19, January 2017

1.Cabinet approves the repealing of the obsolete and redundant laws

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval for introduction of the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2017 to repeal 105 Acts.

Background:

The two-member committee constituted by the PMO, the Law Commission and the Legislative Department had identified 1824 redundant and obsolete Central Acts for repeal. Four Acts have so far been enacted to repeal 1175 Central Acts between May, 2014 and August, 2016 by the Parliament.

  • The Repealing and Amending Act, 2015 (17 of 2015) repealing 35 Acts; The Repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2015 (19 of 2015) repealing 90 Acts;
  • The Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Act, 2016 (22 of 2016) repealing 756;
  • Appropriation Acts including Appropriation (Railways) Acts;
  • The Repealing and Amending Act, 2016 (23 of 2016) repealing 294 Acts.

Key facts:

The 105 laws, which would be repealed once the bill is passed, include the 2008 amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, The President’s Emoluments and Pension Act and the Vice-President’s Pension Act.

Till date, 73 ministries/departments including Legislative Department have given their comments whereby they have agreed to repeal 105 Acts and disagreed to repeal about 139 Acts.

2.Cabinet approves amendment in Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for amendment in the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) to further incentivize investments in Electronic Sector and moving towards the goal of ‘ Net Zero imports’ in electronics by 2020.

  • Besides expediting investments into the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector in India, the amendments in M-SIPS are expected to create employment opportunities and reduce dependence on imports.
  • The projects already received under the scheme have the potential to generate employment to the extent of upto one million persons (direct and indirect).
  • The Policy covers all States and Districts and provides them an opportunity to attract investments in electronics manufacturing.

A separate Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary and comprising of CEO, NITI Aayog, Secretary Expenditure and Secretary, MeitY will be set up in respect of mega projects, envisaging more than Rs. 6850 crore (approx. USD 1 Billion) investments.

Background:

The Cabinet had, in July, 2012 approved the M-SIPS to provide a special incentive package to promote large scale manufacturing in the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector.

  • The scheme provides subsidy for capital expenditure – 20% for investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and 25% in non-SEZs.
  • The Scheme was amended in August, 2015   for scope enhancement and simplification of procedure.
  • The Scheme has attracted investments in the ESDM sector to the tune of Rs. 1,26,838 crore, of which investments of around Rs. 17,997 crore have been approved by the MeitY.
  • The M-SIPS has been able to create positive impact on investment in electronics sector.

3.Cabinet approves India’s Membership in the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea

Source: PIB

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal for India’s taking full membership of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Governing Council.
  • The move involves payment of annual contribution of US $ 5,00,000 to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea.

International Vaccine Institute (IVI), Seoul, South Korea, established in 1997 on the initiatives of the UNDP, is an international organization devoted to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the people, especially children, against deadly infectious diseases.

Background

  • In the year 2007, with the approval of Cabinet, India joined IVI.
  • India is a long-term collaborator and stake-holder of IVI.
  • In December, 2012 the Board of Trustees (BOT) of IVI approved the formation of its new governance structure. As per the new governance structure of IVI, a member State has to contribute to the IVI by paying a portion of its core budget. Since India is classified in Group-I, it has to pay an annual contribution of US $ 50,000.

4.20000 youths to be trained, deployed as ‘Swachhta Doots’

Source: Economic times

As many as 20,000 youths in Ganga basin states will be trained and deployed as ‘Swachhta Doots’ in about 2,336 villages along the river to spread message of keeping the river clean among the local dwellers and visitors.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved a Rs 10-crore project for training and deployment of the 20,000 youngsters for the purpose, Union Water Resources Ministry.

Swatchta Doots:

The project, to be implemented in association with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) – an autonomous body under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, was sanctioned by the NMCG.

The project envisages deployment of the youth, to be called as Swachhta Doots (Cleanliness Ambassadors), in 29 districts spanning about 2,336 villages along the river in basin states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.

5.Union HRD Minister launches ‘ShaGun’ – a web-portal for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Source: PIB

The Union HRD Minister launched a dedicated web portal ‘ShaGun’ for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

  • ‘ShaGun’ aims to capture and showcase innovations and progress in Elementary Education sector of India by continuous monitoring of the flagship scheme – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
  • The Union HRD Minister also unveiled the ‘Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs’, which has been prepared by World Bank in collaboration with Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Ensuring that “all children acquire at least the minimum levels of learning” from Class I to Class VIII under Right to Education Act, 2009.

ShaGun:

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a flagship programme for achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner, as mandated by 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group, a Fundamental Right.

  • The original Article 45 in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution mandated the State to endeavour to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to age fourteen in a period of ten years.
  • The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986/92, states: “In our national perception, education is essentially for all… Education has an acculturating role. It refines sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, a scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit – thus furthering the goals of socialism, secularism and democracy enshrined in our Constitution”
    • ShaGun, which has been coined from the words ‘Shala’ meaning Schools and ‘Gunvatta’ meaning Quality, has been developed with a twin track approach
    • First, is the Repository with an engaging interface that focuses on positive stories and developments in the field of School Education
    • Secondly, it has an online monitoring module to measure state-level performance and progress against key educational indicators.

6.MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency.

Key facts:

  • The proposed MoU will pave way for recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers issued by the Government of the other country in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 1/10 of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, and cooperation between the two countries in training and management of seafarers.
  • The MoU will ensure that the education, training and assessment of seafarers, as required by the STCW Convention, are administered and monitored in accordance with of the STCW Code for each type and level of training assessment involved.

STCW convention:

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW), 1978 sets qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships.

  • STCW was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and entered into force in 1984. The Convention was significantly amended in 1995.
  • The 1978 STCW Convention was the first to establish basic requirements on training, certification and watch keeping for seafarers on an international level.
  • Previously the standards of training, certification and watch keeping of officers and ratings were established by individual governments, usually without reference to practices in other countries. As a result, standards and procedures varied widely, even though shipping is extremely international by nature.
  • One important feature of the Convention is that it applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of States which are Parties to the Convention.

7.LIGO India likely to be commissioned in 2024

Source: Indian Express

The proposed LIGO-India project aims to move one Advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India.

The LIGO India project is likely to be commissioned in 2024.

LIGO Laboratory (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory).

India is poised to set up world’s third advanced LIGO. The project operates three gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. Two are at Hanford in the state of Washington, north-western US, and one is at Livingston in Louisiana, south-eastern US.

LIGO india:

  • The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) is a massive observatory for detecting cosmic gravitational waves and for carrying out experiments. The objective is to use gravitational-wave observations in astronomical studies.
  • LIGO India will be set up as a joint scientific collaboration between LIGO laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the US, and three lead Indian institutions, namely, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar, and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.

Gravitational Waves: Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity: Einstein’s mathematics showed that massive accelerating objects (such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other) would disrupt space-time in such a way that ‘waves’ of distorted space would radiate from the source (like the movement of waves away from a stone thrown into a pond).

The strongest gravitational waves are produced by catastrophic events such as colliding black holes, the collapse of stellar cores (supernovae), coalescing neutron stars or white dwarf stars, the slightly wobbly rotation of neutron stars that are not perfect spheres, and the remnants of gravitational radiation created by the birth of the Universe itself.

Why Detect Them?

The gravitational waves that are detectible by LIGO will be caused by some of the most energetic events in the Universe—colliding black holes, exploding stars, and even the birth of the Universe itself.

  • Detecting and analyzing the information carried by gravitational waves will allow us to observe the Universe in a way never before possible. It will open up a new window of study on the Universe, give us a deeper understanding of these cataclysmic events, and usher in cutting-edge research in physics, astronomy, and astrophysics.
  • Gravitational waves are not electromagnetic radiation. They are a completely different phenomenon, carrying information about cosmic objects and events that is not carried by electromagnetic radiation. Colliding black holes, for example, emit little or no electromagnetic radiation, but the gravitational waves they emit will cause them to “shine brightly” like beacons on an utterly dark cosmic sea.

Types of Gravitational Waves

1.Continuous Gravitational Waves: Continuous gravitational waves are produced by a single spinning massive object, like an extremely dense star called a neutron star. Any bumps or imperfections in the spherical shape of this star will generate gravitational waves as the star spins. If the spin rate of the star stays constant, so too do the properties of the gravitational waves it emits.

2.Compact Binary Inspiral Gravitational Waves: are produced by orbiting pairs of massive and dense (hence “compact”) objects like white dwarf stars, black holes, and neutron stars. There are three kinds of “compact binary” systems in this category of gravitational wave generators:

  1. Binary Neutron Star (neutron star-neutron star) or BNS
  2. Binary Black Hole (black hole-black hole) or BBH
  3. Neutron Star-Black Hole Binary (NSBH)

Each binary pair creates a characteristic series of gravitational waves, but the mechanism of wave-generation is the same across all three; it’s called, “inspiral”.

3.Stochastic Gravitational Waves: Small waves from every direction make up what we call a “Stochastic Signal”, so called because the word, ‘stochastic’ means, having a random pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely. These will be the smallest (i.e. quietest) and most difficult gravitational waves to detect, but it is possible that at least part of this stochastic signal may originate from the Big Bang.

4.Burst Gravitational Waves: Burst gravitational waves’ is truly a search for the unexpected—both because never have been detected them directly before, and because there are still so many unknowns that really don’t know what to expect or what to might find.



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