Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 30, 2017

Infrastructure Development

Wardha Dry Port at Sindi in Wardha, Maharastra
Wardha Dry Port will be constructed over an area of 350 Acres with an investment of Rs.500 Crore

  • The Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways and Water Resource, River Interlinking and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari will perform the Bhoomi Poojan ceremony of the Wardha dry port at Sindi (Railway) in Wardha, Maharashtra on 2nd October, 2017.
  • The Dry Port is being developed by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in a bid to cater effective logistics services to the industries in Vidarbha region and improve cargo throughput at the Port.
  • The proposed Wardha Dry Port is to be constructed over an area of 350 acres in phased development with a total estimated investment of Rs 500 Crore.
  • The Phase-I would involve development of around 25 Ha of the total area, with an estimated cost of Rs.180 Crores (including private investment of Rs. 79 Crore).
  • Considering the geographical location advantage, upcoming road and railway connectivity, increased focus on warehousing and other ancillary industries in the region.
  • The project is expected to attract a direct employment of at least 1000 persons.
  • The project would have the necessary facilities as one-stop shop for the EXIM based industries such as customs clearance facilities, Container Freight Station, Warehousing Space, Cold Storage, Liquid Storage, truck terminals etc.

Women and Child Development

Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurates the 3rd edition of 'Women of India Organic Festival' at Dilli Haat, INA

“Good for Women; Good for India; Good for You!”

  • The Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurated the 3rdannual ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ at Dilli Haat
  • This festival will display India's most varied offerings of organic products ranging from food, wellness, personal care, home improvement, kitchen composters and solar products by nearly 530 participants.
  • For most women, this is the first time that they are travelling to Delhi from remotest parts of the country to showcase their unique merchandise to the people of Delhi and surrounding areas.

Importance of organic foods

  • Organic food has been proven to contain far more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than similar foods produced with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives.
  • Economically too, organic farming is preferable since it ultimately reduces cost of cultivation by 20-40% and increases the incomes of farmers by improving quality of production as well as the quality of soil
  • Above all, children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticide exposure.
  • With the theme ‘Good for Women; Good for India; Good for you’, the Ministry intends to highlight the health and environmental advantages of organic goods, provide a platform for women engaged in it and boost the development of sustainable and easily accessible sales outlets for women producers from the remotest corners of India.
  • During the last edition of the festival, over 500 women entrepreneurs from Leh to Kanyakumari and from Kohima to Kutch came together with their organic products

Govt. Schemes

UDAN flights - Government allows airlines to use bigger planes, eases rules on connecting flights

What are the new changes?

  • Airlines can now make an UDAN destination part of a connecting flight, making it easier for them to integrate regional aviation routes into their overall operations
  • But airline will have to declare 70% of seats on any such flight as UDAN seats irrespective of the kind of aircraft they are using.
  • They will however only be paid subsidy for a maximum of 40 seats.
  • The ministry has also done away with the stipulation that requires two airports to be 150km away from each other to qualify for UDAN flights.
  • It has also allowed helicopters to participate in UDAN, and, in mountainous regions, four-seater aircraft.

Enlighten about UDAN

  • UDAN is an innovative scheme to develop the regional aviation market.
  • It is a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies.
  • This first-of-its-kind scheme globally will create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.
  • The selection of airports where UDAN operations would start would be done in consultation with State Government.


Government notifies Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017

Concerned Ministry

  • Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC)

Notified new

  • Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 to prohibit range of activities in wetlands.
  • The new rules will replace earlier rules notified in 2010.

State Wetlands Authority (SWA)

  • It stipulates setting up of SWA in each State/UTs headed by State’s environment minister and include range of government officials.
  • State government will also nominate one expert each in fields of wetland ecology, hydrology, fisheries, landscape planning and socioeconomics.

Functions of SWA

  • It will develop comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within notified wetlands and their zone of influence.
  • It will also recommend additional prohibited activities for specific wetlands, define strategies wise use of wetlands and its conservation and undertake measures to enhance awareness within stakeholders and local communities on values and functions of wetlands.
  • In this case, wise use has been defined as principle of sustainable uses that is compatible with conservation.

Prohibited Activities:

  • The rules prohibit activities like conversion of wetland for non-wetland uses including encroachment of any kind, setting up and expansion of industries, waste dumping and discharge of untreated wastes and effluents from industries, cities, towns, villages and other human settlements.

Digital inventory of all wetlands

  • Mandatory for state authorities to prepare list of all wetlands and list of wetlands to be notified within six months. Based on it, a comprehensive digital inventory of all wetlands will be created and will be updated every ten years.

National Wetlands Committee (NWC)

  • The rules stipulates for setting up of NWC, headed by MoEFCC Secretary, to monitor implementation of these rules and oversee work carried out by States.
  • NCW will also advise Central Government on appropriate policies and action programmes for conservation and wise use of wetlands, recommend designation of wetlands of international importance under Ramsar Convention

Health Sector

India registers significant decline in Infant Mortality Rate Source

Sample Registration Bulletin (SRS)

  • According to recently released SRS India has registered a significant decline of 8% in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in 2016.
  • IMR in India has declined by three points from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016.
  • Infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age.

Key highlights of SRS

  • Moreover, India has also recorded major drop in birth cohort, which has for first time came down to below 25 million. India has registered 90000 fewer infant deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015.
  • The total number of estimated infant deaths have come down from 9.3 Lakhs in 2015 to 8.4 lakhs in 2016.
  • The gender gap in India for child survival is also reducing steadily.
  • The gender difference between female and male IMR has reduced to below 10%, giving major boost to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme.
  • Among Empowered Action Group (EAG) states and Assam, all states except Uttarakhand have reported decline in IMR compared to 2015


TK Viswanathan Committee Recommendations to deal with hate speech on internet

  • The committee was formed after Supreme Court struck down Section 66 A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India.
  • It was having members from Law Ministry, CBI and Ministry of Home Affairs.

COMMITTEE Recommendations

  • The committee has recommended appointing cybercrime coordinators in all states and establishing cybercrime cells in each district.
  • They will deal with those fomenting trouble or spreading hate against anybody on rounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, place of birth or residence, disability or tribe through any means of communication.
  • It has suggested replacing some clauses of the IT Act, 2000 and amending some sections of IPC like 153 (want only giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505A (false and mischievous reports intended to upset public tranquillity) to deal with online hate crimes.
  • It has recommended punishment under amended clause dealing with prohibiting incitement to hatred of two years imprisonment or fine of Rs 5,000 or both.
  • The committee suggested that state cybercrime coordinator should be an officer not below the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP). The district cybercrime cell should be headed by an officer not below the rank of sub-inspector of police.

Bilateral Relations

India and Norway sign Letter of Intent to bilateral extend health cooperation

  • India has signed Letter of Intent (LoI) with Norway to extend cooperation within health sector through Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) for period of three years starting from 2018.
  • Strengthening to be build based on experiences from NIPI phase I and II.
  • The cooperation will continue to focus on innovative, catalytic and strategic support, taking India’s Intensification Plan for Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival in country as starting point.
  • The Governments of Norway and India had agreed in 2006 to collaborate towards achieving MDG 4 to reduce child mortality.
  • The partnership was based on India’s health initiative, National Health Mission (NHM) and aimed at facilitating rapid scale-up of quality child and maternal health services in four high focus states – Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan (BiMad RajOdi)

The main activities in NIPI Phase I (2006-2012) were –

  • Home-based new born care (HBNC),
  • Establishing Sick Newborn Care Units (SNCU),
  • Yashoda through State health system,
  • Techno managerial support and
  • Providing strategic support for immunization and Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives.

India and Norway had decided to extend the partnership to coincide with

Phase II of NHM plan for period of five years (2013-17)

  • Besides four states supported by NIPI, Jammu & Kashmir was added as fifth state with NIPI.

Electoral Reforms

Gujarat to be first big state to use EVMs with VVPAT

  • Gujarat will become first big state to use Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in coming Assembly elections to make election process more transparent.
  • It was announced by Election Commission of India. Gujarat will be second state after Goa to use VVPAT system for the Assembly elections in entire state.

Enlighten about Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)

  • The VVPAT is a method that provides feedback to voters after they cast their votes in EVMs.
  • It is independent verification printer machine attached to EVMs.
  • It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate. Thus, ensure free and fair elections.
  • In the VVPAT system, when voter presses button for candidate of his choice in EVM, a paper slip containing serial number, name of candidate and poll symbol will be printed for voter.
  • The paper slip will be only visible to voter from glass case in VVPAT for seven seconds, after that slip will be cut and dropped into drop box in VVPAT machine.
  • VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

Science & Tech

India International Science Festival 2017: ‘Science for New India’

  • Emphasizing the role of technologies and innovation, India has declared 2010-20 as the ‘Decade of Innovation’.
  • The Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) have come together to organize The India International Science Festival (IISF) every year, since 2015 to encourage scientific temper among the masses and showcasing Indian contribution in the field of S&T over the years.
  • The previous two editions of IISF held at New Delhi have been a great success
  • The 3rd edition of IISF 2017 will be held in Chennai during 13-16 October, 2017 at various venues


World Gold Council to form panel for establishing spot gold bourse in India

The committee will provide guidance in setting up the exchange

  • The World Gold Council (WGC) plans to form a committee soon to help set up India’s first spot gold exchange within 12 to 18 months
  • A dedicated exchange for physical gold is expected to pave the way for standard gold pricing practices in India, apart from bringing in transparency into a market which sees large cash transactions
  • The Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) and National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) currently offer gold futures contracts in India, but do not have a platform for physical trade
  • A physical exchange would enable jewellers, retailers, refiners and banks to trade over a regulated platform, the WGC report said.
  • China, world’s top gold consumer, runs such a bourse where gold, both domestically produced and imported, can be bought and sold