Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 June 2018
Topic: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
Smart cities mission
Context: Naya Raipur is now the 10th Smart City to be operational in the country, along with 9 other cities including Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Pune, Nagpur, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Bhopal and Kakinada. Naya Raipur is one of the three smart cities of Chhattisgarh selected under the smart cities mission.
Key facts for Prelims:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi also recently inaugurated India’s first integrated greenfield smart city project at Naya Raipur.
- Naya Raipur is the first integrated city in India and aims to develop four pillars of Smart city across, institutional (including Governance/Legal Framework), physical, social and economic infrastructure.
- Under the ambitious Smart City Mission, Integrated Command & Control Centres in 9 cities had alreadybecome operational in the cities of are Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Pune, Nagpur, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Bhopal and Kakinada.
- NayaRaipur is one of the 3 Smart Cities of Chhattisgarh selected under the Smart Cities Mission. The other two cities are Raipur and Bilaspur.
About Smart City mission- Key facts:
Under the scheme that was launched in 2014, around 100 cities in the country will be developed.
Selection of cities: The selection is based on the scores cities get for carrying out urban reforms in areas including sanitation and governance. Cities that score the highest will be picked for the project, to be implemented over a 10-year period.
Development: These cities will be developed to have basic infrastructure through assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation. Bottom-up approach has been the key planning principle under Smart City Mission.
Funding: Under the scheme, each city will get Rs 500 crore from the Centre for implementing various projects. An equal amount, on matching basis, will have to be contributed by the state or urban local bodies. The mission will provide central funding of Rs 48,000 crore to the selected cities.
Implementation: The implementation of the Mission at the City level will be done by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created for the purpose. The SPV will plan, appraise, approve, release funds, implement, manage, operate, monitor and evaluate the Smart City development projects. Each smart city will have a SPV which will be headed by a full time CEO and have nominees of Central Government, State Government and ULB on its Board.
- For Prelims: Features of Smart cities mission.
- For Mains: Significance of ICCC and smart cities mission.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
New UAE visa rules
Context: The United Arab Emirates has announced sweeping changes in its labour and visa rules that will ensure the better protection of workers’ rights and do away with bank guarantees for recruitment in the private sector.
Eight moves to enhance the UAE’s economic competitiveness:
- A new system in place to replace the bank guarantees required for private sector employees’ visas.
- Release the current bank guarantees totaling AED 14 billion back to private sector companies.
- Implement a new insurance system for private sector employees valued at AED 60 per year to replace the AED 3,000 bank guarantee per employee.
- Facilitate the process for job seekers in the UAE and grant a six-month temporary visa without fee.
- Exempt transit tourists from entry visa fees for the first 48 hours of their stay.
- Grant a two-year visa for talented and outstanding students.
- Allow visa status adjustment without having to leave and re-enter the country.
- Facilitate the voluntary departure of people overstaying their visa without incurring a ban.
Benefits for Indians:
- Indian workers are expected to be among the major beneficiaries of the measures. These will go a long way in easing the financial burden on Indian workers, professionals and entrepreneurs.
- The low-cost insurance policy which replaces the bank guarantees will cut costs for employers and offer greater protection to vulnerable low-income workers.
- The employee will have better protection as he or she can complain to the ministry of human resources and emiratisation in the event of non-payment of minimum entitlements and then the ministry can draw on the insurance to provide a pay out.
- The insurance policy will cover end of service benefits, holiday and overtime allowances, unpaid wages, return air ticket and cases of work injury, with the maximum pay out capped at 20,000 dirhams per person. The current system of bank guarantees doesn’t cover entitlements such as gratuity and holiday allowances.
- For Prelims: Location and neighbours of UAE.
- For Mains: A brief overview of new visa rules.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Conservation related topics.
Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)
Context: NITI Aayog has released its report on Composite Water Management Index (CWMI).
- The Composite Water Management Index report is a step in a direction that aims to create awareness among people and governments about the realities of water crisis in the country.
- CWMI aims to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of this growing crisis.
- The index would provide useful information for the states and concerned Central ministries and departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
- NITI Aayog has ranked all states in the index on the composite water management, comprising 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of ground water, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance.
Best and worst performers:
- The report ranks Gujarat at the top in managing its water resources in the reference year (2016-17) followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
- The worst states include Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- Among North Eastern and Himalayan states, Tripura has been adjudged number one in 2016-17 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam.
- In terms of incremental change in the index (over 2015-16 level), Rajasthan holds number one position in general states and Tripura ranks at first position amongst Northeastern and Himalayan states.
- India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 200,000 thousand people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
- The crisis is going to get worse and by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP.
Water scarcity is one of the biggest problems the country is facing today and that more than the scarcity of water, it is an issue of management of water resources.
Water management is often currently viewed as a zero-sum game by states due to limited frameworks for inter-state and national management. However, Centre-state and inter-state cooperation can help address the issue.
There is a need to reward those states which are doing well in managing their water resources and also to bring in the public domain the names of those states which are not managing their resources properly.
- For Prelims: CWMI- key features, best and worst performing states.
- For Mains: Water crisis- concerns, challenges and solutions.
Sources: the hindu.
Artificial leaf that creates biofuel
Context: IISc scholars have developed an artificial ‘leaf’ that’ll help reduce carbon footprint and create biofuel.
How the leaf was made?
The researchers used copper aluminium sulphate and zinc sulphide. The two materials, which are otherwise wide band gap semiconductors, became low band gap semiconductors when combined. Simply put, the lower the band gap, the better conductivity a substance will have.
How the ‘leaf’ works?
Basically, for photosynthesis or the process of plants taking in carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and glucose. For this process to happen, a high energy photon, electron and sunlight are needed. The electron needs to have a lot of kinetic energy.
- The semiconductor they made by combining copper aluminium sulphate and zinc sulphide fulfilled the requirements to convert sunlight into energy, which is how they decided to try and replicate photosynthesis.
- In the process, they also found that this quantum leaf had a much better rate of energy conversation compared to natural leaves – 20% as compared to 0.4-0.5% in photosynthesis.
- The team then harnessed this capacity to produce a sulphate format bio fuel which not only allows for 100% combustion but whose carbon dioxide emissions can be recycled by the quantum leaves.
Given that the world is searching for environment friendly and renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, the technology has huge potential. It will also help in reducing the carbon footprint.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Conservation related topics.
Par-Tapi-Narmada inter-state river link project
Context: Gujarat government has expressed its inability to divert 434 MCM water for Maharashtra in Tapi basin as requested by Maharashtra as part of the Par-Tapi-Narmada inter-state river link project. The project has been mired in controversy for years now.
About Par-Tapi-Narmada inter-state river link project:
- The projects envisages transfer of surplus water of rivers in Maharashtra and south Gujarat to feed the command area of the Miyagam branch of Narmada canal. It will save water in Narmada dam, which will be taken to Saurashtra and Kutch.
- The project is aimed at diverting “surplus” water from parts of west flowing rivers like the Par, the Nar, the Ambika and the Auranga basins in Maharashtra.
- Besides providing irrigation benefits to the enroute command and Narmada command, the link will generate hydropower of the order of 93.00 Mkwh through the power houses installed at four dam sites viz. Jheri, Paikhed, Chasmandva and Chikkar and in two feeder canals taking off from Dabdar and Kelwan dams. The reservoirs will also provide flood relief to the people residing in downstream areas.
- The project of Par-Tapi-Narmada link generally falls in the state of Gujarat except Jheri reservoir which falls in Maharashtra state. Jheri dam is located in Nasik district of Maharashtra, while remaining dams viz. Mohankavchali, Paikhed, Chasmandva, Chikkar, Dabdar and Kelwan dams are located in Valsad and Dang districts of Gujarat.
- For Prelims: Important dams and rivers.
- For Mains: River linking- need, significance, challenges and solutions.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Institutions in News- DRI:
- The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence is the apex anti-smuggling agency of India, working under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- It is tasked with detecting and curbing smuggling of contraband, including drug trafficking and illicit international trade in wildlife and environmentally sensitive items, as well as combating commercial frauds related to international trade and evasion of Customs duty.