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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Draft Guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana

In News

Draft guidelines for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) have been prepared by the Ministry.

Draft Guidlines

The draft guidelines inter-alia provide Aadhaar linkage, Direct Benefit Transfer of Rs. 5000 in beneficiarys bank/post office account in three instalments at the stage of early registration of pregnancy, after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and registration of child birth & first cycle of immunisation of the child.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women of 19 years of age or above for first two live births.
  • It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
  • Under which the cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40, for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States, it is 90:10 and 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.

Source : Pib

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

 

Ministry of Rural Development to launch Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana

In News

The Ministry of Rural Development will launch a new sub-scheme under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) which will be named as Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana (AGEY).

Objective of the scheme

  • The main objectives of AGEY are to provide an alternative source of livelihoods to members of Self Help Groups (SHGs) under DAY-NRLM by facilitating them to operate public transport services in backward rural areas.
  • This will provide safe, affordable and community monitored rural transport services like e-rickshaws, 3 and 4 wheeler motorised transport vehicles to connect remote villages with key services and amenities including access to markets, education and health for the overall economic development of the area.
  • The sub-scheme will be implemented in 250 blocks in the country on a pilot basis for a period of 3 years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • The States have been informed about the number of blocks allocated to them to take up this sub-scheme in the pilot phases.
  • One of the options proposed to be given under the sub-scheme is that the Community Based Organisation (CBO) will provide interest free loan from its own corpus to Self Help Group member for purchase of the vehicle.

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM)

To reduce poverty by enabling the poor households to access gainful self- employment and skilled wage employment opportunities resulting in appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong and sustainable grassroots institutions of the poor.

  • The Government is implementing DAY-NRLM across the country in all States and Union Territories (except Delhi and Chandigarh).
  • Under DAY-NRLM, till date, 34.4 lakh women SHGs have been promoted under the programme.
  • The financial support under the programme is mainly in the form of Revolving Fund and Community Investment Funds, given as grants to the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their federations.
  • So far, the total amount released to SHGs is Rs. 1815 crore to about 3.96 lakh SHGs.
  • A sum of Rs. 1088 crore has also been disbursed to 7.28 lakh SHGs as revolving Fund.
  • DAY-NRLM also focuses on bank linkage of the institutions to enable their income.
  • The Cumulative Bank Credit mobilized for women SHGs and their federations since inception is to the tune of Rs 1.19 lakh crores.

Source : Business Standard

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

First meeting of Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC)

Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan chaired the first meeting of apex body for policy formulation and implementation of Roadmap to achieve target of 10 % reduction in import dependency in oil and gas by 2021-22 under an institutional mechanism ‘Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC).

Integrated Monitoring and Advisory Council (IMAC)

  • IMAC was envisaged to facilitate better coordination and comprehensive strategy for all energy resources by focusing on supply and demand side management.
  • IMAC is consisted of Secretary, Petroleum & Natural Gas and other Senior Officers from various Ministries such as Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Urban Development, Road and Transport, Agriculture, Power/Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Rural Development, Finance, Petroleum Planning Analysis Cell, PCRA, DGH etc

Source : Pib

GS II : Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

New 8% Pension Scheme, PMVVY, Launched

Why in news ?

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has formally launched the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY), or a pension scheme, for senior citizens.

What is the aim of the scheme ?

Under this scheme, senior citizens (60 years and above) in which they will get a guaranteed interest of 8 per cent for 10 years. Pension scheme will offer more avenues to senior citizens to earn steady regular income at a time of falling interest rates. The scheme is exempted from GST or goods and services tax.

  • PMVVY can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India which has been given the sole privilege to operate this scheme.
  • The scheme will provide an assured return of 8 per cent per annum payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30 per cent per annum) for 10 years.
  • The pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
  • There is a minimum and maximum limit for investment in Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana Scheme. The amount varies according to the pension payment mode chosen.
  • On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, purchase price along with final pension instalment shall be payable.
  • Loan up to 75 per cent of purchase price (amount invested to earn pension) shall be allowed after three policy years to meet the liquidity needs.
  • The scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98 per cent of the purchase price shall be refunded.
  • On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the purchase price shall be paid to the beneficiary.

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

Asmara and Hoh Xil in world heritage list of UNESCO

In News

UNESCO declared the Hoh Xil nature reserve in China’s Qinghai Province a natural heritage site and the Eritrean capital of Asmara has been listed as a Unesco world heritage site.

Eritrean Capital Asmara

  • Asmara is the capital city of Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa.
  • Asmara is a former Italian colony .Eritrea
  • Architects whose designs were unwelcome in conservative European cities found a place in Asmara at a time when about half of the city’s population was Italian and the city was known as Piccola Roma or Little Rome.
  • Modernist architecture of other Eritrean cities was destroyed during a decades-long war of liberation from Ethiopia, Asmara’s survived and was declared a national monument by the government in 2001.

Eritrea : Border with Sudan in the North-West, Ethiopia in the South and Djibouti in the South East. Coastal Border with Red Sea in the East.

China’s Hoh Xil

  • Hoh Xil nature reserve, an isolated region in the northwestern part located on the china Hoh XilQinghai-Tibet Plateau, is home to over 200 animal species.
  • More than 20 of them are state-protected, including the Tibetan antelope.
  • It is China’s largest world natural heritage site, covering an area of 45,000 sq. kilometers

Decision challenged by pro-Tibet activists : Giving Hoh Xil heritage status could have consequences for Tibet including the displacement of Tibetan nomads from their land.


Source : The Hindu

Prelims : Paper 1

City Liveability Index launched

Ministry of Urban Development launched the City Liveability Index for measuring the quality of life in 116 major cities including smart cities, capital cities and cities with a population of above one million each.

Importance of the Index

It will enable the cities know where they stand in terms of quality of life and the interventions required to improve the same. The ranking will be released in 2018.

Assessment through the Index

Cities will be assessed on a comprehensive set of 79 paratmeters to capture the extent and quality of infrastructure including availability of roads, education and health care, mobility, employment opportunities, emergency response, grievance redressal, pollution, availability of open and green spaces, cultural and entertainment opportunities etc.


Source : Pib

GS III : Developmental Studies 

 

POSOCO-IMD Weather Portal for Power Sector & Web Portal ‘MERIT’

Union Ministry for Power, Coal , New & Renewable Energy and Mines launched Weather Portal for Power Sector in association with POSOCO and IMD at the meeting of the Forum of Regulators here today .

Need for the initiative

Weather variations have an impact on load demand and energy production, transport and distribution management, as well as energy prices. Extreme events such as heat waves or cold waves, wind storms or floods can of course have dramatic consequences on the production means or the electrical grid of a country including physical damage to the infrastructure.

Information from the portal

Regional Weather Summary : This provides Weather Outlook for the Region for the current day and upto next 7 days. Weather stations of Meteorological department have been mapped to the nearest important Electrical Station/ Power Stations in each State.

  • Nowcast : It is used to forecast weather for a short period ahead, updated every 3 hours
  • Weather Forecast : It is provided for the current day and next 6 days
  • Weather Warning : Special Nowcast warning is issued for the next 3 hours.

Radar : The Doppler Weather Radar generates different displays and derived products of practical utility based on standard algorithms. These displays are updated every 10 minutes.

Satellite Images : INSAT 3D is being used to monitor the Weather of Indian Origin. The image is updated every 30 minutes.

Meteogram : The Meteogram at Web-Portal provides plots for Meteorological variables such as Rainfall, Cloud Cover, Temperature, Humidity, Wind, Speed, Sea Level Pressure, Indices for Thunderstorm etc. for 10 days with a resolution time of three hours. Each Meteogram provides information for the 10 km radius.

Region Specific Forecast : Fog Forecast, Metar, Bay Bulletin, Coastal Area Bulletin, Cyclone, Port Warning etc.

‘MERIT’ (Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency)

  • Developed by Ministry of Power in association with POSOCO and Central Electricity Authority.
  • The MERIT Web portal displays information regarding the merit order of Electricity procured by State(s)  such as daily state-wise marginal variable costs of all generators, daily source-wise power purchases of respective states/UTs with source-wise fixed and variable costs, energy volumes and purchase prices.
  • The web-portal also give information regarding reasons for deviation from merit order such as must run conditions, transmission constraints etc.

Source : Pib

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

 

India successfully fires heaviest launch vehicle

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its heaviest launch vehicle, GSLV MkIII-D1, and placed the country’s heaviest satellite till date, GSAT-19, into a precise orbit.

  • This was the first orbital mission of GSLV MkIII which was mainly intended to evaluate the vehicle performance including that of its fully indigenous cryogenic upper stage during the flight.
  • Weighing 3136 kg at lift-off, GSAT-19 is the heaviest satellite launched.

ISRO’s GSLV-Mk III

  • GSKV-Mk III  is capable of launching four-tonne satellites in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • The rocket is also capable of placing up to eight tonnes in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), enough to carry a manned module.
  • GSLV-Mk III is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C-25).
  • It is the first fully functional rocket to be tested with a cryogenic engine.

GSAT-19

  • GSAT-19 satellite developed to help improve telecommunication and broadcasting areas.gsat 19
  • GSAT-19 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3136 kg.
  • It carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders and Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components.

Tallest bridge across Chenab

Importance of the Bridge

  • World’s tallest railway arch bridge over the Chenab river in Jammu, providing rail connectivity to Kashmir.
  • It will be capable of handling high intensity blasts and resisting the worst possible natural disaster.
  • This is for the first time globally that a bridge is designed to handle high level trinitrotoluene (TNT) blast load.

About the Project

  • The bridge will be a crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra (Jammu) and Banihal (Kashmir) which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla.
  • The railway project aimed at linking Kashmir through rail with the rest of the country.Rail chenab
  • The 1.3 km long bridge over the Chenab at a height of 359 metres will be 35m taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris and five times the height of the Qutab Minar in Delhi.
  • The project site located at 60 km from the Pakistan border.
  • The construction work of the Chenab Bridge declared as a national project  in August 2004.