Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 18, 2017

India – Japan (Takeaways)

Government signs $76 Million loan deal with JICA to Upgrade Alang-Sosiya Shipyards

  • The Union Government signed $76 million loan deal with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for starting upgradation project related to environment management plan at
    Alang-Sosiya ship recycling shipyards in Gujarat.
  • The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB)
  • $76 million will be provided by JICA as soft loan.
  • Out of remaining amount, $25 million will be borne by Gujarat Government as taxes and fees and balance $10 million will be shared by Ministry of Shipping.

Enlighten about the benefits -

  • This project will help Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety & environmental regulations.
  • This will attract more business at recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidate India’s share in global ship-recycling industry.
  • It will also help in safeguarding marine and coastal environment.
  • The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

  • The JICA is governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance (ODA) for government of Japan.
  • Its mandate is assisting economic and social growth in developing countries, and promotion of international cooperation.

Japan teams up with India for NORTHEAST

  • A memorandum of understanding to set up India Japan Act East Forum with an aim to marry India’s Act East Policy with Japan’s Free and Open Asia-Pacific strategy in the backdrop of China’s One Belt One Road.

Japan’s investments in the North East –

  • Japan has cooperated with a variety of development projects in the Northeast, ranging from connectivity infrastructure such as roads and electricity, water supply and sewage, to forest resource management and biodiversity.
  • Recently, India and Japan signed a document on Japanese loan and aid for highway development in the Northeast that can complement India’s connectivity initiatives in Bangladesh, Myanmar and beyond.
  • Japan will extend a loan of Rs 2,239 crore to India for ‘North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project’to improve the National Highway 40 (NH-40) and construct a bypass on NH-54 in the Northeast.
  • The project is expected to contribute to the improvement of the intra-regional and international connectivity through regional economic development.
  • China has expressed dissatisfaction over proposed Japanese investments in India’s North-East states.
  • China warned that third-party should not meddle in border disputes between India and China

National

Government asks companies to allocate 7% of CSR funds to Swachhta Hi Seva

  • The government has asked companies to devote a portion of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds to
    Swachhta Hi Seva campaign
  • Government has sent a note to the heads of more than 1.1 million companies, urging them to devote around 7% of their CSR spending on the Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) to the Swachhta Hi Seva campaign
  • This campaign will run until 2 October

Enlighten about CSR Rules

  • The CSR rules came into effect on 1 April 2014
  • These rules state that companies with a net worth of Rs500 crore or revenue of Rs1,000 crore or net profit of Rs5 crore should spend 2% of their average profit in the last three years on social development-related activities
  • These activities include such as sanitation, education, healthcare and poverty alleviation, among others, which are listed in Schedule VII of the rules

Reforms

SC seeks changes to reduce unnatural deaths in prisons

  • The Supreme Court has asked all high courts to “register a suo motu public interest litigation” to identify the next of kin of prisoners who died unnatural deaths behind bars between 2012 and 2015 and award them suitable compensation

Unnatural deaths in prison.

  • A monograph by the National Human Rights Commission published in 2014 pointed out that between 2007 and 2011, suicides accounted for 71 per cent of the total number of unnatural deaths in prison.
  • According to data with the National Crime Records Bureau, 551 “unnatural deaths”, including 328 suicides, had happened in prisons across the country between 2012 and 2015.

Rules for receiving foreign funds

  • No organisation or institution is allowed to receive funds from abroad unless it is registered under FCRA
  • It is mandatory for such organisations to submit their annual income and expenditure statements to the government
  • An educational institution, for instance, needs its FCRA registration number to receive donations from its alumni based abroad

Causes for jail suicides

  • Environment in the jail, which is apparently “conducive” to suicidal behaviour
  • Crisis situation faced by an inmate

Supreme Court’s suggestions to reduce jail suicides

  • Use the help of support persons or counsellors to advise prisoners who show violent or suicidal tendencies.
  • Visits to the prison by the family of a prisoner should be encouraged
  • It would be worthwhile to consider extending the time or frequency of meetings
  • And explore the possibility of using phones and video conferencing not only between a prisoner and family members, but also between a prisoner and the lawyer
  • State legal services authorities to carry out a study “of the overall conditions in prisons in the state and the facilities available”.
  • This should also “include a performance audit of the prisons”.

Health

Under-five mortality rate highest in India: Report

  • Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 has revealed that in 2016, 9 million children under the age of five died in India — the highest globally
  • According to data from the National Family Health Survey 4, the under-five mortality rate in India stands at 50 per 1000 live births down from 74 in the 10 years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
  • It ranges from 78 in Uttar Pradesh to 7 in Kerala.
  • Globally, mortality rates have decreased across all age groups over the past five decades, with the largest improvements occurring among children younger than five years
  • GBD 2016 has shown that, non communicable diseases constitute seven of the top ten causes of death in India. The leading cause of mortality was ischemic heart disease.

Defence

Indigenous artillery gun sets new record in range

  • The advanced towed artillery gun system (ATAGS) has set a world record in range by hitting targets at a distance of 48 km
  • ATAGS is being jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the private sector
  • During trial firings, ATAGS registered the longest ever distance of 48.074 km, surpassing the maximum ranges of 35-40 km fired by any artillery gun system in this category

Enlighten about the Gun

  • The development is being done through a consortium based model
  • It was designed by DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE)
  • In addition, Bharat Forge Limited of Kalyani Group, Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and Mahindra Defence Naval System are involved in a big way, along with the Ordnance Factory Board

News From Assam

Assam Assembly adopts resolution for Population Policy

  • Seeking to curb population explosion through women empowerment
  • Assam legislative assembly has passed a government resolution for adopting a ‘Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam’.

Enlighten about the policy

  • The policy has a strict two-child policy for government servants and elected/nominated representatives of panchayat, municipal and statutory bodies, with stress on women empowerment and awareness.
  • The Policy seeks to empower women for making learned choice regarding motherhood as it would lead to better living conditions for the communities.
  • The policy has provisions to bar people with more than two children from contesting election for panchayat, municipal and other statutory bodies and committees at the state level.

Assam forms “State Capital Region” around Guwahati

  • In line with the National Capital Region, Assam will have a State Capital Region encompassing Guwahati and its peripheral areas with the passing of a bill in the state Assembly.
  • The Assembly recently passed Assam State Capital Region Development Authority (ASCRDA) Bill 2017 to set up the regional authority for preparation of a plan for rapid development of the SCR.

More details –

  • The SCR shall comprise the districts of Kamrup Metropolitan, Kamrup, Nalbari, Darrang and Morrigaon, fully or partly. Capital Guwahati is in Kamrup Metropolitan district.
  • ASCRDA will be the overall authority to direct, implement and monitor the development of SCR.
  • ASCRDA will be headed by the State Chief Minister. It will prepare a regional plan for the area and coordinate.
  • The body will be entrusted to organise and oversee the financing of selected development projects.

Why –

  • The authority and guidelines of existing Guwahati Municipal Corporation Development Authority (GMDA), Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and other urban authorities were not sufficient for desired development and growth of SCR.

Environment

Snow Leopard no Longer ‘endangered’

  • The conservation status of snow leopard has been improved from “endangered” to “vulnerable”
  • The decision was announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the global standard for assessing extinction risk. The status change followed a three-year assessment process by five international experts.
  • However, experts have warned that the species still faces serious threats from poaching and habitat destruction.
  • The elegant yet elusive creatures, which live in the mountains of central Asia, were first listed as endangered by the IUCN in 1972.

Endangered Vs Vulnerable

  • To be considered ‘endangered,’ there must be fewer than 2,500 mature snow leopards and they must be experiencing a high rate of decline.
  • Being classed as “vulnerable” means a species has under10,000 breeding animals left, with a population decline of at least 10% over three generations.