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bharat ias - Improved Pinaka rockets test-fired

Improved Pinaka rockets test-fired

Context Pinaka rockets, with a guidance system and an enhanced range, were successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at ChandipurinOdisha  The improvement: Pinaka Mark II The earlier Pinaka version (Mark I), which was an unguided one, has now been transformed into a guided version, with a navigation, guidance and control kit developed by the Research Centre, Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad The RCI comes under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)  Longer range The conversion has helped in enhancing the range and accuracy of Pinaka. If its range was earlier 40 km, it is more than 70 km now  Significance Showcases Technological prowess: The success of the guided Pinaka has reinforced the technological strength of the country in converting the unguided systems into weapons of high precision  Developed by The guided Pinaka was developed jointly by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, the RCI, and the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad. The ITR, Chandipur, provided the range and launch support    ...

Publishes on : 02-Feb-2017 10:55 AM
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bharat ias - India rejects attempts by EU, Canada for global investment agreement

India rejects attempts by EU, Canada for global investment agreement

Issue: An informal attempt has been made by the European Union (EU) and Canada to work towards a global investment agreement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) level The agreement would incorporate a contentious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism India along with Brazil, Argentina and some other nations, has rejected this Where? At the meeting of trade ministers of select countries held on the sidelines of the recently held World Economic Forum in Switzerland Why it is Contentious? The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism permits companies to drag governments to international arbitration without exhausting the local remedies and claim huge amounts as compensation citing losses they suffered due to reasons, including policy changes India summarily rejected such an idea. Japan also opposed the idea on the grounds of the costs involved in international arbitration Commerce minister Views: “Only after all local options have been exhausted for settling disputes between a corporate and a government, we want to permit issues to be taken up in international arbitration tribunals” “Such provisions could be a part of bilateral agreements but they can’t be allowed in a multilateral agreement” Other Issues Discussed: In the same trade ministers’ meeting, India also pushed for discussions on its proposal for a Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement at the WTO-level TFS primarily aims to facilitate easier movement of skilled workers and professionals across borders for short-term work    ...

Publishes on : 02-Feb-2017 10:48 AM
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bharat ias - What mackerel and a volcano can tell us about climate change

What mackerel and a volcano can tell us about climate change

What is mackerel? It is a predatory marine fish with a greenish-blue back. Issue According to a research, an Indonesian volcanic eruption, a 200-year-old climate disaster and a surge in the consumption of mackerel tell us lot about today’s era of global warming. Scientists have made this assessment while conducting research about a long-ago calamity in New England that was caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora half a world away i.e in Indonesia in 1815. Assessment A cooled climate led to deaths of livestock and changed fish patterns in New England, leaving many people dependent on the mackerel, an edible fish that was less affected than many animals. The researchers assert that bit of history gives clues about what food security could be like in the modern era of climate change. According to scientists how we respond to these events is going to be critically important for how we come out of this in the long term and can learn from the past how people dealt with the unanticipated. The study states there is a parallel between the need for immediate adaptation after Tambora and the challenges in coping with the climate-driven devastation caused by storms, floods and droughts today. About Tambora Eruption The Tambora eruption was one of the most powerful in recorded history, and was followed by a short time of climate change specifically, global cooling and severe weather. Its impact on weather, food availability and human and animals deaths worldwide has been studied extensively. The year that followed the eruption, 1816, is often described as the “Year Without a Summer.” Researchers found that alewives, a fish used for everything from fertilizer to food by 19th-Century New Englanders, did not fare well. But mackerel had better survival rates and became a critical source of protein and jobs. As crops failed and famine began to spread, the little fish emerged as a staff of life. It’s a scenario similar to what parts of the developing world are experiencing today as climate change affects food security. Importance of this finding Understanding how adaptive responses to extreme events can trigger unintended consequences may advance long-term planning for in an uncertain future. The report illustrates how abrupt changes in climate can have unexpected consequences long after conditions moderate. Good stewardship of our natural resources can help buffer against some climate impacts. Unlike the people in 1815, we have an idea of what’s coming, and we need to make sure we are prepared.    ...

Publishes on : 02-Feb-2017 10:43 AM
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bharat ias - UAE signals a ‘Look East’ policy

UAE signals a ‘Look East’ policy

  Context: United Arab Emirates (UAE) who  participated in India’s Republic Day celebrations Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade UAE’s troops had march in India’s Republic day parade It is likely that UAE will highlight its Look East Policy Why It is Significant? Participation of a contingent of UAE’s military in the celebrations would indicate its willingness to play a more active role in the region It is also an indicator of the UAE’s growing power in the Indian Ocean It also signifies the UAE and GCC’s (Gulf Cooperation Council) new ‘Look East’ policy of engaging Asia as a counterbalance to the West.” It is also an indicator of GCC’s effort to exercise regional influence after the Arab Spring has left a power vacuum and to counter similar efforts by Iran, which UAE regards as a threat It also indicates UAE has been carrying out military modernization in recent years. According to SIPRI, UAE was one five biggest arms importer in the world between 2011 and 2015. Strategic Partnership between India and UAE? UAE and India are to conclude a comprehensive strategic partnership The Diaspora Perspective: The Strategic partnership can be recognition of the unique role of India’s immigrant population in the UAE’s development story There has been continuous Indian presence in the UAE from around 18th century In the present day, Indians make up 30% of the country’s population — the single largest expatriate community in the UAE. ...

Publishes on : 02-Feb-2017 10:41 AM
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bharat ias - Proposed changes of 2017-18 Union budget:

Proposed changes of 2017-18 Union budget:

Proposed changes of 2017-18 budget: ·         The Union Budget for the next financial year would be radically different from the previous years, not so much in terms of the proposals it will unveil but more due to the new structure and substance it will present. ·         The Budget 2017-18 will do away with the Plan and non-Plan heads of expenditure, merge the railway budget with itself and have to be prepared in the backdrop of two major events — demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that will be implemented during the course of the year. ·         It will also come 1 month early this year on February 1, as the Budget date has been advanced to ensure ministries and departments get funds on time to start spending from April 1. ·         Even as the railways budget is being merged with the Union Budget, the functional autonomy of the former to raise extra budgetary resources has not been done away with. ·         Along with the abolition of the Planning Commission has gone the distinction between Plan and non-Plan expenditure. Plan expenditure were in the nature of asset creating productive expenditure, while non-Plan spend was more on salaries, payments of subsidies and interest. This is now being replaced with an expected better indicator of productive and general expenditure via distinction under the heads of capital and revenue expenditure. ·         This budget document also getting slimmer due to no mention about the indirect taxes like service tax, excise duties etc which will be replaced by GST (Goods and Service tax) in the days to come ·         The government has also advanced the presentation of Budget date to February 1, to ensure that the Finance Bill is passed by the Parliament before March 31. This is to ensure that spending kicks in immediately from starts of the fiscal year. ·         While the government is confident to generate estimates-beating tax revenues in the year ending March 2017; two key factors, demonetization and the GST, will shape the substance of the next year’s Budget. ·         The government decided to withdraw old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, amounting to 86 per cent of the currency in circulation. Apart from adding to the Centre’s tax kitty, this move tilted the budget discourse towards tax rebates and incentives for digital transactions. Sops for enterprises conducting business digitally and consumers purchasing electronically are likely to dominate the budget. ·         the Government to levy tax between 12 per cent and 18 per cent on services, depending on its classification based on essential and non–essential services as a move towards the final GST rate. ·         This Budget is expected to take the first step in this direction and the rate may be lowered to 27.5 per cent with some checks on the exemptions which presently reside in the tax structure ·         increase in the rate of tax for short term capital gains from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent ·         Long term capital gains on equity are also on the cards to be bought on par with debt with a three year lock in period ·         the tax exemption slab for individuals could be raised from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh ·         On the expenditure side, the revenue expenses in the next fiscal is expected to grow by 10-15 per cent from the level of Rs. 17.31 lakh crore in the current financial year on account of increased payments towards higher borrowings, interest rate subventions and implementation of the 7th Pay Commission and OROP Scheme (One Rank One Pension). ·         increase in the expenditure heads could be offset to an extent by the lower subsidies on the fertilizers and food. ·         The budgeted expenditure towards Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) could be increased by 10 per cent for 2017-18   Demerit The main demerit of advancing the date is that the government will not have expenditure and revenue data for the first nine months of the financial year. Bottom line The implementation of the GST by the government would be an achievement. But the GST rate is yet to be fixed by GST council which comprises of finance minister and representative of all Indian states....

Publishes on : 30-Jan-2017 10:06 PM
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