Sunday, 31 July 2016 05:56


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30- JULY - 2016



The Union Cabinet approved the establishment of a All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) at Bhatinda in Punjab under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

It will provide super specialty health care to the population while creating a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that can be available for primary and secondary level institutions/facilities being created under National Health Mission (NHM).

Highlights of the AIIMS in Bhatinda

• The cost of the project for establishment of the AIIMS in Bhatinda shall be 925 crore rupees.

• This cost estimate does not include recurring costs (wages & salaries and operation & maintenance expenses).

• The recurring expenditure will be met by the respective AIIMS from their annual budgets through Grant-in-Aid to them from Plan Budget Head of PMSSY of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

• The institution shall have a hospital with capacity of 750 beds which will include Emergency/Trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, Private Beds and ICU Speciality & Super Speciality beds.

• In addition, there will be an Administration Block, AYUSH Block, Auditorium, Night Shelter, Hostels and residential facilities.

• It will also conduct research on prevalent regional diseases and other health issues and provide for better control and cure of such diseases.

• The project will be completed in a period of 48 months from the date of the approval by the Union Government.

The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was first announced in August 2003 with the primary objective of correcting the regional imbalances in availability of affordable tertiary level healthcare in the country in general.

Under this scheme, AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Raipur, Rishikesh, Bhopal and Patna while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli is in progress. Also, three AIIMS in Nagpur (Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (AP) were sanctioned in 2015.


The Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal and Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill with amendments was passed without any discussion.

The bill seeks to amend the existing Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 that provides Lokpal (at Centre) and Lokayukta (at States) statutory backing to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.

Amendments to Lokayukta Act, 2013

• The bill amends section 44 of the 2013 Act and says that every public servant shall make a declaration of his assets and liabilities in such form and manner as may be prescribed.

• It substitute clause (kiss) of  sub-section (2) of section 59 to empower the Central Government to make rules  with retrospective effect for  the  purpose  of  prescribing  the  form  and  manner  in  which  declaration  of  assets and liabilities is  to be made by public servant under section 44.

Section 44 of Lokayukta Act, 2013

Section 44 of the Lokayukta Act, 2013 provides for declaration of assets by the public servants.

It says that every public servant shall, within a period of thirty days from the date on which he makes and  subscribes an  oath or affirmation to  enter upon his office,  furnish  to  the competent  authority  the  information  relating  to—(angel) the assets of which he, his spouse and his dependent children are, jointly or severally,  owners  or  beneficiaries; (beer) his liabilities and that of his spouse and his dependent children.


The Union Cabinet cleared changes to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill.

The changes include dropping 1 percent manufacturing tax and providing guarantee to compensate states for any revenue loss in the first five years of rollout of the proposed indirect tax regime.

It decided that any dispute between states and the Centre will be adjudicated by the GST Council, which will have representation from both the Centre and states.

The existing bill provides that the centre will give 100 percent compensation to states for first three years, 75 per cent and 50 per cent for the next two years.

Recommendation of the Rajya Sabha

Earlier, the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha in its report recommended 100 percent compensation for probable loss of revenue for five years. As per the amendments, the Centre will now constitutionally guarantee States any loss of revenue from the GST subsuming all indirect taxes, including VAT, in the first five years of introduction.


Omission of the 1 percent inter-state tax over and above the GST rate is one of the three key demands over which the main opposition Congress, the government hopes that the long-pending GST Bill will pass in the Parliament during the ongoing monsoon session, which ends on 12 August 2016.

Congress has been blocking the bill in Rajya Sabha due to three key demands. The other demands include GST rate in the statute and Supreme Court judge-headed dispute resolution body.

Other Cabinet decisions include

• The Cabinet decided to abolish existing guidelines for establishment of Joint Venture Companies by Defence Public Sector Undertakings, DPSUs. These guidelines which were notified in February of 2012 will not be required for a separate joint venture for DPSUs. The abolition of the guidelines will provide a level playing field between DPSUs and the private sector.

• The Cabinet gave its nod to raise foreign shareholding limit from 5 percent to 15 percent in Indian Stock Exchanges. It approved the proposal to allow foreign portfolio investors to acquire shares through initial allotment, besides secondary market, in the stock exchanges. This approval would help in enhancing global competitiveness of Indian stock exchanges by accelerating and facilitating the adoption of latest technology and global best practices. This will lead to overall growth and development of the Indian Capital Market.

• The Cabinet approved Bilateral Investment Treaty between India and Cambodia. It seeks to promote and protect investments from either country in the territory of the other country with the objective of increasing bilateral investment flows.

• The Cabinet gave its approval for setting up of new All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhatinda, Punjab. It will have 750 beds and incur an expenditure of 925 crore rupees. The super specialty hospital will be built under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.


As per the report published by US Geological Survey, Joint expedition titled Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 by India and the United States (US) have resulted in the discovery of large, highly enriched accumulations of natural gas hydrate (an icy form of the fuel) in Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean.

The international team of scientists was led by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited of India in cooperation with the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Japanese Drilling Company, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

This is the first discovery of its kind in the Indian Ocean that has the potential to be producible.

Findings of the Expedition

• The Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 is the second joint exploration for gas hydrate potential in the Indian Ocean.

• It focused on the exploration and discovery of highly concentrated gas hydrate occurrences in sand reservoirs.

• The gas hydrate discovered are located in coarse-grained sand-rich depositional systems in the Krishna-Godavari Basin.

• These hydrates are made up of a sand-rich, gas-hydrate-bearing fan and channel-levee gas hydrate prospects.

• The next steps will involve production testing in these sand reservoirs to determine if natural gas production is practical and economic.

• The first expedition, also a partnership between scientists from India and the United States, discovered gas hydrate accumulations, but in formations that are currently unlikely to be producible.

What are Natural gas hydrates?

• Natural gas hydrates are a naturally occurring, ice-like combination of natural gas and water found in the world’s oceans and polar regions.

• Numerous studies have shown that gas hydrates have the potential to provide an immense resource of natural gas from the world's oceans and polar regions.

However, gas hydrates represent both a scientific and technical challenge and more remains to be learned about their characteristics and occurrence in nature.

• The conventional natural gas accumulations (reserves and undiscovered, technically recoverable resources) for the world are estimated at approximately 440 trillion cubic meters.

Operations involved in the Expedition

• This discovery is the result of the most comprehensive gas hydrate field venture in the world to date, made up of scientists from India, Japan and the United States.

• A total of 42 holes were completed in 147 days at water depths ranging from 1519 to 2815 meters with sub-seafloor completion depths ranging from 239 to 567 meters below the sea floor.

• The scientists conducted ocean drilling, conventional sediment coring, pressure coring, downhole logging to assess the geologic occurrence, regional context and characteristics of deposits.


29 July:  International Tiger Day

International Tiger Day was observed. The day is held annually on 29th July to give worldwide attention to the reservation of tigers.

The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.

It was founded in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit, with the aim to double the big cat population by 2022.

Statistic Details

  • As per latest data by tiger experts, the world has lost 97 percent of all wild tigers in a little over 100 years.
  • The World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum says that the number of wild tigers has gone up to 3890 from the earlier 2010 estimate of 3200.
  • In 1915, the number of tigers was 1 lakh.
  • Some species of tigers have already been extinct.
  • India leads tiger population countries with an estimated population of 2226.
  • Despite countries such as India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan registering a rise in tiger population, the status of the animal remains endangered.

Poaching and loss of Habitat

  • Poaching has been the biggest threat to tigers in India. 81 tigers were victims to poachers in 2014, 25 in 2015 and by April 2016 it was 28.
  • According to reports of United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol, the environmental crime industry, which includes illegal trade in wildlife, is worth 258 billion dollars.
  • Expansion of cities and agriculture by humans led to loss of 93% natural habitat for tigers lost
  • Fewer tigers can survive in small, scattered islands of habitat, which make tigers more vulnerable to poaching, which lead to a higher risk of inbreeding.
  • Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest area shared by India and Bangladesh on the northern coast of the Indian Ocean, is one of the world’s largest places where tiger populations is found.
  • Sundarbans harbors Bengal tigers and protects coastal regions from storm surges and wind damage.

Threat in Sundarbans

  • Rising sea levels that were caused by climate change threaten to wipe out these forests and the last remaining habitat of this tiger population.
  • WWF study says that without mitigation efforts, projected sea level rise will go up by nearly a foot by 2070, which could destroy nearly the entire Sundarbans tiger habitat.


Union Government announced the formation of District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDCMC) that will be known as ‘Disha’. First meeting of Disha will be held on 13 August 2016.

Disha was created for effective development and coordination of Central Government's programme, whether it is for infrastructure development or Social and human resource development.

It will monitor the implementation of 28 schemes and programmes of Ministry of Rural Development and other Ministries to promote synergy and convergence for greater impact.

The terms of references of the committee includes

• To ensure that all programmes are implemented in accordance with the Guidelines.

• It will look into complaints/alleged irregularities received in respect of the implementation of the programmes. It will have the authority to summon and inspect any record for this purpose.

• The Committee may refer any matter for enquiry to the District Collector/CEO of the Zilla Panchayat/Project Director of DRDA (or Poverty Alleviation Unit). It can also suggest suitable action to be taken in accordance with the rules which should be acted upon by him within 30 days.

• It will closely review the flow of funds including the funds allocated, funds released by both Centre and the State, utilization and unspent balances under each Scheme.

The main purpose of the committee is to coordinate with Central and State and local Panchayat Governments. Efforts will be made to ensure the participation of people’s representative at all levels and successful implementation of flagship programme of central government.

The meetings of the committee should be held once in every Quarter (third Saturdays of April, July, October and February) and this has been made mandatory.

DDCMC will supersede the District Vigilance & Monitoring Committee currently mandated by Ministry of Rural Development.

Formation of District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DDCMC)

• Chairperson: He/she will be the senior most Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) elected from the district, nominated by the Ministry of Rural Development.

• Co-Chairperson will include

a) Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) representing the district

b) One MP (Rajya Sabha) representing the State and exercising option to be associated with the district level Committee of that district (on first come basis)

• Other members of the committee will include

a) Members of the State Legislative Assembly elected from the district

b) All Mayors/the Chairpersons of Municipalities

c) Chairperson of the Zilla Panchayat

d) Five elected heads of Gram Panchayat including two women

e) One representative each of SC, ST

f) Women to be nominated by the Chairperson

The Member Secretary of Disha should be the District Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner except in cases where specific exemption has been given by the Union Government.


The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) announced that India Meteorological Department (IMD) will use supercomputer to forecast India’s annual summer monsoon.

The forecast made by a supercomputer will be based on a dynamical monsoon model. It will be operational from 2017.

What is Dynamical Monsoon Model?

The dynamical model is also known as the Coupled Forecast System.

It collates data on local as well as global weather patterns to simulate a forecast for a specific duration.

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, has been using this model on an experimental basis for around 10 years to assist IMD’s annual monsoon forecasts.

To operationalise the alternate model, IMD is investing in supercomputers that can function at a speed of 10 petaflops-per second system.

The dynamical model has achieved a 60% accuracy at present and IMD aims to take it up to 77%.

The dynamical model provides a wider scope to upgrade forecasts for specific regions, in sync with the changing weather patterns and variations of a progressing monsoon.

The dynamical model and faster computing will also improve short range forecasts as the IMD will be able to access sharper resolution images.

Current Model to Predict Monsoon

IMD has been using the ensemble statistical model to predict monsoon since 2007.

A basic statistical model was in use first since 1920.

In 2007, it switched to the ensemble statistical forecasting due to the inaccuracy of the annual summer forecasts.

The existing model relies on arriving at a prediction based on historical monsoon data coupled with data on sea-surface temperatures and winds.


The Indo-Thailand Military Exercise Maitree concluded at Krabi, Thailand. The exercise had commenced on 15 July 2016 under the aegis of the Royal Thailand Army.

The aim of the joint exercise was to train contingents of both the armies on conduct of counter terrorist operations in an urban environment.

Exercise Maitree 2016

• 90 soldiers of Indian Army and Royal Thailand Army had participated in the two week long Exercise.

• The exercise included combined training, familiarization with weapons & equipment used by both the countries.

• It also included processes of analysing groupings, drills and tactics while operating in counter terrorism environment

• The shared modalities for conduct of Area Domination operations in urban environment apart from operations like Cordon and Search, raids and Seek and Destroy Missions.

• During the exercise both the Armies were able to evolve common tactical procedures and drills to enhance inter-operability.



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