Context: The government has granted the status of a trust to ‘Bharat Ke Veer’, a private initiative which aids families of paramilitary personnel killed in action. Akshay Kumar and former national badminton champion Pullela Gopichand have been included as trustees.
Support by the government: The initiative has now been formalized into a registered trust for providing a platform for all citizens to contribute and provide assistance to the families of martyred personnel. The public can visit the ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ application and website, and contribute to support the families of jawans who die in the line of duty. Contributions to Bharat Ke Veer have been exempted from Income Tax.
About Bharat ke Veer: What is it? It is a fund-raising initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India on behalf of members of the Indian Armed Forces. It aims to enable willing donors to contribute towards the family of a braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of duty. This website is technically supported by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and powered by State Bank of India.
How it works? It allows anyone to financially support the bravehearts of his choice or towards the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus. The amount so donated will be credited to the account of ‘Next of Kin’ of those Central Armed Police Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers. To ensure maximum coverage, a cap of 15 lakh rupees is imposed and the donors would be alerted if the amount exceeds, so that they can choose to divert part of the donation to another braveheart account or to the “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus.
Who will manage the fund? “Bharat Ke Veer” corpus would be managed by a committee made up of eminent persons of repute and senior Government officials, who would decide to disburse the fund equitably to the braveheart’s family on need basis.
Context: Iran will handover the strategic Chabahar port to an Indian company within a month for operation as per an interim pact.
Under the agreement signed between India and Iran earlier, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
Where is Chabahar port? Iran’s Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is the only oceanic port of the country. The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast and India can bypass Pakistan with the Chabahar port becoming functional.
Why Chabahar port is crucial for India? The first and foremost significance of the Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea. With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.
With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline. India has already increased its crude purchase from Iran since the West imposed ban on Iran was lifted. Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This is will, in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries.
From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.
Context: NITI Aayog, in collaboration with various ministries and industry partners, is organising ‘MOVE: Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India.
Aim of the Summit: The summit aims to bring together stakeholders from across the sectors of mobility and transportation to co-create a public interest framework to revolutionize transport. The summit also aims to set the base for a transport system which is safe, clean, shared and connected, affordable, accessible and inclusive.
The summit will deliberate on five themes: Maximising asset utilisation and services. Comprehensive electrification and alternative fuels. Reinventing public transport. Goods transport and logistics. Data analytics and mobility.
Key features of the Summit: The summit will feature global political leaders from mobility space and will see the participation of over 2200 participants from across the world including government leadership, research organizations, academia, industry leaders, think tanks and civil society organisations.
The conclave will see over 30 global CEOs, 100 state officials, and foreign delegates and 200 Indian CEOs participating in the event. International representation from embassies and the private sector will include the US, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, and Brazil.
Why Mobility? Mobility is what keeps the engine of life running. Whether it is personal mobility for work or leisure or mobility of goods across value chains, without the ability to traverse large distances in short time spans, civilization would not be where it is today. In an urbanizing world, mobility is integral to city design, facilitating the evolution of physical space for liveability. Ranging from pedestrian and personal transport to public transit and freight movement, mobility is a crucial piece of the development puzzle and the key to unlocking the potential of India’s economy and people.
Across sectors, public and private expenditure is being invested in effective and efficient transport. The challenge lies in ensuring that these systems meet the needs of their users in a sustainable manner. It must be clean for environmental benefits, shared to maximize asset efficiency, and connected to meet user needs from end-to-end. Affordability of public transit is key for low-income users, and of freight for industry. Accessibility and inclusivity is crucial for remote and differently-abled users across geographies, with the philosophy of leaving no-one behind. Safe, energy-efficient and low-emission systems are necessary for India to meet its international commitments on climate change.
Way ahead: As mobility is what keeps the engine of life running, it is a key to unlock the potential of India’s economy and people. Affordability of public transit is crucial for low-income users and of freight for the industry. Accessibility and inclusivity are crucial for remote and differently-abled users across geographies, with the philosophy of leaving no-one behind. Safe, energy-efficient and low-emission systems are necessary for India to meet its international commitments on climate change.
Context: UN chief Antonio Guterres recently reiterated his appeal to eight nations, including India and the US, to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, saying the failure to bring it into force undermines global efforts to ensure a world free of atomic weapons.
Background: Although more than 180 countries have signed the CTBT, and mostly ratified it, the treaty can only enter into force after it is ratified by eight countries with nuclear technology capacity, namely China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.
What is CTBT? The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the Treaty banning all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone. The Treaty was negotiated at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996.
Why is the CTBT so important? The CTBT is the last barrier on the way to develop nuclear weapons. It curbs the development of new nuclear weapons and the improvement of existing nuclear weapon designs. When the Treaty enters into force it provides a legally binding norm against nuclear testing. The Treaty also helps prevent human suffering and environmental damages caused by nuclear testing.
India and the CTBT: Since its inception, India has had a number of reservations about the CTBT. While it has stood by its demand for a nuclear weapons-free world, various principled, procedural, political, and security concerns have stood in the way of its support for the CTBT.
India’s principled opposition drew from its emphasis on universal and complete nuclear disarmament in a time-bound manner. India has traditionally believed this to be the end goal with the test ban just being a path to get there. But it did not insist on a complete disarmament clause in 1994, acknowledging that it was a “complex issue.”
Another major concern was Article XIV, the entry-into-force (EIF) clause, which India considered a violation of its right to voluntarily withhold participation in an international treaty. The treaty initially made ratification by states that were to be a part of the the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS) mandatory for the treaty’s EIF.
Need of the hour: CTBT has an essential role within the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. More than 20 years since its negotiation, the Treaty has yet to enter into force. Every effort must be made to bring about the immediate entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, CTBT. The failure to bring the treaty into force prevents its full implementation and undermines its permanence in the international security architecture.
Context: Using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, scientists have spotted a surprising feature emerging at Saturn’s northern pole as it nears summertime – a warming, high-altitude jet stream with a hexagonal shape.
Key facts: The vortex is akin to the famous hexagon seen deeper down in Saturn’s clouds. The edges of this newly-found vortex appear to be hexagonal, precisely matching a famous and bizarre hexagonal cloud pattern we see deeper down in Saturn’s atmosphere.
The results suggest that the lower-altitude hexagon may influence what happens above, and that it could be a towering structure hundreds of miles in height. This warm vortex sits hundreds of miles above the clouds, in the stratosphere.
About Cassini Mission: Launched in 1997, the Cassini mission — a cooperation between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency — has sent back thousands of stunning images and made numerous discoveries about the ringed planet and its moons.
Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit. Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan. The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005. The spacecraft was launched on October 15, 1997. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.
Objectives of the mission: Determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn. Determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object.
Determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus’s leading hemisphere. Measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the magnetosphere.
Study the dynamic behavior of Saturn’s atmosphere at cloud level. Study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes. Characterize Titan’s surface on a regional scale.
PMEGP is the flagship programme of the government offering credit linked subsidy to establish new enterprises for generating continuous and sustainable employment opportunities in Rural and Urban areas of the country.
Ø Rs. 860.51 crore has been released by the Ministry as margin money under PMEGP out of which Rs. 528.32 crore has already been disbursed by the banks.
Ø 24126 new enterprises providing employment to 170983 persons have been benefited under the Scheme.
Ø There is more than 50% increase over the previous year in terms of funds disbursed by the banks, no of projects with funds disbursed and the employment generated.
ASPIRE has been launched on 16.03.2015 with an objective to set up a network of technology centers, incubation centres to accelerate entrepreneurship and also to promote start-ups for innovation and entrepreneurship in rural and agriculture based industry with a fund of Rs.210 crores.
Ø The planned outcomes of ASPIRE are setting up Technology Business Incubators (TBI), Livelihood Business Incubators (LBI) and creation of a Fund of Funds for such initiatives with SIDBI.
Ø 1st LBI set up in April-2015 under ASPIRE within a month of launching the Scheme. The first batch of 107 youth has been trained and skilled through it.
Ø 19 LBIs have been approved till September 2015 and another 9 LBIs & 2 TBI is ready to be approved.
The objectives SFURTI is to organize the traditional industries and artisans into clusters to make them competitive and provide support for their long term sustainability by way of enhancing the marketability of products, improving the skills of artisans, making provision for common facilities and strengthening the cluster governance systems.
Ø The Scheme guidelines of SFURTI have been revamped in 2015 and the Scheme has taken giant strides in 2015. Funds to the tune of Rs.62 Crore have been sanctioned under the Scheme in 2015 as against Nil in 2014.
Ø 68 clusters have already been approved in 2015 itself against the target of 71 clusters during 12th Plan period with more than a year of the plan period to spare.
LMCS is being implemented across the country to enhance the competitiveness of manufacturing MSMEs.
The Objective of the Scheme is to enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of MSMEs through application of various Lean Manufacturing Techniques (e.g. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), 5S, Visual control, Standard Operation Procedures, Single Minutes Exchange of Dies or Quick Changeover (SMED), Value Stream Mapping, Just in Time, Kanban System, Kaizen, Cellular Layout, Poka Yoke).
Ø 188 New Clusters identified and selected for LM (Lean manufacturing) interventions.
Ø Lean manufacturing Interventions have been initiated in 359 Units.
Ø Organised 63 Awareness Programmes across the country.
CGTMSE was set up to strengthen credit delivery system and facilitate flow of credit to the MSE sector.
The Credit Guarantee under CGTMSE seeks to reassure the lender that, in the event of a MSE unit, which availed collateral free credit facilities, fails to discharge its liabilities to the lender; the CGMSE would make good the loss incurred by the lender up to 85 per cent of the credit facility.
Ø During the current financial year (April to October 2015), total number of proposals approved under the scheme was 2,31,774 involving a guarantee amount of Rs.11,446 crore.
CLCSS aims at facilitating technology upgradation of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) by providing 15% capital subsidy (limited to maximum Rs.15 lakhs) for purchase of Plant & Machinery.
Maximum limit of eligible loan for calculation of subsidy under the scheme is Rs.100 lakhs. Presently, more than 1500 well established/improved technologies under 51 sub-sectors have been approved under the Scheme.
Ø During the current financial year (April to October 2015), 1,195 units benefitted and total subsidy released to the tune of Rs. 75.57 crore