Current Affairs, 30 October 2018

Current Affairs, 30 October 2018


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: About CARA and Missionaries of Charity.
  • For Mains: Significance and role of CARA in monitoring adoptions in the country, a brief overview of Hague Convention.

 

Context: Three years after the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) decided to stop giving children in its homes up for adoption, it has agreed to join hands with the country’s nodal agency- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) for adoption.

 

Background:

In October 2015, soon after the Central government announced new rules for adoption and made it mandatory for all homes to be linked to the Child Adoption Resource Authority(CARA), which would be the only body in the country authorised to process adoptions, the Missionaries of Charity sought de-recognition of its homes.

 

About CARA:

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Missionaries of Charity is a Roman Catholic religious congregation established in 1950 by Mother Teresa.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Vigilance Awareness Week

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: CVC- eligibility, appointment and removal.
  • For Mains: Corruption- issues, challenges and ways to prevent.

 

Context: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will observe the Vigilance Awareness Week from 29th October to 3rd November, 2018 as per the directions of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Government of India.

The theme of the vigilance awareness this year is “Eradicate Corruption- Make a New India.”

  • During the week-long Vigilance Awareness campaign, various activities like seminars, debates and essay competitions will be organized in the Ministry to sensitize and motivate its officers and staff to remain vigilant and transparent in their work in order to eradicate corruption in all spheres of life.

 

Background:

The Central Vigilance Commission aims to promote integrity, transparency and accountability in public life. As part of its efforts to promote probity in public life and to achieve a corruption free society, CVC observes Vigilance Awareness Week every year. The observation of Vigilance Awareness Week creates greater awareness among public and encourages all the stakeholders to collectively participate in prevention of and fight against Corruption.

 

About CVC:

It is the apex vigilance institution. It was created via executive resolution (based on the recommendations of Santhanam committee) in 1964 but was conferred with statutory status in 2003.

It submits its report to the President of India.

Composition: Presently, the body consists of central vigilance commissioner along with 2 vigilance commissioners.

Appointment: They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a committee consisting of Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (if there is no LoP then the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha).

Term: Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.

Removal: The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Gujarat’s first Mega Food Park

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Mega food park scheme and mega food parks in the country.
  • For Mains: Need for Mega food parks and other related agricultural issues.

 

Context: Gujarat’s first Mega Food Park has been inaugurated in Surat.

  • Promoted by M/s Gujarat Agro Infrastructure Mega Food Park Pvt. Ltd the Park is located at Village Shah and Vasravi, Taluka Mangrol, District Surat. It will provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers.

 

About Mega Food Parks:

  • Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
  • The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.
  • These food parks give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables.
  • A maximum grant of R50 crore is given for setting up a MFP, in minimum 50 acres of contiguous land with only 50% contribution to the total project cost.

 

Mode of operation:

  • The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
  • The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
  • CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC. The minimum area required for a CPC is 50 acres.
  • The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.

 

Facts for Prelims:

Gujarat’s 2nd Mega Food Park has been sanctioned by the Ministry in Mehsana District of Gujarat.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Namami Gange programme

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the programme.

 

Context: The Executive Committee (EC) of the National Mission for Clean Ganga has approved 12 projects worth Rs. 929 Crore under the Namami Gange programme in its 16th meeting held recently.

 

About Namami Gange Programme:

Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.

The programme envisages: River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.

 

Implementation:

  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
  • In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
  • The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Currency swap agreement between India and Japan

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Meaning, significance and implications of Currency swap.

 

Context: Japan and India have entered into a $75-billion currency swap arrangement that will bolster the country’s firepower as it battles a steep drop in the rupee’s value. An agreement to this effect was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Japan.

 

Key facts:

  • The Agreement shall aid in bringing greater stability to foreign exchange & capital markets in India. The facility will serve as a second line of defence for the rupee after the $393.5 billion of foreign exchange reserves that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has at its disposal.
  • Under the arrangement, India can acquire dollars from Japan in exchange for rupees. Conversely, Japan can also seek dollars from India in exchange for yen.
  • The arrangement will be used only when required, and will help meet short-term liquidity mismatches.

 

Significance of the agreement:

  • The currency swap agreement is an important measure in improving the confidence in the Indian market and it would not only enable the agreed amount of capital being available to India, but it will also bring down the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing the foreign capital market.
  • The swap arrangement should aid in bringing greater stability to foreign exchange and capital markets in India. With this arrangement in place, prospects of India would further improve in tapping foreign capital for country’s developmental needs. This facility will enable the agreed amount of foreign capital being available to India for use as and when the need arises.

 

What is this Currency Swap Arrangement (CSA)?

This is an arrangement, between two friendly countries, which have regular, substantial or increasing trade, to basically involve in trading in their own local currencies, where both pay for import and export trade, at the pre-determined rates of exchange, without bringing in third country currency like the US Dollar.

In such arrangements no third country currency is involved, thereby eliminating the need to worry about exchange variations.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

Topic: Infrastructure- waterways.

 

India’s first container movement on inland waterways

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: IWAI- objectives, composition and significance, NW- 1.
  • For Mains: Significance of Inland waterways, challenges involved therein.

 

Context: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will transport container cargo belonging to the food and beverage giant PepsiCo (India) from Kolkata to Varanasi on river Ganga (National Waterway-1).

Significance: This would be the country’s first container movement on inland vessel post-independence.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  • PepsiCo (India) will move 16 containers – equivalent to 16 truckloads- filled with food and snacks in the vessel MV RN Tagore which will reach Varanasi in 9-10 days. MV RN Tagore will make its return journey with fertilizers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.
  • The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.
  • States covered under NW-1: States: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal.

 

Benefits of container movement on inland waterways:

Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.

 

Know about IWAI:

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Pollution and related issues.

 

CSIR develops Less Polluting Firecrackers

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Features of the new crackers.
  • For Mains: Pollution related to firecrackers and measures to reduce pollution.

 

Context: CSIR develops Less Polluting Firecrackers named – safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminium (SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR).

 

Technical Details:

  • These crackers have unique property of releasing water vapour and /or air as dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions and matching performance in sound with conventional crackers.
  • SWAS crackers eliminates usage of (KNO3) Potassium nitrate and Sulphur with consequent reduction in particulate matter (30-35%) SO2 and NOx. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 dBA. SWAS has been tested for shelf life upto 3 weeks with consistent performance.
  • STAR eliminates usage of KNO3 and S with consequent reduction in particulate matter (35-40%), SO2 and NOx. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 dBA.
  • SAFAL has minimal usage of aluminium (only in flash powder for initiation) with consequent significant reduction in particulate matter (35-40 %) compared to commercial crackers. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in the range of 110-115 dBA.

 

Benefits:

Indian Fireworks industry is over 6000-crore worth of annual turnover and provides employment opportunities to over 5 lakh families directly or indirectly. This endeavour of CSIR aims at addressing the pollution concerns at the same time protecting the livelihoods of those involved in this trade. These Firecrackers are not only environment friendly but 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones.

 

Sources: pib.


Topic: Cyber security related issues.

 

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS)

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: CCTNS, difference between CCTNS and NATGRID.
  • For Mains: CCTNS- need and benefits, smart policing, police reforms.

 

Context: Conference on “CCTNS–Good practices and success Stories” is being held in New Delhi.

 

What is CCTNS project?

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level. This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”. CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.

 

What it does?

  • The Project will interconnect about 15000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country and digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all Police Stations.
  • It will not only automate Police functions at Police station and higher levels but will also create facilities and mechanism to provide public services like registration of online complaints, ascertaining the status of case registered at the police station, verification of persons etc.
  • In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

 

Benefits:

The Full implementation of the Project with all the new components would lead to a Central citizen portal having linkages with State level citizen portals that will provide a number of citizen friendly services like Police Verification for various purposes including passport verification, reporting a crime including cyber-crime and online tracking of the case progress etc.

The project will enable National level crime analytics to be published at increased frequency, which will help the policy makers as well as lawmakers in taking appropriate and timely action, it will also enable Pan-India criminal/accused name search in the regional language for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement. This would lead to development of a national database of crimes and criminals.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

India’s largest Dry Dock at Cochin Shipyard:

Context: India’s largest Dry Dock will be built at Cochin Shipyard. With this Cochin Shipyard will be able to build specialized and technologically advanced large vessels.

Significance: The Dry Dock will give an impetus to “Make in India” initiative under Sagarmala and raise India’s share in global shipbuilding to 2%. India currently occupies 0.66% share in global shipbuilding market.

 

WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health:

Context: The first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health will be held at WHO Headquarters in Geneva.

Organizers: The conference is being held in collaboration with UN Environment, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Participants will include Ministers of Health and Environment and other national government representatives; representatives of intergovernmental agencies, health professionals, other sectors (e.g. transport, energy, etc.), as well as from research, academia and civil society.

Background: The conference responds to a World Health Assembly mandate to combat one of the world’s most significant causes of premature death, causing some 7 million deaths annually. Air pollution in most cities exceeds recommended WHO Air Quality levels and household air pollution is a leading killer in poor rural and urban homes. Up to 1/3 of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution.

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