Current Affairs Analysis

8th September 2016 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

DigiLocker; Swadesh Darshan Scheme; Internet of Things; ‘kafala’ system; UN Charter in Sanskrit; “PRABAL DOSTYK-16”
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
September 08, 2016


Polity & Governance

  • Driving Licenses and Vehicle Registration Certificates can now be accessed through Mobile App
  • Union Government approves 450 crore rupees for Swadesh Darshan Scheme
  • SC asks states, UTs to upload FIRs on websites within 24 hours

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India signs open skies pact with Greece
  • Saudi law a hurdle in rescuing T.N. fishermen, Centre tells HC

Science & Technology

  • Bengaluru hosts first edition of IoT India Congress

Key Facts for Prelims

  • UN Charter translated into Sanskrit
  • WHO certifies India Yaws and maternal & neonatal tetanus free
  • Bengaluru tops in wildlife offences


Polity & Governance

Driving Licenses and Vehicle Registration Certificates can now be accessed through Mobile App

Union government has recently launched Integration of DigiLocker with Driving Licenses (DL) & Vehicle Registration Certificates (RC).


Key features of the new service:

  • Driving Licenses and Vehicle Registration documents can now be issued directly to the DigiLockers of individuals in digital formats.
  • These digital copies can be shared with other departments as identity and address proof.
  • They will also be used for on the spot verification through the citizen’s mobile, by various law enforcement authorities like the Traffic Police.


Significance of the move:

  • The new service will end the need of people carrying around physical copies of their RCs and DLs.
  • They can instead access digital copies of the same on their mobile phones via the DigiLocker mobile app.
  • Besides being convenient for people, this will also result in assured authenticity of such documents and reduction of administrative overhead.

About DigiLocker:

  • DigiLocker was launched last year in 2015 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • It aims at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • It is a platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates digitally.

DigiLocker currently has 2126332 registered users with 2411702 uploaded documents and has issued over 42673232 documents as on 1 September 2016.

[Ref: PIB]


Union Government approves 450 crore rupees for Swadesh Darshan Scheme

The Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in Ministry of Tourism has approved projects worth about 450 crore rupees under Swadesh Darshan scheme for five states.

  • The approval is for development of Heritage circuit in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, North East Circuit in Sikkim and Coastal Circuit of Tamil Nadu.


The Heritage Circuit in state of Madhya Pradesh:

  • It covers Gwalior- Orchha- Khajuraho-Chanderi-Bhimbetka-Mandu with total project cost of approximately Rs. 100.00 Crore.
  • The project envisages world class infrastructural development of the sites which includes developing a Theme Park and Convention centre in Khajuraho, Sound and Light Show in Mandu.

The Heritage Circuit in Uttarakhand:

  • It is on developing Tourism Infrastructure in Jageshwar-Devidhura-Katarmal-Baijnath sites with total project cost of approximately Rs.83 Crore.
  • The highlights of project in Uttarakhand are development of Eco Log Huts, Sound and Light Show and Upgradation of Temple Pathways.

Coastal circuit in State of Tamil Nadu:

  • It envisages development Chennai- Mamamallapuram-Rameshwaram-Manpadu–Kanyakumari with total project cost of approximately Rs.100 Crore has been approved.
  • Sound and Light Show, development of Beach amenities, Construction of Pedestrian Bridge connecting Vivekanand memorial with Tiruvalluvar Statue are major highlights of project.

Ramayana Circuit in State of Uttar Pradesh:

Ayodhya- Representational Image by Wikipedia
  • It envisages development of two destinations viz. Chitrakoot and Shringverpur.
  • The Project cost for this circuit is approximately Rs.70 Crore for development of Parikrama marg, food Plaza, Laser Show, Foot Over Bridge connecting MP and UP part of Chitrakoot.
  • It also includes Ayodhya for which the State Tourism Department of Uttar Pradesh is preparing Detailed Project Report (DPR).

North East circuit in State of Sikkim:

  • With approximate project cost of Rs.95.50 Crore it includes development of eco log huts, cultural centre, paragliding centre, craft bazaar, base camp for mountaineering and meditation hall.

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:
  1. North-East India Circuit,
  2. Buddhist Circuit,
  3. Himalayan Circuit,
  4. Coastal Circuit,
  5. Krishna Circuit,
  6. Desert Circuit,
  7. Tribal Circuit,
  8. Eco Circuit,
  9. Wildlife Circuit,
  10. Rural Circuit,
  11. Spiritual Circuit,
  12. Ramayana Circuit and
  13. 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.
[Ref: PIB]


SC asks states, UTs to upload FIRs on websites within 24 hours

The Supreme Court directed all police departments in India to upload copies of first information reports on their official website within 24 hours.


Rationale behind the order:

  • The move is aimed at upholding the right of an accused to information and putting a check on the authority of the police to deprive a person of his liberty.
  • An accused has every right to know what he was accused of. And access to the FIR would help the accused prepare his defence and seek redressal of his grievances.

Key facts of the order:

  • The court has exempted from publication FIRs in certain cases. These include cases of insurgency, child abuse, sexual offences and terrorism. The FIRs registered in these categories would continue to be away from the public eye owing to issues of privacy and national interest.
  • Also, the court agreed to a submission that the list of such sensitive cases should be illustrative and not exhaustive.
  • The decision to not post the FIRs in such cases would be taken by a police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police or the District Magistrate, either of whom would have to communicate the decision to the jurisdictional magistrate.
  • In case of complaint against such non-publication of FIRs, the Superintendent of Police in rural areas and Police Commissioner in metros, will form a committee of three officers, which will decide on the complaint in three weeks.
  • In areas where Internet access is limited, the Bench extended the deadline for publishing the FIR on websites to 48 hours, which can still further be stretched to a maximum of 72 hours.

Significance of the order:

  • The move is expected to make the legal system more transparent and people friendly.
  • The decision will protect the interests of the accused and their families, putting a stop to corrupt practices by police, which often demand money to give copies of FIRs to the accused.
  • The implementation of this step also ushers in transparency in police work.


  • This is the second major direction on FIRs by the top court. In November 2013, the apex court had ordered mandatory registration of FIRs — without a preliminary inquiry — in case of serious offences such as murder and rape.
  • Moreover, in case of an internet connectivity problem such as in the Northeast or Jammu and Kashmir, the SC said that the time to upload the FIR could be extended to 48-72 hours.
[Ref: The Hindu, HT]


Bilateral & International Relations

India signs open skies pact with Greece

India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greece to allow unlimited number of flights into each other’s countries and also has initiated the air service agreement for open skies.


Key facts:

  • Greece becomes first country with which India has inked an open sky arrangement under its new civil aviation policy.
  • Prior to this, India had entered into an open skies agreement with the US and Britain.
  • The open skies agreement will allow airlines from India to operate unlimited number of flights to Greece while Greek carriers have been granted unlimited traffic rights to six Indian metro cities.



  • At present, there are no direct flights between India and Greece and passengers travel one stop via Gulf states or Turkey to Greece. In fact, there was no air services agreement between India and Greece till now thus preventing the start of air services between two countries.
  • According to the civil aviation policy, the government can enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5,000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.
[Ref: BS]


Saudi law a hurdle in rescuing T.N. fishermen, Centre tells HC

The External Affairs Ministry has informed the Madras High Court that employment laws in Saudi Arabia were tough compared to other countries and hence there was a delay in bringing back 62 Tamil Nadu fishermen stranded in the country.


  • The fishermen had accused their employer of ill-treating them and refusing to return their passports. The crux of the problem is the ‘kafala’ system.

What is ‘kafala’ system?

  • Under the system, migrant workers’ visas are tied to the employers so that they cannot change jobs without the consent of their employers, Human Rights Watch says.

The system is prevalent in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and UAE. Because of this no employee can get in or get out of the country without the consent of the employer.


  • The submission was made during the hearing of a habeas corpus petition filed by a relative of a stranded fisherman. Early this year, the fisherman had circulated a video through WhatsApp highlighting their poor plight.
[Ref: The Hindu]


Science & Technology

Bengaluru hosts first edition of IoT India Congress

The first edition of Internet of Things (IoT) India Congress 2016 has begun in Bengaluru, Karnataka.


  • The IoT India Congress 2016 is one of the largest events of its kind in India.

Key facts:

  • It aims to bring together key stakeholders across the value chain and verticals to collaborate, ideate and share a common roadmap for IoT implementation.
  • IoT is likely to generate economic benefits of almost $2 trillion to India.
  • It will bring together stakeholders from various facets of the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.

What is IoT?


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes a future where every day physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with RFID as the method of communication

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is about connecting internet-enabled devices that relay information back to us, to cloud-based applications and to each other (device to device).
  • These ‘smart’ devices can be anything from mobile phones, fridges, washing machines to wearables, medical equipment or jet engines.
  • Basically, in the Internet of Things, objects use the web and unique identifiers such as RFID tags or processors in order to exist as part of the internet, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.

One example of IOT:

The popular example of the IOT is the smart fridge: smart fridge could tell you it was out of milk, texting you if its internal cameras saw there was none left, or that the carton was past its use-by date.

[Ref: The Hindu]


Key Facts for Prelims

UN Charter translated into Sanskrit

The UN Charter, the seminal treaty of the United Nations (UN), has been translated into Sanskrit Language for the first time.


This came following the pioneering efforts of Jitendra Kumar Tripathi, the Secretary of the Lucknow-based Akhila Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad.

Jitendra Kumar Tripathi

The United Nations Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organisation. The Statute of the International Court of Justice is an integral part of the Charter. The Charter is available in all six official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).


WHO certifies India Yaws and maternal & neonatal tetanus free

India officially received certificates from World Health Organisation (WHO), declaring the country yaws and maternal and neonatal tetanus free.


India is the first country to be officially acknowledged as being yaws-free. India was validated for maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination in April 2015, much ahead of the global target date of December 2015.

Besides, India also was declared maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) free in August 2015 after it was reduced to less than one case per 1 000 live births in all 675 districts.




Prabal Dostyk meaning Robust Friendship (PRABAL DOSTYK) is a joint exercise of Indian and Kazakhstan. The exercise has been conducted in Karaganda region of Kazakhstan. The primary aim of the exercise will be to enhance interoperability while undertaking Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations in rural and semi-urban environment under the umbrella of United Nations. The exercise is a significant step towards fostering military as well as diplomatic ties between both countries.


Bengaluru tops in wildlife offences


According to the ‘Crime in India 2015’ report released recently by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Bengaluru tops the country in the number of cases filed under the Indian Forest Act and the Wildlife Protection Act.

As many as 48 cases were registered under the Forest Act — mainly filed against sandalwood and red sander smugglers — and 20 under the Wildlife Protection Act. These constitute nearly one-third of all such cases filed in metros across the country.

The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau had noted the city as being a transit point for illicit animal trade as well as a market with relatively high domestic consumption of ivory and other animal products.


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