March 15,2018

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March 16, 2018

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:Economic development

Continuation of ongoing Urea Subsidy Scheme from 2017 till 2020

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister has approved the proposal of Department of Fertilizers to continue Urea Subsidy Scheme from 2017 upto 2019-20.

Highlights:

  • Urea Subsidy is a part of Central Sector Scheme of Department of Fertilizers w.e.f 1st April, 2017 and is wholly financed by the Government of India through Budgetary Support.
  • The continuation of Urea Subsidy Scheme will ensure the timely payment of subsidy to the urea manufacturers resulting in timely availability of urea to farmers.
  • This decision also implies that there will be no increase in price of urea, till 2020.
  • Urea subsidy also includes Imported Urea subsidy which is directed towards import to bridge the gap between assessed demand and indigenous production of urea in the country. It also includes freight subsidy for movement of urea across the country.
  • Neem Coating also had an additional positive impact – plugging the diversion of the subsidized Urea towards non-agricultural purposes
  • These steps have ensured continued easy availability of Urea to the farmers at an affordable price.

Read more at: PIB

World Bank sees India’s FY19 growth at 7.3%

The World Bank forecasts India’s economic growth will accelerate to 7.3% in 2018-19, from 6.7% in the current financial year, before gathering momentum to a 7.5% pace in 2019-20.

Highlights:

  • The key takeaways about the Indian economy are that it is steadily growing, and it is growth where volatility has significantly decreased
  • Growth is not being led by any single factor, and is instead being driven by a number of factors such as exports, consumption, and investment
  • Resorting to countercyclical policies will not help spur sustained growth and India should not compromise its hard-earned fiscal discipline in order to accelerate growth

Challenges highlighted by WB:

  • The poor state of private sector investments which need to be enhanced through measures
  • Reviving bank credit to support growth is critically important
  • Implementation of the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

World Bank:

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital programs. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA). The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group.The World Bank’s stated goal is the reduction of poverty

Read more at:The Hindu

Topic 1:Social development

“Innovation Cell” to be set up in HRD Ministry 

An Innovation Cell in the Ministry of Human Resource Development will be created to further strengthen the innovation efforts.  It will be headed by a Scientist and comprise of a senior Ministry official and young professionals who bring to the table new ideas in promoting innovation.

Highlights:

  • The decision comes close on the heels of India moving 6 ranks up in the Global Innovation Index Ranking from 66 in 2016 to 60 in 2017, out of 127 countries.
  • The strongest points for the country happened to be a large number of science and engineering graduates, the increased investment by Global R&D companies in India.
  • The improved QS University rankings and high rank in the highly cited research publication, global leadership in the IT service experts and leadership in export of creative goods.
  • The Government’s renewed emphasis on innovation as a measure  to improve the economic growth and the standard of living, is bearing fruit
  • Six new Research Parks have been sanctioned in various premier institutions. There are more than 120 Technology Business Incubators covering all the institutions in the country

Read more at :PIB

Topic 2 : Environment

Neutrino project gets environmental nod

The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project has got a fresh lease of life with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) taking it up as a special case and granting it environmental clearance to set up the lab in Bodi West hills.

Highlights:

  • The panel was informed that there was no scope for radioactivity and leaching of water and these have been explained to the courts.
  • The project proponents clarified that studies showed there would be no impact of blasting on any habitation in the vicinity.

Two conditions:

While granting EC, the committee stipulated specific conditions, of which two are key for the project to take off.

  1. The consent to establish and operate to be obtained from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).
  2. The INO team has to obtain the necessary forest and National Board for Wildlife clearances as per law

About INO:

India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research project under construction to primarily study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) deep cave under Ino Peak near Theni, Tamil Nadu, India. This project is notable in that it is anticipated to provide a precise measurement of neutrino mixing parameters. The project is a multi-institute collaboration and one of the biggest experimental particle physics projects undertaken in India.The Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district, Kerala, is situated within five km from the project site.

Read more at:The Hindu

Topic 2 : Energy

Biggest Solar Power Plant setup under Solar Park scheme

Prime Minister and French President inaugurated Uttar Pradesh’s biggest solar power plant of 75 MW (101DC) capacity in Mirzapur on March 12.

Highlights:

  • The Biggest Solar Power Plant in Uttar Pradesh has been set up through transparent auction under the Solar Park scheme of New and Renewable Energy Ministry
  • Built at a cost of around Rs. 528 crores, the 75 MW solar plant at Vijaypur village in Mirzapur, will generate 13 crore units of electricity per annum.
  • The Ministry had earlier approved setting up of four solar parks in Uttar Pradesh worth the capacity of 440 MW.
  • These solar parks are being set up by Lucknow Solar Park Development Corporation (LSPDC) which is a joint venture of Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Non-conventional Energy Development Agency(NEDA) under UP Government.

Read more at: ET

India ranks 78th on WEF Energy Transition Index

India has been ranked at 78th, lower than its emerging market peers like Brazil and China, among 114 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index that was topped by Sweden.

Highlights:

  • The report titled “Fostering Effective Energy Transition”, ranks countries on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability.
  • According to the report India has taken “bold measures” to improve energy access, energy efficiency, and to improve the deployment of renewable sources of energy.
  • However, energy transition in the country will require “large investments, and an enabling environment and robust regulatory frameworks to support the transition”
  • On India, the report said, energy needs in the country are primarily met by fossil fuels with implications for environmental sustainability and increasing energy import costs.
  • A considerable share of India’s population still lacks access to electricity and clean cooking fuel, it noted.
  • In the Energy Transition Index (ETI), India ranks in the third performance quartile and third readiness quartile, making it an emerging country that is approaching the leapfrog category,

About World Economic Forum:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland. Recognised in 2015 by the Swiss authorities as an “other international body” under Switzerland’s Host State Act 2007 (HSA, SR 192.12), its mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”

Read more at :ET

Nuclear Cooperation with Canada

Government of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Natural Resources of Canada concerning cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation.

Highlights:

  • The MoU facilitates mutual consultations on the areas of new material development and testing, design of advanced Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs), structural components of reactor systems including inspection and quality assurance programs, sharing of operational information, nonpower application of radiation isotope technology, etc.
  • The MoU will be valid for a period of 5 years and can be renewed further through mutual consultations.

Read more at: PIB

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