Polity & Governance
- Odisha to come up with single revenue code
- MoU signed for construction of Lakhwar Multipurpose Project on Yamuna near Dehradun
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Close watch on climate change on Kerala
Bilateral & International Relations
- U.S., Mexico reach NAFTA deal, turn up pressure on Canada
Defence & Security Issues
- Government announces Regulations for Drones
Art & Culture
- Tourism ministry sanctions projects worth INR 164.95 Cr in Punjab and Tripura
Science & Technology
- Europe launches ‘Aeolus’ Satellite on mission to map Earth’s winds
Key Facts for Prelims
- INS Vikramaditya
- Trans Himalayan Mountain Terrain Biking Expedition
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Polity & Governance
Odisha to come up with single revenue code
The Odisha government has proposed to come up with a single revenue act by merging various revenue laws enacted at different point in times.
The Draft code:
In this regard, the state government has prepared the draft ‘Odisha Land and Revenue Code’ by taking into consideration
- The Odisha Survey and Settlement Act, 1958,
- The Odisha Special Survey and the Settlement Act 2012,
- The Odisha Government Land Settlement Act, 1962,
- The Odisha Prevention of Land Encroachment Act, 1972,
- The Odisha Land Reforms Act, 1960,
- The Odisha Consolidation of Holdings and Prevention of Fragmentation of Land Act 1972
- The Odisha Estates Abolition Act, 1951.
Why new uniform revenue code?
- The need for a single Revenue Code arises out of the fact that there are many revenue Acts in vogue in Odisha governing the land revenue administration which were enacted years back and are unable to meet the changing needs.
- Existence of so many revenue Acts and Rules often create confusion among the field-level revenue functionaries in interpretation of such laws which ultimately leads to delay in disposal of cases and sufferings for the public.
- The main purpose is to end the numerous laws and introduction of a single code having simplified procedures and enabling provisions for speedy disposal of the revenue cases which will benefit the public.
MoU signed for construction of Lakhwar Multipurpose Project on Yamuna near Dehradun
The Centre has signed MoU with Uttarakhand, UP, HP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi for Construction of Lakhwar Multipurpose Project on Yamuna Near Dehradun.
- The project will generate 300 mw of power create 33,780 hectare irrigation potential and 78.83 mcm water availability.
- Uttarakhand will bear the cost of power component, get the total benefit of power generation.
- Centre will fund 90% of irrigation component, the six states to the fund remaining 10% and share water proportionately.
About Lakhwar Multi- Purpose Project:
- Lakhwar Project is a multipurpose scheme, primarily a peaking power station, on river Yamuna in the district of Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
- The scheme envisages construction of 204 m high concrete dam on river Yamuna near Lohari village. The Multipurpose scheme also envisages construction of Vyasi HEP (2×60 MW) (Hathiari power station) downstream of Lakhwar HEP.
- The scheme also includes construction of a barrage at Katapathar about 3 Km downstream of Hathiari power station (Vyasi HEP) on river Yamuna.
- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi are the six Upper Yamuna Basin states.
- Upper Yamuna refers to the stretch of River Yamuna from its origin to the Okhla Barrage in Delhi.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Close watch on climate change on Kerala
The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is considering a Rs. 79-crore proposal to study the impact of climate change on Kerala.
About the project:
The project has been proposed by the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR) under the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR).
- The project will analyse the trends in climatic elements, their spatial pattern and its relationship with extreme events such as El Nino, cyclones etc. The objective of the project is to develop a framework and decision support tool to assess the climate change impact on livelihood and developmental processes.
- The ambitious project, spread over a period of three years, will assess the impact of climate change on agriculture (including plantation crops and spices); fisheries (marine and inland); industries; health; transport — vehicular and inland water transports; tourism; biodiversity; forestry; and landslips.
- The project involves experts from various scientific institutions across the country. It consists of 25 work packages and covers all the aspects of climate change adaptations for Kerala.
- The experts will study the spatial and temporal changes in water resources (surface and groundwater — quantity and quality). Researchers will also assess the monsoonal variations and its impact, besides looking at the climate change scenario on the islets of Kerala.
Significance of the project:
- It assumes significance in the wake of devastating floods that ravaged many parts of the State as the research initiative will specifically assess the dynamics of riverine discharge and saline water incursion under the climate change scenario.
- It is the nodal institute to develop climate change adaptation programmes for islands and coastal ecosystems as part of the 12th Five Year Plan programme approved by the CSIR.
Bilateral & International Relations
U.S., Mexico reach NAFTA deal, turn up pressure on Canada
The United States and Mexico have agreed to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), putting pressure on Canada to agree to new terms on auto trade and dispute settlement rules to remain part of the three-nation pact.
- If talks with Canada are not wrapped up by the end of this week, Trump plans to notify Congress that he has reached a deal with Mexico, but would be open to Canada joining.
Key features of the new deal:
- The deal would require 75% of auto content to be made in the NAFTA region, up from the current level of 62.5%. A fact sheet describing the bilateral agreement specified the content would be made in the United States and Mexico.
- The deal improves labour provisions, in part by requiring 40% to 45% of auto content to be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour. That measure could move some production back to the United States from Mexico and should lift Mexican wages.
- The United States relented on its demand for an automatic expiration for the deal, known as a “sunset clause.” Instead, the United States and Mexico agreed to a 16-year lifespan for the deal, with a review every six years that can extend the pact for 16 years.
- Mexico agreed to eliminate dispute settlement panels for certain anti-dumping cases, a move that could complicate talks with Canada, which had insisted on the panels.
What is NAFTA?
NAFTA is the initialism for the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- It is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States that reduced or eliminated trade barriers in North America. (Since the U.S. and Canada already had a free trade agreement (signed in 1988), NAFTA merely brought Mexico into the trade bloc.)
- Negotiations for the trade agreement began in 1990 under the administration of George H.W. Bush and were finalized under Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1993. The agreement went into effect on January 1, 1994.
Objectives of NAFTA:
- In 1993 the European Union (EU) created a “single market”—one territory without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services. This allowed every country and business in the EU to have access to more than 500 million consumers.
- NAFTA, which was approved that same year, was designed to have a similar effect, providing a way to allow the exchange of goods and services to flow more freely across national borders without the artificial restrictions.
- NAFTA provided for progressive elimination of all tariffs on any goods qualifying as North American. The deal also sought to protect intellectual property, establish dispute-resolution mechanisms, and, through corollary agreements, implement labor and environmental safeguards.
Why is NAFTA controversial?
- NAFTA was controversial when first proposed, mostly because it was the first [free trade agreement] involving two wealthy, developed countries and a developing country. Some people felt that allowing free trade with a developing country provides an incentive for U.S-based business to move their operations to that country.
- Since its implementation NAFTA has remained a prime target of trade protectionists (those who advocate taking measures such as taxing imports to “protect” domestic industries from foreign competition).
Defence & Security Issues
Government announces Regulations for Drones
The government has announced the Drone Regulations 1.0.
- These regulations will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones starting December 1, 2018.
- They are intended to enable visual line-of-sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 ft altitude operations.
- As per the regulation, there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large.
Key features of Drone Regulations 1.0:
Operational/ Procedural Requirements:
- All RPAS except nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are to be registered and issued with Unique Identification Number (UIN).
- Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) shall be required for RPA operators except for nano RPAS operating below 50 ft., micro RPAS operating below 200 ft., and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies.
- The mandatory equipment required for operation of RPAS except nano category are (a) GNSS (GPS), (b) Return-To-Home (RTH), (c) Anti-collision light, (d) ID-Plate, (e) Flight controller with flight data logging capability, and (f) RF ID and SIM/ No-Permission No Take off (NPNT).
- For flying in controlled Airspace, filing of flight plan and obtaining Air Defence Clearance (ADC) /Flight Information Centre (FIC) number shall be necessary. Minimum manufacturing standards and training requirements of Remote Pilots of small and above categories of RPAS have been specified in the regulation.
No Drone Zones:
- The regulation defines “No Drone Zones” around airports;near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations/vital and military installations; etc.
Operations through Digital Platform:
- Operations of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to be enabled through Digital Sky Platform. The RPAS operations will be based on NPNT (No Permission, No Take off).
- There will be different colour zones visible to the applicant while applying in the digital sky platform, viz, Red Zone: flying not permitted, Yellow Zone (controlled airspace): permission required before flying, andGreen Zone (uncontrolled airspace): automatic permission.
- The enforcement actions are, (a) suspension/ cancellation of UIN/ UAOP in case of violation of regulatory provisions, (b) actions as per relevant Sections of the Aircraft Act 1934, or Aircraft Rules, or any statutory provisions, and (c) penalties as per applicable IPCs (such as 287, 336, 337, 338, or any relevant section of IPC).
Drone Regulations 2.0.:
Going forward, the Drone Task Force will provide draft recommendations for Drone Regulations 2.0. These regulations will examine, inter alia, the following issues:
- Certification of safe and controlled operation of drone hardware and software.
- Air space management through automated operations linked into overall airspace management framework.
- Beyond visual-line-of-sight operations.
- Contribution to establishing global standards.
- Suggestions for modifications of existing CARs and/or new CARs.
Art & Culture
Tourism ministry sanctions projects worth INR 164.95 Cr in Punjab and Tripura
The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned two new projects under Heritage and North East Circuits of Swadesh Dashan Scheme for Rs. 164.95 Crores in Punjab and Tripura.
- Under Heritage Circuit in the state of Punjab, the project covers sites of Anandpur Sahib – Fatehgarh Sahib – Chamkaur Sahib – Ferozpur – Amritsar – Khatkar Kalan – Kalanour – Patiala at the cost of Rs. 99.95 crores.
- The project includes development of Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar for Rs. 8 Crores, development of Tourist Infrastructure and Heritage Path at Anandpur Sahib for Rs. 28.99 crores, development of Tourist Infrastructure at Fatehgarh Sahib among others.
- The facilities being developed include Virtual Reality Shows (Jallianwala and Hussainiwala Border), beautification and landscaping, interpretation centres, façade development, wayside amenities, parking, CCTV and Wi-Fi facilities, Cafeterias, Open Air Theatre, drinking water facility etc.
North East Circuit:
- Under North East Circuit in Tripura, the sites of Surma Cherra- Unakoti- Jampui Hills- Gunabati-Bhunaneshwari- Matabari- Neermahal- Boxanagar- Chotta khola- Pilak- Avangchaarra are covered with total project cost of Rs. 65 Crores.
- The project envisaged infrastructural development of the sites with special emphasis on developing an Interpretation Centre, Tourist Visitor Centres, Cafeteria, Last Mile Connectivity, Illumination of sites and monuments, Wayside Amenities, Floating Jetties, Camping Grounds, Parking Facilities, Adventure Activities, Ghat Development at above sites.
About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
The Ministry of Tourism has launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15.
- Aim of the scheme is to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner by synergizing efforts to focus on needs and concerns of all stakeholders to enrich tourist experience and enhance employment opportunities.
Key features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
- To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
- Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
- A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
- A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.
- PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
Objective of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- Integrated development of Infrastructure in identified theme based circuits.
- Provide complete tourism experience with varied thematic circuits.
- Follow community-based development and pro-poor tourism approach.
- Creating awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increase in sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area.
- Promote local arts, culture, handicrafts, cuisine, etc to generate livelihoods in the identified regions.
- Harness tourism potential for its direct and multiplier effects in employment generation and economic development.
What is a Tourist Circuit?
- A Tourist Circuit is defined as a route on which at least three major tourist destinations are located such that none of these are in the same town, village or city. At the same time, it would be ensured that they are not separated by a long distance. It should have well defined entry and exit points. A tourist who enters should get motivated to visit all the places identified in the circuit.
Science & Technology
Europe launches ‘Aeolus’ Satellite on mission to map Earth’s winds
European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully launched wind-sensing satellite named Aeolus into orbit on board of Vega rocket from French Guyana.
- It is world’s first wind-sensing satellite dedicated to map Earth’s wind on global scale in particular tropical winds which are very poorly mapped because of almost complete absence of direct observations.
About Aeolus satellite:
- Aeolus is the first satellite mission to acquire profiles of Earth’s wind on a global scale. These near-realtime observations will improve the accuracy of numerical weather and climate prediction and advance our understanding of tropical dynamics and processes relevant to climate variability.
- Aeolus is the fifth in the family of ESA’s Earth Explorer missions, which address key scientific challenges identified by the science community and demonstrate breakthrough technology in observing techniques.
- Named after Aeolus, who in Greek mythology was appointed ‘keeper of the winds’ by the Gods, this novel mission will not only provide much-needed data to improve the quality of weather forecasts, but also contribute to long-term climate research.
- The Aeolus satellite carries just one large instrument – a Doppler wind lidar called Aladin that will probe the lowermost 30 km of the atmosphere to measure the winds sweeping around our planet.
- Aeolus satellite will provide much-needed data to improve quality and accuracy of weather forecasting.
- It will help to improve understanding of working of atmosphere dynamics and contribute to climate change research.
Key Facts for Prelims
- India’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya for the first time will be fitted with marine hydraulic system to boost the air operations of the ship.
- INS Vikramaditya is currently the most powerful aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy.
- It was built in 1987 and had served the Soviet navy (named as Baku). It was later renamed Admiral Gorshkov under the Russian navy.
- India had purchased it in 2004 at cost of $2.3 billion and was commissioned in Indian Navy in November 2013 at Severodvinsk in Russia.
Trans Himalayan Mountain Terrain Biking Expedition
- Indian Air Force (IAF) launched Trans-Himalayan Mountain Terrain Biking Expedition (THE MTB) as part of its celebration of 86th Anniversary on 8 October 2018.
- The expedition was started on 17 Aug 2018 from Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in Ladakh for Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The aim of MTB expedition is to promote spirit of adventure among Air Warriors to undertake daunting challenges and ‘Go Green’ initiative.