Polity & Governance
- Lok Sabha passes ‘Atomic Energy Bill 2015’
- India ranks 130th on Human Development Index in 2014
- Typhoon Melor hits Philippines
Science & Technology
- Japanese Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Spacecraft enters Target Orbit
Polity & Governance
Lok Sabha passes ‘Atomic Energy Bill 2015’
The Lok Sabha has passed the landmark “Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015“. The bill was passed with a voice vote from both treasury as well as opposition benches. It will now be referred to Rajya Sabha for ratification.
Key Features of the Bill:
- The Bill seeks to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1962.
- The Act empowers the central government to produce, develop, control, and use atomic energy.
- It paves the way for Atomic Energy Units, including Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to enter into joint-ventures with other Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and government sector companies.
- Under the Act, a government company is one in which at least 51% of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government. Paid-up share capital is the capital received by a company from the issue of shares.
- The Bill expands the definition of paid-up share capital to include companies where the whole of the paid up share capital is held by one or more government company and whose articles of association empower the central government to constitute its Board of Directors. This provision will allow for the formation of joint ventures between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and other government companies.
- Under the Act, a license is required for acquisition, production, use, export and import of any plant designed for the production and development of atomic energy or research.
- The Bill makes consequential amendments to state that such license will only be granted to entities such as a government company or a department of central government.
- The Bill states that any license granted for matters such as: (I) producing atomic energy and (II) acquiring and using substances or minerals from which atomic energy can be obtained, will be cancelled if a licensee ceases to be a government company.
Reason for introduction of the Bill:
During the last 18 months there has been a series of agreements and MOUs to procure Uranium and other collaboration from different countries. But, when Indian PSUs like National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) came forward to support installation of our new nuclear projects, it was realised that the existing Atomic Energy Act of 1962 did not allow for this.
[Courtesy: PIB, PRSIndia]
India ranks 130th on Human Development Index in 2014
India continued to rank low in the Human Development Index (HDI), but climbed five notches to the 130th rank in the latest UNDP report.
- India ranked 130 among 188 countries in 2014 in Human Development Report 2015 released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). India’s rank was 135 according to the 2014 report.
- “India’s HDI value for 2014 is 0.609, which puts the country in the medium human development category, positioning it at 130 out of 188 countries and territories.
- The Human Development Index is based on assessing progress on three dimensions of human development.
- A long and healthy life measured through life expectancy of the population.
- Access to knowledge measured by mean years of education among the adult population, and access to learning and knowledge measured by expected years of schooling for children of school-entry age.
- Standard of living measured by the country’s per-capita gross national income (GNI).
- Life expectancy at birth increased to 68 years in 2014 from 67.6 in the previous year and 53.9 in 1980.
- Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was $5,497 in 2014 up from $5,180 in 2013 and $1,255 in 1980. India’s GNI per capita increased by about 338 per cent between 1980 and 2014.
- However as per the report, the expected years of schooling is stagnant at 11.7 since 2011. Also, mean years of schooling at 5.4 has not changed since 2010.
- Between 1980 and 2014, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by 14.1 years, mean years of schooling increased by 3.5 years and expected years of schooling increased by 5.3 years.
- According to the report, India’s 2014 HDI of 0.609 is below the average of 0.630 for countries in the medium human development group and above the average of 0.607 for countries in South Asia.
- On the gender development index (GDI), with a value of 0.795, India ranks behind Bangladesh (0.917), Namibia, Guatemala, even Tajikistan.
- Gender Development Index (GDI) measures gender inequalities on three dimensions:
- Health: measured by female and male life expectancy at birth.
- Education: measured by expected years of schooling for female and male children, and mean years for adults aged 25 years and older.
- Command over economic resources: measured by estimated female and male GNI per capita.
- On the Gender Inequality Index (GII), India fares poorly in 2014, standing 130th among 155 countries, well behind Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are ranked 111th and 121st, respectively.
- Gender Inequality Index (GII) is based on three dimensions:
- Reproductive health: measured by maternal mortality and adolescent birth rates.
- Empowerment: measured by the share of parliamentary seats held by women and attainment in secondary and higher education by each gender.
- Economic activity: measured by the labour market participation rate for women and men.
- According to the latest ranking, India stands higher than neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan but lower than countries like Namibia, Guatemala and Tajikistan, even Iraq.
[Courtesy: Business Standard, Hindu]
Typhoon Melor hits Philippines
Typhoon Melor has hit the central Philippines bringing heavy rain and strong winds
- The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons a year, many of them deadly, with the strongest happening towards the end of the year.
- Typhoon Melor, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Nona, was a powerful tropical cyclone that struck the Philippines.
[Courtesy: The Hindu]
Science & Technology
Japanese Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Spacecraft enters Target Orbit
A Japanese space probe successfully entered “target orbit” and is on its way to meet with a far away asteroid, in a quest to study the origin of the solar system.
About Japanese Hayabusa 2:
- Hayabusa 2 is an unmanned explorer operated by the Japanese space agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
- Hayabusa 2 was launched a year ago aboard Japan’s main H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Centre for its six-year mission to bring back mineral samples from the asteroid.
- The target is asteroid ‘162173 Ryugu’, named after a mythical castle in a Japanese folk tale.
- Hayabusa 2 is expected to arrive at the target in July 2018, survey the asteroid for a year and a half, depart in December 2019, and return to Earth in December 2020.
- It will also drop rover robots and a “landing package” that includes equipment for surface observation.
- If all goes well, soil samples will be returned to Earth in late 2020. Analysing the extra-terrestrial materials could help shed light on the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
[Courtesy: The Hindu, Wiki]