Current Affairs for Engineering Service Exam
- National and International Issues on
- Economic Development
- Social Development
- Industrial Development
- Energy and Environment
- Information and Communication Technology
Topic 1:Economic development
Mega SEZs to spur electronics exports
In a bid to make India an export hub for electronics, the government plans to set up at least one Special Economic Zone (SEZ) or special economic zone in every State under the proposed electronic policy.
- The new policy will focus on making India an export hub
- It has been proposed that at least one mega SEZ be set up in each state, with emphasis on coastal economic zones
- The government also plans to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries, including those in Africa and Europe, to which India can export smaller electronic products.
- The draft of the policy will outline a framework to make India a global leader in product verticals such as medical and automotive electronics, besides mobile phone and consumer electronics.
Read more at: The Hindu
Topic 1:Social development
Minorities’ commission to seek constitutional status
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has decided to approach the government for granting it Constitutional status to protect the rights of minority communities more effectively.
- If granted constitutional status, the NCM can penalise or suspend an officer for two days or send him/her to jail.
- Till now, only the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes have Constitutional status, giving them powers to act against officials.
- In its present form, the NCM has powers to summon officials, including chief secretaries and director generals of police, but has to rely on departments concerned for action against erring officials.
- The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
- Five religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities by the Union Government. Further vide notification detail 27th Jan 2014, Jains have also been notified as minority community.
- Aggrieved persons belonging to the minority communities may approach the concerned State Minorities Commissions for redressal of their grievances.
- They may also send their representations, to the National Commission for Minorities, after exhausting all remedies available to them.
Read more at: TOI
Topic 1:Industrial development
New Coastal Regulation Zone 2018 draft
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has framed a new draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018.
- The High Tide Line (HTL) has been demarcated by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) and shall be reckoned as a universal standard for the HTL for all regulatory purposes under the CRZ Notification, 2018.
- Hazard line mapping has also been carried out by Survey of India. The Hazard Line has, however, been delinked from the CRZ regulatory regime and shall be used only as a tool for Disaster Management and planning of adaptive and mitigation measures.
- CRZ limits on land along the tidal influenced water bodies has been proposed to be reduced from 100 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less, to 50 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less.
- A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been proposed to be stipulated for all Islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land.
- For CRZ-III areas, two separate categories have been proposed viz
- CRZ-III A – Densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have an NDZ of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the HTL stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011
- CRZ-III B – Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL
- The procedure for CRZ clearances has been simplified and delegations have been made at various levels for recommending/according CRZ clearances to the projects/activities.
- Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have been proposed in Beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also proposed to be permissible in the No Development Zone (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas.
- Wherever there is a National or State Level Highway passing through the NDZ in CRZ-III areas, temporary tourism facilities have been proposed to be taken up on the seaward site of the roads
- Regulated limestone mining is proposed to be permitted, subject to strict Environmental safeguards, in areas adequately above the height of HTL, based on recommendations of reputed National Institutes in the Mining field.
Read more at: PIB
Topic 2 : Environment
India going green!
Forest cover has increased by 6,778 sq km in the country during the last two years, with Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala making a significant contribution, according to the Forest Survey of India (FSI)
- The growth in forest cover can be attributed to plantation and conservation activities, both within and outside the recorded forest areas
- Improvement in interpretation due to better radiometric resolution of the recent satellite data from Resourcesat-2 also helped in making the observation during 2015-17
- The total forest and tree cover in India, according to the current assessment is 8,02,088 sq km, which is 24.39 per cent of the country’s geographic area.
- The present assessment shows that 15 states/UTs have above 33 per cent of the geographical area under forest cover
- The forest cover in the hill districts of the country was recorded at 2,83,462 sq km, which is 40.22 per cent of the total geographic area of these districts
- The total forest cover in the tribal districts is 4,21,170 sq km, which is 37.43 per cent of the geographical area of these districts, showing an increase of 86.89 sq km in all the tribal districts of the country
- Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover (77,414 sq km) in the country, followed by Arunachal Pradesh (66,964 sq km), Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq km), Odisha (51,345 sq km) and Maharashtra (50,682 sq km).
- The current assessment shows a decrease of forest cover to the extent of 630 sq km in the north eastern region
- Mangrove cover has increased by 181 sq km and the bamboo bearing area grew by 1.73 million hectare
- The total carbon stock in forests was estimated at 7,082 million tonnes, showing an increase of 38 million tonnes over the last assessment in 2015.
Read more at: Financial Express
Topic 2 : Energy
Extended Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister and Chief Minister today launched the “extended Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana” in Bihar under which 8 crore LPG connections would be given to beneficiaries across the country.
- The target under the Centre’s flagship scheme was to give 5 crore LPG connections across the country which was raised to 8 crore with additional allocation of fund in the current fiscal 2018-19
- The extended Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana would now cover all SC/ST households, Most Backward Classes, beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), Antyoday Anna Yojana, forest dwellers, people residing in river and river islands.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
- Under the scheme, five crore LPG connections are to be provided to BPL households.
- The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories.
- While the selection of beneficiaries would be from the BPL families only, preference would be given to SC/ST and weaker sections of society.
Read more at: ET
Topic 3 : ICT
Blockchain technology has the power to transform business processes and applications across sectors from financial services to agriculture, from healthcare to education, among others.Application of blockchain technology would bring revolutionary changes through in-built transparency, traceability and efficiency in the system.
- State governments are exploring use of this technology to bring order and efficiency to property transactions.
- Financial services has been a pioneer in blockchain-based use cases that are driving significant improvements in operations and client experience.
- Blockchain could play a crucial part in health insurance claims management by reducing the risk of insurance claim frauds.
- The technology can also be used to prevent the sale of spurious drugs in the country by tracking every step of the supply chain network at every level.
- The education sector can benefit from a blockchain-powered, time-stamped repository of pass-outs and job records of students so that it becomes easier for employers to verify the credibility of candidates
- In agriculture too, seasonal data related to crop and climatic cycles and soil testing data can be protected and used by multi-nodal blockchain application for the benefit of insurance companies, researchers, market agencies and even to predict stock prices.
- Blockchain’s ability to enhance real-time visibility in the functioning of the supply chain offers myriad possibilities across a range of sectors to prevent leakages, and thereby increase efficiency
Government as enabler:
- The NITI Aayog is exploring the use of blockchain and AI technologies in diverse areas such as education, healthcare, agriculture, electricity distribution and land records, among others
- In this direction, the Think-Tank is reportedly building a platform called ‘IndiaChain’ , a shared, India-specific blockchain infrastructure that would leverage the trinity of Jan-Dhan-Yojana, Aadhaar and the mobile trinity.
- When implemented, this one-of-its-kind initiative will likely be the world’s largest blockchain implementation programme in governance.
Read more at: The Hindu