Stock exchange providing a nation-wide on-line trading platform in commodity derivative.
  • It is a public-private partnership with Reliance Capital, MMTC Ltd, Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd, Indian Potash Ltd, KRIBHCO and IDFC Bank as major shareholders. It was established under the SCRA, 1956 in terms of Section 131(B) of Finance Act, 2015 pursuant to central

Science & Tech.

Deep Ocean Mission

Going to launch BY -

  • The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)

When –

  • by January 2018

Why –

  • to spur research activities in ocean science and develop technology to harness ocean resources.
  • The proposed inter-ministerial and interdisciplinary project aims to explore and harness mineral resources beneath the ocean floor.

Need -

  • India has 7,500 km of coastline and 2.4 million square km of exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • The oceans along Indian peninsula contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host of other natural resources.
  • China has been working on a deep sea mission for mining mineral deposits in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Enlighten about the mission –

  • The mission is intended to harness ocean resources in responsible way and play important transformative role in prosperity and security of the nation.
  • It will also seek to create jobs and business opportunities in ocean science.
  • It will not only involve the MoES, but also departments of other ministries like science and technology and the biotechnology etc.

The Ocean Forecasting System for Indian Ocean countries Comoros, Madagascar, and Mozambique


  • The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)
  • Under the - Ministry of Earth Sciences
  • It was unveiled at the third Ministerial Meeting of Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Asia and Africa (RIMES) held at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
  • The Ocean Forecast System will offer-
  • High wave alerts
  • Port warnings
  • Forecast
  • Oil spill advisory services
  • Storm surge warnings and help in search and rescue operations.
  • These ocean services are aimed towards safety at the sea.
  • The ocean forecast and early warming information on winds, high wave, currents, tides, subsurface ocean conditions will cater to users like coastal population, tourism sector, coastal defence ocials, port authorities, marine police, research institutions and offshore industries of these countries.

Enlighten about INCOIS

  • INCOIS has been developing Ocean Forecast System for the Indian Ocean countries and already has provided these operational services to Maldives, Sri Lanka and Seychelles.
  • Moreover, the real-time data from territories of these countries also help India to improve the ocean forecast and early warning system.
  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) INCOIS is an autonomous organization of the Union Government, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO).
  • It was established in 1999 and is headquartered in Pragathi Nagar, Hyderabad.
  • Its mandated is to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to government agencies, society, industry and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focussed research.


Nuakhai Juhar

  • Nuakhai is the chief festival of Western Odisha.
  • It is the harvest festival of Odisha wherein farmers are in possession of new rice of the season.
  • They offer the first produce of their respective lands to Goddess Samaleswari and then consume it personally. It is one of the major festivals celebrated widely in the state.