January 2020

Daily Current Affairs (05-01-20)

ECONOMY

FAME-II SCHEME

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Economy [Paper-II]: Infrastructure in Indian Economy, Energy and Power

News

  • To give a further push to clean mobility in Road Transport Sector, the Department of Heavy Industries has sanctioned 2636 charging stations in 62 cities across 24 States/UTs under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India) scheme phase II.
  • Minister of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Prakash Javadekar announced that in future at least one charging station will be available in most of the selected cities in a grid of 4 Km X 4 km.

About FAME II Scheme

  • This scheme is the expanded version of the present scheme titled ‘FAME India1 which was launched on 1st April 2015, with total outlay of 895 crores.
  • Total fund requirement for this scheme is 10,000 crores over three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to encourage faster adoption of Electric and hybrid vehicle by way of offering upfront Incentive on purchase of Electric vehicles and also by way of establishing a necessary charging Infrastructure for electric vehicles.
  • The scheme will help in addressing the issue of environmental pollution and fuel security.
  • The scheme is proposed to be implemented over a period of three years, with effect from April 1, 2019, for faster adoption of electric mobility and development of its manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

Details of the Scheme

  • Emphasis is on electrification of the public transportation that includes shared transport.
  • Demand Incentives on operational expenditure model for electric buses will be delivered through State/city transport corporation (STUs).
  • In 3W and 4W segment incentives will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes.
  • In the e-2Ws segment, the focus will be on the private vehicles.
  • Through the scheme, it is planned to support 10 Lakhs e-2W, 5 Lakhs e-3W, 55000 4Ws and 7000 Buses.
  • Establishment of charging stations are also proposed on major highways connecting major city clusters.
  • On such highways, charging stations will be established on both sides of the road at an interval of about 25 km each.

Additional Info

  • National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 is a National Mission document providing the vision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country.
  • As part of the NEMMP 2020, Department of Heavy Industry formulated a Scheme viz. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme in the year 2015 to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
  • The Phase-I of this Scheme was initially launched for a period of 2 years, commencing from 1st April 2015, which was subsequently extended from time to time and the last extension was allowed up to 31st March 2019.
  • The 1st Phase of FAME India Scheme was implemented through four focus areas namely (i) Demand Creation, (ii) Technology Platform, (iii) Pilot Project and (iv) Charging Infrastructure.
  • Market creation through demand incentives was aimed at incentivizing all vehicle segments i.e. 2-Wheelers (2W), 3-Wheelers (3W) Auto, Passenger 4-Wheeler (4W) vehicles, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses.
[Source: PIB, Economic Times]

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

KALAPANI BORDER ISSUE

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

International Relations [Paper-I]: India’s Foreign Policy

News

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reiterated the Indian government’s commitment to resolving Kalapani issue with Nepal while responding to a question on boundary issues between the two neighbouring countries.

Background

  • In November 2019, India released new maps of the country to account for the newly formed Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • The map was released in the aftermath of the Reorganisation of J&K Act 2019 that showed PoK in the newly-formed Union Territory of J&K. The new map also shows Kalapani in India.
  • India’s foreign ministry has clarified that the new map “has in no manner, revised India’s boundary with Nepal”.
  • Nepal claimed that the Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani areas shown in India’s maps lie within its territory.

What is Kalapani border?

  • The Kalapani region lies in a junction bordering three countries – India, Nepal and China.
  • Kalapani is a 35 square kilometre area in the Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
  • The valley of Kalapani, with the Lipulekh Pass at the top, forms the Indian route to Kailash Manasarovar, an ancient pilgrimage site.
  • The territory is also the traditional trading route to Tibet for the Bhotiyas of Uttarakhand.
  • Nepal claims this region as part of Darchula district.

Treaty of Sugauli

  • In 1816, the East India Company and Nepal signed the Treaty of Sugauli under the conclusion of the Anglo-Nepalese War and Nepalese territories including Darjeeling were handed over to the British East India Company as concessions.
  • The treaty defined river Mahakali as the western border of Nepal.

The Dispute

  • The Nepalese government has claimed that the Lipulekh Pass belongs to them as mentioned in Sugauli Treaty signed between the British East India Company and Nepal in 1816.
  • The Treaty identified River Kali as Nepal’s boundary with India. The river has many tributaries, the confluence of which takes place at Kalapani.
  • While Nepal claims the origin of the river in Lipulekh Pass to be the main Kali and hence is asserting territorial rights to it.
  • India claims that River Kali begins in Kalapani as this is where all its tributaries merge, and is exerting claims on the area to the east of it.

Why is Kalapani Significant?

  • Lipulekh Pass serves an important vantage point for India to keep a track of China’s movements. The pass also serves as a trading route between India and China as well as a pilgrim route to Tibet.
  • The strategic position of the 35-square kilometre region is of great significance. India’s surveillance of Chinese movements is aided by the height of the Lipulekh pass.
[Source: Economic Times, Money Control]

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

PROJECT KUIPER

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Technology in Space and Defence

News

Amazon recently announced that its Project Kuiper team will move in 2020 to a permanent research and development headquarters with state-of-the-art facilities for designing and testing its planned megaconstellation of broadband satellites.

What is Project Kuiper?

  • It is a constellation of 3,236 satellites Amazon plans to deploy in low Earth orbit for low-latency, high-speed broadband.
  • The constellation is planned as a network of 784 satellites at the lowest altitude (590 kilometres), 1,296 satellites at the next-highest altitude (610 kilometres) and the remaining 1,156 floating at the highest (630 kilometres) orbit above the Earth.
  • With this project, Amazon joins SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat in planning large constellations of internet-beaming satellites.
  • Amazon recently informed the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that it plans to launch Project Kuiper satellites in five waves, with satellites designed to operate for seven years.
  • Project Kuiper gets its name from a region of the Solar System that exists beyond the eight major planets, called the Kuiper belt.

Additional Info

  • Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, also owns launch company Blue Origin, whose New Glenn orbital rocket is slated for a first launch in 2021.
  • Amazon’s Web Services business also has a ground station business that communicates with satellites as they circle the planet.
[Source: Firstpost, spacenews.com]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

NEW AND EMERGING STRATEGIC TECHNOLOGIES (NEST)
  • With India grappling with issues like the security implications of the introduction of 5G and artificial intelligence, the Indian External Affairs Ministry has announced the setting up of a new division on New and Emerging Strategic Technologies (NEST).
  • NEST will act as the nodal division within the ministry for issues pertaining to new and emerging technologies.
  • It will help in collaboration with foreign partners in the field of 5G and artificial intelligence.
  • It will also help assess foreign policy and international legal implications of new and emerging technologies and technology-based resources, and recommend appropriate foreign policy choice.
  • NEST will negotiate technology governance rules, standards and architecture, suited to India’s conditions, in multilateral and plurilateral frameworks.
  • The desk will also be involved in negotiations to safeguard Indian interests at multilateral fora like the United Nations or the G20 where rules governing the use and access to such technologies could be decided.
‘CYBER SAFE WOMEN’ INITIATIVE
  • Maharashtra Government has launched a ‘Cyber Safe Women’ initiative under which awareness camps will be held across all the districts of the state regarding cyber safety.
  • The initiative will help in educating women about how the web is used by anti-social elements and child predators to commit various types of crimes.
WORLD BRAILLE DAY
  • Every Year January 4 is celebrated as World Braille Day in order to mark the birth anniversary of Louis Braille.
  • World Braille Day, celebrated since 2019, is observed to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.
  • Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols.
  • Braille (named after its inventor in 19th century France, Louis Braille) is used by blind and partially sighted people to read the same books and periodicals as those printed in a visual font.
FOREST FIRES
  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently released India State of Forest Report, 2019.
  • The report mentions about forest fires in the country. It states that about 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires, with forests in the north-eastern region and central India being the most vulnerable.
  • Extremely fire-prone areas account for 3.89% of total forest cover, very highly fire-prone areas account for 6.01% and highly fire-prone areas for 11.50%. Together, the three categories come to 21.40 % of forest cover.
PROJECT ‘NETRA’
  • ISRO has inked a pact with Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) to pave the way for collaboration in establishing optical telescope facilities under Project ‘NETRA’ for tracking space objects.
  • The agency has also tied up with NIT-Karnataka to set up a regional academic centre for space to promote research in space technology.
  • Project NETRA was launched by ISRO in September 2019. Under the Rs 400-crore NETRA’ project, an early warning system is being set up in space to detect debris and other hazards that could pose a danger to Indian space assets like satellites and experimental platforms.
  • Like other space powers, NETRA will give the country its own capability in space situational awareness.
  • According to Scientists, 50 years of human space exploration has led to the creation of junk around Earth’s orbit, posing serious traffic risks to man-made satellites.

 

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