Joint Military Exercise MAITREE-2019 between India and Thailand will be conducted at Umroi (Meghalaya) from 16-29 Sep 2019.
Exercise MAITREE is an annual training event which is being conducted alternatively in Thailand and India since 2006.
The scope of this exercise covers company level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.
The joint military exercise will enhance the level of defence co-operation between Indian Army (IA) and Royal Thailand Army (RTA) which in turn will further foster defence cooperation and bilateral relations between the two nations.
Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub
India has joined the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member.
Background: The Global AMR R&D Hub was launched in May 2018 in the margins of the 71st session of the World Health Assembly, following a call from G20 Leaders in 2017.
Function: The Global AMR R&D Hub supports global priority setting and decision-making on the allocation of resources for AMR R&D, potential for cross-sectoral collaboration and leveraging in AMR R&D.
Secretariat: Berlin, Germany.
Funding: It’s operations are currently financed through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).
Membership: Inclusion of India has expanded collaboration in global AMR R&D to 16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organisations (as observers).
Astronomers have for the first time discovered water vapour in the atmosphere of a distant planet called K2-18b.
Astronomers at the University College London used data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to make the discovery. They published their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy.
It is the first time that they have detected water on a planet in the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is potentially compatible with the presence of life.
K2-18b has an atmosphere and it has water in it, thus making it the only exoplanet known to have both water and temperatures that could support life.
‘Draft Guidelines for ‘on tap’ Licensing
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released ‘Draft Guidelines for ‘on tap’ Licensing of Small Finance Banks in the Private Sector’ for comments.
Salient features of Draft Guidelines:
Registration and licensing: The SFB shall be registered as a public limited company under the Companies Act, 2013. It will be governed by the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
Status: The small finance banks will be given scheduled bank status once they commence their operations.
Existing NBFCs, micro finance institutions and local area banks in the private sector, which are controlled by residents, can opt for conversion into small finance banks.
Proposals from public sector entities and large industrial house/business groups, and autonomous boards/bodies will not be entertained.
The minimum paid-up voting equity capital for small finance banks shall be Rs.200 crore, except for such small finance banks which are converted from UCBs.
An SFB shall be required to maintain a minimum capital adequacy ratio of 15 per cent of its risk weighted assets (RWA) on a continuous basis.
Promoters’ contribution: The promoters should hold a minimum of 40 per cent of the paid-up voting equity capital of the bank, which would remain locked in for five years from the date of commencement of the bank’s business.
Jan Soochna Portal-2019
In a pioneering step, the first-ever public information portal was launched in Rajasthan.
The new web portal, named the Jan Soochna Portal-2019, would ensure compliance with Section 4(2) of the RTI Act mandating the public authorities to disclose information in the public domain, so that the people need not file applications under the law to obtain information.
The portal promises to provide information about government authorities and departments suo motu to the public in the true spirit of the Right To Information Act. It will initially give information pertaining to 13 departments.
The Rajasthan State government collaborated with the civil society groups to develop the portal.
The portal has brought yet another distinction to Rajasthan, where the RTI movement had started in 1990s.
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)
The naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas made it’s first-ever short arrested landing on the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) in Goa. This is a big step for the LCA to eventually operate from INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.
The naval LCA made its maiden flight in April 2012 and two prototypes have been flying as part of the development. The first Naval Prototype (NP)-1 made a successful first flight from the SBTF in 2014.
The naval LCA is designed with stronger landing gears to absorb forces exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off, to be airborne within 200m and land within 100m, as against 1,000m required for normal runways.
In December 2016, then Navy Chief Adm Sunil Lanba stated that the LCA in the present form “does not meet the carrier capability which is required by the Navy” but added that they would continue to support the development programme.
Community Radio Stations
118 new Community Radio Stations to be set-up.
What are CRS?
Community Radios are small (low power) FM radio stations with a coverage area of around 10-15 Km radius, depending on the geography of the area.
CRS play a significant role in dissemination of agriculture related information, government schemes for people’s welfare, weather forecast etc.
Today, there are more than 180 community radio stations across India, broadcasting in languages like Bundelkhandi, Garhwali, Awadhi and Santhali — tongues that typically find little or no space on television.
Challenges to the Community Radio:
Lack of journalistic and technical skills and thus a consistent demand for training.
Community Radio derives its strength and popularity from community participation. In practise participation is harder than it seems, because it is labour intensive, requires the right attitude, skills and mobile equipment.
Without proper management skills, as well as some knowledge of financial management and income generation, it is very hard for Community Radio to survive without donor funding.
Community Radio is by definition relatively small and often situated in locations where basic services, like a constant supply of electricity, are lacking. Due to these conditions equipment suffers and needs to be vigorously maintained and/or regularly replaced.
Absence of a clear regulatory framework in which Community Radio operates.
Eligibility to apply for a Community Radio Station:
As per the 2006 policy of the Government, an organisation desirous of operating a Community Radio Station (CRS) must be able to satisfy and adhere to the following principles:
It should be explicitly constituted as a ‘non-profit’ organisation and should have a proven record of at least three years of service to the local community.
The Community Radio Station should serve a specific well-defined local community.
The ownership and management structure should be such that it reflects the community which it serves.
It should only broadcast programmes that cater to the educational, developmental, social and cultural needs of the community.
The organization must be a Legal Entity. it should be registered (under the registration of Societies Act or any other such act relevant to the purpose).
Regarding the content, the two important provisions made are as follows:
The CRS license thus given by the government entitled them to operate a 100-watt (Effective Radiated Power) radio station, with a coverage area of approximately a 12-km radius. A maximum antenna height of 30 meters is allowed.
Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy
India is going to be possibly the first country in the world to implement a Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). A draft of the new policy has been made available by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
To encourage science and technology (S&T) institutions and individual scientists in the country to proactively engage in science outreach activities to connect science with the society.
To harness latent potential of the scientific community for strengthening linkages between science and society, and for making S&T ecosystem vibrant.
To develop a mechanism for ensuring access to scientific knowledge, transferring benefits of science to meet societal needs, promoting collaborations to identify problems and develop solutions.
Highlights of the draft:
Under the proposed policy, individual scientists or knowledge workers will be required to devote at least 10 person-days of SSR per year for exchanging scientific knowledge to society.
It also recognises the need to provide incentives for outreach activities with necessary budgetary support.
It has also been proposed to give credit to knowledge workers/scientists for individual SSR activities in their annual performance appraisal and evaluation.
No institution would be allowed to outsource or sub-contract their SSR activities and projects.
The draft defines SSR as “the ethical obligation of knowledge workers in all fields of science and technology to voluntarily contribute their knowledge and resources to the widest spectrum of stakeholders in society, in a spirit of service and conscious reciprocity”.
A central agency will be established at DST to implement the SSR. Other ministries would also be encouraged to make their own plans to implement SSR as per their mandate.
Need for SSR:
When most research is being done by using taxpayers’ money, the scientific establishment has an ethical obligation of “giving back” to the society. SSR is not only about scientific impact upon society but also about the social impact upon science. SSR would therefore strengthen the knowledge ecosystem and bring efficiencies in harnessing science for the benefit of society.
Hindi Diwas 2019
National Hindi Divas or Hindi Day is observed every year on September 14.
Objective: The day is a celebration of the Hindi language and its cultural heritage and values among the people of the country and abroad.
Why do we celebrate National Hindi Diwas?
The Constituent assembly of India adopted Hindi as the official language of the country on September 14, 1949 under Article 343.
Hindi is the fourth language of the world.