IASToppers-Current-Affairs-Analysis-26th-April-2016
Current Affairs Analysis

26th April 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
April 26, 2016

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • All new mobiles to have panic button from 2017

Economy

  • Govt. looking to axe 52 out of 200 allowances
  • Centre’s nod for NIMZ in Medak

Environment & Ecology

  • Mumbai noisiest city in India, CPCB study finds
  • Coral reef springs a surprise at Amazon river mouth

Defence & Security Issues

  • Indo- Mongolia Joint Military Exercise, Nomadic Elephant- 2016

Science & Technology

  • Centre steps in to expedite patent approvals

 

Polity & Governance

All new mobiles to have panic button from 2017

According to ‘the Panic button and Global Positioning System facility in all mobile phone handsets Rules, 2016’, Starting next year, all mobile phones sold in India will come with a dedicated ‘panic button’ that can be used to send out a signal in case of distress.

  • The new rules are notified by the Department of Telecommunications.
  • The notification is aimed at improving the safety of women and ensuring a quick response from security agencies.
  • The notification says that no handset shall be sold in India from January 1, 2017, without a panic button and all handsets must also have GPS from January 1, 2018.
  • Once the panic button is pressed, a signal/call will be made to the nearest security agency. However, the details of how the system will work are yet to be finalised.
[Ref: Hindu]

Economy

Govt. looking to axe 52 out of 200 allowances

The government is planning to scrap 52 of the nearly 200 allowances.

  • Secret allowance, family planning allowance, desk allowance, cash handling allowance, metropolitan allowance and headquarters allowance are among the list which will be scraped soon. [Allowances are paid to employees — both in civil and defence jobs — over and above the basic pay, either as a percentage of it, or as a specified amount, which usually varies with employees’ “level or status”.]

Reasons for scrapping:

  • The Seventh Pay Commission found inadequate the justifications offered by the Ministries for these allowances.
  • Besides recommending that 52 allowances be abolished, the Commission suggested that another 36 be subsumed in an existing allowance or in new allowances it proposed.

Background:

  • The Pay Commission found the entire system of nearly 200 allowances haphazard. Hence, the government was asked to suggest rationalisation of a variety of allowances.
  • The commission found that many allowances were meagre cash payments and have lost significance.
[Ref: Hindu]

Centre’s nod for NIMZ in Medak

The government has granted the final approval to the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) at Zaheerabad in Medak district, Telangana.

What are NIMZs?

The National Investment & Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) are an important instrumentality of the National manufacturing policy.

  • NIMZs aim to provide a productive environment for persons transitioning from the primary to the secondary and tertiary sectors.
  • The NIMZs are envisaged as integrated industrial townships with state of the art infrastructure, land use on the basis of zoning, clean and energy efficient technology, necessary social infrastructure, skill development facilities etc.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

Environment & Ecology

Mumbai noisiest city in India, CPCB study finds

Based on the data gathered from 35 noise monitoring systems installed in 9 metro cities by India’s apex pollution watchdog- Central Pollution Control Board has named Mumbai as the noisiest city in India. Mumbai is followed by Lucknow, Hyderabad and Delhi.

Sources of noise pollution:

  • Though the most common source of noise pollution is motor vehicles, the other sources like generator sets, office machines, aircraft, industrial and construction activities too substantially contribute to increasing the noise level in the cities.

Levels of noise pollution:

  • Noise level beyond the prescribed limits of 55 dB during day and 45 dB during night is considered as noise pollution.

Impact of noise pollution:

  • CPCB also notes that noise pollution can cause aggression, hypertension, hearing loss, tinnitus and sleep disturbance.

Background:

  • In March 2011, the central government set up the National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network (NANMN) through CPCB and the state pollution control boards (SPCBs) to monitor noise on a 24×7 basis in India’s seven largest cities.
  • Under NANMN, 70 monitoring stations have been set up in seven cities—10 each in Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Mumbai (including Navi Mumbai)—which are operated by state-level pollution control boards.
[Ref: ToI, LM]

Coral reef springs a surprise at Amazon river mouth

A huge 9,300 sq km coral reef system has been found below the muddy waters off the mouth of the river Amazon, astonishing scientists, governments and oil companies who have started to explore on top of it.

  • The existence of the 600-mile long reef, which stretches from French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhao state, was not suspected because many of the world’s great rivers produce major gaps in reef systems where no corals grow.
  • In addition, there was little previous evidence because corals mostly thrive in clear, sunlit, salt water, and the equatorial waters near the mouth of the Amazon are some of the muddiest in the world, with vast quantities of sediment washed thousands of miles down the river and swept hundreds of miles out to sea.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Indo- Mongolia Joint Military Exercise, Nomadic Elephant- 2016

The Eleventh Indo-Mongolia joint training Exercise, ‘Nomadic Elephant – 2016’ to promote military associations between India and Mongolia has commenced at Mongolia.

  • The aim of this exercise is to develop synergy and inter-operability between the two armies to fight in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism environment under the United Nation mandate. 
[Ref: PIB]

 

Science & Technology

Centre steps in to expedite patent approvals

The government is taking measures to reduce the time to examine patent applications for clearing them at the earliest.

Present scenario:

  • Now the time is between 5 and 7 years for the first examination of patent applications.
  • The pendency in patent applications and trademark registration as on February 1, 2016 was around 2.37 lakh and 5.44 lakh respectively. One of the main reasons for this situation was shortage of manpower.

Government’s measures:

The target is to bring present 5-7 years for the first examination of patent applications down to 18 months, which is the benchmark in the U.S.

  • To bring down the examination time, government will be setting a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and an annual benchmark.
  • In addition to the existing strength of 130 examiners of patents and designs, the government recently hired 458 new examiners. An additional 263 examiners will soon be recruited on a contract basis.
  • Also, online examination has begun to reduce pendency. The government has already hired around 100 new examiners for trademarks.
  • Examination time for trademarks has been reduced from 13 months to 8 months. And the new target is to bring this time down to one month by March 2017.
[Ref: Hindu]

 

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