Current Affairs - PIB News

Role Of Aerosols Behind High Precipitation Over The Himalayan Region

  • Scientists have found that aerosols like black carbon and dust, which makes the Indo-Gangetic Plain one of the most polluted regions of the world, have led to increased incidents of high rainfall events in the foothills of the Himalayan Region.
  • The Indo-Gangetic Plain is located south and upwind of the Himalayan foothills. The region is associated with high aerosol loading, much of which is black carbon and dust, and thus provides an opportunity for studying how aerosol affects extreme rainfall events, particularly when air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain technically called orographic forcing.
  • Scientists highlighted the crucial role of the aerosol direct radiative effect on high precipitation events over the Himalayan region.
  • They showed that particulate emissions can alter the physical and dynamical properties of cloud systems and, in turn, amplify rainfall events over orographic regions downwind of highly polluted urban areas.
  • Thy found clear associations between high precipitation events, high aerosol loading, and high moist static energy (MSE) values (Moist static energy of an air mass includes the potential energy due to its height above the ground and the latent heat due to its moisture content). The findings also highlight the crucial role of the radiative effect of aerosol on high precipitation events over the Himalayan region.
  • The results of the study indicate that aerosols can play a vital role in exciting high precipitation (HP) events over the Himalayas during the monsoon season. Thus, aerosols, including chemistry, are essential to consider when forecasting HP events over the Himalayan region in regional modelling studies.

PM-WANI (Wi-Fi Access Network Interface) Scheme

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of DoT for setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) spread across length and breadth of the country to accelerate proliferation of Broadband Internet services through Public Wi-Fi network in the country.

  • There shall be no license fee for providing Broadband Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.
  • The proposal will promote the growth of Public Wi-Fi Networks in the country and, in turn, will help in proliferation of Broadband Internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people.

Objectives

  • While no registration would be required for PDOs, PDOAs and App Providers will get themselves registered with DoT through online registration portal of DoT, without paying any registration fee.Registration shall be granted within 7 days of the application.
  • This is expected to be more business friendly and in line with efforts for ease of doing business. COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated delivery of stable and high speed Broadband Internet (data) services to an increasingly large number of subscribers in the country including areas which do not have 4G mobile coverage. This can be achieved by deployment of Public Wi-Fi.
  • Further, the proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only create employment but also enhance disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boost the GDP of the country.
  • Proliferation of Broadband Services through public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon.
  • No License Fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi Hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country.
  • Availability and use of Broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business etc.

Who will Operate PM-WANI?

PM-WANI eco-system will be operated by different players:

  • Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
  • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.
  • App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.
  • Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.

Atmanirbhar Bharat RojgarYojana (ABRY)

On 9th December, 2020, the Union Cabinet has approved Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) to boost employment in formal sector and incentivize creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid recovery phase under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.

  • Cabinet has approved an expenditure of Rs. 1,584 crore for the current financial year and Rs.22,810 crore for the entire Scheme period i.e. 2020-2023.

Salient Features of the Scheme

  • Government of India will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new employees engaged on or after 1st October, 2020 and upto 30th June, 2021.
  • Government of India will pay both 12% employees' contribution and 12% employers' contribution i.e. 24% of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing upto 1000 employees for two years.
  • Government of India will pay only employees' share of EPF contribution i.e. 12% of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1000 employee for two years.
  • An employee drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who was not working in any establishment registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) before 1st October, 2020 and did not have a Universal Account Number or EPF Member account number prior to 1st October 2020 will be eligible for the benefit.
  • Any EPF member possessing Universal Account Number (UAN) drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who made exit from employment during Covid pandemic from 01.03.2020 to 30.09.2020 and did not join employment in any EPF covered establishment up to 30.09.2020 will also be eligible to avail benefit.
  • EPFO will credit the contribution in Aadhaar seeded account of members in electronic manner.
  • EPFO shall develop a software for the scheme and also develop a procedure which is transparent and accountable at their end.
  • EPFO shall work out modality to ensure that there is no overlapping of benefits provided under ABRY with any other scheme implemented by EPFO.

10th Anniversary Of ADMM-Plus

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh virtually attended the 10th anniversary of the founding of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus).
  • The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States (collectively referred to as the “Plus Countries”), to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

I&B Ministry Advisory On Advertisements On Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports

Information and Broadcasting Ministry has issued an advisory on Advertisements on Online gaming, fantasy sports and others.

Finer Points

  • No gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years or who appears to be under the age of 18 engaged in playing a game of Online Gaming for Real Money Winnings or suggest that such person can play these games.
  • For print and static, every such gaming advertisement must carry the disclaimer that this game involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive, so please play responsibly and at your own risk. Such a disclaimer should occupy no less than 20 per cent of the space in the advertisement.
  • For Audio and Video, it said, this game involves and elements of financial risk and may be addictive and play responsibly at your own risk. It said, such a disclaimer must be placed in normal speaking pace at the end of the advertisement.
  • The advertisement should not present as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option. The advertisement should also not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is in any way more successful as compared to others.
  • The guidelines will be effective from the 15th December 2020.

Draft Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has issued a draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 for public consultation.

  • It aims to repeal and replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (Act No. 44 of 1958) and the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838 (Act No. 19 of 1838).
  • The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 has been drafted, with the primary aim of promoting the growth of the Indian shipping industry by incorporating the best practices adopted by other advanced countries like the U.S., Japan, U.K., Singapore and Australia.
  • All up-to-date IMO Conventions / protocols, to which India is a party, have been adopted in it.
  • Adequate provisions are incorporated to ensure the safety and security of vessels, safety of life at sea, prevent marine pollution, provide for maritime liabilities and compensations, and ensure comprehensive adoption of India’s obligations under International Conventions.

The envisioned advantages of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 are following:

  • Promoting ease of doing business: The Bill does away with requirement of general trading license for Indian vessels.
  • Embracing digital technology: It enables electronic means of registration, and grants statutory recognition to electronic agreements, records, and log books, in addition to electronic licenses, certificates and payments.
  • Increasing tonnage and Vessel as a Tradable Asset: The Bill seeks to increase India’s tonnage by widening the eligibility criteria for ownership of vessels and providing for the registration of bareboat charter cum demise, thereby increasing opportunities for international trade.
  • India as a Bankable Shipping Jurisdiction & avoidance of situations leading to wreck: The proposed Bill seeks to introduce for the first-time statutory framework for regulating maritime emergency response against maritime incidents. The provisions seek to provide for time effective implementation of response mechanisms in order to ensure that the same is prevented from becoming a wreck or other catastrophic event.
  • Welfare of Indian seafarers on abandoned vessels and safety of abandoned vessels: Provisions for repatriation of abandoned seafarers have been enhanced, in line with the MLC regulations.
  • Strengthening adjudication and predictability of claims: In order to strengthen the investigation and adjudication of claims arising out of collision of vessels, assessors may be tasked by the High Courts to present their findings on the degrees of fault of each vessel.
  • India as an Active Enforcement Jurisdiction: The Bill incorporates powers of the Director-General to take action against vessels that are unsafe, and pose a threat to safety of life at sea and environment, and includes a procedure for appeal from detention orders. The Bill also incorporates provisions that encourage active enforcement of pollution prevention standards and the Central Government has been granted the power to mandate compulsory insurance or such other financial security, for pollution damage.

Other Recent Initiatives to Overcome Archaic Colonial Laws

  • To replace all archaic colonial laws with modern and contemporary International laws, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways recently issued two draft Bills for public consultation, namely ‘Aids to Navigation Bill 2020’ and ‘Coastal Shipping Bill 2020’.
  • Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 is also under consideration of Rajya Sabha, which has been already passed by Lok Sabha in the last Parliament session.

PLI Scheme To 10 Key Sectors

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in the 10 key sectors for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports.

The PLI scheme across these 10 key specific sectors will make Indian manufacturers globally competitive, attract investment in the areas of core competency and cutting-edge technology; ensure efficiencies; create economies of scale; enhance exports and make India an integral part of the global supply chain.

  • Advance Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery: ACC battery manufacturing represents one of the largest economic opportunities of the twenty-first century for several global growth sectors, such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and renewable energy. The PLI scheme for ACC battery will incentivize large domestic and international players in establishing a competitive ACC battery set-up in the country.
  • Electronic/Technology Products: India is expected to have a USD 1 trillion digital economy by 2025. Additionally, the Government's push for data localization, Internet of Things market in India, projects such as Smart City and Digital India are expected to increase the demand for electronic products. The PLI scheme will boost the production of electronic products in India.
  • Automobiles & Auto Components: The automotive industry is a major economic contributor in India. The PLI scheme will make the Indian automotive Industry more competitive and will enhance globalization of the Indian automotive sector.
  • Pharmaceuticals Drugs: The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the third largest in the world by volume and 14th largest in terms of value. It contributes 3.5% of the total drugs and medicines exported globally. India possesses the complete ecosystem for development and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and a robust ecosystem of allied industries. The PLI scheme will incentivize the global and domestic players to engage in high value production.
  • Telecom & Networking Products: Telecom equipment forms a critical and strategic element of building a secured telecom infrastructure and India aspires to become a major original equipment manufacturer of telecom and networking products. The PLI scheme is expected to attract large investments from global players and help domestic companies seize the emerging opportunities and become big players in the export market.
  • Textile Products: MMF Segment and Technical Textiles: The Indian textile industry is one of the largest in the world and has a share of ~5% of global exports in textiles and apparel. But India's share in the manmade fibre (MMF) segment is low in contrast to the global consumptionpattern, which is majorly in this segment. The PLI scheme will attract large investment in the sector to further boost domestic manufacturing, especially in the MMF segment and technical textiles.
  • Food Products: The growth of the processed food industry leads to better price for farmers and reduces high levels of wastage. Specific product lines having high growth potential and capabilities to generate medium- to large-scale employment have been identified for providing support through PLI scheme.
  • High Efficiency Solar PV Modules: Large imports of solar PV panels pose risks in supply-chain resilience and have strategic security challenges considering the electronic (hackable) nature of the value chain. A focused PLI scheme for solar PV modules will incentivize domestic and global players to build large-scale solar PV capacity in India and help India leapfrog in capturing the global value chains for solar PV manufacturing.
  • White Goods (ACs & LED): White goods (air conditioners and LEDs) have very high potential of domestic value addition and making these products globally competitive. A PLI scheme for the sector will lead to more domestic manufacturing, generation of jobs and increased exports.
  • Speciality Steel: Steel is a strategically important industry and India is the world's second largest steel producer in the world. It is a net exporter of finished steel and has the potential to become a champion in certain grades of steel. A PLI scheme in Specialty Steel will help in enhancing manufacturing capabilities for value added steel leading to increase in total exports.

The above will be in addition to the already notified PLI schemes in the following sectors:

  • Mobile Manufacturing and Specified Electronic Components
  • Critical Key Starting materials/Drug Intermediaries and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
  • Manufacturing of Medical Devices.

Vagir: India’s 5th Stealth Submarine Under Project-75 Launched

The Indian Navy has launched Scorpene class submarine Vagir.

  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vagir is the fifth among the six Kalvari-class submarines being constructed by the public sector shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) in Mumbai.
  • The other vessels in the class are INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Karanj, INS Vela and INS Vagsheer. Of these Kalvari and Khanderi have been commissioned in 2017 and 2019, Vela and Karanj and undergoing sea trials, Vagir has now been launched and Vagsheer is under construction.
  • The submarines, designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, are being built as part of Indian Navy's Project-75 programme.
  • These submarines can undertake missions like anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance.
  • Vagir is named after the sand fish, a deadly deep sea predator of the Indian Ocean.

What are Scorpene-Class Submarines?

  • These are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines jointly developed by the French Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) and the Spanish company Navantia, and now by Naval Group.
  • It features diesel propulsion and an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system.

What is Air-independent Propulsion (AIP)?

  • AIP is any marine propulsion technology that allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen.
  • It can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels.

Project and Class of Ship/Submarine

  • Project: During the developmental stage of a ship or a submarine, specific projects are generally assigned a numerical character as a unique identifier to the project. For example,
    • P-75:The number 75 in Project 75 refers to such unique identifier which was assigned to a programme for series production of submarines in India. Based on the specifications drawn for Project 75, the Scorpene class submarine from France, chosen under the project, is being constructed at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.
  • Class: In a series production of the warship construction project, all ships/submarines of the series have common design characteristics and capabilities. The first ship of the serial construction project provides a class name to all warships in the project for common reference. The term ‘class’ in the Kolkata Class refers to a series of warships constructed under Project 15A which includes Indian naval ships INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Chennai.
  • Similarly, all six submarines constructed under Project 75 are referred to as Kalvari Class of submarines.
  • Other examples of project and class references of Indian Naval Ships are as:
    • Project 15 Destroyers – Delhi Class (Delhi, Mysore, and Mumbai)
    • Project 16 Frigates – Godavari Class (Godavari, Ganga and Gomti)
    • Project 16A Frigates – Brahmaputra Class (Brahmaputra, Betwa and Beas)
    • Project 17 Stealth Frigates – Shivalik Class (Shivalik, Sahyadri and Satpura)
    • Project 28 Anti-Submarine Corvettes – Kamorta Class (Kamorta, Kadmatt, Kiltan and Kavaratti)

“Strategic Policy & Facilitation Bureau (SPFB)”: Policy Unit Of Ministry Of AYUSH

  • The Ministry of AYUSH and M/s Invest India will form a collaboration to set up a strategic policy unit called “Strategic Policy & Facilitation Bureau (SPFB)” to facilitate planned and systematic growth of the Ayush Sector and to make the Ayush systems future-ready.
  • This Bureau will support the Ministry in strategic and policy making initiatives that shall help pave the way to reach the full potential of the Sector and stimulate growth and investment.
  • As a partner in the project, M/S Invest India would collaborate extensively with the Ministry to frame the work plan of the Bureau and define its short-and long-term targets. Invest India would deploy highly trained and expert resources to implement and execute the plans of the Ministry of AYUSH.
  • The activities to be undertaken by the SPFB would include:
    • Knowledge Creation and Management,
    • Strategic & Policy-Making Support,
    • State Policy Bench marking: Undertaking State Policy bench marking to formulate uniform guidelines/regulations regarding AYUSH sector in India,
    • Investment Facilitation: Follow up and facilitation of investment cases and MoUs, and coordination among different Department, organisations and States.
    • Issue Resolution: Invest India would work with companies and other institutions on issue resolution across States and among various sub-sectors.
  • Some of the Specific Deliverables of Bureau would include project monitoring for Inter-Ministerial Groups, Skill Development Initiatives, setting up Strategic Intelligence Research Unit and initiating an Innovation Program.
  • The Ministry of AYUSH would assist the Bureau in responding to investment proposal, issue and queries and fund Invest India for undertaking activities assigned. The Ministry will also support the Bureau in building links with various stakeholders such as industry associations, affiliate bodies of Ministry and Industry representation.

National Wildlife Week 2020

Wildlife Week is celebrated all over the country in the month of October from 2nd to 8th October every year to protect animal life. It was first started in the year 1952.

Initiatives/ Events This Year

  • The government is working towards the upgradation and development of 160 Zoos in Public Private Partnership (PPP) across the country to encourage interaction between wildlife and humans, and help people observe and understand wildlife behaviour more closely.
  • A report of the Central Zoo Authority and The Energy and Resources Institute (CZA-TERI) titled “Economic valuation of ecosystem services, National Zoological Park, New Delhi” was released.The report highlights the importance of habitats such as zoos to human wellbeing and the need of replication across India.
  • The study first of its kind in India and perhaps the entire World, pegs the total annual economic value of the ecosystem services (biodiversity conservation, employment generation, carbon sequestration, education and research, recreational and cultural) at around 423 crore (2019-20) whereas, the total value of the one-time cost of services such as carbon storage and land value provided by the zoo is estimated to be around 55,000 crore.
  • The CZA-PraniMitra awards were given to encourage the zoo officers and staff towards working for captive animal management and welfare.
  • CZA which was established to oversee the functioning of Indian zoos and complement the wildlife conservation strategies through ex-situ measures, as on today recognizes around 160 zoo and rescue centers that enforce global standards in animal housing and welfare. Over 567 captive animal species (with 114 species under endangered category) with overall 56481 individual animals are currently housed in Indian zoos.
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