21st April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘National Clean Air programme’
(GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Assuring all technical and policy support, the Centre has emphasized that in the fight against air pollution, the focus will now be on the implementation of city-specific action plans. This was emphasized at the two-day Stakeholder Consultation to discuss the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that concluded in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)
Objective of the meeting
The main objective of the two-day Stakeholder meet was to carry out consultations with the State government bodies on the newly formulated NCAP and to ensure their participation during the stages of formulation and implementation.
What is NCAP?
National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), a flagship program of MoEF&CC to mitigate nationwide air pollution health emergency.
Highlights of National Clean Air Programme based on NCAP concept note and minutes of the discussions
National Clean Air Programme framework has the following aspects which is the right beginning towards formulating region/state/city centric action plans.
1. The discussion within MoEF & CC signifies a target of 35% reduction of air pollution in the next three years and 50% reduction in the next five years for at-least 100 cities across India.
2. The framework emphasizes on increasing manual monitoring station from 684 to 1000 stations across the country and CAAQMS to 268 from existing 84.
3. Increasing PM2.5 monitoring infrastructure from 67 stations to all NAMP stations (proposed number is 1000)
4. Tackling pollution from various sources across the country, identifies power, transport, industry, residential and agriculture sectors and along with inter-city regional pollution background from areas outside city boundary limits, i.e., interstate approaches
5. Data dissemination to the public, inclusive public participation on planning and implementation for the National Clean Air Programme
6. Setting up of Air Information Center for data analysis, interpretation, dissemination including GIS platforms
7. Envisaging Air Quality Forecasting System as a state of the art modeling system, which forecasts the following day’s air quality
8. Building up of an updated national emission inventory etc
‘North Korea and Nuclear tests’
(GS3: International Relations)
Issue: North Korea will immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site and instead pursue economic growth and peace, the North’s state media said on Saturday, ahead of planned summits with South Korea and the United States.
U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and extended over the past decade have aimed to deny it a considerable amount of international trade, banning critical exports such as coal, iron ore, seafood, textile while limiting oil imports
About Non-proliferation treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
Opened for signature in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970. As required by the text, after twenty-five years, NPT Parties met in May 1995 and agreed to extend the treaty indefinitely. More countries have adhered to the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the treaty’s significance. As of August 2016, 191 states have adhered to the treaty, though North Korea, which acceded in 1985 but never came into compliance, announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003, following detonation of nuclear devices in violation of core obligations. Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which are thought to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan. In addition, South Sudan, founded in 2011, has not joined.
The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967; these are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China. Four other states are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan, and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel is deliberately ambiguous regarding its nuclear weapons status.
‘The Great Barrier Reef’
(GS1: Geographical features and their location)
Issue: The Great Barrier Reef is still one of the natural wonders of the world, but the beautiful mass of colorful coral is losing its greatness, a 2016 underwater heatwave severely impacted the reef, causing large-scale coral die-offs. A new study published in the journal Nature shows that over a nine-month period, Elevated Ocean temperatures killed 30 percent of the corals on the reef, and have likely caused a long-term change in the mix of coral species living throughout the World Heritage Site.
About The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.
A March 2016 report stated that coral bleaching was more widespread than previously thought, seriously affecting the northern parts of the reef as a result of warming ocean temperatures. In October 2016, Outside published an obituary for the reef; the article was criticized for being premature and hindering efforts to bolster the resilience of the reef.
(GS1: Important geophysical phenomenon)
Issue: India’s coasts will be pounded by ‘high energy swell waves’ on Saturday and Sunday, hence fishermen as well as beach-loungers ought to be staying away, according to an alert from the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).
What the alert says?
“There is a strong indication that high energy swell waves, with heights between 2 m and 3 m and periods between 17-22 seconds are likely to be experienced in the seas around India,” the note adds. This is based on a forecast from the Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), which is charged with issuing tsunami alerts.
What are swell waves?
‘Swell waves’ are massive ripples that form on the sea due to winds coming from as far away as Madagascar. They might appear to be tsunami-like waves but have completely different characteristics
The waves will be first experienced along the western coast of India and Lakshdaweep by the morning hours of Saturday i.e., April 21 and subsequently along the Bay of Bengal by Sunday, April 22.
About Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)
ESSO-INCOIS was established as an autonomous body in 1999 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO). ESSO- INCOIS is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focused research.
* Provides round-the-clock monitoring and warning services for the coastal population on tsunamis, storm surges, high waves, etc. through the in-house Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC). The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO designated ITEWC as a Regional Tsunami Service Provider (RTSP) to provide tsunami warnings to countries on the Indian Ocean Rim.
* Provides daily advisories to fisher folk to help them easily locate areas of abundant fish in the ocean while saving on both fuel and time used to search for the same. These advisories called Potential Fishing Zone Advisories are issued in Hindi, English and 8 vernacular languages. Currently more than one lakh fisher folk successfully use these advisories obtained through SMS, Village Information Centres, local radio, local TV, Electronic Display Boards at fish landing centres, NGO websites, the ESSO-INCOIS website etc.
* Short term (3-7 days) Ocean State Forecasts (waves, currents, sea surface temperature, etc.) are issued daily to fisher folk, the shipping industry, the oil and natural gas industry, the Navy, the Coast Guard, etc. These forecasts inform users about the expected sea conditions during the next few days and help them to plan their activities at sea.
* Deploys and maintains a suite of Ocean Observing Systems in the Indian Ocean to collect data on various oceanic parameters to understand the processes in the ocean and to predict their changes.
* Conducts systematic quality checks and archives all observational, satellite and other oceanic data at the ESSO-INCOIS Data Centre and then makes such data available to students, researchers and any other users. ESSO-INCOIS has been designated as the National Oceanographic Data Centre by IOC/IODE of UNESCO and is also identified as the Regional Argo Data Centre for the Indian Ocean.
* Generates Global Ocean Analysis data using mathematical models and observations on a daily basis to provide the initial conditions to ocean-atmosphere coupled models used for the prediction of the monsoon and to understand oceanic processes.
* Carries out Research and Modeling to optimize the performance of mathematical models used for ocean state forecasts, prediction of tsunami waves, storm surges, etc. along the coast.
* Established a national network (Indian Seismic and GNSS Network (ISGN)) that integrates Seismic and GNSS stations and provides high quality data for research and operational use.
* Established a VSAT aided Emergency Communication System (VECS) (a fail-safe satellite-based communication system) to provide tsunami warnings with the least possible time delay even when there is a failure in conventional communication systems.
* Established high performance computing systems and data communication networks at ESSO-INCOIS with 100% redundancy and reliability to support the computational requirements of ocean state forecast models etc.
* Training and capacity building for students, young researchers in India and Indian Ocean Rim Countries through short and long duration training courses in Operational Oceanography at the International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCO ocean) established at ESSO-INCOIS. ESSO-INCOIS signed a MoA with IOC/UNESCO in July 2013 to collaborate in training and capacity development activities.
ESSO-INCOIS has a prominent international presence, being a permanent member of the Indian delegation to IOC of UNESCO and a founding member of the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS) and the Partnership for Observing the Oceans (POGO) which is actively engaged in capacity building and international exchange of students and researchers. ESSO-INCOIS houses the IOGOOS secretariat and the Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (SIBER) International Programme Office. Through the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), ESSO-INCOIS provides ocean information and forecasts to member countries. ESSO-INCOIS is also a member of the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) Ocean View Science Team (GOVST) and Patrons Group.
‘India-Finland Nokia Tax dispute’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Income Tax Department has confirmed that India and Finland have reached an agreement under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) system and that the issue surrounding the alleged tax payable by Nokia “has been resolved”, paving the way for the company to sell its plant shuttered for long in Chennai.
What is MAP?
MAP is a procedure which allows the Competent Authorities or designated representatives of the Competent Authorities from the governments of the Contracting States/Parties to interact with the intent to resolve international tax disputes.
MAP is provided for in an Article in a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) and can involve matters containing juridical double taxation cases, as well as inconsistencies in the interpretation or application of a DTA.
The DTA permits a mutual agreement procedure (MAP) for resolving difficulties arising from the application of a DTA in the broadest sense of the term.
It basically authorises the Competent Authorities or their designated representatives to communicate with each other directly, including through joint commissions, for the purpose of resolving the matters that might be brought before them.
A MAP Request for Assistance may deal with any of the following subjects:
* Transfer pricing adjustment requests
* Attribution of profits of a permanent establishment
* Dual residence of individuals and persons other than individuals
* Withholding tax levied beyond what is permitted by the applicable DTA
* Any other case in which a person considers that the taxation is not in accordance with the applicable DTA
* Depending on the relevant subject, the MAP request will be routed into one of two channels, i.e.-
* Transfer-Pricing MAP
* Interpretation MAP
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: The Reserve Bank of India on Friday directed commercial banks to make linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts mandatory, at a time when the Supreme Court is in the final leg of hearings on the contentious issue. However, the banking regulator clarified that these guidelines were subject to the verdict in the Supreme Court.
What are KYC guidelines?
KYC means “Know Your Customer”. It is a process by which banks obtain information about the identity and address of the customers. This process helps to ensure that banks’ services are not misused. The KYC procedure is to be completed by the banks while opening accounts and also periodically update the same.
Banks are required to periodically update KYC records. This is a part of their ongoing due diligence on bank accounts. The periodicity of such updating would vary from account to account or categories of accounts depending on the bank’s perception of risk. Periodical updating of records also helps prevent frauds in customer accounts.
E-KYC refers to electronic KYC. E-KYC is possible only for those who have Aadhaar numbers. While using e-KYC service, you have to authorize the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), by explicit consent, to release your identity/address through biometric authentication to the bank branches/business correspondent (BC). The UIDAI then transfers your data comprising name, age, gender, and photograph of the individual, electronically to the bank/BC. Information thus provided through e-KYC process is permitted to be treated as an ‘Officially Valid Document’ under PML Rules and is a valid process for KYC verification.
(GS2: Global groupings)
Issue: Global finance chiefs hoping to diffuse trade tensions aren’t making much headway at meetings in Washington so far, even as they pressure the US and China to refrain from any sudden unilateral actions.
The overriding message of officials meeting in Washington this week has been that trade tensions between the US and China risk eroding business and investor confidence, even as global growth enjoys its best upswing in years. And the US, which has announced new tariffs on steel among other steps, has been the main preoccupation.
In addition to the trade disputes, a new round of US sanctions against Russia is also threatening to disrupt some industries. The German finance ministry is seeking clarification from the US over whether the sanctions would require German companies to cancel joint venture deals with Russian companies
The Group of Twenty (G20) is a leading forum of the world’s major economies that seeks to develop global policies to address today’s most pressing challenges. The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The G20 was born out of a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors in 1999 who saw a need for a more inclusive body with broader representation to have a stronger impact on addressing the world’s financial challenges. The G7 invited leading markets – both developed and emerging – to form a new ministerial-level forum: the G20.
In 2008, amidst the global financial crisis, the world saw a need for new consensus-building at the highest political level. Since then, the G20 summits have been attended by heads of state or government, and the G20 was instrumental in stabilizing the world economy. Since then, its agenda has expanded to include additional issues affecting financial markets, trade, and development.
Collectively, G20 members represent all inhabited continents, 85 percent of global economic output, two-thirds of the world’s population, and 75 percent of international trade.
G20 policy-making is enriched by the participation of key international organizations regularly invited to G20 meetings, guest countries invited at the president’s discretion, and engagement groups composed of different sectors civil society.
(GS2: Bilateral Relations)
Issue: Modi met Merkel during a brief stopover in Berlin after wrapping up his visit to the United Kingdom where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and held a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders.
Significance of Germany to India
Germany is India’s largest trade partner in the European Union bloc. In 2016-17, the bilateral trade turnover was $18.76 billion, with India exporting goods worth $7.18 billion to Germany and importing German products worth $11.58 billion
‘JAN DHAN YOJANA’
(GS3: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: In India, 80% adult Indians now have bank accounts and the World Bank says it has been made possible due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Jan Dhan Yojna and verification through Aadhaar. The World Bank latest Global Findex Database showed that in India 80% of adult Indians have bank accounts and the government-provided biometric identification cards (Aadhaar) were among the factors enabling a rapid decline in the number of adults
without an account.
What’s worrying is that in India almost half of the account owners have an account that remained inactive in the past year. In India, the share is 48%—the highest in the world and about twice the average of 25% for developing economies.
What is JAN DHAN YOJANA?
Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner.
Account can be opened in any bank branch or Business Correspondent (Bank Mitr) outlet. Accounts opened under PMJDY are being opened with Zero balance. However, if the account-holder wishes to get cheque book, he/she will have to fulfill minimum balance criteria.
Special Benefits under PMJDY Scheme
* Interest on deposit.
* Accidental insurance cover of Rs. 1 lac
* No minimum balance required.
* The scheme provides life cover of Rs. 30,000/- payable on death of the beneficiary, subject to fulfillment of the eligibility condition.
* Easy Transfer of money across India
* Beneficiaries of Government Schemes will get Direct Benefit Transfer in these accounts.
* After satisfactory operation of the account for 6 months, an overdraft facility will be permitted
* Access to Pension, insurance products.
The Claim under Personal Accidental Insurance under PMJDY shall be payable if the Rupay Card holder have performed minimum one successful financial or non-financial customer induced transaction at any Bank Branch, Bank Mitra, ATM, POS, E-COM etc. Channel both Intra and Inter-bank i.e. on-us (Bank Customer/rupay card holder transacting at same Bank channels) and off-us (Bank Customer/Rupay card holder transacting at other Bank Channels) within 90 days prior to date of accident including accident date will be included as eligible transactions under the Rupay Insurance Program 2016-2017. Overdraft facility up to Rs.5000/- is available in only one account per household, preferably lady of the household.