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October 24, 2019
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October 26, 2019
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25 October Current Affairs

Ecological Flow Notification For Ganga

In News:

Union Government has advanced the deadline for implementation of ecological flow notification for ganga – which came into effect in October 2018 – from October 2021 to December 2019.

Norms for minimum environmental flow (e-flow) for Ganga:

The e-flows are the acceptable flow regimes that are required to maintain a river in the desired environmental state.

The e-flow notification specifies that the upper stretches of the Ganga — from its origins in the glaciers and until Haridwar — would have to maintain:

  • 20% of the monthly average flow of the preceding 10-days between November and March, which is the dry season;
  • 25% of the average during the ‘lean season’ of October, April and May; and
  • 30% of monthly average during the monsoon months of June-September.

Any dam or structure meant for diversion of river flows for the purpose of irrigation, hydro-power and domestic or industrial use will now have to maintain the minimum flow. However, mini and micro projects, which do not alter the flow significantly are exempted.

The Central Water Commission (CWC) is the designated authority for supervision, monitoring, regulation of flows. Power projects will be assessed by the CWC quarterly for compliance after December 2019.

The central government through National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) may direct release of additional water in the river Ganga to meet special demand as and when required.

No Govt. Job more than two children

In News:

Assam Cabinet has decided that no government jobs will be given to persons having more than two children after January 1, 2021 as per the small family norm.

About:

The move comes two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged the issue of “population explosion” in his Independence Day speech. In 2013, Assam recorded a Total Fertility Rate of 2.3 (source: SRS) against a target for replacement level fertility rate of 2.1.

In 2017, the Assam Assembly had passed the ‘Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam’ that specified that job candidates with two children only would be eligible for government employment and the existing government staff were to strictly follow the two children family norm.

Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra already have a two-child norm in place for government jobs.

Two child norm for panchayat elections:

Assam is also among the states that have a similar norm in place for panchayat elections.

Last year, Assam had passed the Assam Panchayat (Amendment) Act, 2018, according to which those contesting panchayat polls cannot have more than two children.

Other states with similar norms for local body polls include Uttarakhand, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

White Bellbird

In News:

According to a research published in Current Biology, the white bellbird makes the loudest call ever recorded in birds, reaching 125 dB. The record was previously held by the screaming phias.

About:

Scientific Name: Procnias albus.

What is it? It is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae.

Distribution: It is found in forests in the Guianas, with small numbers in Venezuela and the Brazilian state of Pará.

Physical appearance: Only the male is white; the female is overall olive with yellowish streaks below and resembles other bellbirds.

IUCN status: Least Concern.

World’s loudest bird:

The mating call of the white bellbird is now officially the loudest birdsong on record.

Averaging out at a peak of 125.4 decibels, which is way beyond the level (85 db) considered safe for human ears, it is about three times louder than screaming phias — the previously loudest bird singer.

Kittur Utsav

In News:

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa inaugurated Kittur Utsav in Kittur. The three-day festivities included sports, cultural programmes and lectures on the kingdom of Rani Channamma.

About:

Kittur Chennamma (1778 – 1829) was an Indian freedom fighter and Rani of the Kittur, a former princely state in Karnataka.

She is one of the first women freedom fighters to have fought against the British rule in India.

She led an armed force against the British East India Company in 1824 in defiance of the doctrine of lapse in an attempt to maintain Indian control over the region. She was defeated in the third war and was imprisoned at Bailhongal Fort where she died in 1829.

Chennamma’s legacy and first victory are still commemorated in Kittur, during the Kittur Utsava annually held on 22–24 October. in 2007 a statue of Rani Chennamma was unveiled at the Indian Parliament Complex by Pratibha Patil, the first woman President of India.

Revival Plan Of BSNL and MTNL

In News:

Union Cabinet has approved the revival plan of BSNL and MTNL and in-principle merger of the two.

The following was approved by the  Union cabinet:

Administrative allotment of spectrum for 4G services to BSNL and MTNL. This will be funded by the Government of India by capital infusion in these PSUs at a value of over Rs 20,000 Crore.

BSNL and MTNL will also raise long-term bonds of Rs 15,000 Cr for which sovereign guarantee will be provided by the Government of India (GoI). With this, BSNL and MTNL will restructure their existing debt.

BSNL and MTNL will also offer Voluntary Retirement to their employees, aged 50 years and above through attractive Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), the cost of which will be borne by the Government of India through budgetary support.

BSNL and MTNL will monetise their assets so as to raise resources for retiring debt, servicing of bonds, network upgradation, expansion and meeting the operational fund requirements.

In-principle merger of BSNL and MTNL. An immediate merger will not be feasible, given that MTNL is a listed entity. Till the time the process is completed, MTNL will work as a subsidiary of BSNL.

Test flights of VT-NMD

In News:

Test flights of VT-NMD (Narendra Modi Devendra), India’s first experimental aircraft will finally be carried out in December 2019 so that it can be certified as airworthy after getting a go-ahead from the civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

About:

Amol Yadav, a former Jet Airways and now a Spicejet pilot, developed the 6-seater aircraft after first setting out to build one in 1998. He first displayed the aircraft at the Make in India week in 2016.

Yadav, who dreams of starting an indigenous aircraft manufacturing centre in India, has floated Thrust Aircraft Company and named his TAC003 prototype aircraft after Narendra Modi and Devendra Fadnavis – VT NMD.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given a conditional permit to Yadav to first fly for 10 hours out of the required 40, below 10,000 ft. He has to take the flight test in the presence of flight test experts (FTE).

Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Program (PMNDP)

In News:

The union Health Ministry has released guidelines for establishing peritoneal dialysis services under the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Program (PMNDP).

About:

Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that uses the lining of your abdomen, or belly, to filter your blood inside your body. Health care providers call this lining the peritoneum.

Peritoneal dialysis is a process to remove excess fluid, correct electrolyte problems and remove toxins using the lining of the abdomen, or peritoneum, in patients suffering from renal failure.

This process does away with the substantial costs of infrastructure, maintenance and staffing, reduces the demand on the healthcare system and offers patient autonomy.

Recent Guidelines:

The Ministry has requested all States to include proposals for establishing peritoneal dialysis under their respective programme implementation plans.

The guidelines also envisage providing training to community health workers to provide support to persons for peritoneal dialysis at home or in primary healthcare settings.

This move will instantly benefit the 2 lakh Indians who develop end-stage kidney failure every year in India.

The Health Ministry had announced the National Dialysis Programme in 2016 and the first phase of the programme envisaged setting up of haemodialysis centres in all districts.

19th Non Aligned Movement (NAM)

In News:

Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu will represent India at the 19th Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 25 and 26, marking the second time in a row that PM Modi will give the summit a miss.

About:

In 2016 as well, India was represented by then Vice-President at the NAM summit in Venezuela.

Since it was inaugurated in 1961, the Indian Prime Minister has always attended the NAM summit, except in 1979, when Chaudhury Charan Singh was the caretaker PM and hence missed it, and in 2016.

Modi’s absence indicates a decisive move away from past practice at the 60-year-old organisation that India was a founding member of, by the NDA government.

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the Review of Guidelines for Granting Authorization to market Transportation Fuels. This marks a major reform of the guidelines for marketing of petrol and diesel.

Salient features of guidelines & Major Impact:

Non-oil companies can also invest in setting up retail outlets for fuel, regardless of whether they have prior investments in the oil and gas sector.

There is much lower entry barrier for private players. The entities seeking authorisation would need to have a minimum net worth of Rs.250 crore vis-à-vis the current requirement of Rs. 2000 crore prior investment.

The companies have been given flexibility in setting up a Joint Venture or Subsidiary for market authorisation.

In addition to conventional fuels, the authorized entities are required to install facilities for marketing at least one new generation alternate fuel, like CNG, LNG, biofuels, electric charging, etc. at their proposed retail outlets within 3 years of operationalization of the said outlet.

The authorised entities are required to set up minimum 5% of the total retail outlets in the notified remote areas within 5 years of grant of authorisation.

Ozone hole

In News:

During September and October, the annual ozone hole over the Antarctic reached its peak extent of 16. 4 million sq km on September 8, then shrank to less than 10 million sq km. This has been the smallest observed since 1982. NASA has described it as great news for the Southern Hemisphere.

Why it’s small this year?

There have been abnormal weather patterns in the atmosphere over Antarctica. In warmer temperatures like this year, fewer polar stratospheric clouds form and they don’t persist as long, limiting the ozone-depletion process.

What is ozone layer?

A layer of ozone envelops the Earth and keeps damaging ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from reaching living things on the planet’s surface.

The ozone layer exists mainly in the stratosphere, a layer of the atmosphere that reaches from 10 to 50 kilometers (about 6 to 30 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

What is ozone hole?

The ozone hole is a region of depleted layers of ozone above the Antarctic region, whose creation is linked to increased cases of skin cancer.

Manufactured chemicals deplete the ozone layer. Each spring over Antarctica, atmospheric ozone is destroyed by chemical processes. This creates the ozone hole, which occurs because of special meteorological and chemical conditions that exist in that region.

Factors responsible for the depletion of ozone:

Depletion of ozone is due to many factors, the most dominant of which is the release of chlorine from CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) which destroys the ozone. CFCs are released by products such as hairsprays, old refrigerators etc.

Government e Marketplace (GeM)

In News:

The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Federal Bank to offer various services.

Significance: The MoU will facilitate a cashless, paperless and transparent payment system on the portal and would create an efficient procurement system for government entities.

About GeM:

What is it? GeM is a state-of-the-art national public procurement platform of Ministry of Commerce and Industries, that has used technology to remove entry barriers for bonafide sellers and has created a vibrant e-marketplace with a wide range of goods and services.

Aim: GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.

GeM facilities:

  1. Listing of products for individual, prescribed categories of Goods/ Services of common use.
  2. Look, estimate, compare and buying facility on dynamic pricing basis.
  3. Market place buying of majority of common User Items.
  4. Buying Goods and Services online, as and when required.
  5. Transparency and ease of buying.
  6. Useful for low value buying and also for bulk buying at competitive price using Reverse Auction/ e-bidding.
  7. Continuous vendor rating system.
  8. Return policy.

Benefits of GeM:

  1. Enhances transparency.
  2. Increased efficiency.
  3. Secure and safe.
  4. Savings to the government.

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