24&25, September 2017

1.Multi-Agency Exercise ‘Pralay Sahayam’

Source: PIB

A multi-agency exercise was recently conducted on the banks of Hussain Sagar Lake as the final event of ‘Pralay Sahayam’ in Hyderabad.

  • The event demonstrated efforts of all central and state agencies, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and the Armed Forces towards jointly tackling an urban flooding scenario in Hyderabad.

 Key facts:

  • The exercise brought out the role and function of the State Emergency Operations in coordinating conduct of the joint operations.
  • The exercise emphasized the significance of early warning systems of agencies like Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).
  • The exercise culminated with a static display which demonstrated the efficient and functional layout of a relief and rehabilitation camp for the displaced persons.

NDRF:

  • The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

ROLE AND MANDATE OF NDRF

  • Specialized response during disasters.
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations.
  • Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills.
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills.
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
  • Community Capacity Building Programme.
  • Organize Public Awareness Campaigns.

Background:

  • Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.

2.Bharat ke Kaushalzaade

Source: PIB

Rural Skills Division, Ministry of Rural Development has organized ‘Bharat ke Kaushalzaade’, an event honouring beneficiaries of its key skilling programmes, on the eve of Antyodaya Diwas 2017.

  • The event aims to celebrate and honour beneficiaries from both of MoRD’s flagship skill development programmes i.e. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI).

‘Kaushal Panjee’:

  • The event also witnessed the mobilization platform launch, branded ‘Kaushal Panjee’ (Skill Register).
  • It aims to be citizen centric end-to-end solution to aid mobilization of candidates for RSETIs and DDU-GKY.
  • It facilitates mobilization of candidates through Self Help Group members, Gram Panchayat Functionaries, Block Officials, CSCs and directly by the candidate.
  • RSETIs and DDU-GKY Partners can access the Kaushal Panjee to connect with the mobilized rural youth.
  • Kaushal Panjee is connected to the Social Economic Caste Census (SECC 2011) which will help the States plan and target their mobilizations based on the socio-economic profile of households in their State.

DDU GKY:

  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) announced the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) Antyodaya Diwas, on 25th September 2014. DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), tasked with the dual objectives of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and cater to the career aspirations of rural youth.
  • DDU-GKY is uniquely focused on rural youth between the ages of 15 and 35 years from poor families.
  • As a part of the Skill India campaign, it plays an instrumental role in supporting the social and economic programs of the government like the Make In India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Start-Up India, Stand-Up India campaigns.

3. Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu meets Korea Inc, pitches enhanced business cooperation

Source: The Hindu

Minister travelled to Korea to participate in the 7th Asia-Europe Economic Ministers meeting and the 3rd Joint Ministerial Review of the India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

7th ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting held in COEX, southern Seoul

  • The meeting was held under the theme “Reconnecting Asia-Europe: Innovative Partnership for Inclusive Prosperity.”
  • Economic ministers of Asian and European countries agreed to protect the multilateral trade system, jointly tackling the growing trade protectionism.

ASEM:

  • Launched in 1996, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) comprises 20 Asian and 31 European countries.
  • Economic ministers of 51 Asian and European countries as well as delegates from international organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the OECD, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Asian Development Bank participated in the meeting, held for the first time since 2005.
  • ASEM members, which account for 70 percent of global trade and nearly 60 percent of global GDP, can play a central role.

4.Tech boost for soil quality scheme

Source: The Hindu

The government’s massive scheme to analyse the soil quality of farms across the country may get a technology boost.

Key facts:

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is looking to link the programme with a research project at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay that uses sophisticated imaging techniques and can picture the nutrient balance of a patch of land without necessarily collecting soil sample.
  • Hyper spectral imaging, means analysing extremely detailed images of an object — frequently to the scale of nanometres — and then reconstructing its constituent elements.
  • Using custom-developed algorithms, satellite-images, or those taken from low flying planes or drones, can be used to calculate the proportion of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous — the three most vital nutrients — as well as other minerals in the soil and be used to gauge its health.
  • This kind of spectroscopy can be used to analyse soil health.

Way ahead:

  • The DST said that it is in talks with the Ministry of Agriculture and State departments to evolve a programme and apply this technology for the government’s mission.

5.India third in nuclear power installations: study

Source: The Hindu

India is third in the world in the number of nuclear reactors being installed, at six, while China is leading at 20, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017, released this month, shows.

  • The number of nuclear reactor units under construction is, however, declining globally for the fourth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 53 by mid-2017, the report says.

The report:

  • The latest report further reveals that most nuclear reactor constructions are behind schedule, with delays resulting in increase in project costs and delay in power generation.
  • There are 37 reactor constructions behind schedule, of which 19 reported further delays over the past year. In India itself, five out of the six reactors under construction are behind schedule. Eight nuclear power projects have been under construction globally for a decade or more, of which three have been so for over 30 years.
  • The most decisive part of this report is the final section — Nuclear Power vs Renewable Energy Development. It reveals that since 1997, worldwide, renewable energy has produced four times as many new kilowatt-hours of electricity than nuclear power.
  • Data gathered by the authors shows that global nuclear power generation increased by 4% in 2016 due to a 23% increase in China, though the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation stagnated at 10.5%. By comparison, globally, wind power output grew by 16% and solar power by 30%. Wind power increased generation by 132 TWh (terawatt hours) or 3.8 times, and solar power by 77 TWh or 2.2 times more than nuclear power’s 35 TWh respectively. Renewables represented 62% of global power generating capacity additions.
  • Russia and the U.S. shut down reactors in 2016, while Sweden and South Korea both closed their oldest units in the first half of 2017, the report notes.

French bailout

  • The French government has provided a $5.3 billion bailout and continues its break-up strategy, the report notes.
  • In the chapter on the status of the Fukushima nuclear power project in Japan, six years after the disaster began, the report notes how the total official cost estimate for the catastrophe doubled to $200 billion.

6.India planning to buy Uzbek uranium

Source: The Hindu

  • India is holding talks with Uzbekistan and other countries to procure nuclear fuel as part of its plan to create a strategic uranium reserve to ensure long-term security.
  • Talks are currently being held with Uzbekistan, and a delegation from the Central Asian country visited India last month for a detailed discussion, a senior government offical said.
  • The delegation came just two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in June, said a senior External Affairs Ministry official, requesting anonymity.
  • Apart from domestic production, India currently imports uranium from Kazakhstan and Canada.
  • This is used to provide fuel to the indigenously built pressurised heavy water reactors.
  • There are also agreements in place to import uranium from Namibia and Mongolia.

7.All you need to know about Graded Surveillance Measure

Source: The Hindu

What is the Graded Surveillance Measure?

  • SEBI introduced the measure to keep a tab on securities that witness an abnormal price rise that is not commensurate with financial health and fundamentals of the company such as earnings, book value, price to earnings ratio among others.

Why did SEBI bring in the measure?

  • The underlying principle behind the graded surveillance framework is to alert and protect investors trading in a security, which is seeing abnormal price movements.
  • SEBI may put shares of companies under the measure for suspected price rigging or under the ambit of ‘shell companies’. The measure would provide a heads up to market participants that they need to be extra cautious and diligent while dealing in such securities put under surveillance.

How the Graded Surveillance Measure works?

Once a firm is identified for surveillance it goes through six stages with corresponding surveillance actions and the restrictions on trading in those securities gets higher progressively.

  1. In the first stage the securities are put in the trade-to-trade segment (meaning no speculative trading is allowed and delivery of shares and payment of consideration amount are mandatory). A maximum of 5% movement in share price is allowed.
  2. In the second stage, in addition to the trade-to-trade segment, the buyer of the security has to put 100% of trade value as additional surveillance deposit. The deposit would be retained by the exchanges for a period of five months and refunded in a phased manner.
  3. In the third stage, trading is permitted only once a week ie every Monday, apart from the buyer putting 100% of the trade value as additional surveillance deposit.
  4. In the fourth stage, trading would be allowed once a week and the surveillance deposit increases to 200% of the trade value.
  5. In the fifth stage, trading would be permitted only once a month (first Monday of the month) with additional deposit of 200%.
  6. In the sixth and final stage, there are maximum restrictions.

Trading is permitted only once a month at this stage, with no upward movement allowed in price. Also, the additional surveillance deposit would be 200%.

Will securities remain permanently in the Graded Surveillance list?

  • There would a quarterly review of securities. Based on criteria, the securities would be moved from a higher stage to a lower stage in a sequential manner.

What are the points small investors should keep in mind about the Graded Surveillance Measure?

  • As and when a security is shifted to various levels of surveillance, it is publicly announced on a daily basis on BSE and NSE websites as well as through circulars to the stock brokers. Moreover, the exchanges can also appoint independent auditors to audit the books of accounts of these companies and do forensic audit, wherever needed.
  • This indirectly may also be an indication that the sudden rise in either the volumes traded or the price increase are not commensurate with the fundamentals of the said companies and hence small / retail investors are protected from getting stuck in such stocks inadvertently on some wrong advice.
  • The only challenge for the small investors is that these announcements are often made at very short notice and implemented from the next day itself thus giving those who have already entered the stock less than adequate time to exit it. Of course, there is also potentially another risk. For example, even if time is given, the stock might crash next day on the news, triggering the lower price circuit and leaving no exit opportunity.



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