US to create world’s largest protected marine area off Hawaii
United States is going to create world’s largest protected marine reserve area named as Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the Hawaiian coast. It will be created by expansion of present national monument off Hawaii. US President Barck Obama will use his power to expand this national monument.
- With this expansion, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will now span to 582,578 square miles. Thus, it quadruples in the size from present size. The expansion will further help to protect more than 7,000 species and improves an ecosystem dealing with ocean acidification and warming.
- It will permanently protect coral reefs and underwater marine habitats which are home to marine species, including rare whales and sea turtles. The monument was first designated by the US President George W. Bush in 2006 as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. It was renamed later in honour of Papahanaumoku and Wakea, the husband-and-wife Hawaiian gods of earth and sky.
- In 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had designated the area a world heritage site.
Union Government constitutes Committee to suggest steps to promote card payments
The Union Finance Ministry has constituted 11 members high-level committee to suggest steps to promote card payments with an aim to discourage cash transactions. The 11-member committee will be headed by Principle Adviser for social sector in NITI Aayog and former Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal.
- Recommend various measures to incentivise transactions through cards and digital means, e.g., through tax incentives/rebates, introduction of cash back/lottery.
- Review the payments system in the country and recommend measures for encouraging digital payments. Study and recommend need for changes, if any, in the regulatory mechanism under various laws, relevant for the purpose of promotion of payments by digital modes.
- Study feasibility of creating a payments history of all card and digital payments and ensure that merchants and consumers can leverage the data to access.
- Study and recommend ways for leveraging Unique Identification Number (UID) or any other proof of identity for authentication of card and digital transactions.
- Study introduction of single window system of payment gateway to accept all types of cards and digital payments of government receipts. Look into the scope of integration of all government systems like Public Finance Management System, Bharatkosh, PayGov and eKuber. Identify regulatory bottlenecks and suggest changes. Study global best practices in payments and identify possible market failures along with suitable interventions.
Maharashtra Government unveils Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway projectMaharashtra Government has unveiled ambitious Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project in Mumbai. The 46,000-crore rupee ambitious project will create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state.
- Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway project will be implemented by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The project aims to create state-of-the art road connectivity within a period of three years and give a fillip to investment in the state.
- It will be a six-lane super communication highway covering a distance of 750 km through 10 districts. It will connect entire breadth of Maharashtra It will require 9000 hectares of land and will be carried out in the Land Pooling model with farmers being made partners and some percentage of developed land given back to them.
- It will have facilities like trauma centres, electronic toll points, CCTV cameras, two lanes of service roads, utility shifting, bypass. Besides, it will also have other structures will be installed to enhance operational and safety standards.
Pakistan to host 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad
Pakistan is going to host the 19th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit in Islamabad (capital city) and Murree on November 9 and 10, 2016. It will be the meeting of the head of states or head of government of the eight SAARC countries. Besides, nine observers of SAARC have also been invited to attend the Summit. The 19th SAARC Summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in November 2014 with the theme Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity. It had focused on enhancing connectivity between the member states for easier transit-transport across the region
- SAARC is a regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia. It promotes development of economical and regional integration. As of 2015, SAARC member countries compromise of 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 9.12% of the global economy. Member Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan (joined in 2007). Nine observer states: Australia, China, European Union, Japan, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and United States.
- Formation History: The idea for the SAARC was proposed by Ziaur Rahman, the then President of Bangladesh on May 2, 1980. The seven founding countries had met for first time in April 1981 and then in 1985, they created SAARC Charter. The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka (Bangladesh) in December 1985. The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu (Nepal) on 16 January 1987.
Here is a list of last four articles on Current Affairs and the Monthly Bullet on Current Affairs for SSC