National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams – 10th May 2018

MeitY launches internship scheme for Tech students

  • In an effort to enhance skills of the youngsters, Ministry of Electronics and Information technology (MeitY) on Wednesday has launched ‘Digital India Internship Scheme’ portal in which a token of Rs 10,000 will also be offered to interns as remuneration per month.
  • The MeitY’s internship scheme will offer 25 slots in each session – summer and winter
  • The portal will facilitate students to apply online for internship and its aim is to provide an opportunity to secure first hand and practical work experience under the guidance of a mentor.
  • The internship scheme will enable the young students to learn closely about working of transformative initiative of Digital India.
  • It will also give exposure to the students about technology policy and decision making of government of India
  • The two-month internship (extendable to three months) will start from next month and a certificate will be given to the students on completion of the internship and submission of report.
  • Students with minimum 60 per cent marks in the last degree or certificate examination and students who are pursuing B.E./ B.tech (second/ third year) or integrated degree course/ dual degree (B.E/ B. Tech, M.E./ M. Tech) can apply for the programme.
  • The proposed areas of internship include Research and Development in Electronics and IT, Cyber Law/ IT Act, Digital Forensics, Malware Analysis, Mobile Governance, Cloud Computing, Digital Literacy, Software/ Hardware Industry Promotion and Digital Payments.
Only 20% of Clean Ganga Mission funds spent till March
  • Only about a fifth of the Rs. 20,000 crore allotted for the National Clean Ganga Mission (NCGM) has been utilised till March 2018.
  • A financial account from the NCGM says that as of March 2018, Rs. 20,601 crore had been sanctioned for 193 projects.
  • So far, only Rs. 4,254 crore had actually been spent on their implementation. Figures for April are not immediately available.

Sewage infrastructure

  • About half the money, or Rs. 2,814 crore, had been spent on establishing sewage infrastructure.
  • Only 24 of the 65 ‘entry-level’ projects — meant for cleaning the ghats and establishing new ones and cleaning the river front and the river surface — had been completed. They had been allotted Rs. 492 crore.
  • Ministry officials said that while delays characterised several major projects, there had been an uptick in the tenders being awarded in the last few months. Because of this, several of these projects would be rapidly completed in the year ahead.
  • About 12,000 MLD of sewage is emptied into the Ganga across 11 States, from Uttarakhand to West Bengal. At present, the capacity for sewage treatment is just 4,000 MLD; of this, 1,000 MLD is functional.
  • Coursing 2,500 km, the Ganga is the longest river within India’s borders. Its basin constitutes 26% of the country’s land mass (8,61,404 sq. km.) and supports 43% of its population.
  • Even as the basin spreads across 11 States, five are located along the river’s main stem: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. Much of its pollution load — chemical effluents, sewage, dead bodies, and excreta — comes from these States.
  • Though the industrial pollution, volume-wise, accounts for about 20%, its toxic and non-biodegradable nature has a disproportionate impact.
  • The industrial pollutants largely emanate from tanneries in Kanpur and distilleries, paper mills and sugar mills in the Kosi, Ramganga and Kali river catchments. The municipal sewage, at a billion litres a day, accounts for 80% of the pollution load.
Govt approves green licence plates for electric vehicles

  • To promote electric vehicles in India, the government has approved green licence plates bearing numbers in white fonts for private e-vehicles and yellow for taxis
  • The government also plans to allow youth in the age bracket of 16-18 years to drive electric scooters, besides mandating taxi aggregators to have a certain percentage of e-vehicle fleet.
  • The purpose behind distinctive number plates is their easy identification for preferential treatment in parking, free entry in congested zones besides other proposed benefits like concessional toll, the road transport and highways
  • The measure is aimed at promoting e-vehicle’s use and the government is considering exemption from permits for such vehicles
  • Exemption from permit will be a game changer as restricted permit regime is a major concern.
  • E-rickshaw growth is attributable to the permit exemption and there is scope to extend the exemption to the e-buses, e-taxis, e-autos and e-bikes. E-auto and e-buses may have a big impact since getting a new permit is extremely difficult
  • Similarly, e-bikes also should see a considerable impact since it is a new area
  • Besides, the government is contemplating permitting youth in the age group of 16-18 years to drive e-scooters, which are gearless and this will lead to a big demand for e-scooters, the minister noted.
  • Under the Motor Vheicles Act, 1988, those in the age group of 16-18 years are granted licence for below 50 CC gearless scooters.
  • Incidentally there is no scooter in this category made in the country.
  • Similarly, all public transport operators may also be mandated to provide 1 per cent incremental fleet from 2020 onwards
  • Besides, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will request the finance ministry that the rate of depreciation on EVs may be allowed at 50 per cent as against the rate of 15 per cent for conventional vehicles.
  • The proposals include bringing down the GST on batteries to 12 per cent at par with the GST on EVs.
  • As per an estimate, India at present has 1 to 1.5 lakh electric vehicles and it is projected to grow to about 5 per cent of the total vehicles in the next five years
  • Of the about 24 million vehicles sold in India in 2017-18, electric vehicles accounted for barely about 1 per cent
  • India, currently, has four kinds of number plates – white licence plates with numbers on black font for private cars, yellow plates with fonts in black for commercial vehicles, black plates with yellow font letters for self-driven rental vehicles and blue plates with white font letters for Embassies and High Commissions.
  • Army vehicles on the other hand follow a different registration system given by the defence ministry, while vehicles of the President and governors have red licence plates with the national emblem.
Operation Insaniyat: India Sends Second Relief Consignment for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh
  • India has sent to Bangladesh its second relief consignment to help tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar following a military crackdown, triggering one of the world’s worst refugee crises.
  • Over 600,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar’s violence-hit Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh since August when the military intensified crackdown against alleged terrorist outfits of Rohingya Muslims.
  • Indian Navy Ship INS Airavat sailed from Vishakhapatnam and reached Chattogram port (formerly Chittagong) Port on 8th April where Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla handed over the relief consignment to Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzel Hussain Chowdhury Maya.
  • Officials familiar with the development said the 373-tonne consignment contained 104 tonnes of milk powder, 102 tonnes of dried fish, 61 tonnes of baby food, 50,000 raincoats and 50,000 pairs of gum boots.
  • Bangladesh has repeatedly sought India’s help to put pressure on Myanmar to resolve the Rohingy crisis.
  • During a recent high-level visit of UN Security Council, Bangladesh called upon India as well as Russia, China and Japan to play a stronger role for Rohingya’s secured and dignified repatriation.
  • Earlier, Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina engaged the foreign ministry to pursue a vigorous diplomacy with countries having direct borders with Myanmar along with Russia and sought enhanced Indian engagement in resolving the crisis.
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