10 August Current Affairs
August 10, 2019
13 August Current Affairs
August 13, 2019
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12 August Current Affairs

Uniform Civil Code (UCC) In Goa

In News:

The Goa government has announced that it would amend the Portuguese-era Uniform Civil Code (UCC) so that non-Goans can register their marriages in the state.

Background:

Goa, a former Portuguese colony, was incorporated into the Union of India in 1961. In 1987, Goa was made a separate state.

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) was introduced in goa in the year 1870 by the erstwhile Portuguese rulers. It was retained even after the territory was merged with India in the year 1961.

Registration of marriage: 

Registration of marriage of non-Goans is currently banned in Goa.

Several Goans holding the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card, who are on a short vacation in Goa, find it difficult to register their marriages due to the mandatory provision of maintaining the 15-day gap between two signatures before sub-registrar–one for declaration of intent and the other for confirmation.

Goa Government has now proposed to amend the UCC to do away with the mandatory gap period.

Dixon Plan Of 1950

In News:

With Parliament adopting a Bill to make Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories with carving out Ladakh from the rest, the proposal of dividing the State has fructified.

About: 

The idea of dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two or more parts traces its origin to the Dixon Plan of 1950.

Owen Dixon, an Australian jurist chosen by the United Nations to mediate between India and Pakistan on the J&K issue, in his report of September 1950, suggested a package, which did not find acceptance from India.

The Plan had assigned Ladakh to India and northern areas and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to Pakistan, besides splitting Jammu between the two. It had proposed a plebiscite in the Kashmir valley.

View of B.R. Ambedkar:

A year later, B.R. Ambedkar, after quitting as Law Minister from the Jawaharlal Nehru Ministry, had suggested the formation of three zones: the area held by Pakistan, the Valley and Jammu-Ladakh.

He had also favoured a plebiscite only in the Valley.

National Workshop On Tribal Enterprise With Focus On Honey, Bamboo & Lac

In News:

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs inaugurated a National Workshop on Tribal Enterprise with focus on Honey, Bamboo and Lac. On the occasion, he released the Reports on (1) Bamboo and Bamboonomics ; (2) Lac; and (3) Honey.

Bamboo: 

India is the world’s second largest cultivator of bamboo after China.

However, poor yield of Bamboo is one of the perennial problems in India. In contrast to China’s average yield of 50 MT/Ha, the maximal yield range in India is 10-15 MT/ha.

This shows that there is lot of scope for bamboo enterprise based on the good stock. The Bamboo Enterprises can give immediate results leading to substantial increase income of tribal artisans.

Honey:

The country’s total honey production reported in 2017-18 was 1.05 lakh metric tonnes, compared to the 35,000 metric tonnes in 2005-06. The major part of it comes from Apisdorsata.

With international demand for honey growing, India exports 50 % of the commodity.

Large scale employment in the beekeeping sector is estimated to generate around 3 lakhman-working days by maintaining 10,000 bee colonies.

TRIFED is committed towards Prime Minister’s vision of a “Sweet Revolution” by way of making people prosper though production and trade in honey.

Lac:

Lac cultivation in India is mainly confined to the states of Jharkhand which contribute 57% of the total production, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 24% and the balance 19% is contributed by Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal.

Lac is mostly cultivated by poor tribals to supplement their agricultural income.

Presently Indian lac export is almost non-existent, which needs to be revived.

World Biofuel Day

In News:

World Biofuel Day will be observed on 10th August to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

About:

Date of Observance: World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th of August.

History: It is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas since 2015.

Objective of the day: To create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and highlight the various efforts made by Government of India in the biofuel sector.

Theme: This year the theme of the World Biofuel Day is “Production of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO)”.

Key highlights of this year: To facilitate the production of Biodiesel from UCO, the Oil Marketing Companies shall float an Expression of Interest (EOI) on the occasion for procurement of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil across 100 cities.

Used Cooking Oil (UCO) as Biofuel? 

The National Policy on Biofuels, released by the Government of India in 2018, envisages production of biofuel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO).

In India, approximately, 22.7 MMTPA of Cooking Oil is used out of which 1.2 MMTPA UCO can be collected from Bulk Consumers such as hotels, restaurants, canteens, etc. for conversion, which will give approximately 110 crore litres of Biodiesel in one year.

Benefits: 

In India, the same cooking oil is used for repeated frying which adversely affects the health due to formation of polar compounds during frying.

On the other hand, the transformation of UCO into biofuel will help bring health benefits as there would be no recycling of the UCO, employment generation, infrastructural investment in rural areas & cleaner environment with reduced carbon footprint.

To give a boost to indigenisation, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded approval for procurement of indigenous Software Defined Radio (SDRTactical) and Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (Long Range) for the Indian Navy. This was the first DAC meeting chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh since assuming office.

Software Defined Radio (SDRTactical)

It is communication system, which would enable information sharing through high-speed data and secure voice communication with anti-jamming capability.

It has been indigenously designed and developed by DRDO, BEL and Weapons Electronics System Engineering Establishment (WESEE).

Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (NGMMCB, LongRange)

It would be fitted with supersonic BrahMos surface-to-surface cruise missiles and would be deployed along the coast.

It has been developed and manufactured in India by Indo-Russia Joint Venture Company, M/s BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited.

Defence Procurement Procedure 2016: The DAC has also approved amendments to the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 to simplify processes under the ‘Make’ category as well as ‘Offsets’. This will ensure ‘Ease of business’ in the defence acquisition.

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)? 

Established in: 2001.

Chairman: Defence Minister.

Members: Minister of State for Defence, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Defence Secretary, Secretary Defence Research & Development, Secretary Defence Production, Chief of Integrated Staff Committees HQ IDS, Director General (Acquisition).

Member Secretary: Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence.

Objectives: Overall guidance of the defence procurement planning process and ensuring expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces.

Key Functions: In-principle approval of 15 Year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan for Defence Forces and Categorization of the acquisition proposals relating to ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’ and ‘Make’.

Bharat Ratna

In News:

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, presented Bharat Ratna Awards to Nanaji Deshmukh (posthumously), Bhupendra Kumar Hazarika (posthumously) and Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

About: 

The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.

Instituted in: 1954.

Criteria: The award is conferred in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in “any field of human endeavour”. The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public services, but this was changed in 2011.

Eligibility:

The award is conferred without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.

Though usually conferred on India-born citizens, the Bharat Ratna has been awarded to one naturalised citizen, Mother Teresa, and to two non-Indians, Pakistan national Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and former South African President Nelson Mandela.

The original statutes did not provide for posthumous awards but were amended in 1955 to permit them.

Award Process: There is no formal nomination process. The recommendations for the award can only be made by the Prime Minister to the President.

Limits: A maximum of three nominees can be awarded per year.

Recipients: The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were C. Rajagopalachari, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and C. V. Raman, who were honoured in 1954.

Medal:

Recipients receive a certificate signed by the President and a medal. There is no monetary grant associated with the award.

The medal is in the shape of a peepal leaf rimmed in platinum. The sun burst design with rays spreading out, made of platinum, is embossed on the obverse side of the medal.

The words “Bharat Ratna”, in Devanagari Script, is inscribed on the obverse side.

A State Emblem of India Is placed in the centre of the reverse side with the national motto, “Satyamev Jayate” (Truth alone triumphs) in Devanagari Script.

Recent winners: 

Pranab Mukherjee: He was the 13th President of India and served from 2012 until 2017. He was also finance minister under the prime ministership of Manmohan Singh.

Nanaji Deshmukh: He had been a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He is credited with bolstering the Jana Sangh in Uttar Pradesh. As a social activist, he laid emphasis on education. He established first Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Gorakhpur in 1950.

Bhupen Hazarika: He was a legendary singer-composer from Assam who died in 2011.

Reusable Launch System

In News:

Chinese startup LinkSpace completed its third test of a reusable rocket RLV-T5 in five months, stepping up the pace in the race to develop a technology key to cheap space launches.

About:

The cost of access to space is the major deterrent in space exploration and space utilisation. A reusable launch vehicle is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access.

LinkSpace’s test flight came on the heels of a historic delivery of a satellite into orbit last month by privately owned Chinese firm iSpace. Beijing-based iSpace said last week that it was also planning to launch a recoverable rocket, in 2021.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has already used recoverable rockets on a number of orbital missions since a historic launch early in 2017, spurring Europe, Russia, Japan and China to speed up their own research into the technology or at least consider studying it.

Indian scenario:

ISRO’s Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstration Program (RLV-TD) is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realizing a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.

The main objectives of the RLV TD are to reduce cost of launch by increasing reusability and to increase reliability by achieving a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) capability. It is a different approach from SpaceX and Blue Origin.

The ISRO approach to a reusable launch vehicle is a winged body space plane.

Whereas SpaceX and Blue Origin are recovering and reusing stages of their existing rockets, in order to reduce launch costs.

Biodiesel Made From Used Cooking Oil (UCO)

In News:

On the Occasion of the World Biofuel Day, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas released the Expression for Interest (EOI) by National Oil Marketing Companies (IOC, HPCL and BPCL) for procurement of Biodiesel made from Used Cooking Oil(UCO).

Key highlights of EOI by OMCs for Biodiesel, made from UCO:

The entrepreneurs setting up Biodiesel plants will get remunerative price and assurance of complete offtake of production by the OMCs — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.

The EOI will ensure that Rs 51/ litre is paid for Biodiesel for the first year, Rs 52.7 for the second year and Rs 54.5 for the third year.

The Oil companies will also bear the cost of transportation and GST for the first year.

The scheme is being launched in 100 cities across the country.

RUCO?

On the occasion, he also launched a sticker on RUCO viz., Repurpose Used Cooking Oil and a mobile app to facilitate the collection of UCO.

The RUCO sticker will imply that the establishment having it conforms to the RUCO ecosystem, and does not reuse the cooking oil.

The RUCO App will enable stakeholders to track and trace all transactions.

Kajin Sara Lake

In News:

Kajin Sara lake, a newly-discovered lake in Nepal is likely to set a new record of being the world’s highest lake.

About: 

The Kajin Sara lake is located at Singarkharka area of Chame rural municipality in Manang district of Nepal.

The lake was discovered about a few months ago by a team of mountaineers.

As per the measurement of the lake taken by the team, it is located at an altitude of 5,200 metres, which is yet to be officially verified. It is estimated to be 1,500-metre-long and 600-metre-wide.

The lake would be the world’s highest lake if its altitude of 5000-plus metres is officially verified,” he said.

Currently Tilicho Lake holds the title of the world’s highest lake. it is situated at an altitude of 4,919 metres in Nepal.

Insurgency In Tripura

In News:

Tripura’s banned insurgency group NLFT (SD) has signed agreement with centre to abjure violence and join the mainstream.

About: 

National Liberation Front of Twipra led by Sabir Kumar Debbarma (NLFT-SD) has agreed to the surrender its 88 cadres with their weapons. An MoU was signed in this regard between, Centre, Tripura Government and NLFT-SD.

The surrendered cadres will be given surrender benefits as per the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme, 2018 of the Union Home Ministry. The State Government of Tripura will help the surrendered cadres in housing, recruitment and education.

Government of India will consider the proposals of Tripura State Government regarding economic development of tribal areas of Tripura.

Background: 

The NLFT has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 1997.

The group, operating from their camps across the international border, has been responsible for violent activities including 317 insurgency incidents in which 28 security forces and 62 civilians lost their lives during the period 2005-2015.

Peace talks with NLFT were initiated in 2015 and there has been no violence by NLFT since 2016.

Sardar Sarovar Project

In News:

Over the last two weeks, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are arguing over the sharing of Narmada river waters and hydro power.

Sardar Sarovar Project: 

The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat.

The Sardar Sarovar Project includes two power houses, the River Bed Power House (RBPH; 1,200 MW) and the Canal Head Power House (250 MW).

Power is shared among Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat in a 57:27:16 ratio.

The RBPH has been shut since 2017, when the gates were closed and the reservoir height was raised to 138.63 m. Gujarat has sought that generation should not start until the water reaches the full reservoir level (FRL).

Recent controversy: 

Madhya Pradesh has threatened to restrict the flow of water into the Sardar Sarovar Dam, located in Gujarat.

This was after Gujarat, in April, had requested the Narmada Control Authority for permission — which was granted — not to start generation at a power house until the dam fills to its full level.