05, April 2018

Project JATAN

  • The Ministry of Culture has embarked upon an ambitious project of the digitization of the collections of the Museums under it with the twin purpose of making effective utilization of technology in museum management and bringing the collections of these museums closer to the public by making them available for online viewing over the internet.
  • In this endeavour, the Ministry of Culture, through the technical expertise of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C –DAC) Pune and the Art Institute of Chicago got standardized a software entitled “Jatan” for implementation in its Museums.
  • The implementation of the Jatan software will ensure the development of Digital Accession Register for all the antiquities in these museums which could then be regularly up-dated as and when more antiquities / artifacts are acquired by the museum. The implementation of this software will also ensure that a uniform pattern of collections management is followed in the museums under the Ministry. In future it is also proposed to get the Jatan software implemented in the 42 remaining ASI site museums also in a phased manner.

  1. Cabinet approves the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 for better protection and promotion of human rights in the country.

Salient Features:

  • It proposes to include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission;
  • It proposes to add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission;
  • It proposes to enlarge the scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission; and
  • It proposes to incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories.
  • It proposes to amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.

Benefits:

  • The Amendment will strengthen the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the amended Act will be in perfect sync with the agreed global standards and benchmarks towards ensuring the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual in the country.

Background:

  • The amendment to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 will make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle concerning its autonomy, independence, pluralism and wide-ranging functions in order to effectively protect and promote human rights.

  1. Draft National Energy Policy NITI Aayog, Government of India

 

Energy is acknowledged as a key input towards raising the standard of living of citizens of any country, as is evident from the correlation between per capita electricity (a proxy for all energy forms) consumption and Human Development Index (HDI).

  • Accordingly, energy policies of India have over the years directly aimed to raise per capita energy (and electricity) consumption, even while the main focus of the country’s development agenda has been on eradication of poverty.
  • To maintain the continuous development pace of economic growth, the country must meet growing electricity demand.
  • With nearly 304 million Indians without access to electricity, and about 500 million people, still dependent on solid bio-mass for cooking, it may be acknowledged that the country has to still go a long way on securing its energy security objective. While India strives to achieve a double digit growth rate in its national income, making clean energy available to all of its citizens, ought to be included as a key component of the poverty alleviation programmes.

India Vision 2040

  • The NEP aims at supporting the Indian ambition to emerge as a well-developed and resilient economy with high level of human development.
  • Additionally, it helps prepare the nation to anticipate the technological and market related changes in the energy sector.

What will India’s energy sector look like in 2040?

  • India Vision 2040 aims to answer the above precise question. Demand-driven provision of energy at affordable prices, high per capita consumption of electricity and access to clean cooking energy and electricity with universal coverage, low emission and security of supply will characterize the energy parameters of India in 2040.
  • The energy mix will also undergo a transformation with preponderance of renewable technologies, storage solutions, smart grids and enlightened consumer behaviour becoming the order of the day. We attempt here to present the NITI Ambition Scenario (NAS) 2040 — energy in India in 2040 — the expected energy status of India, via the NEP

Key facts:

  • The Initiatives and reforms of Government in last two years in the power sector has restored faith in stakeholder and resulted in the growth of power sector. According to Power Generation, which is released by Ministry of Power implementation, the growth rate of installed capacity of electricity generation is 4.79% up to April 2017 and peak power deficit reduced to -0.6% at end of May 2017.
  • NITI Aayog, India came up with a draft copy for National Energy Policy for comments. This is a very good policy support and incentive structure to attract investors in RE generation and creates innovation markets and try to increase use of ancillary application. The National Energy Policy (NEP) aims to chart the way forward to meet the Government’s recent bold announcements in the energy domain.
  • Approximately 304 million Indians without access to electricity, and about 500 million people, still dependent on solid bio-mass for cooking, it may be acknowledged that the country has to still go a long way on securing its energy security objective.

Present Govt. Policy scenario

  • All the Census villages are planned to be electrified by 2018, and universal electrification is to be achieved, with 24×7 electricity by 2022.
  • The share of manufacturing in our GDP is to go up to 25% from the present level of 16%, while the Ministry of Petroleum is targeting reduction of oil imports by 10% from 2014-15 levels, both by 2022.
  • NDCs target at reduction of emissions intensity by 33%-35% by 2030 over 2005, achieving a 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022, and share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix is aimed at above 40% by 2030.
  • As per the energy modelling exercise undertaken by the NITI Aayog — India Energy Security Scenarios (IESS), 2047, the energy demand of India is likely to go up by 2.7-3.2 times between 2012 and 2040, with the electricity component itself rising 4.5 fold.

Objectives

The policy aims to ensure that electricity reaches every household by 2022 as promised in the Budget 2015-16 and proposes to provide clean cooking fuel to all within a reasonable time.

Identify seven areas of intervention

  • Increasing energy efficiency helps for using less energy for the same service and reduction of monthly energy consumption bill, is an important element in energy policy.
  • For that reason the government to replace regular bulbs by LED bulbs has the potential to reduce energy load by 20 GW and save nearly 100 billion kWh worth of energy each year after replacement of all incandescent bulbs.

Time horizon of the policy

  • Short term up to 2022
  • Medium term up to 2040(long enough to contemplate bolder interventions that are required to fully modernize India’s energy sector.)

Specific goals will be set for major energy consuming sectors:

  • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) is trying to achieve its intended goals
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as the signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) emphasise the importance of demand side factors. In its submission, India gave particular importance to behavioural change leading to energy conservation, something that has received insufficient attention in the developed countries. The NEP aims to internalise this shift in our energy policy.

Under this policy, the BEE would specifically look at convergence with existing national programmes and plan appropriate interventions:

 

  • 100 Smart Cities.
  • Housing for All by 2022.
  • Power for All by 2022.
  • 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 to achieve synergy.
  • The initiatives of Smart Cities and solar pumps should mandate using only the most efficient appliance set with the cost-effective potential.

Importance of demand side factors in formulating the NEP

Renewable energy policy

  • Renewable energy capacity target of 175 GW has been declared for the year 2022, by 2040 a likely capacity of 597-710 GW is expected to be achieved.
  • No targets are proposed beyond 2022 as the growth is expected to take place autonomously.
  • The period 2017-2040 will, therefore, witness a transformation in the electricity sector of India, calling for policy action across the entire value chain of generation, transmission and distribution.
  • In the NEP, Large hydropower also considers as renewable energy.
  • Electricity markets are now expected to take over the role that Government subsidies have played so far. The sharp reduction in tariffs received in bids for solar and wind power points towards two aspects.
  • Exposing these technologies to market discipline
  • Need to now address other lagging renewable sources such as hydro and biomass.
  • NEP proposes gradual withdrawal of the provisions of ‘must-run’ status and other supports such as non-levy of inter-State transmission charges.
  • The NEP advocates framing of a Bioenergy Policy that encompasses all forms of biomass-based energy (solid fuel, first/second generation biofuels and gasifying biomass).
  • The present strategy of promoting ethanol and biodiesel admixtures in liquid transport fuels will be continued, even while the Government’s recent focus on augmenting the supply of ethanol through 2nd generation technologies will be pursued vigorously
  • NITI Aayog will offer a platform to bring the Central Ministries and State Governments together to solve the inter-agency issues related to integration and growth of Renewable Energy in the country as per the Renewable Energy Integration Roadmap 2030.
  • Reduce the risk of the DISCOMS from having to arrange back-up/balancing supply. A scheme to give feed-in-tariff to the existing stranded gas based capacity will be launched to address the balancing issues of renewable power.
  • Electric Vehicles that can also double up as a storage device. Suitable application of time-of-the-day tariff mechanisms will be applied to encourage EVs to store-up renewable energy when it is available in excess of demand.
  • The NEP aims at supporting the Indian ambition to emerge as a well-developed and resilient economy with high level of human development. Additionally, it helps prepare the nation to anticipate the technological and market related changes in the energy sector.

  1. Internet Security Threat Report: India third most vulnerable country to cyber threats

Source: The Hindu

India emerged as the third most vulnerable country in terms of risk of cyber threats, such as malware, spam and ransomware, in 2017, moving up one place over previous year, according to a report by security solutions provider Symantec.

  • The U.S. remains most vulnerable to such attacks, followed by China, according to the recently released ‘Internet Security Threat Report
  • In 2017, 5.09% of global threats detected were in India, slightly less than 5.11% in 2016. The U.S. (26.61%) was most vulnerable to such attacks, followed by China (10.95%), according to ‘Internet Security Threat Report’.
  • The global threat ranking is based on eight metrics — malware, spam, phishing, bots, network attacks, web attacks, ransomware and cryptominers.

Key facts:

  • As per the report, India continues to be second most impacted by spam and bots, third most impacted by network attacks, and fourth most impacted by ransomware.
  • The report also pointed out that with the threat landscape becoming more diverse, attackers are working harder to discover new avenues of attack and cover their tracks while doing so.
  • “From the sudden spread of WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya, to the swift growth in coinminers, 2017 provided us with another reminder that digital security threats can come from new and unexpected sources,” it said.
  • Cyber criminals, it said, are rapidly adding “cryptojacking” to their arsenal as the ransomware market becomes overpriced and overcrowded.

Real threat

  • “Cryptojacking is a rising threat to cyber and personal security,”
  • The massive profit incentive puts people, devices and organisations at risk of unauthorised coinminers siphoning resources from their systems, further motivating criminals to infiltrate everything from home PCs to giant data centers.”
  • This coin mining gold rush resulted in an 8,500% increase in detections of coinminers on endpoint computers during the final quarter of 2017.”
  • While the immediate impact of coin mining is typically performance related — slowing down devices, overheating batteries and in some cases, rendering devices unusable— there are broader implications, particularly for organisations. “Corporate networks are at risk of shutdown from coinminers aggressively propagated across their environment. There may also be financial implications for organisations who get billed for cloud CPU usage by coinminers.

  1. India, Japan and US hold 9th trilateral meeting

Source: The Hindu

Connectivity, counter-terrorism and freedom of navigation were among the various issues discussed during the 9th India-Japan-US trilateral meeting held in New Delhi.

  • It held consultations on regional and global issues of mutual interest and focussed on connectivity, counter-terrorism and other regional and global issues of common concern.

Key facts:

  • In the backdrop of China’s rising assertiveness in the region, India, the US and Japan today held a trilateral meeting here during which they agreed to bolster cooperation to ensure a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific
  • The three countries, in their ninth trilateral, also explored practical steps to boost cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development and to effectively deal with challenge of terrorism, the external affairs ministry
  • The three strategic partners also resolved to deepen maritime cooperation and work together to deal with threats of nuclear proliferation.
  • All sides agreed to remain engaged and strengthen cooperation in support for a free, open, prosperous, peaceful and inclusive Indo-Pacific region through partnership with countries in the region
  • At the trilateral, the three countries, represented by senior officials, also deliberated on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
  • The MEA said the talks were held in accordance to the directions given by the foreign ministers of three nations who met in New York on September 18, 2017, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session.
  • The officials explored practical steps to enhance cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development; counter-proliferation; counter-terrorism; maritime security.
  • November 2017 India, the US, Australia and Japan had given shape to the long-pending Quadrilateral grouping to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of Chinese influence.
  • The US has been favouring a greater role by India in the Indo-Pacific region

The officials “explored practical steps to enhance cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development, counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, maritime security, maritime domain awareness and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA-DR)

The trilateral emphasised on importance of keeping the sea lanes open, over India’s concern about maintaining freedom of navigation in South China Sea and western Pacific Ocean.

  1. Cabinet approves rightsizing the Competition Commission of India

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for rightsizing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from One Chairperson and Six Members (totalling seven) to One Chairperson and Three Members (totalling four) by not filling the existing vacancies of two Members and one more additional vacancy, which is expected in September, 2018 when one of the present incumbents will complete his term.

Benefits:

  • The proposal is expected to result in reduction of three Posts of Members of the Commission in pursuance of the Governments objective of “Minimum Government – Maximum Governance”.
  • As part of the Governments objective of easing the mergers and amalgamation process in the country, the Ministry had revised de minimis levels in 2017, which have been made applicable for all forms of combinations and the methodology for computing assets and turnover of the target involved in such combinations, has been spelt out.
  • This has led to reduction in the notices that enterprises are mandated to submit to the Commission, while entering into combinations, thereby reducing the load on the Commission.

Background:

  • Section 8(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act) provides that the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than two and not more than six Members. Presently, the Chairperson and four Members are in position.

Competition

  • Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘Aam Aadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices. With increased competition, producers will have maximum incentive to innovate and specialize. This would result in reduced costs and wider choice to consumers.
  • A fair competition in market is essential to achieve this objective. Our goal is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers.

Competition Commission of India

  • CCI is quasi-judicial statutory body established under The Competition Act, 2002.
  • The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws.
  • The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India
  • It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

  1. UN Disarmament Commission

Source: The Hindu

India has voiced opposition to the “weaponization” of outer space, saying it should not become an area of conflict while calling for collective efforts to strengthen safety and security of the space-based assets. India voiced its concerns in the recently held UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) session.

UNDC:

  • The United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) is a deliberative body and a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly which is mandated to consider and make recommendations on various disarmament related issues and to follow up the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special sessions devoted to disarmament held so far.
  • The Disarmament Commission was re-established at the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978 to succeed an earlier Disarmament Commission, which ceased to convene after 1965.
  • Since 1978, the Disarmament Commission has dealt with numerous disarmament related questions, both nuclear and conventional, and has submitted guidelines and principles on various subject items, including guidelines for appropriate types of confidence-building measures, guidelines and recommendations for regional approaches to disarmament within the context of global security, and guidelines and recommendations for objective information on military matters.

Significance of UNDC:

  • At a time of growing mistrust and rising international tensions as well as numerous challenges to both the disarmament agenda and the disarmament machinery, the role of the UNDC as a platform for dialogue and cooperation assumes a greater significance.



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