Current Affairs, News & Facts of 06 Aug 2015

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  • Cabinet approves direct release of wages to MGNREGA workers

     

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    Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its approval for direct release of wages to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

    Although electronic Fund Management System (e-FMS) has been implemented earlier even than Delayed payments has been one of the biggest criticisms of the scheme that has been allocated Rs 34,000 crore in the current fiscal year

    Implementation:-

    • The rural development ministry will release the money directly into the State Employment Guarantee Fund once a finance order has been generated. Only the amount for which a financial transfer order is generated will be transferred into the state's fund. Direct benefit transfer will then be made through electronic fund management system to the bank and post office accounts of workers 
    • Once the pay or the financial transfer order is generated by the state government, the payment will go through from the central government resources to state's employment guarantee fund and thereafter to the beneficiary. 

    Advantages of the proposed system :-

    • Governments would be able to spend more time in planning and improving the process efficiency without bothering to manage funds for implementation
    • The gram panchayats would also be empowered to take up work according to the agreed labour budget, without struggling for release of funds
    • Centre would gain by releasing “what is actually expended” and “there will be greater transparency in movement of funds and lesser levels of corruption”
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  • Cabinet approves proposal to sign agreement with UNESCO 

     

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    • The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to sign an agreement with UNESCO for establishment of a Centre for World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia-Pacific region at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun as a category-2 centre of the UN body. 
    • By signing this agreement WII Dehradun will be first existing institute to be accorded recognition by UNESC. It will be also the first institute to get natural heritage recognition by UNESCO as currently there are 9 C2C institutes related to cultural heritage.
    • The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal for signing the pact which was mooted by the Environment Ministry. Union Government will provide capacity building for establishing this centre in order to support countries in the region for up keeping of heritage and natural sites.
    • Presently, India has 32 UNESCO heritage sites of which 7 are natural sites and 25 are cultural sites

    Advantages for India :-

    • After the establishment of the Centre in Dehradun, India will be uniquely placed to provide services for preparation and evaluation of proposals for new sites in Asia-Pacific region and training and capacity building on management and monitoring of heritage sites.
    • The operationalising of the UNESCO C2C at WII would enable India to establish her leadership in the Asia-Pacific region, which comprises of around 50 countries, in matters relating to identification, management and monitoring of world heritage and to build capacity of a range of professionals and stakeholders. 

    Image source :wikipedia

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  • Parliament passes Delhi High Court Amendment Bill, 2015

     

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    • A bill to reduce the workload of the Delhi High Court by enhancing the pecuniary jurisdiction of civil suits from the existing Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore has been passed by Parliament
    • The Bill proposes that civil suits up to Rs 2 crore will be heard by the 11 district courts in the city instead of the Delhi High Court. Litigants will no longer have to travel to the High Court but go to one of the district courts 
    • The bill was introduced by the UPA government in Rajya Sabha in February 2014 and referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel, which cleared it 
    • Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015, was passed in Rajya Sabha in May 2015 but was adopted by a voice vote by the Lower House in the absence of most of the opposition members who were boycotting proceedings to protest the suspension of 25 Congress members for five days by the Speaker.
    • At present, cases involving even a small property are required to be filed before the High Court as it has the jurisdiction of civil suits involving Rs 20 lakh and above.

    Highlights of Bill

    • The measure would allow transferring of civil suits, valued up to Rs 2 crore, to the nine district courts in Delhi from the high court.
    • People staying in far-flung areas will also get relief as they won't have to come to the High Court. Currently, 11 district courts (in Delhi) are assigned to deal with the cases, but three more district courts will be added to the list
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  • Union Cabinet gives nod to hiving off BSNL towers to a new company  

     

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    • Union government  approved hiving off the state-owned firm’s tower business into a new company as well as compensating it and MTNL Rs. 627.20 crore for 800 MHz CDMA spectrum that they surrendered. The move will help the state-run firm to improve its financial position by generating additional stream of revenues
    • Department of Telecom can constitute an inter-ministerial group for working out the capital and organisational structure of the new company after market valuation of its tower assets
    • BSNL mobile tower assets consist of about 64,500 towers and more than 50,000 tower sites have optical fibre cable connectivity. The company expects valuation of its mobile tower company to be to the tune of Rs. 20,000 crore
    • BSNL began sharing its tower assets with other operators in 2010 but it is yet to realise full potential of its market share. BSNL has already leased out 4,500 towers to Reliance Jio and about 1,500 to Bharti Airtel.  
    • As the towers of BSNL are spread across the country, even in the remote areas, private telcos prefer to share BSNL’s infrastructure rather than investing in setting up of their own network.Indus Towers, a joint venture (JV) between Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, is the largest player in the tower industry.
    • BSNL has surrendered spectrum (one carrier of 1.25 MHz each) for 4 circles and MTNL in Delhi and Mumbai (two carriers of 1.25 MHz each). The surrender of spectrum by BSNL and MTNL enhanced contiguity of spectrum in some licensed service areas thereby enabling higher prices obtained in auction
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  • Bihar Assembly passes grievance redressal Bill,2015,

     

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    • Bihar assembly unanimously passed the Bihar Public Grievance Redressal Bill, 2015, which would guarantee time-bound redressal of grievances of the common people in the state.
    • The Bill, introduced by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in his capacity as the Minister of General Administration Department, was passed by a voice vote.
    • Under the proposed legislation, rules would be framed to make the government servants duty-bound to dispose grievances of the people in a time-bound manner and their failure to do so would amount to misconduct for which errant officials could be dismissed from service
    • Bihar Public Grievance Redressal Bill, 2015 would empower the people  and also bring transparency and accountability in governance. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has directed the officials for documentation and computerisation of those complaints to ensure their redressal

    Image source :khabarindia

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  • India, Mozambique ink MoU for oil, gas cooperation

     

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    • India and Mozambique Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the oil and gas sector for a period of five years
    • The MoU was signed at a meeting between Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Mozambique's Minister of Foreign Affairs Oldemiro Julio Marques Baloi.
    • Mozambique is strategically located near India and is ideally suited for bringing natural gas to India at market-determined price. Participation of indian energy companies in the project will facilitate access to LNG for the growing Indian gas market
    • Mozambique plans to produce 34 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually from its biggest gas field - the Rovuma Area 1 offshore block - where state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India and Bharat Petroleum Corp have bought 30 percent stake and will also participate in the LNG project
    • Ten LNG terminals are likely to be set up, each with a yearly capacity of five million tonnes of gas. Offshore gas discoveries in 2010 in two adjacent offshore blocks have seen the emergence of Mozambique as a significant hydrocarbon rich nation.
    • India currently has 18,000 MW of power capacity lying idle due to gas shortage, with another 10,000 MW in the pipeline awaiting commissioning.
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  • Murugappa Group to form new Joint venture with Japan-based Organo

     

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    Polutech Ltd, part of the Murugappa group, and Japan’s Organo Corp. have agreed to form a joint venture for industrial waste water treatment. The joint venture will be between Organo Group of Japan, and Polutech Limited of the Murugappa Group.

    Polutech, which makes waste treatment plants, will hold 51% stake in the venture while Organo Group will hold 49 per cent in the JV . The new venture will cater to industrial water treatment requirements of the growing manufacturing sector in India.

    About Polutech :-

    • Polutech is one of the leading player in the water treatment engineering services in India. The company manufactures equipment and designing systems for water and waste water treatment plants. It is a complete turnkey solution provider, from concept to commissioning, in raw water & effluent treatment systems.
    • Polutech’s execution capacity range from 20 cum/day to 30000 cum/day, across industries like Sugar, Pharma, Food & Beverage, Leather, Textile, Chemical etc. The company also offers total water management solutions and operation & maintenance services

    About Organo :-

    • Organo is a leading general water treatment engineering company that provides water treatment systems and chemicals to a wide range of industries. It is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. 
    • Organo operates three primary businesses  sales of water treatment systems, maintenance and management of delivered systems, and sales of standard products and chemicals. Organo’s turnover in FY 14 was Rs 3,500 crore (68741 million yen).
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  • ILO, FICCI sign pact to improve MSME productivity

     

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    • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) to impart training to MSMEs to make them competitive and boost productivity
    • The MoU was signed as part of the second phase of Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Global Programme which covers three years period from January 2014 to December 2017 
    • Each phase of SCORE will be approximately for a year or more and will be governed by a technical partnership agreement (MoU). SCORE is meant to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to train and empower workers and employees and create a win-win situation
    • SCORE is a training programme that will empower employers and workers, and increase productivity and competitiveness of MSMEs. SCORE is currently operational in eight countries, including India.
    • SCORE is supported by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the Norway Agency for Development Cooperation. The phase 1 of the global programme covered the period between October 2009 and December 2013. The phase 2 covers January 2014-December 2017
    • The MSMEs that have undergone training have reported more than 20 per cent improvement in key industry benchmarks.

    Image source : tehelka

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  • Australian court revokes environmental approval for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine

     

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    • Australia's Federal court overturned the government environmental approval for Adani Group’s $ 16 billion Carmichael coal mine project
    • Adani took over the Carmichael coal project in 2010 with plans to develop a coal mine, a connecting rail link and the Abbot Point port to transport the coal to India.
    • The under construction mine is one of the biggest in the world and has been facing opposition from environmentalists, who claimed it to be a threat to the Great Barrier Reef, from the start.
    • Environmentalists hailed the ruling against the controversial Carmichael mine as another setback for the project, estimated to cost up to $16 billion, which they say threatens two vulnerable species and will endanger the Great Barrier Reef
    • In reply to court order Adani stated that the there was technical error from Environment Ministry in presenting certain document while finalising approval and will re-apply for approval by meeting all necessary terms
    • Adani, which wants to ship millions tonnes of coal a year to India, has battled environmental opposition since starting work on the mine five years ago
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  • US renews generalised system of preferences (GSP) for Indian exporters

     

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    • Indian exports to the US, including items such as textiles and gems and jewellery, will benefit because  US government has extended the generalised system of preferences (GSP) for Indian exporters retrospectively from August 2013, enabling duty-free entry of 3,500 product lines. 
    • The USGSP, which expired in July 2013, has been extended with retrospective effect from August 2013 till December 2017
    • The move is expected to benefit exporters of textiles, engineering, gems and jewellery, and chemical products, among others, as their biggest market is the US

    Generalised System Of Preferences (GSP) 

    In the GSP a wide range of industrial and agricultural products originating in certain developing countries are given preferential access to American markets. 
    This is given in the form of reduced or zero rates of customs duties. It was introduced by the US in 1976

    Image source :the daily star

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