National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 11th January 2019

 

Centre aims for 20% cut in air pollution by 2024

11.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

IN NEWS: The Centre has launched a programme to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.

 More on the Topic:

  • The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was formally unveiled on Thursday, is envisaged as a scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution.
  • The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. This is not a pan-India, but a city-specific programme.
  • In the past year, the 102 cities, identified as hotspots of pollution, were asked to submit a plan for how they would address the problem.
  • Broadly, the plans include increasing the number of monitoring stations, providing technology support, conducting source apportionment studies, and strengthening enforcement. For achieving the NCAP targets, the cities will have to calculate the reduction in pollution keeping 2017’s average annual PM levels as the base year.

Action Plan:

  • As part of the NCAP, cities have been given a specified number of days to implement specific measures such as “ensuring roads are pothole-free to improve traffic flow and thereby reduce dust” (within 60 days) or “ensuring strict action against unauthorised brick kilns” (within 30 days).

Concerns:

  • Experts rue the lack of mandatory targets and the challenge of inadequate enforcement by cities. “While the NCAP is welcome, the government must strengthen compliance. India have seen enough plans, and the basic right to clean air can’t be left hanging in the balance due to lack of strong enforcement.

Statistics:

  • The World Health Organisation’s database on air pollution over the years has listed Tier I and Tier II Indian cities as some of the most polluted places in the world.
  • In 2018, 14 of the world’s 15 most polluted cities were in India. A study in the journal Lancet ranked India as No.1 on premature mortality and deaths from air pollution.
  • According to a report by the environment ministry, Bejing achieved a 40% reduction in 5 years, Mexico city a 73% reduction over 25 years, and Santiago, Chile, a 61% decline over 22 years. “In Delhi, we have seen an 8% reduction in annual PM levels from 2016.

Model Mains Question: Analyse how the climate change affects the Indian economy. Suggest some mitigation options ?

Source:Hindu

Global Economic Prospects Report

12.

Topic: Indian Economy

IN NEWS:  The World Bank, in its recently released Global Economic Prospects Report – January 2019, has sketched a gloomy outlook for the global economic growth in the coming years, reiterating the fears of global slowdown, however, it expects India to remain the fastest growing emerging market economy.

More on the Topic:

  • Worries over trade war, weak global growth and financial stress in the developing economies are likely to weigh on global growth outlook. For 2018, the global growth estimate has been revised downwards by 0.1 percentage.
  • Likewise, in 2019, the global economic growth is projected to grow by 2.9 per cent compared with earlier estimates of 3 per cent amid softer international trade and manufacturing activities, elevated trade tensions and financial market pressures in some of the emerging market economies.

India’s Report Card:

  • As per the report, the domestic demand in India is improving owing to structural reforms undertaken by the country recently and a revival in credit growth.
  • India’s growth is expected to be at 7.3 per cent in FY19, making it the fastest growing emerging economy, as economic activity has showed sustained recovery with strong domestic demand.
  • While investment continued to strengthen amid GST harmonisation and a rebound of credit growthconsumption remained the major contributor to growth.
  • Private consumption is projected to remain robust. As per the World Bank’s estimates, current account deficit is expected to widen to 2.6 per cent of GDP while the inflation is projected to rise somewhat above the midpoint of the Reserve Bank of India’s target range of 2-6 per cent, mainly owing to energy and food prices.

Concerns:

  • However, the risks to the projected growth could arise from fiscal slippages, rising inflation and possibility of delays in structural reforms to address the weakness in the balance sheets of banks and non-financial corporates.
  • The external risks pertain to a further deterioration in current accounts and a faster than expected tightening of global financial conditions.

Source:The Hindu

Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market Report

Topic: Economy

In news: Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market , report by World Economic Forum today said that India is set to become the world’s third largest consumer market behind only USA and China by 2030.

More on the Topic:

  • The report said consumer spending in India is expected to grow from 1.5 trillion US dollar at present to six trillion US dollar by 2030. The report said that with the annual GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent, India is currently the world’s sixth largest economy.
  • The report also noted that growth of the middle class will lift nearly 25 million households out of poverty.

Source: Hindu

Atal Innovation Mission

13.

Topic: Government Initiatives

In news: NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) released the “Atal Tinkering Lab Handbook – Nayee Dishayen, Naye Nirman, Naya Bharat” on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, also celebrated as the National Youth Day, to hail and take forward the spirit of Tinkering and Innovation across the country

More on the Topic:

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country, based on a detailed study and deliberations on innovation and entrepreneurial needs of India in the years ahead.
  • AIM is also envisaged as an umbrella innovation organization that would play an instrumental role in alignment of innovation policies between central, state and sectoral innovation schemes incentivizing the establishment and promotion of an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship at various levels – higher secondary schools, science, engineering and higher academic institutions, and SME/MSME industry, corporate and NGO levels.
  • Long term goals of AIM include establishment and promotion of Small Business Innovation Research and Development at a national scale (AIM SBIR) for the SME/MSME/startups, and in rejuvenating Science and Technology innovations in major research institutions of the country like CSIR (Council of Scientific Industrial Research), Agri Research (ICAR) and Medical Research (ICMR) aligned to national socio-economic needs.

Objectives:

  • At the school level, AIM is setting up state of the art Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) in schools across all districts across the country.
  • These ATLs are dedicated innovation workspaces of 1200-1500 square feet where do-it-yourself (DIY) kits on latest technologies like 3D Printers, Robotics, Internet of Things (IOT), Miniaturized electronics are installed using a grant of Rs 20 Lakhs from the government so that students from Grade VI to Grade XII can tinker with these technologies and learn to create innovative solutions using these technologies.
  • This will enable create a problem solving, innovative mind set within millions of students across the country.

Atal Incubators – promoting entrepreneurship in universities and industry

  • At the university, NGO, SME and Corporate industry levels, AIM is setting up world-class Atal Incubators (AICs) that would trigger and enable successful growth of sustainable startups in every sector /state of the country, thereby promoting entrepreneurs and job creators in the country addressing both commercial and social entrepreneurship opportunities in India and applicable globally.
  • Women led incubators and entrepreneurial start-ups are strongly encouraged by AIM.

Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges:

  • To promote technology driven innovations and product creation for social and commercial impact
  • To promote specific product innovations with social / economic impact, AIM will be launching Atal New India Challenges / Atal Grand Challenges in specific areas and sectors of national importance.
  • The successful applicants will get a grant of upto Rs 1 crore for Atal New India Challenges and larger grants of upto Rs 30 crores for Atal Grand Challenges.

Source:Hindu

Gold Monetisation Scheme

14.

Topic: Government Initiatives

In News: Since its launch in November 2015, the government has made repeated changes in the Gold Monetisation Scheme to make it attractive for Indians to move from buying physical gold to hold it in electronic form. The response, however, fell far short of expectations.

More on the Topic:

  • The government has now decided to attract gold deposits in bulk held by charitable institutions and various government entities.
  • This is a sensible idea as donations to charitable institutions, especially temples in the form of gold, is common. It’s a win-win for both as temples will earn a tax-free dividend on their hoard while the government gets the gold it needs.

About Gold monetisation Scheme:

  • Gold monetisation scheme is like a gold savings account. You would generally keep your gold without any security at home or store it in bank lockers by paying a maintenance fee. But instead of that, you could keep your gold in any form in a Gold Monetisation Scheme account and earn interest as the price of the precious metal goes up.
  • The objective is to simultaneously safeguard the gold held in Indian households as well as put it to productive use. The larger objective is to cut down the country’s gold imports by decreasing domestic demand. India, incidentally, is the second-largest consumer of gold after China.
  • Resident Indians (Individuals, HUF, Trusts including Mutual Funds/Exchange Traded Funds registered under SEBI (Mutual Fund) Regulations and Companies) can make deposits under the scheme. The opening of gold deposit accounts will be subject to the same rules with regard to customer identification as are applicable to any other deposit account.

Source: Hindu

NIC Command and Control Centre to boost communication infra

Topic: Institutions in News

In news:  The National Informatics Centre (NIC)’s Command and Control Centre (CCC) and its Centre for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence was inaugurated.

 More on the Topic:

  • The NIC’s Command and Control Centre is the first of its kind in the government and will increase the agility of NIC’s nationwide information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.
  • In addition to this infra monitoring setup, NIC is also in the process of having a centralised monitoring of critical websites hosted on cloud.
  • The Centre for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is designed to promote innovation in application of AI to take e-Governance services to the next level.

About National Informatics Centre:

  • The National Informatics Centre is the premier science and technology organisation of the Government of India in informatics services and information and communication technology (ICT) applications.
  • It is part of the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s Department of Electronics & Information Technology. The NIC was established in 1976.
  • It plays a pivotal role in steering e-governance applications in the governmental departments at national, state and district levels, enabling the improvement in, and a wider transparency of, government services. Almost all Indian-government websites are developed and managed by NIC.

source :Hindu

 

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