20, September 2017

e-Granthalaya

  • e-Granthalaya is a Library Management Software developed by National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.
  • e-Granthalaya is useful for automation of in-house activities of libraries and to provide various online member services. The software provides built-in Web OPAC interface to publish the library catalog over Internet. The software is UNICODE Compliant thus, supports data entry in local languages. Latest version of e-Granthalaya

1. 1st AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards -2017

Source: PIB

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Engineering Council of India (ECI), felicitated the award winners of “AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakrma Awards” of AICTE approved Degree & Diploma level Technical Institutions/Universities.

AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards

The ‘AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards’ are an epitome for motivating individuals and institutions/ organizations to raise their performance in their specific domains leading to significant contribution towards the growth & development of the nation.

  • These Awards are given in following categories separately for Degree and Diploma Students (including students from AICTE approved Community College) for providing an innovative solution “To convert existing institutes into smart institute using innovative approaches:
    • Category-I: Outstanding Student Engineers (3 Awards each in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics Engineering, Computer Science and Biotechnology streams or their allied branches)
    • Category-II: Outstanding Teachers Awards (3 Awards each in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics Engineering, Computer Science and Biotechnology streams or their allied branches)
    • Category-III: Outstanding Institutions Awards (3 Awards) based on the maximum number of awards won from the above two categories and other criteria.

2.Study of Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) by Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram

Source: PIB

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Shri Giriraj Singh was presented with Evaluation Study of Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) conducted by Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram.

The institute was entrusted with the task of conducting Evaluation Study of PMEGP in January, 2017.

Key facts:

  • The aim of the study was examine the impact of the scheme in terms of employment generation and improvement in income of the rural and urban artisans and unemployed youth, major problems in implementation of Scheme and ways to resolve them and to make recommendations on making further improvements in the Scheme.

Key observations of the Study:

  • Scheme has been able to provide Sustainable Employment. Units set up under the scheme provided employment throughout year and for large number of years.
  • Scheme has good reach, it has targeted at almost all sections of the society (based on social background, education background, location etc)

Problem Areas:

  • Delay in the process of sanctioning of loans at different stages.
  • Hypothecation & collaterals asked for.
  • Physical verifications & delay in adjustment of margin money.
  • Records keeping, hand holding, access of data & reporting by implementing agencies.
  • Marketing for products.

Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)

  • The Scheme is implemented by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), as the nodal agency at the National level.
  • At the State level, the Scheme is implemented through State KVIC Directorates, State Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs) and District Industries Centres (DICs) and banks.
  • The Government subsidy under the Scheme is routed by KVIC through the identified Banks for eventual distribution to the beneficiaries / entrepreneurs in their Bank accounts.

Objectives

  • To generate employment opportunities in rural as well as urban areas of the country through setting up of new self-employment ventures/projects/micro enterprises.
  • To bring together widely dispersed traditional artisans/ rural and urban unemployed youth and give them self-employment opportunities to the extent possible, at their place.
  • To provide continuous and sustainable employment to a large segment of traditional and prospective artisans and rural and urban unemployed youth in the country, so as to help arrest migration of rural youth to urban areas.
  • To increase the wage earning capacity of artisans and contribute to increase in the growth rate of rural and urban employment.

Nature of assistance: The maximum cost of the project/unit admissible under manufacturing sector is Rs.25 lakhs and under business/service sector is Rs.10 lakhs.

Who can apply?

  • Any individual, above 18 years of age. At least VIII standard pass for projects costing above Rs.10 lakhs in the manufacturing sector and above Rs. 5 lakhs in the business / service sector.
  • Only new projects are considered for sanction under PMEGP.
  • Self Help Groups (including those belonging to BPL provided that they have not availed benefits under any other Scheme), Institutions registered under Societies Registration Act,1860; Production Co-operative Societies, and Charitable Trusts are also eligible.
  • Existing Units (under PMRY, REGP or any other scheme of Government of India or State Government) and the units that have already availed Government Subsidy under any other scheme of Government of India or State Government are NOT eligible.

3.REITs, InvITs get Sebi nod to raise funds via bonds

Source: Indian Express

Sebi’s board has approved amendment to REITs and InvITs regulations in order to facilitate growth of such instruments, the regulator.

  • The board of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Monday allowed hybrid instruments such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) to raise funds by issuing debt securities.
  • The board of the regulator relaxed the norms for listed REITs and InvITs in order to make these instruments attractive for investors.

Key facts:

  • The Sebi board has also decided to have further consultations with the stakeholders on a proposal to allow REITs to invest at least 50 per cent stake in the underlying holding company. Similarly, it has allowed a holding company, with at least 50 per cent stake, to invest in the underlying special purpose vehicle.
  • According to a Sebi statement released after its board meeting, the regulator has decided to amend the definition of ‘valuer’ for both REITs and InvITs.
  • Sebi also allowed “strategic investors” like registered scheduled commercial bank, NBFC and international multilateral financial institutions to participate in the public issues of REITs. Such investors are already allowed in InvITs.

What are REITs?

  • REITs are similar to mutual funds. While mutual funds provide for an opportunity to invest in equity stocks, REITs allow one to invest in income-generating real estate assets.

How does an REIT work?

  • REITs raise funds from a large number of investors and directly invest that sum in income-generating real estate properties (which could be offices, residential apartments, shopping centres, hotels and warehouses). The trusts are listed in stock exchanges so that investors can buy units in the trust.
  • REITs are structured as trusts. Thus, the assets of an REIT are held by an independent trustee on behalf of unit holders.

Tax and other issues:

  • Short-term capital gain tax is applicable for unit holders at the rate of 15%. While interest is tax-exempt for REITs, it is taxable for unit holders. The registration charges for every purchase and sale of property is still applicable.

4.‘New policy may help revive interest in coal bed methane’

Source: The Hindu

‘OALP, HELP will increase investment in coal-rich India’

  • India has the third-largest reserves of coal in the world. Therefore, the expectation is that there is also a high potential for coal bed methane (CBM)

The new policy

  • Generally, the new policy of OALP and HELP (Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy) should help. They have removed the cost recovery structure, which was a big headache. Revenue sharing is much cleaner and simpler.
  • The other major issue that they cleared partially was of pricing and marketing freedom.

Coal Bed Methane (CBM)

  • Coal has the ability to store gas in significant amounts, because its surface can adsorb gases.
  • Although the form of coal is solid and it looks like ahard rock, but there are a lot of pores smaller than a micron scale, so that coal is like a sponge.
  • This condition causes the coal surface becomes so broad so that it can absorb large amounts of gas. If the gas pressure is higher, the ability to adsorb gas coal will also increase.
  • Gas trapped in coal mainly consist of methane gas, so the gas is generally referred to as Coal Bed Methane or CBM. CBM is classified as an unconventional energy.
  • Permeability in coal is created by naturally occuring fractures referred as cleats.
  • Coal bed methane is similar to natural gas, differing only in the way that it is formed and stored in the Earth’s crust
  • Unlike much natural gas from conventional reservoirs, coal bed methane contains very little heavier hydrocarbons such as propane or butane, and no natural gas condensate. It often contains up to a few percent carbon dioxide

Exploration in India

  • The Gondwana sediments of eastern India host the bulk of India’s coal reserves and all the current CBM producing blocks.
  • The vast majority of the best prospective areas for CBM development are in eastern India, situated in Damodar Koel valley and Son valley.
  • CBM projects exist in Ranging South, Raniganj East and Raniganj North areas in the Raniganj coalfield, Currently, commercial production has commenced from Raniganj South CBM block operated by M/s. GEECL since July 2007.

Exploitation of Coal Bed Methane and Oil & Natural Gas has been placed under the administrative control of Ministry of Petroleum. They are governed by Oil Fields (Regulations and Development Act, 1948) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules, 1959. The safety aspects are covered under the Oil Mines Regulation, 1984.

Advantages of CBM as a fuel CBM is an environmentally safe gas:

  • Methane has been labelled as a Green House Gas (GHG) by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Its global warming potential is 21 times more than that of the Carbon Dioxide. But CBM is considered as a clean fuel which on combustion emits only carbon dioxide and water.
  • So, is not only considered as an efficient fuel. Using CBM as a fuel will halt its emission into environment and thus reducing emission of green house gas from coal mining.
  • Extraction of CBM prior to coal mining activities makes mining activities safer by degassing the coal seams. Extraction of CBM would help in increasing the domestic gas production.

Benefits of extracting methane before mining operations

  • Enhances the productivity of coal because less slowdowns in production caused by gas.
  • Reduction in dust concentrations due to reduction in velocity.
  • Improves safety of mines due to the lower methane contents.
  • Improved worker comfort.

5.Fast spinning star confirms Indian Nobel Laureate’s theory

Source: The Hindu

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar had predicted that rapidly rotating stars would emit polarised light

  • Over 70 years after Indian astrophysicist and Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar predicted that rapidly rotating stars would emit polarised light, scientists in Australia have observed the phenomenon for the first time.
  • Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia and University College London in the UK used a highly sensitive piece of equipment to detect the polarised light from Regulus, one of the brightest stars in the night sky.
  • The equipment provided unprecedented insights into the star, which is in the constellation Leo, allowing the scientists to determine its rate of spinning and the orientation in space of the star’s spin axis.
  • In 1946, Chandrasekhar had predicted the emission of polarised light from the edges of stars, prompting the development of sensitive instruments called stellar polarimeters to try to detect this effect.
  • Optical polarisation is a measure of the orientation of the oscillations of a light beam to its direction of travel.
  • In 1968, other researchers built on Chandrasekhar’s work to predict that the distorted, or squashed, shape of a rapidly rotating star would lead to the emission of polarised light, but its detection has eluded astronomers until now.

6.Ancient Mars supported liquid water: study

Source: The Hindu

  • A region of Mars named Aeolis Dorsa contains some of the most spectacular and densely packed river deposits seen on the planet, researchers said.
  • Mars had a surface environment that supported liquid water about 3.5 billion years ago, according to a study of river deposits spread across the red planet.
  • A region of Mars named Aeolis Dorsa contains some of the most spectacular and densely packed river deposits seen on the planet, researchers said.
  • These deposits are observable with satellite images because they have undergone a process called “topographic inversion,” where the deposits filling once topographically low river channels have been exhumed in such a way that they now exist as ridges at the surface of the planet.
  • The conclusion that such large water level fluctuations and coastline movements were recorded by these river deposits suggests some long-term stability in the controlling, downstream water body, which would not be expected from catastrophic hydrologic events.



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