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October 3, 2018
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October 5, 2018
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04 October Current Affairs

First Regional Conference on ‘Women in Detention and Access to Justice’

In News:

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), Ministry of Home Affairs is organising the First ever Regional Conference at Shimla on ‘Women in Detention and Access to Justice’ in collaboration with the Prison Department, Himachal Pradesh.

Objectives of the conference:

This conference is organised with a view to provide a platform for the prison personnel of all ranks at the national level to share their candid views on various operational as well as administrative issues not only with their counterparts, but also with other experts of national repute in this field.

The conference also seeks to identify best practices and standards in the working of Correctional Administration to meet new challenges in the present day’s context to bring out prison reforms in objective terms.

This event would also promote research and developmental activities on the functioning of the Correctional Administration across the country on the one hand and nudge to develop a scientific approach among the various Correctional Administration in a professional manner.


  • As of 2015, there are 4,19,623 persons in jail in India, of which, 17,834 (about 4.3%) are women. Of these, 11,916 (66.8%) are undertrial prisoners.
  • There is an increasing trend in the number of women prisoners – from 3.3% of all prisoners in 2000 to 4.3% in 2015.
  • A majority of female inmates are in the age group of 30-50 years (50.5%), followed by 18-30 years (31.3%).
  • Of the total 1,401 prisons in India, only 18 are exclusive for women, housing 2,985 female prisoners. Thus, a majority of women inmates are housed in women’s enclosures of general prisons.

Need for reforms:

Women in prisons face greater hardships than their male counterparts due to many factors such as social stigma, financial dependence on their families or husbands etc. These difficulties are further exacerbated when the woman has children.

Women have to face numerous problems in prisons owing to inadequacy of female staff which often translates to the reality that male staff becomes responsible for female inmates, which is undesirable.

Women are not provided with meals that are nutritious and according to their bodily requirements.

Women are at a most disadvantageous position when it comes to their reintegration in society after release. Many are abandoned or harassed post-release, mainly due to the stigma attached with incarceration, which is even more pronounced in cases of women.

Women also tend to lose ties with their children over the years, due to inadequate child custody procedures. Also, a robust grievance redressal mechanism was required to tackle cases of sexual harassment, violence and abuse against women in jails.

Way ahead:

Reforms are needed for improving the lives of women under incarceration including the elderly and the disabled, addressing a wide range of issues pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth in prison, mental health, legal aid, reintegration in society and their caregiving responsibilities among others. In this regard, changes in the National Model Prison Manual 2016 have also been suggested to bring it in line with international standards and norms.

Source: PIB

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana Camp

In News:

A Distribution camp for free of cost distribution of Aids and Assistive Living devises under Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY), a scheme of Social Justice & Empowerment Department for Senior Citizen under BPL category, was recently organized in Delhi by Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), a PSU working under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

About Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:

The Scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.

This is a Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Central Government. The expenditure for implementation of the scheme will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund“.

Under the scheme, free of cost distribution of the devices, commensurate with the extent of disability/infirmity that is manifested among the eligible senior citizens will take place.

In case of multiple disabilities/infirmities manifested in the same person, the assistive devices will be given in respect of each disability/impairment.

Beneficiaries in each district will be identified by the State Governments/UT Administrations through a Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector.

As far as possible, 30% of the beneficiaries in each district shall be women.


As per the Census figures of 2011, the population of senior citizens in India is 10.38 crore.  More than 70% of the population of senior citizens live in rural areas of the country. A sizeable percentage (5.2%) of the senior citizens suffers from some sort of disabilities related to old age. Projections indicate that the number of elderly population will increase to around 173 million by 2026.

Source: PIB

Global Skills Park (GSP)

In News:

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $150 million Loan Agreement to establish a Global Skills Park (GSP) in Madhya Pradesh.

About the Global Skills Park (GSP):

It will be the First Multi-Skills Park in India, to enhance the quality of Technical and Vocational Education And Training (TVET) System in the State and create a more skilled workforce.

The Project will engage international TVET partners to support advanced training at the GSP who will bring global best practices in TVET management, training infrastructure, industry cooperation, and quality assurance.

The GSP campus will consist of core Advanced Training Institutes including the Center for Occupational Skills Acquisition and the Center for Advanced Agricultural Training as well as other support services focusing on entrepreneurship, training of trainers, and skill-related research.

The campus will have training facilities focusing on skills for manufacturing, service, and advanced agricultural jobs, benefitting about 20,000 trainees and trainers.


The Project will help improve the quality and relevance of the State’s TVET programs and will help impart advanced job-ready skills training of international standards that can meet the employment needs of the State’s emerging sectors.

The Project will also help in modernizing 10 industrial training institutes across the state by renovating training infrastructure and upgrading skills courses to align with industry and market needs.

Source: PIB

International Court of Justice

In News:

International Court of Justice has ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to the safety of civil aviation. The ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is legally binding.


Mr. Trump moved to restore tough U.S. sanctions in May after withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers. Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the ICJ.

Why lift imposed sanctions?

The U.S. sanctions “have the potential to endanger civil aviation safety” in Iran and sanctions limiting sales of goods required for humanitarian needs such as food, medicines and medical devices “may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran.”

About ICJ:

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial body of the UN. Established in 1946 to replace the Permanent Court of International Justice, the ICJ mainly operates under the statute of its predecessor, which is included in the UN Charter.

It has two primary functions: to settle legal disputes submitted by States in accordance with established international laws, and to act as an advisory board on issues submitted to it by authorized international organizations.

Members of the Court:

The International Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These organs vote simultaneously but separately. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies. In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years. Judges are eligible for re-election.

Who nominates the candidates?

Every state government, party to the Charter, designates a group who propose candidates for the office of ICJ judges. This group includes four members/jurists of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (machinery which enables arbitral tribunals to be set up as desired and facilitates their work) also picked by the State. Countries not part of the statute follow the same procedure where a group nominates the candidates.

Each group is limited to nominate four candidates, two of whom could be of their nationality. Within a fixed duration set by the Secretary-General, the names of the candidates have to be sent to him/her.

What are the qualifications of ICJ judges?

  • A judge should have a high moral character.
  • A judge should fit to the qualifications of appointment of highest judicial officers as prescribed by their respective states or.
  • A judge should be a juriconsult of recognized competence in international law.

The 15 judges of the Court are distributed as per the regions:

  • Three from Africa.
  • Two from Latin America and Caribbean.
  • Three from Asia.
  • Five from Western Europe and other states.
  • Two from Eastern Europe.

Independence of the Judges:

Once elected, a Member of the Court is a delegate neither of the government of his own country nor of that of any other State. Unlike most other organs of international organizations, the Court is not composed of representatives of governments. Members of the Court are independent judges whose first task, before taking up their duties, is to make a solemn declaration in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.

In order to guarantee his or her independence, no Member of the Court can be dismissed unless, in the unanimous opinion of the other Members, he/she no longer fulfils the required conditions. This has in fact never happened.

Source: The Hindu

Udyam Abhilasha

In News:

It is a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign launched by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.


The campaign has been launched in 115 Aspirational Districts identified by NITI Aayog in 28 States.

About the Campaign:

The campaign would create and strengthen cadre of more than 800 trainers to provide entrepreneurship training to the aspiring youths across these districts thus encouraging them to enter the admired segment of entrepreneurs.

SIDBI has partnered with CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle, (CSC SPV) set up by the Ministry of Electronics & IT, Govt. of India for implementing the campaign through their CSCs.

The objectives of the missionary campaign include:

  • To inspire rural youth in aspirational districts to be entrepreneurs by assisting them to set up their own enterprise.
  • To impart trainings through digital medium across the country.
  • To create business opportunities for CSC VLEs.
  • To focus on women aspirants in these aspirational districts to encourage women entrepreneurship.
  • To assist participants to become bankable and avail credit facility from banks to set up their own enterprise.

About SIDBI:

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) was set up on 2nd April 1990 under an Act of Parliament.

It acts as the Principal Financial Institution for Promotion, Financing and Development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector as well as for co-ordination of functions of institutions engaged in similar activities.

Source: PIB

World’s first Hyperloop passenger capsule unveiled

In News:

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc. has unveiled its first full-scale passenger capsule in Spain.


The capsule is 105 feet (32 meters) long and weighs 5 tons. Named as the Quintero One, the product is made almost entirely out of composite material.

What is hyperloop transportation system?

It is a transportation system where a pod-like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum tube connecting cities at speeds matching that of an aircraft.

The hyperloop concept is a brainchild of Tesla founder Elon Musk. US-based Hyperloop Transport Technology (HTT) claimed it costs $40 million per kilometre to build a hyperloop system while building a high-speed train line would cost almost twice. The hyperloop system is being designed to transport passengers and freight.

How it operates?

In hyperloop transporation, custom-designed capsules or pods are expected to zip smoothly through continuous steel tubes which are held at partial vacuum. The pod which sandwiches the passenger compartment between an air compressor upfront and a battery compartment in the rear is supported by air caster skis at the bottom.

The skis float on a thin layer of air provided under high pressure, eliminating rolling resistance and allowing for movement of the pods at high speeds. These capsules are expected to be driverless with estimated speeds of 1,000 km/h. Linear induction motors that are placed along the tube control the speed of the pod. Electronically-assisted acceleration and braking determines the speed of the capsule.

The Problems Plaguing the Hyperloop:

Constructing a tube hundreds of kilometers long would be an engineering marvel in of itself. However, introducing a tube hundreds of kilometers long that operates at a near perfect vacuum which can support the force of capsule weighing thousands of kilograms as it travels hundreds of kilometers an hour is nothing short of sci-fi fantasy.

Small scale experiments reveal the fundamentals of the idea are sound. Although, in the real world, there are too many factors that cannot be accounted for with a small scale design. In the real world, there are tens of thousands of kilograms of atmospheric pressure which threatens to crush any vacuum chamber.

There is also the problem with thermal expansion which threatens to buckle any large structure without proper thermal expansion capabilities. The Hyperloop would also be stupendously expensive. There are many unavoidable problems facing the Hyperloop that threaten the structural integrity, and every human life on board. The problems can be addressed, but at a great cost.

Facts for Prelims:

The government of Andhra Pradesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to develop India’s first Hyperloop route in the state.

The proposed route for the Hyperloop between the city centers of Vijaywada and Amaravati could potentially turn a trip of more than one hour into a 6 minute ride.

The project will use a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model with funding primarily from private investors.

Source: The Hindu

Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MACOT)

In News:

The Hayabusa2 probe launched the French-German Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout, or MASCOT towards the Ryugu asteroid’s surface.


  • The 10-kg box-shaped MASCOT is loaded with sensors. It has been built by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the French Space Agency (Cnes).
  • It can take images at multiple wavelengths, investigate minerals with a microscope, gauge surface temperatures and measure magnetic fields.
  • MASCOT will be largely immobile — it will “jump” just once on its mission, and it can turn on its sides.
  • The MASCOT has a maximum battery life of just 16 hours.

MINERVA-II micro-rovers:

About 10 days ago, Hayabusa2 dropped a pair of MINERVA-II micro-rovers on the Ryugu asteroid. It was the first time that moving, robotic observation device have been successfully landed on an asteroid.

The rovers will take advantage of Ryugu’s low gravity to jump around on the surface -travelling as far as 15 metres (49 feet) while airbourne and staying in the air for as long as 15 minutes — to survey the asteroid’s physical features with cameras and sensors.

Objectives of Hayabusa2 mission:

The Hayabusa2 is scheduled later this month to deploy an “impactor” that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a two-kilo (four-pound) copper object into it to blast a small crater on the surface. The probe will then hover over the artificial crater and collect samples using an extended arm.

The samples of “fresh” materials, unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, could help answer some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth.


Hayabusa2, about the size of a large fridge and equipped with solar panels, is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa — Japanese for falcon.

That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during an epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph.

Source: The Hindu

Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC)

In News:

Cabinet approves Redevelopment of Railway Stations by IRSDC as Nodal Agency, through simplified procedures and longer lease tenure.

About IRSDC:

The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the Government of India that has been designed to develop new stations and redevelop existing Indian railway stations. IRSDC is a joint venture between IRCON and Rail Land Development Authority with a 51:49 equity shareholding ratio respectively.

Source: PIB

National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation in Sehore District

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation(NIMHR) in Sehore District in Madhya Pradesh.


NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation. It will serve as an institution of excellence for capacity building in human resource and research in the area of mental health  rehabilitation, and also recommending body suggesting models/protocols for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness.

Source: The Hindu

Global Skills Park (GSP)

  • Global Skills Park is going to be established in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  • ADB and Government of India recently signed a $150 million loan agreement to establish the park.
  • GSP is the first multi-skills park in India.
  • It aims to enhance the quality of Technical and Vocational Education & Training (TVET) System in the State and create a more skilled workforce.
  • The GSP campus will be in Bhopal which consists of
  1. Core Advanced Training Institutes including the Center for Occupational Skills Acquisition,
  2. Center for Advanced Agricultural Training and
  3. Other support services focusing on entrepreneurship, training of trainers, and skill-related research.

Asian Development Bank

  • ADB was conceived in the early 1960s as a financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world.
  • It is headquartered at Manila, Philippines.
  • ADB now has 67 members of which 48 from within Asia and Pacific while remaining 19 from outside.
  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and non-regional developed countries.
  • ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.
  • ADB is modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
  • India is a founding member and the fourth largest shareholder.
  • ADB’s recent projects in India – Safe drinking water project in West Bengal, Sewerage and drainage project in Kolkata.
  • Other Projects – East coast economic corridor, solar rooftop investment program, Mechi river bridge project in Indo-Nepal border, TAPI gas pipeline, South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program, supporting fiscal reforms in West Bengal State.

Udyam Abhilasha

  • It is a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign.
  • It is organised by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).
  • The campaign is organised in 115 Aspirational Districts identified by NITI Aayog in 28 States and reaching to around 15,000 youth.
  • It provides entrepreneurship training to the aspiring youths across these districts thus encouraging them to enter the segment of entrepreneurs.
  • It focuses on women aspirants in these aspirational districts to encourage women entrepreneurship.
  • The campaign will be delivered through common service centres (CSC) in these districts.
  • SIDBI has partnered with a CSC Special Purpose Vehicle (CSC SPV).
  • CSC e-Governance Services India Limited is set up by the Ministry of Electronics & IT.