Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 28, 2017

Communication/Telecom Sector

India Mobile Congress 2017

  • Minister of Communication Shri Manoj Sinha to launch the first ever India Mobile Congress 2017
  • More than 100 leading global companies to participate
  • The Minister of Communication Shri Manoj Sinha today announced DoT’s first ever Mobile, Internet and Technology event in India - India Mobile Congress 2017, which is beginning from, 27th September till 29th September 2017 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
  • Led by Department of Telecom as the nodal ministry, the India Mobile Congress is being organised by Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry association of mobile and telecom operators and internet companies will be a congregation to display, discuss, unveil, imbibe, educate and recognise the importance of the global and Indian telecommunications, mobile, internet, connectivity and digital services sector to the world.

Cyber Security Challenges

Centre backs local cyber security tech

What it is

  • Preventing data theft by foreign entities
  • Preference for domestic products would also be given for cybersecurity products used by intelligence agencies

Draft notification by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)

  • The notification will cover all products and software used for maintaining confidentiality, availability and integrity of information by protecting computing devices from attack, damage, or unauthorized access

Who is ‘local supplier’?(according to the notification)

  • The draft notification has defined ‘local supplier’ as a company incorporated and registered in India,
  • Adding that revenue from the product and revenue from Intellectual Property licensing should accrue to the company

Centre –State Relations

States will have to compete for central projects

  • The Centre has decided to adopt the so-called challenge method for awarding all projects to states.

What you need to know about the so- called challenge method?

  • Under this method, prospective states will be rated on more than half-dozen parameters prescribed in the guidelines issued and the project will go to the state with the highest score on a scale of zero to 100.
  • The challenge method for selecting the state as well as the site for the projects, which can be both brownfield and greenfield projects, will now be applicable across sectors such as aviation, roads, railways, health, education, IT, power and textiles.
  • It will also be used for awarding all national events such as national games and youth festivals to states.

Significance of this method

  • This is expected to spur competition among states and union territories both in terms of offering the best sites and committing resources in terms of land, utilities, infrastructure support and financial contribution

International Agreements

International Solar Alliance

  • Fiji, Niger and Tuvalu have deposited instrument of ratification of the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in the recently held 5th meeting of International Steering Committee (ISC) of the ISA.
  • Till date 40 countries have signed and 11 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of the ISA. With ratifications by 15 countries, the ISA will become a treaty based inter-governmental international organization.

About International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • The ISA is an Indian initiative jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30 November 2015 at Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21.
  • Aim: It aims at addressing obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
  • India has offered a contribution of Rs 175 crore for creating ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of ISA secretariat for initial five years.
  • International Steering Committee was establishment under the mandate of the Paris Declaration of ISA to provide the guidance and direction to establish the ISA.

World Index

India Ranked 40th On World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index

  • India has been ranked as the 40th most competitive economy – slipping one place from last year’s ranking – on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index.

Background:

  • 12 categories or pillars of competitiveness.
  • Institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation are the 12 pillars.

Performance of India:

  • India stabilises this year after its big leap forward of the previous two years.
  • The score has improved across most pillars of competitiveness. These include infrastructure (66th rank), higher education and training (75) and technological readiness (107), reflecting recent public investments in these areas.
  • According to the report, India’s performance also improved in ICT (information and communications technologies) indicators, particularly Internet bandwidth per user, mobile phone and broadband subscriptions, and Internet access in schools.
  • However, the WEF said the private sector still considers corruption to be the most problematic factor for doing business in India.
  • The second biggest bottleneck is ‘access to financing’, followed by ‘tax rates’, ‘inadequate supply of infrastructure’, ‘poor work ethics in national labour force’ and ‘inadequately educated work force’, among others.
  • Another big concern for India is the disconnect between its innovative strength (29) and its technological readiness (up 3 to 107): as long as this gap remains large, India will not be able to fully leverage its technological strengths across the wider economy.

Performance of various countries

  • The list is topped by Switzerland.
  • The US and Singapore are in the second and third places, respectively.
  • Other countries in the top 10 are the Netherlands (4th rank), Germany (5), Hong Kong SAR (6), Sweden (7), United Kingdom (8), Japan (9) and Finland (10).
  • Among the BRICS nations, China and Russia (38) are placed above India. South Africa and Brazil are placed at the 61st and 80th spots, respectively.
  • In South Asia, India has garnered the highest ranking, followed by Bhutan (85th), Sri Lanka (85th), Nepal (88), Bangladesh (99) and Pakistan (115).

National

Government to run safety checks on 5,000 big dams

  • For the first time, the Centre is planning to conduct a ‘break analysis’ of 5,247 large dams across the country, and put in place an emergency action plan, especially for the 196 that are over 100 years old.

What is Break Analysis?

  • Break analysis is the examination of dams to identify potential failures that may result in an uncontrolled release of water.
  • It involves the characterisation of threats to public safety that a dam poses.

Various efforts in this regard

  • The government has already drafted a ‘dam safety bill’, currently being reworked by the Niti Aayog.
  • Previously, in October 1987, the Centre had constituted the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS), which was tasked with overseeing dam safety and suggesting improvements.
  • The committee, headed by the Central Water Commission chairman, met 37 times and has been instrumental in the maintenance of dams.
  • A project called DRIP (Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Programme) is also under way.
  • DRIP, started in April 2012 and has been working with five state governments (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha) and two agencies (Damodar Valley Corporation in Jharkhand and Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd), was conceived with an estimated budget of Rs 2,100 crore

Cabinet Decisions

Cabinet approves umbrella scheme of Modernisation of Police Forces

  • The Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) has approved implementation of umbrella scheme of Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) for years 2017 to 2020 to strengthen country’s law and order mechanism, modernise police forces and effectively fight against terrorism.
  • It is biggest ever internal security scheme in country. It has financial outlay of Rs.25,060 crore out of which Central Government share will be Rs.18,636 crore and states’ share will be Rs.6,424 crore.

Salient Features of Scheme

Special provision of scheme:

  • It convers internal security, law and order, women security, availability of modern weapons, mobility of police forces, upgradation of police wireless, logistics support, National Satellite Network, CCTNS project, hiring of helicopters, E-prison project etc.

J&K, North Eastern and LWE States:

  • Central budget outlay of Rs.10,132 crore has been earmarked specially for internal security related expenditure for Jammu & Kashmir, North Eastern States and left wing extremism (LWE) affected States.
  • It introduces Scheme of Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 35 worst LWE affected districts to tackle issue of underdevelopment in these districts.
  • It has outlay of Rs.100 crore earmarked for North Eastern States for upgradation of police infrastructure, training institutes, investigation facilities etc.

Upgradation of Infrastructure:

  • It introduces new initiatives to provide assistance to States for upgradation of police infrastructure, forensic science laboratories, institutions and equipment available with them to plug critical gaps in the criminal justice system.

Integration of Police Stations:

  • It will aid in integrating police stations to set up national data base of crime and criminals’ records.
  • It will be linked with other pillars of criminal justice system such as ‘prisons, forensic science laboratories and prosecution offices.

Forensic science laboratories:

  • It provides for setting up of state-of art forensic science laboratory in Amravati (Andhra Pradesh) and upgradation of Sardar Patel Global Centre for Security, Counter Terrorism and Anti Insurgency in Jaipur (Rajathan) and Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhi Nagar.

Cabinet approves pacts signed by Exim Bank under BRICS mechanism

  • The Cabinet has approved signing of Interbank Local Currency Credit Line Agreement and Cooperation Memorandum relating to Credit Ratings by Exim Bank with member banks under BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism.

BRICS member countries

  • They will enable Exim Bank to leverage these agreements and can enter into bilateral agreement with any of these member institutions to raise resources for its business.
  • It will enable lending in single currency by any two member institutions.

Cooperation Memorandum Relating to Credit Ratings

  • It enables sharing of credit ratings amongst BRICS member banks, based on request received from another bank.
  • It serves as ideal mechanism to mitigate credit risks associated with cross-border financing. It can also serve as pre-cursor to proposal of having an alternate rating agency by BRICS nations.

Interbank Local Currency Credit Line Agreement

  • It is a framework mechanism to extend credit lines in local currencies to the BRICS’ Interbank Cooperation Mechanism (ICM) members.
  • The initial Master Agreement on Extending Credit Facility in Local Currency under BRICS ICM had validity of five years and expired in March 2017.
  • Under it some member banks of BRICS had entered into bilateral agreements

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Afghanistan for Cooperation on Police Training and Development

  • For period of five years from date of signing.
  • It can be extended for further period of 5 years on condition that are not further changes and or revision.
  • India and Afghanistan have friendly relations and already have signed “Agreement on strategic partnership” in October, 2011.
  • Police personnel of Afghanistan National Police have been regularly coming for training purposes in different training institutes of India.

National

Kandla Port renamed as Deendayal Port

  • The Union Ministry of Shipping has renamed Kandla Port Trust as Deendayal Port Trust, by exercising powers conferred on it under Indian Ports Act, 1908.

Kandla Port

  • Kandla Port is one of twelve major ports in country.
  • It is situated on Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat.
  • It is the largest port of India in terms of volume of cargo handled (around 100 million tons freight).
  • It was constructed in 1950s as main seaport to serve in western India, alternative to Karachi port which came under Pakistan’s control after partition.
  • In March 2016, Kandla Port had created history by becoming first Major Port in the country to cross 100 million tons freight handling capacity.

World Day

27 September: World Tourism Day

  • The World Tourism Day (WTD) is being observed every year on 27th September to raise awareness about importance of tourism.
  • The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is ‘sustainable tourism – a tool for development’.
  • The World Tourism Day marks adaptation of Statutes of UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) on September 27, 1970.
  • The adoption of these Statutes is considered a milestone in global tourism.