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Current Affairs Analysis

24th May 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

‘SEVA’ App; Karnataka child marriage Bill; Reader titled “Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods”; Payments banks; Ozone2Climate” Technology Roadshow; Kigali Amendment; Karma Kagyu school; Google’s AI AlphaGo; World's largest aircraft Airlander 10; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
May 24, 2017

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • ‘SEVA’ App
  • Karnataka child marriage Bill finally gets President’s nod

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Reader titled “Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods” released

Economy

  • Paytm Payments Bank

Environment & Ecology

  • “Ozone2Climate” Technology Roadshow

Art & Culture

  • Karmapa’s travel curbs to go

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Google Unleashes AlphaGo in China
  • World’s largest aircraft Airlander 10 completes test flight

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Polity & Governance

‘SEVA’ App

Union Government has launched mobile app Saral Eindhan Vitaran App (SEVA) for quick tracking of coal dispatch.

ias-toppers-SEVA-App

About the ‘SEVA’ App:

  • This unique monitoring app was a joint initiative of the Union Ministry of Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy and Coal India Limited (CIL).
  • The app is a part of ‘Digital India’ initiative, which is aimed at increasing the Consumer Connect as well as the Transparency and Accountability in Coal dispatch.
  • The app will provide complete information of departmental functioning and transparency to the public.
  • It will track coal dispatch to 118 power plants through fuel supply agreement (FSA) of around 500 MT.
  • In addition, the dispatch through Special Forward E-Auction and Bridge Linkage from more than 200 dispatch points spread over eight states of the country will also be monitored.
  • It will provide a summary of quantity of coal dispatched along with grades for the given day, month, and the latest yearly updates.
  • It will also provide information on rake movement including latest status of indents of rake, allotment and loading which will help consumers making advance logistics planning.
  • Much of the information on the SEVA dashboard will be available in open access, however, consumer specific data would be password protected on the SEVA Dashboard.
  • The app has a dedicated backend team to monitor the status of specific grievances from consumers and take action on the feedback received on the app.

Significance of this app:

  • By using this app, the common man will be able to hold the government accountable for the coal linkage allocations. This will, in turn, lead to rationalization of coal linkages and finally reduction in the power prices in the country.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Karnataka child marriage Bill finally gets President’s nod

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the long-pending Prohibition of Child Marriage (Karnataka amendment) Bill, 2016, giving greater powers to the police and increasing the penalty for child marriage.

ias-toppers-Karnataka-child-marriage

About the bill:

  • The amended Bill seeks to ensure zero tolerance towards child marriage, granting powers to policemen and enhancing penalties for those attending wedding ceremonies of minors.
  • While the original legislation does not prescribe a minimum punishment for offenders, the amendment proposes rigorous imprisonment of one year.
  • It also enables any police officer to take cognizance of the offence.
  • The Bill was drafted based on the recommendations of a core committee headed by Shivaraj V. Patil, former Supreme Court judge.

Background:

  • The Bill was amended last year by the State Assembly and sent to the Centre. The Home Ministry, which acts as an administrative ministry for State Bills and legislation, after consulting other Central ministries, forwarded the Bill to the Presidential secretariat.
  • The State had been urging the Centre to pass the Bill at the earliest, in order to help it to eradicate the menace of child marriage in the next few years.

Key facts:

  • Karnataka is among the States that record a high number of child marriages in the country (about 23% of the total, according to a recent survey).
  • A large number of child marriage cases are reported from north Karnataka, including Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot, Koppal, Raichur and Vijayapura districts.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

Reader titled “Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods” released

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has released a reader titled ‘Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods’.

ias toppers Raising Happy Children and Providing Safe Childhoods

Aim:

  • Divided into three parts, the reader aims to serve as a guide for parents, teachers and community members on how to prevent crime and violence by children and give suggestions to help them create a more protective and caring environment for their children.

About the reader:

  • It provides advisory guidelines to parents, teachers and community to protect children from being involved in delinquent behavior through early detection, counselling and positive engagement.
  • It draws upon basic principles laid down in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 which provides a strong formal framework for dealing with children in conflict with the law throughout the criminal justice process.
  • The reader draws upon good practices across the world which have proved to be successful in keeping children safe and away from delinquent behavior.
  • The reader suggests a broad framework for imbibing positive skills such as conflict resolution and violence prevention to keep them protected and help them achieve their full potential.
  • The reader is divided into three parts wherein part-I is for parents and what they can do to prevent violence and crimes by children, followed by part-II and III for teachers and community members respectively.
  • Each part briefly discusses few major problems that can push children on the wrong side of law, the early signs of this, what can be done to strengthen protection or intervene to reduce risks.

Need:

Young children experience their world through their relationships with parents, teachers, peers and other caregivers. 

  • Therefore, there is a need to create a warm, loving and nurturing environment where their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are recognized and honored by their family, school and community so as to allow them to reach their full potential.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Economy

Paytm Payments Bank

Paytm has finally rolled out its Payments Bank, which is an almost-complete banking solution offered by the company.

ias toppers Paytm Payments Bank

  • The digital wallet and e-commerce service provider received the final license from RBI for the bank last week.
  • With the launch, Paytm is transferring all wallets to the new Paytm Payments Bank.
  • Under the new banking system, wallets and accounts will be two separate entities. In order to be a part of the banking system, the user will have to open a bank account with Paytm.

About Payments banks:

  • Payments banks are a new model of banks conceptualised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to meet government’s financial inclusion target.
  • It will be set up as a differentiated bank and will confine its activities to acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services, Internet banking and other specified services but cannot undertake lending services.
  • Payments banks can accept deposits up to Rs. 1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses.
  • Payments banks will mainly deal in remittance services.
  • They will not lend to customers and will have to deploy their funds in government papers and bank deposits.
  • The promoter’s minimum initial contribution to equity capital will have to be at least 40% for the first five years.
  • They can issue ATM/debit cards but not credit cards.
  • They can also issue other prepaid payment instruments.
  • They can distribute non-risk sharing simple financial products like mutual funds and insurance products.
  • Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are not be allowed to open accounts in payment banks.
  • Apart from amounts maintained as Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) with the Reserve Bank on its outside demand and time liabilities, it will be required to invest minimum 75% of its “demand deposit balances” in Statutory Liquidity Ratio(SLR) eligible Government securities/treasury bills with maturity up to one year and hold maximum 25% in current and time/fixed deposits with other scheduled commercial banks for operational purposes and liquidity management.
  • This new model of banking allows mobile firms, supermarket chains and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses.

Difference between Payment Banks and Small Finance Banks:

  • The major difference between payment banks and small finance banks is their area of operation. Payment bank can only open savings account and current accounts but cannot lend money while small finance bank’s main aim is to lend money to farmers and small businesses.
  • Usually, major earnings of the bank come from interest difference between deposits and lending but payment banks would run on different niche and their earnings would be from the charges levied on transactions. But in case of small finance banks, their source of earnings would be same as of any other scheduled commercial banks.
  • Payment banks aims to provide banking through high-technology and low-cost operations while small finance banks may or may not be tech-savvy.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Environment & Ecology

“Ozone2Climate” Technology Roadshow

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change organised Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow in Agra.

ias toppers Ozone2Climate

  • The roadshow was organised along with the UN Environment OzonAction’s Compliance Assistance Programme.
  • The Roadshow was inaugurated on the sidelines of the South Asia National Ozone Officers Annual Network Meeting – 2017.
  • The Technology Roadshow was organised for the first time as part of the annual network meeting for Ozone Officers of South Asia.
  • The roadshow took place post the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

About the roadshow:

  • The “Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow”, had 13 exhibitors that promoted ozone and climate-friendly alternative technologies to HCFCs and HFCs in the refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector.
  • The Technology Roadshow showcased current refrigeration and air conditioning equipment designed to be more energy efficient, hence with a double benefit of saving money for consumers, and with a much lower impact on the environment.
  • Over 200 refrigerant technicians, ozone officers, business representatives and government officials attended the Roadshow.

About Kigali Amendment:

A historic global climate deal was reached in Kigali, Rwanda at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28).

ias-toppers-kigali

  • The so-called Kigali Amendment which amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s.
  • Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.
  • The Kigali Amendment amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol that was designed to close growing ozone hole in by banning ozone-depleting coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • The Kigali Agreement or amended Montreal Protocol for HFCs reduction will be binding on countries from 2019.
  • Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.

Signatory countries:

All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines to go about reductions of HFCs. These include:

  1. Wealthy, developed countries, such as the United States and the European Union, will start to limit their use of HFCs within a few years and make a cut of at least 10% from 2019.
  2. Rapidly developing countries, including many in Latin America, will freeze their use of HFCs starting in 2024.
  3. Developing countries, specifically India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states, will freeze their use starting in 2028.

How it is different from Paris agreement?

  • The Paris agreement which will come into force by 2020 is not legally binding on countries to cut their emissions.
  • The Kigali Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.

What are Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)?

  • HFCs are a family of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are largely used in refrigerants in home, car air-conditioners and air sprays etc.
  • These factory-made gases had replaced CFCs under the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect Earth’s fragile protective Ozone layer and heal the ozone hole over the Antartica.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Art & Culture

Karmapa’s travel curbs to go

Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, may be allowed to visit any place in the country, except Sikkim, without seeking the government’s permission.

ias-toppers-urgyen-trinley-dorje
Urgyen Trinley Dorje
  • The Home Ministry has moved the proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Security.
  • The move assumes significance in the wake of China’s repeated warnings over the recent Northeast visit of the Dalai Lama, who Beijing describes as a “separatist” for spearheading the Tibetan freedom movement.

What’s the issue?

  • The entry of all three Karmapa claimants has been banned at the Rumtek monastery in East Sikkim since 1994, following objections by some prominent teachers of the Kagyu school to recognising Dorje as the 17th Karmapa.
  • In 2011, the police had recovered ₹1.2 crore of unaccounted-for foreign currency, including Chinese ones, from Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery in Dharamsala. The police registered a case against the Karmapa and the then government put more restrictions on his travel.

Who is the Karmapa?

  • Karmapa means “the one who carries out buddha-activity” or “the embodiment of all the activities of the buddhas”.
  • In the Tibetan tradition, great enlightened teachers are said to be able to consciously control their rebirth in order to continue their activity for the benefit of all sentient beings.
  • Since the 12th century the Karmapas have been the heads of the Karma Kaygü lineage and responsible for the continuation of this direct transmission lineage.
  • The present 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Thaye Dorje was born in 1983 and in 1994 he managed to flee the oppression of Tibet and came to India.

What is Karmapa controversy?

ias-toppers-trinley-thaye-dorje
Trinley Thaye Dorje
  • The recognition of the Seventeenth Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, has been the subject of controversy.
  • Since the death of the sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, in 1981, two candidates have been put forward: Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje.
  • Both have already been enthroned as 17th Karmapa, and both independently have been performing ceremonial duties in the role of a Karmapa.

About Karma Kagyu school:

  • The Karma Kagyu lineage belongs to one of the 4 main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • As a lineage of direct oral transmission it places particular emphasis on meditation and the realization of the direct experience of mind gained through the guidance of a teacher.
  • The Karma Kagyu lineage has its roots in the teachings of the historical Buddha and developed into a practical way to enlightenment in India and Tibet.
  • For over a 1000 years Buddhist Masters (Mahasiddhas) such as Naropa and Maitripa in India as well as the famous Tibetan Yogis Marpa and Milarepa shaped the lineage as a practical everyday practice for lay people.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Google Unleashes AlphaGo in China

ias-toppers-alphago-master768

  • Google’s AI AlphaGo has defeated Ke Jie, the world’s number one professional human Go player.
  • The game of Go is a complex, ancient Chinese board game originated in China 3,000 years ago.
  • AlphaGo is a narrow AI, computer program developed by Alphabet Inc.’s Google DeepMind in London to play the board game Go.
  • AlphaGo’s algorithm uses a Monte Carlo tree search to find its moves based on knowledge previously “learned” by machine learning, specifically by an artificial neural network (a deep learning method) by extensive training, both from human and computer play.

 

World’s largest aircraft Airlander 10 completes test flight

ias toppers Airlander 10

  • The world’s largest aircraft- ‘Airlander 10’ has successfully completed a test flight.
  • This brings the massive helium-filled airship one step closer to commercial use.
  • The hybrid aircraft dubbed the Airlander 10 merges technology from airplanes, helicopters and airships.
  • The aircraft is designed to stay aloft at altitudes of up to 20000 feet for up to five days when manned. At a massive 302 feet long, it is the largest aircraft currently flying.
  • The Airlander 10 also known as Hybrid Air Vehicles HAV 304 is a hybrid airship designed and manufactured by British manufacturer HAV.

 

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