Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 6, 2017

Central Water Commission

Capacity building in dam safety areas

  • Central Water Commission (CWC) has signed MoUs with IIT Roorkee and MNNIT Allahabad to support dam rehabilitation efforts of various implementing agencies and CWC.

Enlighten about it

  • Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes, for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
  • The scope includes strengthening the testing laboratories, enhancing analytical capabilities, exposure visits to best global institutions and on ground exposure to dam safety concerns to the faculty of these institutions.
  • CWC has already signed MoUs with IIT Madras, IISc Bangaluru, NIT Calicut and NIT Raurkela for supporting these institutes for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their testing and modelling capabilities.

About DRIP:

  • The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India, with assistance from the World Bank, is implementing the DAM REHABILITATION AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (DRIP)which would be a six-year project.
  • The project originally envisaged the rehabilitation and improvement of about 223 dams within four states namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu and later Karnataka, Uttarakhand (UNVNL)

National

Chairman NHAI launches new website and PMIS Mobile App

  • The Chairman of National Highways Authority of India Shri Deepak Kumar launched a world class, new multilingual website of the organization today.
  • He said that within two months it will be possible for the general public to rate National Highways through this website.
  • He also launched a Project Monitoring Information System (PMIS) Mobile App that will facilitate close, in-house monitoring of NHAI projects on a mobile phone.

Government launches Paryatan Parv to boost tourism

  • The Union Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Other Union Ministries and State Governments has launched nationwide ‘Paryatan Parv’ to showcase cultural diversity of country and reinforce the principle of ‘Tourism for All’.
  • Its objective is to draw focus on the benefits of tourism.
  • It was inaugurated at Humayun’s Tomb and will be held across the country from the 5th to 25th October 2017.
  • During this period, ‘Adopt A Heritage’ project launched by Ministry of Tourism will be implemented at key sites.

Components of Paryatan Parv

Dekho Apna Desh

  • It will encourage Indians to visit their own country. It will include video, photograph and blog competitions visited during event, stories of India through Travelers’ Eyes to promote travel to J&K and North Eastern states.

Tourism for All

  • It will promote tourism events at sites across all States in country. These will mainly be People’s events with large scale public participation.
  • The activities at these sites will include Cultural Programmes of Dance, Music, Theatre, Tourism Exhibitions showcasing culture, cuisine and handicrafts and handlooms etc.

Tourism & Governance

  • It will have interactive sessions and workshops with stakeholders on varied themes like Skill Development in Tourism Sector, Innovation in Tourism, Inducting Ex-servicemen as service providers for Taxi Operation and Developing Rural Tourism in locations near established destinations.
  • In the overseas markets, Union Ministry of External Affairs through Indian Missions will be conducting outreach programmes to encourage people to visit India, with special focus on PIOs who have never visited the country.

Noble Prize 2o17

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson selected for 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

  • They were selected for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution. Chemistry was third of this year’s Nobel Prizes.

Contributions of trio

  • Richard Henderson in 1990 was successful in using an electron microscope to generate a 3D image of a protein at atomic resolution.
  • Joachim Frank made technology more widely applicable. Jacques Dubochet had helped with vitrification of water, which ensured that biological sample retained its natural shape even in vacuum and while frozen.

Cryo-electron microscopy

  • The Cryo-electron microscopy is specific type of electron microscopy based on principle of forming three-dimensional (3D) image by collecting and combining thousands of projections of biomolecules.
  • Using it, researchers can now freeze mid-movement of biomolecules and can visualise processes they have never seen. ‎
  • It helps to make it possible to see biomolecules in 3D after rapidly freezing them at -150°C (i.e. at cryogenic temperature), preserving their natural shape.
  • It can reveal the structure of the molecules of life in exquisite detail. It is decisive for both basic understanding of chemistry and for development of pharmaceuticals.

Significance

  • Cryo-electron microscopy gives scientists opportunity to look at machinery of life in 3D form.
  • This was not possible with earlier forms of electron microscopes as more powerful beams would destroy biological matter.
  • It allows the study of fine cellular structures, viruses and protein complexes at molecular resolution.

North East Development

Government constitutes high-level committee for water management in northeast

  • Chairmanship of Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog.
  • The Committee is tasked to facilitate optimising benefits of appropriate water management in form of agriculture, bio-diversity conservation, hydro-electric power, reduced flood damage erosion, inland water transport, forestry, fishery and eco-tourism.

Composition of Committee

  • It will include secretaries from the ministries of DoNER, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, power, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), departments of border management and space and chief secretaries of all eight north eastern states.

Terms of reference of Committee

  • It will appraise existing institutional arrangements (or mechanisms) for management of water resources of NER.
  • It will also identify of gaps in existing institutional arrangements for optimal management of water resources of NER.
  • It will suggest policy interventions required for optimally harnessing water resources for accelerating development in NER.
  • It will also spell out of actionable measures required for optimizing management of water resources in NER.
  • It will chalk out a Plan of Action for dovetailing of schemes and programmes of concerned Union Ministries as well as schemes of respective North-Eastern State Governments.

National

PM inaugurates Golden Jubilee Year Celebrations of ICSI

  • The event assumes significance as it comes close on heels of government action of de-registering over 2.1 lakh dormant, shell companies and disqualifying over one lakh directors as part of a cleanup of corporate system and tackling menace of shell companies.

Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)

  • ICSI is the only statutory professional body in India with objective of promoting, regulating and developing the profession of Company Secretaries in India.
  • Its headquarters are located at New Delhi, four Regional Offices at New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and 69 Chapters across India.
  • Originally it was set up as not-for-profit organisation on 4th October, 1968, but later in 1980 the institute was converted into statutory professional body under an Act of Parliament, ‘The Company Secretaries Act 1980’.

Tax Reforms

Inheritance tax on HNIs likely to be reintroduced

  • The government is considering the levy of an inheritance tax on high net worth individuals, some of whom are already preparing to insulate themselves from such a liability by forming family trusts.
  • The tax could range from 5% to 10% and would apply only to families with a certain net worth.
  • The government has sought feedback, including recommendations, on the proposed re-introduction of inheritance tax, also known as estate duty.

Background

  • Also popularly known as estate tax or estate duty, Inheritance tax was a tax that was levied against a particular asset during the time of its inheritance.
  • For example, the inheritance of ancestral land.
  • Inheritance tax is no longer levied in India and was abolished during the time of the Rajiv Gandhi Government in 1985.
  • Though its intentions were noble, the then finance minister, V.P. Singh was of the opinion that it had failed to bring about an equilibrium in society and reduce the wealth gap.
  • There are certain countries that practice this form of taxation. Countries like USA, UK, Netherlands, Spain and Belgium all follow inheritance tax and China had gone to the extent of introducing rules for inheritance tax back in 2002 but was met with heavy opposition to the idea and were not able to implement it.