CURRENT AFFAIRS 22nd Dec 2017

1 . DARPAN  Launched

Image result for darpan launched

DARPAN – “Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India” Project has been launched on 21st Dec with an objective to improve the quality of service, add value to services and achieve “financial inclusion” of un-banked rural population.

GOAL

The goal of the IT modernization project with an outlay of Rs. 1400 Crore is to provide a low power technology solution to each Branch Postmaster (BPM) which will enable each of approximately 1.29 Lakhs Branch Post Offices (BOs) to improve the level of services being offered to rural customers across all the states.

PERIOD

43,171 Branch Post Offices have migrated under the “DARPAN”project with the aim of financial inclusion to rural population and it is targeted to complete the project by March, 2018.

PURPOSE

The Project shall increase the rural reach of the Department of Posts and enable BOs to increase traffic of all financial remittances, savings accounts, Rural Postal Life Insurance, and Cash Certificates; improve mail operations processes by allowing for automated booking and delivery of accountable article; increase revenue using retail post business; provide third party applications; and make disbursements for social security schemes such as MGNREGS.

BACKGROUND

For more than 150 years, the Department of Posts (DoP) has been the backbone of the country’s communication and has played a crucial role in the country’s socio-economic development.

It touches the lives of Indian citizens in many ways: delivering mails, accepting deposits under Small Savings Schemes, providing life insurance cover under Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) and providing retail services like bill collection, sale of forms, etc. The Department of Posts also acts as an agent for Government of India in discharging other services for citizens such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) wage disbursement and old age pension payments.

With 1.5 lakh Post Offices (approximately), the Department of Posts has the most widely distributed postal network in the world.

CHALLENGES  IN  FRONT  OF  DEPARTMENT  OF  POSTS

The Department of Posts is faced with twin challenges of increasing competition and continuing advances in communication technology, especially in mobile telephony and the Internet.

IT  MODERNIZATION  PROJECT

In order to provide the best-in-class customer service, deliver new services and improve operational efficiencies,the Department of Posts has undertaken an end to end IT modernization project to equip itself with requisite modern tools and technologies. The IT modernization project intends to achieve the following:

1 . Wider reach to the Indian populace through more customer interaction channels
2 . Better customer service

 

2 .  Achievements and Policy initiatives of the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) in 2017. 

The year 2017 has been very significant for the Ministry of MSME during which it took various initiatives to promote MSME Sector.

The Major Initiatives of the Ministry during this year are mentioned below:

1 . Digital MSME Scheme launched-The Digital MSME Scheme is revolving around Cloud Computing which is emerging as a cost effective and viable alternative in comparison to in-house IT infrastructure installed by MSMEs.

2 . Package for supporting Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) approved .

3 . Corpus of Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro, and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) augmented.

4 . Technology Centres are being established in 8 cities viz., Puducherry, Visakhapatnam, Rohtak, Durg, Baddi, Bhiwadi, Bengaluru and Sitarganj.

5 . MSME Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan launched

6 . Public Procurement Portal for MSEs – MSME Sambandh  launched.

7 . MOU signed between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) for co-operation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovation.

8 . MOUs signed with 4 Sector Skill Councils to provide skill development trainings to SC-ST Entrepreneurs under National SC/ST Hub Scheme.

 

3 .  National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC) created
  • The National Highways Authority of India has created a National Highways Investment Promotion Cell (NHIPC) for attracting domestic and foreign investment for highways projects.
  • The cell will focus on engaging with global institution investors, construction companies, developers and fund managers for building investor participation in road infrastructure projects.
  • The Government has set an ambitious target of construction of 35,000 km of National Highways in the next five years involving an investment of Rs. 5,35,000/- crores under ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’.
  • Given the scale of investment required, both foreign and domestic investment from public and private sector is pivotal.

FUNCTIONS  ENVISAGED  FOR  NHIPC

  • The primary focus of NHIPC will be to promote foreign and domestic investment in road infrastructure.
  • The NHIPC will be working in close co-ordination with various connected Ministries and Departments of Government of India, State Governments, Apex Business Chambers like CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, and InvestIndia etc.
  • NHIPC will also work in close co-ordination with Foreign Embassies and Missions in India and Indian Embassies and Missions situated in foreign countries.

 

4 . India-Swiss data sharing from  1stJan on Black Money
  • In a move aimed at combating black money stashed abroad, India has signed an agreement with Switzerland  that would allow automatic sharing of tax-related information from January 1 next year.
  • A joint declaration for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information was signed last month between the two sides, and it provided that both countries would start collecting data in accordance with the global standards in 2018 and exchange it from 2019 onwards.

 

5 . Kumi Naidoo  appointed as the next Secretary General of Amnesty International.
  • South African human rights activist Kumi Naidoo has been appointed as the next Secretary General of Amnesty International. He will take over from Indian activist Salil Shetty in August 2018.

About Kumi Naidoo

He is an Indian-orgin born in Durban, was formerly International Executive Director of Greenpeace. He was also the Founding Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty and Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

About Amnesty International

Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is a London-based non-governmental organization focused on human rights. The organization claims to have over 7 million members and supporters around the world.The stated objective of the organization is “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article “The Forgotten Prisoners” in The Observer on 28 May 1961, by the lawyer Peter Benenson.

 

6 . A new LIGO gravitational wave detector to be built in India by 2025
  • A new gravitational wave detector to measure ripples in the fabric of space and time is set to be built in India by 2025, in collaboration with universities from across the globe.
  • The new Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector will add to the two already operational in the US.
  • The LIGO detectors discovered the first gravitational waves produced by two giant merging blackholes last year. The research won a Nobel Prize in Physics this year.
  • The location for the new detector in India has been selected, and the acquisition has started. However, the site has not been revealed yet.
  • A third LIGO detector will help pinpoint the origin of the gravitational waves that are detected in future. The existence of these waves were first predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago in his general theory of relativity.

What is IndIGO ?

IndIGO, the Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations, is an initiative to set up advanced experimental facilities, for a multi-institutional Indian national project in gravitational-wave astronomy. The IndIGO Consortium includes Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) and Delhi University, among others. Since 2009, the IndIGO Consortium has been involved in constructing the Indian road-map for Gravitational Wave Astronomy and a strategy towards Indian participation in realising the crucial gravitational-wave observatory in the Asia-Pacific region.