Home Daily Updates IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 17 - MAY - 2016
IMPORTANT CURRENT AFFAIRS & DAILY NEWS UPDATES : 17 - MAY - 2016
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 04:52

 

 

RMI'S Current Affairs - https://www.facebook.com/RMIS-Current-Affairs

 

 

17 - MAY - 2016

 

BHEL COMMISSIONED 600 MW THERMAL POWER PLANT IN MADHYA PRADESH

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) commissioned 600 mega watts (MW) coal-based thermal power plant in Madhya Pradesh.

The unit was commissioned at the 1x600 MW Jhabua Thermal Power Project (TPP) located in Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh.

A subsidiary of Avantha Power & Infrastructure Limited (APIL), Jhabua Power Ltd (JPL) has developed the project. This is the second project of APIL commissioned by BHEL. Earlier, 1×600 MW Avantha Bhandar TPP at Raigarh in Chhattisgarh was commissioned.

Apart from the newly commissioned project, Madhya Pradesh has two supercritical units of 800 MW for NTPC at Gadarwara which are being executed by BHEL.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)

• It was established in 1964 and completely owned by Union Government.

• It was awarded a Maharatna Company status in 2013.

• It is largest engineering and manufacturing company of its kind in India.

• It scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of steam turbine, generator and boiler, along with associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides controls and Instrumentation and electrostatic precipitators.

US NAVY TESTED WORLD'S LARGEST UNMANNED SURFACE VESSEL, SEA HUNTER

United States of America (US) Navy tested the world's largest unmanned surface vessel named Sea Hunter in San Diego.

It is a self-driving 132-foot ship able to travel up to 10000 nautical miles on its own to hunt for stealthy submarines and underwater mines.

It is designed to travel thousands of miles out at sea without a single crew member on board.

The Pentagon's research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) developed the ship along with Virginia-based Leidos and it will conduct the test in conjunction with US Navy.

Tests will be conducted for the next two years along California's coast to check its ability to react on its own to avoid collisions with seafaring traffic.

Sea Hunter Warship

• The ship is powered by two diesel engines and can reach speeds of 27 knots per hour.

• It is a 132ft-long (40-metre) unarmed prototype ship which is designed to cruise on the ocean's surface without a crew.

• The ship underwent two years of testing which includes verifying that it can safely follow international norms for operating at sea.

• More importantly, it can use radar and cameras to avoid other vessels.

• It is the naval equivalent of Google's self-driving car.

UNION CABINET APPROVED SIGNING OF MOC BETWEEN MINISTRY OF WOMEN & CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION

The Union Cabinet approved the signing of Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) between Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

The MoC will be signed for the cooperation in Information and Communication Technology Enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and other related technical matters.

The MoC will facilitate the development of CAS for ICT-RTM, training of trainers and other technical matters. ICT-RTM and other components will be rolled out in phased manner.

The MoC will cover 162 high malnutrition burden districts of eight states. These states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Key highlights of the MoC

Implementation of ICT-RTM of ICDS, which will enable the authorities for timely intervention for ensuring proper service delivery.

Putting up in place a shared national communication campaign, communications strategy and guidelines, customizing communications, products and material to local contexts along with developing plans for large scale dissemination.

Technical support through high quality technical teams of nutrition experts.

The phase-I of ISSNIP will roll out ICT-RTM through one Lakh Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) in 162 high burden districts of eight participating States. Children of 0-6 years age, pregnant women and lactating mothers will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

What BMGF will provide?

Technical support at the national and state level for strengthening their capacities to deliver nutrition especially during pre-conception, pregnancy and first two years of life.

Funding to applicable organisation that meets eligibility criteria as will be mutually agreed upon by the Foundation and MWCD from time to time.

Support to MWCD in developing a shared national communication campaign for maternal and child nutrition for roll out among target population.

The Common Application Software (CAS) will be developed by the BMGF with support of their partners. It will be made available to the Ministry free of cost along with its Source Code for hosting by MWCD with NIC. CAS will drive the ICT-RTM of ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) and Support System.

UNION CABINET APPROVED TO ADOPT UNITED NATIONS FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF OFFICIAL STATISTICS

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved to adopt the United Nations fundamental principles of official statistics.

The adoption will bring professional independence, impartiality, accountability and transparency of official statistics, besides adopting international standards.

It will also pave way for devising a National Policy on Official Statistics for improving systems, procedures and institutions consistent with these principles.

The ten Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics those are endorsed by the UN General Assembly as follows:

Principle 1: Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the Government and economy among others.

Principle 2: To retain trust in official statistics, the statistical agencies need to decide according to strictly professional considerations, including scientific principles and professional ethics, on the methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data.

Principle 3: To facilitate a correct interpretation of the data, the statistical agencies are to present information according to scientific standards on the sources, methods and procedures of the statistics.

Principle 4: The statistical agencies are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics.

Principle 5: Data for statistical purposes may be drawn from all types of sources, be they statistical surveys or administrative records. Statistical agencies are to choose the source with regard to quality, timeliness, costs and the burden on Respondents.

Principle 6: Individual data collected by statistical agencies for statistical compilation, whether they refer to natural or legal persons, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes.

Principle 7: The laws, regulations and measures under which the statistical systems operate are to be made public.

Principle 8: Coordination among statistical agencies within countries is essential to achieve consistency and efficiency in the statistical system.

Principle 9: The use by statistical agencies in each country of international concepts, classifications and methods promotes the consistency and efficiency of statistical systems at all official levels.

Principle 10: Bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistics contributes to the improvement of systems of official statistics in all countries.

Background

• The UN General Assembly endorsed the Principles in its Resolution in January 2014.

• Eventhough most of the ingredients in these principles are already being adhered to by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). On a reference from the Union Ministry of External Affairs on the draft UN General Assembly Resolution, MoSPI supported it.

• UN reviewed the matter in in the 46th session of the United Nations Statistics Commission held in New York in March 2015 in which MoSPI represented India.

• The progress of work in implementation of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics is required to be reported by India to the UN Statistics Division for deliberation in the 48th session of the United Nations Statistics Commission to be held in 2017.

RADHA BINOD BARMAN TOOK OVER AS PART-TIME CHAIRPERSON OF NATIONAL STATISTICAL COMMISSION

Renowned statistician Dr Radha Binod Barman took over as the part-time Chairperson in the National Statistical Commission.

On the other hand, Professor S. Mahendra Dev, Professor Rahul Mukherjee, Dr Rajiv Mehta and Dr Manoj Panda took over as other part-time members in the commission.

About National Statistical Commission

The Government of India ordered setting up National Statistical Commission of India on 1 June 2005 on the recommendation of C. Rangarajan Commission.

It is an autonomous body, which was formed in July 2006.

The objective of its constitution is to reduce the problems faced by statistical agencies in the country in relation to collection of data.

The Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog is the ex-officio Member in the Commission.

The Commission is an advisory body on all statistical matters, set up to enhance public trust in official statistics.

CAIPEEX A PROCESS TO UNDERSTAND RAIN FORMATION IN CLOUDS & IMPACT OF RANDOMIZED CLOUD SEEDING

CAPEEX: Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment

CAIPEEX, a technique to understand the rain formation in clouds and the impact of Randomized Cloud Seeding,. The term CAIPEEX was used in Parliament by Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, YS Chowdary.

In Lok Sabha on 4 May 2016, the minister informed that the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) is putting its effort in understanding the rain formation in clouds through this research program.

About CAIPEEX

• Under this experiment, air borne observations are taken through randomized cloud seeding and the impact is recorded.

• The program uses a combination of radar, other ground based instruments and airborne platforms along with high resolution numerical modeling to plan and conduct the seeding experiment.

• The area for cloud seeding is determined based on convective potential.

• Aircraft observations have to be conducted before and after the seeding to determine the environmental conditions and the quantum of seeding material.

• These operations include detailed measurements of aerosols, cloud droplets, raindrops and ice particles, registering the growth of clouds before and after the seeding.

• The research data has been used to formulate ice nucleation scheme for inclusion of such processes in the forecast models.

He informed that artificial rain making techniques involving cloud seeding cannot be used for bringing rain clouds to rainfall deficit/drought areas. These techniques can only induce potential pre-existing clouds with adequate cloud droplets, to produce enhanced quantum of rain.

APEX COURT UPHELD PRE-CONSTITUTIONAL LAW CRIMINALISING DEFAMATION

  • In a judgment that holds far-reaching implications for political dissent and a free press, the Supreme Court upheld a colonial and pre-Constitutional law criminalising defamation.
  • The verdict dismissed apprehensions, raised by personalities across the political spectrum and media organisations championing the fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution.
  • Apprehension was that criminal defamation may have a chilling effect on the freedom to circulate one’s independent view and “not to join in a chorus or sing the same song.”
  • The judgment came on a batch of petitions filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and media associations, among others.
  • The court refused exhortations that penalisation of defamation is past its time, and the nation now risks the danger of being reduced to a “frozen democracy.”
  • A Bench of Justices said the reputation of an individual was an equally important right and stood on the same pedestal as free speech.
  • The court said it would be a stretch to say that upholding criminal defamation in modern times would amount to imposition of silence.
  • “Mutual respect is the fulcrum of fraternity that assures dignity. It does not mean that there cannot be dissent. One has a right to freedom of speech and expression. One is also required to maintain the idea of fraternity that assures the dignity of the individual,” said Justice Misra.
  • The court held that criminalisation of defamation to protect individual dignity of life and reputation is a “reasonable restriction” on the fundamental right of free speech and expression.
  • “The right to reputation is a constituent of Article 21 of the Constitution. It is an individual’s fundamental right,” Justice Misra observed.

GOVT ANNOUNCED THE NEW IPR POLICY

  • The NDA government announced the long-pending, “all-encompassing” National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy.
  • The Policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset and , promote innovation, while protecting public interest including ensuring the availability of essential drugs at affordable prices.
  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “Our approach balances consideration of inventability, innovation and public health consideration.”
  • Though the U.S. concerns include the “rejections” of patent applications for innovative pharmaceutical products due to “unpredictable” application of Section 3(d) of the (Indian) Patents Act, Mr. Jaitley clarified that the policy will ensure that no changes are made in that Section.

SC DIRECTED CENTRE AND STATES FOR BETTER IMPLEMENTATION OF MGNREGA

  • Directing the Centre and the States to make all efforts to encourage needy persons to come forward and take advantage of the MGNREGA scheme.
  • The Apex Court slammed the government for not giving compensation to workers for delayed payment of wages under MGNREGA even during the current drought.
  • A Bench of Justices Madan said the government had no provision for providing compensation to the workers. “A success rate below 50 per cent is nothing to be proud of,” the Bench observed.
  • The court said it was also regrettable that the government cleared the pending wage bill for 2015-16 only during the pendency of this case and underlined that “The Government of India must shape up in this regard”.
  • “A worker is entitled to compensation at the rate of 0.05 per cent per day for delayed payment of the wages due,” the court said.

SC SAID FREE PRESS CAN'T CAUSE INJURY TO AN INDIVIDUAL’S PRECIOUS REPUTATION

  • The Supreme Court said a free press is the heart and soul of political intercourse and is a public educator, but this freedom is not absolute and cannot be used by the media to cause injury to an individual’s precious reputation.
  • In its judgment upholding the constitutional validity of criminal defamation, a Bench of Justice Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant revisited the apex court’s judgments on the importance of media’s freedom of speech and expression in a vibrant democracy.
  • It even calls the media a “public educator”, making formal and non-formal education possible at a large-scale, particularly in the developing world.
  • But the court held that the press has to also observe “reasonable restrictions” and its purpose is to “advance the public interest by publishing facts and opinions without which a democratic electorate cannot make responsible judgments.”
  • While in one breath saying that “freedom of speech and expression is regarded as the first condition of liberty,” the court in the next reins in this liberty by cautioning that free speech is not an “absolute value under our Constitution.”
  • The court agrees that the voice of dissent or disagreement has to be respected and regarded and not to be scuttled as “unpalatable criticism.”

BELGIUM TO TAKE FIGHT AGAINST IS INTO SYRIA

  • Belgium will extend its F-16 air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq into Syria, Belgium grapples with the aftermath of deadly IS-claimed bomb attacks in Brussels.
  • In accordance with UN Resolution 2249, the engagement will be limited to those areas of Syria under the control of IS and other terrorist groups.
  • The objective will be to destroy these groups’ refuges,”, Govt also said that the strikes would begin on July 1.
  • Belgium launched its first attacks against IS in Iraq in late 2014 as part of the U.S.-led coalition, but decided against strikes in Syria amid public fears over getting dragged into a wider conflict.
  • However, the November 13 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead brought home the IS threat to the heart of Europe and changed sentiment sharply.
  • Earlier, Belgian Foreign Minister said the government was reconsidering its position, as it did not make sense to attack IS in Iraq but not in Syria.

NEPAL ON TURMOIL AGAIN

  • Madhesi protesters under the leadership of the United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF) of Nepal declared that they would start a new round of agitation and enforce a blockade on the capital Kathmandu.
  • The protest comes three months after the end of a crippling economic blockade that the UMDF had launched demanding citizenship rights for the Madhesis of Nepal.
  • “We will not let the government function unless it carries out amendments to the Nepali Constitution guaranteeing citizenship rights.” UMDF said
  • May 13th declaration of protest was made exactly a week after Nepal cancelled the visit of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to India and recalled its ambassador.

DEFENCE MINISTER TO VISIT UAE AND OMAN TO DEEPEN SECURITY AND DEFENCE COOPERATION

  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will leave for Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to deepen security and defence cooperation with a region which has traditionally been viewed only as politically important.
  • “While political ties with the region has been deepening over the years, security and defence cooperation were the missing pieces in the relationship. It had been low key,” Govt said.
  • As India’s strategic interests stretched to the Middle East and beyond, the thinking in India too had changed. The big thing that happened in the recent past is the evacuation of Indian nationals from Yemen under Operation Rahat.
  • It gave a sense of what our forces have to face. Yemen made it very clear that we need to focus on structures and processes in these countries.”
  • Mr. Parrikar’s trip to the UAE would be the first bilateral visit by an Indian Defence Minister and the idea was to take forward the understanding reached during Mr. Modi’s visit last year.
  • Oman is India’s strongest defence partner in the Gulf and both sides have extensive defence and security ties in place. Oman has been hosting Indian warships on anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.

INDIA AND SRI LANKA LOOKING FOR PERMANENT SOLUTION TO FISHERMEN ISSUE

  • Seeking a permanent solution to the issue of frequent arrests of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, India reiterated the need to build a dedicated mechanism.
  • PM Modi stressed the need to develop a mechanism and find a permanent solution to the issue of fishermen straying into each other’s waters, following a meeting here between PM Modi and the visiting President of Sri Lanka MaithripalaSirisena.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs informed that Sri Lanka currently holds 34 Indian fishermen and 96 Indian fishing boats in custody.
  • Creation of a dedicated mechanism has been in the making for several years but has not moved ahead. Mr. Modi and Mr. Sirisena reviewed a number of bilateral issues during their talks but the free trade agreement between the two countries which has been discussed earlier was not taken up.
  • Mr. Sirisena is in India to attend the Vaicharik Mahakumbh in Ujjain, an inter-faith event which will take place on the sidelines of the SimhasthaKumbh.
  • He will also visit Sanchi, where he will unveil a bust of Buddhist revivalist AnagarikaDharmapala.
  • Mr. Sirisena’s visit is likely to provide an opportunity for India to deepen ties with Sri Lanka, especially in view of the growing Chinese influence over Colombo.

LEO MINOR, CAN SHED NEW LIGHT ON BIRTH OF THE UNIVERSE

  • A faint blue galaxy situated about 30 million light years from the Earth and located in the constellation “Leo Minor” can shed new light on birth of the universe.
  • Astronomers from Indiana University (IU) found that a galaxy nicknamed Leoncino or “little lion” contains the lowest level of heavy chemical elements or “metals” ever observed in a gravitationally bound system of stars
  • Finding the most metal-poor galaxy ever is exciting since it can help contribute to a quantitative test of the Big Bang.
  • There are relatively few ways to explore conditions at the birth of the universe, but low-metal galaxies are among the most promising.
  • This is because the current accepted model of the start of the universe makes clear predictions about the amount of helium and hydrogen present during the Big Bang.
  • The ratio of these atoms in metal-poor galaxies provides a direct test of the model. To find these low-metal galaxies, however, astronomers must look far from home.
  • Our own Milky Way galaxy is a poor source of data due to the high level of heavier elements created over time by “stellar processing,” in which stars churn out heavier elements.
  • Low metal abundance is essentially a sign that very little stellar activity has taken place compared to most galaxies.
  • Leoncino is considered a member of the “local universe,” a region of space within about one billion light years from Earth and estimated to contain several million galaxies.
  • Leoncino is unique in several other ways. A so-called “dwarf galaxy”, it is only about 1,000 light years in diameter and composed of several million stars.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE GIVES GLOOMY ECONOMIC FORECAST TO BREXIT

  • A day after the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s dark warning that a Brexit vote could push the U.K. into recession, comes another prediction of economic doom.
  • Head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, on Friday offered a gloomy economic forecast in the event of Britain voting to leave the EU in the in-out referendum to be held on June 23.
  • A majority of economic analysts agree that a vote to leave the EU would be costly in the long run, even after the uncertainty has been resolved.
  • And in the short term, “there is also risk of an adverse market reaction to a leave vote. This would imply a depreciation of the sterling and large contractions of investment and consumption,” she said.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama utilised his visit to the U.K. to openly canvas for Britain to stay in Europe, breaking the long-accepted convention of heads of countries not offering opinions on the domestic affairs of another country.
  • Recently, five former NATO secretaries-general wrote to the Daily Telegraph warning of the security threat to the U.K. that a vote to leave would create.

GOVT PUTS ONUS OF SECURING GRID CONNECTIVITY AND TRANSPORTATION ON THE DEVELOPERS

  • The Renewable Energy Ministry’s draft guidelines for the development of onshore wind power projects lays the onus of securing grid connectivity and transportation on the developers, which experts say could dampen investor interest in the sector.
  • The draft guidelines lay down the rules for setting up onshore wind projects ranging from land use permissions to metering and real-time monitoring to eventual decommissioning.
  • India’s wind potential is pegged at 302 GW, according to Niti Aayog, with the sector expected to contribute 60 GW to the target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022.
  • The Ministry issued the draft norms and has sought comments from stakeholders until May 27. While the rules are comprehensive in their scope, experts argue that they could also be over-prescriptive.
  • The states are guardians of providing such infrastructure for development.” “The project developer should ensure that grid connectivity is technically and commercially feasible at the site selected,” according to the draft guidelines.
  • In some cases, the minutiae of the rules also render them redundant or too binding in the face of climatic factors that could affect the flow of wind.
  • The project developer should judiciously select the size of the wind turbine for a particular site. considering the wind recourse available at that site.

INFLATION HIGHER THAN RBI’S LIKING

  • India's core inflation remains a bit higher than policymakers would like, but the economy's recovery should accelerate with a good monsoon, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said.
  • Consumer prices rose last month at a more-than-expected 5.39 percent annual rate, up from 4.83 percent in March. It was the first increase in the retail inflation rate since January.
  • With Rajan targeting 5 percent retail inflation by March 2017, his comments will solidify the view that the RBI will hold interest rates steady at its June 7 policy meeting. The bank cut rates last month to a four-year low of 6.5 percent in April.
  • “Broadly, core inflation has been fairly sticky, a bit higher than we would want. It hasn't moved up and down. We will continue on the task of anchoring expectations,” Rajan said
  • Rajan said growth also seemed to be ticking higher. India's economy is among the world's fastest growing, at 7 percent-plus, but the 8 percent level needed to alleviate poverty remains elusive.
  • I think we are at the beginning or maybe in the midst of a slow recovery. The signs of faster growth are there –e.g. auto, cement production and consumption. And a good strong monsoon would accelerate the process of recovery.
  • One issue for India is that banks remain reluctant to lend and to reduce rates for borrowers, despite 150 bps basis points of rate cuts in the past year.
  • To ensure rate cuts feed into the economy, the RBI has injected billions of rupees via open-market bond purchases and cut daily maintenance of bank cash reserve ratios.

 

Have Real Goals, Not Just Dreams.

#RAY - ‪#‎Empowering‬ ‪#‎Talent‬ ‪#‎Since‬ 1971
www.rosemaryinstitute.com