Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 15, 2017

Internal Security

CHAKMA & HAJONG REFUGEES –

The Centre will grant citizenship to all Chakma and Hajong refugees living in the Northeast but will ensure that rights of indigenous people are not diluted

Enlighten about the issue –

  • Chakmas and Hajongs were originally residents of Chittagong Hill Tracts in erstwhile East Pakistan (bordering India and Myanmar in present-day Bangladesh)
  • They left their homeland when it was submerged by the Kaptai dam projectnear Chittagong, Bangladesh, in the 1960s
  • The Chakmas, who are Buddhists, and Hajongs, who are Hindus, also allegedly faced religious persecution

Workable Solution to enforce the SC order

  • Centre is finding a workable solution so that the 2015 SC order to grant citizenship to Chakma-Hajong refugees can be honoured, and the rights of the local population are not diluted
  • The Centre is proposing that the refugees will not be given rights, including land ownership, enjoyed by Scheduled Tribes in Arunachal Pradesh
  • However, they may be given inner line permits required by non-locals in Arunachal Pradesh to travel and work

Enlighten about the chakma people

  • The Chakmas, also known as the Changma, Daingnet people, are an ethnic group scattered in Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and West Bengal of India and in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh
  • Today, the geographic distribution of Chakmas is spread across Bangladeshand parts of northeastern India, western Burma

CHajong people

  • The hajong people are tribal people of North-eastern India and Bengal
  • They are the fourth largest ethnicity in Meghalaya
  • Hajong people are spread out across North East India West Bengal and Bangladesh
  • Majority of the Hajongs are settled in India
  • At present their population is more than 150,000 in India and 50,000 in Bangladesh
  • Hajongs are predominantly rice farmers
  • Hajong have the status of a Scheduled Tribe in India

Environment

Maharashtra’s employment-linked scheme to increase mangrove cover

  • Maharashtra state cabinet approved the Mangrove Protection and Employment Generation Scheme for 2017-18 and has made Rs 15 crore budgetary provision for it.
  • This special scheme to preserve mangroves on public and private land and to provide employment opportunities — linked to mangrove cover — to people of the selected areas.
  • The decision will help in protecting mangroves on around 30,000 hectares.
  • Employment would be generated by setting up businesses such as
  • crab farming, bee keeping,rice farming, fish farming and tourism.

  • The businesses can be run through a committee or by an individual
  • It will help in many people coming forward voluntarily for preserving mangroves.
  • The committee will also prepare a micro plan for mangrove preservation, protection, setting up protection fences and improving quality of mangroves.

Enlighten about Mangrove

  • A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water.
  • The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics, mainly between latitudes 25° N and 25° S.
  • Mangroves are salt tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions.
  • They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action.
  • They are adapted to the low oxygen (anoxic) conditions of waterlogged mud.

National

Bengaluru Named Among World’s Top 25 High-Tech Cities

  • Bengaluru has emerged among the top 25 high-tech cities of the world, according to research firm 2thinknow that specializes in analyzing innovative cities.
  • Bengaluru stands at number 19, climbing rapidly from the 49th spot it was at last year.

Background:

  • Research firm 2thinknow ranked 85 cities keeping 10 factors in mind: number of patents filed per capita, startups, tech venture capitalists, ranking in other innovation datasets, and level of smartphone use.

Performance of cities:

  • Bengaluru’s rise in ranks has been due to the influx of IT companies and the city’s growing population of digital natives.
  • San Francisco, the ‘Silicon Valley’, is at No. 1 spot. New York comes behind the Silicon Valley.
  • Beijing and Shanghai rank higher than Bengaluru this year, occupying 16th and 17th spots, respectively.
  • London, a city with more startups and programmers than any city in the world, is listed at No. 3. Los Angeles is at No. 4. Ranked number 5 is the city of future, Seoul.
  • Taipei in Taiwan, Boston in Massachusetts, Singapore, Toronto and Chicago make the top 10.

Environment & Ecology

Mouse deer reintroduced for first time in Telangana forest

What -

  • Telangana Forest Department for first time has re-introduced ‘mouse deer’

Where-

  • in the forests of Nallamalla in Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR) bred at Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad.
  • staff will closely monitor their adaptability and behaviour in their natural setting, so they can be released from their enclosure into the wild.

Mouse deer

  • Mouse deer (also known as Spotted Chevrotain) is one of the endangered species.
  • It looks like weird mash-up of a deer, mouse and pig.
  • It is not considered true deer, but shares suborder with deer (Ruminantia). It has its own family called Tragulidae. It is nocturnal.
  • Because of their small size they are smallest ungulates (large mammals) in the world.
  • It is found in deciduous and evergreen forests throughout India.
  • Its population is on decline due to destruction of their habitat and poaching.

Bilateral Relations

India, Belarus sign 10 pacts to expand cooperation

Enlighten about the MoU

  • MoU in the Oil and Gas Sector
  • MoU for Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Education
  • Programme of cooperation in the field of culture for 2018-2020
  • MoU between Sports Ministry and Ministry of Education of Belarus
  • MoU for Cooperation in the Field of Vocational Education and Training
  • MoU between JSC Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) and Indian Potash Ltd (IPL)
  • Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and Indian National Science Academy (INSA)

Health

India’s first advanced Homoeopathy Virology lab inaugurated in Kolkata

By

  • Ministry of ayush
  • India’s first state of art virology laboratory was inaugurated at Dr. Anjali Chatterjee Regional Research Institute for Homoeopathy in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The lab will play important in developing new drugs and technologies in Homoeopathy to combat emerging challenges of viral diseases.

Enlighten about the Laboratory

  • The laboratory is only one of its kind in India for conducting basic and fundamental research in Homoeopathy for viral diseases like influenza, dengue, chickunguniya, Japanese encephalitis and swine flu (H1N1).
  • It will develop new drugs and technologies to combat emerging challenges of viral diseases.
  • The laboratory is recognized by Calcutta University to undertake research work of PhD students in field of homoeopathy

Economy

Government constitutes GoM to resolve IT challenges faced in GST implementation

Headed by

  • Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
  • It will be assisted in its work by Chairman, Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) and Chief Executive Officer, GSTN.
  • It was formed after states had raised issue of glitches being faced by taxpayers in filing their GST returns on GSTN.

Committee on Exports:

  • Its mandate is to look into issues of exports and recommend GST Council suitable strategy for helping the sector in the post-GST scenario.
  • It will be headed by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia.

Background

  • Exporters raised concern related higher cost of working capital owing to difficulties in availing input tax credit and refunds after implementation of GST regime.
  • Before GST, exporters enjoyed upfront tax exemption on goods to be exported, but now, they have to pay GST before procurement of goods and services.
  • Moreover, exporters also need to pay IGST on imported inputs.
  • However, they can avail input tax credit after sale within domestic tariff area or after sending their shipments outside country.
  • The exporters can then claim unutilised credit as refund, process in which their capital gets blocked with government and resulting in raising of their operating cost.

International Trade

Chennai-Vladivostok sea route

What -

  • Maritime route connecting India with Northeast Asia and Western Pacific region (proposed)

A major connectivity initiative —

  • Direct shipping link between Chennai and Vladivostok amid China’s ambitious Maritime Silk Route (MSR) connecting Asia with Africa.
  • Virtually connecting entire SE Asia through road, shipping and rail links.
  • Enable to transfer cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days in comparison to over 40 days

Enlighten about it -

  • India was the first country to establish a resident Consulate in Vladivostok in 1992.
  • Current engagement of India with the region is limited to isolated pockets such as the Irkut Corporation in Irkutsk

Irkutsk -

  • where the Mig and Sukhoi aircraft are built
  • over USD 6 billion worth of investments by ONGC Videsh Limited in the Sakhalin 1 project.
  • The region has a wealth of natural resources such as land, timber, mineral and other resources like tin, gold, diamonds and oil and natural gas.
  • The Russian government has announced several initiatives to attract investments in the region, including an agricultural SEZ,
  • The Vladivostok Free Port Project and also invites participation in the timber industry , mining of the huge mineral resources (coal & diamonds) and precious metal deposits (gold, platinum, tin and tungsten).

Opportunities for collaboration for Indian companies include in such sectors as agriculture, mining, port development and infrastructure, diamond processing, agro-processing.

Development Funding

“Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund”

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund” (DIDF) with an outlay of Rs 10,881 crore during the period from 2017-18 to 2028-29.

The major activities of DIDF:

  • The project will focus on building an efficient milk procurement system by setting up of chilling infrastructure & installation of electronic milk adulteration testing equipment, creation/modernization/expansion of processing infrastructure and manufacturing faculties for Value Added Products for the Milk Unions/ Milk Producer Companies.

Management of DIDF:

  • The project will be implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC) directly through the End Borrowers such as Milk Unions, State Dairy Federations, Multi-state Milk Cooperatives, Milk Producer Companies and NDDB subsidiaries meeting the eligibility criteria under the project.
  • An Implementation and Monitoring Cell (IMC) located at NDDB, Anand, will manage the implementation and monitoring of day-to-day project activities.
  • The end borrowers will get the loan @ 6.5% per annum. The period of repayment will be 10 years with initial two years moratorium.
  • The respective State Government will be the guarantor of loan repayment. Also for the project sanctioned if the end user is not able to contribute its share; State Government will contribute the same.

Environment

“Wood is Good” Campaign

  • The government has launched “Wood is Good” Campaign
  • Under the Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus)
  • A partnership between USAID and India’s environment ministry.

Objective

  • The idea is to promote wood as a climate-friendly resource and a substitute to materials like plastic and steel because it is carbon neutral unlike the others while leave a carbon footprint in their production.

Forest plus:

  • The Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus) is a joint programme by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to strengthen capacity for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) implementation in India.
  • The programme brings together experts from India and the United States to develop technologies, tools and methods of forest management to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for the health of ecosystem, carbon stocks, biodiversity and livelihood.

Space Missions

NASA’s Cassini completes last flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan

  • NASA’s Cassini has completed a final, distant flyby of Saturns’s giant moon Titan.
  • This distant encounter is referred to informally as “the goodbye kiss” by mission engineers, because it provides a gravitational nudge that sends the spacecraft toward its dramatic ending in Saturn’s upper atmosphere.
  • In its final hours, Cassini will relay as much data as it can back to Earth before it dies

What has it discovered?

  • The probe has been crucial to findings that Saturn’s moons are among the most hospitable places in the Solar System for potentially supporting life.
  • Recently, Nasa also announced that Cassini had detected chemical reactions happening below the icy surface of Enceladus, suggesting life is possible there.
  • The mission also found that the moon Titan contains many earth-like features such as wind, rain and seas.

About Cassini–Huygens:

  • A joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)
  • Cassini is a sophisticated robotic spacecraft orbiting the ringed planet and studying the Saturnian system in detail.
  • Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn.
  • Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2016.
  • It has studied the planet and its many natural satellites since arriving there in 2004.
  • Its design includes a Saturn orbiter (Cassini) and a lander (Huygens) for the moon Titan.

Govt. Initiatives

Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad launches the Nation-Wide Hackathon #OpenGovDataHack

  • The Hackathon would be conducted by NIC and IAMAI as a part of the Startup Eco-system Development Programme
  • A 24hours Hackathon themed on Drinking Water & Sanitation, Transport, Education, Crime & Health will take place in seven cities