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The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Why in news?

  • The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by RajyaSabha.
  • The Bill has been passed with three Government amendments and will need to go back to LokSabha. The LokSabha had already passed the Bill on the 23rdof July 2019. 

More about the Bill:

  • The amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, and strengthen rural transport,
 
  • public transport and last mile connectivity through automation, computerization and online services.
  • In the area of road safety, the Bill proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations. Penalty regarding motor vehicles is to be increased by 10 % every year.
  • The Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles.
  • The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. 
  • The Bill provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification. The Board will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management including standards of motor vehicles, registration and licensing of vehicles, standards for road safety, and promotion of new vehicle technology.
  • To help road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill.  The Bill defines a Good Samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident, and provides rules to prevent harassment of such a person.
  • The Bill provides for a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour.
  • Improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance is one of the major focuses of this Bill. 
  • The Bill provides for online Learners License.Provision of online identity verification Aadhar Card has been made mandatory mandatory for making Driving Licences and driving test of the applicant will be computerized to avoid fake D.L.
Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Why in news?

  • The LokSabha on Wednesday passed a Bill that promises faster redress of water disputes between the States by putting in place a new architecture for tribunals that handle inter-State water disputes.

More about the Bill:

  • The new Bill proposes that the final award will be delivered in two years and whenever it gives the order, the verdict will be notified automatically.
  • The new Bill provides for the constitution of a single tribunal with different Benches, and the setting of strict timelines for adjudication.
  • A retired Supreme Court judge will head the tribunal and Benches will be formed as and when required.
  • The States can approach the tribunal for resolution of their disputes and once resolved, the Bench would wind up.

Inter - State water disputes:

In the case of disputes relating to waters, Article 262 provides:

  • Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
  • Parliament may, by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.
 

Parliament has enacted two laws according to Article 262:

  • River Board Act, 1956: The objective of Boards is to advise on the inter-state basin to prepare development scheme and to prevent the emergence of conflicts.
  • Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956: If a particular state or states approach to Union Government for the constitution of the tribunal, Central Government should try to resolve the matter by consultation among the aggrieved states. If it does not work, then it may constitute the tribunal.

Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.

  • The resolution of water dispute is governed by the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • According to its provisions, if a State Government makes a request regarding any water dispute and the Central Government is of opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, then a Water Disputes Tribunal is constituted for the adjudication of the water dispute.
  • The amendments mandated a one year time frame to setup the water disputes tribunal and also a 3 year time frame to give a decision.

Active River Water Dispute Tribunals in India

Tribunal

Year of formation

States involved

Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II

2004

Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana& Karnataka

Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal

2018

Chhattisgarh &Odisha

Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal

2010

Karnataka, Goa & Maharashtra

Ravi & Beas Water Tribunal

1986

Rajasthan, Haryana & Punjab

Vansadhara Water Disputes Tribunal

2010

Odisha& Andhra Pradesh

PRAGATI(Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation)

Why in news?

  • The Prime Minister chaired his thirtieth interaction through PRAGATI - the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.

PRAGATI:

  • PRAGATI is a multi-purpose and multi-modal platform aimed at addressing grievances of common man.
 
  • PRAGATI is a unique integrating and interactive platform.
  • It aims at simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important Union government programs and projects as well as projects flagged by State Governments.
  • It was developed jointly by Prime Minister’s office (PMO) and National Informatics Centre (NIC) and was launched in 2015.

More about the Programme:

  • It is a three tier system comprising of the Prime Minister’s Office, Secretaries of the Central Government and Chief Secretaries of the State.
  • PRAGATI upholds cooperative federalism as it is a unique platform that brings together, the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the states onto one single platform.
  • The conference is scheduled on every fourth Wednesdays, called PRAGATI day. The matters to be discussed will be picked up from the available database and will be uploaded seven days prior to the PRAGATI day.
  • It is in line with the governments agenda of “Minimum Government and Maximum Governance” and is an innovative project promoting e-governance & good-governance. PRAGATI would make governance more effective, efficient and responsive.
  • The platform is a combination of three latest technologies namely geo- spatial technology, video-conferencing and digital data management.
  • The system makes use of data from Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS), Project Monitoring Groups (PMG) and Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation for effective public grievance redressal.
  • The programme will ensure the timely completion and speedy implementation of the government projects.
Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC)

Why in news?

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) launches Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) Program.

More about the Programme:

  • ACIC is a new initiative of Atal Innovation Mission to support community innovation drive in the country.
  • The programme aims at spurring community Innovation in underserved and unserved areas of the country.
  • The program is directed to encourage the spirit of innovation through solution driven design thinking to serve the society.
  • It will focus on underserved/ unserved regions of the country which at present lack a vibrant start-up and innovation ecosystem. 
  • ACIC will be established either in PPP mode or with support of PSUs and other agencies. 
  • The new initiative offers opportunity to talented youth and researchers in Tier 2, Tier 3 cities, Smart cities, Aspirational Districts, North East, J&K, Rural and Tribal regions of India, un served and underserved regions of Tier 1 / Metro cities.
 
  • The ACIC program should be connected to every Panchayati Raj Institutions to help innovators at grassroots level become part of the policy framework and leverage their creativity to translate their products/ services into innovation led commercial utilization for society.

Features of the program:

  1. Enabling infrastructure for building innovation ecosystem in above proposed areas.
  2. Community oriented approach to innovation by enabling solutions through advanced tinkering
  3. Offer opportunities to innovators to ideate in areas of societal importance
  4. Capacity building of communities in evolving technologies and taking their solutions from ideation to prototype.
  5. Promoting design thinking process to spur innovation
  6. Providing a framework to engage local industries to facilitate offering of innovative solutions in their products, services and processes
  7. Public private Partnership (PPP) mode to ensure financial sustainability and participationof central agencies, PSUs etc. to mobilize resources for running the program
  8. Offer an opportunity for everyone to innovate, ideate and design impactful solutions, irrespective of their age.
  9. One of the unique feature of this program wherein talented students and youth of ITI and Diploma will be offered opportunity to display their and build innovative solutions through ACIC.
  10. The program will offer a big leapfrog jump towards establishing Indian for further scale up the ranking in Global Innovation Index.

Atal Innovation Mission:

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • AIM is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country and revolutionizing the innovation eco-system – touching upon the entire innovation life cycle through various programs.

 The Atal Innovation Mission shall have two core functions:

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation promotion:to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated. 

ECONOMY

Equalisation Levy

Why in news?

  • Start-ups write to govt. on equalisation levy

Equalisation Levy:

 
  • Equalisation Levy was introduced in India in 2016, with the intention of taxing the digital transactions i.e. the income accruing to foreign e-commerce companies from India.
  • It is aimed at taxing business to business (B2B) transactions.
  • Equalisation Levy is a direct tax, which is withheld at the time of payment by the service recipient. The two conditions to be met to be liable to equalisation levy:
    • The payment should be made to a non-resident service provider;
  • The annual payment made to one service provider exceeds Rs. 1, 00,000 in one financial year.
  • The following services covered:
  • Online advertisement;
  • Any provision for digital advertising space or facilities/ service for the purpose of online advertisement;
  • Currently the applicable rate of tax is 6% of the gross consideration to be paid.
Eight Core Industries

Why in news?

  • Growth of eight core industries dropped to 0.2% in June mainly due to a contraction in oil-related sectors as well as in cement production, according to official data.

Index of Eight Core Industries (Base: 2011-12=100):

  • The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • Refinery products (28.04%)
  • Electricity (19.85%)
  • Steel (17.92%)
  • Coal (10.33%)
  • Crude oil (8.98%)
  • Natural gas (6.88%)
  • Cement (5.37%)
  • Fertilisers (2.63%)
  • Index of Eight Core Industries is released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Fiscal deficit

Why in news?

  • Fiscal deficit touches 61.4% of estimate.

About the News:

  • The government’s fiscal deficit touched Rs. 4.32 lakh crore for the June quarter, which is 61.4% of the Budget Estimate for 2019-20 fiscal.
  • The fiscal deficit was 68.7% of the 2018-19 Budget Estimate in the year-earlier period. The government estimates the fiscal deficit to be at Rs. 7.03 lakh crore during 2019-20.
  • The government aims to restrict the fiscal deficit to 3.4% of the GDP in the current fiscal, the same as last financial year.

Fiscal Deficit:

  • The fiscal deficit is the excess of total budget expenditure over total budget receipts excluding borrowings during a fiscal year.
  • Fiscal deficit is defined as all expenditure minus total receipts except borrowings. Actually, fiscal deficit represents the total borrowing requirements of the central government.
  • Most importantly, fiscal deficit indicate the financial health of the budget and that of the government. Higher fiscal deficit thus becomes a matter of concern. On the other hand, a manageable fiscal deficit is a welcome sign.

Total expenditure = Total receipts (tax, non-tax, disinvestment, borrowings etc)

The term fiscal deficit is defined as all expenditure minus all receipts except borrowings.

 Fiscal deficit = Total Expenditure – Total Receipts except borrowings. 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

BrahMos cruise missile

Why in news?

  • Thailand is in talks with India for their purchase of BrahMos cruise missiles

BrahMos:

  • It is a Supersonic cruise missile
  • Designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia
 
  • It has derived its name from the names of two rivers, India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.
  • It operates on fire and forget principal
  • Capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against sea and land targets
  • Carrying capacity : 300 Kg (both conventional and nuclear)
  • Speed : Mach 3 (that is, three times the speed of sound)
  • Max Range: 290 Km. its range was extended to 450 km and plan is to increase it to 600km.
  • It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant.
  • BrahMos missile already has been inducted into the Indian Army and Navy.
  • India’s recent accession to MTCR, allowed Russia to provide the critical systems and technology to extend the range of the missile beyond 300km.
  • It is successfully test fired from Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets. It makes IAF first air force in world to have successfully fire air-launched 2.8 Mach surface attack missile of this category.

Current Affairs Capsules:

Indian Air Force: a cut above:

Why in news?

  • Inauguration of FCP and launching of Mobile Application “Indian Air Force: a cut above” .

Indian Air Force: a cut above:

  • The mobile application would highlight various missions and air combat scenarios undertaken by the IAF in an appealing manner, so as to help immerse the player in a game with a “having been there” sensation.
  • The first phase of the game (Single Player campaign) was launched on 31 Jul 19 and the second phase (Multi Player campaign) will be launched during AF Day Celebrations in October 2019. “Indian Air Force: A Cut Above” would be available on Android, IOS and can be downloaded from the respective play stores.

Map Aided Programme     

Benin
  • It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.
  • The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo .
  • The majority of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean.

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)

  1. The most important fishing grounds of the world are found in the regions where

(a) warm and cold atmospheric currents meet.

(b) rivers drain out large amounts of freshwater into the sea.

(c) warm and cold oceanic currents meet.

(d) continental shelf is undulating