Thursday, 23 June 2016 05:01


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


23- JUNE - 2016



India Post launched a logo and tagline design contest for the soon to be set up India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) on the MyGov website.

Union Cabinet gave its approval 1 June 2016 to set up the IPPB under the Department of Posts to further financial inclusion in India.

India Post wants to involve the people of India in designing the DNA of the India Post Payments Bank. So, it is conducting a contest for the design.

It has also initiated a nationwide survey to understand the needs of different segments of customers.

About the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB)

• IPPB will offer digitally enabled payments, banking and remittance services of all kinds between entities and individuals.

• It also provides access to insurance, mutual funds, pension and credit products in partnership with third party financial service providers and Banks.

• Cocreating value propositions and products with its customers and other stakeholders is one of the guiding principles of IPPB.

• It is poised to emerge as the main vehicle of financial inclusion in the country by bringing the physical reach of 1.55 lakh post offices.

• It will be a modern payments platform powered by ubiquitous information and communication technologies together to create a national payments architecture that can be accessed by all users like never before.

• The roll out of the IPPB is to be completed by September 2017.

Reward for the Contest

• The contest is open to all Indian citizens, institutions, agencies and entities for a period of one month, until 9 July 2016.

• The best entry will be awarded 50000 rupees.

• A panel of eminent designers/ experts will help shortlist 20 best entries which will thereafter be put up for voting on the MyGov platform for the final selection of the winner.


Scientists of Iceland found a technique to capture and store the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in deep underground by turning it into rock.

The technique will provide a safer, faster way to sequester CO2 and limit global warming. And it was identified it as a potentially significant way to combat climate change.

This method of the speedy carbonation could be a viable way to store CO2 underground permanently and without risk of leakage.

The research was published in the journal Science on 10 June 2016.

Finding of the Research

• Scientists from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions tested the technique as part of a pilot program called the CarbFix project. It was launched in 2012 at the Hellisheidi power plant in Iceland.

• The Scientists injected 220 tons of CO2 into layers of basalt between 
400 and 800 meters below the surface. They also added extra water to react with the gas to form a key driver of mineral reactions, carbonic acid.

• It triggered a reaction that rapidly forms new carbonate minerals, potentially locking up the gas forever.

• Within two years, 95 percent of the carbon injected into the basalt below the plant had solidified into stone.

• The process requires a significant amount of water 25 tons for every ton of CO2 which will become a hurdle in some parts of the world.

• The technique has to clear such high hurdles to become commercially viable.

About Carbon Sequestration

• It means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere or capturing anthropogenic (human) CO2 from large-scale stationary sources like power plants before it is released to the atmosphere.

• Once captured, the CO2 gas (or the carbon portion of the CO2) is put into long-term storage.

• There are two major types of CO2 sequestration: terrestrial and geologic.

Terrestrial Sequestration

Terrestrial (or biologic) sequestration means using plants to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and then storing it as carbon in the stems and roots of the plants as well as in the soil.

Geologic Sequestration

Geologic sequestration is putting CO2 into long-term storage in geologic zones deep underground.

• Many projects around the world have sought to test carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way of curbing CO2 emissions from power plants. Very few have been scaled up, owing to prohibitive costs, estimated at 50 to 100 dollars per ton of 
CO2 sequestered.


Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) released the 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI). It is 10th edition of GPI that measured peace, its causes and its economic value during 2015 for 163 countries.

India ranked 141 among the 163 countries with 2.566 GPI score. It showed an improvement in peace building as it held 143th rank in 2014 and 2015.

Highlights of 2016 GPI

• The Index shows that the world became less peaceful in 2015, reinforcing the underlying trend of declining peace over the last decade.

• The GPI records a historically less peaceful and more unequal world in which many countries also improved.

• The countries improved in Peace are 81 while deteriorated counts 79.

• The countries that topped the 2016 GPI for being most peaceful are Iceland (1), Denmark (2), Austria (3), New Zealand (4), Portugal (5), Czech Republic (6), Switzerland (7), Canada (8), Japan (9) and Slovenia (10).

• The least peacepul countries are Pakistan (153), Libya (154), Sudan (155), Ukraine (156), Central African Republic (157), Yemen (158), Somalia (159), Afghanistan (160), Iraq (161), South Sudan (162) and Syria (163).

Pakistan (153rd), Libya (154th), Sudan (155th), Ukraine (156th), Central African Republic (157th), Yemen (158th), Somalia (159th), Afghanistan (160th), Iraq (161st), South Sudan (162nd) and Syria (163rd).

• The majority of the global deterioration is due to the developments in the Middle East and Africa (MENA) which is already the least peaceful region in the world.

• It shows that amidst the global deterioration the world continues to spend enormous resources on creating and containing violence but very little on peace.

• The indicators with the largest yearly deterioration were the impact of terrorism and political instability.

• The countries with the largest deteriorations were Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Poland, Burundi, Kazakhstan and Brazil.

• The indicator with the largest improvement is UN peacekeeping funding, while the second largest improvement was recorded in the security officers and police rate indicator.

• UN member states have formally recognised the critical nature of peacefulness in advancing global development for the first time.

• The 17 SDGs are a new set of goals to target poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change by 2030.

• IEP recommends that independent third party organisations provide complimentary support to NSOs and offer a useful benchmark against which to compare results.

About Global Peace Index (GPI)

• GPI as a measure of world peace was launched in 2007.

• It is the world's leading measure of global peacefulness produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

• The Index is composed of 23 indicators, ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the percentage of prison population in 163 countries.

• The IEP is a Sydney-based international and independent think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress.


Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju along with MOS Dr Mahesh Sharma presided over a presentation made by DGCA with regard to Passenger Centric Initiatives.

The Ministry is committed to ensure that flying for most Indians becomes a pleasant experience along with the growth of the Airline industry. Accordingly, it proposed certain amendments to the existing Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs)

Category wise proposals in the amendments of CARs:

Category –I: Refund of Air Tickets

• The Ministry proposed that the refund process should be completed within 15 working days in case of domestic travel and 30 working days in case of international travel.

• It also proposed that in case of cancellation of tickets, statutory taxes and user development fee/airport development fee/passenger service fee shall be refunded.

• The Ministry also proposed in this category that under no circumstances cancellation shall be more than the basic fair.

Category –II: Denied Boarding, flight cancellation and flight delays

• The Ministry has proposed that an amount equal to 200 percent of booked one way basic fair plus airline fuel charge subject to maximum of 10000 rupees would be paid to passengers in case airline arranges alternate flight that is to depart after one hour but within 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure.

Category –III: Persons with reduced mobility

• Airlines shall develop a procedure for making advance request of stretcher and same should be displayed on airline’s website.

• Airlines, airport operators, security personnel, customs and immigration shall conduct training  programme, as per training module provided by Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for all their personnel engaged in passenger services for sensitization and developing awareness for assisting persons with disability or reduced mobility.

• Foreign carriers operating to/from India shall refund the tickets in accordance with regulations of their country of origin.


• The Ministry proposed that the Airline should restrict additional baggage charge 100 rupees per kg With regard to checking baggage charges for the baggage between 15 to 20 kilograms.

The above proposal will be put up on the Union Aviation Ministry’s website for 15 days during which Stakeholders are free to give their suggestions and comments.

After that the Ministry will finalize the proposed amendments and implement them very soon.


Additional Solicitor General of India and former Parliamentarian Satya Pal Jain was appointed as a part-time member of the 21st Law Commission of India.

The appointment will be in addition to his charge as an Additional Solicitor General of India.

About Satya Pal Jain

• He is a noted constitution lawyer and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.

• He has been the Dean of the Law Faculty of Panjab University and is a Member of the Panjab University Senate for the last 40 years.

About 21st Law Commission of India

• The President constituted the 21st Law Commission of India on 1 September 2015 and will end on 31 August 2018.

• Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, retired Judge of the Supreme Court, is the Chairman of the Commission and Justice Ravi R Tripathi, retired judge of Gujarat High Court and Bimal N Patel Director, GNLU are the other nominated members of the Commission.

• The Secretary Department of Legal Affairs & Secretary, Legislature Department of Ministry of Law & Justice of the Government of India are ex-officio members of the Commission.

Law Commission of India

• It is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India in 1955.

• It works for legal reforms and its members will be primarily legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Union Government.

• The Commission is established for a fixed tenure of three years and works as an advisory body to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.

• The First Law Commission was established in 1955 with the then Attorney-General of India MC Setalvad as its Chairman.


Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal won the women’s title of the Australian Open Super Series Badminton tournament. In the final match played at Sydney, Saina defeated Chinese Sun Yu 11-21, 21-14, 21-19.

With this win, she also pocketed a cheque of 56250 US dollars.

This was first title of year 2016 for 29-year-old Saina and second Australian Open title of her career. She won her first Australian Open title in 2014.

Besides, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) announced a reward of 10 lakh rupees for Saina Nehwal for winning the Australian Open Super Series badminton tournament.

On the other hand, Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus won the men’s Australian Open Badminton Super series titles. Vittinghus defeated South Korean Jeon Hyeok-Jin to win his first Super series title.


  • A high-power committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian, tasked has recommended that the law that set up the higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) be allowed to lapse.
  • The committee's report, submitted recently to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, says the UGC has been unable over the years to effectively implement its regulations aimed at ensuring the quality of higher education in the country.
  • The panel has instead suggested an alternative arrangement for a pruned UGC.
  • “The UGC could be revamped, made considerably leaner and thinner, and could be the nodal point for administration of the proposed National Higher Education Fellowship Programme, without any other promotional or regulatory function,” it said.


  • About 1.30 lakh tonnes of pulses have been seized from hoarders in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and other parts of northern India in the last few months.
  • The crackdown is part of government efforts to rein in the spiralling prices of pulses, of which some varieties are selling in retail in large cities for Rs. 180-200 per kg.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told a TV channel that action against hoarders last year helped the government bring the prices of pulses down by about Rs. 50 per kg in the retail market.
  • This year, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Income Tax department and local police have been conducting raids on people who are suspected to have been hoarding pulses to take advantage of the high prices, according to sources.
  • The demand-supply gap could be even wider than five million tonnes.
  • As against the average supply of 17 million tonnes of pulses, the national demand is about 24 million tonnes. India is largest producer of pulses but also largest consumer and a very large importer.


  • The model code of conduct (MCC) for polls is under review by a Parliamentary Committee, which will suggest ways to check use of cash and other freebies to lure voters during the elections.
  • The panel had, in an earlier report submitted three years ago, recommended reducing the time between enforcement of the model code and the day of polling.
  • The panel had suggested that the MCC should come into force from the date of notification and not the announcement of poll schedule. The proposal is pending with the government.
  • It is to be looked into quickly to avoid the frustration of people over non-implementation of the recommendation of the panel for three years.
  • The panel has also decided to suggest ways to check distribution of cash and freebies ahead of the polls.
  • The move comes after it took cognisance of the cancellation of polls in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies in Tamil Nadu recently following evidence of use of money and gifts to influence the voters.


  • Contemporary writing on the ongoing “migrant crisis” has focused on the collapse of border-patrols and asylum bureaucracies; the erosion of political mandates in countries like Germany; and the rise of xenophobia, creating an impression of a world in chaos.
  • The EU’s deployment of warships and intelligence assets against agents like Majid suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the complex, and dispersed, networks of obligations and solidarities resulting from one of the largest migrations of humanity in recent memory.
  • Many refugees and facilitators like Majid recall the past year-and-a-half as a moment of intense, frenetic freedom when the restrictive border apparatus across a vast geography, from the fringes of the Indian subcontinent to the heart of Europe, temporarily retreated.
  • Its place was taken by a robust network of Afghans, Turks, Kurds, Syrians, Iranians, and Pakistanis, snapped in place to ferry migrants from across the world to the European border.
  • So when a traveller from Lahore reaches Samos in Greece, he triggers off a wave of escrow payments — his family pays an agent in Pakistan, who maintains a running account with another agent in Tehran, who works with a Kurd in Van, who has people in Istanbul.


  • An international consensus is building around India’s bid for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), External Affairs Minister said.
  • She also said that she is confident of a favourable outcome when the issue comes up for discussion at the NSG plenary in Seoul on June 23.
  • According to Ms. Swaraj, the government is “hopeful of success in convincing China” by then, indicating that Beijing would not wish to go against the consensus built.
  • “I think a consensus is being made, and I don’t think any country will break that consensus, and this time we will get the NSG membership,” Ms. Swaraj told reporters at the MEA’s annual press conference.
  • By rule, decisions on memberships and other issues in the body that regulates nuclear trade have to be taken by consensus among all members.
  • “All major issues, including India’s NSG membership, were discussed,” the MEA spokesperson said about the visit on June 16-17.
  • China has said that it wants the NSG to agree on a process or “criteria” for members, indicating that Pakistan must benefit from any flexibility given to India,.
  • “Instead of speaking about criteria, one should speak about our credentials. Our track record should be discussed. Whatever commitments and undertakings we gave prior to receiving the [NSG] waiver in 2008, we have kept,” Ms. Swaraj said.


  • Carbon dioxide levels have surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) at the South Pole for the first time in four million years, according to U.S. scientists.
  • The South Pole remote location means it is the last to register the impacts of increasing emissions from fossil fuel consumption, the primary driver of greenhouse gas pollution, researchers said.
  • The far southern hemisphere was the last place on Earth where CO{-2}had not yet reached this mark.
  • Over the course of the year, CO{-2}levels rise during fall and winter and decline during summer in the Northern Hemisphere, as terrestrial plants consume CO{-2}during photosynthesis.
  • However, plants only capture a fraction of annual CO{-2}emissions. For every year since observations began in 1958, there has been more CO{-2}in the atmosphere than the year before.
  • Last year’s global CO{-2}average reached 399 ppm, meaning that the global average in 2016 will almost certainly surpass 400 ppm.
  • The only question is whether the lowest month for 2016 will also remain above 400 ppm, researchers said. The annual rate of increase appears to be accelerating.
  • The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii jumped 3.05 ppm during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of monitoring.
  • Part of last year’s jump was attributable to El Nino, the cyclical Pacific Ocean warming that produces extreme weather across the globe, causing terrestrial ecosystems to lose stored CO{-2}through wildfire, drought and heat waves.


  • The government is expected to soon announce both, members of the monetary policy committee, as well as the successor to RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, according to sources.
  • The government is working overtime to counter the fallout arising from sudden exit announcement of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Raghuram Rajan.
  • Both the prime minister’s office and the finance ministry have gone on a war footing to search for a successor.
  • The new Governor would be announced well before the next monetary policy announcement scheduled on August 9.
  • What is also certain is that the government will announce the formation of the monetary policy committee shortly.
  • The Finance Bill, passed by the Parliament, has paved the way for the formation of such a panel.
  • The monetary policy committee is to have have six members — three of them, including RBI Governor, who will head the panel, will be from the RBI while the remaining three will be external members.
  • RBI Governor will have the casting vote in case of an undecided vote.
  • The formation of the monetary policy committee was mooted by the Urjit Patel committee which was set up by Mr. Rajan shortly after he took charge as Governor.
  • The committee suggested that monetary policy be rule-based and not discretion-based.
  • Targeting inflation is to be the core objective of the central bank, and it will be answerable to law-makers if it failed to achieve the target, the Patel committee had suggested.
  • RBI has already moved to an inflation-targeting framework following an agreement signed with the government in 2015.


  • India’s first-ever National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) formulated by the NDA governmentis no doubt well-intentioned and aimed at achieving overall growth of the sector in a structured manner.
  • However, several shortcomings, as pointed out by analysts, could derail the projected growth and objective.
  • Though measures have been announced to strengthen both these entities and bridge the deficit, the policy is silent on how to radically transform these organisations to meet modern-day challenges and to be process-driven to deliver world-class service.
  • With around 20 per cent growth in the number of air passengers, what India needs is strong air safety and security regulators.
  • The expected upside in helicopter operations, private flying and regional airlines will add to the pressure.
  • Airports Authority of India (AAI) is another entity that needs complete transformation, yet NCAP falls short of addressing that.
  • There is little clarity on the way forward for the AAI or about its listing in the stock exchanges.
  • NCAP is silent on long-term plans for airport development. Industry observers expected directions on the hiving off Air Navigation Services (ANS) from the AAI and making it an independent, professional body.
  • Moving to 0/20 from the 5/20 rule in international flying is a compromise following hectic lobbying by incumbent airlines which struggled to fulfil the criteria of five years of domestic experience and 20 aircraft to fly abroad.
  • The relaxation to just 20 aircraft without any domestic flying criteria will not help new carriers like Vistara and AirAsia India significantly as they cannot fast track expansion owing to a resource crunch.
  • Both these airlines, in which the Tatas are shareholders, have exhausted the initial capitalisation and their operations are continuing to make losses. Fast-tracking expansion would mean more cash burn.
  • Analysts say that the airlines would take about three to four years before building a capacity of 20 aircraft, while they need to have have enough capital to run the operations in the meanwhile.
  • The NCAP gives no direction on removing the negative fiscal regime on Indian airlines which includes sales tax on ATF and other taxation measures. These have not been effectively addressed.
  • There has been no direction on improving institutional capability in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • The helicopter industry will structurally change with the announced measures, but its success is dependent almost entirely on DGCA, BCAS and infrastructure development.
  • Environmental clearances will pose a big challenge for helipad development. Moving to a hybrid till in airport development will end uncertainty and promote investment.
  • The regional aviation policy is well-intentioned, but private capital is unlikely to flow to loss-making projects.




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Last Updated on Friday, 24 June 2016 04:49