Current Affairs Assam – May 2018
( Covers all important Assam Current Affairs & GK topics for the month of May 2018 )
May 1 observed as International Labour Day
May 01 is observed as International Labour Day also known as International Worker’s Day or Labour Day or May Day. The purpose of this day is to promote and encourage international labour union.
The theme of this year’s International Labour Day- “Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement”.
FACTFILE – International Workers’ Day
- It is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on May Day (1 May), an ancient European spring festival.
- The date was chosen by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886.
- The 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, called on “all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.”
- The first of May is a national public holiday in many countries worldwide, in most cases as “Labour Day”, “International Workers’ Day” or some similar name – although some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States, which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September.
Andhra Pradesh launches new project ‘Bhu Seva’
Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister KE Krishnamurthy started Andhra Pradesh government’s ‘Bhu Seva’ (land hub) project. This project aims at offering integrated services related with land.
According to this project, each land parcel will be given a Bhudhar Number (an 11 digit unique number). A pilot project of this scheme was launched in Jaggaiah Peta Mandal and Vuyyur Nagar Panchayat of Krishna district.
It is to be notified that AP Govt’s program ‘e-Panta’ (e-crop) is identified as one of the best innovations in the country and published in the book ‘New Beginning’ launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
GOBAR-DHAN Scheme launched by Swachh Bharat Mission to generate energy from solid waste
GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) – DHAN scheme has been launched by Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Uma Bharti at National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) Auditorium, Karnal, Haryana.
The purpose of this scheme is to create rural livelihood opportunities and increase income for farmers and other rural people. “The scheme focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste from farms and fields to useful compost, biogas and bio-CNG,” Uma Bharti said. The scheme will help in keeping villages clean, generate energy and in increasing the income of farmers.
The Swachh Bharat Mission includes two main components for creating clean villages
- creating open defecation free (ODF) villages and
- managing solid and liquid waste in villages.
AFSPA will continue in Nagaland: Rijiju
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958, will continue in Nagaland as it is a “special case” and the “peace agreement” hasn’t been finalised there yet.
Nagaland is the only State in the northeast India, apart from eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, where the AFSPA continues to be imposed by the Union Home Ministry.
In 2017, the Home Ministry gave up its powers and asked Assam to take a decision on continuing the AFSPA in the State.
Nagaland, Manipur and Assam are the only three States in northeast India that continue to be under the AFSPA.
AFSPA was withdrawn by Tripura in 2015.
AFSPA was revoked entirely from Meghalaya on 1 April, 2018.
The AFSPA gives powers to the Army and the Central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Centre’s sanction.
Pharmaceutical exports from India reach $17.25 bn
Pharmaceutical exports from India are estimated to have grown to $17.25 billion in the financial year ended March 31 or almost 2.5% higher than the previous fiscal. This is a key component of the country’s foreign trade basket,
The growth assumes significance in the context of challenges under which it was achieved, from increased competition in the mainstay generics space, particularly in the U.S., pricing pressure, heightened regulatory scrutiny and the roll-out of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
This was the first time the exports increased despite a negative growth in the U.S., the largest market contributing to over 31% of the revenue.
Markets wise, the major growth drivers were Asia (excluding West Asia), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin American countries.
International Buddhist Conference held in Lumbini, Nepal
Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, founder of the Buddhist religion. Lord Buddha was born in sacred garden of Lumbini during 6th century BC.
Lumbini is birthplace of Gautama Buddha, founder of the Buddhist religion.Lord Buddha was born in sacred garden of Lumbini during 6th century BC.
The theme of the conference was ‘Lumbini Nepal: The birthplace of Lord Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism and world peace’. The basic objective of the conference was to disseminate teachings of Buddha and spread messages of nonviolence, brotherhood, co-existence, love, and peace.
University professors and reputed Buddhist gurus from America, Japan, India, Indonesia, China and Sri Lanka have graced the event. Likewise, Buddhist scholars from various countries will be presenting their papers for discussions in the conference. The two-day conference will also issue the Lumbini Declaration.
14 of 20 most polluted cities in India: WHO Report
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released the list of most polluted cities based on the amount of particulate matter under 2.5 micrograms found in every cubic metre of air. Fourteen Indian cities figure among the world’s 20 most polluted.
New Delhi, Gwalior and Varanasi are in the most polluted city list on account of air quality made worse by a host of factors including industrial and vehicular pollution construction and road dust. Delhi is the sixth most polluted city in the world.
Delhi and Varanasi are among the 14 Indian cities that figure in a list of 20 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM2.5 levels in 2016, data released by the WHO shows. Other Indian cities that registered very high levels of PM2.5 pollutants were Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Lucknow, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur followed by Ali Subah Al-Salem in Kuwait and a few cities in China and Mongolia. The data analysis is based on air pollution levels of 2016.
Highlights of the WHO Report on air pollution
- Delhi remains the most polluted city in the world. Greater Cairo in Egypt is the second most polluted city after Delhi followed by Dhaka. Mumbai stood fourth in pollution, Beijing came out to be the fifth most polluted city.
- 7 million people across the globe are dying each year from exposure to ambient and household air pollution
- Ambient air pollution alone caused around 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period.
- 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. The fine particles in polluted air penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
FACTFILE – PM10 levels
- In terms of PM10 levels, 13 cities in India figure among the 20 most polluted cities of the world in 2016.
- The WHO has called upon member-countries in its Southeast Asia region to aggressively address the double burden of household and ambient (outdoor) air pollution, saying the region, which comprises India, accounts for 34% or 2.4 million of the seven million premature deaths caused by household and ambient air pollution together globally every year.
- The PM2.5 includes pollutants like sulfate, nitrate and black carbon, which pose the greatest risk to human health.
- WHO’s global urban air pollution database measured the levels of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from more than 4,300 cities in 108 countries, according to which ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period.
ACI Projects India as 2nd Fastest Growing Country for Air Passenger Traffic
India is projected to be the second fastest growing country in the world for air passenger traffic. As per the Airports Council International (ACI), by 2022 passenger traffic in emerging economies like India will surpass advanced economies.
Highlights of the ACI Report
- The ACI, a global trade body representing airports across the globe, has put Vietnam at the top position with an 8.5% growth rate in Fastest Growing Country for Air Passenger Traffic, followed by India at 7.5% and Iran at 7.3%.
- China placed at the 8th position with 5.9 percent growth rate.
- It placed the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi among the top twenty busiest airports in the world.
- Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai were also ranked among the fastest growing airports in the world during 2017.
Earlier, in its report, ACI had said that India was poised to be one of the largest aviation markets in the world in the years to come.
9th India-Japan Energy Dialogue at New Delhi
9th India Japan Energy Dialogue was held in New Delhi. R.K Singh (Minister of State(IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy) from India and Hiroshige Seko (Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)) from Japan signed a Joint Statement for the meeting.
Both Ministers agreed on strengthening of bilateral energy cooperation for energy development of both countries, while also contributing to worldwide energy security, energy access and climate change issues. They also agreed to begin the discussion on Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Both India and Japan agree to implement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under aegis of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They recognized importance of development and deployment of next generation technologies including hydrogen to realize de-carbonization.
Both India and Japan reiterated the continued importance of coal-based electricity generation in the energy mix in both the countries and also agreed to promote the cooperation on environmental measures for coal-fired power plants.
Both India and Japan further confirmed their commitment to work together in promoting well-functioning energy markets and affirmed to promote transparent and diversified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market through the relaxation of destination clause.
FACTFILE – Indo-Japan Energy Dialogue
- As an outcome of the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Japan in December, 2006, a High Level Indo – Japan Energy Dialogue Co-chaired by Dy. Chairman Planning Commission and Minister of METI to promote cooperation in energy sector in a comprehensive manner.
- BEE and Energy Conservation Centre for Japan (ECCJ) are implementing agencies from two countries. Several working groups with chairs from Japanese and Indian side have been constitute to take the dialogue forward.
- Under the aegis of Indo-Japan Energy Dialogue, meeting of Energy Efficiency Working Group was held on 2ndSeptember, 2013 under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary (EC), Ministry of Power. The purpose of the meeting was to identify the key areas of cooperation for Energy Efficiency and Conservation between two countries.
Shahzar Rizvi claimed No.1 spot pistol rankings
Indian shooter Shahzar Rizvi grabbed the No.1 spot in 10m air pistol rankings by ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation).
He won the silver medal in the World Cup in Changwon, Korea. Rizvi also won a gold medal with world record score at the World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.
With 1654 rating points, Rizvi shot to the numero uno spot ahead of Russia’s Artem Chernousov (1046) and Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda (803). The other Indians in the top 10 are Jitu Rai (6th spot) and Om Prakash Mitharval (12th spot).
Union Government launches Pilot Scheme for Procurement of Aggregate Power of 2500 MW
The Indian government launched a Pilot Scheme for procurement of aggregate power of 2500 MW on a competitive basis for three years under medium term from commissioned power plants without power purchase agreements(PPA).
The main purpose of the scheme is to revive commissioned power plants which are unable to sell electricity in the absence of valid power purchase agreements. These plants can bid for power supply under the scheme.
Under the scheme, a single entity can be allotted maximum capacity of 600 MW. The scheme assures a minimum off-take of 55% of contracted capacity. The tariff will be fixed for three years without any escalation.
The aggregator, state-run PTC Ltd, would sign a three-year mid-term agreement for procurement of power from successful bidders, and power supply agreements with the discoms. The scheme is expected to revive power demand, the drop in which has affected generators who do not have PPAs.
PFC Consulting would start inviting bids from this week and bidding will be conducted on the DEEP (Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price) e-Bidding Portal. It is expected this scheme help to revive the power demand which has affected the generators not having PPAs.
Many power projects were stranded in the past due to low availability of coal supply, lack of long-term PPAs, regulatory hurdles, and delays in receivables from distribution companies (discoms). Of 80,000 Mw stressed assets, more than 20,000 Mw, with an investment of about Rs 1,000 billion, are operating with long-term PPAs and necessary fuel supply agreements.
More than 15,600 Mw of operational coal-based power plants have been classified as stressed assets due to the lack of PPAs. Research firm ICRA recently noted that only 7,600 Mw of bids for long-term power procurement have been invited by discoms in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh over the past four years. Of this, PPAs have been signed only for 1400 MW by Kerala and Telangana.
The work of bringing power to India’s nearly six lakh villages had been undertaken under the government’s Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana. The government has set the next target of providing electricity connections to over four crore rural and urban households by March 2019 under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) initiative.