Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - January 2, 2018

Government Policies

National Register of Citizens
1.9 cr. names in first draft of Assam NRC
Verification of remaining applicants under way, the process will be over this year

  • The first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published with the names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore total applicants in Assam recognising them as legal citizens of India.
  • The NRC is being compiled following a Supreme Court directive to identify illegal immigrants in Assam.

Enlighten about it –

  • Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.
  • The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the entire process, had ordered that the first draft of the NRC be published by December 31 after completing the scrutiny of over two crore claims along with that of around 38 lakh people whose documents were suspect.
  • The NRC was last updated in Assam way back in 1951.
  • Then, it had recorded 80 lakh citizens in the State.
  • Since then, the process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been debated and become a contentious issue in the State’s politics.
  • A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in 1979.
  • It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985.

Enlighten About NRC

  • The National Register of Citizens (NRC) contains names of Indian citizens.
  • The NRC was prepared in 1951, after the Census of 1951.
  • It was prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Health Secretary launches the Allied Health Professionals Database Portal ‘More than 3000 professionals have already registered on the portal during the testing phase’

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Allied and Healthcare Professionals’ database portal, as part of Ministry’s commitment to ensure better systems and frameworks for the healthcare workforce in the country.

Enlighten about it -

  • India enjoys a demographic dividend of more than 65% youth below the age of 35 years and the Government of India is eager to provide the country’s youth a strong foundation for continued and sustainable growth.
  • The country is facing increasing burden of lifestyle diseases and ailments, and needs better standards and appropriate frameworks for professionals providing health services to the population.
  • To achieve this, the Health Ministry aims to put in place a robust data repository of healthcare workers and further emphasized that unless the existing manpower capacity is mapped adequately, successful policies cannot be framed.
  • This portal is a provisional measure taken by the Ministry to track and reach out to all the allied and healthcare professionals in the country till such a time that a statutory body is established.

Enlighten about the portal

  • The portal has a capacity of capturing more than 10 lakhs Allied and Healthcare Professionals’ data.
  • It will help the Government to track the number of professionals and streams of allied and healthcare professions in the country.
  • It may further prove helpful in expediting the envisaged processes viz. licensing of professionals, workforce policy planning, and bringing transparency in the system by maintaining standards of educational and clinical practice etc.

Ministry of Women and Child Development

Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi to inaugurate online portal ‘NARI’ for women empowerment e-Samvad portal for NGOs and Civil Societies to be also launched

  • In a big leap forward to empower women, the Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi will inaugurate an online portal NARI
  • Developed by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, the portal will provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women.
  • Further to provide a platform for NGOs and Civil Societies to interact with the Ministry of Women & Child Development, e-Samvad portal has also been developed
  • The Government – both Central and State – has implemented a number of schemes & legislations for women to provide them equal rights, economic opportunities, social support, legal aid, housing etc.
  • However, there is often a lack of awareness of these provisions and difficulties in accessing their benefits.
  • For example, many are unaware that One Stop Centres are available in 168 districts for women in difficult circumstances, PM Awas Yojana gives priority to registration of homes in the name of women and many State Governments offer financial support for the education of girl children.
  • However, information related to women centric schemes/legislations are all scattered on different websites/portals.
  • In order to make this information more easily accessible in one place, the NARI portal summarizes over 350 government schemes and other important information for the benefit of women, with more being added everyday.
  • It provides links to the Ministries, Departments and autonomous bodies offering these schemes as well as easy access to online applications and grievance redressal.
  • NARI will provide information to women on issues affecting their lives.
  • There are tips on good nutrition, suggestions for health check ups, information on major diseases, tips for job search and interview, investment and savings advice, information on crimes and against women and reporting procedures, contacts of legal aid cells, simplified adoption procedures and much more.
  • It will endow women with the power of information to build their life skills and facilitates them in taking full advantage of the services provided by the Government for them.
  • Through e-Samvad portal, NGOs and civil society can provide their feedback, suggestions, put up grievances, share best practices etc.

Environment

Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi
New night frog species

  • Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi - New night frog species discovered in Western
  • Scientists have discovered new species of frog named Mewa Singh’s night frog (Nyctibatrachus mewasinghi) in Kozhikode’s Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala in Western Ghats.
  • It was discovered in small stream running along the Peruvannamuzhi dam.
  • It is latest contribution to spurt in amphibian discoveries across India.

Enlighten About Mewa Singh’s night frog

  • It belongs to genus Nyctibatrachus (commonly known as night frogs) endemic only to Western Ghats mountain range.
  • This group has total 36 number of night frogs including Mewa Singh’s night frog.
  • It has been named in honour of wildlife scientist Mewa Singh for his contributions to behavioural ecology and primate studies.
  • The new night frog species is light brown in colour with an off-white underside.
  • It sports faintly wrinkled skin with prominent granular projections.
  • Currently, it is known only from Peruvannamuzhi in Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary in a small stream running along Peruvannamuzhi dam.

Hedychium chingmeianum, Caulokaempferia dinabandhuensis Two new Ginger species found in the northeast

  • Scientists have discovered two new species of Ginger in easternmost districts, Ukhrul in Manipur and Tuensang in Nagaland, both bordering Myanmar.

Enlighten About the new species

  • Hedychium chingmeianum, the species discovered in Tuensang district, is an epiphytic plant and grows on tall trees, while
  • Caulokaempferia dinabandhuensis was found growing in rock crevices, boulders and humus rich soil in the Shirui Hills, where the highest peak stands at an elevation of 2,938 metres.
  • Both the plants are from the family of Zingiberaceae, to which the commonly found Ginger (Zingiber officinale) belongs.

Government Projects

Andhra Pradesh Fibre Grid Project

  • President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated Andhra Pradesh Fibre Grid project, aimed at providing affordable high-speed internet service to every household in the state at a nominal rate.
  • Fibre Grid project also termed as Triple Play2 Services envisages to provide internet, television and telephone services to more than one lakh households in the state at a nominal price.

Enlighten about the Project –

  • The Fibre Grid project aims to connect over 1.45 crore households, 60000 schools, 12198 Panchayats, 10000 government offices, 670 mandal Offices, 96 municipalities, 14 corporations, 6000 Public Health Centres (PHCs) with high speed internet.
  • The internet services provided under this project will be available at very high speed of 15Mbps to 100Mbps, television services will provide infotainment with 250 plus channels and telephone services will be completely rental-free.
  • Through the fibre grid, state government will also provide state-wide surveillance, using more than 20,000 closed-circuit cameras and 16 integrated district command control and data centres.
  • It will also power digital classrooms in over 4,000 government schools and offer telemedicine services at over 6,000 public health centres. It will power the smart cities initiative.
  • It has also been proposed to set up cloud-based virtual classroom systems using fibre grid to enhance learning skills and knowledge through qualitative digital and multimedia content in 4,678 government high schools across AP in a phased manner,

Bills

GST ( Compensation to States) Amendment Bill 2017
Passed by Lok Sabha

  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2017.
  • The Bill amends the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 and replaces an Ordinance promulgated in September 2017.
  • The amendment bill increases maximum rate at which Compensation Cess can be levied from 15 to 25% on motor vehicle for transport of not more than 13 persons (mostly luxury vehicles ), including the driver and motor vehicles falling under mentioned sub-headings

GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017

  • The purpose this law is to provide compensation to state for a period of five years from the date on which the state brings its State GST Act into force.
  • It allows the Union Government to notify rate of the GST Compensation Cess on items such as pan masala, coal, aerated drinks, and tobacco, subject to certain caps.
  • The amount received by levying GST Compensation Cess is used to compensate states for any loss in revenue following the implementation of GST.
  • The receipts from the cess will be deposited to a GST Compensation Fund.
  • The receipts will be used for compensating states for any loss due to the implementation of GST.

Clean Energy

Bio- CHG Plants Promoting the use of clean fuel

  • To promote the use of clean fuel, the oil ministry plans to set up bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) plants and allied infrastructure
  • The oil ministry will be working with state-run oil and gas retailers to set up the plants over the next two years

Enlighten about Bio-CNG

  • Bio-CNG is a purified form of biogas with over 95% pure methane gas
  • It is similar to natural gas in its composition (97% methane) and energy potential
  • While natural gas is a fossil fuel, bio-CNG is a renewable form of energy produced from agricultural and food waste
  • A typical bio-CNG station comprises a biogas purification unit, a compressor, and a high-pressure storage system
  • Bio-CNG is being looked at as an environment-friendly alternative to diesel

Plan to make India a gas-based economy

  • The government’s plan is to make India a gas-based economy
  • The government aims to increase the contribution of gas in India’s energy mix to 15% from the current 6.5%
  • India currently imports one-third of its energy requirement