Polity & Governance
- Centre accepts some suggestions of collegium
- MEA launches app integrating various social media handles
- ICHR plans encyclopedia of village folklore from across India
- Suresh Prabhu announces four new trains
- More cold chains, food parks to boost farm incomes
Science & Technology
- Indians online to hit 730 mn by 2020
Key Facts for Prelims
- Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- A.R. Rahman honoured with Tamil Ratna Award
- Sakshi Malik
Polity & Governance
Centre accepts some suggestions of collegium
The Central government has accepted some recommendations of the Supreme Court collegium on draft memorandum of procedures for appointment of judges.
Which suggestions has been accepted?
- Lifting the proposed cap on the number of jurists and lawyers for appointment as judges in the Supreme Court. The draft sent to the Chief Justice of India in March had recommended that up to three judges from among jurists and lawyers could be appointed.
- While the government had earlier proposed merit-cum-seniority as the criterion for elevation of judges, only seniority is now being considered to be the main condition.
Which has not been accepted?
- The government has not changed its stand on the proposed clause under which it will have powers to reject any candidate recommended by the collegium on grounds of public interest and national security.
The collegium had earlier rejected the proposal. However, the revised draft proposes that the government will communicate to the collegium the reasons for rejecting any name recommended by it.
In December 2015, the supreme court, after restoring the collegium system, had directed the Centre to frame a new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP).
The court had directed the government to do this in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, who would in turn take into confidence his four seniormost puisne judges of the Supreme Court and who are part of the collegium.
Later, the Court had raised concerns over some issues in the draft MoP. The Supreme Court had asked the government to re-consider these clauses.[Ref: The Hindu]
MEA launches app integrating various social media handles
Expanding its digital presence, the External Affairs Ministry launched an app, bringing websites and various social media handles of over 170 Indian missions on a common platform to further its public outreach.
- The app, developed in cooperation with social media giant Facebook, will help people connect with Indian missions abroad and the Ministry of External Affairs through a range of social media platforms without having to access individual websites.
- Instead of searching for websites, Facebook pages and twitter handle of individual missions, people through the app can just tap on the map of the country and immediately all social media platforms of the mission will get flashed on screen.
- The MEA uses Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Gplus, Soundcloud, Flickr to reach out to people as part of its social media engagement.
- Currently over 165 Indian missions and posts are on Twitter and 172 on Facebook, while 124 have their websites and many of them their youtube channels.
ICHR plans encyclopedia of village folklore from across India
The Indian Council of Historical Research is planning to document stories and legends relating to villages and towns across India into an encyclopedia.
- It would be among the key initiatives to be under taken by ICHR.
Other initiatives to be undertaken includes
- A study of the princely States of modern India and
- Studies to “fill the gaps” between the Harappan civilisation (the first Indian urbanisation) and the 6 century BC (the second urbanisation).
Aim of the initiative:
- This initiative is aimed at to connect people better with the oral and folk traditions.
Necessity of the initiative:
- According to historians, the present generations are gradually delinking themselves from their cultural heritage. Hence, they think it’s their responsibility to collect, preserve and transmit this knowledge of history for the generations to come.
How it will be carried out?
The students of history will be taken as apprentices, as barefoot historians, and will be encouraged to collect information of the villages around them.
About Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR):
The Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- It had been established by an Administrative Order of the then Ministry of Education and Social Welfare.
- It was registered as a society with the Delhi Government.
- The body, over many years, has provided financial assistance to the historians and direction to the research scholars in their multifarious topics of historical research through established historians and scholars of the country.
Suresh Prabhu announces four new trains
With an aim to improve the facilities, provide convenience and cater to the needs of passengers belonging to different economic spectra, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu announced four new categories of trains.
These new categories of trains are:
- Antyodaya Express:
- These will be totally unreserved, long-distance superfast trains which will cater to the needs of the poorest section of the society.
- Most of these general unreserved coaches will be the newly designed Deendayalu coaches with comfortable seats, bio-toilets, water-vending machines, LED lighting and higher number of mobile charging points.
- These trains will operate on highly dense trunk routes.
- Hamsafar Express:
- It will be superfast express trains with only 3-tier Airconditioned coaches, catering to the needs of middle class passengers.
- These trains will also run on long-distance dense routes.
- Tejas Express
- It will be luxury trains plying on short, busy routes.
- The train will have Wi-Fi on board, delicious local cuisines and entertainment systems.
- UDAY Express:
- UDAY, an acronym for Utkrisht Double-decker Air-conditioned Yatri, will be double-decker trains plying on medium-distance routes, which are the busiest throughout the year.
More cold chains, food parks to boost farm incomes
The government plans to set up 100 new cold chain projects at a cost of Rs. 12,000 crore to Rs. 13,000 crore.
- The centre has also kicked off the process to invite investors to set up six new mega food parks.
- The aim of these measures is to boost farm sector incomes by establishing farm to fork linkages.
- India loses an estimated Rs. 92,000 crore a year due to wasted food.
- 9,000 crore has been invested in new cold storage capacity in the past two years and this has reduced 10% of the country’s food wastage.
Science & Technology
Indians online to hit 730 mn by 2020
According to a new report- ‘The Future of Internet in India’, compiled by Nasscom and Akamai Technologies, the number of Internet users in India is likely to more than double to 730 million by 2020.
Highlights of the report:
As per the report,
- There were about 330 million Internet users in the country as of December 2015.
- India, which has an Internet user base next only to China, will remain the fastest growing market.
- India’s Internet consumption has already exceeded the U.S. to become number two globally.
- 75% of the new users would come from rural areas.
- Interestingly, a majority (75 per cent) of new users are expected to consume data in local languages.
- The e-commerce market in India, which was valued at $17 billion in 2015-16, is expected to double to $34 billion by 2020.
- The number of online shoppers is likely to more than triple to 175 million in that time, from 50 million in 2015.
- Currently, online ticketing and room booking facilities are used by more than 50 million Indians on a regular basis.
- In 2016, the fintech market will be worth $8 billion, having grown 20%.
- India will have an estimated 702 million smartphones in use and mobile phones will emerge as the preferred device for shopping, accounting for 70% of total online shopping.
- Online travel is estimated to account for 40-50% of all travel-related transactions, up from 12% in 2015. The growth is being driven by demand as a larger, younger population comes online.
- The Internet is expected to penetrate deeper in the hinterlands of the country, helping create more opportunities for everyone.
This will also present a great opportunity for enterprises to harness the power of the Internet to innovate and scale up operations.[Ref: The Hindu]
Key Facts for Prelims
Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016
The Assam Assembly passed the Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016, reducing the service charge of cinema tickets with an aim to give a fillip to the local film industry. The government, however, raised the entertainment tax on cinema tickets by up to ten percentile points, which may make a dent on movie goers’ pockets.
A.R. Rahman honoured with Tamil Ratna Award
Oscar winning music composer AR Rahman was honoured with the Tamil Ratna Award by the New York based Tamil Sangam.
He was honoured with this award after his concert at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) chamber to honour M.S. Subbulakshi, the doyen of Carnatic music.
Rahman has won multiple international awards including 2 Oscars, 2 Grammy Awards, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award.
By winning Bronze medal, Sakshi Malik has become the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal.
She is a Freestyle wrestler.
She becomes only the fourth woman athlete from India to win an Olympic medal.