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Current Affairs – 29-12-2017

1. HYDEL PROJECT: NGT WANTS NEUTRAL PANEL

  • The National Green Tribunal asked the Union Environment Ministry to set up a “neutral” panel to objectively consider conflicting recommendations that have stalled the 2,000-MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project on the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border and come up with an “independent opinion” in three months. The NGT told that it was the only way to break the six-year logjam that has stalled a project vital to the “national interest.”
  • Conceived as the country’s largest hydel project, Subansiri lower dam construction began in 2005 and over Rs 6,000 crore was already spent by NHPC Ltd before work was suspended due to local opposition in 2011.

2. CENTRE PLANS ITS OWN NAVIGATION PLATFORM

  • The Centre is planning to start its own commercial mapping and navigation platform to plug potential gaps existing in services being offered by private players such as Google Maps and MapmyIndia.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has asked the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to conduct a feasibility study which would be followed by an exercise of mapping all Indian roads.
  • Currently, the government operates a platform, Bharatmaps that offers detailed maps of India but is devoid of a navigation service. Bharatmaps is operated by state-owned National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • Apart from navigation, digital maps today are being increasingly used as layers for other location-based businesses such as online taxi hailing apps, logistics, and e-commerce.

3. MORE SCIENTISTS COMING BACK NOW

  • Figures from the Department of Science and Technology show that number of Indian-origin scientists working internationally and returning to India between 2012 and 2017 has jumped 70% from that from 2007 to 2012.
  • This is primarily due to schemes such as the Ramanujan Fellowship Scheme and the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Faculty Scheme and the Ramalingaswami re-entry fellowship scheme coordinated by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • These schemes allow “high-calibre” Indian researchers working abroad to relocate to Indian institutes and universities of their respective interest and domain.
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