9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 19th, 2019

Land records in 90% of Indian villages have been computerised

News:According to the Ministry of Rural development,around 90% of the land of Indian villages have been computerised under Digital india Land Records Modernisation Programme(DILRMP).

Facts:

About Digital india Land Records Modernisation Programme(DILRMP):

  • The Digital India Land Record Modernization Programme (DILRMP), previously known as the National Land Record Modernization Programme (NLRMP) was launched in 2008.
  • The purpose of the programme is to digitize and modernize land records and develop a centralised land record management system.
  • The programme is the amalgamation of two projects namely Computerisation of Land Records(CLR) and Strengthening of Revenue Administration and Updating of Land Records(SRA & ULR).

Components of the programme:

  • computerisation of all existing land records including mutations (or transfers);
  • digitization of maps, and integration of textual and spatial data;
  • survey/ resurvey and updating of all survey and settlement records including creation of original cadastral records (record of the area, ownership and value of land) wherever necessary;
  • computerisation of registration and its integration with the land records maintenance system and
  • development of core Geospatial Information System (GIS) and capacity building.

Significance of the programme:

  • Real-time land ownership of the records will be available to the citizen
  • Free accessibility to the records will reduce interface between the citizen and the Government functionaries, thereby reducing rent seeking and harassment.
  • The single-window service or the web-enabled anytime-anywhere access will save the citizen time and effort.
  • Automatic and automated mutations will significantly reduce the scope of fraudulent property deals
  • Conclusive titling will also significantly reduce litigation and Market value information will be available on the website to the citizen.
  • Certificates based on land data such as domicile, caste, income among others will be available to the citizens through computers.

Government approves Future Skilling Programme

News:The government has announced Rs 436 crore outlay for skilling 4 lakh professionals under Future Skills PRIME programme.

Facts:

About Future Skills Programme:

  • FutureSkills Programme was launched in 2018 jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and industry body NASSCOM.
  • The programme aims to reskill 2 million professionals and potential employees & students in the industry in eight emerging technologies over a period of 5 years.
  • The emerging technologies include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotic process automation, internet of things, big data analytics, 3D printing, cloud computing, social and mobile
  • To do this,FutureSkills portal uses the technology of the future, to create a space where a learner can access content on all the skills of the future.
  • A learner can seamlessly access free and paid content, assessments, virtual labs and get certified on the skills of their choice.
  • This Future PRIME is the next phase of the Future Skills platform and is open to professionals from outside the IT industry as well, who want to improve themselves in ten emerging technologies.

Significance of the programme:

  • This initiative from NASSCOM will help India accelerates the journey of skilling and achieve its goal of becoming the global talent hub.
  • It will also facilitate the skilling by inspiring learners to explore, discover and learn.

Additional information:

About NASSCOM:

  • The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) was established in 1988.
  • It is a non-profit organisation of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Delegation from Bangladesh fails to arrive in Delhi for river panel meeting

News:Bangladesh has not sent a delegation for the Joint River Commission (JRC) meeting with India that was scheduled to be held in New Delhi.This has also delayed the agreement on sharing of the waters of Feni river.

Facts:

About Joint River Commission(JRC):

  • The Joint River Commission came into existence as a result of the Indo-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship,1972.
  • It is among the oldest bilateral mechanisms of India that helps in harnessing the waters of the rivers that both countries share.
  • It was established with a view to maintain liaison in order to ensure the most effective joint efforts in maximizing the benefits from common river systems.
  • The JRC is headed by the Water Resources Ministers of both the countries.
  • India and Bangladesh share at least 54 rivers.Hence,the JRC is crucial to avoid any disputes arising out of these common water resources.

About Feni River dispute:

  • Feni River is a river in southeastern Bangladesh.It is a trans-boundary river with an ongoing dispute about water rights.
  • The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh.
  • The dispute over the sharing of the Feni River between India and Bangladesh has been long-standing.
  • The dispute was first taken up between India and Pakistan (before the independence of Bangladesh) in 1958 during a Secretary-level meeting in New Delhi.
  • In August 2019,India and Bangladesh held a water secretary-level meeting where it was agreed to collect data and prepare water-sharing agreements for seven rivers Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla, Dudhkumar and Feni.

Asia is set to support global coal demand for the next 5 years: IEA

News:International Energy Agency(IEA) has released the IEA Coal Market Report 2019.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Coal remains a major fuel in global energy systems accounting for almost 40% of electricity generation and more than 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The People’s Republic of China, India and other Asian economies led the expansion while coal power generation fell in Europe and North America.
  • However,the global coal demand is expected to decline in 2019 but remain broadly stable over the next five years supported by robust growth in major Asian markets.
  • The renewable sources will supply a major portion of the increase in global electricity demand over the next five years.
  • The electricity generation from coal will rise only marginally over that period at less than 1% per year and its share will decline from 38% in 2018 to 35% in 2024
  • The countries in South and Southeast Asia such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam are still relying on coal to fuel their economic growth.
  • India’s coal demand is expected to grow by more than that of any other country in absolute terms till the forecast period of 2024.
  • Further,China which is the world’s biggest coal producer and consumer, consumption will reach its peak around 2022.

Additional information:

About IEA:

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) was founded in 1974.It is an autonomous intergovernmental organization established under the OECD framework.It is headquartered in Paris,France.
  • It works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy to its 30 member countries, 8 association countries and beyond.
  • It has four main areas of focus namely (a)Energy security (b)Economic development (c)Environmental awareness and (d)Engagement worldwide.
  • India became an associate member of the International Energy Agency in 2017.

Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan receive prestigious UN medal

News:Recently,Indian peacekeepers serving in South Sudan have been awarded the United Nations(UN) medal for their service and contribution to building peace in the country.

Facts:

About United Nations Peacekeeping:

  • United Nations Peacekeeping was created in 1948.It provides security and the political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
  • It deploys troops and police from around the world, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to address a range of mandates set by the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the General Assembly.
  • The UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles (1)Consent of the parties (2)Impartiality and (3)Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
  • The UN Peacekeepers are led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations(DKPO).
  • UN Peacekeepers are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets.

Significance of UN Peacekeeping:

  • UN peacekeeping is a unique global partnership.It brings together the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributors and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security.
  • Its strength lies in the legitimacy of the UN Charter and in the wide range of contributing countries that participate and provide precious resources.

India and UN Peacekeeping:

  • India has a long history of cooperation with the UN peacekeeping.One of the earliest peacekeeping missions deployed in India was the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in 1948 itself.
  • Currently, there are more than 6,700 troops and police from India who have been deployed to UN peacekeeping missions.India is the fourth highest amongst troop-contributing countries.
  • In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission.

Reforms needed under UN Peacekeeping:

  • Improving the safety of peacekeepers
  • Finding political solutions to conflicts and enhancing the political impact of peacekeeping
  • Reforming peacekeeping based on incentivisation, innovation and institutionalisation.
  • Allowing troop-contributing countries like India to participate in decisions of the UN Security Council concerning the deployment of her troops.

Packaged foods breach safe limits of salt, fat:CSE study

News:According to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an array of packaged snacks and fast foods breach safe limits of salt and fat content.

Facts:

About the study:

  • The study has been conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment(CSE).
  • It relied on the concept of the Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA) to calculate the safety limits.
  • It found that most packaged and fast food items sold in India has high salt and fat content which is in violation of thresholds set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI).
  • In 2019,Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had also proposed draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations.But they are yet to be implemented.

Additional information:

About RDA:

  • The Recommended Dietary Allowances(RDA) refer to the recommended daily levels of nutrients to meet the needs of nearly all healthy individuals in a particular age and gender group.
  • It is based on scientific consensus and has been agreed upon by expert bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the National Institute of Nutrition in India.
  • According to RDA,ideally an adult should not consume more than 5 gm of salt, 60 gm of fat, 300 gm carbohydrate and 2.2 gm of trans fat on every day basis.

Draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations:

  • Food Safety and Standards Authority(FSSAI) has announced the new draft Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations.
  • The new draft regulation has been brought to encourage consumers to make healthier food choices and inform them about what the product actually contains.
  • The draft proposal makes it mandatory for food products that are high in fat, sugar and salt content levels to display red-colour coding on their labels.
  • The front of all packaged food items will have to display the total number of calories,saturated and trans fats,salt and added sugar content as well as the proportion of the daily energy needs fulfilled by food item.
  • The draft regulations also propose labelling requirements for food products sold on e-commerce platforms and restaurants and stricter norms for products that claim to be gluten-free.

Sahitya Akademi Awards

News:Sahitya Akademi has announced the names of 25 writers as winners for 2019 edition of the Sahitya Akademi Awards.

Facts:

About Sahitya Akademi Awards:

  • Sahitya Akademi award was established in 1954.It is a literary honour that is conferred annually by Sahitya Akademi,India’s National Academy of letters.
  • The award is presented to the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the twenty-four major Indian languages recognized by the Akademi (including English).
  • The Sahitya Akademi award is the second highest literary honour by the Government of India, after Jnanpith award.
  • The award is presented in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh.

Additional information:

About Jnanpith Award:

  • The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their outstanding contribution towards literature.
  • The award was Instituted in 1961.It is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English with no posthumous conferral.

GST Council Meeting: No rate hike, vote for single lottery rate

News:Finance Minister has chaired the 38th GST Council Meeting in New Delhi.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the meeting:

  • The GST Council has for the first time used the voting process and has voted to tax lotteries under the highest slab of 28%.
  • The Council has decided to tax woven and non-woven bags at 18%, compared to 12% at present.
  • It has decided to set up grievance redressal committees at zonal and state level.These committees will address grievances of specific/ general nature of taxpayers at the Zonal/ State level.
  • Several states raised the issue of a delay in the release of compensation that they were promised against any revenue loss from the implementation of GST.

GST tax Collection target:

  • The Finance Ministry has set a monthly target of Rs 1.1 lakh crore collection of GST for the remaining four months.The ministry has planned field visits and drives to increase tax collection.
  • At the beginning of the financial year Government had set a target of Rs 13.35 lakh crore of direct tax collection.So far,it has reached 45% of the set target till October,2019.
  • The state of Uttar Pradesh and UT of J&K were the highest GST collectors so far in the year.

Additional information:

About GST Council:

  • Goods & Services Tax(GST) Council is a constitutional body for making recommendations to the Union and State Government on issues related to Goods and Service Tax.
  • As per Article 279A (1) of the constitution, the GST Council was constituted by the President.
  • The council consists of the following members: (a) The Union Finance Minister is the Chairperson (b) The Union Minister of State in-charge of Revenue of finance and (c) The Minister In-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government.
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