Here is today’s digest of current affairs!
A single number for all emergencies
112 will be the new one stop number for all emergency services in the country. It includes the police, firebrigade and ambulance.
At present, callers need to dial different numbers for different emergencies like 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102 for ambulance and 108 for emergency disaster management. The move, recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in April 2015, was approved by the Telecom Commission. TRAI had also suggested the inclusion of a host of services which in the initial phase will include calls meant for police, fire, ambulance, helpline for women, senior citizens and children. Other services may be integrated progressively and in a phased manner.
Is there similar facility in other countries? – Most developed countries have put in place an Integrated Emergency Communication & Response System (IECRS) under which emergency services are accessed nation-wide through a single number. While the US and Canada have 911, the UK has 999, New Zealand has 111, Australia has 000. In many countries across Europe, 112 is the primary number to deal with emergencies.
Why 112? – The number 112 was chosen due to a variety of reasons. 100, which is one of the widely known numbers for emergency, was not recommended as it is associated with police and several sections of society, especially women and children, may not wish to dial it.
GSM phones have in-built recognition of emergency numbers 112 and 911. The facility of emergency calling encompasses calling even in cases where the phone is locked with a password or where there is no balance amount left for making outgoing calls. Calls will be possible even if the phone is outside the coverage area of the subscribed network but is receiving a signal of any other mobile operator, or the phone is without a valid subscription.
Source: TimesofIndia, TheHindu
E-waste (Management) Rules 2016
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 in supersession of the e-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011. The norms have been made more stringent.
E-waste rules will now include Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamps, as well as other such equipment.
The Rules will bring the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets. Â He added that producers have been made responsible for collection of E-waste and for its exchange. The bulk consumers would collect the items and hand them over to authorized recyclers. Producers would be now responsible for collecting the e-waste by establishing various â€˜collection pointsâ€™ based on their usersâ€™ demographic details, launching take back/buy back programs etc. This is a norm in Western countries, but now, India would also be part of this system.
Various producers can have a separate Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) and ensure collection of E-waste, as well as its disposal in an environmentally sound manner. The role of State Governments has been also introduced to ensure safety, health and skill development of the workers involved in dismantling and recycling operations. Â A provision of penalty for violation of rules has been introduced.
The process of dismantling and recycling has been simplified through one system of authorization and the Central Pollution Control Board will give the single authorization throughout the country. Toxic constituents present in E-waste and their disposal mechanism affect human health and lead to various diseases.
Under â€˜Deposit Refund Schemeâ€™, producers and sellers of electronic gadgets can now charge a refundable deposit from the customer at the time of selling. This deposit can be returned as and when the customer comes back and returns the gadget back. This will encourage more returns and thus e-waste management can be channelized optimally.
What is the status of e-waste generation in India? – 17 lakh tonnes of E-waste is generated every year, with an annual increase of 5 per cent of generation of E-waste.
What are the constituents of e-waste? – Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered e-waste.
Substances found in large quantities include epoxy resins, fiberglass, PCBs, PVC (polyvinyl chlorides), thermosetting plastics, lead, tin, copper, silicon, beryllium, carbon, iron and aluminium.
Elements found in small amounts include cadmium, mercury, and thallium.
Elements found in trace amounts include americium, antimony, arsenic, barium, bismuth, boron, cobalt, europium, gallium, germanium, gold, indium, lithium, manganese, nickel, niobium, palladium, platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, selenium, silver, tantalum, terbium, thorium, titanium, vanadium, and yttrium.
IDBI bank employee strike on fear of privatisation
IDBI bank employees had a strike declared on 28th March 2016. The strike, was called by the United Platform of IDBI Bank Unions (UPIBU), which constitutes officers from the All India IDBI Officersâ€™ Association (AIIDBIOA) and IDBI Employeesâ€™ Association (IDBIEA).
The bank claimed that none of its services were disrupted following the nationwide strike, except in Karnataka, where the high court has asked the unions not to go on strike.
The protest follows two failed reconciliatory meetings with the labour commissioner on 18 March and 21 March between IDBI Bank employees and the management.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech said that the government will consider ceding control of IDBI Bank, slashing its stake to less than 50% from 80.2% now.
The privatization drive is part of the larger plan to infuse Rs.19,000-20,000 crore of equity into the bank before 31 March 2019 under the Basel-III norms.
Other options include sale of non-core assets and raising fresh money through a private placement to institutional placement which IDBI Bank announced in December 2015.
What is the Basel III norms? – Basel III is a global, voluntary regulatory framework on bank capital adequacy, stress testing, and market liquidity risk. It was agreed upon by the members of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in 2010â€“11, and was scheduled to be introduced from 2013 until 2015; however, changes from 1 April 2013 extended implementation until 31 March 2018 and again extended to 31 March 2019.
Basel III is intended to strengthen bank capital requirements by increasing bank liquidity and decreasing bank leverage. As part of the norms Indian banks are to maintain a Tier 1 capital of 7%. Indian banks would need nearly Rs 1.6 trillion) Â as capital over the next six years to comply with the new norms.
Source: Livemint, RBI.org
Capacity Crisis in Indian Air Force
A report titled â€˜Troubles, they come in Battalions: The Manifest Travails of the Indian Air Forceâ€™ Â was released by Ashley Tellis, fellow Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The report says that air dominance is vital for India if it is to have deterrence stability in southern Asia and for preserving the strategic balance in the wider Indo-Pacific region. It finds the countryâ€™s aerial fighting force to be inadequate on a number of parameters.
For example, the report notes that as of early 2016, the IAFâ€™s fighter force is weaker than the numbers suggest, and â€œat nominally 36.5 squadrons, it is well short of its sanctioned strength, and many of its frontline aircraft are obsoleteâ€. China and Pakistan have apparently fielded close to 750 advanced air defence or multi-role fighters against the IAFâ€™s 450-odd equivalent. By 2025, China may well be in a position to deploy anywhere between 300 and 400 sophisticated aircraft against India. Pakistan may be able to deploy 100 to 200 advanced fighters.
The main barrier to embarking on a successful acquisition and modernisation drive, according to the report, is the fact that the IAF is â€œstymied by serious constraints on Indiaâ€™s defence budget, the impediments imposed by the acquisition process, the meagre achievements of the countryâ€™s domestic development organisations, the weaknesses of the higher defence management system, and Indiaâ€™s inability to reconcile the need for self-sufficiency in defence production with the necessity of maintaining technological superiority over rivalsâ€.
The report urges India to be â€œcautious about expanding the Tejas acquisition beyond six squadrons and consider enlarging the MMRCA component with the cheapest fourth-generation-plus Western fighter availableâ€. It also says that India should seek to expand its investments in advanced munitions â€œwhile being realistic about its domestic capacity to produce sophisticated combat aircraftâ€.
What are the fourth generation aircrafts? – It has become common in the aviation community to classify jet fighters by “generations” for historical purposes.There are no official definitions of these generations; rather, they represent the notion that there are stages in the development of fighter design approaches, performance capabilities, and technological evolution.
Fourth-generation jet fighter is a general classification of jet fighters in service from approximately 1980 to the present, and represent design concepts of the 1970s. Fourth-generation designs are heavily influenced by lessons learned from the previous generation of combat aircraft.
HAL Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is a fourth generation aircraft of India.
Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia
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