Polity & Governance
- National Power Portal (NPP) unveiled
- Bill banning superstitious practices tabled
Government Schemes & Policies
- Accessible India Campaign
Bilateral & International Relations
- 10th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES-2017)
- Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT)
- Founding Ceremony of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)
Art & Culture
- Banglar Rasogolla, Mamallapuram stone sculptures get GI tag
- Hunar Haat
Key Facts for Prelims
- Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first woman advocate
- Coastal Security Exercise “Sagar Kavach”
- 37th India International Trade Fair
- India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO)
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Polity & Governance
National Power Portal (NPP) unveiled
The Union Ministry of Power launched National Power Portal (NPP), a Centralized Platform for Collation and Dissemination of Indian power sector information.
What is National Power Portal (NPP)?
NPP is centralised system for Indian Power Sector.
- It will facilitate online data capture, input (daily, monthly, annually) from generation, transmission and distribution utilities in country.
- It will also disseminate Power Sector Information (operational, capacity, demand, supply, consumption etc) through various analysed reports, graphs, statistics for generation, transmission and distribution at all India, state, regional level for central, state and private sector.
Key facts about NPP:
- The system has been conceptualized, designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
- Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is nodal agency for implementation and operational control of NPP.
- NPP is integrated with associated systems of CEA, Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and other major utilities.
- It will serve as single authentic source of power sector information to apex bodies, utilities for purpose of analysis and planning, monitoring and for public users.
- The NPS Dashboard has been designed and developed to disseminate analyzed information about sector through Geographic Information System (GIS) enabled navigation and visualization chart windows on capacity, generation, transmission, distribution at national, state, DISCOM, town, feeder level and scheme based funding to states.
- The Dashboard will act as single point interface for all Power Sector applications launched previously by Power Ministry like TARANG, UJALA, GARV, URJA, VIDYUT PRAVAH,
- The system will be available 24×7 and ensures effective and timely collection of data.
- It will standardized data parameters and formats for seamless exchange of data between NPP and respective systems at utilities.
Bill banning superstitious practices tabled
The much-delayed and hotly debated Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017, popularly known as the ‘Anti-Superstition Bill’, was recently tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
- The Bill, if cleared by the State legislature, is expected to put an end to various inhuman practices.
What is banned?
- Performing any black magic, inhumane act and evil practices in search of treasure or bounty, tantric acts which include physical and sexual assault.
- Practices such as parading people naked, ostracising a person in the name of a ritual and encouraging inhumane acts during said rituals also come under the purview of the bill.
- Rituals of exorcism, assaulting people under the pretext of exorcism, misinformation and creating a panic-like situation under the pretext of ghosts and black magic will also be banned.
- Other practices such as making claims of having healing power, propagating practices that involve self-mutilation and coercing people to perform fire-walking will also be banned.
What is not banned?
- The form of the worship such as Pradakshina, Yatra, Parikrama performed at religious places
- Harikata, Keerthana, Pravachana, Bhajana, teaching of ancient and traditional learning and arts, practice, propagation and circulation
- Miracles of the deceased saints propagation, publicity and circulation of the same and the propagation, publicity and distribution of literature about miracles of the religious preachers which do not cause physical injury
- Performance of prayers, upasana and religious rituals at home, temple, darghas, gurdwara, pagoda, church, and other religious places which do not cause physical injury
- All religious celebrations, festivals, prayers, procession and other act relating other rituals
- Piercing of ears and nose of children in accordance with rituals and performance of religious ritual such as Kesh Lochan by the Jains
- Advice in regard to vaastu shasthra, and advice by jyothishya and other astrologers
Government Schemes & Policies
Accessible India Campaign
On the occasion of Childrens Day today, the Union Social Justice and Empowerment minister presented awards to the 58 winners of a drawing and painting competition on Accessible India Campaign at an event organised in Delhi.
- The event was organised by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) under Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
About Accessible India Campaign:
Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Aim and vision:
- The aim of the Campaign is to make a barrier free and conducive environment for Divyangjans all over the country.
- The campaign has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.
- Accessible India Campaign is in line with the Article 9 of UNCRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to which India is a signatory since 2007.
- The scheme also comes under Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 provides for equal Opportunities and protection of rights and non-discrimination in Transport to Persons with Disabilities.
- Under the campaign, at least 50% of all the government buildings of National Capital and all the State capitals will be made fully accessible for persons with disabilities by July 2018.
- All the international airports in the country and railway stations of A1, A & B categories will be made fully accessible by July 2016.
- As per campaign drafted by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, at least 10% of government owned public transport carriers in the country will be converted into fully accessible carriers for these persons by March 2018.
- It will also be ensured that at least 50% of all public documents issued by the Central Government and the State Governments meet accessibility standards for persons with disabilities by March 2018.
- A web portal and mobile application for creating a crowd sourcing platform to get information about inaccessible was also launched
- For creating universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, the campaign has been divided into three verticals: Built Environment; Transport and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.
Bilateral & International Relations
10th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES-2017)
The 10th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES-2017) was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- The theme of the summit is “Deepening Economic Integration for Inclusive and Sustainable Development in South Asia”.
- More than 200 participants including ministers, members of parliaments, ambassadors, government officials, eminent experts and thinkers attending the summit.
About South Asia Economic Summit (SAES):
- South Asia Economic Summit is like Davos- World Economic Forum event in South Asia. It was started in 2008.
- The summit is a regional platform for discussing and analyzing economic and development issues and challenges faced by South Asian countries and advancing the cause of regional integration and cooperation.
- It brings together stakeholders from government, research, private sector, academics and civil society to generate innovative and actionable ideas for consideration by region’s policymakers and SAARC.
Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT)
The 15th Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT) Conference was held in New Delhi.
- It is first ever conference to be held in India and South Asia.
- The conference was organised by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under the aegis of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
- The theme of conference was “Building Trust in the Digital Economy”.
- 300 delegates from 21 economies especially from Asia Pacific region, USA, Europe, Industry, Academia, Government and Media attended the conference.
- This conference covered contemporary topics around strategies of CERTs, Technology and Instruments for building trust in digitally evolving economies and best practices for handling cyber security in mobile and social media.
About Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT)
APCERT is coalition of CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Team) and CSIRTs (Computer Security Incident Response Teams) located in Asia Pacific region.
- It operational mandate is to contribute to the Internet security with in the region, based on information sharing, trust and cooperation.
- It aims to help create a safe, clean and reliable cyber space in the Asia Pacific Region through global collaboration.
- Currently, APCERT consists of 30 Operational Members from 21 economies and 3 Supporting Members.
Who can become the member of APCERT?
- Any CSIRT from Asia Pacific Region, who is interested to furthering the objectives of APCERT, will be allowed to join as APCERT members after meeting all member accreditation requirements.
Membership model of APCERT:
APCERT membership model has 2 levels:
- Full Members are CSIRTs/CERTs in the Asia Pacific region, who have the right to vote on APCERT issues, as well as to stand for election to the APCERT Steering Committee.
- All Founding Members are Full Members.
- Any CSIRTs/CERTs in the Asia Pacific region with an interest in incident response and IT security, can join APCERT as a General Member.
- General Members are not eligible to vote nor to stand for election to the APCERT Steering Committee.
- An applicant is required to join APCERT as a General Member first.
- After applicants obtain a General Member status, they can later apply to upgrade their membership to a Full Member status.
- General Membership is a pre-requisite to become a Full Member.
About the CERT-In:
CERT-In is nodal government agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing in India.
- It is nodal department under the aegis of Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
- According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.
Objectives of the CERT-In:
Its objectives are to:
- Protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities.
- Strengthen security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain. Issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention, procedures, response and reporting of cyber security incidents.
Founding Ceremony of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)
A Curtain Raiser Event for the Founding Ceremony of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was recently held at Bonn, Germany.
About International Solar Alliance:
ISA was launched, on the sidelines of COP-21, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November, 2015 by Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
- The alliance, headquartered in India, aims to bring together countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which receive abundant sunshine for around 300 days a year.
- ISA aims to invite solar rich 121 countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the alliance.
- International Steering Committee was establishment under the mandate of the Paris Declaration of ISA to provide the guidance and direction to establish the ISA.
- It will function from the Gurgaon, Haryana based National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
- India has offered a contribution of Rs 175 crore for creating ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of ISA secretariat for initial five years.
- Alliance seeks to share common platform to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
- Alliance would pursue cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
Art & Culture
Banglar Rasogolla, Mamallapuram stone sculptures get GI tag
The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry and Intellectual Property India presented the Geographical Indication Tag status to Banglar Rasogolla of West Bengal and Mamallapuram stone sculptures of Tamil Nadu.
- West Bengal was involved in a lengthy battle with Odisha, which too had claimed Rasogolla as its invention.
- While West Bengal believes that the Rasogolla was invented in Calcutta by confectioner Nabin Chandra Das, Odisha says it was invented in the holy city of Puri in the 13th century.
- West Bengal in its application had provided proof of origin — historical records dating back to 1896.
- According to one of the documents submitted by West Bengal citing historical evidence, Rasogollas invented in the Nadia district of West Bengal are 60 years old (lower end time frame). Haradhan, a confectioner of village Phulia is named as the inventor. West Bengal has given half-a-dozen historical evidences to back its claim.
- On the other hand, the Odisha government is claiming that ‘Odishara Rasagolla’ originated in Odisha and is offered at Jagannath Temple as part of religious rituals by people of Odisha since the 12th century.
About Mamallapuram stone sculptures
- The sculptures from Mamallapuram were known to be carved in stone with characteristics of intricate designing chiselled finely, keeping with the spirit of the surrounding Pallava art and architecture.
- The description includes cave architecture, rock architecture, structural temples, open sculptures, relief sculptures and painting/portrait sculptures.
What is a Geographical Indication?
- A ‘geographical indication’ (GI) is a place name used to identify the origin and quality, reputation or other characteristics of products.
Why is it important?
- Article 22 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement says unless a geographical indication is protected in the country of its origin, there is no obligation under the agreement for other countries to extend reciprocal protection.
- Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
GI registration confers:
- Legal protection to the products.
- Prevents unauthorised use of a GI by others.
- Helps consumers get quality products of desired traits.
- Promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods by enhancing demand in national and international markets.
GI registration is essential to get protection in other countries.
GIs and international conventions:
- Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs.
- They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the agreements concluded at the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
- India, as member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 that came into force from September 15, 2003.
Some popular registered GIs in India:
- Nearly 200 unique goods have been registered as GIs in India. Products sold with the GI tag get premium pricing also.
- Some of the popular registered GIs in India are Mysore Silk, Mysore Agarbathi, Kancheepuram Silk, Orissa Ikat, Channapatna Toys & Dolls, and Coimbatore Wet Grinder, Mysore Pak (sweet), Tanjavur Veena, Pusa Basmati 1 (a high-yielding variety of scented Basmati rice) etc.
The fourth edition of the Hunar Haat exhibition was recently organised by the Ministry of Minority Affairs at India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
About Hunar Haat:
“Hunar Haat” is being organized through National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) under USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme of Ministry of Minority Affairs.
Significance of the exhibition:
- The exhibition is aimed at promoting and supporting artisans from Minority communities and providing them domestic as well as international market for display and sell their products.
- The market provides artisans from minority communities a chance to display their products and skills at an international platform.
- The USTTAD scheme aims at preserving & promoting the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the Minority communities. This is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
Key Facts for Prelims
Cornelia Sorabji, India’s first woman advocate
- The November 15 Google Doodle pays tribute to Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to graduate in law from India as early as 1892 and the first Indian national to attend a British University.
- She was pioneer who helped open up higher education as well as the legal profession to women.
- She took cause of purdahnashins, veiled women who were forbidden to interact with men outside their families.
- She has published two autobiographies India Calling: The Memories of Cornelia Sorabji, and India Recalled, a biography of her parents, and numerous articles on Purdahnashins.
Coastal Security Exercise “Sagar Kavach”
- The Governments of Odisha and West Bengal conducted joint security exercise named ‘Sagar Kavach’.
- The aim of the exercise is to further tighten the existing coastal security mechanism along the 630 km long coastline along Odisha and its neighbouring West Bengal.
- It was security exercise to check efficacy of security parameters and preparedness of various security forces like Indian Navy, Marine police force, Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Forest Department, Fisheries and district administration.
37th India International Trade Fair
- The 37th India International Trade Fair (IITF), organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), was held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.
- The theme of fair is “Startup India Standup India”.
- For this edition of fair, Vietnam is partner country, while Kyrgyzstan is focus country.
- Jharkhand is participating as partner state in the event.
India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO)
- ITPO is the nodal agency of the Government of India under aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry for promoting country’s external trade.
- It is Mini-Ratna Category-1 Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) with 100% shareholding of Government.
- It is headquartered at Pragati Maidan.
- ITPO approves holding of international trade fairs in India and regulates holding of various expositions in India primarily to avoid any duplication of efforts while ensuring proper timing.