Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 21, 2017

Trai

TRAI issues draft recommendations

  • Promoting ‘ease of doing business’ is essential for unhindered growth of the telecom sector. Thus, aiming to promote unhindered growth in the telecom sector, TRAI has released draft recommendations for ease of doing telecom business.

Important recommendations made:

  • There should be a cap on the market share when a new company is formed through a merger. Until now the rule was to permit a merger of licenses under the premise that new firm will reduce its market share to less than 50% in a year. But that is not possible since the new operator can neither drop its subscribers from its network nor stop providing them with service.
  • Also, the new company formed should pay the differential amount in spectrum license fee against the entry fee paid by the transfer company, once the telecom department has approved the merger, the regulator said in its recommendations.
  • For an existing service provider, for renewal of licence or migration of its licence to Unified Licence (UL), the condition of minimum net worth should not be applicable.
  • In respect of electro-magnetic field (EMF) compliance, DoT may review the need of calling biennial certification for all the existing sites of every telecom service provider (TSP). TSPs should be asked to submit all requisite certifications only through the Sanchar Tarang portal.
  • DoT should devise a suitable matrix, linking the penalty to the severity of the incident and the number of occurrences of the violation for imposition of financial penalties.

TRAI cuts mobile termination charges 57%; eyes waiver by ’20

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Wednesday slashed mobile termination charges (MTC) by 57% to 6 paise per minute with effect from October 1
  • It is likely to lead to a reduction in call rates.
  • The reduction in the mobile termination charge is likely to yield consumer benefits
  • TRAI said these charges worked as disincentive for deployment of new technology such as VoLTE and migration to IP networks by operators, where there are no interconnection charges.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

  • TRAI is an independent regulator of the telecommunications business in India. It came into existence by the Act of the Parliament in 1997.
  • It was established in wake of entry of private sector in telecom industries after Government had launched the National Telecom Policy (NTP) to attract domestic and FDI investment in the telecommunication sector.
  • Its mandate is to deliver a fair and transparent environment for fair competition in telecom market.
  • TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India.

Voice over LTE(VoLTE ) Technology

  • It is a technology for providing a unified format of voice traffic on LTE, and other systems including CSFB (Circuit Switched FallBack ), and SV-LTE (Simultaneous voice and LTE).
  • It empowers 4G LTE operators to offer rich voice, video and messaging services as a core offering.
  • LTE stands for ‘Long Term Evolution’.

Health

Nutrient packets may replace food: Maneka Gandhi

Nutrients through packets

  • Women and Child Development ministry is planning to revamp of its supplementary nutrition programme
  • Wherein states should provide nutrient packages directly to beneficiaries instead of providing food through anganwadis
  • Currently, the supplementary nutrition is in the form of take-home rations or hot-cooked meals

What is in the new Policy?

  • Under the new policy, instead of food, the focus would be on nutrient packets that will provide 1,000 calories to pregnant and lactating mothers and 600 calories to children
  • The packets(mentioned above) would have a dry mixture of peanuts, millets and micro-nutrients which can be consumed with milk, lassi, juice, or water

Suggestions by the Ministry

  • Ministry suggested that nutrient packages should be delivered through post offices
  • Thirty packages can be delivered through the post office to every family that has a baby and a pregnant mother
  • Since it is not vegetable or rice, it cannot be misused or sold in the market

Banking Sector

Banks can classify priority loans as standard debt: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India has assured banks that they can classify priority loans extended to defaulting companies in the bankruptcy process as standard debt in a move aimed at ensuring that entities which can be revived are able to raise resources.
  • This will come as a relief to those companies that are struggling to recast loans within the strict deadline imposed by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
  • The central bank has however said this classification will be allowed only if repayments are made every month rather than later in the form of bullet payments or after a few months.

International Pacts

Centre rethinks joining Hague child custody pact

  • An “inter-ministerial process” is under way to discuss the repercussions of the Hague convention on India.
  • The government had in November 2016 announced that it would not sign the convention.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has reservations about the treaty because they believe it could trample on women’s rights.
  • However, America says India should sign this convention to create a more effective response to deal with abduction cases and prevent inter-country parental child abduction.

Indian scenario:

  • India’s case-load (regarding IPCA) is second largest in the United States which is followed by Mexico.
  • At least 90 children from 80 Indian-American families were affected by separating parents and the legal problems involved.
  • As more and more Indians are studying and working in the U.S, such cases are growing in number and it is necessary to get a better mechanism to deal with this.

Background:

  • Currently, there is no specific Indian legislation addressing issues related to abduction of children from and into India.
  • However, Law Commission of India had submitted the 218th Report titled “Need to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980” on 30th March, 2009.

Environment

NGT paves way for Chardham highway project

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has paved the way for the NH-34 stretch of the PMO’s ambitious Chardham highway widening project, that will connect Uttarakhand’s holy sites, as it disposed of a plea that alleged that the project was violating provisions of Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone.
  • In an undertaking, the Uttarakhand state government and the Border Roads Organisation assured the green court that the project would be carried out with due compliance of laws in force.
  • In December 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the all-weather Chardham highway project.
  • The project involves developing and widening 900-km of national highways connecting the holy Hindu pilgrimage sites of; Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri at an estimated cost of Rs.12,000 crores.
  • The roads will be widened from 12m to 24m and the project will involve construction of tunnels, bypasses, bridges, subways and viaducts.

Science & Technology

Fast spinning star confirms Indian Nobel Laureate’s theory

  • Over 70 years after Indian astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar predicted that rapidly rotating stars would emit polarised light, scientists in Australia have observed the phenomenon for the first time.
  • Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia and University College London in the UK used a highly sensitive piece of equipment to detect the polarised light from Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
  • The equipment provided unprecedented insights into the star, which is in the constellation Leo, allowing the scientists to determine its rate of spinning and the orientation in space of the star’s spin axis.

Background:

  • In 1946, Chandrasekhar predicted the emission of polarised light from the edges of stars, prompting the development of sensitive instruments called stellar polarimeters to try to detect this effect.
  • In 1968, other researchers built on Chandrasekhar’s work to predict that the distorted, or squashed, shape of a rapidly rotating star would lead to the emission of polarised light, but its detection has eluded astronomers until now.

Polarized light:
Optical polarisation is a measure of the orientation of the oscillations of a light beam to its direction of travel.

Welfare Schemes

CCEA extends Special Industry Initiative for J&K- Udaan Scheme

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) extended time period “Special Industry Initiative for J&K” (Sll J&K)- Udaan Scheme till December, 2018 without any modification and cost escalation.
  • Proposal in this regard was forwarded by Ministry of Home Affairs. Initially the time period of UDAAN Scheme was upto 2016-17.

UDAAN Scheme

  • Udaan is national integration scheme with goal to mainstream J&K youth with rest of country.
  • It not only provides skill enhancement and job opportunity but also connects bright youths from J&K with vibrant corporate sector of country.
  • Udaan Scheme provides exposure to youth of J&K to best of corporate India and corporate India to rich talent pool available in State. So far, 109 leading corporate entities have partnered with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under scheme with commitment to train youth from State covering Banking, Financial Services, IT, ITES, Organized Retail, Infrastructure, Hospitality etc.

Cabinet approves rationalization and modernization of Government Press

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for rationalization/merger and modernization plan of 17 Government of India Presses (GIPs)/Units into 5 GIPs.
  • The five GIPs are located at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Minto Road and Mayapuri in New Delhi; Nashik (Maharashtra) and Temple Street (Kolkata, West Bengal).

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  • These 5 Presses will be redeveloped and modernised by monetisation of their surplus land.
  • 468.08 acres Land of other merged Presses will be given to Land & Development Office, Ministry of Urban Development. Moreover, 56.67 acres Land Government of India Text Books Presses (GITBPs) at Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar and Mysuru will be returned to respective State Governments.
  • The modernisation will enable these GIPs to undertake important confidential, urgent and multi-colour printing work of Central Government Offices all over country. It will be carried out at zero cost to exchequer and without any retrenchment.

Oil & Natural Gas

ONGC discovers oil in Arabian sea near Mumbai High

  • State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has made oil discovery in WO-24-3 well located west of Mumbai High fields in Arabian Sea.
  • The well is estimated to hold in-place reserve of about 20 million tonnes.

Mumbai High

  • Mumbai High is ONGC’s flagship oil producing assets.
  • It along with other small fields along western offshore have produced 16 million tonnes per annum of oil, which is 44% of India’s total crude oil production of 36 million tonnes.
  • ONGC produced 25.5 million tonnes of oil in 2016-17, which will reach 28-29 million tonnes by 2019-20.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)

  • ONGC is multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  • It is Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under administrative control of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • It is India’s largest oil and gas exploration and production company.
  • It produces around 77% of India’s crude oil (equivalent to around 30% of the country’s total demand) and around 62% of its natural gas.