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Current Affairs Analysis

2nd October 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Drone Innovators Network (DIN); SC/ST anti-atrocities law; Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY); India’s Drone Regulations; No Permission, No Takeoff Policy; Advance Pricing Agreement (APA); Used Cooking Oil (UCO); Total Polar Compounds (TPC); Gandhian Challenge; NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission; Military Nursing Service (MNS); National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL); National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language (NCPSL); Brahmos supersonic cruise missile; Difference between Cruise Missile and Ballistic Missile; Iceberg D28; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 02, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • SC recalls verdict diluting SC/ST anti-atrocities law

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Ayushman Bharat to generate an estimated 11 lakh new jobs in next 5-7 years

Issues related to Health & Education

  • HRD minister chairs meeting of National Council for promotion of Sindhi language
  • Funds for promotion of Urdu language almost doubled in five years: HRD
  • AIM, NITI Aayog’s Atal Tinkering Labs and UNICEF India launches ‘The Gandhian Challenge’
  • ONGC holds Swachhta Diwas to celebrate Bapu birth anny

Economy

  • CBDT inks 300th Advance Pricing Agreement

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Drone Innovators Network Summit-2019

Defence & Security Issues

  • Brahmos supersonic cruise missile with major indigenous systems test-fired successfully

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica
  • 94th Raising Day of MNS to be celebrated

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

SC recalls verdict diluting SC/ST anti-atrocities law

One and half years after its controversial verdict doing away with automatic arrest provision in the law to prevent atrocities against Dalits and tribals, the Supreme Court restored the original dispensation saying the previous order had strayed into legislative domain.

SC-ST-anti-atrocities-law

Background

  • In March 2019, a judgment by supreme court diluted the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, to grant anticipatory bail to accused persons.
  • The order directed that the police should conduct a preliminary enquiry on whether complaint under the 1989 law is frivolous or motivated before registering a case.
  • Both conditions were not part of the original legislation.

Key Guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in September 2018 and rationale behind it:

Supreme-court-agencies-1-iastoppers

  1. Supreme court gave the judgement on the pretext that Innocents cannot be terrorised by the provisions of the SC/ST Act and their fundamental rights need to be protected.
  2. The court said that public servants could be arrested only with the written permission of their appointing authority, while in the case of private employees, the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned should allow it.
  3. A preliminary inquiry should be conducted before the FIR was registered to check if the case fell within the ambit of the Act, and whether it was frivolous or motivated, the court ruled.

Why did supreme court restore the original 1989 act?

  • Members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) use the 1989 law to lodge false complaints, leading to the arrest of innocent persons.
  • Supreme court said all humans are equal and it would be against fundamental human equality to treat SCs and STs as persons who are particularly prone to lodge false reports for revenge or monetary benefits.
[Ref: The Hindu, Times of India]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Ayushman Bharat to generate an estimated 11 lakh new jobs in next 5-7 years

Around 11 lakh jobs are estimated to be generated due to Ayushman Bharat scheme in the next five to seven years, which will make it the second largest employment generator after the railways.

Ayushman-Bharat

To read more about Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) refer IASTopper’s Mains Article: https://www.iastoppers.com/ayushman-bharat-pradhan-mantri-jan-arogya-yojana-ab-pmjay-one-year-reviewmains-article/

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

HRD minister chairs meeting of National Council for promotion of Sindhi language

Union Minister for Human Resource Development chaired a meeting of the Executive Board of the National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language to discuss various issues concerning the council, particularly the promotion of Sindhi.

National-Council-for-Promotion-of-Urdu-Language

About National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language (NCPSL)

National-Council-for-Promotion-of-Sindhi-Language-(NCPSL)-2-IASToppers

  • NCPSL was established in 1994 as an autonomous registered body under the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).

Functions of National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language (NCPSL)

  • To formulate/implement schemes and project for learning of Sindhi Language through the media of English and Hindi and Modern Indian Languages including teaching through correspondence course.
  • To implement schemes and project for learning of Sindhi Language through the media of English and Hindi and Modern Indian Languages including teaching through correspondence course.
  • To implement schemes and project for learning of Sindhi Language through the media of English and Hindi and Modern Indian Languages including teaching through correspondence course.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Funds for promotion of Urdu language almost doubled in five years: HRD

There has been an increase of 45% in the funds for the National Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) in five years and effective steps should be taken to utilise this amount, Union HRD minister Ramesh directed his officials.

pokhriyal-apprising-shantikunj-spiritual-government-rameshwar-shantikunj

  • The decision for extension of ‘The Paper Maché scheme’ which is currently implemented through Kashmir University has also been taken in the meeting. In this scheme Kashmiri Youths are trained in making Paper Maché products which has got a high demand in market.

National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL)

National-Council-for-Promotion-of-Urdu-Language-(NCPUL)

  • The National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), Department of Secondary and Higher Education.
  • It was set up in 1996 to promote, develop and propagate Urdu language.
  • It is the principal coordinating and monitoring authority for promotion of Urdu language and Urdu education in India.

Functions

  • To undertake the production of literature in the Urdu language
  • To collect and evolve technical terms relating to various disciplines of knowledge in order to enrich the Urdu language.
  • To undertake and provide for publication, sale and exhibition of journals.
  • To help in development of computerization with a view to develop the Urdu language to meet the advanced technological requirements of the age.
  • To formulate/implement schemes for the teaching of the Urdu language through the mediums of English and Hindi and other Modern Indian Languages
  • To provide financial assistance to Non-Government Organizations for propagation of the Urdu language.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]

 

AIM, NITI Aayog’s Atal Tinkering Labs and UNICEF India launches ‘The Gandhian Challenge’ 

On the 150th birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, AIM, NITI Aayog’s Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) and UNICEF India, including Generation Unlimited, have launched ‘The Gandhian Challenge’.

G-Challenge

About the Gandhian Challenge

  • This innovation challenge provides a platform for every child across India to ideate innovative solutions for a sustainable India of their dreams, using Gandhi’s principles.
  • It has two major categories through which solutions to the Gandhian Challenge can be expressed: Art & Innovation and Science and Technology & Innovation.
  • The winners of The Gandhian Challenge will be awarded in New Delhi by NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission and UNICEF on the occasion of Children’s Day in November.
  • The contest – open for every child in India from 2 October to 20 October – also celebrates 70 years of partnership between Government of India and UNICEF India to enable Every Right for Every Child.

About AIM

Atal-Innovation-Mission

  • AIM is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • AIM’s objective is to develop new programmes for fostering innovation in different sectors and create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country.

Six major initiatives of AIM

  • Atal Tinkering Labs-Creating problem-solving mindset across schools in India.
  • Atal Incubation Centers-Fostering world class start-ups and adding a new dimension to the incubator model.
  • Atal New India Challenges-Fostering product innovations and aligning them to the needs of various sectors/ministries.
  • Mentor India Campaign– A National Mentor network in collaboration with public sector, corporates and institutions, to support all the initiatives of the mission.
  • Atal Community Innovation Center– To stimulate community centric innovation and ideas in the unserved /underserved regions of the country including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
  • ARISE-To stimulate innovation and research in the MSME industry.

Generation Unlimited:

  • It is a new UNICEF-led global partnership.
  • It aims to ensure that every young person age 10-24 is in some form of school, learning, training, self-employment, or age-appropriate employment by 2030.
  • It also aims to co-create and scale up proven solutions related to secondary age-education, skills for learning, employability and decent work, and empowerment, with a focus on girls.

 [Ref: PIB]

 

ONGC holds Swachhta Diwas to celebrate Bapu birth anny

To mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2nd October as Rashtriya Swachhta Diwas, publicity vans were flagged off in Delhi, to generate awareness among the people about the OMCs’ initiative of converting Used Cooking Oil to Biodiesel.

Swachhta-Diwas

About Used Cooking Oil (UCO)

About Used Cooking Oil (UCO)

  • In India, the same cooking oil is used for repeated frying which adversely affects the health due to formation of polar compoundsduring frying. These polar compounds are associated with diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases among others.
  • When used multiple times, cooking oil becomes acidic and darkens in colour. This may alter the fatty acid composition of the oil.
  • UCO is either not discarded at all or disposed off in an environmentally hazardous manner choking drains and sewerage systems. The National Policy on Biofuels 2018 envisages production of biofuel from UCO.

About Used Cooking Oil (UCO) 1

  • At present, approximately 850 crore litres of (HSD) is consumed on a monthly basis in India. The National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 envisages a target of 5% blending of Biodiesel in HSD by 2030.
  • In order to achieve the blending target, 500 crore litres of Biodiesel is required in a year. In India, approximately, 2700 crore litres of Cooking Oil is used out of which 140 Crore UCO can be collected from Bulk Consumers such as hotels for conversion giving 110 crore litres of Biodiesel in one year.
  • Presently there is no established collection chain for UCO. Thus, there is a huge opportunity in production of biodiesel from UCO.

Total Polar Compounds (TPC):

Total Polar Compounds (TPC)

  • In many countries, TPC is used to measure the quality of oil.
  • The level of TPC increases every time oil is re-heated. Some of the studies show that TPC accumulation in oil without food is slower than that in oil frying with food.
  • During frying process, a wide variety of chemical reactions result in the formation of compounds with high molecular weight and polarity.
  • The repeated use of oil at high temperatures result in several oxidative, polymerization and thermal degradation reactions leading to changes properties of oil.
  • Determination of total polar compounds (TPC) is one of the most reliable methods for continuous monitoring of the quality changes in oils during the frying process.
  • The Total Polar compounds are determined by reference methods such as Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) Official Method.
  • However, these methods are time consuming for on-site measurements. For this purpose, hand-held devices (cooking oil tester based on the dielectric method which records all polar and non-polar components) are available in market for rapid measurements.
  • Higher level of TPC in cooking oil leads to health issues like hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and liver disease. One of the studies also noticed high levels of glucose, creatinine and cholesterol with declined levels of protein and albumin in cooking oil.
[Ref: PIB, The Hindu]

 

Economy

CBDT inks 300th Advance Pricing Agreement

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed the 300th Advance Pricing Agreement during September, 2019.

cbt

What is Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)?

apa

  • Advance pricing can be understood as an agreement between a taxpayer and a tax authority fixing the transfer pricing methodology to decide the pricing of future international transactions of the taxpayer.
  • Transfer price is the charges at which one company makes available goods or finance or services to another company that is related to it.
  • APA was introduced in India in 2012 through Finance Act, 2012.

Example

  • For example, suppose that Maruti Suzuki India has higher profit and has to pay higher tax to the Government of India. In this case, if Suzuki Japan (parent company of Maruti Suzuki) charges a high price for a component it sold to Maruti, profit of Maruti will come down and the tax payment of the company to GoI will also come down.
  • On the other hand, the revenue of Suzuki Japan will go up. Altogether, the Suzuki Motor Coroporation (SMC) who owns India’s Maruti improves is position; but GoI’s tax revenue affected.

Purpose of Advance Pricing Agreement

  • The main purpose of transfer pricing and APA is to keep a check on big MNCs so that they do not indulge in tax evasion.
  • Such big companies have subsidiaries and associate companies in several countries and they tend to adjust their profits based on their inter-corporate transactions.
  • These MNCs are known to divert profits out of India by applying various methods that reduce their tax liability in the country.
  • For example, an MNC in India can show higher than actual costs of goods and services purchased from their subsidiaries thereby showing higher expenditure and getting relaxation in tax.

Types of Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)

Unilateral APA

  • As the name itself signifies, Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement involves only the taxpayer company and just the tax authority of the country where the company is located.

Bilateral APA

  • Bilateral APA actually involves four entities in total. First is the taxpayer located in the country. Second is the tax authority of the taxpayer’s location. The third entity is the associated enterprise (AE) of the taxpayer in a foreign country and fourth if the tax authority of the country where the associated enterprise is located.

Multilateral APA

  • A multilateral APA involves multiple entities which get into an agreement about transfer pricing.
  • These entities include the taxpayer in a country, the tax authority of the taxpayer’s company, two or more associated enterprises of the taxpayer and the respective tax authorities of the countries where these AEs are located.

Benefits of Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)

  • The very first benefit of APA is to check evasion of taxes. APAs offer certainty in terms of the tax liability of taxpayer’s foreign transactions by the application of ‘Arm’s Length’ Pricing technique to decide upon the prices of international transactions.
  • APA minimizes the time and effort that goes into audit tasks. This removes the threat of audit for an enterprise taxpayer who has business across several countries.
  • As for tax authorities in various countries, the application of APAs removes extra pressure on their resources and reduces the cost of administration as well.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

Drone Innovators Network Summit-2019

Minister of State of Civil Aviation delivered the Keynote Address at the Drone Innovators Network Summit-2019.

Technology-Platform-for-Governance-of-Drones1-IAStoppers

Drone Innovators Network Summit-2019

  • The summit was organised by the World Economic Forum under the aegis of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

About Drone Innovators Network (DIN):

  • Established to help overcome common challenges regulators are facing in enabling drones and unmanned aviation, such as how to enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights at scale, autonomous operations and flights over densely populated areas.
  • Composition: Government aviation agencies, academics, and established drone entities.
  • Inaugural Drone Innovators Network summit was held in Zurich in 2018.

India’s Drone Regulations

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced the India’s first Civil Aviation requirements (CAR) for drones in 2018.

Indias-Drone-Regulations

General Rules for Flying a Drone in India

  • All drones except those in the Nano category must be registered and issued a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
  • A permit is required for commercial drone operations (except for those in the Nano category flown below 50 feet and those in the Micro category flown below 200 feet).
  • Drone pilots must maintain a direct visual line of sight at all times while flying.
  • Drones cannot be flown more than 400 feet
  • Drones cannot be flown in areas specified as “No Fly Zones”, which include areas near airports, international borders, State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations, and military installations.
  • Permission to fly in controlled airspace can be obtained by filing a flight plan and obtaining a unique Air Defense Clearance (ADC)/Flight Information Center (FIC) number.

Drone Categories in India

Registration is required for all but the Nano category.

  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams
  • Micro: From 250 grams to 2kg
  • Small: From 2kg to 25kg
  • Medium: From 25kg to 150kg
  • Large: Greater than 150kg

Required Drone Equipment in India

India has specific requirements regarding the types of features a drone must have to be flown in India (excluding those in the Nano category). These mandatory requirements include:

  • GPS (Global Positioning System)
  • Return-to-home (RTH)
  • Anti-collision light
  • ID plate
  • A flight controller with flight data logging capability
  • Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and SIM/No Permission No Takeoff (NPNT)

No Permission, No Takeoff Policy

  • Before every single flight, drone pilots are required to request permission to fly via a mobile app called Digital Sky, which will automatically process the request and grant or reject it.
  • This system is known as “No Permission, No Takeoff” (NPNT). If a drone pilot tries to fly without receiving permission from the ‘Digital Sky Platform, he or she will simply not be able to takeoff.
  • All drone operators will register their drone and request permission to fly for each flight through India’s Digital Sky Platform.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Defence & Security Issues

Brahmos supersonic cruise missile with major indigenous systems test-fired successfully

Brahmos supersonic cruise missile featuring Indian propulsion system, airframe, power supply and other major indigenous components, was successfully test-fired jointly by DRDO and BrahMos Aerospace Limited.

Brahmos supersonic cruise missile 1

Key features of BrahMos Missile

BrahMos Missile

  • BrahMos Missile is the first supersonic cruise missile system known to be in service, developed as part of a joint venture between India and Russia.
  • The missile derives its name from the names of two rivers, namely the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
  • The missile is capable of carrying a conventional as well as nuclear warhead.
  • It is a multi-stage missile having a solid propellant in the first stage and the ramjet liquid propellant in the second stage.
  • It is world’s fastest cruise missile of its class.
  • It can be launched from land, sea, sub-seas and air and has strike range up to 290 km.
  • It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’ by adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target.
  • It approaches the enemy target with a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the US subsonic Tomahawk Cruise Missile System.
  • It has been operationalised in the Indian Armed Forces with all the three services.

Difference between Cruise Missile and Ballistic Missile

Cruise Missile

Cruise Missile

  • A cruise missile is an unmanned self-propelled (till the time of impact) guided vehicle that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path and whose primary mission is to place special payload on a target.
  • They fly within the earth’s atmosphere and use jet engine technology.
  • Depending upon the speed such missiles are classified as: Subsonic cruise missile (speed lesser than that of sound), Supersonic cruise missile (travels at a speed 2-3 times of sound) and Hypersonic cruise missile (travels at a speed of more than 5 times of speed of sound).

Ballistic Missile

Ballistic Missile

  • A ballistic missile is a missile that has a ballistic trajectory over most of its flight path, regardless of whether or not it is a weapon-delivery vehicle.
  • They are categorised according to their range.
  • The missile carries a huge payload. It can be launched from ships and land based facilities.
  • For example, Prithvi I, Prithvi II, Agni I, Agni II and Dhanush ballistic missiles are currently operational in the Indian defence forces.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica

A more than 1,500 sq.km. iceberg recently broke off Antarctica, but the scientists said that event is part of a normal cycle and is not related to climate change.

ezgif.com-webp-to-jpg (49)

Iceberg D28

  • The iceberg, dubbed D28, broke away from the Amery ice shelf Iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that has broken off a glacier.

Iceberg-D28

  • However, the iceberg production is part of the normal cycle of ice shelves, which are an extension of the ice cap. An ice shelf is a thick suspended platform of ice that forms where a glacier or ice sheet flows down to a coastline and onto the ocean surface.
  • The iceberg production happens to maintain the weight of Ice shelves constant as the gain in mass comes from snow falling on the continent and glaciers that move slowly toward the shore.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

94th Raising Day of MNS to be celebrated

The 94th Raising Day of the Military Nursing Service (MNS) was celebrated.

On the occasion, nursing officers re-dedicated themselves to render high quality nursing care to their patients by reading the Florence Nightingale Pledge. The pledge was named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, as a token of esteem.

94th Raising Day of MNS to be celebrated

About Military Nursing Service (MNS)

  • MNS is the only all women corps in the Armed Forces.

MILITARY NURSING SERVICE

  • It came into being in 1888 with the arrival of first batch of 10 qualified British Nurses in Bombay, to organize nursing in Military hospitals in India.
  • In 1893, it was designated as Indian Army Nursing Service and in 1902 as Queen Alexandra Military Nursing Service.
  • In 1914 for the first time Nurses were enrolled in India and were attached to QAMNS.
  • On October 1, 1926, a permanent Nursing Service for the Indian troops was formed and was designated as the Indian Military Nursing Service (IMNS).
  • On September 15, 1943, the IMNS officers became a part of the Indian Army and the members of service became Commissioned Officers.
[Ref: PIB]

 

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