0

MasterCard mulls using blockchain tech

In News

Mastercard is looking to incorporate blockchain technology into its operations and would like a clear regulatory framework in India that lays down what blockchain can be used for.

What is a Blockchain Technology

  • Blockchain is the technology behind crypto-currency such as Bitcoin, which is a purely electronic currency that can also be traded on exchanges.
  • It is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.
  • Each block contains typically a hash pointer as a link to a previous block,a timestamp and transaction data.
  • By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data.
  • Functionally, a blockchain can serve as an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
  • For use as a distributed ledger a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks.
  • Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and a collusion of the network majority.

About Regulation

  • In India, an inter-ministerial committee is currently looking at how best to regulate blockchain technology, if it is allowed at all.
  • One of the proposals is to bring it under market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • Another option that could be considered is bringing blockchain regulation under the proposed Payments Regulatory Board in the Reserve Bank of India.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

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RERA rules CREDAI’s London meet

Why In News

A recent meeting of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) in London was dominated by discussions over the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016, better known as RERA, with industry representatives voicing their concerns particularly over the legislation’s impact on ongoing projects.

RERA AND CONCERNS

  • RERA, brought in to protect the interests of home buyers, and codify the running of the sector (with the aim of boosting investment in real estate over the long term) came into force on May 1, with individual States required to declare the rules within a 90 day period.
  • Under the law, developers have 90 days to register ongoing projects.
  • It will help weed out unscrupulous developers and set higher standards.
  • Its members are concerned about the provisions regarding ongoing projects, warning that it could have long term, negative reverberations for the industry, ultimately hitting supply and pricing.
  • Part of the problem lies around the lack of clarity on what constitutes an ongoing project .
  • Argued that the law, when it comes to ongoing projects, is actually unimplementable in several ways ranging from.
    • The treatment of common areas in buildings to the defect liability period,
    • To the legislation’s requirement that 70% of proceeds from the project be placed in a separate account.
  • Developers have been struggling to meet the 90-day registration process, leaving them potentially in breach of the legislation, and unable to market or sell their projects.
  • In the legislation there is no place where we can go as developers, if we don’t get a completion certification in time for a completed project, there is no provision if developers don’t get the electricity connection, the water for my completed project.

 

Topic : Development Studies

Source : The Hindu

 

 

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Centre likely to differ with J&K on Article 35A

What is the issue

Centre is likely to take a divergent opinion from that of the Jammu and Kashmir government on Article 35(A), on the grounds that it discriminates against women who marry outside the State from applying for jobs or buying property, which is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Article 14  : says the “State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India, Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Article 35(A) : which prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for J&K residents.  Denies property rights to native women who marry from outside the State. The denial of these rights extend to her children also. It also empowers the State’s legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other States or any other right under the Constitution.

Conflict between Article 14 and Article 35A


Source : The Hindu

Topic : Polity

0

French index says India worst for retirement now

Why in News ?

In a global retirement index of 43 countries, India has ranked the lowest. The index by French asset management company Natixis Global, ranks countries on the basis of four factors

  1. The material means to live comfortably in retirement.
  2. Access to quality financial services to help preserve savings value and maximize income.
  3. Access to quality health services.
  4. A clean and safe environment.

What is the ranking of India

  • On all four, India has ranked the lowest. Switzerland, Norway and Iceland topped the ranking.
  • The index ranks 43 countries which include International Monetary Fund (IMF) advanced economies, members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
  • India ranks 43rd in this year’s GRI and has the same score compared to last year but its sub-indices all rank in the bottom five.
  • Compared to last year’s report, India declines in the Material Well-being (41st) and Health (43rd) sub-indices but gains ground in Finances (39th) and Quality of Life (43rd).

Of course, the index ranks mostly advanced economies, not comparable to India. But India also ranks the lowest among the BRIC economies.


Source : Economic Times

GS II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

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Health Ministry set for 2nd round of National Deworming initiative to tackle Worm Infections in children

Why in News?

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is all geared up for its 2nd  round of National Deworming Day (NDD) 2017 on 10thAugust in 33 States/UTs followed by mop-up activities on 17th August targeting 31 crore children.

About the Program

  • The NDD program has been launched in 2015 as WHO estimates that 220 million children below 14 years of age are at risk of STH infections in India.
  • National Deworming Day is organised twice in a year covering all the children from 1-19 years of age except the States of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where deworming is carried out once in a year.
  • The Soil Transmitted Helminths (STH) prevalence in these two States is less than 20%.
  • All the children are provided deworming tablet in schools and anganwadis.
  • The deworming has the potential to improve nutritional status of children.
  • The deworming tablet called ‘Albendazole’ is a safe and efficacious drug for controlling worm infestation.

This is one of the largest public health programs reaching large number of children during a short period. The first NDD round of 2017 implemented in February covered 26 crore children with a coverage of 89%


Source : The Hindu

GS II :  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

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ISRO to develop full-fledged Earth observation satellite

In news

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) says it plans to launch a full-fledged niche Earth observation (EO) satellite — called the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS — using a critical chip it has developed.

Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS

  • A new set of future satellites called hyperspectral imaging satellites is set to add teeth to the way India is gleaned from about 600 km in space.
  • Hyperspectral or hyspex imaging is said to be an EO trend that is being experimented globally.
  • It can be used for a range of activities from monitoring the environment, crops, looking for oil and minerals all the way up to military surveillance all of which need images that show a high level of differentiation of the object or scene.
  • ‘Hyspex’ imaging is said to enable distinct identification of objects, materials or processes on Earth by reading the spectrum for each pixel of a scene from space.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

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NITI Aayog selects 3 States for transformative change in Health & Education sectors

In News

NITI Aayog, announces partnership with three States each to radically transform their Health and Education sectors, major push to competitive, cooperative federalism.

About 

  • NITI Aayog has selected Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Karnataka to improve healthcare delivery and key outcomes in these States.
  • In Education, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Jharkhand have been selected for support to better learning outcomes.
  • The six States have been chosen after a rigorous competitive process based on comprehensive metrics to determine potential for impact and likelihood of success.

How is the process ?

  • States were called to, first, express intent of collaborating with NITI Aayog to better their Health and Education indices.
  • States then made presentations for each sector which was assessed by a committee comprised of senior members of NITI Aayog and Health and Education ministries.
  • The States highlighted the initiatives undertaken by them thus far, their willingness to accelerate improvement and justified why they should be selected for the institutional support being offered by NITI Aayog.

Evaluation of states

  • On thorough technical evaluation, the chosen States have committed to time-bound, governance reforms in both sectors.
  • A Program Management Unit to push for efficiency and efficacy in governance structures and service delivery will now be available in the six chosen States for a period of 30 months.
  • It is expected that these three years of focussed attention and support from the premier think tank will lead to a marked transformation and also provide a model for other States to replicate and adapt.

Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital 

This three-way partnership between NITI, State Governments and a knowledge partner for each of the sectors is part of the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) initiative of NITI Aayog.

NITI Aayog has launched SATH, a program providing ‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ with the State Governments. The vision of the program is to initiate transformation in the education and health sectors. The program addresses the need expressed by many states for technical support from NITI .


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

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Swachh Bharat launches Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017

Why In News

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation  launched a third party verification survey report to take stock of the progress already made by the Mission in rural India. The Quality Council of India (QCI) has conducted a transparent third-party assessment of the present status of rural sanitation in all States and UTs, called Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017.

Key facts of survey

  • QCI surveyed 1.4 lakh rural households across 4626 villages, and found the overall toilet coverage to be 62.45%.
  • At the time of the survey, i.e. May-June 2017, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) MIS reported the coverage to be 63.73%.
  • The survey also observed that 91.29% of the people having access to a toilet, use it.
  • Kerala and Haryana have topped the survey.
  • Northeastern States of Sikkim, Manipur and Nagaland have performed well with 95% rural households covered by toilets.
  • And so were the Himalayan States of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with over 90% toilet coverage of the rural houses.
  • Tamil Nadu was the other performer as 79% rural households had access to a toilet.
  • Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were among the worst performers in terms of rural sanitation. In Bihar, only 30% of the rural household had access to toilets while Uttar Pradesh was marginally better at 37% . Another State, Jharkhand, too scored the same as U.P.
  • Gujarat  fared better in terms of rural sanitation as 85% of rural households had access to toilets.

Source : The Hindu

GS I :  Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies

0

Bloomberg Billionaire Index reveals the rise of inequality in India

Why in the news

The data released by the Bloomberg Billionaire Index reveals statistics about the rise of inequality in India.

What is the data shows ?

  • It showed that the top 20 industrialists in India added a staggering $50 billion to their combined wealth in the first seven months this year,
  • Taking their total valuation to $200 billion roughly 10 percent of India’s $2 trillion economy.

Other report

  • Oxfam report released this year revealed that 57 billionaires in India own as much as the bottom 70 percent of the population.
  • The richest one percent holds 58 percent of the country’s total wealth higher than the global average of 50 percent.

Concern on equality

Therefore, inequality is no longer a first-world phenomenon. It is very much at our shores, but the moot question remains if the trend is undesirable at all. Shows the redistributive means needs improvement.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

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Southeast Asia, China adopt framework for crafting code on South China Sea

In News

Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea. But critic seen it as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power.

What is the reason for dispute ?

  • The region hold a wealth of untapped oil and gas reserves and besides roughly more than $3 billion of ship-borne trade passes every year.
  • China claims 90% of the South China Sea.
  • Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also contest China’s claims to islands and reef systems closer to their territory than China.
  • China says it follows a historical precedent set by the nine-dash line that it drew in 1947 following the surrender of Japan.
  • The line has been included in subsequent maps issued by government.

What is the current framework seeks for ?

  • Framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea.
  • This was ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven manmade islands in disputed waters, three of which are equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars.
  • The framework is only an outline for how the code will be established.
  • Some nations wanting mention of a dispute resolution mechanism and respecting “sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction”. Sovereign rights cover entitlements to fish and extraction of natural resources.
  • Several ASEAN countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, have said they still favour making the code legally binding, that China is unlikely to agree to.

How the critic seen the framework ?

  • The failure to outline as an initial objective the need to make the code legally binding and enforceable or have a dispute resolution mechanism, raises doubts about how effective the pact will be.
  • China’s sudden interest in the code after 15 years of delays is to drag out the negotiating process to buy time to complete its strategic objectives in the South China Sea, through which more than $3 billion of ship-borne trade passes annually.

Source : Economic Times

GS II : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

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Focus is on chemicals in firecrackers

In news

The Supreme Court ban on the use of antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacture of firecrackers to prevent air pollution has turned the focus on what chemicals are used to produce spectacular visual effects and noise.

Concern over firecracker

No standards have been laid down by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) with regard to air pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers.

Effect of firecracker

  • Aluminium powder, sulphur and potassium nitrate go into noise-making crackers, while barium nitrate (green) and strontium nitrate (red) emit light.
  • Aluminium powder is used in sparklers.
  • Chinese crackers, which use chlorate are, therefore, banned in India.
  • Colours in FIRECRACKER
    Red Strontium salts (Nitrates, carbonates and sulphates of strontium)
    Orange Calcium salts (Carbonates, chlorides and sulphates of calcium)
    Yellow Sodium salts ( Nitrates and oxalates of sodium)
    Green Barium salts (Nitrates, carbonates, chlorides and chlorates of barium)
    Blue Copper salts (Carbonates and oxides of copper)
    Purple A combination of copper and strontium compounds
    White he burning of metals like magnesium, aluminium and titanium)

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

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Venkaiah Naidu becomes India’s new vice-president

Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu has been elected as India’s 15th Vice-president who was a Former Union Minister.

Vice President Election

  • Unlike the presidential election held recently, in which the electoral college also includes MLAs of all state assemblies and union territories, only MPs of the two Houses can vote in the vice-presidential election.

1. It consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament

2. It does not include the members of the state legislative assemblies

  • Qualification

1. He should be a citizen of India.
2. He should have completed 35 years of age.
3. He should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any           state government or any local authority or any other public authority.

  • Functions 

1. He acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha
2. He acts as President when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President


Source : In General News

GS II : Polity

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Proxy voting raises many complex issues

Why in News

 Union Cabinet on Wednesday agreed to amend the electoral laws to let NRIs nominate04ki vote persons to vote on their behalf in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.The Centre’s nod for `proxy’ voting rights for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) as a major step towards full democratic empowerment.

Need for Proxy voting

For millions of Indians working abroad the Cabinet decision, if implemented after getting Parliament approval, would be a major achievement.

Concerns over the proxy system

  • The proxy voting would lead to gross electoral abuse, particularly in the traditionally small-margin Assembly constituencies.
  • The nomination system would help parties to `buy votes’ from the NRIs’ nominees.

Alternative method instead of Proxy

  • Mahe residents have for long been voting online in the French elections.
  • The government to make Aadhaar mandatory for all, including the NRIs, for voting. And, the NRIs should be allowed to do e-voting from their workplaces overseas using the Aadhaar number.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

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China produces gas from flammable ice under South China Sea

Why in news ?

China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as flammable ice, in an experimental project in the South China Sea.

What is flammable ice ?

Also called methane hydrate or Methane clathrates or gas hydrate, is a solid  in which methane-hydrate-depositsa large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water, forming a solid similar to ice.

Natural Deposits : Methane clathrates are restricted to the shallow lithosphere i.e. < 2,000 m depth. Furthermore, necessary conditions are found only in either continental sedimentary rocks in polar regions where average surface temperatures are less than 0 °C; or in oceanic sediment at water depths greater than 300 m where the bottom water temperature is around 2 °C.

What is the use ?

If methane hydrate is either warmed or depressurized, it will revert back to water and natural gas. When brought to the earth’s surface, one cubic meter of gas hydrate releases 164 cubic meters of natural gas. It is thought to have the potential to be a revolutionary energy source that could be key to future energy needs.

Japan reported a similar successful production test . India, Canada and the United States are also believed to be looking at hydrates as an alternative energy source.


Source : The Hindu

GS I : Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent)

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India among top nations with potential for digital payments

In News

India has emerged strong, exhibiting a high potential in terms of digital payments and has been categorised under the break out segment among 60 countries, according to the Digital Evolution Index 2017.

Break out segment : Refers to countries that have relatively lower absolute levels of digital advancement, yet remain poised for growth and are attractive to investors by virtue of their potential,

What the report says?

  • The Fletcher School at Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard, unveiled the Digital Evolution Index 2017.
  • The Index is a comprehensive research that tracks the progress countries have made in developing their digital economies and integrating connectivity into the lives of billions.
  • The Index measures four key drivers – supply, consumer demand, institutional environment, and innovation.

India in the digital evolution

India has been experiencing rapid strides of progress with an evolving payments landscape, catalysed by the governments demonetisation decision. With new players foraying into the market and an entire gamut of solutions for alternate payments, the India payment ecosystem is growing each day


Source : Economic Times

GS III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property right

0

Muntra, country’s first unmanned tank, rolls out from the Chennai lab

In News 

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an unmanned, remotely operated tank which has three variants surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and bio threats named as Muntra.

About the vehicle

  • Muntra-S is the country’s first tracked unmanned ground vehicle developed for unmanned surveillance missions while Muntra-M is for detecting mines and Muntra-N is for operation in areas where there is a nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk.
  • The vehicle has been tested and validated at Mahajan field firing range in Rajasthan under dusty desert conditions where temperatures touched 52 C. Army comfortably tele-operated the vehicle.
  • It has surveillance radar, an integrated camera along with laser range finder which can be used to spy on ground target 15km away – may be a crawling men or heavy vehicles.

Source : Economic Times

GS III : Internal Security

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Scheme for banks not applied as envisaged’

In News

The Centre’s Indradhanush scheme to recapitalise public sector banks (PSBs) based on their performance was not implemented in a manner envisaged, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

About CAG report

  • According to the CAG report tabled in Parliament on Friday, as per the scheme, a portion of the recapitalisation was to be based on the bank’ performance. However, this was not followed during disbursal of funds.
  • The parameters used to determine whether banks required capital changed from year to year and in some years the rationale for capitalising banks was not even recorded. The scheme’s target of raising Rs. 1.1 lakh crore from the markets by 2018-19 was not likely to be met.
  • Audit also noticed that in some cases the rationale for distribution of GOI capital among different PSBs (Public Sector Banks) was not on record.
  • Some banks that did not qualify for additional capital as per the decided norms, were infused with capital, and in some cases, banks were infused with more capital than required.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

0

Ministry of Health releases Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care

In news

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently released Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care (FPC) for improving newborn health.

Details of the guidelines

  • The guidelines will serve as a guiding document for those intending to introduce FPC in their facility as an integral part of facility based newborn care.
  • The document also provides details of infrastructure, training, role of health care providers and steps in the operationalization of FPC in the newborn care unit.
  • The operational guidelines of FPC are for all stakeholders involved in the process of planning and delivering newborn care.
  • Guidelines also addresses various aspects of attitudes, infrastructural modifications and practice that will help in establishing FPC at Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU) such as sensitization of State and District Managers on FPC, prioritization of SNCUs for initiating FPC, making required infrastructural enhancement in SNCU, creating family participatory care environment in SNCU, ensuring availability of supplies for parents-attendants, training of SNCU staff for SNCU, role of healthcare providers for FPC implementation and institutional support for FPC.
  • The capacities of parents-attendants are built in newborn care through a structured training programme (audio -visual module and a training guide). The staff at a newborn care unit would provide continuous supervision and support.

Need for Care

Sick and newborn are highly vulnerable and require careful nurturing in order to survive the neonatal period and first year of life. Under National Health Mission, more than 700 state of the art Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU) have been established across the country to provide 24 X 7 comprehensive care to the newborns by dedicated trained staff.

If parents are trained, during the stay of their babies in the hospital, to provide supportive care to their sick and newborns, it will help in not only improving survival of the babies after discharge but will also provide for psycho-social and developmental needs of the newborn. In this regard, Family Participatory Care has emerged as an important concept of health care which provides for partnership between health care staff and families in care of sick newborns admitted in the SNCU.


Source : Pib

GS II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

0

Post-GST, heavy sacks and small change

In News

It might have adverse consequences for the environment explained in the article.

Why GST adversely affect environment ?

  • The tax rate on recycled plastic shooting up from 5.5% to 18% post-GST, ragpicking as a livelihood is turning unviable.
  • After GST came in, the 18% tax on waste plastic has sparked a downward spiral in prices in the recycling markets.
  • Plastic recyclers, faced with the new tax, are protecting their margins by slashing prices at which they buy from thousands of waste managers and ragpickers.
  • The price of mixed plastic is down from Rs. 19 per kg to around Rs. 13 now.
  • The lower demand, coupled with the “sudden introduction of confusing taxes” has resulted in reduced purchases of waste.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

0

NASA scientists to chase solar eclipse using special research jets

In News

Scientists are planning to chase the shadow of the Moon using NASA’s research jets during the upcoming total solar eclipse in the US, in order to capture the clearest ever images of the Sun’s outer atmosphere.

Taking observations from twin telescopes mounted on the noses of the planes will capture the clearest images of the Sun’s corona to date and the first-ever thermal images of Mercury, revealing how temperature varies across the planet’s surface.

Solar eclipse

  • As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse is a type of eclipse that occurs when Untitledthe Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks  the Sun.
  • This can happen only at new moon when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth in an alignment referred to as syzygy.
  • In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon.
  • In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured.

Why the study ?

The corona is heated to millions of degrees, yet the lower atmospheric layers like the photosphere, the visible surface of the Sun are only heated to a few thousand degrees. Scientists are not sure how this inversion happens.

The high-definition pictures, captured 30 times per second, will be analysed for wave motion in the corona to see if waves move towards or away from the surface of the Sun, and with what strengths and sizes.


Source : Indian Express

GS III : Awareness in the fields of Space

0

Niti Aayog clears six proposals for high-tech public transport

Why in news ? 

Niti Aayog cleared half-a-dozen proposals of the transport ministry exploring options to improve public transport.

Approval of Niti Aayog to experiment and introduce six latest mass rapid transportation technologies. These technologies include metrino, stadler buses, hyperloop, pod taxis, hybrid buses and freight rail road.

How it helpful in transport?

Mass rapid transportation technologies such as hyperloop, metrino and pod taxis couldpg-15-1 soon be a reality. Approved the proposals of the transport ministry with a condition that the ministry conducts trial run of all these technologies and puts in place safety measures before starting commercially operation. India don’t have any such thing, need to know the global safety standards and ensure that these technology companies are following it.

Need for new technology

The new technologies are being explored as current public transportation is unable to resolve the increasing traffic crisis in the country. Besides, some of them are more cost effective than the existing ones. Metrino (pod taxis) is almost one tenth of the cost of the metro, so there’s a cost advantage as well.


Source : Economic Times

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc

0

Cabinet clears minimum wage code bill

In News

Union cabinet cleared the first of the four labour codes on wages, paving way for consolidation of more than a dozen different central labour laws dealing with wages of labourers.

Features of the Bill

  • Bill also seeks to empower the Centre to set a minimum wage across sectors, and states will have to maintain that. However, states will be able to provide higher minimum wage in their jurisdiction than fixed by the central government since labour is in the concurrent list.
  • Once approved by Parliament, even workers getting monthly pay of higher than Rs 18,000 would be legally entitled to a minimum wage ensure a universal minimum wage for all industries and workers.
  • Besides, the minimum wage will be applicable on all classes of workers. Now it made for all classes.
  • The Centre to notify a national minimum wage below which no state can fix their minimum wages and this will be revised every two years.

Under the code on wages, the labour ministry plans to streamline the definition of wages by amalgamating four wage-related statutes. These include the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. At present, there are about half a dozen definitions of wages in various acts across the Centre and states, which employers have to grapple with.


Source : ET

GS II : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

0

States can’t enact law on parliamentary secretaries: SC

Why in news ?

SC ruling : state assemblies hold no power to enact a law that enables them to appoint parliamentary secretaries.

Parliamentary secretary

A Parliament Secretary is similar to a Minister of State who assists a Minister in his or her duties.

Background

The ruling while hearing pleas challenging the appointment of 13 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries by the Assam government in 2015. The verdict would also have an impact on the Aam Aadmi Party government’s decision to appoint 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

Delhi Ruling : The Delhi High Court too had quashed their appointments, saying it lacked the approval of the lieutenant governor. The matter is currently pending before the Election Commission of India. All 21 MLAs may be disqualified if the poll body finds that AAP MLAs serving as parliamentary secretaries was a case of holding an office of profit.

Assam Ruling : The bench in its 39-page verdict observed that the legislature of Assam lacked the competence to make the impugned act, and declared it unconstitutional.

Why the conflict occur ?

  • The Constitution specifies conditions which disqualify MPs, MLAs, Municipality and Panchayat members from membership of their respective institutions on the reason of holding an “Office of Profit” under the state or central government.
  • The Constitution caps the number of members in the union and state cabinet. Article 164(1A) specifies that the number of ministers including the Chief Minister has to be within 15% of the total number of members of the Assembly. (10% in the case of Delhi, which is not a ‘full’ state).

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

0

Panel for action against farmers using herbicides on GM mustard

Backgroud

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee’s (GEAC) sub-committee has drafted several recommendations on GM mustard before it approved the crop for commercial release. These included a proposal for legal action on farmers using the glufosinate-based herbicide (Basta) on the crop unless otherwise approved by the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee. Anti-GM activists question how effective such regulation.

Effect of glufosinate-based herbicide (Basta) on Human

Glufosinate-based herbicides act as a neurotoxin and have adverse impacts on humans, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Agriculture; Biotechnology

 

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Lingayats united in demand for separate religion status

Why in news ?

Veerashaiva/Lingayata Dharma demanded that it is an independent religion and is different from Hinduism and want independent religion status for the same.

Why they Claim a separate religion?

  • There are two main religious streams in Hinduism — Shaivas and Vaishnavas.
  • Veerashaiva is one among the seven sects of Shaivas.
  • Both Shaivas and Vaishnavas uphold Vedas, Agamas, Shastras and Puranas and follow the Vedic religious practices.
  • Historically, it is an independent religion founded by Basaveshwara in the 12th century.
  • However, Lingayat religion founded by Basaveshwara vehemently opposed them.
  • Lingayats are spread across Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and other States.
  • Community leaders, in the memorandum, asked the government not to issue caste certificate as Veerashaiva Lingayat to Lingayat community members and recommend that the Union government recognise Lingayat as an independent religion.

Source : The Hindu

GS I : Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India