Polity & Governance
- Over 900 railway stations to have CCTV cameras
- India jumps 73 spots to 26 rank in World Bank’s electricity accessibility list
- Radiators, glass attract AD duty
Environment & Ecology
- 2nd National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR-2017) concludes
- NBT to host diaspora meets
Bilateral & International Relations
- India’s ‘Ujala’ to light up UK homes
Defence & Security Issues
- MoU Signed between Indian Navy and Space Application Centre
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Polity & Governance
Over 900 railway stations to have CCTV cameras
Indian Railways will install CCTV surveillance system at more than 900 stations under the Nirbhaya Fund at an approved cost of Rs 500 crore to strengthen security at rail premises.
- The project envisages installation of cameras at platforms and waiting areas while there will be control rooms at stations to monitor CCTV footages by trained RPF personnel constantly.
- The station master will also be given access to monitor CCTV camera footage as part of the project being undertaken by the public transporter.
- Railways have about 8,000 stations out of which currently 344 stations have already been provided with CCTV cameras.
- Besides keeping a constant watch, the CCTV surveillance system helps in post-incident crime investigation.
About ‘Nirbhaya Fund’:
- The Centre had created ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ with a ₹1000 crore corpus in its 2013 Union Budget to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in the country.
India jumps 73 spots to 26 rank in World Bank’s electricity accessibility list
India has jumped 73 spots to be ranked 26th in World Bank’s electricity accessibility list.
- The country was ranked 99th in 2014.
- The ranking was based on ten parameters, including the ease of getting electricity. Some other parameters were: number of procedures involved, time taken to obtain a new connection, cost for obtaining a commercial connection (up to 140KVA), and reliability of power supply.
Government’s Initiatives towards ease of getting electricity in India:
The Centre has taken several initiatives that have improved India’s ranking for 2016.
- The flagship scheme Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an aim to provide 24×7 uninterrupted electricity supply to each rural household across the country by 2022.
- The Ministry of Power has also launched a new app, GARV-II to provide real-time data of all six lakh villages of the country. The app is envisaged to ensure transparency in the implementation of rural electrification programme.
- Amendment of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) regulations for installing transformers (up to 500KVA) on double-pole structures; waiving off electrical inspector approval for 11kV installations by Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) and allowing self-certification by DISCOM engineers; changing tariff regulations, rationalizing LT (low tension) tariff, and changing supply codes.
- Providing online portals enabling customers to apply for connections without the need for physical documents,
- Reducing the procedures for the release of a new connection to only three: online application and site inspection, demand note generation (if required), and external connection and meter installation,
- Providing connections (up to 150KVA) within 7/15 days if there is a necessity.
Radiators, glass attract AD duty
The Finance Ministry has imposed definitive anti-dumping duty on ‘clear float glass’ imports from Iran and also Chinese aluminium radiators to protect domestic industry from cheap imports.
- Clear float glass is used in construction, refrigeration, mirror and solar energy industries. The product is a superior quality of glass.
- While an anti-dumping duty of up to $55.59 per tonne was imposed on clear float glass, $22.89 was slapped on imports of aluminium radiators.
- The duty on both the products would be effective for a period of five years.
What is Anti-dumping duty?
An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.
- Countries initiate anti-dumping probes to determine if the domestic industry has been hurt by a surge in below-cost imports. To counter it they impose duties under the multi-lateral WTO regime.
- Anti-dumping steps are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic industry.
- They are not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in cost of products.
- The use of anti-dumping measure as an instrument of fair competition is permitted by the WTO.
Environment & Ecology
2nd National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR-2017) concludes
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the two-day second meeting of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR).
- The theme of the Second meeting of NPDRR is “Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development: Making India resilient by 2030”.
The meeting will be attended by over 1000 distinguished guests including Union Ministers, State Ministers, Parliamentarians, Heads of Local Self Government, Heads of specialized disaster management agencies, academicians, representatives from private sector organizations, media and civil society organizations.
About the NPDRR:
The NPDRR is a multi-stakeholders National Platform for sharing the experiences in disaster management and for making a collective effort for disaster risk reduction.
- The NPDRR is headed by the Union Home Minister.
- It promotes participatory decision making in disaster management, and strengthens federal policy of our country.
- It was set up through a resolution in 2013.
- The National Platform aims to bring together the whole range of India’s disaster risk community from Government, Parliamentarians, Mayors, Media, International Organisations, NGOs, local community representatives, scientific and academic institutions and corporate businesses etc.
- It will help in sharing of experiences, views and ideas, present findings of research and action and explore opportunities for mutual cooperation in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.
- The output from the National Platform will offer a strategic direction and a road map for the formulation of our future national action plans on DRR.
Functions of NPDRR:
- To review the progress made in the field of disaster management from time to time.
- To appreciate the extent and manner in which the Disaster Management Policy has been implemented by the Central and State Governments, and other concerned agencies, and to give appropriate advice in the matter.
- To advise on coordination between the Central and State Governments/UT Administrations, local self-governments and civil society organisations for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- To advise suo-moto or on a reference made by the Central Government or any other State Government or a Union Territory Administration on any question pertaining to disaster management.
- To review the National Disaster Management Policy.
NBT to host diaspora meets
National Book Trust is planning to introduce a new element: a conference for the Indian diaspora.
- The trust has planned Beijing Book Fair in August, the Frankfurt Book Fair in October and Sharjah Book Fair in November as venues to host such meets.
The vision behind such conferences is two-fold:
- To bring Indian diaspora writers on one platform so that they can engage with one another and develop a common thought, and
- To encourage them to write literature that represents Indian values to reach out to the next generation of Indians in that country.
Significance of this conferences:
- The conferences will encourage overseas Indians — the “cultural ambassadors” of India abroad — to write literature on themes related to Indian values. The NBT will also offer to publish such works.
- National Book Trust (NBT) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Education of the Government of India.
- India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru envisioned that NBT would be a bureaucracy-free structure that would publish low-cost books.
- NBT now functions under aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Bilateral & International Relations
India’s ‘Ujala’ to light up UK homes
Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal recently launched the Ujala Scheme related to the energy efficient LED bulbs in London.
About the UJALA scheme:
UJALA is a flagship project of the Govt. of India where it wants every home in India to use LED bulbs so that the net power or energy consumption rate comes down and the carbon emission rates can also be checked.
- The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Union Ministry of Power.
- The scheme is being monitored in a transparent manner through a national dashboard (www.delp.in).
- The scheme will not only help reduce consumers their electricity bills but also contribute to the energy security of India.
- Through this initiative, the government plans to replace all 770 million inefficient incandescent and CFL (compact fluorescent lamps in the country with LED (light emitting diode) bulbs.
- The distribution of LED bulbs will happen through DISCOM offices, DISCOM bill collection centres, designated EESL kiosks, Weekly haat markets, etc.
- The Ujala scheme uses economy of scale and a sustainable market mechanism.
- It is globally one of the largest efficiency programmes.
The programme has already turned India into the world’s LED capital, accounting for 10-12% of the global market 4 billion bulbs.[Ref: PIB]
Defence & Security Issues
MoU Signed between Indian Navy and Space Application Centre
Indian Navy and the Space Application Centre has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Data Sharing and Scientific cooperation in the field of Meteorology and Oceanology.
- With this MoU, the scientific advancements and expertise achieved by SAC would be synergised into the Indian Naval efforts to keep the Nation’s Defence Forces in step with rapid development in the field of Environment Sciences and Satellite Data acquisition technology.
About Space Applications Centre (SAC):
- SAC is one of the major centres of ISRO. It was established in the year 1972.
- It primarily focuses on the design of space-borne instruments for ISRO missions.
- It also develops applications of space technology covering the fields of communication, broadcasting, navigation, disaster monitoring, meteorology, oceanography, environment monitoring and natural resources survey for societal benefits.
- It is headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.