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05 December Current Affairs

Guidelines to ensure safety of children in hostels

In News:

The Ministry of Women and Child Development will soon formulate guidelines for children’s hostels, prescribing the minimum standards of care that should be provided to the children.

Need:

The decision comes at a time when institutions, housing children on the request of parents at children’s homes, are not registering under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Also, the Supreme Court, in the case of “Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu” Vs. Union of India, had directed the Union and the State Governments to enforce minimum standards of care required for such children living in any facility either created by the Government system or by civil society organisations.

What next?

The Ministry has directed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to draft the guidelines in consultation with stakeholders concerned. The guidelines will be notified under the Juvenile Justice Act or the JJ Rules.

About the Juveniles Justice Act, 2015:

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 came into force in January, 2016. The new Act repeals the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The JJ Act, 2015 provides for strengthened provisions for both children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law.

Key provisions:

Definition: The Act clearly defines and classifies offences as petty, serious and heinous, and defines differentiated processes for each category. Keeping in view the increasing number of serious offences being committed by persons in the age group of 16-18 years and recognizing the rights of the victims as being equally important as the rights of juveniles, special provisions are incorporated in the Act to tackle heinous offences committed by individuals in this age group.

It establishes a statutory status for the Child Adoption Resources Authority (CARA). It also proposes several rehabilitation and social integration measures for institutional and non-institutional children. It provides for sponsorship and foster care as completely new measures.

Mandatory registration of all institutions engaged in providing child care is required according to the Act. New offences including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, the use of children by militant groups, and offences against disabled children are also incorporated in the legislation.

The new law gives the Juvenile Justice Board the power to assess whether the perpetrator of a heinous crime aged between 16 and 18, had acted as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult.’ The board will be assisted in this process by psychologists and social experts.

It strikes a fine balance between the demands of the stakeholders asking for continued protection of rights of juveniles and the popular demand of citizens in the light of increasing incidence of heinous crimes by young boys.

Source: The Hindu

Accounting methods of climate fund questioned

In News:

Indian Finance Ministry has issued a ‘discussion paper’ that has criticised the accounting methods used by developed countries to report how much money they have given, so far, to developing countries to address climate change.

Background:

Accounting procedures, regarding the flow of climate finance, has become one of the most controversial issues being debated at Katowice, Poland where countries have gathered to agree upon a ‘Rule Book’ to implement the Paris Agreement of 2015, that commits countries to ensure the earth doesn’t warm 2 degree C beyond pre-industrial levels.

In 2019, developed countries are expected to make available $100 billion annually to developing countries, according to a 2010 agreement in Cancun.

What’s the issue?

In 2016, developed countries published a road map to $100 billion, which claimed that public climate finance levels had reached $41 billion per year in 2013-14. In 2015, India had disputed this figure arguing it was only $ 2.2 billion. The 2017 numbers also tell a similar story. Only around 12% of total pledges to climate funds have actually materialised into disbursements.

What has India pointed out?

It argues that the definition of climate finance in the UNFCCC has remained “imprecise and incomplete.”

The total pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the largest multilateral fund, was a “meagre” $10.3 billion. Further, most of the total climate finance has flowed into mitigation (a reference to preventing carbon dioxide from being emitted).

The growth in the reported climate specific finance actually slowed down from 24% between 2014 and 2015 to 14% between 2015 and 2016.

About GCF:

The GCF was set up in 2010 under the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism to channel funding from developed countries to developing countries to allow them to mitigate climate change and also adapt to disruptions arising from a changing climate.

How it helps?

The Green Climate Fund will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties using thematic funding windows.

It is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance of $100 billion a year by 2020.

The Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

The Fund will strive to maximize the impact of its funding for adaptation and mitigation, and seek a balance between the two, while promoting environmental, social, economic and development co-benefits and taking a gender-sensitive approach.

Who will govern the Fund?

The Fund is governed and supervised by a Board that will have full responsibility for funding decisions and that receives the guidance of the Conference of Parties (COP). The Fund is accountable to, and functions under the guidance of, the COP.

Background:

In 2015, India listed a series of specific actions it would take to fight climate change in the Paris Agreement.

The major ones are:

It would reduce its emissions intensity (or emissions per unit of GDP) by 33 to 35 per cent by the year 2030 compared to the 2005 baseline.

It would ensure that at least 40 per cent of its total electricity in the year 2030 would be generated through renewable sources of energy and that would create between 2.5 to three billion tones of additional carbon sinks through extensive afforestation.

Source: The Hindu

India’s heaviest satellite GSAT-11

In News:

India’s heaviest and most advanced satellite GSAT-11 was recently launched from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana.

GSAT- 11- key facts:

GSAT-11 is ISRO’s heaviest satellite ever built and weighs about 5854 kilograms.

It was launched onboard Ariane-5 launch vehicle from French Guiana.

ISRO has revealed that the satellite will be initially placed in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and will be later raised to Geostationary Orbit. It will be using the Liquid Apogee Motor which will be onboard the satellite.

GSAT-11 is part of ISRO’s new family of high-throughput communication satellite (HTS) fleet that will drive the country’s Internet broadband from space to untouched areas.

According to ISRO, GSAT-11’s multiple spot beam coverage — 32 in Ku band and eight in Ka bands — will deliver an improved service of 16 gbps over the Indian region and nearby islands.

The satellite will also have VSAT Terminals which basically will ensure that it can handle large capacity platform to support a huge subscriber base.

GSAT 11: How does it work?

GSAT-11 will use a ‘multi-spot’ approach to maximize its coverage area in the Indian mainland and islands — a far superior communication technology than existing INSATs and GSATs.

In a first for a satellite built by ISRO, GSAT-11 will carry a next-generation I-6K bus (communication satellite hub) to provide services in two widely-used wavelengths for telecommunications: the Ku- and Ka-bands. This makes GSAT-11 three to six times more powerful than any of ISRO’s (and India’s) satellite roster today.

It will provide up to 14 Gigabit/s in both voice and video broadband services anywhere in the Indian mainland or islands over its 15-year lifespan, according to ISRO.

The satellite has 32 Ku-band transponders and 8 Ka-band hubs on board. The Ku- and Ka-bands are different frequencies of microwaves in the electromagnetic spectrum.

GSAT 11: Why is it important?

GSAT-11 will bring far greater speeds (16 Gbps of it, no less) and capacity to meet growing demand for mobile and internet in households, businesses, and public organisations.

Large parts of rural areas still remain untouched by the scope of commercial telecom today — something GSAT-11 is designed to change. Under Digital India’s BharatNet project GSAT-11 will boost access to voice and video streaming in most, if not all, of rural India.

With India moving fast towards implementing ‘Smart Villages and Cities’, they can be efficiently linked through a large communication satellite.

Source: The Hindu

ExseedSAT 1, India’s 1st private satellite

In News:

With the launch of ExseedSAT 1, Exseed Space has become the first Indian privately-funded startup to successfully send a satellite into space.

Details:

ExseedSAT 1 was launched into space by Space X along with 63 other satellites from 17 countries.

About ExseedSAT 1 and its applications:

The mini communication satellite weighing just a kg with double the size of a Rubik’s cube (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm) is made up of aluminium alloy.

The satellite looks to serve the amateur radio community.

The satellite with a lifespan of five years will allow people to receive signals on 145.9 Mhz frequency with the help of a TV tuner.

The satellite would provide a big boost to private radio operators and help in coordinating messages among them and help the country in time of disaster.

Significance of recent Falcon 9 launch:

With this Falcon 9 launch, SpaceX broke two records. This was the US private space agency’s 19th launch of the year topping its previous annual record of 18, which was set last year. Second, the Falcon 9 rocket managed to deliver 64 satellites into orbit breaking the US record (India holds the world record for launching 104 satellites in one go on February 15, 2017).

Source: The Hindu

NASA’s Kepler Space telescope

In News:

Scientists have discovered a cache over 100 new exoplanets using data from NASA’s Kepler Space telescope as well as ground-based observatories. The diverse planets are expected to play a large role in developing the research field of exoplanets and life in the Universe.

Background:

The Kepler Space Telescope has been officially retired by NASA. Its successor space telescope, called TESS, has already started collecting data.

About Kepler Mission:

Launched in 2009, the Kepler mission is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-sized and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.

About TESS mission:

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a NASA mission that will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky. It was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with seed funding from Google.

Mission: The mission will monitor at least 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets, ranging from Earth-sized rocky worlds to huge gas giant planets. TESS, however, will focus on stars that are 30 to 100 times brighter than those Kepler examined. This will help astronomers better understand the structure of solar systems outside of our Earth, and provide insights into how our own solar system formed.

Orbit: TESS will occupy a never-before-used orbit high above Earth. The elliptical orbit, called P/2, is exactly half of the moon’s orbital period; this means that TESS will orbit Earth every 13.7 days.

It will use transit method to detect exoplanets. It watches distant stars for small dips in brightness, which can indicate that planet has passed in front of them. Repeated dips will indicate planet passing in front of its star. This data has to be validated by repeated observations and verified by scientists.

Source: The Hindu

Kandhamal Haldi

In News:

Odisha’s Kandhamal Haldi (turmeric), famous for its healing properties, is all set to receive GI tag.

Key facts:

The golden yellow spice, named after the district where it is produced, has been cultivated since time immemorial and is known for its medicinal value.

Turmeric is the main cash crop of tribal people in Kandhamal. Apart from domestic use, turmeric is also used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

More than 60,000 families (nearly 50% of Kandhamal population) are engaged in growing the variety. The crop is sustainable in adverse climatic conditions.

About GI tag:

A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

Significance of a GI tag: Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

Security: Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.

Provisions in this regard: GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.

At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

In India, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it.

Source: The Hindu

Norms for payment apps

In News:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to come up with regulations to oversee collection, usage and sharing of data by payment service providers.

Present concerns and the need for norms:

Recently National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) had raised concerns over collection and storage of “sensitive personal data” by payment service providers via applications such as Google Tez, WhatsApp and Paytm.

The NCSC had pointed out that there was no agreement between the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the banks and the applications that provided payment services. Additionally, there is no liability of NPCI and the payment service providers.

There is also no provision to protect the interest of the consumer against the pilferage, leakage and sharing of data, which is of sensitive nature.

Need of the hour- recommendations by NCSC and RBI:

There is a need to scrutinise all aspects of a relation – legal, technical and financial, between all the stakeholders in the payments ecosystem.

Payments service providers must comply with legal framework as well as regulations prescribed by the regulator.

RBI should lay down regulations, that would bind the collection, usage and sharing of data, by participants in the payments arena.

NPCI:

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments system in India. It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). NPCI has ten promoter banks.

Its recent work of developing Unified Payments Interface (UPI) aims to move India to a cashless society with only digital transactions.

It has successfully completed the development of a domestic card payment network called RuPay, reducing the dependency on international card schemes.

Source: The Hindu

Dual-Fuel Usage for Agricultural and Construction Equipment Vehicles

In News:

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has notified dual-fuel usage for agricultural and construction equipment vehicles.

Objective:

It will give a boost to vehicles run on bio-fuel, and help in reducing both cost and pollution.

List of Dual-Fuel Vehicles (diesel as primary and CNG, Bio CNG as secondary):

Tractors, power tillers, construction equipment vehicles and combine harvesters which have originally been manufactured as dual-fuel or have been converted as such from in-use diesel vehicles.

Source: PIB

Rajiv Kumar Committee

The Union Government has constituted a six-member committee to look at selling of 149 small and marginal oil and gas fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Limited (OIL) to private and foreign companies to boost domestic output. The panel is chaired by the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.

 

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