Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 16, 2017

World Food Day

16 October: World Food Day

  • The World Food Day is observed globally on 16 October to mark foundation of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945.
  • The theme for the year 2017 is “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.”
  • This day also shows commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

  • FAO is specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC).
  • It is neutral forum serving both developed and developing countries where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.
  • It was established on 16 October 1945 and its headquarters are in Rome, Italy. Its motto is “Let there be bread”. It has 194 member states, along with the European Union (member organization)

Science & Technology

World’s largest Combustion Research and Development - @ IIT –D

  • National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD) was inaugurated at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is world’s largest combustion research centre and one of best diagnostic centers in the country to understand combustion.
  • National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD) NCCRD is supported by state-run Science and Engineering Research Board (SERN) of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • It has been established at a total cost of Rs 90 crore.
  • It will develop state-of-the-art capabilities in combustion research involving experts in the country.
  • NCCRD’s research interests will cover automotive, thermal power and aerospace propulsion, besides re research and microgravity combustion to minor extent.
  • It will provide impetus to research in ‘Alternative Energy and Environmental Protection’ by focusing on effective utilisation of combustion as means of thermo- chemical energy conversion.
  • NCCRD has been set up as nodal centre in region and any institute and industry can work with it as it is totally IT-enabled and possess a strong simulation facility.
  • Many industrial and R&D organisations like Mahindra, Shell, BHEL, ISRO, DRDO (DRDL, GTRE, CFEES), TVS, AVL, GAIL, GE, NAL, Forbes-Marshall, Siemens, Thermax, Cummins, Tata Power etc are working closely with NCCRD.
  • NCCRD will impart major boost to Indian scientific community.
  • It will play a pivotal role in making sure that India has access to latest technologies in all these areas.
  • Its intention is to make it knowledge base in areas like combustion, gasification, propulsion and automotive sectors.

Consumer Affairs

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016

  • Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has brought into effect new Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 which was notified in March 2016.
  • The Act replaced Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.
  • It aims to help in ease of doing business in country, enhance ‘Make In India’ campaign and ensure availability of quality products and services to the consumers.

Bureau of Indian standards (BIS):

  • The BIS Act, 2016 establishes the BIS as the National Standards Body of India for the purpose of standardization, marking and certification of articles and processes.
  • It has broaden BIS’s ambit and allows central government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles, processes, etc to carry the standard mark.

Enabling provisions:

  • The BIS Act, 2016 has enabling provisions for Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health or national security.
  • Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory.

Conformity assessment schemes:

  • The new Act also allows multiple types of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against standard which will provide simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards.

Other Authority:

  • The Act enables Centre to appoint any authority, agency, in addition to BIS, to verify conformity

Recall of goods, services, articles etc:

  • BIS can recall good or article which is already out for sale or supply if Bureau is convinced that good or article does not conform to the requirement of a particular standard.
  • Further, it has provision for repair or recall, including product liability of the products bearing Standard Mark, however not conforming to the relevant Indian Standard.

Certification of precious metals:

  • It makes hallmark mandatory to certify precious metal articles including silver, gold, platinum, and palladium or their alloys.
  • In this case, hallmark indicates proportionate content of precious metal in article as per Indian standard.

International Day

World Standards Day – 14 0ctober

  • The World Standards Day is observed every year on 14 October across the globe to mark the development of voluntary engineering and scientific standards.
  • The theme for year 2017 is “Standards make cities smarter”

Significance of the day

  • Observance of the day honours contributions of all those who have developed technical agreements that are published as international standards.
  • It also seeks to raise awareness regarding significance of standardization in global economy, among regulators, industry and consumers.
  • This day is mainly celebrated by members of organisations like ISO (International Organisation for Standardization), IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ITU (International Teleommunication Union) and IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force).

Some More Facts -

  • The first World Standards Day was celebrated on 14 October, 1970.
  • On this day in 1946, representatives from 25 countries gathered in London for first time with the aim of creating an international organization solely focused on facilitating standardization.
  • The ISO was formed a year later in 1947.

Infrastructure Development

Airport needs upto $45 bn investment by 2030 : CAPA

Observation by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA)

  • According to the CAPA, India needs up to $45 billion investment in 55 airports to boost capacity by 2030
  • As most Indian airports head towards saturation in passenger-handling capacity
  • India will need to construct an additional 500 to 600 million of capacity by 2030

Issues with the Indian Infrastructure Companies

  • significantly over-leveraged
  • Combined with the economic regulatory environment, availability of capital
  • Parking issue faced by Indian Airports

Contemporary Issues

Rohingya issue of great magnitude, state has big role : Supreme Court

SC view on Rohingya issue

  • The Supreme Court said that the Rohingya refugee problem was of a “great magnitude”
  • The state would have to play a “big role” in striking a balance between national interests and human rights while dealing with the contentious issue
  • During the hearing, the bench observed that aspects of national security, economic interests, labour interests as also protection of children, women, sick and innocent persons would come up while dealing with the matter
  • The top court also said that “constitutional ethos makes us lean sympathetically towards humanitarian issues.”
  • The role of the state in such a situation has to be multipronged

State Specific

Tea board proposes Rs 100 crore package for Darjeeling estates

  • The Tea Board has proposed a Rs 100-crore relief package for tea estates in the Darjeeling hills, where production has resumed after nearly three months of shutdown due to an agitation for a separate state.
  • The relief package, however, has failed to bring cheer to the industry.
  • The growers of Darjeeling tea had sought Rs 325 crore as assistance to prune the overgrown bushes and prepare for production in April. But the demand was not accepted by the board which, on advice based on the Tea Research Association’s survey of the problem, cut it to Rs 100 crore.
  • The strike, the first time in the history of Darjeeling tea industry, has wiped out almost 70% of the annual tea production.

About Tea Board of India:

  • The Tea Board is set up under the Tea Act 1953.
  • It has succeeded the Central Tea Board and the Indian Tea Licencing Committee which functioned respectively under the Central Tea Board Act, 1949 and the Indian Tea Control Act, 1938 which were repealed.
  • The Tea Board is functioning as a statutory body of the Central Government under the Ministry of Commerce.
  • The Board is constituted of 31 members (including Chairman) drawn from Members of Parliament, tea producers, tea traders, tea brokers, consumers, and representatives of Governments from the principal tea producing states, and trade unions.
  • The Board is reconstituted every three years.

Functions

  • The Tea Board India is responsible for the assignment of certification numbers to exports of certain tea merchants.
  • This certification is intended to ensure the teas’ origin, which in turn would reduce the amount of fraudulent labelling on rare teas.
  • The Tea Board India’s tasks include endorsement of the diverse production and productivity of tea, financial support of research organisations and the monitoring of advances in tea packaging as it relates to health beneficial aspects.
  • It coordinates research institutes, the tea trade and government bodies, ensuring the technical support of the tea trade in the global industry.

Government Schemes

Atal Pension Yojana

APY subscribers to touch 1 crore by March 2018

  • According to the estimates by Finance Ministry, the subscriber base of Atal Pension Yojana (APY), a guaranteed pension scheme for unorganised sector, is expected to increase to 1 crore by March next year.
  • APY is being used as an important instrument for inclusion. Within three years, the scheme has been able to mobilise nearly 69 lakh accounts. Given the huge population, there is a long way to go as the pension coverage is very low in the country.

Enlighten about APY-

  • The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.
  • Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years.
  • The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee.
  • The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, to those who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Tax payers.

Unesco

Audrey Azoulay elected as Director General of UNESCO

  • Former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay (45) was elected as new Director General of UNESCO – the UN’s education, science and culture agency.
  • With this, she becomes first Jewish Director of UNESCO.

Prizes

TM Krishna wins 2015-16 Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration

  • He will be presented with the honour by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on October 31, 2017 Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary.

Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration

  • The award was instituted in 1985 by Congress on its centenary year celebrations. It is conferred every year on October 31 for promoting national integration, understanding and fellowship among different communities and cultures of India.
  • The award consists of a citation and a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh.
  • Some of the recipients are.S. Subbulakshmi, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi (posthumously) and former presidents A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Shankar Dayal Sharma (posthumously), musician A.R. Rahman, Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, poet Gulzar, scientist M.S. Swaminathan, filmmaker Shyam Benegal and lyricist Javed Akhtar.