Polity & Governance
- Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage portals launched
- Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) launched
Government Schemes & Policies
- Parliament passes Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018
Issues related to Health & Education
- NITI Aayog indentified 117 districts as Aspirational Districts for RUSA Scheme
- Startup India launches Academia Alliance Programme
Bilateral & International Relations
- 30th Anniversary of “8888” Uprising
Science & Technology
- IIT-Madras powers up a desi chip – RISECREEK
- India’s moon mission Chandrayaan-2 launch delayed for second time
- Uakitite: alien mineral found in Siberian meteor
Key Facts for Prelims
- Exercise Maitree 2018
- Japan dethrones China to become world’s second-biggest stock market
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Polity & Governance
Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage portals launched
Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highway (MoRTH) launched IT initiative Bhoomi Rashi and PFMS linkage aimed at expediting pre-construction processes relating to land acquisition.
About Bhoomi Rashi:
- Bhoomi Rashi portal has been developed by MoRTH and National Informatics Centre (NIC).
- It comprises entire revenue data of country, right down to 6.4 lakh villages.
- It makes entire process flow from submission of draft notification by State Government to its approval by Minister of State (MoS) for RT&H and publication in e-Gazetteis online.
- The portal has been created for expediting process of publication of notifications for land acquisition. It will be utilized for issuing notification.
- It will play instrumental role in reducing time taken for approval and publication of notifications pertaining to land acquisition
PFMS linkage with Bhoomi Rashi:
- The Bhoomi Rashi portal has been integrated with Public Financial Management System (PFMS) to facilitate payment related to compensation for land acquisition to all beneficiaries directly through Bhoomi Rashi system.
- It will make payment of Compensation by MoRTH to beneficiaries in real time and without any parking of funds.
What is Public Financial Management System?
PFMS is an electronic fund tracking mechanism compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information regarding all government schemes.
- The PFMS, also known as Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS), tracks fund disbursement and ensures that state treasuries are integrated with the Centre to ensure money is send as and when required.
- PFMS, administered by the department of expenditure, is an end-to-end solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting. It is a web based application.
- It is implemented by the Controller General of Accounts.
- It provides the government real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes.
- In addition, the platform will allow government expenditure to adopt a Just-in- Time (JIT) approach, with payments made only when they are needed.
- The government has set a target to integrate PFMS with all state treasuries in current fiscal and implement Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for welfare and scholarship schemes.
In future, Government aims to transform PFMS to Government-wide Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) as a comprehensive payment, receipt and accounting system.
Significance of the PFMS:
- The PFMS aims to help in complete tracking and monitoring flow of funds to implementing agencies and ensuring timely transfer of funds.
- It will help government to ascertain actual status of utilization of funds by multiple implementing agencies of central and the state governments.
- It will also cut need for paper work and in long way help in monitoring and tracking of any unnecessary parking of funds by implementing agencies, thus minimising cases of delay and pending payments to large extent.
- It will help to plug leakages in system and help to manage and maintain data that government can use to develop more scientific approach.
Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) launched
Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highway (MoRTH) launched IT initiative Bidder Information Management System (BIMS) aimed at expediting pre-construction processes relating to bidding.
- BIMS portal aims at streamlining process of pre-qualification of bidders for EPC Mode of contracts for National Highway works with enhanced transparency and objectivity.
- It works as data base of information about bidders, covering basic details, civil works experience, cash accruals and network, annual turnover etc.
- It allows assessment of pre-qualification of bidders from data already stored in portal to carry out technical evaluation at much faster rate.
- It will be used by all project implementation agencies of MoRTH for maintenance of technical information of civil works of contractors, concessionaires and for online technical evaluation of civil works bids.
- BIMS portal will be operated in conjunction with Central Public Procurement Portal (CPPP) portal for invitation of bids for civil works for EPC mode. It will help to significantly reduce procurement time for projects through objective and transparent online evaluation system thereby leading to accelerated project implementation.
Government Schemes & Policies
Parliament passes Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018
Indian Parliament passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that proposes to enhance punishment for rape of a child.
- The Bill replaces ordinance promulgated by President in April 2018 and amends Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Indian Evidence Act.
Key provisions of the Bill:
- It provides for stringent punishment of jail term of minimum 20 years or life imprisonment or death for rape of girl less than 12 years. It provides punishment with imprisonment for rest of life or death sentence in case of gang rape of girl below 12 years.
- It increases minimum punishment from 10 years to 20 years for crime of rape of girl under 16 years, which can be extended to imprisonment for rest of life. It increases minimum punishment for rape of women from rigorous imprisonment of 7 years to 10 years, which can be extended to life imprisonment.
- It provides for speedy investigation and trial, which must be completed in two months. It proposes 6 months’ time limit for disposal of appeals in rape cases. It provides dedicated manpower for investigation of rape cases in time bound manner.
- It provides no provision for anticipatory bail for person accused of rape or gang rape of girl under 16 years. It has also been provided that court has to give notice of 15 days to Public Prosecutor and representative of victim before deciding bail applications in case of rape of a girl under 16 years of age.
- It has provision for maintaining national database and profile of sexual offenders by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This data will be regularly shared with States/UTs for monitoring, tracking and investigation including verification of antecedents by police.
Issues related to Health & Education
NITI Aayog indentified 117 districts as Aspirational Districts for RUSA Scheme
NITI Aayog has identified 117 districts as ‘Aspirational Districts’ for Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
- These districts have been selected on the basis of the composite index which includes published data of deprivation enumerated under Socio-Economic Caste Census, Health & Nutrition, Education and Basic Infrastructure.
- Under the scheme, central assistance is provided for opening of new Model Degree Colleges (MDCs) in these districts and in unserved & underserved districts in North Eastern and Himalayan States.
- The central support provided under the component of new MDCs is infrastructural in nature in which funds are released for creation of Colleges with requisite infrastructure such as appropriate number of class rooms, library, laboratory, faculty rooms, toilet blocks and other essential requirements for technologically advanced facilities.
- Under this component, a commitment is given by the State Governments that all recurring expenditure (including salaries) in respect of the MDC being established, will be borne by the respective State Government. Additionally, under a separate component of RUSA viz., Faculty Recruitment Support, central support is provided for creation of additional posts of Assistant Professors.
What is RUSA?
- Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), launched in 2013 aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions.
What are the objectives of RUSA?
The salient objectives of RUSA are to;
- Improve the overall quality of state institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adopt accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
- Usher transformative reforms in the state higher education system by creating a facilitating institutional structure for planning and monitoring at the state level, promoting autonomy in State Universities and improving governance in institutions.
- Ensure reforms in the affiliation, academic and examination systems.
- Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels of employment.
- Create an enabling atmosphere in the higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovations.
- Expand the institutional base by creating additional capacity in existing institutions and establishing new institutions, in order to achieve enrolment targets.
- Correct regional imbalances in access to higher education by setting up institutions in unserved & underserved areas.
- Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities of higher education to SC/STs and socially and educationally backward classes; promote inclusion of women, minorities, and differently abled persons.
Funding process of the RUSA:
- The central funding (in the ratio of 60:40 for general category States, 90:10 for special category states and 100% for union territories) would be norm based and outcome dependent.
- The funding would flow from the central ministry through the state governments/union territories to the State Higher Education Councils before reaching the identified institutions.
- The funding to states would be made on the basis of critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans, which would describe each state’s strategy to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education.
Startup India launches Academia Alliance Programme
Startup India has launched the Startup Academia Alliance programme.
What is Startup Academia Alliance programme?
- It is a unique mentorship opportunity between academic scholars and startups working in similar domains, to fulfill the Indian Government’s mission to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country.
- It aims to reduce the gap between scientific research and its industrial applications in order to increase the efficacy of these technologies and widen their impact.
- The first phase of Startup Academia Alliance will be implemented in partnership with Regional Centre for Biotechnology, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Council on Energy, Environment and Water, and TERI School of Advanced Studies.
- Renowned scholars from these institutes, from fields including renewable energy, biotechnology, healthcare and life sciences were taken on board to provide mentorship and guidance to the startups working in relevant areas.
Bilateral & International Relations
30th Anniversary of “8888” Uprising
August 8 marks the 30th anniversary of the people’s uprising ‘8888’ in Myanmar.
What is ‘8888’ uprising?
The ‘8888’ uprising (or the eighth day of August 1988) is one of Myanmar’s most important historic days in the context of the pro-democracy movement.
- The 8888 uprising was started by students in Yangon (Rangoon) on 8 August 1988. Student protests spread throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of monks, children, university students, housewives, doctors and common people protested against the government. The protests were nicknamed the 8888 Uprising to mark the date (8-8-88) of the rebellion.
- The uprising ended on 18 September after a bloody military coup by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Thousands of deaths have been attributed to the military during this uprising, while authorities in Myanmar put the figure at around 350 people killed.
Outcomes of the uprising:
- Much of Myanmar’s present-day politics started with the 8888 uprising. The uprising led to the resignation of leader General Ne Win, who had taken power in a coup in 1962, and the demise of his Burma Socialist Programme Party, which comprised ex-military officers and was the vehicle through which he built his one-party rule.
- The country’s name changed from Burma to Myanmar in 1989 and its capital, from Rangoon to Yangon.
- The August uprising also marked the entry of Aung San Suu Kyi (daughter of General Aung San, who had fought for Burma’s freedom from British rule) into politics.
- After the movement was crushed, thousands of Burmese fled to neighboring countries. Some people were fortunate to move on to Europe and North America.
- The majority, however, spent their lives either in the jungle or in refugee camps along the Indo-Burma and Thai-Burma borders. Many youngsters, mostly students, either formed new armed groups or joined the established armed groups such as the Karen National Liberation Army, Kachin Independence Army and the Shan State Army.
- The 8888 movement culminated in the 1990 elections, the first free elections in three decades that was swept by the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi. But the result was not honored.
‘Burmese way to democracy’:
- The democratic transition in Myanmar thus far has been meticulously designed by the military. The primary objective, which is laid out in the country’s 2008 Constitution, is to give the military a dominant role in politics.
- In a parallel to the ‘Burmese way to socialism’ introduced by former military leader Ne Win in the 1960s, Myanmar now practices what can be called the ‘Burmese way to democracy’ as introduced by former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt in 2003 when he announced the military’s seven-step road map to a flourishing democracy.
Science & Technology
IIT-Madras powers up a desi chip – RISECREEK
Computer scientists from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras have developed first of family of six industry-standard microprocessors under Project Shakti.
- The initial batch of 300 chips have been named RISECREEK and have been fabricated at Intel’s facility at Oregon, US for free to run Linux operating system.
Key features of RISECREEK microprocessors:
- Their design is open source and can be adapted by others. They optimise power use and compete with international units such as Cortex A5 from Advanced RISC Machines (ARM). They have better performance in terms of DMIPS per megahertz rating than A5 and score of 1.68 against competition’s 1.57.
- At a frequency of 350 MHz, RISECREEK can meet demands of defence and strategic equipment of country such as NAVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite) and Internet of Things (IoT) electronics.
- These processors can also be tapped for future efforts in semiconductors.
About Project Shakti:
- Project Shakti was started in 2014 as IIT-M initiative and part of it is funded by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- It is not aimed at only building processors. It also aims to build high speed interconnects for servers and supercomputers based on variants of the RapidiIO and GenZ standards. These are key to build large clusters of processors to get Petaflop and Exaflop level supercomputers.
India’s moon mission Chandrayaan-2 launch delayed for second time
ISRO) has postponed Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to moon to January 2019.
- This will be second time mission has been postponed.
- This time, the delay was caused because the indigenously developed lander was having trouble with rethrottling. The lander has now gone back to the design table for a design change.
About Chandrayaan-2 mission:
- Chandrayaan-2 is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission.
- The mission includes an Orbiter, a Lander and a Rover.
- The Orbiter spacecraft will be launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface.
- It will be launched on board of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV-F10).
- The mission includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface. The soft-landing on the lunar surface of the moon will be most complex part of Chandrayaan 2 mission. Only the US, Russia and China have been able to soft-land spacecraft on lunar surface.
- All three project components will be sending data and pictures to Earth.
[Ref: The Hindu]
Uakitite: alien mineral found in Siberian meteor
Russian scientists claimed that they have discovered a new type of mineral in a meteorite.
- However, the physical properties of uakitite because of the small amounts have been difficult to assess due to the tiny sizes of the grains.
- Experts say the new mineral contains a never-before-seen substance that formed in space, which they have named ‘uakitite’.
- The meteorite was unearthed in 2016 in Buryatia, in southern Russia.
- The size of uakitite grains is usually less than 5 micrometers.
- 98% of the Uakit meteorite is an iron alloy called kamacite, which so far has only been found in other meteorites. The other two percent is comprised of minerals that form in space.
- Scientists said the meteorite had been subjected to temperatures of over 1,000°C (1,800°F) forming troilite-daubreelite associations, one of whose early minerals is uakitite.
Key Facts for Prelims
- China successfully tested its first hypersonic “waverider” aircraft, the Xingkong-2, which translates as Starry Sky 2.
- The aircraft uses the shockwaves generated by its own hypersonic flight to glide at high speed.
- It is capable of flying independently and of carrying nuclear warheads.
- It is believed that due to its high speed, the aircraft can break through anti-missile defence systems that are currently in use around the world.
Exercise Maitree 2018
- It is a joint military exercise between Indian Army and Royal Thai Army of Thailand.
- The 2018 edition of this exercise was conducted in Thailand.
- It was platoon level exercise that comprises of infantry component.
- The aim of this exercise is to build and promote closer relations while exchanging skills and experiences between the two armies.
- Last exercise was held in Himachal Pradesh’s Bakloh in 2017.
Japan dethrones China to become world’s second-biggest stock market
- According to latest Bloomberg report, Japan has pipped China to the world’s number two stock market.
- The Chinese market was worth $6.09 trillion, while Japan’s was valued at $6.17 trillion.
- At number one spot is the US market, which is the world’s largest at just over $31 trillion.
- Chinese stocks and currency fell this year amid a trade disagreement with the US.