Daily PT Capsule Jun 10-13

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Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services
Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services

Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!

Putting sick PSUs back on track

An action plan to put public sector undertakings in the state of Kerala back on track will be launched soon. The plan is being made under the headship of M.P. Sukumaran Nair, chairman of the public sector Restructuring and Internal Audit Board (RIAB).

The two-pronged action plan with short-term and long-term targets envisaged turning around PSUs within two years, and effecting minor course corrections in sick units within three months. The plan is looking to source funds from the cooperative sector, active involvement of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and also tapping other avenues.

The thrust of the plan is that it runs contrary to the popular perception that PSU revival can be achieved only through infusion of private capital.

Analysis

What is the present status of PSUs in the state? – The number of profit-making PSUs in the State had come down from 23 in 2011 to 10. A variety of issues, ranging from lack of professionalism to major drift from the goals for which they were incepted, are plaguing the sector at present. The new plan aims to instill  professionalism in PSUs along with capital infusion and other remedial measures such as reorientation and setting new targets to boost productivity.

A successful implementation could provide a model at a national level.

Source: TheHindu

UN plans to end AIDS threat by 2030

The UN member countries have adopted a new political declaration, including time-bound global targets, to be reached over the next five years and end the epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. At a high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS at the United Nations General Assembly, Health Minister J.P. Nadda reinforced India’s commitment to fast-track progress on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The UNGA meeting brings together heads of state and government, people living with HIV , and donor organisations, to reiterate commitments made in the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and to set the world on course to end the epidemic by 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.

India proposed a five point strategy that includes adoption of the fast-track target; reaching 90 per cent of all people in need with HIV treatment; commitment to maintain the TRIPS flexibilities; creating an inclusive society with programmes that work towards restoring the respect and dignity of individuals, and lastly, global solidarity.

Analysis

What are the targets set by UN? – In 2014, UNAIDS set the “90-90-90” targets; aiming to diagnose 90% of all HIV positive people, provide antiretroviral therapy for 90% of those diagnosed and achieve undetectable HIV RNA for 90% of those on treatment by 2020. This translates to at least 73% of all HIV positive people achieving undetectable HIV RNA.

Source: TheHindu

 

Project Carbfix

Scientists have turned carbon dioxide into stone in a matter of months by pumping it deep underground, offering a revolutionary new way of storing the greenhouse gas to tackle climate change.

The pioneering experiment in Iceland mixed CO{-2}emissions with water and pumped it hundreds of metres underground into volcanic basalt rock – where it rapidly turned into a solid.

Previous attempts to inject CO{-2}into sandstone soils or deep saline aquifers have struggled, as they relied on capping rocks to hold the gas down – triggering fears it could eventually leak.

In contrast, the Carbfix project at Iceland’s Hellisheidi plant – the world’s largest geothermal facility, which powers Reykjavik – sought to solidify the CO2.

Scientists had feared it could take hundreds or even thousands of years for the mildly acidic liquid to solidify. But 95 per cent of the injected mixture — which they had tagged with tracer chemicals in order to check it didn’t leak out — had became chalky white stone within two years.

Analysis

What is carbon sequestration? – Carbon sequestration is the process involved in carbon capture and the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carbon dioxide is naturally captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, or physical processes.Artificial processes have been devised to produce similar effects, including large-scale, artificial capture and sequestration of industrially produced CO2 using subsurface saline aquifers, reservoirs, ocean water, aging oil fields, or other carbon sinks.

Source: TheHindu

 

Abetment in dowry cases

Courts can charge husband and in-laws for abetment in a case of dowry related suicide of a victim.

“Once the prosecution succeeds in establishing the component of cruelty leading to conviction under Section 498A of the IPC [the anti-dowry law], in our view, only in a rare case can the court refuse to invoke the presumption of abetment,” a Bench observed.

Analysis

What is Section 498A? – It deals with dowry related crimes. Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

What is Section 306? – Abetment of suicide – If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Source: TheHindu

 

New bill to give more power to sea ports

The Shipping Ministry has proposed the ‘The Central Port Authorities Act 2016’ which plans to replace the five-decade-old Major Port Trust Act 1963 and will enable port authorities to function like a corporate entity.

Major ports will be able to lease land for port-related use for up to 40 years, and for non-port related activities up to 20 years. The draft bill has also proposed a simplified structure for the board by bringing it down to nine members.

A Shipping Ministry also release said the proposed bill would provide more autonomy and flexibility to the 11 major ports and will bring in a professional approach in their governance. Salient features of the bill are given below.

1) To reduce the extent of litigation between Public Private Partnership operators and Ports; an independent Review Board has been proposed (to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) for major ports) to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects.

2) A distinction has been made between the usage of land for port and non-port related activities in terms of approval of leases. The Port Authorities are empowered to lease land for port-related use for up to 40 years and for non-port related use up to 20 years, beyond which the approval of the Central Government is required.

3) The board will comprise nine members including three to four independent members instead of the 17-19 under the Port Trust model. Provisions have been made for inclusion of three functional heads of major ports as members in the board apart from a Government nominee member and a labour nominee member.

4) The need for Government approval for raising loans, appointment of consultants, execution of contracts and creation of service posts has been dispensed with.

5) The disqualification of the appointment of the Board members, their duties and provision of the meetings of the Board through video conferencing etc., have been introduced on the lines of Companies Act, 2013, as has been the concept of internal audit.

6) The Board of Port Authority has been empowered to raise loans and issue security for capital expenditure and working capital requirements.

Source: TheHindu

 

Patent office issues norms for startups

Indian Patent Office has issued guidelines for facilitators and start-ups with respect to filing and processing of applications for patent, designs and trade marks aiming to encourage budding entrepreneurs and boost innovation.

According to the notice a start-up willing to file a patent application for an invention will have to select a facilitator who would help in preparing the request and also assess the patentability of the invention as per acts and rules, the Controller General Patents, Designs and Trade Marks.

If the start-up is unable to select a facilitator, it should contact the head office of the respective Patent Office as per jurisdiction, who shall provide 3 names of the facilitator and the start-up will finalise the name.

In the action plan announced for the budding entrepreneurs the government has decided to bear the entire cost of facilitation for filing of patents, trademarks or designs.

The move is aimed at promoting awareness and adoption of intellectual property rights by start-ups and facilitate them in protecting and commercialising those rights.

Source: TheHindu

Need for safer roads

In 2015 alone there were 1,50,000 deaths and more than half a million were injured  due to road related accidents. Road accident now kill more than some of the epidemics.

The ‘Road Safety in India’ status report 2015 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, says injuries requiring hospitalisation are likely to be underestimated by a factor of four and for all injuries by a factor of 20.

For everyone undertaking a road journey, the risk of a fatal accident has been rising steadily: absolute fatalities in 2014 showed a 6 per cent average annual growth rate compared to 1970 figures. Data also show that more than half of those killed last year were in the productive age group of 15 to 34, pointing to a calamitous loss of young lives.

What are the methods to reform the problem?

One of the most productive measures to bring down accidents is zero tolerance enforcement. Strong policing reduces the risk for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and two-wheeler riders, who must be compelled to wear helmets.

In spite of fast-paced motorisation, India does not have a scientific accident investigation agency. Nine years have passed since the Sundar Committee on Road Safety and Traffic Management recommended the creation of a safety board through legislation.

Composite factors like bad road design and failure of civic agencies to maintain infrastructure, lax enforcement and corruption in awarding driver licenses are some of the factors.  It is unlikely that the proposed National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board will lead to dramatic improvements, since it is envisaged only as an advisory body. Without empowered oversight, it is impossible to eliminate systemic corruption in transport departments in vehicle certification and licensing of drivers, and poor monitoring of road worthiness of commercial vehicles.

The Centre should also act on the virtual monopoly held by automotive companies on the sale of spares and servicing of vehicles, which is raising cost of ownership and affecting quality of maintenance.

Source: TheHindu

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