Himalai Celebrating 20th-year celebration, on this eve Himalai extending helping hands to the UPSC-IAS Aspirants of June 2018.

Most important exam oriented Current Affairs Concepts:

1. Start-Up Sangam Initiative

10 public sector undertakings under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, including the IOCL, ONGC, EIL, OIL, NRL, BPCL, HPCL, GAIL and MRPL, have created a corpus of Rs. 320 crore to support Start-Up Sangam Initiatives.The Start- up ideas have been received from a varying age group (from a fresh engineering graduate to a 70-year-old entrepreneur) from across the country.

2. South Asian Association for Regional Co – operation in Law

SAARCLAW, is an association of the legal communities of the SAARC countries comprising judges, lawyers, academicians, law teachers, public officers and a host of other law-related persons, duly registered with the SAARC Secretariat at Kathmandu and awarded the status of a Regional Apex Body of SAARC . It owes its origin to the desire of the members of the legal community to establish an association within the SAARC region to disseminate information and to promote an understanding of the concerns and developments of the region.

SAARCLAW was established in Colombo on 24th October 1991, when the then President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr. Ranasinghe Premadasa inaugurated the Association in the presence of a large gathering including 175 members of the legal community like judges, legal practitioners and academics of the SAARC. In the ensuing twenty six years, affiliate Country Chapters have been established in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and activities of the Organisation have also taken place in the Republic of Maldives. A permanent Regional Secretariat as has been established in Kathmandu, Nepal on January, 2016.

The SAARCLAW CONFERENCES have been acclaimed as affording an opportunity to its members for interaction, exchange of ideas and for forging a spirit of solidarity. It has been the convention since 1995 to hold a conference of the Chief Justices of the SAARC countries concurrently with the SAARCLAW Conference and the Chief Justices’ Conference has become an integral part of the SAARCLAW Conference. This feature has become institutionalized now and offers a forum for the exchange of thoughts and views of the Chief Justices of our countries.

3. Bharat Net Phase 1

Government has achieved a significant milestone under the Bharat Net by completing Phase-1 of the project by connecting over one lakh Gram Panchayats (GP) across the country with high speed optical fibre network as per the declared deadline of 31 Dec 2017. Bharat Net network built under Phase 1 envisages delivery of high-speed broadband services in over 2.5 lakh villages benefitting more than 200 million rural Indians.

The project aims to provide affordable broadband services to citizens and institutions in rural and remote areas, in partnership with States and the private sector.

The tariff for Bharat Net was also revised to attract more Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to use the infrastructure to provide high-speed broadband services in the rural areas through Wi-Fi, FTTH, and for developing utilisation models by TSPs and Common Service Centres (CSC).

Under the award categories, UP(East), Maharashtra, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand were adjudged as the Best performing States which implemented Bharat Net Phase 1. Kerala, Karnataka and Haryana were the States which covered all the GPs under the Project. Karnataka bagged the award for Best Utilisation of Bharat Net.

4. REPAIR

REPAIR is based on the gene editing tool CRISPR that can be used to modify DNA in cells.
The new system, developed by scientists from The Broad Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, can change single RNA nucleosides in mammalian cells in a programmable and precise fashion.

REPAIR has the ability to reverse disease-causing mutations at the RNA level, as well as other potential therapeutic and basic science applications.

REPAIR has the ability to target individual RNA letters, or nucleosides, switching adenosines to inosines.

These letters are involved in single-base changes known to regularly cause disease in humans.
In human disease, a mutation from G to A is extremely common; these alterations have been implicated in, for example, cases of focal epilepsy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease.

REPAIR has the ability to reverse the impact of any pathogenic G-to-A mutation regardless of its surrounding nucleotide sequence, with the potential to operate in any cell type.
Unlike the permanent changes to the genome required for DNA editing, RNA editing offers a safer, more flexible way to make corrections in the cell.

5. ‘Adopt a Heritage’ Scheme

The Project aims to develop synergy among all partners to effectively promote “responsible tourism”.
It aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/ State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India.

They would become ‘Monument Mitras’ through the innovative concept of “Vision Bidding”, where the agency with best vision for the heritage site will be given an opportunity to associate pride with their CSR activities. They would also get limited visibility in the premises and the Incredible India website. The aim is enhancement of tourist experience and promotion of the incredible heritage sites to bring them on tourism map.

The project primarily focusses on providing basic amenities that includes cleanliness, public conveniences, drinking water, ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens, standardized signage, illumination and advanced amenities such as surveillance system, night viewing facilities, tourism facilitation center and an enhanced tourism experience that will result in more tourist footfalls, both domestic and foreign.
1. The priority areas of Programme are listed as under:
2. Developing basic tourism infrastructure;
3. Promoting cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions;
4. Enhancing the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world-class infrastructure at the heritage monument sites;
5. Creating employment through active involvement of local communities;
6. Harnessing tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development;
7. Developing sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensuring proper Operations and Maintenance there in.

6. CVC to develop Integrity Index of 25 Organizations

In line with the broader strategy and emphasis on preventive vigilance, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) believes that the next level of systemic change can be through the tool of Integrity Index. The CVC has therefore decided to go in for development of the Integrity Index-based on bench-marking of internal processes and controls within an organisation as well as management of relationships and expectations of outside stakeholders.

The Integrity Index will bring out annual scores/rankings of Public Sector Undertakings/Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions/Departments/Ministries of Government of India by linking the essential drivers of vigilance with long term efficiency, profitability and sustainability of public organizations and create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity in public organizations.

CVC has adopted a research-based approach for creating an integrity index that various organizations can use to measure themselves and which will evolve with changing needs and with this view IIM-Ahmedabad has been engaged to develop the Integrity Index. Being a new initiative, initially 25 organizations have been selected for development of the Integrity Index (as per list attached). Subsequently, it is proposed to extend the Integrity Index concept to all other CPSUs and organizations of Government of India. The management of all 25 organizations have been involved in the development of Integrity Index

The main objectives for which the Integrity Index is to be established are:
1. Define what constitutes Integrity of Public Organizations.
2. Identify the different factors of Integrity and their inter-linkages.
3. Create an objective and reliable tool that can measure the performance of organizations along these above factors.
4. Validate the findings over a period of time to improve upon the robustness of the tool that measures Integrity
5. Create an internal and external ecosystem that promotes working with Integrity where public organizations lead the way.

7. Bharatmala Pariyojana

The programme has been designed to bridge the gaps in the existing highways infrastructure so as to make the movement of man and material more efficient. Special attention has been paid to fulfill the connectivity needs of backward and tribal areas, areas of economic activity, places of religious and tourist interest, border areas, coastal areas and trade routes with neighbouring countries under the programme.

The programme will help to connect 550 Districts in the country through NH linkages. the programme will also help generate a large number of direct and indirect employment in the construction activity, the development of highways amenities and also as part of the enhanced economic activity in different parts of the country that will result from better road connectivity .

A total of around 24,800 kms are being considered in Phase I of Bharatmala. In addition, Bharatmala Pariyojana phase –I also includes 10,000 kms of balance road works under NHDP, taking the total to 34,800 kms at an estimated cost of Rs.5,35,000 crore. Bharatmala Phase I – is to be implemented over a five years period of i.e. 2017-18 to 2021-22.

8. Petroleum coke,

Petroleum coke, abbreviated coke or petcoke, is a final carbon-rich solid material that derives from oil refining, and is one type of the group of fuels referred to as cokes. Petcoke is the coke that, in particular, derives from a final cracking process–a thermo-based chemical engineering process that splits long chain hydrocarbons of petroleum into shorter chains—that takes place in units termed coker units.[(Other types of coke are derived from coal.) Stated succinctly, coke is the “carbonization product of high-boiling hydrocarbon fractions obtained in petroleum processing (heavy residues). Petcoke is also produced in the production of synthetic crude oil, from bitumen extracted from Canada’s oil sands and from Venezuela’s Orinoco oil sands .

In petroleum coker units, residual oils from other distillation processes used in petroleum refining are treated at a high temperature and pressure leaving the petcoke after driving off gases and volatiles, and separating off remaining light and heavy oils. These processes are termed “coking processes”, and most typically employ chemical engineering plant operations for the specific process of delayed coking

9. SAATHI

SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help small Industries). Under this initiative, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector entity under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, would procure energy efficient Powerlooms, motors and Rapier kits in bulk and provide them to the small and medium Powerloom units at no upfront cost.

The SAATHI initiative of the Government will be jointly implemented by EESL and the office of the Textile Commissioner on a pan-India basis. To kick start the implementation, cluster wise demonstration projects and workshops will be organized in key clusters such as Erode, Surat, Ichalkaranji, etc.

The use of these efficient equipment would result in energy savings and cost savings to the unit owner and he would repay in installments to EESL over a 4 to 5 year period. This is the aggregation, bulk procurement and financing model that EESL has successfully deployed in several sectors like LED bulbs, Smart Meters and Electric Vehicles. The unit owner neither has to allocate any upfront capital cost to procure these equipment nor does it have to allocate additional expenditure for repayment as the repayments to EESL are made from the savings that accrue as a result of higher efficiency equipments and cost savings. The aggregation of demand and bulk procurement will also lead to reduction in capital cost, benefits of which will be passed on to the Powerloom units so that their repayment amount and period would reduce.

The Powerloom sector in India is predominantly an unorganized sector and has a large number of micro and small units which produce 57 percent of the total cloth in the country. There are 24.86 lakhs Powerloom units in this country, most of whom use obsolete technology. With a view to upgrading the technology, the Government of India has been implementing the INSITU upgradation of plain Powerlooms as part of Power Tex India under which plain Powerlooms are attached with process control equipment leading to higher productivity, better quality and more than 50 percent additional value realisation.

10. RBI The task force

1. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed a high-level task force on public credit registry (PCR) for India.
2. The terms of reference of the task force include, reviewing the current availability of information on credit in the country, assessing gaps in India that could be filled by a comprehensive public credit registry and suggesting a roadmap including the priority areas, for developing a transparent, comprehensive and near-real-time public credit registry for India.
3. The task force will also study the best international practices on public credit registry; decide the structure of the new information system.
4. The task force will determine the scope of the comprehensive PCR such as the type of information that should be covered along with the cut-off size of credit.

About Public Credit Agency (PCR)
1. A PCR is set up by the central bank and reporting of loan details to the Registry by lenders and/or borrowers is mandated by law.
2. A public credit registry would help good borrowersin securing credit at lowers costs and also improve access of credit to small and medium enterprises.
3. Currently, there are four credit bureaus in India — Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL), Equifax, Experian, and CRIF Highmark.
4. These bureaus provide credit scores and allied reports and services.
5. Their analysis reports are used for issuing credit cards and for taking decisions mainly on retail loans. The bureaus are regulated by the RBI under the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005.
6. A survey conducted by the World Bank reported that as of 2012, out of 195 countries that were surveyed, 87 were having PCRs, as per the RBI.

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