03 , August 2017

Cloud Observatory
Source: PIB

A high altitude cloud physics observatory has been established at Munnar (Kerala), in Western Ghats, the region which is gateway for the monsoon of India.

  • High altitude cloud physics observatory at Munnar is used to observe cloud and rain processes over that region with state of the art observations. Such facility will enable understanding of rainfall distribution and will allow better characterization of rainfall processes in the numerical models used for prediction of monsoon rainfall.
  • It is expected that long term monitoring of cloud and rainfall processes will enable accurate representation of cloud micro-physical process in forecast models to improve over all skill of rainfall prediction for severe weather phenomena viz, heavy rainfall, thunderstorm etc., not only over Kerala but for the whole country.

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‘ePaylater’

A scheme of booking e-ticket online and making payment after 15 days through ‘ePaylater’ powered by M/s Arthashastra Fintech Pvt. Ltd., as a pilot project, has been introduced by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC).

Under this scheme, a customer has the option to pay after 15 days of booking an e-ticket through IRCTC website. The service charge levied on using ‘ePaylater’ scheme is 3.50% of transaction amount and applicable taxes.

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Coconut palm declared State tree of Goa

The Goa state government has decided to include coconut palm as a tree in the Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984, to regulate felling of coconut trees under the act. The cabinet has also resolved to declare the coconut tree as the “state tree”.

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Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set up a committee on ‘fair market conduct’. It will be headed former law secretary T K Viswanathan. The committee will suggest measures for improving surveillance of the markets and strengthen rules for algorithm trades, among other norms.

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Humraaz mobile application

The Indian Army has developed Humraaz mobile application through which serving soldiers can track details like postings and promotions. The app will also enable soldiers to view their monthly salary slips, Form 16 and also download them.

The Humraaz mobile app has been developed in-house by the Army. For security reasons, its installation has been linked to verification of Aadhar details. On installing the app, serving soldiers will be verified with the Army database over National Information Centre (NIC) cloud and they will get a one-time-password (OTP) on their registered mobile number. For accessing the app, soldiers have to link their latest mobile number to their Aadhar number.

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1.BRICS Agriculture Research Platform
Source: PIB

During the 7th BRICS Summit held on 9thJuly 2015 at Ufa in Russia, Prime Minister Shri Modi proposed to establish BRICS Agriculture Research Centre which will be a gift to the entire world. The Centre will promote sustainable agricultural development and poverty alleviation through strategic cooperation in agriculture to provide food security in the BRICS member countries.

  • In order to further intensify cooperation among BRICS countries in agricultural research policy, science and technology, innovation and capacity building, including technologies for small¬holder farming in the BRICS countries, an MoU on establishment of the Agricultural Research Platform was signed by the foreign Ministers of BRICS countries in the 8th BRICS Summit held on 16th October, 2016 at Goa.
  • BRICS-ARP will be the natural global platform for science-led agriculture-based sustainable development for addressing the issues of world hunger, under-nutrition, poverty and inequality, particularly between farmers’ and non-farmers’ income, and enhancing agricultural trade, bio-security and climate resilient agriculture.

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2.Israel launches first environmental research satellite Venus
Source: The Hindu

Israel has launched the country’s first environmental research satellite in a joint venture between the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and its French counterpart CNES.

  • The Venus satellite (Vegetation and Environment Monitoring New Micro-Satellite) is an earth-observation micro-satellite.
  • The satellite will circle the earth 29 times in each 48-hour period and will stay in commission for 4.5 years.
  • The satellite will be able to take repeated photos of the same spot in the same light conditions (accounting for the position of the sun), allowing for more accurate tracking of changing environmental issues. This is called “heliosyncronis orbit” because it requires taking a photo of the same coordinates while the sun is in the same position.
  • The satellite’s goal is to obtain high-resolution photographs of specific sites to track environmental issues such as desertification, erosion, pollution, natural disasters, and other phenomena linked to climate change.
  • The high resolution — plants can be distinguished as little as five meters apart — makes possible “precision agriculture,” in which farmers would be able to accurately plan for water, fertilizer, and pesticide needs.
  • The technological mission of the satellite will test the operation of an innovative electric propulsion system based on the Israeli-designed Hall Effect Thrusters. A Hall-effect thruster (HET) is a relatively low power device used to propel a spacecraft after entering orbit or farther out into space.

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3.Government clears proxy vote move for NRIs
Source: The Hindu

The Government has approved changes in electoral laws to permit Non-Resident Indians to cast their vote in assembly and Lok Sabha elections from overseas.

If the proposal passes in Parliament, NRIs will be able to exercise their voting rights through “proxy”. Currently, only service personnel are permitted to vote through proxy.For overseas Indians, the Representation of the People Act needs to be amended to include proxy voting as other means to cast their votes.

How proxy voting takes place

The Union Cabinet’s approval for proxy voting by NRIs carries a caveat: they cannot nominate one proxy for all polls. Overseas electors will have to appoint a nominee afresh for each election — one person can act as proxy for only one overseas voter. The proxy voter should be an ordinary resident of the constituency one is voting in.

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4.RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 6%
Source: The Hindu

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reduced short-term lending rate, or repo rate, by 25 basis points to 6%. It was RBI’s third bimonthly policy review for the financial year 2017-18. The decision of the MPC was consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term inflation target of 4% within a band of +/- 2%, while supporting growth

Repo rate:
It is the rate at which RBI lends to its clients generally against government securities. It was reduced by 25 basis points to 6%. The rate cut comes after a slump in food prices in consumer inflation to a record low of 1.54%.

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):

  • MPC is a committee of the central bank — Reserve Bank of India, headed by its Governor. It was set up by amending the RBI Act to provide for a statutory and institutionalised framework for MPC.
  • The 6 member MPC is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to contain inflation within the target level. The majority voice of the committee will be final in deciding the interest rates.
  • Composition of MPC includes Governor of RBI (ex officio Chairperson), Deputy Governor of RBI, in charge of Monetary Policy (Member), one officer of RBI (Member) and three members appointed by Central Government as members. Each member has one vote and governor has casting vote in case of tie.

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5.Two key bills for implementation of GST in J&K

Source: The Hindu

The Lok Sabha has passed the Central Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill, 2017 and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill, 2017. The two bills will replace the ordinances promulgated earlier in this regard to complete rolling out GST regime the Himalayan State. The first bill provides for the extension of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017 to J&K and the other also provides for the extension of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Act, 2017 to J&K.

The Central government earlier had promulgated ordinances to make the Central GST and Integrated GST (IGST), which deals with inter-state commerce, applicable to all states. However, provisions of these Central laws were not applicable to J&K unlike the rest of India, as the state is having a special constitutional status. Under this different constitution procedure, President Pranab Mukherjee had promulgated two ordinances regarding the introduction of the GST in J&K.

 

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