Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - June 30, 2018

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog partners with GNFC Ltd to implement Fertilizer Subsidy Disbursement through Blockchain Technology

WHAT

  • NITI Aayog and Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GNFC) have signed a Statement of Intent (SOI)

WHY

  • Towards implementing a Proof-of-Concept (“PoC”) application using Blockchain Technology for fertiliser subsidy management.

WHAT THEY WILL DO

  • They will jointly develop the use case, under take research, interact with multiple stakeholders, develop Blockchain solutions, exchange learnings, organise forums, and disseminate learnings across their networks.
  • Learnings, insights and outcomes of the PoC will enable NITI Aayog to suggest policy recommendations and actions in strengthening the subsidy mechanism, making it more transparent and immune to leakages.

Enlighten about the statics of Fertilizers

  • Fertilizer units manufacture approximately 31 Million MT of fertilizers across country, where total approximately Rs. 70,000 Cr. of subsidy is disbursed to the manufacturing units.
  • The subsidy disbursal takes two to three months’ time.
  • There are multiple entities involved in verification process, and the transaction process is very cumbersome which has the potential to be automated to give significant efficiency gains.

Benefits

  • With implementation of Blockchain Technology it is expected that the distribution will become effective and efficient, and subsidy transfer could be automated and made real time.
  • Blockchain platform have inherent characteristics of distributed computing and ledger keeping of transactions i.e. confidentiality, authenticity, non-repudiation, data integrity, and data availability.
  • Overall implementation ensures that there is no dependence on intermediary agencies to prove the validity of transactions and resulting subsidy claims.
  • The blockchain based process will also use Smart Contracts which will enable quick and accurate reconciliation of transactions between multiple parties with minimal human intervention.
  • Implementation platform is such that process transparency is evident, transactions cannot be altered and audit trails of transactions are available.

Commerce & Industry

Suresh Prabhu launches Mobile App 'ReUnite'

WHAT

  • Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu launched a mobile application called ReUnite

WHY

  • It helps to trackandtrace missing and abandoned children in India.

Developed by

  • An NGO, BachpanBachaoAndolan & Capgemini

Enlighten about the app

  • The app is multiuser where parents and citizens can upload pictures of children, and provide detailed description like name, birth mark, address, report to the police station, search and identify missing kids.
  • The photographs will not be saved in the mobile phone’s physical memory.
  • Amazon Recognition, web facial recognition service, is being used to identify missing kids.

Enlighten about BachpanBachaoAndolan

  • Founded by Noble Laureate Kailash Satyarthi
  • (BBA) is India’s largest movement for the protection of children and works along with law enforcement agencies and policymakers.
  • BBA has played a very important role in formulation of several laws for protection of child’s rights.
  • It began from the Nithari case in 2006 which finally culminated with the Supreme Court passing the landmark judgement in 2013 ordering that FIR has to be lodged in all cases of missing children

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Dialogue-2018

Enlighten about the dialogue

  • The Dialogue brought together several national and international stakeholders from the renewable energy community to deliberate on the drivers and challenges facing the sector, both in India and globally.
  • Independent studies on scaling up rooftop solar panels, clean energy investment trends, addressing renewable energy curtailment, and risks in renewable energy markets in emerging economies were released at the Dialogue.

Organising agencies

  • The Renewable Energy Dialogue was organised by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) in collaboration with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), International Solar Alliance (ISA), International Energy Agency (IEA), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), and REN21.
  • This edition of the Dialogue had a special focus on market creation and market trends.

India’s achievements (so far )

  • India is running one of the largest and most ambitious renewable energy capacity expansion programmes in the world.
  • When achieved, this will place India at the centre of its “Sunshine Countries” International Solar Alliance Project, which is promoting the growth and development of solar power in over 120 countries.
  • India has set a target of achieving 40% of its total electricity generation non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • He further said that the Government of India’s target of installing 20 GW of solar power by 2022 was achieved four years of ahead of schedule in January, 2018 through solar parks and India has set a fresh target of achieving 100 GW of solar power by 2022.

Ministry of Culture

Kabir Mahotsav at Maghar in Uttar Pradesh celebrates the life and teachings of poet saint Kabir

WHAT

  • The two day ‘Kabir Mahotsav’ organized by the Ministry of Culture to commemorate the 500thyear of death anniversary (punya tithi) of 15th century poet-saint Kabir

WHERE

  • Maghar, Sant Kabir Nagar District of Uttar Pradesh.

Enlighten about KABIR

  • Kabir was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, whose writings influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement and his verses are found in Sikhism's scripture Guru Granth Sahib.
  • His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda.
  • Kabir is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating that the former was misguided by the Vedas, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively.
  • During his lifetime, he was threatened by both Hindus and Muslims for his views.
  • When he died, both Hindus and Muslims he had inspired claimed him as theirs.

Kabir’s teachings

  • Kabir suggested that True God is with the person who is on the path of righteousness, considered all creatures on earth as his own self, and who is passively detached from the affairs of the world.
  • Kabir's legacy survives and continues through the Kabir panth ("Path of Kabir"), a religious community that recognises him as its founder and is one of the Sant Mat sects. Its members are known as Kabir panthis.

Disaster Management

Odisha signs MoU for early warning system

  • The Odisha government entered into a collaboration with the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), a body of 48 members and collaborating countries, aimed at automating risk management, advisory generation and dissemination.
  • The collaborative effort would enhance early warning system for effective management of all kinds of disasters like flood, drought, heat wave, lightning and road accidents.

Enlighten about the MoU

  • It would bring a shift from ‘what weather will be’ to ‘what weather will do’. Using weather and climate information
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD), efforts will be made to create open-source software platforms and public domain data sets.
  • The agreement will be in force for five years with a cost involvement of about 8 crore

Other initiatives of the state government

  • The State government also signed three MoUs for empowering farmers.
  • The MoU on doubling farmers’ income intends to assist two lakh small and marginal farmers during the next three years in nine districts
  • The State government has also made an attempt to restore common lands and waterbodies through village institutions and local federation in all districts. Another MoU intends to trigger competition among farmers to innovate new technologies to reduce drudgery.

Enlighten about - REGIONAL INTEGRATED MULTI-HAZARD EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS (RIMES)

  • RIMES came into existence as a multi-lateral technical cooperation platform formally on 30th April 2009 with the first batch of 5 countries signing the Cooperation Agreement on the RIMES for Africa and Asia in consonance with Articles 5 and 25 of the United Nations.
  • RIMES Secretariat is established by the Republic of Maldives at Maldives Meteorological Services, Ministry of Environment and Transport, Male.

Objective

  • RIMES had dedicated its efforts to build institutional structures for holistically dealing all aspects of multi-hazard and climate risk management for bringing a major shift to make all RIMES country partners fully disaster resilient by upgrading the early warning systems as per their national circumstances.
  • RIMES primary focus area is to build joint efforts for enhancing capacity building of national to local level institutions on all aspects of end-to-end early warning, within each Member States’ early warning frameworks.

India is a member

  • India formally joined the RIMES family on 24th Feb., 2011 by signing the Agreement. RIMES Executive Council has elected India as its Chairman with all other member states/countries as members.
  • 12 Member States: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Comoros, India, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.
  • 19 Collaborating Countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Somalia, Tanzania, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

Economy

FATF hands 10-point plan to Pak

  • Unanimously agreeing to put into effect its February decision to place Pakistan in the grey list for inaction against terror funding, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has laid out a 10-point action plan for compliance with its guidelines.
  • Pakistan’s failure in implementing the elaborate action plan may result in it being included in the black list the next year.
  • After 2012-15, this is the second time it has been grey-listed and is facing sanctions.

Measures to be taken by Pakistan against terrorist organisations

  • The country has been instructed to take measures demonstrating that UN-designated terrorists and banned terror outfits such as Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, Taliban and Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and their affiliates, are deprived of their resources and their sources of funding are choked.

FATF Paris Plenary meeting

  • The FATF, in its Paris Plenary that concluded observed that Pakistan had this time round made a high-level political commitment to work with the global watchdog and the Asia Pacific Group, of which it is a member, to strengthen its anti-money laundering and counter terror-financing regime.

Steps to be taken by Pakistan (as instructed by FATF)

  • Pakistan will have to take steps to ensure that terror funding risks are properly identified, assessed and that supervision is applied on a risk-sensitive basis.
  • It will also be required to show that remedial measures are being taken to prevent financial institutions from indulging in money laundering and terror funding.
  • The country will have to take stringent action against illegal financial operations, identify cash couriers and enforce controls on illicit movement of currency.
  • It has been told to improve coordination between the provincial and federal authorities on combating terror funding and enforce effective prosecution and conviction of the designated persons, entities and their affiliates.
  • The FATF has also sought actions demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions (supported by a comprehensive legal obligation) against all designated terrorists and those acting for or on their behalf.

Sources – The Hindu , PIB , Indian Express