Current Affairs Analysis

4th December 2015 Current Affairs Analysis

December 04, 2015

Polity & Governance

Lok Sabha passes Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Bill, 2015

The Lok Sabha passed the Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015 that provides for establishing Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India.

The Bill replaces the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.

Key Features of the Bill, 2015:

  • The Act establishes a Bureau for the purpose of standardization, marking and certification of articles and processes.
  • The Bill seeks to broaden its ambit, and allow the central government to make it mandatory for certain notified goods, articles, processes, etc, to carry the standard mark.
  • Under the 1986 Act, standardization, marking and certification processes applied to certain articles and processes. The New Bill includes goods, services and systems.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standards will be a national body which will formulate, implement and certify certain standards of quality for goods, services, articles, processes and systems.
  • The Bureau will constitute technical committees of experts for the purpose of formulating such standards. The Bill constitutes a Governing Council which would be responsible to look at the general superintendence, direction and management of the Bureau.
  • The Bureau would be a licensing authority for quality standards. A person may apply to the Bureau for a license to use a standard mark, or a certificate of conformity, depending on the good, article, process, etc.  A license or certificate of conformity indicates that the item conforms to the Indian standard as set by the Bureau. 
  • The Bureau will establish and maintain testing laboratories for quality assurance and conformity assessment of goods, articles, services, etc.
  • A hallmark will be used to certify precious metal articles including silver, gold, platinum, and palladium or their alloys. A hallmark indicates a proportionate content of the precious metal in the article, as per the Indian standard.  Such articles will be sold in certified sales outlets.
  • The Bill allows the central government to notify certain goods, articles, etc, which will need to compulsorily carry a standard mark if Central government thinks them to be necessary for:
  1. Public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health,
  2. Safety of the environment,
  3. Prevention of unfair trade practices, or
  4. National security.
  • The Bureau may recall a good or article which is already out for sale or supply. This will be done if the Bureau is convinced that the good or article does not conform to the requirement of a particular standard.

[Sources: PRSIndia]

Environment & Ecology

Postage Stamp to mark the Centenary year of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

The Government has released a commemorative stamp to mark the Centenary year of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).

They also released publications of ZSI- the “Centenary Souvenir”, the “Centenary Directory” and “A Glorious 100”.

About Zoological Survey of India:

ZSI Logo[The Logo of ZSI]
  • Established on 1 July 1916, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is a premier Indian organisation in zoological research and studies.
  • The activities of the ZSI are coordinated by the Conservation and Survey Division under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It promotes the survey, exploration, research and documentation leading to the advancement in our knowledge on various aspects of animal taxonomy of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Of the nearly 100, 000 species of animals known to occur in India, it is the ZSI that brought the knowledge to the scientific community about many of them as the new and endemic species of animals found in this country.
  • ZSI has been declared as the designated repository for the National Zoological Collection as per Section 39 of the National Biodiversity Act, 2002.
  • Similar to Red Data Book published by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), ZSI also publishes Red Data Book on Indian Animals. It was first published in 1983.
  • To meet the challenges of biodiversity conservation, sustainable utilization and dissemination of knowledge on faunal diversity to all stakeholders, the Survey is equipped with modern tools and techniques such as scanning electron microscopes, digital stereo zoom microscopes, GIS tools, data basing tools and the DNA bar coding technology.

[Sources: PIB, Wikipedia]

Agra to host first ever international bird festival


In a bid to promote Uttar Pradesh as an international bird-watching destination, the State Forest department, in collaboration with FICCI, will hold a three-day international festival on birds at the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) in Agra.

  • The festival starts on December 4 and will end on December 6.
  • As many as 25 top international bird experts and over 80 Indian ornithologists are expected to attend the first-of-its-kind festival.

About National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS):

National Chambal Sanctuary, also called the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is a tri-state protected area in northern India for the critically endangered gharial (small crocodiles), the red-crowned roof turtle and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.

  • Located on the Chambal River near the tripoint of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Project is managed by the Wildlife wing of the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department and is head-quartered at Agra.
  • National Chambal Sanctuary is the main area for the species reintroduction programme of the crocodilian species Gavialis gangeticus (Gharial).
  • Chambal supports 8 rare turtle species out of the 26 found in the country.
  • Chambal is one of the cleanest rivers in the country.
  • The National Chambal Sanctuary is listed as an important bird area (IBA) IN122 and is a proposed Ramsar site.

Gharial- critically endangered

[Gharial- critically endangered]  

Red-crowned roof turtle

[Red-crowned roof turtle]    

Ganges River dolphin-endangered

[Ganges River dolphin-endangered]

[Sources: The Hindu]

Paris pact on water and climate change adaptation

A broad coalition of nations including India, river basin organizations, business and civil societies from across the globe on Wednesday announced the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation to make water systems – the very foundation of sustainable human development – more resilient to climate impact.

The announcement was made during the on-going 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Conference of Parties (COP-21) in Paris, France.

Key Features:

  • Almost 290 water basin organisations are engaged under the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation.
  • The announcement was part of the “Water Resilience Focus” event under the Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) on climate change.
  • It also highlighted other key partnerships and coalitions to make river basins, lakes, aquifers and deltas more resilient to climate change and reduce human interference with oceans.
  • India, on its part, committed to build climate resilience through improved groundwater management in the country.
  • The Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation involves a wide geographic coalition of national and cross-border river basin organisations, governments, funding agencies, local governments, companies and civil society.
  • It encompasses individual commitments to implement adaptation plans, strengthening water monitoring and measurement systems in river basins and promoting financial sustainability and new investment in water systems management.

About Lima to Paris Action Agenda (LPAA):

  • The Lima-Paris Action Agenda was launched at the Lima Climate Conference in Lima last December with the aim of accelerating the growing engagement of all parts of society in climate action.
  • The Lima-Paris Action Agenda is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP Presidencies, the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UNFCCC Secretariat.
  • It aims to strengthen climate action through 2015 and well beyond by mobilizing robust global action towards low carbon, more climate resilient societies.

[Sources: Times of India, UN.org]

Science & Technology

‘Bhuvan-GAIL Portal’ for satellite monitoring of pipelines

To address pipeline safety concerns, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and National Remote Sensing Centre, a unit of ISRO, have launched an innovative surveillance geo-portal called ‘Bhuvan-GAIL Portal’ for utilising space technology for its pipeline application.

Key Points:

  • GAIL has more than 13,000 kms of pipeline network, wherein monthly monitoring of pipeline’s Right of Use (RoU) is presently done via Helicopter surveys.
  • By January 2016, GAIL would begin live satellite monitoring of its pipeline RoU.
  • It is also seeking alternative methods such as advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) which can be integrated with this system.
  • GAIL has also developed an innovative mobile application from which pictures of untoward incidents, taken from any mobile phone, can be uploaded instantly on the portal.
  • GAIL’s R&D pilot project on satellite monitoring of pipeline RoU would be used for 610-kms long Dahej-Vijaipur pipeline.
  • The Bhuvan-GAIL portal is operated via manual as well as auto-change analysis options to monitor changes along the natural gas pipeline RoU.

[Sources: Economic Times, Business Line]

Also in News

44th Navy Day: 4th December 2015

Indian Navy Day celebrated each year to commemorate Operation Trident’s commencement, as part of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, is another day where the glory of the Tricolour shows up.


  • The 17th-century Maratha emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is considered as the ‘Father of the Indian Navy’.
  • When India became a republic in 1950, the Royal Indian Navy as it had been named since 1934 was renamed to Indian Navy.
  • On 4 December, the Indian Navy successfully executed Operation Trident, a devastating attack on the Pakistan Naval Headquarters of Karachi that sank a minesweeper, a destroyer and an ammunition supply ship. To commemorate this, December 4 is celebrated as the Navy Day.

 [Sources: The Hindu, Wikipedia]

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