|21.||Scientists make cheap and clean fuel from air|
Scientists from Cardiff University, UK have discovered a new way to produce methanol from methane using oxygen from the air. Methanol is an important chemical often used as fuel in vehicles
The discovery has major implications for cleaner, greener industrial processes worldwide. The new technique uses freely available air, inexpensive chemicals and an energy efficient methanol production process.
Methanol is currently produced by in expensive and energy-intensive processes known as steam reforming and methanol syntheses. In these processes, methanol is produced by breaking down natural gas at high temperatures into hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) before reassembling them
In the new method, scientists produced methanol from methane through simple catalysis i.e. by addition of substance called catalyst which speeds up a chemical reaction. It enables methanol production at low temperatures using oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
The new process can help to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and its commercialisation may take much longer. It seeks to use waste gas flared into the atmosphere during natural gas production, thus saving carbon dioxide emissions.
|22.||CGWB inks MoA with IISc for development of ground water flow models|
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has inked Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru for Development of ground water flow models and preparation of aquifer management plans for parts of Karnataka.
This mathematical model is being developed as part of aquifer mapping and management programme. It will help for better understanding of existing groundwater scenarios, predicting response of groundwater system to various stress conditions expected to arise in future and developing effective management plans incorporating different demand and supply side interventions.
IISc will prepare final study report that will include data analysis, conceptualisation and model study plan, hydrogeological setting, sensitivity analysis, groundwater related issues and response of groundwater system to different scenarios and block-wise management plans.
Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)
CGWB is multidisciplinary scientific organization under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. Its mandate is to develop and disseminate technologies and monitor and implement national policies for scientific and sustainable development and management of India’s ground water resources.
It is vested with responsibilities to carry out scientific studies, monitoring of ground water regime, exploration aided by drilling, management and regulation of country’s ground water resources. It also undertakes exploration, assessment, conservation, augmentation, protection of groundwater system from pollution.
|23.||Government issues rules for no-fly list|
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued rules to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour by passengers. It allows for formation of national, No Fly List of such unruly passengers.
In this regard, DGCA has revised relevant sections of Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR Section 3, Series M, Part Vl on Handling of Unruly Passengers). It has been done in accordance with provisions of Tokyo Convention 1963.
The promulgation of No-Fly List in India is unique and first-of-its-kind in world. Its concept is based on concern for safety of passengers, crew and aircraft and not just on security threat.
Revised CAR will be applicable for all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both domestic and international. It will also be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963.
It defines three categories of unruly behavior (i) Level 1: Behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment upto 3 months if found guilty; Level 2: Physical unruliness and can lead to passenger being debarred from flying for upto 6 months and Level 3: Life-threatening behaviour where debarment would be for a minimum of 2 years.
The cases of unruly behaviour will be probed by an internal committee set up by every domestic airline under chairmanship of retired District and Sessions judge. Its members will be from different scheduled airlines and consumer associations, passenger associations and retired officials of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum.
The internal committee will have to decide matter of offence committed by passenger within 30 days along with duration of ban. In case Internal Committee fails to come to a decision in 30 days then passenger will be free to fly. Revised CAR also has appeal mechanism which provides an aggrieved person provision to appeal within 60 days of order to an appellate committee constituted by Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Interestingly, under new CAR one airline is not be bound by no-fly list of another domestic airline. It also does not allow passenger to circumvent domestic fly ban by flying to nearby foreign country and then fly back to original destination in India. Moreover, unruly behaviour of passengers in airport premises will be dealt with by relevant security agencies.
|24.||Government extends FAME India Scheme by six-month|
The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has extended the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME)-India scheme by six months to promote electric and hybrid vehicles.
The Phase 1 of the scheme was effective from April 2015, to March 2017, but had received six-month extension till end-September 2017. Now it has been extended by another six months up to March 31, 2018.
FAME India Scheme
The FAME India scheme was launched in 2015 under National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) with an aim to promote eco-friendly vehicles in the country. Its objective is to provide fiscal and monetary incentives for adoption and market creation of both hybrid and electric technologies vehicles in the country.
It also aims to support hybrid or electric vehicles market development and its manufacturing eco-system in country in order to achieve self-sustenance in stipulated period. It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry. It will provide demand incentives to electric and hybrid vehicles from two-wheeler to buses.
The Department of Heavy Industries had allocated Rs 75 crore and Rs 122.90 crore for FY2016 and FY2017 respectively. It has benefited total of 148,275 electric and hybrid vehicles from April 2015 till June 2017.
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020
NEMMP aims to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in country. It has set ambitious target of 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.
|25.||Indian Army to induct women in military police|
The Indian Army has finalised plan to induct women in military police. The plan is seen as major step towards breaking gender barriers in force.
Under this plan 800 women will be inducted initially with yearly intake of 52. The decision to induct women in Corps of Military Police will help in investigating allegations of gender specific crimes. Currently, women are allowed in select areas such as medical, educational, legal, signals and engineering wings of Indian Army.
The role of military police includes policing cantonments and army establishments, preventing breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers. It also provides logisticial support during peace and war, handle prisoners of war and extend aid to civil police whenever required.
|26.||India refuses to sign Bali Declaration over Rohingya issue|
India has refused to be a part of Bali Declaration adopted at conclusion of World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development held in Bali, Indonesia to show of solidarity with Myanmar.
It was not adopted because it carried “inappropriate” reference to violence in Rakhine State from where 1,25,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh and was not in line with agreed global principles of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What Declaration Says?
It calls on all parties to contribute to restoration of stability and security, exercise maximum self-restraint from using violent means, respect human rights of all people in Rakhine State regardless of their faith and ethnicity and facilitate safe access for humanitarian assistance.
India objected part of declaration highlighting deep concern on ongoing violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar. India reiterated its stance that purpose of convening Parliamentary forum was to arrive at mutual consensus for implementation of SDGs which required inclusive and broad-based development processes.
Therefore, proposed reference to violence in Rakhine in declaration was considered as inappropriate and not consensus-based. Moreover, country-specific amendment to declaration added at the eleventh hour by selective countries dilute the objective of these Forums which require unity and focussed efforts of all countries.
Rohingya is ethnic Muslim minority group, largely comprising Muslims living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. They practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. They differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups religiously, ethnically and linguistically. They speak Bengali dialect, as opposed to commonly spoken Burmese language in Myanmar.
Myanmar considers Rohingya’s as illegal Bengali immigrants, despite fact that many they have resided in Rakhine province of Myanmar for centuries. The Myanmar government even refuses to grant them citizenship status, and as a result they do not have any legal documentation, effectively making them stateless. They are also restricted from freedom of movement, state education and civil service jobs. UN has often described Rohingyas as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
|27.||8 September: International Literacy Day|
The International Literacy Day (ILD) is being observed every year on 8 September to emphasize the importance of literacy to individuals, society and communities.
The day was established in 1966 by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This year it is 51st International Literacy Day. The theme announced by UNESCO for this year is `Literacy in a digital world’.
In India to observe this day, several functions were organised by the National Literacy Mission Authority. It included distribution of Saakshar Bharat Awards to best performing States, Districts, Gram Panchayats and NGOs. Government uses occasion of ILD for raising public awareness to eradicate illiteracy and create environment in favour of adult education programmes.
The UNESCO in its 14th Session in November 1966 had declared 8th September as International Literacy Day. Since then, ILD is celebrated every year by most of the member countries. On this day, in year 1965, World Congress of Ministers of Education had met in Tehran for first time to discuss the programme of education at international level.
The observance of ILD aims to mobilize public opinion in favour of struggle against illiteracy. It also seeks to disseminate information on literacy and raise the public awareness and the significance of literacy for individual and national development.
|28.||Parali I island: Uninhabited Lakshadweep island vanishes|
According to a study, Parali I island, one of biodiversity-rich uninhabited islands part of Lakshadweep has disappeared due to coastal erosion and another four such islands in Lakshadweep sea are shrinking fast.
The researcher had conducted studies on assessment of biodiversity confining to five uninhabited islands– Parali I, II and III, Bangaram, Thinnakara in Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 36 islands in Lakshadweep sea.
The assessment related to geo-morphological changes associated with each island for period of 45 years was carried out using geospatial techniques such as Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) to confirm the claim.
Parali I island, part of Bangaram atoll which was 0.032 square km in 1968 has been eroded to an extent of 100%, resulting in its inundation. Apart from Parali I, net erosion was higher in Parali II (80%), followed by Thinnakara (14.38%), Parali III (11.42%) and Bangaram (9.968%). The five islets of Bangaram atoll also have undergone coastal erosion.
The study has recommended of a bio protection strategy using mangroves, in addition to the conventional physical protection measures from coastal erosion.
The complete erosion and inundation of Parali I is pointing to gravity of issues associated with coastal erosion within atoll. It calls for urgent measures to be implemented on each islet of the atoll in Lakshadweep sea to check further erosion. Further, due to increasing global temperature because of climate change, islands and coastal areas are facing erosion and inundation due to rising sea levels. India’s coasts and islands, are densely populated, are highly vulnerable. There is urgent need to start preparing for building defenses to protect coastlines and islands as sea levels are predicted to rise further.
|29.||Inder Jit Singh appointed as Chairperson of National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention|
Senior IAS officer Inder Jit Singh was given the additional charge of post of Chairperson of National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC). Currently, he is serving as Additional Secretary in Cabinet Secretariat.
Inder Jit Singh is IAS officer of 1985-batch from Kerala cadre.
National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC)
NACWC set up as an office of Cabinet Secretariat to fulfil obligations under Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). It was established in April 2017 under Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000.
It acts as national focal point for effective bond with Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and other State Parties on matters relating to CWC meant for prohibition of development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and their destruction.
It comprises a Chairperson and three Directors. The Directors comprise Joint Secretary in NACWC, Director General (DG) of Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) and Joint Secretary of Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.
|30.||Viveck Goenka elected as chairman of Press Trust of India|
Viveck Goenka, chairman and managing director of Express Group was unanimously elected as Chairman of Press Trust of India (PTI). N Ravi, former editor-in-chief of The Hindu was elected vice-chairman.
They were elected at meeting of board of directors of PTI following the company’s 69th annual general meeting. Goenka who was earlier vice-chairman, will succeed Riyad Mathew of Malayala Manorama group.
Viveck Goenka is engineer by qualification. He has been heading Express Group since mid-1990s. The group runs English newspapers The Indian Express and The Financial Express, Hindi newspaper Jansatta and Marathi newspaper Loksatta. He is also director of Indian Newspaper Society and member of Advertising Association’s India chapter. In past, he was chairman of United News of India (UNI) news agency and council member of Audit Bureau of Circulation. He is also head of non-profit Ramnath Goenka Foundation.
Press Trust of India
PTI is largest news agency in India. It is nonprofit cooperative among more than 500 Indian newspapers and has more than 1,000 full-time employees. It provides news coverage and information of the region in both English and Hindi. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
It had taken over operations of Associated Press of India (API) from Reuters after India’s independence in 1947. It employs over 400 journalists and 500 part-time correspondents located in most of district headquarters in country.