Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 29, 2017

National

Mahadayi River Dispute

  • There have been ongoing protests in Karnataka on the issue of sharing of Mahadayi river waters.
  • Mahadayi river originates in Karnataka before flowing into Goa where it is called Mandovi.
  • Karnataka is seeking release of 7.56 tmcft water by Goa from the river for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project, , which is being opposed by Goa.
  • The project involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi river, to divert water to the Malaprabha which meets drinking water needs of the north Karnataka districts of Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Gadag.
  • Goa is of the view that it has no problem in providing "reasonable and justified" amount of 0.1 TMC of water to Karnataka for its drinking needs.
  • The matter is pending before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal.

Bills

Centre still to frame rules regarding CAMPA bill

  • Centre is still to frame rules to get the money disbursed from nearly ₹40,000 crore fund for regenerating forest land lost to industry
  • Union government had brought in CAMPA law to allow the States to access this fund seamlessly

Apprehensions regarding provisions in bill

  • The bill vested greater powers in the forest bureaucracy than on resident tribal people
  • There would be possible violation of tribal rights
  • Gram panchayats do not have the final say in deciding what kind of forests could be grown
  • There were doubts whether it would lead to an ecologically sustainable replenishing of forests

Government assurance

  • Government had promised that all these apprehensions would be addressed within the Rules of the Bill

Enlighten about the bill –

  • The Bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  • These Funds will receive payments for: (i) compensatory afforestation, (ii) net present value of forest (NPV), and (iii) other project specific payments. The National Fund will receive 10% of these funds, and the State Funds will receive the remaining 90%.
  • These Funds will be primarily spent on afforestation to compensate for loss of forest cover, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection and infrastructure development.
  • The Bill also establishes the National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the National and State Funds.

Infrastructure Development

India’s first Pod TAXI
India’s first pod taxi project moves a step forward

  • The projected pod taxi scheme — also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) has moved a step closer to reality
  • PRT is an advanced public transport using automated electric pod cars to provide a taxi-like demand responsive feeder and shuttle services for small groups of travelers and is a green mode of uninterrupted journey

Enlighten about the project

  • NHAI has been mandated to execute it on Delhi-Gurgaon pilot corridor from Delhi-Haryana border to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis
  • It will be incorporating Automated People Movers (APM) standards and specifications, along with other general safety parameters with Niti Aayog recommendations

Automated people mover (APM) standards in the US

  • These are recommended by the committee for the maiden PRT in India and have been prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • These constitute the minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT
  • These include vehicle arrival audio and video visual warning system, platform sloping, evacuation of misaligned vehicles, surveillance/CCTV, audio communication, emergency call points and fire protection, among other advanced systems

Pod taxi project in the world -

  • The model is in place at London’s Heathrow airport, Morgantown and Masdar city

National

National Children Science Congress
25th edition of it held in Gandhinagar Gujrat

  • The 25th edition of National Children Science Congress (NCSC-2017) was held Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 27 to 31 December, 2017.
  • It was inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Ahmedabad.
  • The theme of the five-day Congress this was ‘Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development’ with the special focus on persons with disabilities.

Enlighten about it

  • The NCSC is ideal and innovative programme for children to inspire, empower and expand their minds to world.
  • It is a flagship programme of department of Science & Technology, Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • This year 50 children and teachers from Asian nations had participated in the event.
  • Apart from science exhibition, the event also witnessed various activities such as presentations by child scientists, hands-on demonstrations, poster session and cultural programmes.

Appointments

IPS Abhay – appointed DG of Narcotics Control Bureau

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IPS officer Abhay as new Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
  • The scheme will cover 10 lakh farmers by 2022 and will lead to 35% saving on power consumption.

MoU signed between South Korea and Uttar Pradesh Government

  • The Uttar Pradesh government has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korea on to enhance cooperation in the field of tourism, skill development, culture and farming.
  • He will have tenure till November 18, 2019. The post was lying vacant after R R Bhatnagar took over as DG of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in April this year. He is at present working in CRPF.

Enlighten about Narcotics Control Bureau

  • NCB is the nodal drug law enforcement and intelligence agency of India responsible for fighting drug trafficking and the abuse of illegal substances.
  • It functions under Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). It is Headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It was established in March 1986 to enable full implementation of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and fight its violation through Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
  • Its mandate is to fight drug trafficking on an all-India level.
  • It works in close cooperation with Customs and Central Excise, State Police Department, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) and other Indian intelligence and law enforcement agencies both at the national and states level.

Report/Index

India is set to become worlds 5th largest economy in 2018

  • According to recently released report titled 2018 World Economic League Table, India is set to overtake the United Kingdom and France to become the world’s fifth largest economy in 2018.
  • The report was released by Centre for Economics and Business Research, an economics consultancy based in Britain.

Enlighten about the report

  • India currently ranked seventh will overtake UK and France to become the world’s fifth largest economy in 2018 in US dollar terms and further move to third spot by 2032.
  • Indian economy had hit three-year low in the first quarter of the current financial year 2017 due to demonetisation i.e. scraping high-value banknotes and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • The growth had slumped to 5.7% for quarter ending June 2016 but had recovered slightly to 6.3% for quarter ending September 2017.
  • Despite temporary setbacks, India’s economy still caught up with that of France and UK and in 2018 will overtake them.
  • Cheap energy and technology prices will boost the global economy in 2018.
  • China is likely to overtake United States as the world’s largest economy by 2032.

Government Schemes

Prasad

  • The parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture has referred to the tourism ministry’s flagship Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (Prasad) scheme as one whose conceptualisation is “radically wrong” and which needs a “complete relook”.

Enlighten about the issue –

  • The standing committee noted that the scheme was not running properly even three years after its launch.
  • It said, “States are not actually buying the idea of tourism department and their plan.
  • The committee visited Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and during deliberations of the committee, it came to know that they have their own tourism policy.
  • But it seems there is no coordination with the central government.” The standing committee was also dissatisfied with the government’s response blaming state government agencies for the delay.
  • The committee also notes that there is something radically wrong with the conceptualisation of the ‘Prasad’ scheme itself.
  • The committee finds that study of the ‘Prasad’ scheme shows that it has not been properly conceived at all.
  • Even today, without government intervention, there are many other well operated religious circuits in the country.”
  • The standing committee recommended that the ministry undertake a “complete relook” of the scheme.

Enlighten about PRASAD scheme

  • PRASAD scheme aims to create spiritual centres for tourism development within the nation.
  • To implement the PRASAD scheme a Mission Directorate has been set up in the Ministry of Tourism.
  • Twelve cities namely Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Gaya(Bihar), Dwaraka(Gujarat), Amritsar(Punjab), Ajmer(Rajasthan), Kanchipuram(Tamil Nadu), Vellankani(Tamil Nadu), Puri(Odisha), Varanasi(Uttar Prasesh), Mathura(Uttar Pradesh), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) and Kamakhya (Assam) have been identified for development under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) by the Ministry of Tourism.

Ministry of Environment and Forests

Environment Ministry Launches a Regional Project to Tackle Stubble Burning

  • In another significant step to combat climate change, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has approved a regional project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).
  • The project was approved at the meeting of the National Steering Committee on Climate Change
  • The first phase of the project has been approved at a cost of approximately Rs. 100 Crore for the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
  • The project will leverage approximately three times the approved amount with contribution from the States as well as farmers.
  • The project not only aims to mitigate climate change impacts and enhance adaptive capacity, but will also counter the adverse environmental impacts that arise from burning.
  • The project will be implemented following a phased approach.
  • Initially, awareness generation and capacity building activities will be undertaken to encourage farmers to adopt alternate practices which would also help diversify livelihood options and enhance farmer’s income.
  • A slew of technological interventions will be undertaken for timely management of crop residue in addition to effective utilisation of existing machineries.
  • Implementable and sustainable entrepreneurship models will be created in rural areas through upscaling successful initiatives and innovative ideas

Crop Residue Burning

  • The problem of crop residue burning has been intensifying over the years, with Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh being the major burning hotspots.
  • Increased mechanization, declining number of livestock, long period required for composting and no economically viable alternate use of residues are some of the reasons for residues being burnt in field.
  • This not only has implications for global warming, but also has an adverse impact on air quality, soil health and human health.

Ministry of Finance

India Signs Loan Agreement with the World Bank for USD 40 Million for “U.P. Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project”

  • An agreement for IBRD Credit of USD 40 Million from World Bank for “U.P. Pro-Poor Tourism Development Project
  • The programme size is approximately USD 57.14 million, of which USD 40 million will be financed by the Bank, and the remaining amount will be funded out of State Budget. The programme duration is 5 years.
  • The Project Objective is to increase tourism-related benefits for local communities in targeted destinations.
  • The project is expected to have far-reaching social, economic and environmental benefits by targeting local communities and entrepreneurs near some of the main tourist and pilgrimage attractions in Uttar Pradesh, namely, Agra as well as Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Govardhan in the Braj region.

Ministry of Defence

Successful Direct Hit by Interceptor Missile

  • Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) System of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully scored a direct hit on incoming missile today from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
  • The interceptor directly hit the target at an altitude of about 15 kilometre and destroyed it into fragments.
  • The spectacular success puts India in the league of a very few select nations world over in the arena of critical defence technology.
  • This direct interception is fourth in a row, where the missiles have scored a perfect hit on the incoming missile.
  • In text book style launch, the incoming ballistic missile was launched from LC-III complex of ITR, which followed the exact path of intended ballistic missile.
  • Radars located at different stations far-off, acquired the target, tracked them and passed on to the Master Control Centre (MCC), which generated the expected trajectory of the target and alerted the interceptor missile.
  • The interceptor was launched from Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Island at appropriate time for interception, which was initially guided by the Inertial Navigational System and the radars.
  • Later, the seeker took over after a proper lock on to the target and guided the missile towards the target. All the radars, Electro Optical and Telemetry Stations tracked both the missiles and recorded the final interception.