Daily Current Affairs : 11/2/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Open Acreage Licensing Policy
  2. Nirbhaya Fund
  3. Forest Rights Act 2016
  4. Periodic Table

1 . Open Acreage Licensing Policy

Context : India on Sunday offered 23 oil and gas and CBM blocks for bidding in the third round of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OLAP), expecting up to to $700 million of investment that it hoped will help raise domestic output and cut imports.

About OALP

  • Open Acreage Licensing Policy is one of the main component of Hydro Exploration Licensing Policy
  • Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) gives an option to a company looking for exploring hydrocarbons to select the exploration blocks on its own, without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
  • Under Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP), a bidder intending to explore hydrocarbons like oil and gas, coal bed methane, gas hydrate etc., may apply to the Government seeking exploration of any new block (not already covered by exploration). 
  • The Government will examine the Expression of Interest and justification. If it is suitable for award, Govt. will call for competitive bids after obtaining necessary environmental and other clearances. 
  • What distinguishes OALP from New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) of 1997 is that under OALP, oil and gas acreages will be available round the year instead of cyclic bidding rounds as in NELP. Potential investors need not have to wait for the bidding rounds to claim acreages.
  • Successful implementation of OALP requires building of National Data Repository on geo-scientific data.

About Hydro Exploration Licensing Policy

  • Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) is a policy adopted by Government of India o6 indicating the new contractual and fiscal model for award of hydrocarbon acreages towards exploration and production (E&P).
  • HELP replaces the present policy regime for exploration and production of oil and gas, known as New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), which has been in existence for 18 years.

Features of HELP

  • Uniform License: It provides for a uniform licensing system to cover all hydrocarbons such as oil, gas, coal bed methane etc. under a single licensing framework, instead of the present system of issuing separate licenses for each kind of hydrocarbons.
  • Open Acreages: It gives the option to a hydrocarbon company to select the exploration blocks throughout the year without waiting for the formal bid round from the Government.
  • Revenue Sharing Model:  The earlier contracts were based on the concept of profit sharing where profits are shared between Government and the contractor after recovery of cost. Under the profit sharing methodology, it became necessary for the Government to scrutinize cost details of private participants and this led to many delays and disputes. Under the new regime, the Government will not be concerned with the cost incurred and will receive a share of the gross revenue from the sale of oil, gas etc. Bidders will be required to quote revenue share in their bids and this will be a key parameter for selecting the winning bid.  They will quote a different share at two levels of revenue called “lower revenue point” and “higher revenue point”.  Revenue share for intermediate points will be calculated by linear interpolation.  The bidder giving the highest net present value of revenue share to the Government, as per transparent methodology, will get the maximum marks under this parameter.
  • Marketing and Pricing Freedom has been granted, subject to a ceiling price limit, for new gas production from Deepwater, Ultra Deepwater and High Pressure-High Temperature Areas. The policy provides marketing and pricing freedom to the gas production from existing discoveries which are yet to commence commercial production as on 1.1.2016 as well as for future discoveries. Considering the imperfections in gas markets in India, and to protect the interests of the consuming sector, a ceiling based on the landed cost of the alternate fuels has been imposed.

2 . Nirbhaya Fund

Context : A parliamentary panel, headed by Congress leader P. Chidambaram, has taken strong exception to the utilisation of the Nirbhaya Fund for the construction of buildings, saying such allocations defeat the very purpose of the project — that of safety for women.

About Nirbhaya Fund

  • Nirbhaya Fund’ has been created to ensure dignity and safety of girl children and women.
  • Nirbhaya Fund was set up with a corpus of Rs. 1000 Cr. during 2013-14. Further, an amount of Rs 1000 Cr. was provided in 2014-15 and for the financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18, an amount of Rs. 550 cr. (each financial year) was provided under the Nirbhaya Fund.  The corpus transferred to the Public Account for the Nirbhaya fund upto 2017-18 is Rs. 3100 Cr.
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is the nodal authority which can be approached by various Ministries/Departments with the proposals/schemes, to be funded from ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ targeted to strengthen the safety and security of women in the country.
  • Ministry of WCD would appraise these schemes to decide their suitability to qualify for getting funds from the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’.
  • Ministry of WCD shall forward the suitable proposals to Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) for necessary budgetary allocations in the respective Demands.  DEA shall appraise the proposal on financial and other aspects to avoid any duplicity of schemes/Government efforts to strengthen safety and security of women in the country.
  • Budget Division (DEA), with the approval of Finance Minister would approve the funding of schemes from the fund and would also be the nodal Ministry for any accretion into and withdrawal from the fund.
  • The respective line Ministries/Departments shall take necessary action for approval of SFC/EFC/PIB and Cabinet for implementation of the scheme on the ground.
  • Ministry of WCD shall be the nodal Ministry to review and monitor the progress of these schemes in conjunction with the line Ministries/Departments.   
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing three schemes under Nirbhaya Fund, namely, One Stop Centre (OSC), Women Helpline(WHL) and Mahila Police Volunteer.

3 . Forest Rights Act 2016

Context : The Odisha State Food Commission has again asked the State government to expedite implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, that would help ensure food and nutritional security to the vulnerable section of society.

About Forest Rights Act 2006

  • The Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill, 2005 seeks to recognise forest rights of forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDSTs) who have been occupying the land before October 25, 1980.
  • An FDST nuclear family would be entitled to the land currently occupied subject to a maximum of 2.5 hectares. The land may be allocated in all forests including core areas of National Parks and Sanctuaries.
  • In core areas, an FDST would be given provisional land rights for five years, within which period he would be relocated and compensated. If the relocation does not take place within five years, he gets permanent right over the land.
  • The Bill provides 12 rights of FDSTs over a variety of subjects. The rights include: (a) living in the forest for habitation or for self cultivation for livelihood, (b) community rights (c) right to own, use or dispose of minor forest produce, (d) conversion of forest village to revenue village, (e) conversion of pattas or leases issued by any local authority or any state government on forest land to titles, and (f) other traditional customary rights.
  • Customary rights exclude hunting, trapping or extracting body parts of any wild animal. FDSTs also cannot indulge in any activity that adversely affects wild animals, forests and the biodiversity in the local area and need to ensure that adjoining catchments areas and water sources are adequately protected.
  • The Gram Sabha is empowered to initiate the process of determining the extent of forest rights that may be given to each eligible individual or family.

4 . Periodic Table

Context : Periodic Table has turned 150 years old in 2019.

About Periodic Table

  • The periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular method of displaying the chemical elements, first devised in 1869 by the Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev.
  • The main value of the periodic table is the ability to predict the chemical properties of an element based on its location on the table.
  • It should be noted that the properties vary differently when moving vertically along the columns of the table, than when moving horizontally along the rows.
  • The table organizes all chemical elements by the number of protons in a given atom and other properties. There are seven rows, called periods, and 18 columns, called groups, in the table. Elements in the same group share similar properties. Those in the same period have the same number of atomic orbitals.
  • International Union of Pure Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) maintains the periodic table
  • UNESCO has launched the International Year Of The Periodic Table to celebrate 150th Year

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