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Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Recruits Assistant Professor 2017

Departments:
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sanskrit
  • Sociology
  • Zoology
Qualification: As per Norms

Experience: 

Duties of Candidates:

  • Teaching
  • Instructions in theory and Labs
  • Students Assessment and Evaluation
  • Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities
  • Assisting in departmental administration
  • Assisting in consultancy and R and D services, developing resources material and workshop/studio/lab development
Job Location: Daman

Age Limit: Not exceeding 35 years

Last Date: 27th October 2016

Pay Scale: 

  • Rs. 15600-39100 with Academy Grade Pay of Rs. 6000.

To Apply Online: Clickhere

MOST FAVORED NATION (MFN)

In international economic relations and international politics, "most favoured nation" (MFN) is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade. ... (Trade advantages include low tariffs or high import quotas.)
The MFN status
  • The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was negotiated in 1947.
  • GATT’s articles of agreement were signed by all its founding members—including India and Pakistan—in October 1947, and ratified the following year by both countries.
  • While signing GATT, nations agreed to abide by its cornerstone principle—non-discrimination in trade relations, whereby an importing country may not discriminate against imports based on their country of origin.
  • This principle of non-discrimination, articulated in Article I, is referred to by GATT as “General MFN Treatment”.
  • It means that any “favour” in trade granted to another member country shall be immediately and unconditionally granted to all other member countries.
  • No doubt, the terminology is confusing: MFN does not imply favouritism, but actually rules it out. More importantly, it rules out discrimination in trade against any member country.
  • Now, anticipating that some countries in future would wish to pursue comprehensive economic integration with other members, GATT also permitted departures from the principle of non-discrimination and permitted for formation of preferential trade areas, example EU (Article XXIV)
  • In the same spirit, GATT observed that India and Pakistan had once been an integrated economic unit, it provided exception to trade relation between India and Pakistan under article XXIV.
    • In simple terms, it meant that India and Pakistan can enter into special arrangements with respect to the trade between them and enjoy closer bilateral trade relationship.
    • The exception is that they would not be required to extend the same special arrangements to other GATT nations.

Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management 2016 / P-Note data for black money / Human hair used to produce cheaper cathodes for solar cells

Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management


  • The draft says that every person has a “right to sufficient quantity of safe water for life” within easy reach of the household regardless of caste, creed, religion, age, community, class, gender, disability, economic status, land ownership and place of residence.
  • It provides for a mechanism to develop and manage river basin in an integrated manner so that every state gets “equitable” share of a river’s water without violating rights of others.
  • It pitches for establishing River Basin Authority for each inter-state basin to ensure “optimum and sustainable” development of rivers and valleys.
  • It also devises an integrated approach to conserve water and manage groundwater in a sustainable manner.
  • The draft Bill proposes establishing institutional arrangements at all levels within a state and beyond up to an inter-state river-basin level to “obviate” disputes through negotiations, conciliation or mediation before they become acute.
  • It also says that each River Basin Authority will prepare a master plan for the river basin, under its jurisdiction, comprising such information as may be prescribed. The master plan, so prepared, will be reviewed and updated every five years after due consultation with all other planning agencies and stakeholders.



  • SIT set to comb P-Note data for black money
    P-Notes:
    P-Notes are derivative products issued by FPIs in foreign markets which give their holders the right to have a share of the profit and loss from underlying Indian stocks but at the same time help maintain anonymity about the actual owners of those notes.
    P-Notes allow foreign investors to take exposure to Indian stocks without registering with Sebi. These instruments are issued by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) registered with Sebi.

    Human hair used to produce cheaper cathodes for solar cells
    Benefits:
    • The cathode shows an impressive performance in converting visible sunlight to electricity much higher than commercially available activated carbon cathodes and is comparable with commonly used cathodes made of platinum metal and metal sulfides.
    • Besides its higher efficiency to convert visible sunlight to electricity, the cathode was found to generate high open-circuit voltage, which is at par with conventional platinum and activated carbon cathodes. Thereby, the power conversion efficiencies can also be enhanced.
    • They also have the potential to bring down the cost of solar cells.

    Fight against climate change- Amending the Montreal Protocol at Kaigali 206

    The Paris agreement ratification has a great significance in the fight against climate change where it has set the goal of keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    Now, the eyes are on the annual climate change conference (CoP 22) that begins in Marrakech (Morocco) where countries will get down to finalise the rules and institutions that will govern implementation of Paris agreement.

    In another development, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) carved out an agreement to curb the rise of emissions from international aviation after 2020. Though some countries including India did have reservations about it.

    This deal asks the countries to offset, voluntarily to begin with, any rise in their aviation emissions through activities like planting of trees or funding activities that reduce carbon emissions elsewhere.
    Though 191 member countries approved of it, as of now, only 65 countries have decided to join the programme that will initially run from 2020 to 2026.

    However, it has been considered a good beginning towards mitigating climate change pace.

    Montreal Protocol- Amendment in Kaigali, Rwanda

    To plug another hole of greenhouse gas emissions, countries had gathered in Kaigali to finalise an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to enable this 1989 ozone-protecting agreement to phase out the use of Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

    HFCs are a class of gases that are several thousand times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

    HFCs, used mainly in the coolant and refrigerant industry, are not ozone-depleting, and are hence not covered by the Montreal Protocol. They replaced Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which the Montreal Protocol phased out because they were destroying the ozone layer.
    But, HFCs turned out to be very potent greenhouse gases, and unlike other GHGs that are being dealt with by the Paris Agreement, HFCs are sought to be eliminated through the Montreal Protocol as well.
    It is estimated that a phasing out of HFCs by 2050 will prevent a 0.5-degree rise in global temperatures by the end of this century.
    There is unanimity in deciding these targets as well as agreement that developed countries, which are both the bigger producers and bigger consumers of HFCs, have to begin phasing them out earlier.


    Differences exist in the details, and four proposals are on the table — put forward by India, the US (North America), European Union, and the Small Island Countries.

    India

    It wants that developing countries like itself to begin the phase-out only from 2031.
    It has promised to reduce their HFC production and consumption to 15% of what it would be in the ‘baseline year’ of 2028-30 (average of the figures in each of these years), by the year 2050.
    But, it wants the developed countries to begin the phase-out in 2016 itself, and completely eliminate the production and consumption of HFCs by 2035.
    USA and EU

    It wants developed countries to begin the phase-out from 2019, and reach just 15% of the baseline year (2011-13) by 2036.
    The EU wants the baseline year for developed countries to be 2015-16, and wants them to eliminate 85% of the baseline HFC production and consumption by 2034.
    Both the US and EU want developing countries to begin by 2019, or latest by 2021, and eliminate 85%-90% by 2046.
    There are supposed to be interim targets as well — the “phase-down schedule” — and those constitute further points of disagreement.

    Developing countries seek to give their industry adequate time to discover and adapt to new technologies that would enable them to use HFC substitutes.
    These countries are also seeking multilateral financing to support the shift to newer alternatives, want their industry to be given full conversion costs and also cost of a second conversion in cases where a transitional technology has to be deployed.


    Benefits of ethanol blending / Sendai Framework / Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)

    Benefits of ethanol blending 

    1. It reduces the vehicular emissions especially carbon monoxide emissions. 
    2. It is cheaper than petrol as it is cheaper to manufacture. 
    3. It decreases a nation dependence on foreign oil. 
    4. Ethanol has a higher octane rating than ethanol-free petrol. 
    5. n case of India, ethanol production can give higher sugarcane price for farmers which can help in rural prosperity.

    2016 Theme:  “Live to Tell: Raising Awareness, Reducing Mortality”. 

    1. The 2016 edition of IDDR marks the launch of the new Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). UNISDR’s campaign for the day is Sendai Seven that seeks to create a wave of awareness about actions taken to reduce mortality around the world. 
    2. Background The International Day for Disaster Reduction was instituted by UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1989 to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. 
    3. Earlier, this day was celebrated annually on the second Wednesday of October. But in 2009, the UNGA formally designated 13 October as the annual date by adopting Resolution 64/200. 
    4. What is Sendai Framework? The Sendai Framework is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes that the countries have the primary role to reduce disaster risk. 
    5. It also recognises that this responsibility of countries should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, private sector and other stakeholders. It is the successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005–2015), 
    6. which was the most encompassing international accord on disaster risk reduction to date. The Sendai Framework also seeks to promote best practices at the international, regional and national level across all sectors, to reduce disaster risk and disaster losses. 
    7. The framework has seven targets and first of it is reducing disaster mortality. 
    8. The four priority themes of the Sendai Framework are: (i) Understanding disaster risk, (ii) improving disaster risk governance, (iii) investing in disaster risk reduction (through structural and non-structural measures) and (iv) disaster preparedness, early warning and building back better in the aftermath of a disaster.
    Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) 

    1. PFRDA is a statuary pension regulatory authority established in 2003 under the PFRDA Act. 
    2. It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Finance, 
    3. Department of Financial Services. 
    4. PFRDA promotes old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds. 
    5. It also protects interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and related matters. 
    6. It is responsible for appointment of various intermediate agencies such as Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA), 
    7. Custodian, Pension Fund Managers, NPS Trustee Bank, etc.


    Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has published a notification for recruitment of 440 Group A/B vacancies by conducting Engineering Services Exam 2017. Eligible candidates may apply online from 28.09.2016 to 26.10.2016 till 18:00 hrs.

    Vacancy Details:
    The tentative number of vacancies to be filled after the results of the examination is as follows:
    Total No. of Posts: 440
    Name of the Exam: Engineering  Services Exam, 2017

    Name of the Post:

    Category-I: Civil Engineering

    Group-A Services/Posts
    (i) Indian Railway Service of Engineers.
    (ii) Indian Railway Stores Service (Civil Engineering Posts).
    (iii) Central Engineering Service.
    (iv) Indian Ordnance Factories Service AWM/JTS (Civil Engineering Post)
    (v) Central Engineering Service (Roads), Group-A (Civil Engineering Posts).
    (vi) Central Water Engineering Service Gr ‘A’ (Civil Engineering Posts)
    (vii) Survey of India Group ‘A’ Service.
    (viii) AEE(Civil Engg Posts) in Border Roads Engineering Service Gr ‘A’.
    (ix) AEE(Civil) of P&T Building Works Gr ‘A’ Service.
    (x) Indian Defence Service of Engineers.
    (xi) AEE(QS&C) in Military Engineer Service(MES) Surveyor Cadre

    Category-II: Mechanical Engineering

    Group-Services/Posts
    (i) Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers.
    (ii) Indian Railway Stores Service (Mechanical Engineering Posts).
    (iii) Indian Ordnance Factories Service AWM/JTS (Mechanical Engineering Posts).
    (iv) Central Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Service (Mechanical Engineering Posts).
    (v) AEE in Geological Survey of India Gr ‘A’ Engineering Service.
    (vi) Central Water Engineering Service Gr ‘A’ (Mechanical Engineering Posts).
    (vii) AEE (Mech Engineering Posts) in Border Roads Engineering Service Gr ‘A’.
    (viii) Indian Naval Armament Service (Mechanical Engineering Posts).
    (ix) Indian Defence Service of Engineers (Mechanical Engineering Posts).
    (x) Asstt. Naval Store Officer Grade-I (Mechanical Engineering Posts) in Indian Navy.

    Category-III: Electrical Engineering

    Group-A/B Services/Posts
    (i) Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers.
    (ii) Indian Railway Stores Service (Electrical Engineering Posts).
    (iii) Central Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Service (Electrical Engineering Posts).
    (iv) Indian Ordnance Factories Service AWM/JTS (Electrical Engineering Posts).
    (v) Indian Naval Armament Service (Electrical Engineering Posts).
    (vi) Indian Defence Service of Engineers.
    (vii) Asstt. Naval Store Officer Grade-I(Electrical Engg. Posts) in Indian Navy.
    (viii) AEE Gr ‘A’ (Electrical Engg. Posts) in Corps of EME, Min of Defence.
    (ix) Central Power Engineering Service Gr ‘B’ (Electrical Engineering Posts).

    Category-IV: Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering

    Group-Services/Posts
    (i) Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers.
    (ii) Indian Railway Stores Service (Telecommunication/Electronics Engineering Posts).
    (iii) Indian Inspection Service (Asst. Dir. Grade-I).
    (iv) Indian Radio Regulatory Service Gr ‘A’
    (v) Indian Ordnance Factories Service AWM/JTS (Electronics and Telecom Engineering Posts).
    (vi) Indian Naval Armament Service (Electronics and Telecom Engineering Posts).
    (vii) Asstt. Naval Store Officer Grade-I(Electronics and Telecom Engg. Posts) in Indian Navy.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    Educational Qualification:

    For admission to the examination, a candidate must have –
    (a) obtained a degree in Engineering from a University incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India
    or other Educational Institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as Universities under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act,  1956; or
    (b) passed Sections A and B of the Institution Examinations of the Institution  of  Engineers  (India); or
    (c) obtained a degree/diploma    in Engineering from such foreign University/College/Institution and under such conditions as may be recognised by the Government for the purpose from time to time, or
    (d) passed Graduate Membership Examination of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (India);
    or
    (e) passed Associate Membership Examination  Parts II and III/Sections A and B of the Aeronautical Society of India; or
    (f) passed Graduate   Membership Examination of the Institution of Electronics and Radio Engineers, London held after November, 1959
    Provided that a candidate for the post of Indian Naval Armament Service (Electronics Engineering Posts) and Indian Radio Regulatory Service Gr ‘A’ may possess any of the above qualifications or the qualification mentioned below namely:-
    M.Sc. degree or its equivalent with Wireless Communication, Electronics, Radio Physics or Radio Engineering as a special subject.

    Age Limit (as on 01.07.2017):

    A candidate for this examination must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30 years on the 1st January, 2017 i.e., he/she must have been born not earlier than 2nd January, 1987 and not later than 1st January, 1996. Age relaxation is applicable as per rules.

    Selection Procedure:

    Candidates will be selected based on written examination, Personality Test, Medical Examination.

    How to Apply:

    Candidates are required to apply Online only by using the website www.upsconline.nic.in from 28.09.2016 to 26.10.2016 till 18:00 hrs.

    Important Dates:

    Start Date to Apply Online: 28.09.2016
    Last Date for Payment of Fee by Cash Mode: 25.10.2016 at 23:59 Hrs
    Last Date to Apply Online: 26.10.2016 till 18:00 hrs
    Date of Exam: 08.01.2017

    India and Indonesia Bilateral Maritime Exercise 2016 / What is Harikatha?

    India and Indonesia Bilateral Maritime Exercise

    The 28th India and Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) and Second Bilateral Maritime Exercise have commenced at Belawan, Indonesia in the Andaman Sea. The 17-day-long bilateral exercise (from 10 to 27, October, 2016) will demonstrate India’s commitment to its ties with Indonesia and to maritime security in Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

    What is Harikatha? 

    Harikatha is an art form composed of storytelling, music, drama, dance, poetry, and philosophy in South India especially in villages of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It had originated from Ajjada village of Srikakulam in Coastal Andhra. Its aim is to imbue truth and righteousness in the minds of people and sow the seeds of devotion in them. It also aims to educate people about knowledge of atman (self) through stories and show them the path of liberation. 

    Harikatha at its peak was a popular medium of entertainment, which had helped to transmit cultural, educational and religious values to the masses. 

    Style of Harikatha 

    Harikatha involves the narration of a story, intermingled with various songs relating to the story. The subject for the Harikatha story may be any Hindu religious theme. Usually the narration of story involves numerous sub-plots and anecdotes, which are used to emphasise various aspects of the main story. The main story teller is usually assisted by one or more co-singers, who elaborate the songs and Mridangam accompanist. The storyteller uses a pair of cymbals to keep beat.


    Himansh station / What is Bioethanol? / Jaipur Declaration 2016 / International Day of the Girl Child Theme 2016

    What is Bioethanol? 
    It is an alcohol derived by process of fermentation mostly from carbohydrates of agricultural residue and feedstocks. As a quasi-renewable energy, ethonal can be blended with petrol or diesel making it a sustainable transport fuel. It will help to reducing emissions and dependency on imported fuel. 
    Benefits of bio-ethanol plant 
    Help in solving the chronic problem of straw burning of leftover agro-based produce especially from wheat and rice feedstocks. Benefit farmers economically, as they would be paid for their agro-based produce to extract bio-ethanol. It would also help in preventing the loss of fertility of soil and damage to environment by reducing air pollution.
    Himansh station
    A high altitude glaciological research station in Himalaya called Himansh (meaning a slice of ice) began functioning above 13,500 ft (4000 m) in a remote region in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Researchers will use this station as a base for undertaking surveys that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision. 
    Facts About Himansh station 
    Himansh station will provide much needed fillip to the scientific research on Himalayan glaciers and its hydrological contribution. The research lab has been established by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Spiti Valley, one of the most uninhabited parts of the country The station houses instruments to quantify glacier melting and its relation to changing climate. Some of the instruments available at this research facility include automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems and other sophisticated facilities. It will also serve as the base for Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for undertaking surveys.

    Jaipur Declaration 2016
    The 4th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting was held at Jaipur, Rajastan. The purpose of the meeting was to further strengthen the collaboration amongst the BRICS countries in the areas of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

    October 11: International Day of the Girl Child
    2016 Theme: “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls”. It calls for action for increased investment in collecting and analyzing girl-relevant, girl-focused and sex-disaggregated data.





    United Nations New Secretary General Antonio Guterres

    United Nations New Secretary General Antonio Guterres 
    Mr Guterres served as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees between 2005-15 leading the organisation as crises broke out in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Europe was hit by a flow of refugees from West Asia and North Africa. Before joining the organisation, he served for two decades in various positions in Portugal. Between 1995-2002, Mr Guterres served as the Prime Minister of Portugal when he played a key role in resolving the conflict in East Timor.
    Mr Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide network of socialist political parties and served as vice president of Socialist International between 1992-’99.

    Nobel Prize Winners List 2016

    Nobel Prize in Physics:
    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 with one half to David J. ThoulessUniversity of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA and the other half toF. Duncan M. Haldane Princeton University, NJ, USA and J. MichaelKosterlitz Brown University, Providence, RI, USA for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.
    Nobel Prize in Chemistry:
    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 to Jean-Pierre Sauvage University of Strasbourg, France Sir J. Fraser Stoddart Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA and Bernard L. Feringa University of Groningen, the Netherlands for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.
    Nobel Peace Prize:
    The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people.
    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
    The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute has decided to award the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine toYoshinori Ohsumi (Japan) for his discoveries of mechanisms forautophagy.
    Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences:
    The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2016 was awarded jointly to Oliver Hart (United Kingdom) and Bengt Holmstrom (Finland) for their contributions to contract theory.

    Latest Current Affairs September 2016 / Part 05

    Q.1) Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is often in news. Consider the following statements with respect to TiSA
    1. It is a trade agreement currently being negotiated by 23 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the European Union
    2. It is based on the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
    3. Only developed countries are part of TiSA
    Which of the following statements is/are correct?
    1. Only 1
    2. 1 and 2
    3. 2 and 3
    4. All of the above

    Q.2) The National Board for Wildlife has approved phase 1 of the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project. Consider the following statements with respect to same
    1. The project aims at providing water to the drought-prone Bundelkhand area
    2. As part of the project the government will have to divert thousands hectares of land including Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh
    Which of the following statements is/are correct?
    1. Only 1
    2. Only 2
    3. Both 1 and 2
    4. None of the above

    Q.3) Karnataka Government is not in favour of cloud seeding in areas facing deficient rain. Consider the following statements with respect to cloud seeding
    1. It is a method of enabling inefficient clouds to bring rain or enhance rainfall from a seedable cloud by introducing seeding material
    2. Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX) is a technique to understand the rain formation in clouds and the impact of Randomized Cloud Seeding
    3. Silver iodide and dry ice is generally used for cloud seeding
    Which of the following statements is/are correct?
    1. 1 and 3
    2. Only 1
    3. 1 and 2
    4. All of the above 

    Q.4) The 52nd Amendment Act, 1985 provides for
    1. Disqualification of members of Parliament and state legislatures on the ground of defection
    2. Creation of All India Judicial Service
    3. An alternative scheme of devolution of revenue between the Centre & states
    4. None of the above

    Q.5) Consider the below statements in regard to Railway Budget and General Budget in India:
    1. Department of Budget Affairs is responsible for the General Budget Preparation.
    2. The Railway Budget was separated from the General Budget in 1931.
    3. Bibek Debroy Committee has recommended discontinuance of a separate Rail Budget.
    Select the correct statement/s from the codes given below:
    1. 3 only
    2. 1 and 3 only
    3. 2 and 3 only
    4. 1 and 2 only

    Codex Alimentarius (Latin for "Food Code")

    The Codex Alimentarius (Latin for "Food Code") is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety.
     Codex Alimentarius
     
    Its name is derived from the Codex Alimentarius Austriacus. Its texts are developed and maintained by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a body that was established in early November 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), was joined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June 1962, and held its first session in Rome in October 1963. The Commission's main goals are to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the international food trade. The Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organization as an international reference point for the
    resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection.
     
    The Codex Alimentarius covers all foods, whether processed,semi-processed or raw.In addition to standards for specific foods, the Codex Alimentarius contains general standards covering matters such as food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, and procedures for assessing the safety of foods derived from modern biotechnology. It also contains guidelines for the management of official i.e. governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods

    World Breathing 90% Bad Air: World Health Organization

    Nine out of 10 people globally are breathing poor quality air, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, calling for dramatic action against pollution that is blamed for more than six million deaths a year.
    New data in a report from the UN’s global health body “is enough to make all of us extremely concerned,” Maria Neira, the head of the WHO’s department of public health and environment, told reporters.

    The problem is most acute in cities, but air in rural areas is worse than many think, WHO experts said.
    Poorer countries have much dirtier air than the developed world, according to the report, but pollution “affects practically all countries in the world and all parts of society”, Neira said in a statement.
    “It is a public health emergency,” she said.

    “Fast action to tackle air pollution can’t come soon enough,” she added, urging governments to cut the number of vehicles on the road, improve waste management and promote clean cooking fuel.
    Tuesday’s report was based on data collected from more than 3,000 sites across the globe.
    It found that “92 percent of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits”.
    The data focuses on dangerous particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, or PM2.5.
    PM2.5 includes toxins like sulfate and black carbon, which can penetrate deep into the lungs or cardiovascular system.
    Air with more than 10 microgrammes per cubic metre of PM2.5 on an annual average basis is considered substandard.
    In some regions satellite data has been complemented by ground-level PM2.5 measurements, but in much of the developing world ground readings remain unavailable, forcing the WHO to rely on cruder estimates.
    Despite these data gaps, Neira said the UN agency now had more information than ever about pollutants in the planet’s air.
    Using both satellite and ground measurements “is a big step forward towards even more confident estimates of the huge global burden”, of dirty air, she added.

    All India Radio – GST – Road Map and Economic Effects

    GST rate will be harmoniser and standardiser
    For several manufacturing products, the current prices are higher than whatever the GST rate is going to be. So the prices of manufacturing products will come down. But the prices of services are lower than whatever the rate is going to be, so the services rates will go up. Standardisation is all about paying more for one product and less for another and create a harmonising base.
    Considering a GST rate of 18%, there will be uniform taxation on goods and services. The exempted products are petroleum products, tobacco and alcohol. But there will be products that will be exempted from 18% and taxed at a lower rate. It has to be realised that if too many products are exempted, it nullifies the intention behind GST, which is standardisation. Many states have argued and will argue that food products should be taxed at a lower rate because they are items of essential consumption. It is not yet known though what consists the list of exempted items. It is possible that food product GST rate might be as low as 4%. If too many exemptions
    • Impact of GST will be nullified
    • The Revenue Neutral Rate (RNR) goes up. If something is less than 18%, there will be other things which will have a higher rate.
    If the tax system is streamlined, it enhances the resources to be spent on everyone.
    International perspective
    Most countries that have equivalent system as GST, don’t have a federal structure. India having a federal structure is expected to have three different GST rates.
    The country that comes closest to having same GST structure as India is Canada. It took more than ten years to bring about the reforms in its existing GST structure.
    GST in India

    All India Radio – Launch of INSAT 3DR

    ISRO successfully launched a GSLV-Mark II rocket carrying an advanced weather satellite-INSAT3DR to a geostationary transfer orbit around earth, from Sriharikota.

    INSAT 3DR

    It is advanced meteorological or weather observation satellite built by India to provide variety of inputs essential for accurate weather forecasting. It is equipped with three payloads- multi spectral imager, sounder and weather data relay transponder. INSAT 3DR also carries a satellite aided search and rescue transponder that picks up and relays alert signals originating from distressed beacons of maritime, aviation and land based users.
    The INSAT-3DR joins KALPANA-1 and INSAT-3D meteorological satellites currently orbiting in space.

    Significance
    • India’s capability in meteorological satellites has been good since 1980s. INSAT 3DR is advanced version of earlier weather satellites which will replace the earlier data by a fresh set of data thus making it more accurate.
    • The atmospheric infrared sounder prepares a vertical profile of temperature and moisture, thus creating a 3-D spatial distribution of these weather data. Such a picture helps in a much-improved analysis of weather phenomena and results in better forecasts.
    • India is an agricultural economy and thus good amount of agricultural inputs are required based on satellite technology for agricultural purposes.
    • Sea-surface temperature is also measured by these satellites. It is essentially required by the fishing industry because these sorts of temperature inputs allow them to know the better areas in the sea for catching fish. More accurate information will help India’s strong fishing industry.
    • It can recce of weather during low visibility period and during night. In night time, fog and very slow clouds usually come over the horizon and satellites systems are not able to monitor these as they did not have that sort of sensor capability. INSAT 3DR has higher sensors which allow them to monitor fog and low visibility.
    Need of INSAT 3DR

    All India Radio – SAUNI project- Phase 1

    Background
    PM inaugurated the Rs. 12000 crore project SAUNI- Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation yojana project.
    SAUNI
    • SAUNI in local language means something for everyone, hence it will provide water to people of Saurashtra region.
    • It is not part of Narmada project but is based on it.
    • It aims to take water to water parched Saurashtra region to help in irrigation and providing drinking water facility.
    • The project has been constructed to deliver the excess flood water from Sardar Sarovar dam to 115 dams of the water scarce region through network of canals and pipelines.
    • This project was initiated in 2012. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2019.
    This is an important project based on the new concept of pipeline network instead of open canal network. The dams store flood water and utilises that flood water for beneficial purpose. In this project, the excess water which otherwise would have gone to the sea will be diverted for irrigation and drinking purposes. A network of 1125 kms of pipelines will be present instead of open channels. The water through pipelines has many advantages-
    1. No seepage into ground
    2. No evaporation
    3. It can traverse adverse gradient
    4. There is no land acquisition as underground pipes are laid
    Problems faced due to water scarcity
    • The water scarcity is the great impediment in economic development of any region as there cannot be meaningful development without water.
    • Saurashtra frequently faces draught like conditions.

    All India Radio – Flood Fury and Disaster Management

    Background
    • Only a couple of months back, India was facing draught situation. More than 282 districts were affected by the draught.
    • But now, many states like Bihar, western UP, WB, Assam, MP and Odisha are facing flood situation because of rains and also water coming from Nepal and Brahmaputra.
    • Continuing floods: The flood situation is grim and will continue as the monsoon is expected to last for a month atleast. In this situation it is important to know what kind of gravity it might turn into. Here the preparedness of the forces and people is required.
    • Based on official data reports, during 1978-2006, there were 2,443 flood events that led to the death of nearly 45,000 people and caused economic losses of $16 billion.
    Steps taken to provide immediate relief
    Preparation by flood prone states
    • Most of the states are flood prone states.
    • They are aware of the situation that takes place every year and know how to act in such situations.
    • The flood affected state governments have prepared themselves for situation. They have shown exemplary improvement in terms of disaster management.
    Coordination
    • National Disaster Response Force is deployed pro-actively where the floods are anticipated. The national force and state forces have enough experience in handling such kind of disasters.
    • The national, state and local government machinery is coordinating with each other to tackle the flood situation.
    • People have been taken to safer places, relief camps have been started in few places, necessary troops and relief personnel have been deployed etc.
    • This is a good example of synchronisation between national, state and local government along with engagement of the local people in terms of addressing the current need of relief management.
    Decentralised financing
    • The national government has decentralised the financial operation of the relief.
    • 70-75% of the disbursement takes place at the state level.
    Long term steps
    • India needs to take information at a regular basis from the neighbouring countries- China for Brahmaputra and Nepal for Kosi. They are also flood affected countries and flood at upper catchment is gliding down to lower catchment, i.e. India.
    • GoI has signed an agreement with these countries. India needs to relook such agreements so that flood situations can be avoided.
    • Necessary to revisit the disaster management approach to make drought and flood management more holistic in nature. The districts or states have surplus water but do not have the capacity to absorb and store the water. Sometimes, even the same state, district and talukas are simultaneously affected by flood and drought.
    • Watershed management, rejuvenating the pond etc. are development initiatives which have to be rigorously implemented.
    • Forming a de-siltation plan: The river is one of the important ingredients when it comes to drainage. The de-siltation plan is very expensive but it is needed.
    • Idea is that a holistic plan should engage all the development partners. It should try to address all the issues and modify it as per local needs.
    Following the scientific approach
    • Managing floods requires a sound understanding of the patterns that rivers such as the Ganga and its tributaries display during the monsoon.
    • Governmental understanding of the problem generally relies more on ground-level surveys and anecdotal reporting than advanced techniques such as mapping based on satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems.
    • There should be a silt management policy.
    Challenges
    • At times there are heavy flood and cloudburst situation. The erratic nature of monsoon is also noted now. So, the governments have to adjust accordingly. They have to remould according to the unpredictable nature and the disaster management capacities developed till now.
    • It was predicted that monsoon will be above average. Thus, states were aware of what was coming. The central government had given a road map to the states that the wells ponds and lakes would be revived and building of embankments and other agricultural techniques through which monsoons can be retained but it appears that such measures were not taken in short time.
    • Capacity-building to handle catastrophic weather events is poor, and serious attention is not given to setting up relief camps, creating crisis-proof health infrastructure and stockpiling dry rations and medicines. This results in cascading effect of infections. These challenges require to be met in emergency mode.
    Save the river to prevent flood and draught
    • The carrying capacity of the rivers is decreasing due to siltation, garbage dumping, and sand mining in the rivers. The flood plains are also getting encroached. Thus, the rivers are not able to absorb the additional rains.
    • In Bihar’s case, the shifting patterns and breaches of the Kosi have added to the complexity of the problem. The Kosi itself poses a danger to vast parts of the State as its embankments are no match for the fury of floodwaters.
    • CM of Bihar has demanded that the Farakka Barrage itself be removed to allow the Ganga to flow freely. It comes in the wake of steady silting of the river and its tributaries, raising the risk of annual flooding.
      • The Bihar CM held Farakka dam responsible for slow discharge of water from Ganga which has become shallow due to heavy siltation. This causes flood water to spread to other areas.
    Interlinking of rivers
    • One revisited issue during floods and drought is topic of interlinking of rivers. It has been discussed for last 5 decades. Many committees have given reports. Probably people think it is impractical and not feasible and involves huge financial costs which they cannot afford.
    • But the annual plans say that interlinking of river should be seriously considered. In MP, Ken and Betwa rivers have started the process. Gujarat, Rajasthan and MP for the purpose of drinking water have adopted this solution.
    • Interlinking is one of the alternatives and has been deliberated by many scientists. It was found very useful. Social scientist also approved of it.
    • Many studies say it is a merit to do it. Flood management can’t be done by flood management department alone, whether flood is on its own course, or have human dimension to it. That is to be seen. If human dimension is there, like climate change, the river pattern also changes. So, capacity of governance, people, machinery, all these have to be seen with capacity of rivers and its drainage system and then enhance capacity.
    Urban Management crisis
    Disturbing trend
    • Big cities like Guwahati, Srinagar and now Bhopal are getting flooded.
    • Thus, drainage capacity of big towns seem to have exhausted their capacities.
    • With population going up and encroaching upon drainage areas and river floodplain areas, somehow water is not getting released out of town.
    • This is slowly becoming an urban management crisis.
    Solution of the issue
    • Four towns in Gujarat- Anjar, Bhuj, Bhachau and Rapar- were totally devastated in 2001 earthquake. When the recovery took place, the cities were recreated by taking proper care of land use planning.
    • In the same way, it can be replicated in city planning. The existing cities can’t do much except improvising the drainage system. But where new cities are being planned, there is bound to be growth in population, infrastructure pressure and thus there is a need of proper city planning else it will decapitate the city,
    • Hence, there are two options: Either de-congest the city or expand city capacity.
    We have to see the role of and engagement of scientific institutions and research initiation in the country. These educational institutions have to play a larger role in risk reduction techniques. The world as a unity is now dealing with disasters. Everyone is getting affected by one disaster or another. Thus, the common risk, common vulnerability and common resources is expecting common minds to work together on disaster management.
    AN OVERVIEW
    River Systems and Associated Flood Problems

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