April 12,2018

Quiz-April 11,2018
April 12, 2018
April 13,2018
April 13, 2018

Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam

Topics list:

  1. National and International Issues on
    1. Economic Development
    2. Social Development
    3. Industrial Development
  2. Energy and Environment
    1. Energy
    2. Environment
  3. Information and Communication Technology
    1. Technology
    2. Application

 

Topic 1:Social development

MGNREGA

Ninety-nine per cent of MGNREGA wages have remained unpaid in April 2018, as per the findings of the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha that tracks the implementation of the rural employment guarantee law.

Highlights:

  • It claimed that while the Centre introduced the National Electronic Fund Management System in January 2016 purportedly to streamline the process of MGNREGA payments, the system has only “tightened the (Rural Development) Ministry’s leash over funds
  • States are no longer able to make payments to workers from their revolving funds to tide over delays in release of funds by the Ministry

About MGNREGA:

  • National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (later renamed as the “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act”, MGNREGA), is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’.
  • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work
  • Another aim of MGNREGA is to create durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds, wells).
  • Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid.

Read more at: The Hindu

Building India’s talent base
The government’s skill gap analysis report estimates that an extra 40 crore workers need to be skilled, reskilled or upskilled.

Highlights:

  • India found itself at the 103rd position in the recent World Economic Forum ranking of 130 nations on the preparedness of talent
  • The Copenhagen Consensus has worked with hundreds of stakeholders to identify the best policies in more than 40 different areas for each State, ranging from education and child marriage to agricultural performance and disaster management.
  • The new research will highlight for each State which policies can make the biggest difference for every rupee spent.
  • The first policy examined is the provision of loan assistance to small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) to encourage expansion and job creation.
  • Research suggests that every rupee of loan will increase SME profit by about Rs. 0.89. Factoring borrowing costs, administration fees and default rates, it costs Rs. 16 for every Rs. 100 loaned.
  • The researchers conclude that each rupee would generate benefits to the economy worth Rs. 5.6 — a solid return on investment.
  • This research suggest to invest more in expanding access vocational training programmes and the need to study the costs and benefits of skills policy options across India.

Read more at: The Hindu

Pradhan Mantri AwaasYojana – Gramin

Pradhan Mantri AwaasYojana – Gramin all set to construct 1 crore pucca rural houses by December, 2018.

Highlights:

  • The erstwhile rural housing programme, Indira AwaasYojana (IAY), was restructured into PMAY-G.  
  • To achieve “Housing for All by 2022”, a target of completing one crore PMAY-G new pucca houses in rural areas by 31st March, 2019 and 2.95 crore pucca houses by 2022 was set.
  • Construction of bigger and better houses has been possible due to transparent beneficiary selection, capacity building of beneficiaries, timely availability of funds to the beneficiaries, structured monitoring and course-correction based on the feedback on implementation
  • Ministry of Rural Development has developed a Performance Index incorporating various parameters of progress under PMAY-G.

Performance Index:

  • The Index acts as a tool not only to monitor progress of PMAY-G on various parameters across States, Districts, Blocks and Gram Panchayats but also instills healthy competition among them.
  • It also helps in identifying areas of improvement and to motivate them towards better performance in implementation of the programme.
  • The ranking of State/UTs and below on Performance Index is done on real time basis and changes everyday based on the performance of the State / UT and below.
  • The national ranking of districts has also been introduced recently which places the performance of a district in the national perspective.

Read more at: PIB

Topic 2 : Environment

 

Olive ridleys start hatching at Rushikulya

Sporadic hatching of olive ridley eggs has started at the mass nesting site at Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha.

Highlights:

  • On an average around 80 to 100 hatchlings came out of these nests. Hatching also begun at four artificial hatcheries in the region.
  • As mass hatching is again expected to start in the next few days, the forest department has begun the process to document the phenomenon by opening a centre at Gokhakuda, said Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer Ashis Behera.
  • CCTVs have been installed to check human intervention during the hatching process.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 2 : Energy

Petroleum, Finance Ministers can award hydrocarbon blocks

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to delegate the power to award hydrocarbon blocks to successful bidders under the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) to Petroleum and and Finance Ministers.

Highlights:

  • Delegating powers would expedite the decision-making process in awarding the blocks
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the issuance of a notification that would allow Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiaries to extract coal bed methane (CBM) in their coal bearing areas without applying for a licence or lease under the Petroleum & Natural Gas Rules, 1959.
  • The decision will expedite the exploration and exploitation of CBM, enhance the availability of natural gas and reduce the gap in demand and supply of natural gas,” the government said in a separate statement.
  • The increased development activities for exploration and exploitation of CBM gas reserves in and around the block will generate economic activities which, in turn, has potential to create employment opportunities in CBM operations and in the industries

HELP:

  • The uniform licence will enable the contractor to explore conventional as well as unconventional oil and gas resources including CBM, shale gas/oil, tight gas and gas hydrates under a single license.
  • The concept of Open Acreage Policy will enable E&P companies choose the blocks from the designated area.
  • It will enhance domestic oil & gas production, bring substantial investment in the sector and generate sizable employment.
  • The policy is also aimed at enhancing transparency and reducing administrative discretion.

Read more at: The Hindu

Agreement between India and the International Solar Alliance

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for entering into Headquarters (Host country) Agreement between India and the International Solar Alliance (ISA)

Highlights:

  • The Headquarters Agreement will institutionalize the functional arrangements between India and ISA.  
  • It will help in smooth transition of ISA as international inter-governmental organization.  
  • Creation of ISA will lead to accelerated solar technology development and deployment in ISA member countries including India.

Read more at: PIB

Tapping solar energy from everywhere possible

Hyderabad city has a rooftop solar potential of 1,730 MW of which 1,193 MW can be generated from residential areas. This could lead to a reduction of power demand in the city by approximately 15%.

Highlights:

  • The observations of the study Rooftop Revolution: Unleashing Hyderabad’s Solar Potential, a joint effort of Greenpeace India and Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute.
  • The study conducted in areas under 18 circles of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation – in categories such as residential, commercial and transportation, among others – showed that apart from the residential sector, about 178 MW can be tapped from areas under the public and semi-public-use category.
  • The study underscored that despite the existing policies in the State, the deployment of rooftop solar photovoltaic was poor.
  • The solar energy would reduce dependence on coal as a source of energy.

Read more at: The Hindu

 

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