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September 20, 2019
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19 September Current Affairs

Deocha Pachami Dewanganj-Harinsingha coal block

In News:

The Central Government entered into an Allotment Agreement with the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL) regarding the Deocha Pachami Dewanganj-Harinsingha coal block.

About:

In accordance with the provisions of Coal Block Allocation Rules, 2017, made under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957, the WBPDCL has been allocated the Deocha Pachami Dewanganj – Harinsingha coal block.

Located in the State of West Bengal containing

Deocha Pachami Harinsingha Dewanganj coal mines is located in Birbhum district, West Bengal.

With an area of 12.28 sq. km. with estimated reserves of 2102 Million Tonnes for generation of power, it is the second largest coal mine in the world.

Dr Kalam Smriti International Excellence Award 2019

In News:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh was conferred the Dr Kalam Smriti International Excellence Award 2019 in Dhaka for her vision of a peaceful and prosperous South Asia and her contribution to fostering cooperation between India and Bangladesh.

About:

The award has been instituted in the memory of former Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The award is given every year to honour statesmen or leaders who have shown excellence in their fields to achieve the best for their countries.

Earlier, the Presidents of the Maldives, Ghana and Mauritius received the prestigious award since its introduction in 2015.

It is presented by Dale View, a non-governmental organisation registered under the Charitable Societies Act. It was created in 1978 in Kerala to bring about socio-economic development to rural areas through education.

SITMEX-19

In News:

A maiden trilateral exercise named SITMEX-19, involving Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), Royal Thailand Navy (RTN) and Indian Navy (IN) has commenced at Port Blair.

About:

The five-day-long exercise is aimed at bolstering the maritime inter-relationships amongst navies of Singapore Thailand and India, and contribute to enhancing the overall maritime security in the region.

The exercise was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address at Shangri-La dialogue in June 2018.

Malaysia has also evinced interest in joining the exercise.

Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019

In News:

Union Human Resource Development Minister launched Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) – 2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) in New Delhi.

About:

Leadership for Academicians Programme (LEAP) is a three weeks leadership development training programme (2 weeks domestic and one week foreign training) for second level academic functionaries in public funded higher education institutions.

The main objective is to prepare second tier academic heads that are potentially likely to assume leadership roles in the future.

LEAP is being implemented through the following 15 higher education institutions (HEIs) institutions like Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Banaras Hindu University, Jamia Miliia Islamia etc.

The mandatory eligibility conditions are: minimum 8 years of experience as Professor;  3 years administrative experience; Impeccable Integrity; High academic standing preferably 30 publications in ‘SCOPUS’ indexed international journals or UGC approved journals; and age below 58 years.

Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) – 2019

In News:

Union Human Resource Development Minister launched Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) – 2019 under Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) in New Delhi.

About:

ARPIT is a major and unique initiative of online professional development of 1.5 million higher education faculty using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM.

For implementing ARPIT, discipline-specific National Resource Centers (NRCs) are identified which are tasked to prepare online training material with focus on latest developments in the discipline, new & emerging trends, pedagogical improvements and methodologies for transacting revised curriculum.

Following Institutions have been notified as NRCs: Centers under the Ministry’s Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) located in Central Universities, IISc, IUCAA, IITs, IISERs, NITs, State Universities; UGC’s Human Resource Development Centres(HRDCs), NITTTRs, IIITs etc.

Through ARPIT all in-service teachers, irrespective of their subject and seniority have been given an enabling opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments in their disciplines through the technology based online refresher courses.

Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research (ICER)

In News:

Union Minister of Science & Technology dedicated an Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research (ICER) to the Nation.

About:

Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research (ICER) is one of the youngest centres at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-Bengaluru.

It is India’s first of its kind centre equipped with state-of-art facilities for conducting wide spectrum of energy research by knowledge network of elite researchers.

It has been conceived to take up socially relevant research in line with national-level missions of the Government of India, which will directly benefit the people of the nation and the world.

The Centre hosts faculty members from different departments having diverse engineering and science backgrounds, pursuing cutting-edge research in the broad area of energy.

National Centre for Clean Coal Research and Development

In News:

Union Minister of Science & Technology, inaugurated the National Centre for Clean Coal Research and Development at Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-Bengaluru.

About:

Government of India through Department of Science & Technology, has set up the National Centre for Clean Coal Research and Development (NCCCR&D) as a national level consortium on clean coal R&D, led by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-Bengaluru.

The primary goal is to address several critical R&D challenges towards the development of clean coal technologies, in tandem with developing supercritical power plant technologies, both at the materials and system level.

The pathways identified for lowering the carbon footprint of coal-based thermal power plants is by shifting towards high efficiency advanced ultra-supercritical (AUSC) steam power plants as well as supercritical carbon dioxide (s-CO2) based Brayton cycle power plants, along with exploration of new combustion and gasification technologies.

The research in clean coal domain could potentially be game changer for meeting the energy needs of the country in terms of higher efficiency and capacity at lower operating costs and size.

Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019

In News:

The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019 which was passed by the Parliament during the last Budget Session has come into effect.

About:

The Bill amends the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.

This will facilitate smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorized occupants from Government residential accommodations. This is expected to further increase availability of government residential accommodations for eligible persons and reduce the waiting period.

As per the Amendment Act, the Estate officer will issue short Show cause notice of three days before eviction of the unauthorized occupant from Government accommodation.

If the person in unauthorised occupation of the residential accommodation challenges the eviction order passed by the estate officer in court, he will be required to pay damages for every month of such occupation.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

In News:

The Supreme Court in a recent judgment held that Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) “substantially” financed by the government fall within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

Key highlights of judgment:

The Supreme Court laid down that NGOs which receive considerable finances from the government or are essentially dependent on the government fall under the category of “public authority” defined in Section 2(h) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005.

This means that they have to disclose vital information, ranging from finances to hierarchy to decisions to functioning, to citizens who apply under RTI.

An NGO may also include societies which are neither owned nor controlled by the government, but if they are significantly funded by the government, directly or indirectly, they come under the RTI Act.

The court defined “substantial” as a “large portion.”

It does not necessarily have to mean a major portion or more than 50%. Substantial financing can be both direct and indirect.

  1. If government gives land in a city free of cost or on heavy discount to hospitals, educational institutions or any such body, this could also be substantial financing.

 

National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

In News:

Finance Ministry has approved the proposal for creation of a National Recruitment Agency (NRA).

Objective: To streamline recruitment of some posts in the government along with various equivalent recruitment in public sector banks.

Key facts:

A new National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will be set up to conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for all various competitive examinations, in which an estimated 2.5 crore candidates appear annually.

NRA will conduct preliminary examinations for all these recruitment, which are at present conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

It will then subsequently forward the list of qualifying candidates to the respective recruiting agencies to conduct the mains examinations.

The basic idea behind this proposal is to shortlist qualifying candidates through a Common Eligibility Test before sending them for the mains examination.

Need for a new agency:

  • To streamline recruitment process on subordinate-rank posts in the government.
  • To reduce the burden of SSC and the IBPS, among others, from holding preliminary recruitment exams, which is an extensive exercise.

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