Government Schemes & Policies
- Leisang becomes last village to get electricity
- Review underwriting rule: SAT to SEBI
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Australia pledges half a billion to restore Great Barrier Reef
Art & Culture
- PHDCCI, Indian Yoga Assn sign MoU to promote tourism in Krishna Circuit
Key Facts for Prelims
- What are External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)?
- International Buddhist Conference
- World’s oldest-known spider dies in Australia
- Peace Mission 2018
- Derby BVR missile
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Government Schemes & Policies
Leisang becomes last village to get electricity
Leisang in Manipur has become the last village to be added to the national power grid under the Rural Electrification Scheme.
Definition of electrified village:
- The government considers a village electrified if it has basic electrical infrastructure and 10% of its households and public places including schools, local administrative offices and health centres have power.
The government had allocated Rs75,893 crore for the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana with the aim of providing electricity access to all villages.
About Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY):
Government of India has launched the scheme “Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana” for rural electrification.
- The erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) scheme for village electrification and providing electricity distribution infrastructure in the rural areas has been subsumed in the DDUGJY scheme.
- Rural Electrification Corporation is the Nodal Agency for implementation of DDUGJY.
Components of DDUGJY:
The Yojana also includes the components:
- To separate agriculture and non agriculture feeders facilitating judicious rostering of supply to agricultural and non-agricultural consumers in rural areas and
- Strengthening and augmentation of sub transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas, including metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers.
Review underwriting rule: SAT to SEBI
The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to review the regulations for underwriting of a public issue, the model agreement for which was framed back in 1993 and has since been in operation.
What is underwriting?
- Underwriting is the mechanism by which a merchant banker gives an undertaking that in the event of an initial public offer (IPO) remaining undersubscribed, the banker would subscribe to unsold shares.
- The underwriting clause, mandatory in all SME IPOs, ensures the issue does not fail due to low demand from investors.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Australia pledges half a billion to restore Great Barrier Reef
Australia has pledged Aus $500 million ($379 million) in new funding to restore and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
- The reef is a critical national asset, contributing Aus$6.4 billion a year to the Australian economy.
- It is reeling from significant bouts of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change.
- It is also under threat from the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, which has proliferated due to pollution and agricultural run-off. The predator starfish feeds on corals by spreading its stomach over them and using digestive enzymes to liquefy tissue.
- With its heavy use of coal-fired power and relatively small population, Australia is considered one of the world’s worst per-capita greenhouse gas polluters.
About Great Barrier Reef:
- The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system.
- It is composed of over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
- The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- The reef is so vast that it can be seen from outer space.
- It is also the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
- In 1981, it was selected as a World Heritage Site.
- A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use.
Art & Culture
PHDCCI, Indian Yoga Assn sign MoU to promote tourism in Krishna Circuit
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) and the Indian Yoga Association (IYA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate interaction and cooperation between the two organisations to promote wellness, spiritual and cultural tourism in the Krishna Circuit.
About Krishna Circuit:
- Krishna Circuit is among the thirteen thematic circuits identified for development under Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
- Twelve destinations have been identified for development under Krishna circuit namely Dwarka (Gujarat), Nathdwara, Jaipur & Sikar (Rajasthan), Kurukshetra (Haryana), Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Gokul, Barsana, & Govardhan (Uttar Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha).
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.
- Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, thirteen thematic circuits have been identified, for development namely:
- North-East India Circuit,
- Buddhist Circuit,
- Himalayan Circuit,
- Coastal Circuit,
- Krishna Circuit,
- Desert Circuit,
- Tribal Circuit,
- Eco Circuit,
- Wildlife Circuit,
- Rural Circuit,
- Spiritual Circuit,
- Ramayana Circuit and
- Heritage Circuit.
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.
Key Facts for Prelims
- The rocket that will loft NASA’s InSight beyond Earth will also launch a separate NASA technology experiment: two mini-spacecraft called Mars Cube One, or MarCO.
- These briefcase-sized CubeSats will fly on their own path to Mars behind InSight.
- Their goal is to test new miniaturized deep space communication equipment. This will be a first test of miniaturized CubeSat technology at another planet, which researchers hope can offer new capabilities to future missions.
- If successful, the MarCOs could represent a new kind of communication capability to Earth. InSight’s success is independent of its CubeSat tag-alongs.
What are External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs)?
- ECBs are commercial loans borrowed from foreign sources for financing the commercial activities in India.
- It may be bank loans, securitised instruments, buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit, foreign currency convertible bonds, etc.
- It should be noted that ECBs are not FDI. In case of FDI, foreign money is used only to finance the equity Capital. But in case ECBs, foreign money is used to finance any kind of funding other than equity.
International Buddhist Conference
- As part of 2562nd Buddha Jayanti celebrations, International Buddhist Conference was held in Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha.
- The basic objective of the conference was to disseminate teachings of Gautam Buddha and spread the messages of nonviolence, brotherhood, co-existence, love and peace to the international community.
- Lumbini is birth place of Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhist religion. Lord Buddha was born in sacred garden of Lumbini during 6th century BC and had attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, (now in Bihar, India) and gave his first sermon in Sarnath and died in Kushinagar.
World’s oldest-known spider dies in Australia
- It is the world’s oldest known spider which died recently at the ripe old age of 43 after being monitored for years during a long-term population study in Australia.
- The trapdoor matriarch comfortably outlived the previous record holder, a 28-year-old tarantula found in Mexico.
Peace Mission 2018
- It is a multi-nation counter-terror exercise that will take place under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
- The main aim of the exercise will be to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
- Peace Mission exercises are held once in two years. This year’s exercises will be the 10th edition. The last time, it was held in 2016 in Kyrgyztan.
- The 2018 edition will be held in the Ural mountains of Russia.
Derby BVR missile
- Derby is short to medium range BVR Air-to-Air missile. It is a dual-use missile (air-to-air and surface-to-air).
- It is developed jointly by Israeli armament development agency Rafael and Israel Aircraft Industries MBT.
- It has maximum effective range of about 50 km.