Himalai Celebrating its 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. The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill 2016.

The Admiralty law governs maritime questions and offenses. It is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities and private international law governing the relationships between private entities that operate vessels on the oceans. It deals with matters including marine commerce, marine navigation, marine salvaging, shipping, sailors, and the transportation of passengers and goods by sea.

A suit against a foreign ship owned by a foreign company not having a place of residence or business in a coastal state is liable to be proceeded against on the admiralty side of the High Court by an action in rem in respect of a cause of action alleged to have arisen by reason of a tort or a breach of obligation arising from the carriage of goods from a port in India to a foreign port. In rem jurisdiction (“power about or against ‘the thing'”) is a legal term describing the power a court may exercise over property (either real or personal) or a “status” against a person over whom the court does not have in personam jurisdiction. Jurisdiction in rem assumes that property or status is the primary object of the action, rather than personal liabilities not necessarily associated with the property (quasi in rem jurisdiction).

Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017, aims to establish a legal framework for consolidation of related laws to replace the age old archaic laws with modern Indian legislation and to confer admiralty jurisdiction on all High Courts of the coastal states of the country.

The Bill provides for prioritization of maritime claims and maritime liens while providing protection to owners, charterers, operators, crew members and seafarers at the same time.

As per the new Bill, High Courts of all the coastal states shall exercise admiralty jurisdiction over maritime claims which include several aspects not limited to goods imported and chattel as earlier, but also other claims such as payment of wages of seamen, loss of life, salvages, mortgage, loss or damage, services and repairs, insurance, ownership and lien, threat of damage to environment etc. The Bill accords highest priority to payment of wages of the seafarers. The Bill also provides for protection against wrongful and unjustified arrest and has provision for transfer of cases from one High Court to other High Court.

2. ESSO-INCOIS:

ESSO-INCOIS was established as an autonomous body in 1999 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO). ESSO- INCOIS is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focussed research.

  • Provides round-the-clock monitoring and warning services for the coastal population on tsunamis, storm surges, high waves, etc. through the in-house Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC). The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO designated ITEWC as a Regional Tsunami Service Provider (RTSP) to provide tsunami warnings to countries on the Indian Ocean Rim.
  • Its sevice extended tp Comros, Madgascar,Mozambique

3. West Bengal’S Gobindobhog Rice Gets Geographical Indication

West Bengal’S Gobindobhog Rice Gets Geographical Indication Status. ( September 19, 2017 ).Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) granted geographical indication (GI) status toGobindobhog rice, a specialty from Burdwan district of West Bengal. South Damodar belt is traditional area of Gobindobhog rice cultivation.

What Is A Gi Tag?

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act) was passed by the Parliament in December 1999. It was aimed at providing the registration and protection of GI of the goods available in India. The Registrar of Geographical Indication is authorized to give GI tags.

The GI tag is an indication which is definite to a geographical territory.

Which Products Can Get Gi Tag?

Agricultural, natural and manufactured goods can get GI tags. For a product to get GI tag, the goods need to be produced or processed or prepared in that particular region. The product should also have a special quality or reputation.

Other products that recently got the elite GI tag include Etikoppaka toys from Andhra Pradesh, Gobindobhog rice from West Bengal, Basmati rice from Madhya Pradesh and Banganapalle Mango of Andhra Pradesh

4. Namami Gange

Namami Gange program which integrates the efforts to clean and protect the Ganga river in a comprehensive manner. The program has a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore for the next 5 years.

The program also focuses on involving the States and grassroots level institutions such as Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions in implementation. The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs). NMCG will also establish field offices wherever necessary.

In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.

The Centre will now take over 100% funding of various activities/ projects under this program. Centre now plans to provide for operation & maintenance of the assets for a minimum 10 year period, and adopt a PPP/SPV approach for pollution hotspots. In an attempt to bolster enforcement the Centre also plans to establish a 4-battalion Ganga Eco-Task Force, a Territorial Army unit, apart from contemplating on a legislation that aims to check pollution and protect the river.

Major infrastructure investments which fall under the original mandate of other ministries viz. Urban Development (UD), Drinking Water & Sanitation (DWS), Environment Forests & Climate Change (EF&CC) etc., will be undertaken in addition.

Namami Gange will focus on pollution abatement interventions namely Interception, diversion & treatment of wastewater flowing through the open drains through bio-remediation / appropriate in-situ treatment / use of innovative technologies / sewage treatment plants (STPs) / effluent treatment plant (ETPs); rehabilitation and augmentation of existing STPs and immediate short term measures for arresting pollution at exit points on river front to prevent inflow of sewage etc.

Significantly the approach is underpinned by socio-economic benefits that the program is expected to deliver in terms of job creation, improved livelihoods and health benefits to the vast population that is dependent on the river.

5.First one fully owned and operated by iaea

The Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in the city of Oskemen, in eastern Kazakhstan, will store up to 90 tonnes of the fuel, enough to power a large city for three years, and sell it to IAEA members if they are unable to procure it elsewhere.

“The LEU Bank will serve as a last-resort mechanism to provide confidence to countries that they will be able to obtain LEU for the manufacture of fuel for nuclear power plants in the event of an unforeseen, non-commercial disruption to their supplies,”.

Countries such as Iran have said they need enrichment facilities to ensure a steady supply of fuel for nuclear power plants, and the idea behind the bank is to make such supply available without domestic enrichment.

Russia has operated a similar bank since 2010 but the one in Kazakhstan will be the first one fully owned and operated by the global nuclear watchdog.

“The IAEA said in a statement it would begin buying uranium soon, with the aim to ship it to the bank next year. The project was funded by donors, including the United States, the European Union, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Norway and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

6. 100% Strategic sale of Central Electronics Ltd (CEL).

The government has approved a 100% strategic sale along with transfer of management control of Central Electronics Ltd (CEL). Incorporated in 1974, CEL is under the administrative control of Ministry of Science and Technology.

The CPSE is wholly owned by the government and has a net worth of Rs50.34 crore as on March 2017.

“The Government of India (GoI) has ‘in-principle’ decided to disinvest its 100% equity in Central Electronics Ltd through strategic sale with transfer of management control,” Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said a bid document.

The government plans to engage an advisor from a consulting firm, investment banker or a merchant banker or a financial institution, for providing advisory services and managing the disinvestment process.

Besides, it also is looking to appoint a legal firm for advising on strategic sale of CEL. The selected entity will advise the government on the modalities and the timing of the strategic disinvestment of CEL and will prepare and submit a detailed operational scheme to implement the strategic disinvestment process, indicating tentative timelines for each activity.

The government has budgeted to raise 72,500 crore in 2017-18 through stake sale in PSUs. This includes Rs46,500 crore from minority stake sale, Rs15,000 crore from strategic disinvestment and Rs11,000 crore from listing of PSU insurance companies

7. Judicial Performance Index’

The Niti Aayog has suggested introduction of a ‘judicial performance index’ to check delay in trial and address the issue of pendency of cases. Asserting that corruption cases get held up in the judicial system inordinately, the policy think-tank has also recommended putting a time-limit for processing them.

In its draft three-year action agenda (for 2017-18 to 2019-20), the Aayog has suggested several judicial reforms, including increasing the use of information and communication technology, and streamlining judicial appointments.

“Such an index could be established to help high courts and high court chief justices keep a track of performance and process improvement at the district courts and subordinate levels for reducing delay,” the draft said.

This would require fixing non-mandatory time frames for different types of cases as broad guidelines to benchmark when a case has been delayed, it said.

“This annual evaluation should give judges in high courts and district courts a sense of where they are failing and what they need to fix. Since the subordinate judiciary is largely within the domain of the high courts, this could also spur competitive reform of the judiciary in those states,”

The Niti Aayog report has also suggested shifting some workload out of the regular court system and introduction of an administrative cadre in the judicial system.

8. Jio Parsi

Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-1 was initiated in 2013 for containing the declining trend of population of the Parsi community and reverse it to bring their population above the threshold level.

The main objective of the Jiyo Parsi scheme is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions, stabilize their population and increase the population of Parsis in India. Ministry of Minority Affairs’ scheme has two components: Medical Assistance and Advocacy/Counseling. The scheme has been successful. 101 babies have been born in Parsi community through Jiyo Parsi scheme.

Parsi, also spelled Parsee, member of a group of followers in India of the Persian prophet Zoroaster. The Parsis, whose name means “Persians”, are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by the Muslims. They live chiefly in Mumbai and in a few towns and villages mostly to the south of Mumbai, but also a few minorities near by in Karachi (Pakistan) and Bangalore (Karnataka, India). There is a sizeable Parsee population in Pune as well in Hyderabad.

A few Parsee families also reside in Kolkata and Chennai. Although they are not, strictly speaking, a caste, since they are not Hindus, they form a well-defined community. The exact date of the Parsi migration is unknown. According to tradition, the Parsis initially settled at Hormuz on the Persian Gulf, but finding themselves still persecuted they set sail for India, arriving in the 8th century. The migration may in fact have taken place as late as the 10th century, or in both. They settled first at Diu in Kathiawar but soon moved to south Gujarāt, where they remained for about 800 years as a small agricultural community

The Parsi community has given so many great people who have been architects of nation building.

The Parsi community is a very small minority community in India, there is no doubt that the Parsi community is one of the most liberal, aware towards education and an example of peace and harmony.

Jamshetji Tata played a crucial role in industrial development of India; Dadabhai Naoroji and Madam Bhikaji Cama played an important role in India’s freedom struggle; Homi J Bhabha is father of Indian nuclear programme. Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw’s service to the nation will be remembered always. Be it industry, military service, legal service, architecture or civil services, the Parsi community has always shown its talent.

9. Starshot Sprites in orbit

Sprites are ‘satellites on a chip,’ growing out of research performed by Mason Peck and his team at Cornell University.

Sprites as ‘a very early version of what we would send to interstellar distances,’ a notion that highlights the enormity of the challenge while pointing to the revolutionary changes that may make such payloads possible. The issues multiply the more you think about them — chip-like satellites in space have no radiation shielding and are susceptible to damage along the route of flight. But missions like these will help us analyze these problems and refine the technology.

Each 3.5-by-3.5 centimeter probe built upon a single circuit board and weighing in at just four grams. A Sprite can contain solar panels, computers, communications capability and an array of sensors. The tiny spacecraft’s electronics all function off the 100 milliwatts of electricity each generates.

This is the first time we’ve successfully demonstrated Sprites end-to-end by flying them in space, powering them with sunlight and receiving their signals back on Earth Sprites will continue to be tested in space, but for now they will need to operate no higher than 400 kilometers above Earth, below which their orbits decay quickly.

Sprites become charged through plasma interactions and then using a huge magnetic field like Jupiter’s as a particle accelerator to push the chips to thousands of kilometers per second.

That’s actually another way to get a payload to Proxima Centauri(Proxima Centauri, or Alpha Centauri C, is a red dwarf, a small low-mass star, about 4.25 light-years from the Sun in the constellation of Centaurs), though one that would take decades to get up to speed, and would still require several centuries for the journey. Even so, the idea of swarms of Sprites as interstellar probes, each communicating with the others like fireflies, has a surreal kind of beauty. In the meantime, could we use Sprites for interplanetary missions.

If a Sprite could be made thin enough, then its entire body could act as a solar sail. We calculate that at a thickness of about 20 micrometers—which is feasible with existing fabrication techniques—a 7.5-mg Sprite would have the right ratio of surface area to volume to accelerate at about 0.06 mm/s2, maybe 10 times as fast as IKAROS [the Japanese solar sail]. That should be enough for some interplanetary missions. If Sprites could be printed on even thinner material, they could accelerate to speeds that might even take them out of the solar system and on toward distant stars.

10.Green Gelator

A versatile green gelator suitable for multiple applications is reported. Gelation of organic solvents in a significantly low gelation time (<5 s) is achieved. The effect of cooling and sonication on gelation time is investigated. Apart from organic solvents, the gelator is capable of forming gels with fuel oils such as diesel and petrol also; therefore, it has been utilized for the separation of oil from an oil/water mixture through selective gelation of the oil. The gelator was also found to be capable of forming hydrogels through rational control of the reaction conditions. Hydrogel prepared using the gelator was further explored as reaction medium for the growth of gold nanoparticles. In the case of nanoparticle synthesis, the gelator served not only as a capping agent but also as a reducing agent. By taking advantage of the dual functionality of the gelator (capping and reducing agent), nanoparticles of both gold and silver were prepared in fluid medium also.

The organogel, prepared using toluene and gelator, was utilized for the removal of the waterborne synthetic dye rhodamine B scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram have developed a compound named gelator that has the capability to congeal oil from an oil and water mixture.

To develop the gelator the scientists used glucose as a starting material and by conducting various chemical reactions finally developed gelators that selectively congeal oil, including crude oil, from an oil-water mixture.

The compound that are in powder form and can be easily applied over oil-water mixture and also they do not cause any environmental damage. Unlike current methods gelators can be used many times, however, if used for extracting crude oil from spill it can’t be reused. The gelator molecule is partly hydrophobic and partly hydrophilic. The hydrophilic part helps in self-assembling to form gelator fibres, the hydrophobic part is responsible for its diffusion into the oil layer. Since the outer part of the fibre is hydrophobic, oil tends to gets into the spongy network made of fibres. Once the oil is sucked in the fibre network, it loses its fluidity and becomes a gel. As the self-assembly is strong, the gel is able to maintain its structure and rigidity even under pressure.

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