24, April2018

  1. Diu Smart City becomes first to run on 100% Renewable Energy during Daytime

Source: PIB

  • Diu Smart City has become the first city in India, that runs on 100% renewable energy during daytime setting a new benchmark for other cities to become clean and green.
  • Diu had been importing 73% of its power from Gujarat until last year.
  • It has now adopted a two-pronged approach whereby a 9 MW solar park spread over 50 hectares rocky barren land has been developed besides installing solar panels on the roof tops on 79 government buildings thereby generating 1.3 MW annually. To further enhance its solar capacity, Diu offers its residents a subsidy of Rs 10, 000-50,000 for installing 1-5KW roof top solar panels.
  • Diu is saving about 13,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year. Due to low-cost solar energy, power tariffs have been cut in residential category by 10% last year and 15% this year.
  • To improve traffic management in Bengaluru Smart City, a prototype of an intelligent traffic management solution is currently being tested in collaboration with the Electronics City Township Authority (ELCITA). It will provide traffic information that is currently unavailable, and help improve management of commuter traffic. It involves capturing video streams from several cameras and processing them using artificial intelligence so that typical traffic management tasks such as vehicle detection, traffic density estimation and control of traffic lights can be automated for real-time performance.
  • To revitalise urban public spaces and socially activating the area besides generating economic activity, Jaipur Smart City Ltd (JSCL) has planned to develop night bazaar at Chaura Rasta, in the heart of Pink city. The JSCL would register up to 700 vendors who will be allowed to set up stalls, including eateries, between 9pm and 1am. The project will provide entertainment, culture and shopping to citizens after office hours.

  1. Business Beyond Borders: International SME Convention – 2018 begins in New Delhi

Source: PIB

Delegates from 37 countries are participating in the first ever International SME Convention being held in New Delhi from 22nd to 24th April 2018.

  • Some of the participating countries are Australia, Austria, France, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Africa and UAE.
  • Delegates from these countries are representing small enterprises of their countries in the sectors of agriculture, healthcare, strategic defence training, education, logistics, digital entertainment and waste management. The Convention will be also hosting over 400 entrepreneurs from India.

Key facts:

  • During the 2 days’ Convention a Khadi fashion show called “Transcending Boundaries” will be held.
  • The Convention has a special session for women entrepreneurs where successful women business persons will discuss creating sustainable livelihoods for women entrepreneurs
  • The MSME sector has emerged as a most vibrant sector in the Indian economy and has gained recognition throughout the world for doing business in areas as varied as waste management, gems and jewellery, agriculture and food processing and the automotive industry. During this Convention around 150 exhibitors from India and abroad have set up stalls showcasing their business and products. During the inaugural function 35 of India’s “Small Giants” were felicitated by the Minister. The companies felicitated are dealing with logistics, bio-technology, pharma, semi-conductors, textiles, gems and jewellery, security and chemicals.

Business Beyond Borders

  • Business Beyond Borders is a European Commission (EC)-funded initiative which helps businesses, in particular Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Clusters, to operate internationally, with the ultimate goal of increasing economic growth within and outside Europe.
  • Additional support is provided to companies participating at international fairs by establishing a series of Business to Business (B2B), Cluster to Cluster (C2C), and Business to Cluster (B2C) matchmaking events; and by supporting the development of the companies’ activities in target markets (Australia, South Africa, India, Chile, Iran, among others).

  1. Govt starts exercise to frame national policy on e-commerce

Source: PIB

The government has started the exercise to frame a national policy on e-commerce, with a think-tank constituted on the issue under the chairmanship of Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu set to hold its first meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday

Key facts:

  • Senior officers of various ministries and departments, representatives from industry bodies, e-commerce companies, telecommunication and IT firms, RBI and independent experts have been invited to participate in the meeting.
  • The think-tank, will provide a platform for an inclusive and fact-based dialogue leading to recommendations for informed policy making so that the country is adequately prepared to take advantage of the opportunities and meet the challenges that would arise from the next wave of advancements in digital economy.
  • The group “will seek to collectively deliberate on the challenges confronting India in the arena of digital economy with a view to developing recommendations for a comprehensive and overarching national policy on e-commerce.
  • Issues that will be discussed during the meeting include aspects of e-commerce, digital economy, physical and digital infrastructure, regulatory regime, taxation policy, data flows, server localisation, intelletual property rights protection, FDI, and trade-related aspects.
  • The think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce will seek to collectively deliberate on the challenges confronting India in the arena of digital economy with a view to developing recommendations for a comprehensive and overarching national policy on e-commerce. Some of the issues that will be discussed by the think tank include the following aspects of e-commerce and digital economy: physical and digital infrastructure, regulatory regime, taxation policy, data flows, server localisation, intellectual property rights protection, FDI, technology flows, responding to disruptions in industrial organisation, need for skill development and trade-related aspects. Developments on e-commerce at the WTO and evolving appropriate national position on the underlying issues, would be another important dimension of the discussions of the think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce.

  1. Protected Area Permit regime

Source: The Hindu

 The Union Home Ministry has decided to relax the six-decade-old Protected Area Permit regime from Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur for five years with effect from April 1.

Implications:

  • Foreign tourists, except those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, would now be allowed to visit some of the most pristine locations of the country which, so far, were out of bounds for them without a special permit.

Protected area permit

  • Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states have been declared as protected areas.
  • The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmi Some parts of Sikkim fall under the protected area regime while others under the restricted area.

How are these regions different?

  • As per the guidelines, a foreign national is not normally allowed to visit a protected or restricted area unless the government is satisfied that there are extra-ordinary reasons to justify his or her visit.
  • Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a protected or restricted area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority having the power to issue such permits to a foreigner, seeking it.
  • In cases, where the power to issue such permits has not been delegated to a subordinate authority by the Union government, the application for the special permit has to be referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs for prior approval, at least eight weeks before the date of the expected visit.

 Who can issue such permits?

  • Necessary powers have been delegated to various authorities to issue such special permits without the prior approval of the Union home ministry to facilitate foreign tourists subject to the certain exceptions.
  • In cases of foreign diplomats, including the members of the United Nations and international organisations holding diplomatic or official passports, the special permits to visit such protected or restricted areas are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • In cases of the citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin, no permit, however, can be issued without the prior approval of the Union home ministry.

  1. Adilabad Dokra and Warangal Durries get GI tag

Source: The Hindu

Two craft forms that are unique to Telangana were recently granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the GI registry in Chennai.

Adilabad Dokra:

  • It is an ancient metal craft that is popular in the state’s tribal regions.
  • The uniqueness of this art form is that no two sculptures are the same, as they are not made out of a pre-designed cast.
  • The craftsmen of this art form belong to the Woj community, commonly referred to as Wojaris or Ohjas in the rural areas of Telangana.
  • They use brass as their main material and an ancient casting technique called ‘cire perdue’. As part of this technique, the craftsmen use clay and design a model of the sculpture that they want to create. They wrap the clay with wax threads before baking the mould, so that the wax melts away and the molten metal is poured into the mould.
  • The common items made by the craftsmen include small idols and statues of tribal deities, jewellery, bells, small-scale animal sculptures and others.

Warangal durries:

  • In this style of durries, weavers create beautiful patterns and dye them using vegetable colours, which are washed in flowing water after the printing process.
  • Warangal district became a renowned hub for weaving these rugs due to the availability of cotton, which is grown by farmers in the area.

 GI tag:

  • A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
  • Significance of a GI tag: Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
  • Security: Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.

  1. Earth BioGenome Project

Source: The Hindu

Scientists have proposed Earth BioGenome project, a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all eukaryotic species on the planet.

  • Powerful advances in genome sequencing technology, informatics, automation, and artificial intelligence, have propelled humankind to the threshold of a new beginning in understanding, utilizing, and conserving biodiversity.
  • For the first time in history, it is possible to efficiently sequence the genomes of all known species, and to use genomics to help discover the remaining 80 to 90 percent of species that are currently hidden from science.

Eukaryotes

  • Eukaryotes include all organisms except bacteria and archaea.
  • It includes plants, animals, fungi and other organisms whose cells have a nucleus that houses their chromosomal DNA. There are an estimated 10-15 million eukaryotic species on Earth.

The project:

  • The central goal of the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) is to understand the evolution and organization of life on our planet by sequencing and functionally annotating the genomes of 1.5 million known species of eukaryotes.
  • The project also seeks to reveal some of the estimated 10 to 15 million unknown species of eukaryotes, most of which are single cell organisms, insects and small animals in the oceans.
  • The Project also plans to capitalize on the “citizen scientist” movement to collect specimens.
  • The initiative is led by a coordinating council with members from the United States, the European Union, China, Brazil, Canada, Australia and some African countries.
  • This will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity.

Significance of the project:

  • The benefits of the project promise to be a complete transformation of the scientific understanding of life on Earth and a vital new resource for global innovations in medicine, agriculture, conservation, technology and genomics.
  • The project is also being seen essential for developing new drugs for infectious and inherited diseases as well as creating new biological synthetic fuels, biomaterials, and food sources for growing human population.
  • The project will likely enable the development of new technologies, such as portable genetic sequencers and instrumented drones that can go out, identify samples in the field, and bring those samples back to the laboratory.

More details: https://www.earthbiogenome.org/vision/

  1. Inter-country removal & retention of children

Source: PIB

Committee headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal has submitted its report on legal issues related to Inter-country removal & retention of children to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Inter Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority:

  • The Committee has recommended that the Government may establish an ‘Inter Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority’.

Composition of the authority:

  • The Authority may be chaired by a retired High Court Judge, with Members from Legal and Social sector background along with representatives from key Ministries.

Functions of the authority:

  • The authority has been envisaged to provide a one window solution in cases of inter country removal and retention of Children.
  • The Authority may examine the inter country cases of removal and retention of children vis-a-vis the cultural context, merit of the case, and the best interest of the Child.

Concerns associated with Inter Country Child Abduction:

  • Over three crore Indians living abroad have cross-border marriages. When such a diverse family unit breaks down, children suffer as they are dragged into an international legal battle between their parents. Inter-spousal child removal is one of the most unfortunate outcomes of such break ups. Children are “abducted” by one parent and taken to a country with a different culture. This can be traumatic as they are also cut off from the other parent.

International Child Abduction Bill:

  • The Protection of Children (Inter-Country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016 seeks to address the issue. The Bill is in consonance with the principles of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980, which seeks to protect a child from the harmful effect of wrongful removal and secure prompt return and reintegration of the child in an environment of his/her ‘habitual residence’.
  • Definition: The Bill defines ‘wrongful removal or retention’ as an act in breach of custody to a person or an institution or any other body under the law of the country in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention. The law will be applicable to those wrongfully removed or retained children in India who have not completed 16 years.
  • Central Authority: The Bill recommends the setting up of a Central Authority tasked with discovering the whereabouts of the child. The Authority will further act to prevent harm to the child, secure the voluntary return of the child to his or her habitual residence, exchange information relating to the child with the appropriate authorities of the contracting state, institute judicial proceedings in the High Court concerned to secure the return of the child, provide free legal aid advice, and make administrative arrangements for the return of the child.
  • Return of the Child: The court can order the return of a child who has been wrongfully removed or retained in India and if a period of one year has not elapsed from the date of removal or retention. However, the one-year cap is not final. The court can order return if it is established that the child is not settled in his/her new environment. It can refuse to order return if returning would expose the child to harm or if the child, on attaining an age and level of maturity, refuses to go back, among other conditions.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980):

  • The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty whereby the contracting states will have to cooperate with each other in expeditiously sending back the runaway parent and the child to the country of the child’s ‘habitual residence’.
  • It seeks to return children abducted or retained overseas by a parent to their country of habitual residence for the courts of that country to decide on matters of residence and contact.
  • The convention shall apply to any child, up to the age of 16 years who is a habitual resident of any of the contacting states.



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