MICS CURRENT AFFAIRS 23rd Feb 2018

1 . Electoral  Bearer  Bond  Scheme  2018 

The Government of India has notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 vide Gazette Notification  dated 02nd January 2018.

Who can purchase the bonds?

As per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy Electoral Bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.

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Who can receive the bonds?

Only the Political Parties registered under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. The Bond shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorized bank.

State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds initially.Electoral Bond shall be valid for fifteen days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The bond deposited by any eligible political party to its account shall be credited on the same day.

 

2 . Revised  Double  Taxation  Avoidance  Agreement (DTAA) between  India  and  Kenya  notified

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Background

The Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kenya was signed and notified in 1985. Subsequently, the DTAA was renegotiated and a revised DTAA was signed between both countries on 11th July, 2016. The revised DTAA has been notified in the Official Gazette on 19th February, 2018.

Key  features  of  the  revised  DTAA 

1 . In order to promote cross border flow of investments and technology, the revised DTAA provides for reduction in withholding tax rates from 15% to 10% on dividends, from 15% to 10% on interest, from 20% to 10% on royalties and from 17.5% to 10% on fees for management, professional and technical services.
2 . The revised DTAA provides for a new Article on Limitation of Benefits to allow treaty benefits to bonafide residents of both countries, to combat treaty abuse by third country residents and to allow application of domestic law to prevent tax avoidance or evasion.
3 . The Article on Exchange of Information has been updated to the latest international standard to provide for exchange of information, including banking information for tax purposes, to the widest possible extent.
4 . A new Article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes has also been provided in the revised treaty which will enable assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between both countries.

Benefits

The revised DTAA will improve transparency in tax matters, help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance, remove double taxation and will stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Kenya.

 

3 . National  workshop  on  Preparedness , Mitigation  and Management  of  Heat  wave

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The two-day national workshop on Preparedness, Mitigation and Management of Heat wave concluded successfully today in Vijaywada with all stakeholders resolving to work towards effectively mitigating the impact of the imminent heat wave this year. The workshop was organised by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Issues  discussed

1 . The need to use specific awareness campaigns and outreach programmes to sensitise communities to take measures to reduce the impact of heat waves.

2 . Heat resilience in the context of Sustainable Development Goals.

3 . Developing sector-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dealing with heat related illnesses and deaths.

4 . Importance of coordination amongst all agencies and regular monitoring of the heat wave situation.

5 . Significance of reviewing and updating Heat Action Plans to suit the changes in an environment besides the role of standardized documentation and reporting.

Background

In 2016, with NDMA’s ‘Guidelines for Preparation of Action Plan – Prevention and Management of Heat-Wave’ and the pro-active approach of some of the most vulnerable States, the number of deaths in the country came down significantly. Taking the success story forward, NDMA in 2017 organized a national workshop on heat wave at Hyderabad in Telangana.

What is a Heat Wave?

A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India. Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July. The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.

 

4 . Indian  scientists  develop  next  generation  technology  loop  to generate  clean  energy

Indian scientists have developed a super critical carbon di oxide Brayton test loop facility that would help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar thermal. This next generation technology loop was developed indigenously by Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

This is India’s first test-bed for next generation, efficient, compact, waterless super critical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle test loop for power generation. The technology is perhaps the first test loop coupled with solar heat source in the world.

Significance

1 . This early stage research could potentially be useful for meeting the energy needs of the country. The new generation high efficiency power plants with closed cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly.

2 . This test loop is designed to generate the necessary data for future development of scaled up S-CO2 power plants, which would require overcoming several technological challenges –developing critical components such as the turbine, compressor and heat exchangers that can work at the desired pressure and temperature ranges and using materials that can withstand these conditions.

3 . This effort has already been identified as a possible national initiative for the next generation of solar thermal power plants. This gives India an opportunity to become a world leader in this technology, and fulfil a major objective of the National Solar Mission which emphasizes indigenous manufacturing.

4 . Today’s thermal power plants use steam to carry heat away from the source and turn a turbine to generate power. However, it could generate more power if, instead of steam, supercritical CO2 (SCO2) is used. The term “supercritical” describes the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature of 31°C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres making it twice as dense as steam.

5 . The efficiency of energy conversion could also be significantly increased─by as much as 50 percent or more─if S-CO2 is operated in a closed loop Brayton cycle. Besides increasing power generation and making the process more efficient, there are other advantages of using this new technology. Smaller turbines and power blocks can make the power plant cheaper, while higher efficiency would significantly reduce CO2 emissions for fossil fuel based plants. Moreover, if the power plant used solar or nuclear heat source, it would mean higher capacity at lower operating costs.

In order to make this technology a reality, a research group at Interdisciplinary Center for Energy Research at Indian Institute of Science (ICER, IISc.) has been set up – India’s first S-CO2 Brayton Cycle based solar thermal test loop at the laboratory scale.

The group has made tremendous progress and have developed optimized thermodynamic cycle designs, heat transfer and fluid flow codes for designing the test loop, critical components such as compact heat exchangers and solar receivers, and state -of-the-art instrumentation along with loop control sequence algorithm.