- CCI to probe Google’s ‘abuse’ of position
The issue in news
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a detailed probe against Google for ‘abuse’ of its dominant position, primarily with regard to its digital payments application GPay.
Competition Commission of India (CCI):
- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act.
- It was duly constituted in March 2009.
- It is a statutory body responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002 throughout India.
- The following are the objectives of the Commission.
- To prevent practices having an adverse effect on competition.
- To promote and sustain competition in markets.
- To protect the interests of consumers.
- To ensure freedom of trade.
- Commercial coal mining
The issue in news
States to garner Rs. 6,656 Crores of annual revenue from the nation’s first commercial coal mining auction.
- The Prime Minister had launched India’s first auction of coal mines for commercial mining in June 2020.
- Out of 38 mines put on auction, financial bids were received for 19 mines and the success of the auction remained at 50%.
- The average success rate of the previous 10 tranches of coal auctions remained at about 30% as only 35 mines could be auctioned out of 116 mines put on auction during the last 10 tranches.
- Almost 65% of bidders were from the ‘non-end user’ category like Real Estate, Infrastructure, Pharma, etc., which is a positive sentiment shared by the industry after the removal of the ‘End Use’ criteria from the bidding process.
- 42 companies participated in the auction, out of which 40 were private players.
- Out of these successfully auctioned 19 mines, 11 are opencast, 5 are underground mines and the remaining 3 are a mix of underground and opencast mines.
- These mines are spread over the five states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra and have a consolidated Peak Rated Capacity (PRC) of 51 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA).
- India Mobile Congress 2020
The issue in news
The Minister of State for Communications, Education and Electronics & Information Technology announced the fourth edition of the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020, through a video message.
About the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020:
- The IMC 2020 is scheduled to be held in December virtually on account of the pandemic.
- The event is jointly organized by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
- Delegates from more than 50 countries will participate in the event.
- The theme for IMC 2020 is “Inclusive Innovation – Smart I Secure I Sustainable”.
- The event will witness the coming together of some of the top industry stalwarts, regulators and policymakers from across the globe.
- It also includes participation from various ministries, telco CEOs, global CEOs and experts in SG broadcasting, SG enterprise solutions, OTT, and sustainable futurists.
- Considered the largest digital technology forum in Asia, IMC has established itself as a leading platform for bringing together the industry, government, academia, and other ecosystem players to discuss, deliberate and display the latest industry technology trends around major themes such as SG, Artificial Intelligence (Al), Internet of things (loT), Data Analytics, Cloud and Edge Computing, Open source tech, data privacy and cybersecurity, Smart Cities and automation.
- COAI was constituted in 1995 as a registered, non-governmental society.
- COAI’s vision is to establish India as the global leader of mobile communications infrastructure, products and services and achieving a national teledensity of 100 per cent, including broadband.
- The association is also dedicated to the advancement of modern communication and towards delivering the benefits of innovative and affordable mobile communication services to the people of India.
- Mission Shakti
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Defence Minister unveils A-Sat Missile Model in DRDO Bhawan.
- ‘Mission Shakti’ was India’s first-ever Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile Test successfully conducted in March 2019 from Dr AP J Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha, where a fast-moving Indian orbiting target satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was neutralised with pinpoint accuracy.
- This made India the fourth nation in the world with the capability to defend its assets in outer space.
Mission Shakti – Background
- On March 27, 2019, an anti-missile satellite system that was developed by India’s R&D organization, DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) was tested to destroy a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit. The test was called Mission Shakti.
Why was Mission Shakti conducted?
- India like other nations has her space assets that need to be protected and safeguarded. Also, India has space programmes that are rapidly growing. The Mission Shakti was conducted to demonstrate India’s capability to interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space-based on complete indigenous technology.
- It is referred to as a Low-Earth Orbit that is closer to Earth. The altitude of LEO is less than 2000 km. Most of the outer space man-made objects are found in LEO. This orbit is chosen as for a satellite to be placed here requires the lowest amount of energy.
- It stands for Anti-Satellite Weapon System which, as the name suggests, is used to destroy satellites. It is not a new venture. In world history, in the times of the Cold War, the US has used A-SAT. Also, China in 2007, has used its A-SAT.
Note: No country has used an A-SAT against any other nation.
- 13th Urban Mobility India Conference
The issue in news
The 13th Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference inaugurated.
- The annual Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference and Expo is a flagship event held under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.
- The genesis of UMI is from the National Urban Transport Policy of the Government of India, 2006 (NUTP), which lays a very strong emphasis on building capabilities at the State and city levels to address the problems associated with urban transport and undertake the task of developing sustainable urban transport systems.
India is witnessing the arrival of a new generation of mobility discourses, which are nuanced enough to provide sustainable urban mobility.
- The Ministry has issued a detailed advisory, as to how the nation needs to move ahead in these testing times.
It rests on three pillars:
- Promotion of public transport system
- Leveraging technological advancements
- Penetration of NMT (non-motorised transport) systems in the urban transport paradigm
- Various studies show that about 16-57% of urban commuters are pedestrian and about 30-40% of commuters use bicycles in the country depending on the size of the city.
- Considering this as an opportunity, elevating the priority of these modes gives travelers another private vehicle alternative, which is clean, safe, secured particularly if it is integrated with other modes and affordable for all.
- Non-motorised transport will occupy the prime, non-negotiable, position in every form of urban mobility discourse and intervention.
- Saffron cultivation
The issue in news
The Saffron bowl of India extends to the North East.
- The North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) has undertaken a pilot project to explore the feasibility of growing saffron in the North East region.
- Plants from seeds transported from Kashmir to Sikkim and acclimatized there are now flowering in Yangyang in the Southern part of the North-East state.
- The Botany and Horticulture department of the Sikkim Central University carried out tests to understand the soil and actual pH conditions of Yangyang of Sikkim and found it comparable to saffron growing places of Kashmir.
- The project also focused on post-harvest management and value addition of saffron so that quality saffron drying and efficient post-harvest processing can improve saffron recovery, thereby improving its production.
- Saffron production has long been restricted to a limited geographical area in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
- Pampore region, in India, commonly known as the Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron production, followed by Budgam, Srinagar, and Kishtiwar districts.
- Saffron has traditionally been associated with the famous Kashmiri cuisine.
- Its medicinal values were considered as part of the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir.
- As saffron growing was confined to very specific areas in Kashmir, its production remained limited.
- Though the National Mission on Saffron focused on several measures to improve its farming, the measures were still limited to the specified areas of Kashmir.
- High Biodiversity in Ganga River
The issue in news
In the survey of the Ganga River the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has found that 49% of the river has high biodiversity.
It includes increased sightings, of the Gangetic Dolphin and Otters, and therefore indicates reduced pollution levels and a healthier state of the river (the main river without its tributaries).
- The study was conducted by the WII on behalf of National Mission for Clean Ganga undertaken by the Ministry of Jal Shakti. The first phase of the survey was held in 2017-19.
- Earlier, there were beliefs and findings that certain areas of Ganga had no biodiversity. However, this has been proved wrong by the study.
- According to the study, the entire river has some biodiversity. 10% of high biodiversity areas are Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar, Hastinapur wildlife sanctuary.
- The study has found key semi-aquatic and aquatic species such as Gharials, Gangetic Dolphins, Otters, Turtles and several species of water birds. Also nesting colonies of Indian Skimmer. Several species that had disappeared 80 years ago have now resurfaced.
High Biodiversity Zones
- The high Biodiversity zones of the Ganges has been divided into six zones. They are Makdumpur to Narora, Devprayag to Rishikesh, Bhitaura to Ghazipur, Sahibganj to Rajmahal, Chhapra to Kahalgaon and Baharampur to Barackpore.
- According to the study the major threats of biodiversity of rive Ganges are sand mining, construction of dams and barrages, bank alteration loss of suitable habitat conditions.
- The United Nations Environment Programme says that the decline of biodiversity of freshwater species is the highest of all the other species. The highest loss of biodiversity was reported in the Indian subcontinent.