Date:- 22nd Feb 2018
MASS NESTING OF OLIVE RIDLEYS BEGINS IN ODISHA (GS 3 – ENVIRONMENT)
The nesting season of olive ridley sea turtles has started, more than 3,100 female olive ridley turtles came out of the sea to the sandy beach of the Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha on Tuesday night.
About olive ridley
The olive ridley sea turtle also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans
They best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
They are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world. But Olive-ridleys face serious threats across their migratory route, habitat and nesting beaches, due to human activities such as turtle unfriendly fishing practices, development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports, and tourist centers and IUCN considers them as Vulnerable species
Three important nesting sites of the species in India are Gahirmatha beach, Robert Island and Rushikulya.
LIGHT TRANSPORT PLANE SARAS TO BE FAST-TRACKED (GS 2 Indigenization of tech)
The government will fast-track the revived light transport plane Saras towards production said Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan.
The production model design is expected to be ready by June-July this year
The unit cost of the aircraft, with more than 70 per cent indigenous content, will be around Rs 40 to Rs 45 crore as against Rs 60 to Rs 70 crore for imported ones and has far more benefits than what the imported aircraft offers. It will be a great achievement for the MAKE INDIA mission of the government and will usher the implementation of UDAN scheme
- Saras is India’s first indigenous light transport aircraft under development
- The air craft has currently completed the second of the 20 test flights planned for Saras PT1N, before freezing the production version
- The design and development of the aircraft is being done by the CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories
- HAL has been identified as the production agency for the military version of Saras, while the production of civil version is likely to be handed over to private industry.
EPFO lowers interest rate to 8.55 p.c. for 2017-18
Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) Wednesday recommended slashing interest rate on deposits to 8.55 percent for the financial year 2017-18 following a general decline in interest rates.
Last year, the interest paid was 8.65% to all EPFO holders.
What is the procedure
The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) make recommendations and then it will be sent to the Ministry of Finance for approval and once approved by the Finance Minister, the interest will be credited to your EPFO account
About PF & EPFO
PF is an investment fund contributed to by employees, employers, and sometimes by the state, out of which a lump sum is provided to each employee on retirement.
Simply put it’s an employee welfare (pension) scheme.
At present, all those units employing 20 or more employees are mandatorily covered under the social security schemes run by the EPFO.
EPFO has been established as a statutory body of Union Government that comes under the aegis of Ministry of Labour and Employment
It is one of the largest social security organizations in India in terms volume of financial transactions undertaken and number of covered beneficiaries.
NITI AAYOG WORKING ON NEW LIST OF SICK PSUS (GS 3 ECONOMY)
Government think-tank NITI Aayog is preparing another list of sick PSUs that can be privatized, its CEO Amitabh Kant said today
The Aayog has already recommended strategic divestment of 40 sick public sector units. And the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is working on the proposal
The government expects to raise Rs 80,000 crore from PSU disinvestment in the next fiscal, lower than the Rs 1 lakh crore raised this financial year (against a Budget estimate of ₹72,500 crore)
Policy of Disinvestment
The new economic policy initiated in July 1991 indicated the poor state of PSUs and called for disinvestment and privatization
In disinvestment, the government sells a part of the equity which is essentially less than 51% so that ownership and management rights can be hold by the Government itself (as opposed to privatization).
The rationale behind private ownership leads to better use of resources and their more efficient allocation
The following are the main objectives of disinvestment
- To reduce the financial burden on the Government
- To improve public finances
- To introduce, competition and market discipline
- To fund growth
- To encourage wider share of ownership
- To depoliticise non-essential services
BLOCKCHAIN TECH COULD HELP PREVENT FRAUDS LIKE AT PNB (GS 3 TECHNOLOGY)
The adoption of blockchain by India’s banks could help avert frauds such as the one at Punjab National Bank.
As frauds are on the rise, especially in public sector banks it calls for newer technologies. According to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) report, state-run banks have reported as many as 8,670 “loan fraud” cases totaling Rs 61,260 crore over the last five financial years up to March 31, 2017.
What is blockchain
Blockchain is a digitally distributed ledger system that records an asset’s movement and ensures point-to-point tracking of information on transactions that can map its journey. The fact that it is a distributed ledger, i.e., a decentralised system, makes transacting on blockchain transparent.
Most important here is that no single authority has full control over it
How blockchain can help
Blockchain can help the financial industry ensure transparent and immutable transactions. What happened at PNB was the result of numerous systemic failures to detect simple human malfeasance. These failures would have been easily spotted and prevented on blockchain
Blockchain technology can also be used to train various machine learning algorithms to identify fraudulent patterns
A few banks in India like ICICI Bank, South Indian Bank of India, State Bank of India have already started testing the waters with blockchain.
It is definitely time that Indian industries, especially banking, start warming up to using technology like blockchain. It is an ideal technology to ensure proof of integrity to the data and reduce incidents of fraud.