Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 March 2017

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 March 2017

:: National ::

Parliamentary panel described the traffic situation in the national capital as “alarming”

  • A Parliamentary panel has described the traffic situation in the national capital as “alarming” and said that the Delhi Police has “failed” to improve it.

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has observed that a large number of vehicles get registered in Delhi everyday and the roundabouts at various crossroads, instead of traffic signals, caused congestion.

  • In its report submitted to the Parliament, the panel headed by former Home and Finance Minister P Chidambaram has taken note of the choked roads in Delhi which make evacuation of “protected persons” difficult during a traffic congestion.

  • The committee has recommended that the Delhi Police needs to prepare a meticulous traffic management plan and allocate adequate funds to address the issue.

  • Urgent measures should be taken for managing the city traffic in a better way such as construction of more arterial roads and parking bays, declaring some roads as one-way.

  • Also coming up with effective emergency evacuation measures for protected persons and stringent measures against traffic violators,” the panel has recommended.

The proposed march of Jat protesters to Delhi called off

  • The proposed march of Jat protesters to Delhi in support of their demands, including reservation under the Other Backward Classes, was called off after the government promised to expedite the process of granting reservation to the community

  • The decision was taken following a marathon meeting of Jat leaders with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Ministers at Haryana Bhawan.

  • Few token dharnas by members of the samiti would continue till their demands were actually met.

  • Meanwhile, 18 police personnel, including an SP and a DSP, were among 35 injured when Jat protesters clashed with the police on being prevented from marching towards Delhi.

The four-month economic blockade in Manipur lifted (Register and Login to read Full News)

Recreation of  the lost manuscript writing using ancient herbal ink (Register and Login to read Full News)

:: Science and Technology ::

Air Force will have 123 Tejas jets by 2024-25

  • If the present development and capacity enhancement plans go as scheduled, the Indian Air Force will have 123 Tejas jets, indigenously made light combat aircraft, on its fleet by 2024-25.

  • To enable this, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is in the process of setting up a new assembly line for the jets and is involving the private sector in a big way.

  • The IAF has placed orders for 40 jets in two batches of which the first 20 are in the initial operational configuration (IOC) and the remaining 20 in the final operational configuration (FOC).

  • Last July, the IAF operationalised the first Tejas squadron, 45 Flying Daggers, with three aircraft. Two more aircraft will join the squadron shortly.

  • Last November, the Defence Acquisition Council gave initial clearance for 83 aircraft in the Mk-1A configuration with specific improvements sought by the IAF.

  • Apart from the development, the low production rate of eight aircraft a year is delaying the induction of Tejas into the IAF.

  • The government recently gave sanction for setting up another assembly line to increase the production rate to 16 a year.

  • The IAF is in urgent need of new fighters and the LCAs will replace the MiG fighters which are being phased out. The IAF is scheduled to phase out all 11 squadrons of MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighters by 2024 on completion of their technical life.

Scientists have developed a new wireless Internet based on infrared rays

  • Scientists have developed a new wireless Internet based on infrared rays that is reportedly 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi networks.

  • The wireless network developed by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands not only has a huge capacity — more than 40 Gbit/s but does away with the need to share Wi-Fi as every device gets its own ray of light.

  • The wireless data comes from a few central ‘light antennas’, which can be mounted on the ceiling, that are able to precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre.

  • The antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles (‘passive diffraction gratings’).

  • Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light. A safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the retina in the eye.

  • If a user is walking about and a smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna’s direction, then another light antenna takes over, researchers said.

  • The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction, they said.

  • Current Wi-Fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz. The new system uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher.

  • Researchers managed to achieve a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres.

  • The system has so far used the light rays only to download; uploads are still done using radio signals since in most applications much less capacity is needed for uploading.

Large Hadron Collider accelerator helps in finding 5  new sub-atomic particles (Register and Login to read Full News)

:: Business and Economy ::

Govt proposed a law to provide social security net to the 47.41 crore workforce

  • The Union government proposed an ambitious law to provide social security net to the 47.41 crore-strong workforce of the country.

  • The proposed code on Social Security and Welfare intends to make a shift in the social security framework of the country from an employment-based approach to a rights-based approach followed by some developing countries such as South Africa.

  • This means claiming social security benefits will become a right for everyone who joins the workforce.

  • At present, the social security set-up in India is only restricted to the formal sector where the employers make a contribution towards social security schemes such as provident fund, insurance and pension of the workers.

  • Only about 8% of the informal sector is covered under any social security scheme, according the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS).

  • At present, 82.7% of the 47.41 crore workforce is in the unorganised sector and does not have access to any kind of social security, according to the Labour and Employment Ministry.

  • When the draft code takes final shape in the form of a law, there will be universal coverage of social security schemes guaranteeing equal treatment to all the workers.

  • According to the proposed law, factories employing even a single worker will have to contribute towards social security benefits.

  • Also, even households employing domestic help will also have contribute towards schemes including provident fund and gratuity for the worker.

  • Self-employed persons, including agricultural labourers, will also make contribution towards the schemes on their own.

  • The existing social security schemes have a limited reach due to application of thresholds based on income and number of workers in a factory.

  • For instance, the provident fund and pension contribution, administered by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), is mandatory only for factories employing at least 20 workers.

  • Various researches have pointed out significant flaws in the present social security framework of the country.

  • The International Social Security Association (ISSA) in its ‘Social Security Coverage Extension in the BRICS’ report said that the best way to describe the social security coverage in India “is a patchwork” as there was a “total mismatch between the labour market realities and the history of social security laws.”

  • Only 1% of the agricultural workers have been provided social security cover, even as close to all the casual workers are deprived of any benefits and socially or economically deprived people had much less coverage than the others.

  • It also said that wage workers in the unorganised sector too had close to no social security benefit.

  • Even the proportion of wage workers covered under any social security law declined from 32.6% in 1999-2000 to 28.6% in 2004-05 and further to 26.4% in 2009-10 due to increased casual workers entering the workforce and a rise in informal sector.

  • One of the major issues with the draft law is that workers in the unorganised sector mostly are daily wage earners and providing monthly contribution towards their social benefit schemes would be a big task.

Commerce dept wants benefits of keeping more than one IFSC in India (Register and Login to read Full News)

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