FC-for-IAS-Prelims-2018-CA-Day-39
70 Days WAR Plan

Day#39 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

New species of ‘crying’ snake; Nirbhaya Fund; Swachh Shakti-2019; Akshaya Patra foundation; Khyber Pakthunkhwa Province; Atomic Energy Regulatory Board; Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA); Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme; Missile Helina; National Policy on Biofuels – 2018;
By IT's Core Team
April 29, 2019

 

 

 

What are the key features of National Policy on Biofuels – 2018?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
  • The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase.
  • Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crores in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
  • The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
  • Roles and responsibilities of all the concerned Ministries/Departments with respect to biofuels has been captured in the Policy document to synergise efforts.

Expected Benefits

  • Reduce Import Dependency: One crore lit of E10 saves Rs.28 crore of forex at current rates. The ethanol supply year 2017-18 is likely to see a supply of around 150 crore litres of ethanol which will result in savings of over Rs.4000 crore of forex.
  • Cleaner Environment: One crore lit of E-10 saves around 20,000 ton of CO2 emissions. For the ethanol supply year 2017-18, there will be lesser emissions of CO2 to the tune of 30 lakh ton. By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
  • Health benefits: Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.
  • MSW Management: It is estimated that, annually 62 MMT of Municipal Solid Waste gets generated in India. There are technologies available which can convert waste/plastic, MSW to drop in fuels. One ton of such waste has the potential to provide around 20% of drop in fuels.
  • Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas: It is estimated that, one 100klpd bio refinery will require around Rs.800 crore capital investment. At present Oil Marketing Companies are in the process of setting up twelve 2G bio refineries with an investment of around Rs.10,000 crore. Further addition of 2G bio refineries across the Country will spur infrastructural investment in the rural areas.
  • Employment Generation: One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
  • Additional Income to Farmers: By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these waste if a market is developed for the same. Also, farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Thus conversion of surplus grains and agricultural biomass can help in price stabilization.

 

 

 

Recently, India test-fired its helicopter-launched version of one of the most-advanced anti-tank weapons from the Odisha coast. What is the name of this Missile?

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Answer:

  • Helina

Enrich Your Learning:

Missile Helina:

  • India test-fired its helicopter-launched version of one of the most-advanced anti-tank weapons from the Odisha coast.
  • Helina, the helicopter-launched version of the Nag anti-tank guided missile with a hit range of 7-8 km, was launched from an Army chopper.
  • The indigenously designed and developed Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) system was successfully tested at the Chandan firing range in Rajasthan.
  • During the trial, the Helina was released smoothly from the launch platform, following which the missile tracked the target all through its course in order to strike with high precision.
  • Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), it is one of the most-advanced anti-tank weapons in the world.
  • It is guided by an infrared imaging seeker (IIR) operating in the lock-on before-launch mode and helps in further strengthening the defence capabilities of the country.

 

 

 

What do you know about the Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • Advanced Motor Fuels (AMF) is one of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) transportation related Technology Collaboration Programmes.
  • Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are multilateral technology initiatives that encourage technology-related activities that support energy security, economic growth and environmental protection.
  • AMF provides an international platform for co-operation to promote cleaner and more energy efficient fuels and vehicle technologies.
  • AMF TCP also provides an opportunity for fuel analysis, identifying new/ alternate fuels for deployment in transport sector and allied R&D activities for reduction in emissions in fuel intensive sectors.
  • This TCP provides an effective platform for fuel analyses and reporting of GHG emissions tested and measured in engines.
  • The programme is an international platform for co-operation among countries to promote cleaner and more energy efficient fuels and vehicle technologies.
  • Its activities relate to R&D, deployment and dissemination of advanced motor fuels and looks upon the transport fuel issues in a systemic way taking into account the production, distribution and end use related aspects.
  • The other members are the US, China, Japan, Canada, Chile, Israel, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Korea, Switzerland and Thailand.

Activities:

  • Methane emissions control
  • Sustainable bus systems
  • Alcohol fuels: unregulated pollutants
  • Real driving emissions and fuel consumption
  • Methanol as motor fuel
  • Heavy duty vehicle evaluation

Why in news?

  • India joined as Member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme (AMF TCP) under International Energy Agency (IEA) on 9thMay, 2018.
  • AMF TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has “Association” status since 30thMarch, 2017.
  • The primary goal of joining AMF TCP by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) is to facilitate the market introduction of Advanced motor fuels/ Alternate fuels with an aim to bring down emissions and achieve higher fuel efficiency in transport sector.
  • After becoming member, it said India will initiate R&D in other areas of its interest in advanced biofuels and other motor fuels in view of their crucial role in substituting fossil fuel imports.

 

 

 

What are the powers and functions of Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA)?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • Central Ground Water Authority has been constituted under Section 3 (3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to regulate and control development and management of ground water resources in the country.

Powers:

The Authority has been conferred with the following powers:

  • Exercise of powers under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for issuing directions and taking such measures in respect of all the matters referred to in sub-section (2) of section 3 of the said Act.
  • To resort to penal provisions contained in sections 15 to 21 of the said Act.
  • To regulate and control, management and development of ground water in the country and to issue necessary regulatory directions for the purpose.
  • Exercise of powers under section 4 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for the appointment of officers.

Regulatory measures:

  • The Central Ground Water Authority is regulating withdrawal of ground water by industries/projects in 802 Over-exploited and 169 Critical Assessment Units.
  • List of these critical areas has been circulated to the State Pollution Control Boards and Ministry of Environment & Forests which refer the new industries/ projects to CGWA for obtaining permission.
  • CGWA has notified 162 critical/ overexploited areas in parts of NCT Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, MP, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, UT of Puducherry and UT of Diu for control and regulation of development of ground water resources.
  • For enforcement of the regulatory measures in these areas, concerned Deputy Commissioners/ District Magistrates have been directed under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to regulate ground water development in these notified areas.
  • Construction of new ground water structures is prohibited in the notified areas.
  • Permission of drilling tube wells is being granted only to the Govt. agencies responsible for drinking water supply.

 

 

 

Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was constituted by a law of Parliament in 1983. Right OR Wrong?

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Answer:

Right Statement:

  • The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board was constituted in 1983 by the President of India by exercising the powers conferred by the Atomic Energy Act to carry out certain regulatory and safety functions under the Act.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • The regulatory authority of AERB is derived from the rules and notifications promulgated under the Atomic Energy Act and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • The headquarters is in Mumbai.

Committees:

  • AERB is supported in its functions by a number of committees.
  • Members of all the AERB committees are recognized experts with long experience in the relevant fields and come from DAE units, various Governmental organizations, academic institutes and industry.
  • A large number of retired experts are also members of the various AERB Committees.
  • The apex safety review committees of AERB are the Safety Review Committee for Operating Plants (SARCOP) and the Safety Review Committee for Applications of Radiation (SARCAR).
  • AERB has constituted a number of Advisory Committees that deal with nuclear safety, radiological safety, industrial and fire safety, and occupational health.
  • In addition, there are Advisory Committees for Project Safety Review (ACPSR) and Advisory Committees for assisting AERB in its safety documents development work.

Background:

  • During the commissioning of Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS 1&2) in 1969, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) set up a safety committee to receive advice on matters related to safety and to give clearance for first criticality and subsequent power operation of the station.

 

 

 

Recently Khyber Pakthunkhwa Province was in news. Where it is located?

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Answer:

  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the northern most province of Pakistan.

Enrich Your Learning:

Khyber Pakthunkhwa Province:

  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly North-West Frontier Province is the northernmost province of Pakistan.
  • It is bounded by Afghanistan to the west and north, Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas (the Pakistani-administered areas of the Kashmir region) to the east and northeast, Punjab province to the southeast, and Balochistān province to the southwest.
  • On the western boundary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, along the Afghan border, are the federally administered tribal areas, a series of semi-autonomous areas that are ethnically homogeneous with the province but not politically connected to it.
  • Within Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shares a border with Punjab, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Islamabad.
  • Peshawar is the provincial capital.
  • The terrain consists of mountain ranges, undulating sub montane areas, and plains surrounded by hills.
  • In the north the mountain ranges generally run north-south; south of the Kābul River, which bisects the province from east to west, the ranges generally run east-west.
  • The Hindu Kush region in the north, long noted for its scenic beauty, is divided by the Kunar River into two distinct ranges: the northern Hindu Kush and the Hindu Raj.
  • Tirich Mir rises to 25,230 feet (7,690 metres) and is the highest peak of the northern Hindu Kush.
  • To the south of the Hindu Raj lie the rugged basins of the Panjkora, Swat, and Kandia rivers.
  • The Lesser Himalayas and the Sub-Himalayas are situated in the eastern part of the province and form definite ranges broken by hilly country and small plains.
  • The region is seismically active, with frequent mild to moderate tremors.
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is inhabited mainly by the Pashtun, who are noted for their independence.

Why in news?

  • Pakistan’s Khyber Pakthunkhwa province plans to construct a heritage park in Elum Valley, which carries a historical significance to both the Hindus and the Buddhists, to promote religious tourism.
  • It is located between the Swat and Buner districts in the KP province.

 

 

 

A new species of ‘crying’ snake has been discovered in India. This species has been discovered in which Indian state?

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Answer:

  • A new species of ‘crying’ snake has been discovered in Lepa-Rada district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Crying’ snake:

  • A new species of ‘crying’ snake has been discovered. It is called ‘crying’ snake because of a dark spot under its eyes looking like a black tear that interrupts a white stripe running along the upper jaw to the back of its head and beyond.
  • A new species of ‘crying’ snake has been discovered in Lepa-Rada district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The discovery of the non-venomous crying keelback, whose zoological name is Hebius lacrima, has been published in Zootaxa, the New Zealand-based scientific mega-journal for animal taxonomy.
  • The name for this keelback was suggested because of a dark spot under its eyes looking like a black tear that interrupts a white stripe running along the upper jaw to the back of its head and beyond.
  • The crying keelback had to be compared with 44 species of snakes worldwide under the genus Hebius.
  • The crying keelback can be differentiated from all other species of the genus Hebius by the combination of a distinctive broad, white, interrupted stripe along its body; three rows of irregular dark blotches (not vertically aligned) on each side; six cream, elongated spots on its anterior part and a smooth dorsal scale row.
  • This snake prefers to live near streams along paddy fields.

 

 

 

Akshaya Patra foundation was recently in news. What is the significance of this foundation?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • Founded in 2000, with the mission that “no child in India should be deprived of education because of hunger,” Akshaya Patra (Sanskrit for ‘inexhaustible vessel’) provides nutritious and hygienic meals to children in government schools through India’s ambitious mid-day meal scheme (MDM).
  • The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Bengaluru, India.
  • The organisation strives to eliminate classroom hunger by implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in the government schools and government-aided schools.
  • Akshaya Patra also aims at countering malnutrition and supporting the right to education of socio-economically disadvantaged children.
  • Since 2000, Akshaya Patra has been concerting all its efforts towards providing fresh and nutritious meals to children on every single school day.
  • The state-of-the-art kitchens have become a subject of study and have attracted curious visitors from around the world.
  • Today, Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest (not-for-profit run) Mid-Day Meal Programme serving wholesome food every school day to over 1.76 million children from 15,024 schools across 12 states in India.
  • Right from selection of vendors to cooking processes to delivery, the foundation adheres to the Food Safety Management System (FSMS).
  • Some of its practices include First Expiry First Out (FEFO) and First In First Out (FIFO) while issuing raw material.

 

 

 

What do you know about the Swachh Shakti-2019?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

  • Swachh Shakti-2019 is a national event to be attended by women Panchs and Sarpanchs from across the country.
  • Around 15,000 women are expected to participate in this year’s Swachh Shakti event aimed at empowering the women.
  • The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with the Govt. of Haryana organized the Swachh Shakti-2019.
  • Best practices from grass root level in the rural areas for Swachh Bharat will be shared by them.
  • The event will showcase the achievements of Swachh Bharat and the recently conducted Swachh Sunder Shauchalay, (neat and clean toilet) – a unique and first of its kind in the world campaign.
  • Swachh Shakti is an example of how at the grass root level, rural women champions are acting as a change agent to mobilize the community and lead from the front women taking initiatives for a Swachh Bharat.
  • The movement is a part of ongoing activities under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Background:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Shakti program first in 2017 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • 6000 women sarpanches from across the country had assembled in Gujarat on the occasion of International Women’s Day under the banner of Swachh Shakti 2017.

 

 

What is the objective behind setting up a Nirbhaya Fund?

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Answer:

  • The Ministry of Finance, Government of India had set up a dedicated fund called Nirbhaya Fund in 2013, for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country.

Enrich Your Learning:

More about the Nirbhaya Fund:

  • It is a non-lapsable corpus fund.
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development is the nodal Ministry to appraise schemes under Nirbhaya Fund and also to review and monitor the progress of sanctioned Schemes in conjunction with the line Ministries/Departments.
  • The cost of projects/schemes of the State Government will be shared in the ratio of 60:40 (as per guidelines of Ministry of Finance) under Nirbhaya fund.

Schemes of Ministry of Women and Child Development under Nirbhaya Fund:

  • Keeping in mind the need to have schematic interventions and proper mechanism for handholding of women in distress, 3 schemes i.e. ‘One Stop Centre’, ‘Universalisation of Women Helpline’ and ‘Mahila Police Volunteer’ were initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development from the Nirbhaya Fund.
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