Indian Affairs, February 8th, 2018, Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet Approvals on February 08 2018

On February 7, 2018, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following initiatives:

Cabinet approves Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury and thereby enabling India to become a Party to the Convention.

  • The convention urges enterprises to move to mercury-free alternatives in products and non-mercury technologies in manufacturing processes.
  • Union Cabinet has approved ratification of this Convention along with flexibility for using mercury-based products and processes involving mercury compound up to 2025.

Facts about Minamata Convention on Mercury:

  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty adopted to protect human health and environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
  • It has been named after the Japanese city Minamata and was signed in October 2013.

Cabinet approves changes in the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016

Union Cabinet has approved the incorporation of several amendments (based on the recommendations of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee) to the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016.

Indian Affairs, February 8th, 2018, Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

Some of the major amendments to the Major Port Authorities Bill 2016:

  • Number of the Labour representatives to be appointed in the Port Authority Board has been increased from one to two.
  • For public-private partnership (PPP) projects, the concessionaire shall be free to fix the tariff based on market conditions.
  • Other amendments pertain to number of independent members on the Port Authority Board and their tenure.
  • Amendments relating to appointment and removal of Presiding Officer and Members of the Adjudicatory Board have also been approved.

Cabinet approves DSF Policy Bid Round-II for 60 un-monetised discoveries of ONGC and OIL

Union Cabinet has approved to extend the Discovered Small Field Policy (notified in October 2015) to identified 60 discovered small fields/un-monetized discoveries for offer under the Discovered Small Field Policy Bid Round-II.

  • Out of 60 discovered small fields/un-monetized discoveries, 22 belong to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited, 5 belong to Oil India Limited (OIL), 12 have been relinquished from the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) Blocks and 21 are unallocated fields from DSF Bid Round-l.
  • It has been estimated that these discoveries are holding 194.65 Million Metric Ton (MMT) Oil and oil equivalent gas.
  • Developing and monetising these discoveries will not only enhance energy security of India but will also create 88000 direct and indirect job opportunities.

Cabinet approves placing the new Instrument adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO)

Union Cabinet has given its approval for placing the new Instrument adopted by International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation concerning “The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience (No.-205)” before the Parliament.

  • This Recommendation was adopted at 106thSession of International Labour Conference held in Geneva in June, 2015. India too supported the adoption of this recommendation.
  • The Recommendation contains guidance for member States on the measures to be taken to generate employment and decent work for the purposes of prevention, recovery, peace and resilience in crisis situations arising from conflicts and disasters.
  • However, it is to be noted that the Recommendation is non-binding in nature and submitting it to Parliament will not create any immediate obligation.

Cabinet approves Implementation of ‘Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRF)’

‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’ scheme was announced in Union Budget 2018.

  • This scheme envisages offering direct admission in PhD programme in the IITs/IISc to best students who have completed or are in the final year of B. Tech or Integrated M.Tech or M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIITs.
  • Each selected student will be offered a fellowship of Rs.70000/- per month for the first two years, Rs.75000/- per month for the 3rd year, and Rs.80000/- per month in the 4th and 5th years.
  • 1650 crore for a period of seven years, beginning 2018-19, has been allocated for this scheme.

Cabinet approves rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare

Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for closure of Autonomous Bodies, namely, Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) and Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK).

  • Functions carried out by these bodies will now be vested in Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW).
  • This recommendation was made by NITI Aayog’s Expenditure Management Commission; post a review of the 19 Autonomous Bodies, under the DoHFW.
  • Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) was set up to provide financial medical assistance to poor patients receiving treatment in central government hospitals while Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) was set up in the year 2003 to raise awareness for population stabilization strategies.

Cabinet approves Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code bill

Union Cabinet has given Ex-post facto approval to modifications made in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code through Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2018.

  • The bill was passedby both houses of the Parliament and received President’s assent on January 18, 2018.
  • The modifications prohibit certain persons in the resolution process.

Cabinet approves enhancement of target under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved to enhance of the target of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) from five crore to eight crore.

  • To attain the enhanced target, additional allocation of Rs. 4800 crore has been approved.
  • The enhanced target is to be achieved by 2020.

Facts about PMUY:

  • PMUY was launched in May 2016, from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Objective of this scheme is to provide deposit-free LPG connections with monetary assistance to women from BPL households, thereby preventing health hazards emanating from usage of unclean cooking fuel and fossil fuel for domestic cooking purpose.

Cabinet Approvals with Foreign Countries on February 07 2018

 

On February 7, 2018, Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved following bilateral agreements.

Cabinet apprised of an MoU signed between India and Tunisia for cooperation on Youth matters

This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on October 30, 2017, in New Delhi. It shall be valid for a period of five years.

  • Objective of this MoU is to create international perspective among the Indian Youth.
  • Activities under this MoU would include organization of youth exchange programmes; invitations to international conferences, seminars, youth festivals and workshops.

Quick Facts about Tunisia:

  • Capital – Tunis
  • Currency – Tunisian dinar
  • Current President – Beji Caid Essebsi

Cabinet approves Memorandum of Cooperation between India and USA on Law Enforcement Training

This Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) will be signed between Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), USA and Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D).

Indian Affairs, February 8th, 2018, Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

  • It envisages cooperation between the two countries in security related matters under the aegis of the India-US Homeland Security Dialogue.
  • Agreement for setting up Homeland Security Dialogue (HSD) mechanism was finalised during the then President of the USA, Barak Obama’s visit to India in November, 2010.
  • The MoC on Law Enforcement Training will help in improving the standards of training, quality of trainers, training materials etc. of police forces in

Quick Facts about United States of America (USA):

  • Capital – Washington D.C.
  • Currency – US Dollar
  • Current President – Donald Trump

Cabinet approves signing of India-Australia MoUs for Secondment Programme

This Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between the Department of Economic Affairs (Indian Economic Service Cadre) and The Treasury, Government of Australia.

  • Under this Secondment Programme, one officer from the Australian Treasury shall be seconded to the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and one officer from the IES (at Deputy Secretary/Director level) shall be seconded to the Australian Treasury, Government of Australia, for a period of three months.
  • This exchange will help to deepen the understanding of current economic policy issues in both countries.

Quick Facts about Australia:

  • Capital – Canberra
  • Currency – Australian Dollar
  • Current Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull

Cabinet approves MoU with United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on Cooperation in Skill Development, Vocational Training

Under this MoU, framework for innovative partnership between India and the United Kingdom Industry and training institutes will be created.

  • Initiatives carried out under this MoU will help to scale up and improve quality of skill training efforts in India.
  • Separate individual arrangements will be made to raise funding for carrying out activities under this project.

Quick Facts about United Kingdom:

  • Capital – London
  • Currency – Great British Pound
  • Current Prime Minister – Theresa May

Cabinet approves Protocol amending DTAA between India, China

Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and ratification of protocol amending the Agreement between India and China for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income.

  • This protocol will amend Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and China by updating the provisions on exchange of information to the latest international standards.
  • The Protocol will also insert changes to implement treaty related minimum standards under Base Erosion & Profit shifting (BEPS) Project.
  • BEPS project, undertaken by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and G20 aims to curb cross border tax evasion by multinational companies.

Quick Facts about China:

  • Capital – Beijing
  • Currency – Renminbi
  • Current President – Xi Jinping

Defence Minister appoints panel under Vinay Sheel Oberoi to expedite capital acquisition
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has formed Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capital Projects (RMCOMP) to monitor and expedite capital acquisition projects for modernisation of armed forces.
Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capital Projects (RMCOMP):
i. The Raksha Mantri’s Advisory Committee on Ministry of Defence (MoD) Capital Projects (RMCOMP) is a 13-member advisory committee.
ii. It will carry out independent review and check the status of ongoing important projects worth over Rs 500 crore. It will also recommend methods to improve the capital acquisition process.
iii. The committee will review various categories of projects like “Buy” (Indian) and “Buy and Make” (Indian).
iv. This committee will be headed by Vinay Sheel Oberoi, former secretary in the government. Tenure of the committee is till end of August 2018.
v. Members of this committee are: former chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd R K Tyagi, former member of Ordnance Factories Board R K Jain, partner head of KPMG’s aerospace and defence division Amber Dubey and special advisor of Ernst & Young LLP R Anand.
vi. The committee will submit initial status report on identified projects to the defence minister by 31 March 2018. It will submit two follow-up corrective Action Taken Reports by 30 April and 31 July 2018.
About Ordnance Factories Board (OFB):
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata
♦ Director General Ordnance Factories & Chairman, OFB – S. K. Chourasia

South Central Railway becomes 1st rail zone with 100% LED lighting at stations
On 7th February 2018, South Central Railway (SCR) announced that, it has become the first railway zone in India to achieve 100 % LED lighting at every station under its jurisdiction.

Indian Affairs, February 8th, 2018, Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

South Central Railway becomes 1st rail zone with 100% LED lighting at stations:
i. South Central Railway (SCR) chief public relations officer M Umashankar Kumar said that, SCR has become the first zone in Indian Railways to accomplish 100 % LED lighting in all 733 stations under its jurisdiction.
ii. He also said that, this LED lighting facility would save 32 lakh units of electrical energy amounting to Rs 2.7 crore per year.
About South Central Railway (SCR):
♦ Formed – 1966
♦ Divisions – Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded

Karnataka panel proposes 3-colour official state flag
Karnataka committee to analyse possibility of a separate flag for the state has submitted a report, suggesting an official three-coloured flag to replace an unofficial two-coloured flag currently in use.
Karnataka panel proposes 3-colour official state flag:
i. In June 2017, Karnataka’s Kannada and Culture department appointed a committee to study the possibility of having a separate flag for Karnataka.
ii. The committee was headed by G S Siddaramaya, chairman of Kannada Development Authority. 
iii. This committee has recommended a flag in yellow and red colour, with white colour in the middle containing the state symbol.
iv. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that, this matter will be forwarded for consideration by Karnataka cabinet. Then it will be referred to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for clearance.
v. If this flag is approved by MHA, Karnataka will be the second state to have an official flag after Jammu and Kashmir. Karnataka has an unofficial state flag since 1960s.
Some of the dams in Karnataka:
♦ Tungabhadra Dam – Tungabhadra River
♦ Krishna Raja Sagara Dam – Kaveri River
♦ Linganamakki Dam – Sharavathi River

NHAI to Launch Pilot Project “Pay as You Use” Tolling on Delhi-Mumbai Highway
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is launching a pilot project on Delhi Mumbai national highway to analyse the feasibility of “Pay as you use” tolling system in India.

Indian Affairs, February 8th, 2018, Current Affairs Current Affairs Notes | EduRev

Pay as you use:
i. The pilot project includes developing a satellite based electronic toll collection system that works on GPS/GSM technology for nearly 500 commercial vehicles on the Delhi Mumbai national highway. This project will be carried out for 1 year.
ii. It will work using mobile telecommunications technology (GSM) and the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS).
iii. This system will deduct money from a vehicle account and credit money to the concessionaire in 1 day and open the toll gate.
iv. In case of transaction failure, toll operator will be alerted and money will be collected manually before opening the gate.
v. This project will also try to integrate the new system with the FASTag program. It will also compare distance based tolling and the existing tolling system, and also virtual tolling with normal tolling.
About National Highways Authority of India (NHAI):
♦ Purpose – Development and maintenance of National Highways
♦ Chairman – Deepak Kumar

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