08, September 2017

1.Considering to extend FAME-India scheme

Source: The Hindu

The centre is considering the extension of FAME- India scheme to promote electric and hybrid vehicles by another six months.

Background:

The scheme’s phase-I was introduced from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2017. The phase was subsequently extended by six months till September end.

FAME India scheme:

  • FAME India – Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan.
  • The scheme has four focus areas, technology development, demand creation, pilot projects and charging infrastructure.
  • The scheme envisages Rs 795 crore support in the first two fiscals starting with the current year.
  • It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry.

2.Uninhabited Lakshadweep island Parali I vanishes, 4 others shrinking fast: study

Source: The Hindu

A new study has revealed that one of Lakshadweep’s bio-diversity rich islands Parali I has vanished. Parali I island, part of Bangaram atoll, which was 0.032 km2 in 1968 has been eroded to an extent of 100%, resulting in its inundation. Additionally, four other territories in the sea are also shrinking.

Key facts:

  • A general trend in erosion has been noticed in almost all islands he studied. The magnitude of such events was higher in Parali group, evidenced by the complete erosion and inundation of the island Parali I.
  • The magnitude of net erosion was higher in Parali I island (100%), which resulted in its inundation. Apart from Parali I, net erosion was higher in Parali II (80%), followed by Thinnakara (14.38%), Parali III (11.42%) and Bangaram (9.968%).

Siginificance:

  • The study said the complete erosion and inundation of Parali I was pointing to the gravity of issues associated with coastal erosion within the atoll.
  • Therefore, the results are indicative of the urgent measures to be implemented on each islet of the atoll to check further erosion. It is recommended to check the feasibility of a bio protection strategy using mangroves, in addition to the conventional physical protection measures.

Way ahead

It is now widely recognised that islands and coastal areas are going to get eroded and inundated due to rising sea levels because of increasing global temperature. India’s coasts and islands, which are densely populated, are highly vulnerable. With the sea levels predicted to rise further, we should start preparing for building defenses to protect our coastlines and islands.

3.International Literacy Day – 2017

Source: PIB

The 51st International Literacy Day is being celebrated on 8th September, 2017 and the theme announced by UNESCO is `Literacy in a digital world’.

Background:

  • The International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September every year throughout the world. On this day, in the year 1965 the World Congress of Ministers of Education met in Tehran for the first time to discuss the programme of education at the international level.
  • The UNESCO in its 14th Session in November, 1966, declared 8th September as the International Literacy Day. Since then, ILD is celebrated on 8th September every year by most of the member countries.
  • The key aspect of the observance of ILD is to mobilize public opinion in favour of struggle against illiteracy. ILD is a forum to disseminate information on literacy and raise the public awareness and the significance of literacy for individual and national development.

Literacy rate in India:

  • As per Educational Statistics for 2015-16, the literacy rate in India increased to 69.3% in 2011. In comparison to 2001, when the literacy rate was 61.0%, the improvement is decent.
  • A dramatic improvement is seen in the literacy rate of female population which improved from 47.8% in 2001 to 59.3% in 2011. Among males, the literacy rate has improved from 73.4% in 2001 to 78.8% in 2011.
  • Though the literacy rate has been on a upward trajectory in the past decade, the overall literacy rate in India is still lower than the global rate. Compared to the global youth literacy rate of 91%, India lags far behind with 69.3%.

Way ahead

  • The international community already has its eyes on 2030 with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has aimed to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” within its goals.

4.DIPP to move cabinet note on guarantee fund for startups

Source: The Hindu

Keen to ease the flow of loans to startups, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will move a cabinet note on a credit guarantee fund for budding entrepreneurs.

Credit guarantee fund:

  • The fund was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the Startup India action plan in January 2016.
  • The fund managed by the DIPP has a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore and will enable greater financial support to startups.
  • The government will use the fund to stand guarantee for loans given to startups.
  • A credit guarantee mechanism will help startups raise debt funding through the formal banking system.

Background

  • Start-ups and entrepreneurship are critical to India’s efforts to restart private investment into the economy, in the face of risk aversion, stalled or slow investments from corporate India. Start-up India’ initiative was launched in January 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a move to help start-ups and catalyse entrepreneurship.
  • The Start-up India Action Plan lists out a comprehensive set of structural and regulatory reforms – Income tax exemption, easing compliance through reduction of regulations and having fixed qualifications as to what a ‘start-up’ is.
  • The action plan also provided an 80% waiver on patent filing fees by start-ups and advisory services, It also created a Rs.10,000 crore fund-of-funds which is to be managed by professionals drawn from the private sector.

5.Andhra Pradesh to get India’s first Hyperloop

The government of Andhra Pradesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to develop India’s first Hyperloop route in the state.

  • It is a transportation system where a pod-like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum tube connecting cities at speeds matching that of an aircraft.
  • In hyperloop transporation, custom-designed capsules or pods are expected to zip smoothly through continuous steel tubes which are held at partial vacuum. The pod which sandwiches the passenger compartment between an air compressor upfront and a battery compartment in the rear is supported by air caster skis at the bottom.
  • The skis float on a thin layer of air provided under high pressure, eliminating rolling resistance and allowing for movement of the pods at high speeds. These capsules are expected to be driverless with estimated speeds of 1,000 km/h.
  • Linear induction motors that are placed along the tube control the speed of the pod. Electronically-assisted acceleration and braking determines the speed of the capsule.


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