09, March 2017

1,Environment Minister launches Web Portal for obtaining CRZ Clearances
Source: PIB

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched the web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. The portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry under the (CRZ) by the Project proponents for ease of doing business.

About the Web portal:

  • The objectives of the web portal are
  1. Enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in the process of CRZ clearances
  2. Enhance responsiveness through workflows and availability of real-time information on the status of CRZ clearance proposals
  3. Ease of business and convenience of citizens in accessing information and services; standardised procedures and processes across Central and State levels.
  • The user-friendly portal enables submission of applications for CRZ clearance in a single-window interface and facilitates quick flow of information related to CRZ clearances.
  • It will enable the project proponents and the concerned State/UT bodies like the State Coastal Zone Management Authorities (SCZMAs) and Town/ Municipal Planning agencies to track status of their proposals.
  • The system is based on web architecture, similar to the existing systems of the ministry for environmental and forest clearances.

About Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ):

  • CRZ is the zone along the coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and backwaters along the coastline specially demarcated for regulated development activity.
  • In this zone, Government imposes restrictions on setting up and expansion of industries or other projects. It is mandatory for getting clearances from ministry and local authorities to start any development project in CRZ.
  • The demarcated zone consists of coastal stretches influenced by tidal action (in the landward side) upto 500 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL) and the land between the Low Tide Line (LTL) and the HTL.
  • The regulations in this zone are governed by the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2011 issued under the under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

2.India tops in bribery rate among 16 Asia-Pacific nations: Transparency International
Source: The Hindu

According to recent survey released by Transparency International (TI), India had highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia-Pacific countries surveyed between July 2015 and January 2017.

About the survey:

  • Countries having highest incidence of bribery: 69% of the study group in India said that they have paid a bribe, done a favour or given a gift to receive services. Vietnam follows this suit with 65%, Thailand 41% and Pakistan 40%. China reported a much lower 26%.
  • Countries having lowest incidence of bribery: Japan had the lowest incidence of bribery at 0.2% followed by South Korea and Australia recorded 3% each, Hong Kong 2% and Taiwan 6%.
  • India related facts: Nearly seven in 10 people who had accessed public services in the country have payed bribe. 46% to 60% of Indians said they have paid bribes for various public services, including in public schools and hospitals, getting IDs, voter cards and permits and accessing utilities and police and court services as well.

About Transparency International (TI):

  • TI is an international non-governmental organization based in Berlin, Germany.
  • Its purpose is to take action to combat corruption and prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
  • It publishes annually Corruption Perceptions Index and Global Corruption Barometer.


3.Fewer migratory water birds sighted at Ropar
Source: The Hindu

Issue:

  • Fewer winter migratory water birds from central and north Asia were sighted at the Ropar Wetland in Punjab this season, apparently because of increasing human interference.
  • Due to local disturbance such as threat and unavailability of food, the number of certain species decreases on many wetlands. At Ropar, boating, fishing and human disturbances along the riverbanks seem to drive away the water birds.

Ropar:

  • Ropar has been declared a wetland by the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands. Asian Waterbird Census is part of the International Waterbird Census of Wetlands International, South Asia, which conducts the exercise every January across Asia and Australia.

Details about the census:

  • Asian Water bird Census 2017, conducted by Wetlands International, South Asia, and Punjab’s Wildlife Preservation Department on January 16 this year, revealed that the number of water birds this season stood at 2,302 as against 3,114 last year.
  • The birds that came up this year included oriental darter and river papwing, both put on the red-list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The census revealed that while the number of Eurasian coot, bar-headed geese, ruddy shelduck, oriental darter and river lapwing dwindled this year, that of graylag goose and red-crested pochard increased. Among India’s resident water birds, spot-billed duck rose in number to 130 against 56 last year.

4.Centre plumps for rural FMCG e-sales
Source: The Hindu

  • Move aimed at enabling sales of goods from firms like Patanjali, P&G at common service centres.
  • The Centre has initiated talks with FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) companies to sell their products online in rural areas through common service centres (CSCs) as it looks to increase the business for such centres. CSCs are designed to be the hub Centre of activities in rural India
  • The government is focused on expansion of CSCs because of their inherent strength to transform rural India. With the sale of FMCG products, the door has been opened for popularising e–commerce through CSCs.
  • There are more than 2.5 lakh CSCs across the country which enable people, particularly in rural areas, to access government services online. These services include ration card, birth certificate, train tickets and online form submission, among other things.
  • Going beyond delivery of public services through such centres, the Centre is now opening up to tie-ups with private companies for their products to be sold through CSCs to increase profits for Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs).
  • Currently, by offering these online services, these centres together earn commission of more than ₹2 crore a day. The Centre is eyeing to ramp this up to ₹10 crore a day.

5.Two more tiger reserves soon in Uttarakhand
Source: The Hindu

  • With the Uttarakhand forest department focusing on tiger conservation, the State is soon to get two new tiger reserves :
  1. The Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary: Falls under the Terai Arc Landscape spanning across India and Nepal
  2. The Surai Range: In the Terai East division of the Uttarakhand forest department
  • The forest department is currently undertaking a public consultation exercise to apprise people residing in the two areas about the plan to get the areas notified as tiger reserves, and to take their consent
  • 2+2: Uttarakhand now has two tiger reserves – the Corbett Tiger Reserve and the Rajaji Tiger Reserve
  • According to the tiger census data released in 2015, Uttarakhand has 340 tigers making it a State with the second highest tiger population in the country after Karnataka
  • With the two new tiger reserves, Uttarakhand, would become the first State in North India to get four tiger reserves

6.China seeks Korea talks
Source: The Hindu

  • China proposed a “double suspension” formula to defuse the crisis on the Korean Peninsula as part of its new assertive approach to shoulder greater global responsibilities within the framework of the UN.
  • As a first step, North Korea may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-South Korea military exercises .
  • This will help the parties to break out of the security dilemma and return to the negotiating table
  • We may follow the dual-track approach of denuclearising the peninsula on the one hand and establishing a peace mechanism on the other
  • The North Korea and the United States are the main parties to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula
  • But as a next-door neighbour with a lips-and-teeth relationship with the Peninsula, China’s role in the resolution of the issue was indispensable

Dialogue partnership:

  • BRICS: Grouping was set for deepening its engagement with the Global South under a BRICS-plus approach
  • Under the stewardship of China, which will host the BRICS summit this year, the emerging-country bloc will explore establishing a dialogue partnership with other major developing countries
  • At a time when the United States appeared to be looking inwards, China would champion inclusive globalisation, within the framework of the UN.
  • Xi Jinping’s January visit to international organisations had sent out a clear message that China strongly supported multilateralism, along with its abiding commitment to the UN-centred multilateral international system.
  • The current international system was built by our forefathers from the ashes of the Second World War. It is a result of our common effort and wisdom.
  • It is like a well-designed building with multilateralism as its cornerstone and the UN and other international organisations as important pillars.

7.CSIR-Tech shut down for lack of funds
Source: The Hindu

CSIR Pvt. Tech Ltd. (CSIR-Tech) has been shut down. It is a company affiliated to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and primarily formed to commercialise technology developed by the 75-year-old organisation’s 37 labs.

Reason for Shut down:

  • A lack of legal support or funds and delays in executing commercial deals by CSIR labs were among the key impediments to the success of CSIR-Tech
  • There was no official office memorandum that empowered CSIR-Tech to have exclusive rights to commercialise CSIR’s patent portfolio
  • All employees had left as of November 2016.

Issue :

  • Though a repository of myriad technology and innovative scientists, CSIR — the country’s largest patent holder — spends more on keeping its patents active than earning royalty out of them.
  • It has a relatively high rate of commercialising its patents (about 9% compared to a global average of 4%) but these earn too little.
  • Most of CSIR’s revenues are derived from consultancy, and projects for India’s defence and space activities.

Tech as a solution:

  • CSIR-Tech was conceived to address this problem.
  • On the anvil since 2008, CSIR-Tech was to be an autonomous company that would hold all of the CSIR’s patent portfolio (2,747 in-force as of 2012) and earn CSIR revenues, either by holding equity in promising start-ups or earn royalties and licensing fees



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