16&17, April 2017

PM Modi inaugurates Diamond Manufacturing Unit in Surat, Gujarat

  • one of the leading Diamond Jewellery manufacturing company in India .
  • Main manufacturing unit is located in the Surat city of Gujarat, The Diamond Capital of the world in India.
  • Surat Diamond Industry is highly renowned in the world for its extra ordinary art of cutting and polishing diamonds and supplying it to the world at prices which are incompatible.

Surat is the 3rd “cleanest city of India”, and 4th fastest growing city of the world. Surat is famous for its food, textile, and diamonds. Surat polishes over 90 percent of the world’s rough diamond.

1.Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan – Ministry of Human Resource Development

Source: PIB

The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, is going to launch its own portal and mobile app by Union HRD Minister.

The portal is a one-stop for States’ Higher Education Plans, decision of the States’ Higher Education Councils and details of the resources under this scheme. Also, the gallery is a rich repository of the projects initiated under RUSA.

Key facts:

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for reforming the state higher education system.
  2. During the 12th Plan period, new universities would be created by converting autonomous colleges/colleges in a cluster to State universities
  3. RUSA will be a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme spread over two plan periods, for improving access, equity and quality in the state higher education system. With over 96 percent of students enrolled in the state higher education system, there is a need for State colleges and universities to be strengthened through strategic Central funding and implementing certain much needed reforms. RUSA also aims to incentivize States to step up plan investments in higher education.

The important objectives of the scheme are:

  • Improving the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
  • Correct regional imbalances in access to higher education through high quality institutions in rural and semi urban areas as well as creating opportunities for students from rural areas to get access to better quality institutions.
  • Setting up of higher education institutions in unserved and underserved areas.
  • Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities to socially deprived communities; promote inclusion of women, minorities, SC/ST and OBCs as well as differently abled persons.
  • Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels.
  • Create an enabling atmosphere in higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovation.
  • Integrate skill developments efforts of the government with the conventional higher education system through optimum interventions.
  • All funding under RUSA would be norm based and future grants would be performance based and outcome dependent. Commitment by States and institutions to certain academic, administrative and governance reforms will be a precondition for receiving funding.

Background:

The National Development Council (NDC) approved RUSA as part of the 12th Plan. It was subsequently included in the list of 66 schemes approved by the Cabinet on 20th June 2013, as part of the restructured CSSs for implementation in the 12th Plan.

2.Election Commission seeks funds for paper trail units

Source: The Hindu

Vote is nothing but an act of expression which has immense importance in democratic system

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has requested the Union Law Ministry for urgent release of funds, given the “prevailing environment,” to facilitate procurement of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Why no EVMs with paper trail, SC asks Centre, EC

  • Amid protests by Opposition parties against electronic voting machines (EVMs) without paper trail units, the EC felt that the procurement of VVPAT machines could not be delayed any longer.
  • The Supreme Court, which directed the Centre to provide financial assistance to the poll panel for introduction vote verifier paper audit trail (VVPAT) system with the EVMs, had said it would “ensure the accuracy of the voting system” and also help in “manual counting of votes in case of dispute.
  • The ‘paper trail’ is an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections. The confidence of voters in the EVMs can be achieved only with introduction of the paper trail
  • EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system. With an intent to have fullest transparency in the system and to restore the confidence of the voters, it is necessary to set up EVMs with VVPAT system because vote is nothing but an act of expression which has immense importance in democratic system.

Background:

The Supreme Court, in 2013, to a petition filed by the now BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, had asked the Commission to introduce in a phased manner the paper trail in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, saying “it is an indispensable requirement of free, fair and transparent” polls which will restore confidence of the voters”.

VVPAT

3.Saurashtra Narmada Avatar an Irrigation Yojna: PM to inaugurate phase-I of Link-II pipeline canal

Source: Indian Express

SAUNI Yojana is multipurpose project that aims to solve the water problems of a parched Saurashtra region of Gujarat.

  • SAUNI Yojna is a project to divert one million acre feet (MAFT) of floodwaters of Narmada to Saurashtra region and fill up 115 reservoirs of Saurashtra through a 1,126-kilometre-long network of giant pipelines.
  • The project envisages to channel the floodwater, which otherwise overflows the Narmada dam during monsoon and drains into the sea, Project to Saurashtra through Narmada main canal and Saurashtra branch canal (CBC) of the Narmada dam project.

Key facts

  • Technically, SAUNI is a ‘linking’ project where the water will be filled in irrigation dams that are already equipped with canal network.
  • Under this project, 115 dams in the Saurashtra region will be filled with excess water from the Sardar Sarovar dam.
  • SAUNI project involves making pipe canals instead of the conventional open canals which has led to no acquisition of land for the project. This network of canals will comprise 1,125-km network of pipelines that will help to channel water into farms.

Narmada river

  • Narmada or Rewa River is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganga & Godavari. It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India. Narmada flows in a rift valley between the Satpura and Vindhya Ranges. It has been mentioned as Nammadus in the Periplus of Erythrean Sea.
  • It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India and flows westwards over a length of 1,312 km (815.2 mi) before draining through the Gulf of Khambhat into the Arabian Sea, west of Bharuch city of Gujarat
  • It is one of only three major rivers in peninsular India that run from east to west (longest west flowing river), along with the Tapti River and the Mahi River. It is one of the rivers in India that flows in a rift valley, flowing west between the Satpura and Vindhya ranges.
  • The source of the Narmada is a small reservoir , known as the Narmada Kund, located at Amarkantak on the Amarkantak hill in the Anuppur District zone of the Shahdol of eastern Madhya Pradesh.

States: Madhya Pradesh, Maharstra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Tributaries

 – left     Burhner River, Banjar River, Sher River, Shakkar River, Dudhi River, Tawa River, Ganjal River, Chhota Tawa River, Kundi River, Goi River, Karjan River

 – right   Hiran River, Tendoni River, Choral River, Kolar River, Man River, Uri River, Hatni River, Orsang River, Karam River, Barna River.

The River Narmada is one of the five holy rivers to Hindus in India, the other four being the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri.

4.Those giving talaq against ‘Sharia’ law will face social boycott: AIMPLB

Source: Indian Express

On the talaq issue, the board has decided to issue a code of conduct and warned that those who give talaq (divorce) without ‘Sharia’ (Islamic law) reasons will face social boycott. The AIMPLB, however, asserted its “full constitutional right” to implement Muslim personal law in the country.

  • Striking a defiant posture on the contentious issue of triple talaq, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) asserted that it had the “constitutional” right to implement Muslim personal law.
  • On the Babri Masjid issue, AIMPLB General Secretary said the board would accept the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter while stressing that “no outside settlement was acceptable”.

Meant to shield women

  • It is our responsibility to implement it and the best way is to ensure that is following its guidelines. Islamic Sharia gives equal status to men and women. The truth is that talaq was kept to protect women from danger. AIMPLB
  • The Board also announced that it would follow the Supreme Court decision in the Babri Masjid case.
  • Releasing an eight-point code of conduct for divorce, the Board encouraged Muslim couples to try and resolve differences on their own, and if that fails, adopt the “reconciliation and arbitration” method though involvement of family elders, before settling for a divorce. If after the waiting period (iddat), reconciliation happens, the two can, through mutual consent, restore the relationship with a fresh marriage.

Helpline for women

  • The Board promised to make more use of social media to spread its word and counter all myths related to Sharia and Islam.
  • A Muslim women’s wing and helpline would be promoted. The Board made an appeal to various Muslim organisations to help divorced and destitute women, and widows to get their rights under the Sharia. The Board advised Muslims to avoid extravagant marriages and instead use the money to educate their children along with children from poor families.

The AIMPLB has opposed public interest litigation petitions against triple talaq in the Supreme Court, and regularly asserted that it did not encourage government interference. A five-judge Constitution Bench of the court will start hearing the petitions from May 11.

5.Cyclone ‘Maarutha’ crosses Myanmar coast, weakens steadily

Source: The Hindu

‘Maarutha’ has weakened twice over into a deep depression and a depression over Myanmar

It is the first named tropical cyclone that hit the northern hemisphere during the summer even as sizzling heat it is building up over the whole of India.

Tropical Cyclones

  • A Cyclone represents a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed low-level circulation.
  • Most large scale cyclonic circulations are centered on areas of low atmospheric pressure.
  • Based on their latitude, the cyclones may be tropical cyclones or temperate cyclones (extra-tropical cyclones).
  • The tropical cyclones rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and are classified into three types viz.
  • Tropical Depression (maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less); Tropical Storm (maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph); Hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 74 mph) and major hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 111 mph). Hurricanes are called typhoons in western North Pacific, while similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.

In Indian Ocean:

  • Tropical cyclones between east of the Horn of Africa and west of the Malay Peninsula are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November in the Indian Ocean.
  • Vardah was the strongest cyclone of the 2016 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. The other cyclones in 2016 season included Cyclonic Storm Roanu, Cyclonic Storm Kyant and Cyclonic Storm Nada.
  • Cyclone Maarutha is the first tropical cyclone of 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. It started forming under the influence of a persistent area of convection in South Bay of Bengal on April 13, 2017 and has been recently classified as a Cyclonic storm.

6.Rare Egyptian Vulture

Source: The Hindu

  • Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) also called the white scavenger vulture or pharaoh’s chicken is the smallest among all vultures.
  • It is a globally endangered species on the IUCN Red List.
  • The vulture is a useful scavenger and plays an important role in the ecosystem as by feeding on carrion, they are disposing off the carcasses of dead animals that would otherwise be a breeding ground for infectious diseases.



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