Today Current Affairs: 18th July 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bundelkhand Expressway at Kaitheri village in Orai tehsil of Jalaun district in Uttar Pradesh.
- The 296-kilometre long, four-lane Bundelkhand Expressway passes through seven districts, Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah.
- The 296-Km, four-lane expressway has been constructed at a cost of around 14,850 crore rupees.
- It can later be expanded upto six lanes as well.
- It extends from NH-35 at Gonda village near Bharatkoop in Chitrakoot district to near Kudrail village in Etawah district, where it merges with the Agra-Lucknow expressway.
- Work on the creation of industrial corridor in Banda and Jalaun districts, next to the Expressway, has already been started.
- Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that this expressway will help in establishing Jhansi and Chitrakoot node of Defence corridor.
- He said that Jalaun district is also on number one in completing Ghaarauni of the villages in Bundelkhand region.
S-400 Missile System:
US House of Representatives has passed a legislative amendment that approves a waiver to India against the punitive CAATSA sanctions for its purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia to help deter aggressors like China.
- Ro Khanna, the US representative from California’s 17th congressional district said, “The United States must stand with India in the face of escalating aggression from China.
- The US has already imposed sanctions on Turkey under the CAATSA for the purchase of a batch of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia.
- CAATSA authorises the US administration to impose sanctions on countries that purchase major defence hardware from Russia.
- Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
- It was passed in 2017 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea (2014) and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.
- Sanctions that may be imposed: prohibition on loans, prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance, prohibition on procurement of goods or services, denial of visas to persons.
- The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system developed in the 1990s.
- It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
- India signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia (in 2018) to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems.
Registration Of Press And Periodicals Bill, 2019:
Government will revive the Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill, 2019 for a new registration regime for newspapers that will include digital Media as well (the current registration framework doesn’t include digital news)
- It will replace the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 ( the act currently regulates the newspaper and printing press industry)
- It will enable the Central and State Government to formulate appropriate rules or regulations for issuing govt advertisements in newspapers, accreditation of newspapers and such other facilities for newspapers.
- Create a Press Registrar General along with laying down a simple system of registration of e-papers.
- It is mandatory for the editor of the periodical to be an Indian citizen.
- Allows anyone who is a citizen of India to bring out its publication
- Bill seeks to punish the concerned only with a fine (the previous bill had fine + imprisonment)
The power ministry has notified Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO) as the central nodal agency to set up and run a single window green energy system.
- POSOCO is CPSE under the Ministry of Power to monitor and ensure round-the-clock integrated operation of the Indian Power System in a reliable, efficient and secure manner thus serving a mission-critical activity.
- Green energy is that which comes from natural sources, such as the sun.
- Approval process will be quicker (POSOCO will approve or reject the applications for green power supply within 15 days)
Large consumers can now take power (under Green Open Access) without any limits
- Distribution companies can demand a supply of green power from generation companies.
- Uniform renewable purchase obligation on users under the open access norms, including captive consumers and commercial entities, in areas assigned to the discoms.
- Tariffs for green energy will be determined separately by an appropriate commission.
- The 2003 Electricity Act allowed consumers to buy power directly from the generators by using the grid under open access arrangement.
Build Operate Transfer Model:
For new projects, NHAI will prefer the build-operate-transfer model
- Under the BOT model, a private player will finance, build and operate a project for a period of time (20 or 30-year period).
- The developers will be recouping the investments by way of user charges or tolls charged from customers using the facility.
- The BOT (toll) model was the preferred model for road projects, accounting for 96% of all projects awarded in 2011-12.
- But this progressively reduced to nil.
- When the private company didn’t had incentives post-2011, the government shifted to the EPC and HAM models to plug the funding gap.
- The return to BOT could be a big positive for the sector.
Great Indian Bustard:
Only four Female Great Indian Bustards (GIB) are left in Gujarat.
- According to a 2018 count, India has fewer than 150 GIBs, of which 122 are in Rajasthan
Great Indian Bustard:
- It is the State bird of Rajasthan and is considered India’s most critically endangered bird.
- It is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
- Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- The bird is under constant threats due to collision/electrocution with power transmission lines, hunting (still prevalent in Pakistan), habitat loss and alteration as a result of widespread agricultural expansion, etc.
- Protection Status:
- International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List: Critically Endangered
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I
- Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule 1
Iran And Belarus To Be The Newest SCO Members:
Iran and Belarus are likely to be the two newest additions to the China and Russia-backed Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
- India will host the SCO summit next year, and Varanasi has been selected as the SCO region’s first “Tourism and Cultural Capital”.
- Iran to become a member and call on Belarus’s membership: Iran will become a full member after completing the formalities while Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states who follow the system of consensus in deciding admission of new members will take a call on Belarus’s application.
- First expansion after 2017: This is the first expansion of the SCO after India and Pakistan were admitted to the grouping in 2017.
- China and Russia are looking to frame the grouping as a counter to the West — particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- The significance of this round of expansion is that it shows SCO’s rising international influence and that the principles of the SCO charter are widely accepted, Secretary General SCO Zhang Ming said.
- The expansion of NATO is totally different as the SCO is a cooperative organization based on non-alignment and not targeting a third party, while NATO is based on Cold War thinking
- The SCO believes one should not build its security at the expense of other countries while NATO is creating new enemies to sustain its own existence.
- The SCO member states are thinking of how to adapt to the profound changes that the international situation is undergoing so as to make the international order fairer and more reasonable.
- Samarkand summit is expected to have agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors and a roadmap for local currency settlement among member states.