Daily Current Affairs-30th July 2018

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Daily Current Affairs -30th July 2018

GS-II(Governance) 

 India needs 1,023 special courts to try cases of rape and child rape: Law Ministry

  • A total of 1,023 FTSCs (fast track special courts) are required to be set up for disposing of rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cases with an estimated expenditure of ₹767.25 crore out of which Rs 464 crore as central funding on the pattern of centrally sponsored scheme
  • These courts are to be set up as part of a larger scheme to strengthen infrastructure for better investigation and swift prosecution in such cases.
  • The new scheme is part of an ordinance recently promulgated to allow courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping children aged up to 12 years. The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Ordinance amended the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Evidence Act and the POCSO Act.

Meghalaya Milk Mission through NCDC

  • Meghalaya Milk Mission will facilitate in achieving the Centre’s goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022 through promotion of milk business in the state.
  • Announcing a sanctioned project of Rs 215 crores through National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) at the launching programme of Meghalaya Milk Mission in Shillong
  • Funds will be utilized for various training under dairy farm, chilling center and purchase of milch animal.
  • Meghalaya Milk Mission has been conceptualized to plug the demand-supply gap in the per capita milk availability. Stating that the per capita milk availability in Meghalaya is much lower than the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR’s) recommendation of milk consumption per person, the minister said that the Milk Mission will enable the state to substitute the import of milk with the state’s own production.
  • The project consists of 2000 dairy farm units, in one unit there is provision for purchase of 5 cows, shed constructions, storage room construction, animal insurance, 79 bulk milk coolers of 500 litre capacity, 13 milk tankers of 3000 litre capacity etc. There is also a provision of Rs 1 crore for the training of farmers in the project.
Panel seeks changes in passport Act to prevent fraudsters from fleeing India
  • An inter-ministerial panel has submitted recommendations to the Home Ministry to tighten the Passport law to prevent defaulting promoters and fraudsters like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi from fleeing the country.
  • Formed a sub-group under Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar to look at the misuse of Indian Passport and duel citizenship issue.
  • Soon after the emergence of the PNB fraud and perpetrator Modi and his uncle Choksi fleeing the country, the Finance Ministry asked public sector banks (PSBs) to collect passport details of all those borrowers who have borrowed loans of more than ₹50 crore.
  • The banks have also been asked to introduce modifications in the loan application form issued to a borrower to incorporate his or her passport details.
  • Various suggestions were given including renunciation of Indian citizenship.

National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) for Women in Mohali

The Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, laid the foundation stone for permanent campus of National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) for Women at Mohali

Details:

  • This is the first NSTI Institute for Punjab and only one of its kind in India which is exclusively for women
  • The institute would not only be imparting training in traditional areas for women like beauty care, cosmetology & fashion design but also in cutting-edge technologies of various kinds.
  • The minister also launched India’s first in-phone guide and mobile application “Go whats That”

GS-II(International Affairs)

US decides to further escalate trade war with China on two fronts
  • The US has decided to further escalate its trade war with China on two separate fronts involving restrictions on Chinese companies for acquiring advanced western technology companies, and forcing new reforms targeted at China at the World Trade Organization.
  • The US has also struck a chord with the EU on 25 July for intensifying the war with China.
  • EU agreed to what USA wants by giving its nod to buy soybeans and LPG in return for Washington’s assurance not to proceed with its proposed 20% unilateral tariff on auto imports from the Europe while talks to resolve all other issues proceed.
  • US mounted its aggressive campaign against China at the WTO’s general council meeting “China’s disruptive economic model”.
  • This model helped china particularly between 2005 and 2016, include real GDP growth rates of 9.5% coupled with sudden transformation “from the fifth-largest to second largest economy” in the world.

Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) says it will not pose threat to India

The Armed group ARSA in Myanmar says it poses no threat to India and expressed “heartfelt appreciation” for Indian support to the Rohingya refugees.

Details

  • The group’s struggle is to ensure the rights of the Rohingya refugees and that it is not connected to the Islamic State (IS) or Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.
  • The statement was issued following reports in an Indian daily that the group had targeted the Assam Rifles recently near the India-Myanmar border and that it aims to build training camps in the Myanmar territories close to Indian frontiers.
  • ARSA denied the attack and termed the news report as “blatant manipulation”.

GS-III(Economy)

FASTags aim to quicken pace of journey through toll booths
  • It’s a reloadable tag that automatically deducts toll charges and allows a vehicle to pass through a toll gate without stopping for the payment.
  • It uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make cashless payments through a prepaid account linked to it.
  • The tag is fixed to the windscreen of a vehicle and an RFID antenna in the canopy of the toll gate scans the QR code and the tag identification number, following which the boom barrier lifts to allow a vehicle to pass through.
  • The tag, which is valid for five years, comes in seven different colours — violet, orange, yellow, green, pink, blue, black. Each colour is assigned to a particular category of vehicles.

How does it work?

  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has tied up with 20 banks to allow people to recharge their cards as well as for owners of old vehicles to purchase a FASTag.
  • The tags can also be procured from kiosks set up at toll plazas. The cost of the device varies from one bank to another but on an average a buyer pays ₹600 for the device out of which ₹200 can be used for transactions at toll booth while the balance goes towards the cost of the device and the bank’s fee.
  • The NHAI also has a mobile application for FASTag that allows users to buy and recharge these tags as well as seek information on toll rates on different routes. It also allows them to give their feedback.
  • Once the vehicle passes through a toll booth, the user receives an SMS alert regarding the charge debited to his or her account.

Benefits for the users

  • Users are refunded 5% of the total toll paid by them in a given month.
  • Users can also pass through the plaza without having to stop their vehicle to make the payment.
  • Cab operators and transporters say that the technology also allows them to track the movement of their vehicles as they receive SMS alerts.

Concerns

  • Many plazas don’t have a dedicated lane for RFID tags, which means that one still has to wait in a queue along with other vehicles which need to stop to make cash transaction.
  • At many places, RFID readers don’t work.
Govt to roll out DigiYatra offering for air passengers soon
  • It is an initiative of Ministry of Civil Aviation
  • The ‘DigiYatra’ is an industry-led initiative coordinated by the Ministry in line with the Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India’s vision to transform the nation into a digitally empowered society.
  • It aims to bring together entire industry to develop a digital ecosystem that will deliver Indian customers a seamless, consistent and paperless service experience at every touch point of their journey.
  • The basic objective is to reduce queues at airports and bring efficiency to the boarding process
  • All aviation stakeholders – airlines, airport operators, security and immigration agencies, cab operators, retail establishment and others are working to devise digital standards which can enable seamless exchange of data and information.

Four Key Pillars

  • Connected Passengers, Connected Airports, Connected Flying and Connected Systems

Features

  • Submit grievances, share experiences and provide feedback
  • Get a prompt when their luggage reaches the baggage claim belt
  • Receive relevant information pertaining to various facilities, protocols, airline timings, queue lengths at airports etc
  • Walk-through security scanners swiftly owing to advanced biometric security solutions
  • Plan their trips efficiently by identifying price trends and estimate future airfares at the time of ticket booking

Implementation

  • The facility will use digital technology to enhance air passenger experience all the way from ticket booking to airport entry check, security check and aircraft boarding.
  • For this, a passenger needs to enrol in to DigiYatra program through AirSewa app and a DigiYatra verified passenger will get hassle free entry at airport through E-Gates.
  • The ID verification will be done by the BCAS-approved Government ID. At the entry gate a single token for the passenger will be created.

Privacy concern addressed

  • This facility is in conformity with privacy guidelines of the Supreme Court
  • When an individual enters the airport, their images will be captured and then they will be able to go through the full lifecycle of travel in a seamless manner
  • Once an individual establishes identity they will be able to pass through the entire lifecycle of the travel and this facility is optional.
  • If somebody does not want to disclose identity, there will be separate provision for them.

Govt. panel to study stressed power sector

The government announced its intention to set up a high-level empowered committee under the Cabinet Secretary to resolve the stress in the thermal power sector.

Details

  • To resolve the stress and revive assets, the government has decided to set up a high-level empowered committee headed by Cabinet Secretary with representatives from the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, and the lenders having major exposure to the power sector
  • The committee is to look into the various issues in the thermal power sector with a view to resolve them and take steps to maximise the efficiency of investment, including changes in the fuel allocation policy, regulatory framework, mechanisms to facilitate sale of power, payment security mechanisms, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), asset restructuring company (ARC) regulations

Drugmakers to look beyond its largest market the U.S

Strict regulations, tough policy approach under President Trump and pricing pressures are forcing Indian firms to look beyond U.S.

Details

  • North America, primarily the U.S., accounted for more than 30% of India’s pharma exports in FY18. But, market has recorded a contraction in India’s drug export basket with time.
  • This is due to long-standing regulatory issues to increased pricing pressure and a tougher policy approach on the part of the Trump administration.
  • So, with no signs of abating any time soon, a shift in focus seems more of a necessity than a choice.

 GS-III(Science & Technology)

Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)

  • It is an initiative of Ministry of Earth Sciences
  • It will help in improving India’s position in ocean research field.
  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO

Key objectives

  • It is working to deliver offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy, and developing a submersible vehicle that can go to a depth of at least 6,000 meters with three people on board.
  • So, the focus will be on technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles, underwater robotics and ocean climate change advisory services

India’s Exclusive Rights to Explore Polymetallic Nodules

  • India has been allotted a site of 1,50,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
  • These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.

International Seabed Authority (ISA)

  • ISA is a UN body set up to regulate the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters. It has responsibility for the regulation of seabed mining beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. It was established in 1994.
  • India actively contributes to the work of International Seabed Authority.
India plans to buy missile shield from U.S.

India is in talks with the U.S. to procure an advanced air defense system to defend the National Capital Region (NCR) from aerial attacks.

Details

  • The NASAMS was developed by Raytheon in partnership with KONGSBERG Defence and Aerospace of Norway.
  • The system can be deployed to identify, engage and destroy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as protect high-value assets and mass population centres against air-to-surface threats.
  • NASAMS-II is an upgraded version of the NASAMS and features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction.
  • Owned by seven countries, it has been integrated into the US National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. Apart from the US, it is also in service in Norway, Finland, Spain and the Netherlands.

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