National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 9th November 2018
Strategic Petroleum Reserves
Topic: Indian Economy
IN NEWS: The Union Cabinet has approved the filling of Padur Strategic Petroleum Reserves(SPR) at Padur, Karnataka by overseas National Oil Companies (NOCs). The filling of the SPR under PPP model is being undertaken to reduce budgetary support of Government of India.
About Strategic petroleum reserves:
- The Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an emergency fuel store of total 5.33 MMT or 36.92 MMbbl of strategic crude oil enough to provide 10 days of consumption which are maintained by the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited.
- Strategic crude oil storages are at 3 underground locations in Mangalore, Visakhapatnam and Padur(near udupi). All these are located on the east and west coasts of India which are readily accessible to the refineries. These strategic storages are in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and serve in response to external supply disruptions.
About PPP Model
- A public–private partnership (PPP, 3P or P3) is a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sectors, typically of a long-term nature.
- The Ministry of Finance centralizes the coordination of PPPs, through its Department of Economic Affairs’ (DEA) PPP Cell.
- In 2011, the DEA published guidelines for the formulation and approval of PPP projects. Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) is responsible for PPP project appraisal at the central level.
- The Government also created a Viability Gap Funding Scheme for PPP projects to help promote the sustainability of the infrastructure projects. This scheme provides financial support (grants) to infrastructure projects, normally in the form of a capital grant at the stage of project construction (up to 20 percent of the total project).
- The Government has also set up India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) which provides long-term debt for financing infrastructure projects. Set up in 2006, IIFCL provides financial assistance in the following sectors: transportation, energy, water, sanitation, communication, social and commercial infrastructure.
- To help finance the cost incurred towards development of PPP projects (which can be significant, and particularly the costs of transaction advisors), the Government of India has launched in 2007 the ‘India Infrastructure Project Development Fund’ (IIPDF) which supports up to 75% of the project development expenses.
- Finally, the PPP Cell has produced a series of guidance papers and a ‘PPP Toolkit’ to support project preparation and decision-making processes. The objective is to help improve decision-making for infrastructure PPPs in India and to improve the quality of the PPPs that are developed.
- The tookit has been designed with a focus on helping decision-making at the Central, State and Municipal levels.
Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme (AMF TCP)
Topic: Organisations in News
IN NEWS:The Union Cabinet apprised India joining as Member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme (AMF TCP)under International Energy Agency (IEA) . AMF TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has “Association” status since 30thMarch, 2017.
About AMFTCP Programme
- AMF TCP is an international platform for co-operation among countries to promote cleaner and more energy efficient fuels & vehicle technologies. The activities of AMF TCP relate to R&D, deployment and dissemination of Advanced Motor Fuels and looks upon the transport fuel issues in a systemic way taking into account the production, distribution and end use related aspects.
- Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India has joined AMF TCP as its 16th member on May, 2018.
- The other member Countries of AMF TCP are USA, China, Japan, Canada, Chile, Israel, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Thailand.
- The primary goal of joining AMF TCP by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) is to facilitate the market introduction of Advanced motor fuels/ Alternate fuels with an aim to bring down emissions and achieve higher fuel efficiency in transport sector. AMF TCP also provides an opportunity for fuel analysis, identifying new/ alternate fuels for deployment in transport sector and allied R&D activities for reduction in emissions in fuel intensive sectors.
- The benefits of participation in AMF TCP are shared costs and pooled technical resources. The duplication of efforts is avoided and national Research and Development capabilities are strengthened.
- There is an information exchange about best practices, network of researchers and linking research with practical implementation.
- After becoming member, India will initiate R&D in other areas of its interest in advanced biofuels and other motor fuels in view of their crucial role in substituting fossil fuel imports.
Topic: Indian History
In news: Tipu Jayanti will be celebrated on 20th November.
About Tipu Sultan:
- Tipu Sultan also known as the Tipu Sahib, was a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore.
- Tipu Sultan introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule, including his coinage, a new Mauludi lunisolar calendar, and a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry.
- He expanded the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned the military manual Fathul Mujahidin, and is considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery.
- He deployed the rockets against advances of British forces and their allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars, including the Battle of Pollilur and Siege of Seringapatam.
- He also embarked on an ambitious economic development program that established Mysore as a major economic power, with some of the world’s highest real wages and living standards in the late 18th century.
- Both Tipu Sultan and his father used their French-trained army in alliance with the French in their struggle with the British, and in Mysore’s struggles with other surrounding powers, against the Marathas, Sira, and rulers of Malabar, Kodagu, Bednore, Carnatic, and Travancore.
- Tipu’s father, Hyder Ali, rose to power capturing Mysore, and Tipu succeeded Mysore upon his father’s death in 1782. He won important victories against the British in the Second Anglo-Mysore War and negotiated the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore with them after his father died from cancer in December 1782 during the Second Anglo-Mysore War.
- Tipu’s conflicts with his neighbors included the Maratha–Mysore War which ended with the signing the Treaty of Gajendragad
- Tipu remained an implacable enemy of the British East India Company, sparking conflict with his attack on British-allied Travancore in 1789.
- In the Third Anglo-Mysore War, he was forced into the Treaty of Seringapatam, losing a number of previously conquered territories, including Malabar and Mangalore.
- He sent emissaries to foreign states, including the Ottoman Empire, Afghanistan, and France, in an attempt to rally opposition to the British.
- In the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, the imperial forces of the British East India Company were supported by the Nizam of Hyderabad. They defeated Tipu, and he was killed on 4 May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna.
India to join Afghan peace talks
Topic: International Affairs
In news:In a significant departure from India’s stand on engaging the Taliban, the government announced it would participate at a “non-official” level. Two former senior diplomats will attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process to be held in Russia.
More on the Topic:
- The talks, known as the “Moscow format”, will include a “high-level” delegation from the Taliban as well as a delegation of Afghanistan’s “High Peace Council”, along with representatives of 12 countries, and will mark the first time an Indian delegation has been present at the table with the Taliban representatives based in Doha.
Earth has three moons
Topic: Science and Technology
In news: After more than half a century of speculation, it has now been confirmed that Earth has two dust ‘moons’ orbiting it which are nine times wider than our planet.The new moons exist at a distance of approximately 250,000 miles — more or less the same distance as our moon
More On the topic:
- A group of Hungarian scientists have confirmed a long standing astronomical speculation—the Earth has three natural satellites or moons and not one.
- The new moons are entirely made up of extremely tiny dust particles of less than one millimetre size and reflect light rather faintly. This is the reason why they were difficult to observe and study in the first place even when they are located at around the same distance as the Moon from the Earth—400,000 kilometres.
- “It is very difficult to detect the clouds against the galactic light, star light, zodiacal light, and sky glow.
- In 1961, Kazimierz Kordylewski, a Polish scientist had observed these moons for the first time and they were later named after him as Kordylewski Dust Clouds (KDCs). But their existence has been questioned by astronomers for the past six decades and not many accurate models or simulations of these objects are available.
- Kordylewski had discovered the dust clouds close to a special point in space known as L5 which is a Lagrange point of the Earth-Moon gravitational system.
- Lagrange points are places of equilibrium in space where gravitational forces of two large and solid astronomical objects like the Earth and the Moon cancel out the centrifugal forces.
- Many other small celestial objects are often found around Lagrange points. Such points are also ideal for parking satellites and other space vehicles as the fuel consumption is considerably lower here.
- They will be essential for space exploration projects as transfer stations where space shuttles and stations can stop over on long journeys to other planets and even the Sun.
- There are five such points of stability identified in any such two-body system including the Earth-Moon system.
Ganga Gram Project
Topic: Government Policies
In news: Ganga Gram Swachchhata Sammelan was recently organized at Chyavan Rishi Ashram in Chousa Village of Buxar district in Bihar.
More On the Topic
- Ganga Gram vision is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of River Ganga with active participation of the villagers.
- The objectives of Ganga Gram Project include solid and liquid waste management, renovation of ponds and water resources, water conservation projects, organic farming, horticulture, and promotion of medicinal plants.
Namami Gange Programme:
- Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
- The programme envisages: River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.
Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities
Topic: Social Justice
In news: The Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities, 2018 was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment. The three day event is being organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in association with Rehabilitation International Korea and their associated partner LG Electronics.
More On the Topic
- The objective of the event is to leverage IT skills among youth with disabilities and also to spread awareness about the application of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) in enhancing the quality of life of persons with disabilities especially in Asia-Pacific region.
- The Global ICT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities is a capacity building project that helps youth with disabilities to overcome their limitations and challenge themselves for a better future by providing them with access to ICT and related experiences, improving their ability to leverage information and social participation while setting ICT agendas for participant countries related to disabilities and boosting international cooperation and exchange.
- This year around 100 youth with disabilities (visual disability, hearing disability, locomotor disability and intellectual disability/developmental disorder) from 18 countries namely, India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, UK and UAE are participating in this event.
- India has nominated twelve youth with disabilities to participate in the event. These youth with disabilities have been selected on the basis of the National IT Challenge conducted by the Ministry through NIT Kurukshetra.
- The competition is focused on strategies for strengthening IT skills of youth with disabilities as a critical requirement for enhancing their access to information and communication services on an equal basis with others.
- It is being held with a total of four events including e-Tool Challenge to evaluate the skills of using the MS Office programme and e-Life Map Challenge to evaluate the online information search ability in specific situations.