ZONAL COUNCILS

CONTEXT

The 23rd meeting of Eastern Zonal Council took place in Kolkata, which has been chaired by Union Home Minister.

ZONAL COUNCIL

  • Zonal Councils were created under Part 3 of the State Re-organisation Act 1956. Section 15 of the States Re-orgnization Act 1956 provides that there shall be a Zonal Council for each of the five zones of the country.

  • At present there are five Zonal Councils namely – Northern Zonal Council, Central Zonal Council, Eastern Zonal Council, Western Zonal Council and Southern Zonal Council.

FUNCTIONS OF ZONAL COUNCILS

  • They are an advisory body who may discuss issues of common interest and advice Central Government and Government of each state to act on such matters.

  • Zonal Councils may give recommendation with regards to –

    • Matters in the field of economic and social planning

    • Matters concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-state transport.

    • Any matter arising out of the reorganisation of the States under this Act.

COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE COMPETITION ACT

CONTEXT

Recently government have constituted a Competition Law Review committee under the chairmanship of Shri Injeti Srinivas to review the Competition Act

BACKGROUND

  • The Competition Act was passed in the year 2002 and the Competition Commission of India was set up in pursuance of the same.

  • The Commission started functioning from 2009 and has contributed immensely towards the development of competition and fair play practices in the Indian market.

  • During the past nine years the size of the Indian Economy has grown immensely, and India is today amongst the top five Economies in the World and poised to forge ahead further.

  • In this context, it is essential that Competition Law is strengthened, and re-calibrated to promote best practices which result in the citizens of this country achieving their aspirations and value for money.

Composition of Committee:

The committee has a chairman and eight other members who hails from Government sector and private sector.

Function of the Committee

  • The committee shall work upon these following areas:

    • It will review competition Act in keeping mind changing business environment and make necessary changes.

    • It will investigate best international practice regarding competition and will try to introduce them as suitable to Indian Business.

    • It will further study other regulation and government policies which overlap with competition Act.

VAYOSHRESHTHA SAMMAN 2018

CONTEXT

The Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu conferred the “Vayoshreshtha Samman-2018”.

ABOUT THE AWARD

  • Vayoshreshtha Sammans is conferred every year since 2005.

  • It is awarded to eminent citizens and institutions in recognition of their outstanding services to elderly people especially indigent senior citizens.

RASHTRIYA VAYOSHRI YOJANA  (RVY) CAMP

CONTEXT

Recently Assistive Aids and Appliances distributed to Senior Citizens Under 58th Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana Camp, a scheme of Social Justice & Empowerment Department for Senior Citizen under BPL category

Background

  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana was launched on 1st April, 2017 in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

  • Under this scheme the Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens will be distributed in Camp mode. It is a Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Central Government.

  • The Scheme will be implemented through the sole implementing agency – Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

  • The Scheme duration is for period of the 3 years ie. upto 2019-20.

  • Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age-related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability will be provided with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.

THE COMPREHENSIVE CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM (CCIT)

CONTEXT

In recently concluded United Nation General Assembly session India persuaded world organisation to overcome geo-political differences and adopt CCIT.

What is CCIT?

  • It is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters’ access to funds, arms, and safe havens.

  • It will give legal framework to prosecute terrorist acts.

Objective of CCIT

  • To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law

  • To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps

  • To prosecute all terrorists under special laws

  • To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.

Issues with CCIT

  • Ratification of the CCIT remains deadlocked, mainly due to opposition from three main blocs – the US, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), and the Latin American countries.

  • All three have objections over the “definition of terrorism” (the most divisive of the issues) and seek exclusions to safeguard their strategic interests.

  • For example, the OIC wants exclusion of national liberation movements, especially in the context of Israel-Palestinian conflict.

  • The US wanted the draft to exclude acts committed by military forces of states during peacetime.

GLOBAL COUNTER TERRORISM FORUM TERRORIST TRAVEL INITIATIVE

Context

The United States and Morocco launched the GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly

What it will do?

  • It will bring together stakeholders to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watch listing and screening tools.

  • It is aiming to stop terrorist travel altogether.

12TH ASIAS EUROPE MEETING SUMMIT (ASEM12)

CONTEXT

The 12th ASEM Summit (ASEM12) was successfully held in Brussels, Belgium.

ASIA-EUROPE MEETING (ASEM)

  • The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an Asian–European political dialogue forum to enhance relations and various forms of cooperation between its partners.

  • ASEM currently has 53 partners: 51 countries and 2 regional organizations. The countries are Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, India, UK, Vietnam etc.

  • The main principles of ASEM are informality, flexibility, mutual respect in the spirit of consensus, equal partnership and mutual benefit.

ATAL INNOVATION MISSION

CONTEXT

Recently Atal Innovation Mission & SIRIUS sign MoU for promotion of innovative cooperation between students of India & Russia

Objectives of the MoU

  • To remove cultural and language barriers between students of Russia and India.

  • Share the best practices in the promotion of educational, scientific, innovative achievements, promote innovative cooperation.

  • Search and develop talented youth of both count

  • Tries fostering a knowledge driven innovation ecosystem in both the countries.

GLOBAL SKILL PARKS

CONTEXT

Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sign $ 150 Million Loan Agreement to support India’s First Global Skills Park in State of Madhya Pradesh.

Details

  • The new GSP campus, which will be established in Bhopal will consist of core Advanced Training Institutes including the Center for Occupational Skills Acquisition and the Center for Advanced Agricultural Training as well as other support services focusing on entrepreneurship, training of trainers, and skill-related research.

  • The campus will have training facilities focusing on skills for manufacturing, service, and advanced agricultural jobs, benefitting about 20,000 trainees and trainers.

  • The Project will also help in modernizing 10 industrial training institutes across the state by renovating training infrastructure and upgrading skills courses to align with industry and market needs.

COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE COMPETITION ACT

CONTEXT

Recently government have constituted a Competition Law Review committee under the chairmanship of Shri Injeti Srinivas to review the Competition Act

Background

  • The Competition Act was passed in the year 2002 and the Competition Commission of India was set up in pursuance of the same.

  • The Commission started functioning from 2009 and has contributed immensely towards the development of competition and fair play practices in the Indian market.

  • During the past nine years the size of the Indian Economy has grown immensely, and India is today amongst the top five Economies in the World and poised to forge ahead further.

  • In this context, it is essential that Competition Law is strengthened, and re-calibrated to promote best practices which result in the citizens of this country achieving their aspirations and value for money.

Composition of Committee:

The committee has a chairman and eight other members who hails from Government sector and private sector.

Function of the Committee

  • The committee shall work upon these following areas:

    • It will review competition Act in keeping mind changing business environment and make necessary changes

    • It will investigate best international practice regarding competition and will try to introduce them as suitable to Indian Business

    • It will further study other regulation and government policies which overlap with competition Act

TASK FORCE FOR CLOSING SKILL GAPS IN INDIA

CONTEXT

A task force was launched to develop an action plan to tackle skill gap and to prepare workforce for future jobs.

Who launched it?

  • It was launched by Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister in collaboration of World Economic Forum.

Function

  • The task force will bring together leaders from business, Government, civil society, and the education and training sectors to accelerate the future-proofing of education and training systems in the country

  • It is an important step to accelerate the impact on skill development.

DIGI YATRA POLICY

Context

Civil aviation ministry came up with a policy on biometric based digital processing of passengers at airports.

Details

  • It is a Facial Recognition based passenger processing which is a common standard being adopted the world over.

  • It will have a centralised registration system for passengers to provide a seamless experience right from the entry to the airport upto boarding the aircraft

Objective of Scheme

  • Enhance passenger experience and provide a simple and easy experience to all air travellers.

  • Achieve better throughput through existing infrastructure using “Digital Framework”.

  • Result in lower cost operations.

  • Digitize current manual processes and to bring better efficiencies

  • Enhance security standards and improve current system performance.

GLOBAL RE INVEST

CONTEXT

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), organized the 2nd Global RE-INVEST

Background

  • The 2nd Global RE-INVEST traces it genesis in the success of RE-INVEST 2015 and provided an international forum to establish players as well as new segments of investors and entrepreneurs to engage, ideate and innovate.

Details

  • It hosted first assembly International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • It hosted second assembly of Indian Ocean Rim Association

  • RE-INVEST is a global platform to explore strategies for development and deployment of renewables.

UDYAM ABHILASHA

Context

On 150th birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign, Udyam Abhilasha was launched by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)

What will it do?

  • The campaign would create and strengthen cadre of more than 800 trainers to provide entrepreneurship training to the aspiring youths across these districts thus encouraging them to enter the admired segment of entrepreneurs.

Objective

  • To promote entrepreneurship among youths

  • To train youths through digital medium

  • Special focus on women to train them to become entrepreneur

  • To avail credit to participants to set up their own enterprise

Key Highlights

  • SIDBI has a partnership with to implement the campaign

  • SIDBI also made association with NABARD, NBFCs, SFBs, district industries centres, state governments who became a part of this campaign and ensured multi-fold impact

  • CSC Village level Entrepreneur played an important role for these aspiring entrepreneurs by way of making aware them about many government scheme and initiative such that Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana and educate them on business literacy

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)

  • It was established in 1990 under an Act of the Parliament

  • operates under the Department of Financial Services, Government of India.

  • It is the Principal Financial Institution for the Promotion, Financing, Development and Coordination of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector.

  • it meets the financial and developmental needs of the MSME sector with a Credit+ approach to make it strong, vibrant and globally competitive.

  • SIDBI, under its revamped strategy SIDBI 2.0, has adopted the theme of ease of access to MSEs and being Impact Multiplier & Digital Aggregator. Headquarter is in Lucknow

INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF MILLETS’ TO BE CELEBRATED IN 2023

Context

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has accepted India’s proposal to celebrate ‘International Year of Millets’ in 2013.

What are Millets?

  • Millets are small-seeded grasses often termed as nutri-cereal or dryland-cereal.

  • It is low water consuming crops.

  • Ragi, sorghum, pearl millet, small millet, etc come under this category.

Benefits of Millets

  • It has higher levels of protein, balanced amino acid profile crude fibre and various minerals.

  • It provides nutritional security, especially to children and women.

  • It helps to tackle Anaemia, B-complex vitamin deficiency, pellagra.

  • It also helps in tackling health issues like obesity, diabetes as they are gluten-free, have low-glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.

  • Adapted to low or no purchased inputs and to harsh environment of semi-arid tropics, they are the backbone for dry land agriculture.

  • It can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs.

PURCHASING MANAGERS INDEX (PMI)

CONTEXT

Recently, Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI strengthened slightly in September to 52.2 up from 51.7 in August.

WHAT IS PURCHASING MANAGERS INDEX?

  • It is an indicator of economic health for manufacturing and services sectors. It provides information about current business conditions to company decision makers, analysts and purchasing managers.

  • The Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in over 400 industrial companies.

  • The manufacturing sector is divided into eight broad categories: Basic Metals, Chemicals & Plastics, Electrical & Optical, Food & Drink, Mechanical Engineering, Textiles & Clothing, Timber & Paper and Transport. 

PARKER SOLAR PROBE (PSP)

CONTEXT

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe successfully completed a flyby of Venus at a distance of about 2,415 kilometres during its first gravity assist from the planet.

DETAILS

  • Parker Solar Probe was launched in August 2018 and will be the first spacecraft to fly into low solar corona.

  • It aims to

    • Trace the flow energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind

    • Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind

    • Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles

  • PSP will be the first spacecraft to fly into the low solar corona and asses the dynamics of Sun’s coronal plasma and magnetic field

  • It serves as the main component of NASA’s Outer Planet/Solar Probe program.

  • The findings of PSP will help the researchers to improve their forecasts of space weather events, which have the potential to damage satellites and harm astronauts on orbit, disrupt radio communications etc.

GAGANYAAN 2022

CONTEXT

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will send an astronaut to space in the year 2022.

WHAT IS GAGANYAAN 2022?

  • It is India’s first manned space flight which will put three persons into space for seven days. It will be put in low earth orbit of 300 to 400 km.

  • This mission will serve as the basis of Indian Human Spaceflight Program.

  • GSLV Mk III will be used to launch Gaganyaan. This mission will put Indian at the fourth place after USA, Russia and China to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission.

  • The spacecraft will be designed by Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL).

  • The CREW module Atmospheric Re-Entry Experiment (CARE) which has already been successfully tested by ISRO is a crucial part of Gaganyaan 2022.

WESTERN GHATSLocation-map-of-Western-Ghats.png

CONTEXT

Central Government has recently issued fourth draft for earmarking eco-sensitive area on Western Ghats.

Background

  • A draft notification regarding ecologically sensitive areas, issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF), has been delayed for over a year due to on-going negotiations between the Centre and the states.

  • The initial draft, in March 2014, which was to be finalised in 545 days or by September 2015, has been repeatedly pushed.

  • The notice earmarked 60,000 square kilometres, or 37 per cent of the Ghats, as ecologically sensitive. However, it was protested by the states, especially Kerala, as ESAs restrict developmental activity.

  • The Centre has since decided to accept recommendations from each state government.

  • In the recent notification government has notified 5700 sq km as ESA. This will ensure that the mining, quarying, thermal power plants etc. a stop.

  • The new notification has let down the recommendations put forward by the Gadgil Panel report.

ABOUT WESTERN GHATS

  • Western Ghats are a continuous range of mountain which runs over 1600km along the coast of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

  • Western Ghats are locally known by various names such as Sahyadri in Maharashtra, Nilgiri Hills in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Anaimalai Hills and Cardamom Hills in Kerala.

  • The average elevation of Western Ghats is 1500m which increases from North to South. The highest point of Western Ghats is Anaimudi which is located on the Anaimalai hills of the Western Ghats followed by Dodabetta on Nilgiri.

ECOLOGY OF WESTERN GHATS

  • They are one of the four biodiversity hotspots in India other being Eastern Himalayas. They are also considered to be one of the most important natural heritage sites in the world and figures in UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • It is considered to be one of the most important bio-geographic zones of India, as it is one of the richest centres of endemism. The extent of endemism is high amongst amphibian and reptile species.

  • Due to varied topography and microclimatic regimes, some areas within the region are considered to be active zones of speciation. They host over 400 species and seven distinct vegetation types such as evergreen forests, dry deciduous and scrub forest, shola grasslands etc.

  • Western Ghats have shrunk in space in recent times because of loss of species and degrading habitats – this might affect rainfall patterns, river flow, water supply and climate of the country. Therefore its conservation is a must.

THREATS TO WESTERN GHATS

  • According to an estimated between 1920 – 1990 around 40% of the original vegetation has been lost.

  • Western Ghats are under stress due to mining – iron ore mining is threatening ecosystems, damaging top soil, destroying farms, polluting rivers etc.

  • Drop in Genetic variability in Plants due to decrease in natural resistance caused by constricted gene pool.

  • Increasing Human settlements, livestock grazing, over-exploitation of forest products.

  • Pollution – It was found that level of mercury in water was high which can be aggregated to unchecked agrochemicals from tea and coffee plantations.

For Conservation of Western Ghats Committee Reports have been released as mentioned below –

MADHAV GADGIL COMMITTEE

  • Government had appointed an expert committee headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil in 2011. It recommended that all of the Western Ghats be declared as the ESA with only limited development allowed in graded zones.

  • Committee Recommendations –

    • It recommended making entire Western Ghats an Ecologically Sensitive Area because of its rich biodiversity and its ecosystem services like irrigation and drinking water to people.

    • It advocated zoning of ecological sensitive area of the Western Ghats in three layers –

      • Most significant area as Ecologically Sensitive Zone I (ESZ I)

      • Moderately significant area as Ecologically Sensitive Zone II (ESZ II)

      • Least significant area as Ecologically Sensitive Zone III (ESZ III)

    • Zone 3 was given considerable flexibilities in infrastructure. By this Gadgil asked to protect about 64% of Western Ghats.

    • Local self-government should have the authority to regulate and encourage activities in each zone.

    • The parameters to be used to identify the Ecologically sensitive zones would be –

      • Biological forces like richness and rarity of species, ecological resilience etc.

      • Cultural and Historical significance of the area

      • Geo-climatic features such as slope, aspect, altitude, precipitation etc.

      • Hazard vulnerability

      • Stakeholders valuation

      • Origin of rivers, contiguous habitats to national parks and sanctuaries etc.

    • The activities to be banned in Ecologically sensitive zones would be GM crops, SEZs, change of land use, thermal plants, sand mining, new dams, polluting industries, no railways lines, restricted tourist activities, phase out of pesticides etc.

KASTURIRANGAN COMMITTEE

  • A committee headed by K. Kasturirangan recommended that only about 60,000 sq km or about 37% of the WG be declared as ESA. This was a significant reduction from that of the Gadgil committee.

  • The Committee banned mining, quarrying and sand mining in the Ecologically sensitive area.

  • It differentiated between cultural and natural landscape.

    • 41% of the Western Ghats is natural landscape having low population impact.

    • Remaining 59% is cultural landscape dominated by human settlement and agricultural fields.

  • The committee also recommended that the economic options should not be forbid and should promote more greener and sustainable practices in business and livelihood practices. It provided for –

    • Supervising forests and bettering their productivity to ascertain growth and economical gains for economic gains for communities.

    • Integrating forest accounts into state and national economic assessment

    • Promoting sustainable agriculture

    • Encouraging ecotourism for local benefits.

  • The Committee also suggested for establishment of a Decision Support and Monitoring Centre for Geospatial Analysis and Policy Support in Western Ghats. It will support government in decision making on policy reforms.

  • It also recommended strict adhering to Forest Rights Act, 2006 while implementing any project.

NATIONAL DOLPHIN RESEARCH CENTRE (NDRC)

CONTEXT

NDRC will be set up by the Government on the banks of River Ganga in the Patna University.

GANGETIC RIVER DOLPHIN

  • The Ganges river dolphin, or susu inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli Sangu river systems of Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

  • It is classified under endangered category by the IUCN and is protected under the Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act.

  • The Gangetic river dolphin is one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world. The other three are found in the Yangtze River, the Indus River in Pakistan and the Amazon river.

  • The Gangetic river species is almost completely blind and finds its prey using echoes i.e. sonar to navigate, feed, escape danger, find mates, breed, nurse babies and play.

  • They face serious threat to their life because of increasing level of industrial effluents, sewage and pesticides, construction of dams etc.

  • Government has also launched Ganges River Dolphin Conservation Program in 1997 to build scientific database of their population status and also study their habitat quality of the dolphin’s distribution range.

  • The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, India’s only dolphin sanctuary, spread over 50 km along the Ganges and is located in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district.

CII AND UN ENVIRONMENT SIGN MOU

CONTEXT

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the UN Environment has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for consistent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

DETAILS OF THE MOU

  • The MoU will provide the framework for cooperation on the issues such as environment, climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and management, water sanitation, smart cities and urban infrastructure.

  • #Un-plastic initiative has been planned under the MoU under which industry will be called to action to curb plastic pollution.

SOIL MOISTURE FORECAST

CONTEXT

IIT Gandhinagar and Indian Meteorological Department for the first time have come up with Soil Moisture Forecast which will provide a country-wide soil moisture forecast at seven and 30-day lead times.

Why Soil Moisture Forecast?

  • Soil moisture is crucial for agriculture since it directly affects crop growth and how much irrigation is required for the area.

  • Timely soil moisture forecasts will help target interventions, in terms of seed varieties for better planning in agriculture.

Mechanism followed to Develop Soil Moisture Forecast

  • The ‘Variable Infiltration Capacity’ model used to provide the soil moisture prediction.

  • The product, termed ‘Experimental Forecasts Land Surface Products’, is available on the IMD website and has been developed using the hydrological model that takes into consideration soil, vegetation, land use and land cover among other parameters.

NAXALISM

CONTEXT

Recently, Home Minster Rajnath Singh said that the issue of Naxalism will be eradicated from the country in about three years and the districts affected by Naxal violence have down to about 10-12 as compared to 126 some time ago.

BACKGROUND

  • Naxalism/Left wing extremism (LWE) started in 1967 at a place called Naxalbari, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.

  • The objective of the Naxalites is to gain political power through protracted armed violence.

  • Soon, the violence reached deeper into the eastern, central and southern parts of India which is known as Red corridor.

  • It creates conditions for non-functioning of the government and actively seeks disruption of development activities to achieve its objective of ‘wresting control’. It spreads fear among the law-abiding citizens.

  • Reasons for Spread of Naxalism –

    • Land Related Factors –

      • Evasion of land ceiling laws.

      • Existence of special land tenures (enjoying exemptions under ceiling laws).

      • Encroachment and occupation of Government and Community lands (even the water-bodies) by powerful sections of society.

      • Lack of title to public land cultivated by the landless poor.

      • Poor implementation of laws prohibiting transfer of tribal land to non-tribals in the Fifth Schedule areas

      • Non-regularisation of traditional land rights.

    • Governance Related Factors

      • Corruption and poor provision/non-provision of essential public services including primary health care and education.

      • Incompetent, ill trained and poorly motivated public personnel who are mostly absent from their place of posting.

      • Misuse of powers by the police and violations of the norms of law.

      • Perversion of electoral politics and unsatisfactory working of local government institutions.

      • In 2006, Forest Rights Act was enacted. But Forest Bureaucracy continued its hostility towards it.

    • Displacement and Forced Evictions

      • Eviction from lands traditionally used by tribals.

      • Displacements caused by mining, irrigation and power projects without adequate arrangements for rehabilitation.

      • Large scale land acquisition for ‘public purposes’ without appropriate compensation or rehabilitation.

    • Livelihood Related Causes

      • Lack of food security – corruption in the Public Distribution System (which are often non-functional).

      • Disruption of traditional occupations and lack of alternative work opportunities.

      • Deprivation of traditional rights in common property resources

GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO NAXALISM

  • Anti-Naxal operations to locate, isolate and eliminate the threats. The Andhra Pradesh Model and the Grey Hounds commando force is well known for eliminating the majority of Naxal threats in the region.

  • Multi-pronged approach which includes sophisticated intelligence network, co-ordination between different police forces, developmental efforts like Janma Bhoomi and Joint forest management has helped in the sustainable elimination of Naxal problems in Andhra Pradesh.

  • Surrender policies: The Naxalites who are willing to give up weapons are awarded with monetary/resource incentives along-with education or skill development opportunities, in order to help them merge with the normal society. The Government of Jharkhand has offered a sum of Rs. 50,000 to those who surrender themselves, along with a monthly allowance of Rs. 2000, an acre of agricultural land, educational and health benefits to their children.

  • Several schemes have been formulated for the upliftment of the Naxal affected areas so that the youth is discouraged from taking up weapons, such as Backward Regions grant fund, MNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana etc.

  • The panchayats (Extension to the scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 has been implemented by the government to solve the menace of Naxalism.

  • LWE division was created under Ministry of Home Affairs in 2006 to effectively tackle the insurgency issue. Deploying Central Armed Police forces, Financial assistance to states, Construction of fortified police stations, implementation of schemes, Media and public perception management and reviewing the security situation are some of the key areas under this division.

CONCLUSION

Persistent Anti-Naxal Operations, Development efforts of LWE affected areas and Protection of tribal interests will be instrumental in eliminating the Naxal threats.

NATIONAL MONITORING FRAMEWORK ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

CONTEXT

Union Cabinet has recently approved the formation of high-level Steering Committee for reviewing and refining National Indicator Framework for monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals.

DETAILS ABOUT THE COMMITTEE

  • The High-Level Steering Committee will be chaired by the Chief Statistician of India and Secretary of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

  • It will also have secretaries from the Ministries of data source and special invitees from related ministries.

  • Targets of the Committee

    • Measures to mainstream SDGs into on-going national policies, programmes and strategic action plans to address the developmental challenges.

    • Statistical indicators of NIF will be the backbone of monitoring of SDGs at the national and state level and will scientifically measure the outcomes of the policies to achieve the targets under different SDGs.

    • Based on statistical indicator, the MoSPI will bring out national reports on implementation of SDGs. The Report will facilitate assessment of progress, identify challenges and give recommendations for follow up at the national level.

    • High Level Steering Committee will review the National Indicator Framework on regular basis for its improvement.

    • Data source Ministries / Departments will be responsible for providing regular information to MoSPI on these indicators at required intervals and disaggregation for national and sub-national reporting of SDGs.

    • Advanced IT tools will be used for close and effective monitoring.

ABOUT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

  • In 2000, during the Millennium Summit eight development goals were adopted as ‘Millennium Development Goals’ which formed the blue print for the development strategy from 2000 to 2015.

  • The MDGs targets were unevenly achieved across the countries and a need was felt to start fresh discussions to assess the usefulness of the MDGs and to explore possible successor to guide development cooperation in the world beyond 2015.

  • The UN General Assembly in its 70thSession considered and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years. The 17 SDGs came into force with effect from 1stJanuary, 2016 and they are not legally binding.

  • SDGs are broader in scope and go further than MDGs by addressing the root cause of the poverty and universal need of the people.

  • SDGs cover more ground than MDGs such as addressing inequalities, economic growth, jobs etc.

  • SDGs are universal in nature whereas MDGs apply to developing countries.

  • SDGs also address climate change and poverty eradication.

PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TRIBAL GROUPS

CONTEXT

The government of India (GOI) removed Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from 29 islands in Andaman, in order to foster tourism in the archipelago of Andaman & Nicobar (A&N)

WHAT IS THE CONCERN?

The decision raises the fear of unwarranted and undesirable cultural changes that can be envisaged and predicted

OTHER IMPORTANT DETAILS

  • The islands now opened in the Andaman District which have PVTGS are: North Sentinel Island, Strait Island and Little Andaman Island.

  • Islands opened in the Nicobar District with PVTGS include: Chowra, Tillangchong, Terassa, Katchal, Nancowry, Kamorta, Pulomilo, Great Nicobar and Little Nicobar.

  • North Sentinel is inhabited by the Sentinlese who have consistently rejected the island administration’s attempts to establish contact since the 1960s, Strait Island is home to the dying population of the Great Andamanese and Little Andaman is the home of the Onges.

WHO IS PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TRIBAL GROUPS?

  • Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) is a government of India classification created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of certain communities with particularly low development indices

  • The Dhebar Commission (1960-1961) stated that within Scheduled Tribes there existed an inequality in the rate of development.

  • During the fourth Five Year Plan a sub-category was created within Scheduled Tribes to identify groups that considered to be at a lower level of development.

  • This sub-category was named "Primitive tribal group".

  • The features of such a group include a pre-agricultural system of existence, that is practice of hunting and gathering, zero or negative population growth, extremely low level of literacy in comparison with other tribal groups

  • In 2006 the government of India proposed to rename "Primitive tribal group" as Particularly vulnerable tribal group".

  • PTG has since been renamed Particularly vulnerable tribal group by the government of India.

DRAFT PATIENT CHARTER

CONTEXT

Recently draft charter which was prepared by the NHRC released by ministry of health and family welfare. This charter is expected to act as guidance document for union & state governments regarding patient’s rights in seeking medical treatment.

NEED OF CONSOLIDATED LAWS

  • There is a need for a consolidated comprehensive document on patient’s rights in India and eventually give adequate protection to patients.

  • Right to non-discrimination is an important right. Every patient has the right to receive treatment without any discrimination based on his or her illnesses or conditions, including HIV status or other health condition, religion, caste, ethnicity or sexual orientation

  • Differential procedures opted by the states to regulating the hospitals, like some states States have adopted the national Clinical Establishments Act 2010 and certain others have enacted their own State-level legislations.

  • However, there was no consolidated document on patients’ rights that can be followed by all States uniformly.

  • This will create awareness among the citizens regarding what they should expect from their government & health providers. Several complaints that some hospitals detain patients who want to get discharged following dispute over payment.

  • This is the visionary step to achieve 3.SDG (ensure healthy life and well-being).

LEGAL DOCUMENTS ON PATIENT’S RIGHT:

  • Various legal provision related to patient’s right scattered across different legal document.

  • Indian constitution, article 21 (Right to life)

  • Indian medical council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations 2002.

  • The Consumer Protection Act 1986

  • Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940

  • Clinical Establishment Act 2010

PARTICULARS OF THE DRAFT:

The draft charter, which includes 17 rights with descriptions draws upon all relevant provisions, inspired by international charters and guided by national-level provisions:

Patients will have the right to:

  • Emergency medical care,

  • informed consent,

  • non-discrimination, C:\Users\Rohit\Desktop\11BGSeptRightcol.jpg

  • seek a second opinion and

  • choose alternative treatment options.

Patient’s responsibilities: Patients should also follow their responsibilities so that hospitals and doctors can perform their work satisfactorily. Some of these are:

  • Providing all required health related information to their doctor,

  • Respecting the dignity of the doctor and other hospital staff; not resorting to violence in any form whatever the grievance may be

Implementation mechanism: The Ministry plans to implement the Charter of Patients’ Rights through State governments for provision of proper health care by clinical establishments.

CONCLUSION

  • If enacted this will bring boon to the every patient or their family members have the right to access originals or copies of case papers, indoor patient records, investigation reports during period of admission, preferably within 24 hours and after discharge, within 72 hours.

  • According to SC all hospitals, both in the government and in the private sector, are duty-bound to provide basic emergency medical care to injured persons.  Treatment should be provided irrespective of patient’s paying capacity and this draft further solidify the said provision.

  • Government should give wide publicity to create awareness amongst the public and robust grivances mechanism should be there.

WORLD HUNGER REPORT

INTRODUCTION:

With the revelation of recently UN’s world hunger index, India has highest number of extremely thin children. Overall, India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries in the Index, with hunger levels in the country categorized as “serious”. The number of hungry people has grown to 821 million in 2017 from 804 million in 2016. It has shown a reversal trend in achieving Sustainable Development Goal to eradicate hunger by 2030.

KEY FINDING OF REPORTS

  • In the countries included in the GHI, the share of the undernourished population stood at 12.3 percent in 2015–2017, down from 17.6 percent in 1999–2001.

  • 27.9 percent children under five years of age were stunted based on data from 2013–2017, down from 37.1 percent in 1998–2002.

  • The level of hunger and under nutrition worldwide fell to 20.9, down from 29.2 in the year 2000.

STATUS OF HUNGER WORLDWIDE

  • Globally, Africa and Asia accounted for 39 per cent and 55 per cent of all stunted children, respectively. 

  • Prevalence of child wasting remains extremely high in Asia where almost one in 10 children under five has low weight for their height, compared to just one in 100 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • No region has shown a decline in anaemia among women of reproductive age, in asia it’s nearly thrice higher than north america.

  • Zimbabwe, Somalia, and CAR have the highest rates of undernourishment.

  • Central African Republic (CAR), suffering with extremely alarming level of hunger with score of 52.3 due to instability and civil war since 2012.

PERFORMANCE OF INDIA

  • With the score of  31.1, India is at high end of serious hunger problem category and one of the factors pushing south Asia to the category of worst- performing region.

  • India has been seen low improvement (i.e. 38.2 in 2000 to 31.1 in 2018) in hunger prevalence despite being world’s second largest food producer and fastest growing economy.

  • India’s poor performance shows country’s high statistics of malnutrioned children- with about 21% Indian children under five suffer from wasting and 38.5 % from stunting.

REASONS FOR ABYSMAL PERFORMANCE OF INDIA:

  • Population – One of the factors is the huge population that India has. Resources are insufficient to cater the need of India’s growing population.

  • Inadequate nutrition -share of children between 6 and 23 months old who receive adequate diet is mere 9.6 %.

  • Inefficient implementation of NFSA – Identification of beneficiary is not complete due to incomplete data and most of the states are not implementing NFSA.

  • Aadhar authentication failure – with seeding Aadhar to every government schemes, there are reports of authentication failure and denial of basic amenities under schemes ( For ex: during PDS, MDM etc).

  • Failure of reach of social welfare programmes such as integrated child development services ( ICDS) and national health mission (NHM) to achieve desired outcomes. And lack of infrastucture in tribal areas such as road ,water sanitation.

  • Climate change perpetuates hunger –  India has faced 8 times climate variability between 2011-2018 and recent one Kerala floods. The extreme weather climate lead to decreasing of yields, diversion of ration, inflationary cycle which further perpetuates hunger.

  • Hidden hunger – Absence of micronutrients in diets spells malnutrition and nutrition related diseases.

  • Dismal State of Maternal Health – Due to social norms accord young women low status in joint households. 42.2% of Indian women are underweight at the beginning of pregnancy, therefore 70% of infant mortality (children who die before reaching their 1st birthday) is due to neonatal mortality (dying before 1 month). 

  • Corruption – Despite of Aadhar authentication and awareness still miscreants find loopholes in the system to divert the ration to the ghost beneficiaries.

  • Poverty – This abstains families to feed nutritious food to their children and women.

  • Poor access to sanitation – poor sanitation facilities is very detrimental to child health and nutrition. It imbalaces the net nutrition (total nutrition available including in mother’s womb, quality of food which compliment breast feedings and energy losses due to diseases).

POLICY SUGGESTIONS IN REPORT TO TACKLE HUNGER

  • Foster democratic governance of national food system – government must includes underrepresented groups, such as small- scale farmers in policy making.

  • Strengthen space for civil society – CSO plays key role in effective delivery of food.

  • Safeguard vulnerable groups – government must safeguard vulnerable groups from negative impacts of international trade.

  • Equality through education so that most vulnerable and marginalized have income.

  • Monitoring progress towards zero hunger – Highlight the critical gaps in relation to both hunger and inequality.

GOVERNMENT’S INITIATIVES

  • Article 47 of the Constitution mentions the “duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health.” In context of various programmes launched like Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), and Mid-day Meal schemes, National nutrition mission.

  • National Food Security Act, 2013, incorporating the mandate in Schedule II, and the Supplementary Nutrition (Integrated Child Development Services Scheme) Rules, 2017 laying down guidelines to curb SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition).

  • Anganwadi Services Scheme, focusing on the provision of physical infrastructure and funding, besides closer monitoring of the nutrition mission and distribution of freshly made food having cereals, pulses etc.

  • NITI Ayog’s guidelines regarding procurement for take home ration should be done only by SHGs and emphasis on local procurement for hot caked meals instead Ready to eat mixes.

  • Centre recently launched POSHAN in 2018 to boost nutrition among children and women.

  • Abhiyaan targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.

  • While a pre-mix of micronutrients or ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF) – high-energy, micro-nutrient enhanced paste – is sometimes prescribed to treat children under five years who suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana-Reducing maternal and neonatal mortality by providing institutional delivery to pregnant women.

  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Matritva Abhiyan-Quality antenatal care to pregnant women on 9th of every month.

  • Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karaykarm-Weekly supplementation of iron folic tablet.

WAY FORWARD

  • Cooperative and competitive spirit among central & state governments need to bring transformative action in tackling malnutrition.

  • Consistent monitoring and evaluation of the schemes using technological interventions and real-time data is also important.

  • A need of nodal agency that will enhance the efficient delivery mechanism, as right now all nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive schemes work in silos. Therefore, the establishment of a nodal agency that would facilitate coordination of all ministries and departments.

  • Develop composite hunger index state wise based on the certain parameters like wasting, stunting and progress made of states in these parameters, which eventually leads to competitive federal environment in curbing the malnutrition menace.

SWADESH DARSHAN SCHEME

CONTEXT

Recently, Ministry of Tourism has approved new projects namely – Malnad Malabar Cruise Project for development of Rural Curcuit in Kerala and Tribal Circuit in Chhattisgarh, under the scheme.

DETAILS ABOUT THE NEW PROJECTS

Tribal Circuit in Chhattisgarh

  • The Project has been named – Development of Tribal Circuit: Jashpur- Kunkuri- Mainpat- Kamleshpur- Maheshpur- Kurdar-Sarodadadar- Gangrel- Kondagaon- Nathiya Nawagaon- Jagdalpur- Chitrakoot- Tirthgarh in Chhattisgarh.

  • As a main focus of Ministry of Tourism, tribes and tribal cultures will be promoted through an array of activities such as eco log huts, craft haats, souvenir shops/ kiosk, tourist reception & facilitation centres, open amphitheatre, tribal interpretation centres etc.

  • These components are perceived to improve existing tourist facilities and enhance the overall tourist experience; therefore, help in getting more visitors which in return will increase job opportunities in the area. 

  • Under the scheme tourism infrastructure will also be developed in the region.

  • Under the Tribal Circuit, Ministry has also sanctioned more projects in Nagaland and Telangana.

DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL CIRCUIT: MALANAD MALABAR CRUISE TOURISM PROJECT

  • The project focuses on development of water based thematic cruise experiences in and around Valapattanam and Kuppam Rivers of Kannur District.

  • Cruises under the project are – Malabari Cruise and Culinary Cruise in Valapattanam River, Yyam Cruise in Valapattanam River, Mangrove Cruise in Kuppam River.

  • Under the project the infrastructure will be developed such as Passenger Terminals, Boat Terminals, Jetties, Boat Race Gallery, Restaurants, Food Courts, Performance Areas etc.

  • The Cruises under the project will be operated under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

KARTAR SINGH SARABHA

CONTEXT

Two attackers from Umar Khalid attack in Delhi claimed to surrender at Kartar Singh Sarabha’s house in Punjab.

ABOUT KARTAR SINGH SARABHA

  • He was a Sikh revolutionary and a significant name amongst the Matyrs.

  • He was born in Ludhiana and became a member of Ghadr Party at the age of 17 years.

  • After the break out of the World War 1 in 1914 he travelled to India from Canada to meet Rash Behari Bose and inform about the arrival of Ghadr Freedom Fighters.

  • He was sentenced to death in 1915.

GHADR MOVEMENT

  • Ghadr Movement was a significant episode in the Indian Freedom Struggle.

  • After the breakout of the World War 1, a ship named Komagatamaru filled with Indian immigrants was turned back  from Canada.

  • As this Ship returned to India several of the passengers were killed or arrested in a clash with British police at Budge Budge in Bengal.

  • This incident made Ghadr Party proclaim war and inspired Indian immigrants to come back and organise an armed rebellion against British imperialism.

  • This movement was later crushed.

STATUE OF UNITY

CONTEXT

182 meters tall statue of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel was inaugurated by Prime Minister overlooking River Narmada.

MORE FROM THE NEWS

  • The statue was inaugurated on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel to mark the contribution of the leader in unifying the country after independence as he brought more than 500 princely states on a common platform to join India.

  • The statue has been built at a cost of 2989 crore and has been described as the tallest statue in the world. The statue has been designed by Padma Bhushan winning sculptor Ram V Sutar.

  • However, the environment activists are suggesting that the island on which the statue has been built could damage the ecology of River Narmada.

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