Parliamentary house panel warns social media giants on misuse
The Parliamentary Panel on Information and Technology has directed
the social media platforms Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram to ensure that
their platforms are not used to incite violence or to meddle in the LokSabha
“We had a constructive meeting. These platforms are used by
millions of users in India. These platforms should not be misused by
hatemongers or fake news peddlers.
Importantly we told them to ensure that there should not be any
foreign interference in our election,” Anurag Thakur, Chairman of
Parliamentary committee of IT told The Hindu .Mr. Thakur added that the
Facebook has agreed to have regular meetings with the Election Commission.
According to sources, the panel members grilled officials of
Facebook. “The question is Facebook a technology company advertising firm, a
media firm or marketing firm? They were not able to give us any clear answer
to this fundamental question,” a member told. The Facebook according to
sources said that they are a “hybrid company”.
The members raised the issue of cloned and fake accounts with the
Facebook. With one of the members claiming that there were so many accounts
under his name that he no longer knows which one was his own.
They also questioned Facebook on its regulatory frame work on
content, advertising and marketing operations in India.
Environment ministry hooks the loop hole in law that led to import of
The government has plugged a loophole that allowed the import of
plastic waste into India for processing.
“Solid plastic waste has been prohibited from import into the
country including in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and by Export Oriented
Units (EOU),” the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC)
Environment Ministry said in an order made public on Wednesday.
The change in law was part of the Hazardous and Other Wastes
(Management &Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019.
In spite of having a significant plastic pollution load of its
own, and a ban on plastic waste imports, imported PET bottles from abroad
for processing in Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
“Indian firms are importing plastic scrap from China, Italy, Japan
and Malawi for recycling and the imports of PET bottle scrap & flakes has
increased from 12,000 tonnes in FY 16-17 to 48,000 tonnes in FY 17-18
growing @ 290%. India has already imported 25,000 MT in the first 3 months
of FY 18-19,” a note by the organisation revealed.
India consumes about 13 million tonnes of plastic and recycles
only about 4 million tonnes. To incentivise domestic plastic recycling
units, the government had banned the import of plastic waste, particularly
PET bottles, in 2015. In 2016, an amendment allowed such imports as long as
they were carried out by agencies situated in SEZs
A senior MoEFCC official had told that while the Ministry couldn’t
vouch for whether such plastic imports had quadrupled, it was true that the
imports had “substantially increased” and action was being contemplated.
CRISIL warns of slow growth in wind energy sector in future
Capacity addition in the wind energy sector will slow down over
fiscal 2019 to 2023, with only 14-16 GW being added due to a decline in bid
responses and profitability of original equipment manufacturers, according
to a report by Crisil.
“The shift to a competitive bidding mechanism has slowed industry
growth due to a significant fall in tariffs, triggering a decline in both
bid response and profitability for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).”
The shift to a competitive bidding mechanism in the wind energy
sector has resulted in tariffs falling to Rs. 2.4-2.6 per unit, from Rs.
4-4.5 per unit under the feed-in tariff regime.
“Crisil Research expects capacity addition of 14-16 GW over fiscal
2019 to 2023, entailing investments of about Rs. 1,10,000 crore,” Crisil
said in the report.
“Capacity additions will primarily be driven by central government
allocations with relatively stronger counterparties such as Solar Energy
Corporation of India (SECI) and PTC India, reducing risk compared with
direct exposure to state discoms.”
State auctioning, on the other hand, has slowed as several States
have signed power supply agreements (PSAs) with PTC and SECI to procure wind
power under the schemes auctioned by them, to help fulfill their non-solar
renewable purchase obligations (RPO) targets, according to Crisil Research.
Indore tops again in centre’s cleanliness survey
Indore was adjudged India’s cleanest city for the third year in a
row in the Centre’s ‘Cleanliness Survey’ announced on Wednesday. The second
and third positions were bagged by Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh and Mysuru in
The SwachhSurvekshan awards 2019 were conferred by President Ram
NathKovind in New Delhi. While the New Delhi Municipal Council was given
award for the ‘Cleanest Small City’ award, Uttarakhand’sGauchar bagged the
‘Best Ganga Town’.
The ‘Cleanest Big City’ award has been bagged by Ahmedabad, while
Raipur is the ‘Fastest Moving Big City’.
Ujjain has been the adjudged the ‘Cleanest Medium City’ and
Mathura-Vrindavan bagged the tag of the ‘Fastest Moving Medium Cities’.
Top-ranked cities received a statue of Mahatma Gandhi as a memento
for their work towards cleanliness. SwachhSurvekshan covered all urban local
bodies in the country, making it the largest such cleanliness survey in the
China has stepped up its diplomacy to ease tensions between India
and Pakistan following the Pulwama attack by sending its special envoy to
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Wednesday
that Vice-Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou was already in Islamabad to
establish an “enabling atmosphere” that would help Pakistan to cooperate
with “other parties”.
Mr. Lu said Mr. Kong’s mission was to “promote dialogue” between
India and Pakistan by persuading both sides to exercise flexibility. “I hope
the two sides can show some goodwill, embrace each other halfway, properly
resolve their differences through dialogue. China will play a constructive
role to promote dialogue between them.”
India has made it plain that it would start a dialogue only if
Pakistan takes visible and verifiable steps to eliminate terrorism that
targets India from its soil. “In fact, Pakistan has been making efforts and
exercised policies to combat terrorism. We think we should encourage this,”
Mr. Lu said.
Asked to comment on China’s stand on the resolution proposed in
the UNSC 1267 committee to list Azhar as a global terrorist, Mr. Lu said
China would take a “conducive decision” to resolve the differences. “China
will have discussion with relevant bodies” as listing of terrorists “is a
very serious issue”, he said.
European commission to continue work for maintaining peace in Iran
The European Union will continue to cooperate with Iran toward
peace and stability in the Middle East region and the entire world.
The European Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr said in
Washington yesterday that Iran's cooperation is a must in ensuring peace and
stability in the Middle East.
Last month, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian
Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif at a meeting expressed their commitment
to cooperate for further implementation of the Instrument in Support of
Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) with Iran, which allows bypassing US sanctions.
US sanctions against Tehran were reinstated in 2018 after the
United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),
which provided for the relief of economic sanctions against Tehran in return
for Iran's pledge to keep its nuclear program peacefull.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
ISRO to jointly set up maritime surveillance system with CNES
National space agency ISRO and its French counterpart CNES on
Wednesday sealed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system
in the country in May.
The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of
low-Earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships
globally and in particular those moving in the Indian Ocean region where
France has its Reunion Islands.
The agreement comes a year after the broad collaboration plan the
two governments initiated during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit in
March last 2018.
“The CNES-ISRO agreement [intends] to supply an operational system
for detecting, identifying and tracking ships in the Indian Ocean. It
provides for a maritime surveillance centre to be set up in India in May
this year; sharing of capacity to process existing satellite data and joint
development of associated algorithms,” the CNES statement said.
“For the next phase of the programme, studies for an orbital
infrastructure to be operated jointly by the two countries are ongoing. CNES
is working with its industry partners and with ISRO to devise the most
appropriate technical solution.”
The two agencies have put up two climate and ocean weather
monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques (of 2011) and SARAL-AltiKa (2013) that
are considered a model.
“This fleet will be augmented with the launch of Oceansat-3-Argos
mission in 2020 along with a joint infrared Earth-observation satellite,”
the CNES said.
Manpreet singh named captain in Sulthan Azlan shah cup
Manpreet Singh was today named captain of the 18-member Indian
hockey team to play in the upcoming 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
The prestigious tournament will be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from the
23rd of this month. Hockey India said Surender Kumar will be the
Vice-Captain of the team.
The Indian squad comprises relatively young players as several key
players have been ruled out due to injuries.
Apart from India and hosts Malaysia, the other participating
nations in the tournament are Canada, Korea, South Africa, Asian Games gold
medallist Japan. India, will start its campaign against Japan on the opening