- BBB should appoint top executives at state-owned banks, says Rajan
Environment & Ecology
- NHAI collaborates with PFC under Adopt a Green Highway Program
Defence & Security Issues
- Indian Navy’s first international educational program starts
Science & Technology
- China launches ‘hack-proof’ quantum communications satellite
Key Facts for Prelims
- First SAARC Youth Parliamentarians Conference
- Pradeep Kumar Sinha committee
- Navroz festival
- Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation (BJNRF)
- Freedom fighter- Tirot Sing
- Global competition for National War Memorial, Museum design
BBB should appoint top executives at state-owned banks, says Rajan
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan has stressed the need to improve governance at public sector banks and said the task of appointing top executives and non-official directors in these entities should be left to the Bank Board Bureau (BBB).
- At present, the Centre appoints the chief executive, executive directors and other board members.
- Rajan’s suggestion is in line with the proposals of the P.J. Nayak committee set up by the RBI to look into the issue of governance in Indian banks.
About the Bureau:
With a view to improve the Governance of Public Sector Banks (PSBs), the Government had decided to set up an autonomous Banks Board Bureau in August last year.
- The bureau was announced as part of the seven-point Indradhanush plan to revamp PSBs.
- BBB is an autonomous body.
- The bureau will have three ex-officio members and three expert members, in addition to the Chairman. All the Members and Chairman will be part time.
- The Bureau is mandated to play a critical role in reforming the troubled public sector banks by recommending appointments to leadership positions and boards in those banks and advise them on ways to raise funds and how to go ahead with mergers and acquisitions.
- It will constantly engage with the boards of all 22 public sector banks to formulate appropriate strategies for their growth and development.
- They will also constantly engage with the Board of Directors of all the public sector banks to formulate appropriate strategies for their growth and development.
- The bureau will search and select heads of public sector banks and help them develop differentiated strategies of capital raising plans to innovative financial methods and instruments.
- It would also be responsible for selection of non-executive chairman and non-official directors on the boards.
Environment & Ecology
NHAI collaborates with PFC under Adopt a Green Highway Program
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) inked a pact with Power Finance Corporation (PFC) for planting trees along NH 7 covering 87 km long stretch in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
- The objective is to maintain and promote the greenery along National Highways.
- The stretch falls under Nagpur region which includes – Borkhedi – Wadner & Khatara – Kelapur.
- PFC has also provided a fund of Rs 13 crore for the plantation and maintenance work under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
- PFC-NGHM is first collaboration under NHAI’s ‘Adopt a Green Highways’ Program.
‘Adopt a Green Highways’ Program:
Adopt a Green Highway Program is an initiative by NGHM to engage Corporates, Public Sector Units, Governmental organizations, institutions and individuals under CSR and Public Private Partnership for developing green corridor along NHs.
About the National Green Highways Mission:
Under the Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy 2015, National Green Highways Mission was launched.
- The mission aims to provide a green canopy along 100,000 km of highways.
- The funds for the mission will be met by Green Fund corpus which is 1% of the total project cost set aside for plantation purposes.
- The Policy envisages a strict system of auditing whereby money will be released by the government to the implementing agencies only if they have achieved a survival rate of 90% the previous year.
- The implementation and progress of plantation will be monitored via images by ISRO and audit will involve modern information technology tools.
Advantages of National Green Highways Mission:
- Reducing the impact of air pollution and dust
- Providing shade on glaring hot roads during summer
- Reducing the impact of noise pollution and soil erosion
- Preventing the glare from the headlights of oncoming vehicles
- Generating employment. It is estimated that greening of one km of highway provides employment to ten people.
- Carbon sequestering approximately 12 lakh mt carbon annually.
Defence & Security Issues
Indian Navy’s first international educational program starts
In continuation of Indian Navy’s foreign cooperation initiatives, a Regional Maritime Security Course (RMSC) for officers of the rank of Colonel or equivalent of Maritime Security Agencies from Friendly Foreign Countries (FFCs) at Naval War College, Goa commenced on the 16th of August for a duration of eight weeks.
- The aim of the Course is to develop a common understanding of regional maritime security issues.
- Senior officials from Bangladesh and five other countries joined the Course.
- The course would provide a concrete forum for developing common understanding of regional maritime security issues, disseminate the Indian Navy’s perspective on the subject and provide an opportunity for Indian Navy officers to interact with the foreign participants.
Science & Technology
China launches ‘hack-proof’ quantum communications satellite
China has successfully launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite into orbit from the Gobi Desert.
- The satellite is dubbed as Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS)
- The satellite was launched on board of Long March-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu.
- The QUESS satellite has been nicknamed as Micius, after a 5th century BC Chinese philosopher and scientist who has been credited as the first one in human history conducting optical experiments.
Key features of the QUESS satellite:
- It is designed to establish hack-proof quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground.
- It will enable secure communications between Beijing and Urumqi, the capital of China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang.
- It will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km.
What is Quantum communication?
Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated.
- It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it.
- In case intruder (hacker) tries to crack the message in Quantum communication, it will change its form in a way that would alert the sender and cause the message to be altered or deleted.
- Quantum communications holds “enormous prospects” in the field of defence.
Key Facts for Prelims
First SAARC Youth Parliamentarians Conference
The first South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Youth Parliamentarians Conference on `Peace and Harmony for Development’ was held in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Pradeep Kumar Sinha committee
The Union Government has constituted the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF). The committee seeks to develop the Pan-India road map for trade facilitation as per the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The committee will be headed by Pradeep Kumar Sinha, who is the Cabinet Secretary of India.
Chingam is the first month of the Malayalam New Year. Although Vishu (first of Medam month) is the astronomical New Year day in Kerala, but the official Malayalam New Year falls on the first day of Chingam. The Chingam month would end after the Onam week. For Hindus in particular, the first day of the Chingam is considered auspicious for weddings, moving into a new home, buying a new vehicle and to start new ventures.
Nowruz is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by Iranian people, along with some other ethno-linguistic groups, as the beginning of the New Year.
While the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle Easterns celebrate the festival on March 21, the first day of the Zoroastrian calendar, in India there is another version of the festival that is followed according to the Shahanshahi calendar and falls during the later months of the year. The dates change every year since the calendar doesn’t account for leap years.
Also known as Pateti, Navroz will be celebrated on August 17th this year in India.
Such is the secular nature of this festival and such is the universality of meaning that in the year 2010, March 21 was recognized by the UN’s General Assembly as the International Day of Nowruz, so that people can promote peace based on shared values.
Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation (BJNRF)
Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation (BJNRF) was established as an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (SJ&E) in 2008 to propagate the achievements, ideology and philosophy of life and mission of Babu Jagjivan Ram. The Foundation is a registered society under the Societies Registration Act. 1860.
Freedom fighter- Tirot Sing
The Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) recently commemorated the sacrifices of Tirot Sing, the legendary freedom fighter from Meghalaya who was hanged to death by the British rulers in early 19th century.
The function was part of a 15-day campaign undertaken by the Government of India to hold a series of programmes across the country to commemorate the sacrifices of the freedom fighters at their respective places of origin.
Tirot Sing, also known as U Tirot Sing, was one of the chiefs of the Khasi people in the early 18th century. In the attempt to prevent the Khasi Hills from falling into colonial hands, Tirot Sing had raised the battle cry against the invasive British forces on April 4, 1829, but was eventually captured and defeated. He died in captivity in Dhaka on July 17, 1835.
His death is commemorated in Meghalaya India as U Tirot Sing Day. This year it will be the 180th death anniversary of Tirot Sing.
Global competition for National War Memorial, Museum design
The Defence Ministry has launched a global competition for selecting designs for National War Memorial and Museum near India Gate in memory of over 25,000 soldiers who laid down their lives post-Independence.
The project, for which the government has approved Rs 500 crore, is to be completed in five years at Princess Park in New Delhi.