Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - May 21, 2018

Ministry of Communications

Enlighten about the Ministry

  • Ministry of Communications was carved out of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on 19 July 2016.
  • It consists of two departments viz. Department of Telecommunications and Department of Posts

Developments round the year - Launch of National EMF Portal

  • Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched Tarang Sanchar, a web portal of information sharing on Mobile Towers and EMF Emission Compliances.
  • The portal can be accessed at www.tarangsanchar.gov.in.
  • The EMF portal provides a public interface where an easy map-based search feature has been provided for viewing the mobile towers in vicinity of any locality.
  • By click of a button, information on EMF compliance status of mobile towers can be accessed.
  • Detailed information about any tower site, if requested, will be sent on email to the users. Additionally, any person can request for EMF emission measurement at a location by paying a nominal fee of ₹4000/- online.
  • Local Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) field unit of DoT will conduct the test (the requestor can be present, if he so desires) and the test reports will be provided.
  • The portal also has ‘EMF Overview’ and ‘Learn’ Sections, which provide numerous articles, booklets and videos, to further educate the citizens about EMF and coverage of telecom services.

Launch of Satellite based mobile services through Satellite Gateway

  • The Department of Telecommunications granted a License under ‘Suigeneris’ for “Provision and Operation of Satellite based service using Gateway installed in India” with all India service area on non-exclusive basis.
  • This work has been carried out by M/s BSNL in partnership with M/s INMARSAT and the Satellite Gateway has been installed at Ghaziabad, UP.
  • This is a quantum leap in the field of Telecommunications to connect the un-connected through the provisioning of satellite mobile services across the country.
  • The services are being provisioned in phased manner initially for the government agencies such as Defence Services, Disaster Management Authorities, Parliamentary Forces, Railways, PSUs etc. and subsequently for the common public.

Launching of schemes under Skill Development

Two schemes have been launched in the domain of Skill Development in Telecom Sector

1. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Sanchar Kaushal Vikas Pratisthans Scheme -

  • It is a Pilot scheme which proposes to create the skill development training centres that will be opened in various rural, backward and other needy areas and will be named as “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Sanchar kaushal Vikas Pratisthans”.
  • Initially in the Pilot phase, it is proposed to start 10 such centres to impart skill development trainings to 10,000 candidates taking the necessary training infrastructure

2. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Telecom Skill Excellence Awards schemes:

  • This scheme is aimed to recognize the special contributions of citizens of India in the areas of Telecom Skilling, Telecom Services, Telecom Manufacturing, Telecom Applications in deploying telecom dependent sectoral solutions for different fields such as agriculture, commerce, health, education etc.

Important Achievements of Department of Post

DARPAN – “Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India” Project

  • Darpan Launched For Financial Inclusion Of Rural Population
  • To improve the quality of service, add value to services and achieve “financial inclusion” of un-banked rural population.
  • IT modernization project with an outlay of Rs. 1400 Crore to provide a low power technology solution to each Branch Postmaster (BPM) which will enable each of approximately 1.29 Lakhs Branch Post Offices (BOs) to improve the level of services being offered to rural customers across all the states.
  • Aim of financial inclusion to rural population and it is targeted to complete the project by March, 2018.
  • The Project shall increase the rural reach of the Department of Posts and enable BOs to increase traffic of all financial remittances, savings accounts, Rural Postal Life Insurance, and Cash Certificates; improve mail operations processes by allowing for automated booking and delivery of accountable article; increase revenue using retail post business; provide third party applications; and make disbursements for social security schemes such as MGNREGS.

Implementation of Core Banking Solutions in the Department of Post

Postal Life Insurance (PLI)

  • Postal Life Insurance (PLI), introduced in 1884, is one of the oldest life insurance schemes for benefit of Government and semi-Government employees.
  • Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI), introduced on March 24, 1995 on recommendations of Malhotra Committee, provides insurance cover to people residing in rural areas, especially weaker sections and women living in rural areas.
  • The insurance industry in India has undergone transformational changes after liberalisation of the insurance sector in the year 2000, subsequent to setting up of the insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)
  • It has now been decided that benefits of PLI will no more be confined to Government and semi-Government employees, but will also be available to professionals such as Doctors, Engineers, Management Consultants, Charted Accountants, Architects, Lawyers, Bankers etc. and to employees of listed companies of NSE (National Stock Exchange) and BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange).
  • The decision has been taken to enlarge the cover of social security and bring maximum number of people under the protection of Postal Life Insurance (PLI).

Launch of Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana

  • Under Sampoorna Bima Gram (SBG) Yojana, at least one village (having a minimum of 100 households) has been identified in each of the revenue districts of the country, wherein endeavour will be made to cover all households of that identified village with a minimum of one RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance) policy each.
  • Coverage of all households in the identified Sampoorna Bima Gram village is the primary objective of this scheme.
  • It has also been decided to extend the coverage of SBG Yojana in Adarsh Grams adopted by Members of Parliament.

Leveraging Post Offices as Passport Seva Kendra

  • Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with Department of Posts has decided to leverage the post office network to help make available the passport related services in all the states by establishing Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSK)

Ministry of Earth Science

Enlighten about the Ministry

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences was formed in 2006 from a merger of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF),the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune,and Earth Risk Evaluation Centre (EREC), and the Ministry of Ocean Development.
  • The Government also approved the setting up of Earth Commission on the pattern of Space Commission and Atomic Energy Commission.

Commissioning of Air Quality & Weather Monitoring Stations at Ahmedabad

  • An integrated early warning System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was dedicated to the
  • With the advent of SAFAR, a new health action plan "Ahmedabad- AIR (Air Information and Response)" was launched with a lead from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and other research organizations which will connect SAFAR products with health related mitigation options.

Open sea cage culture

  • A Foundation Stone for the Marine Finfish Hatchery and Test Facility for Ballast Water Treatment Technologies was laid
  • These facilities will be further developed by National Institute of Ocean Technology, an autonomous institute under the Ministry.

Monsoon Mission Program

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), launched the “National Monsoon Mission” (NMM), a mission mode project with a vision to develop a state of the art dynamical prediction system for monsoon rainfall on all different time scales in 2012.
  • It has successfully completed its first phase by setting up high resolution coupled dynamical prediction system with reasonable prediction skill for seasonal and extended range time scales and very high resolution atmospheric model for weather prediction.
  • For the first time, India Meteorological Department used the Monsoon Mission dynamical model to prepare operational seasonal forecast of 2017 monsoon rainfall over India.
  • The Ministry has now launched the Monsoon Mission Phase II program, for next 3 years (2017-2020) with emphasis on predicting extremes and development of applications based on monsoon forecasts.

Scientific Deep Drilling in the Koyna Intra-Plate Seismic Zone, Maharashtra

  • Scientific drilling of the Koyna pilot borehole KFD1 to a depth of 3 km and the acquisition of downhole geophysical data were completed.
  • Passing through ~1.25 km - thick succession of Deccan basalt flows and ~1.75 km into the underlying granite-gneiss basement rocks, the borehole is the deepest drilled through crystalline rock formations in the country.
  • Cuttings were collected at 5 m intervals in basalt and 3 m intervals in basement rock.
  • Additionally, limited cores were collected from discrete depths in the 1500-3000 m section. To keep pace with the drilling, three field laboratories were functional on site:

(i) geological lab., (ii) mud-logging lab., (iii) online gas and fluid sampling lab.

Inauguration of the ST Radar at CUSAT and Doppler Weather Radar at Kochi

  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan, dedicated to the nation, the Stratosphere-Troposphere (ST) Radar Facility at the Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT)
  • It is the first stratosphere troposphere wind profile radar operating on 205 MHz installed in the world.
  • The facility will aid monitor atmospheric wind conditions across altitudes up to 20 km and beyond.

Doppler weather radar

  • A state-of-the-art, indigenous doppler weather radar, capable of predicting with increased accuracy weather events such as cyclone occurring in 500-km radius from Kochi, was inaugurated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, in Kochi
  • The S-Band Doppler weather radar in Kochi was made with support from ISRO and Bharat Electronics.

De-salination of water

  • The Ministry through its constituent unit, the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has developed indigenized technologies for producing clean drinking water from the ocean.
  • Currently there are three desalination plants operational at Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy islands, which are individually producing 1 lakh liters of drinking water per day.
  • The plants are operated by the local islanders.
  • NIOT is now installing another six more plants in Lakshadweep islands, each with a capacity to produce 1.5 lakh liters of water every day, with the help of Lakshadweep administration. Two plants will be commissioned by December 2018.

Sources – PIB, Ministry of communication, Ministry of Earth Science