Polity & Governance
- Govt appoints S Gurumurthy, Satish Marathe to RBI board
Government Schemes & Policies
- President inaugurates ‘One District One Product’ Summit in UP
Issues related to Health & Education
- NITI Aayog to join hands with CII to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in GII
- Delhi High Court decriminalises begging in the national capital
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- August 10: World Bio-fuel Day
- Cabinet nod for 4 additional NDRF battalions
- Nation observes 76th anniversary of Quit India movement
Key Facts for Prelims
- ‘Train Captain’ service
- Pakistani troops to receive training at Russian military institutes
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
Polity & Governance
Govt appoints S Gurumurthy, Satish Marathe to RBI board
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has appointed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch co-convenor Swaminathan Gurumurthy and businessman Satish Kashinath Marathe to the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- They have been appointed as a part-time, non-official director for the period of four-year.
- With the two new appointments, the total number of government-appointed directors on the RBI board has reached 10.
About the Central Board of RBI:
- Central Board of Directors of RBI oversees its business.
- It is categorised into official and non-official directors.
- It delegates the functions to its committees and sub-committees.
- Central Board of Directors holds minimum 6 meetings every year. Out of which, at least 1 meeting every quarter is held.
Composition of RBI’s Central Board of Directors:
- It comprises RBI Governor, Deputy Governors (maximum 4), four non-official Directors which are nominated by Central Government (each Non-official director represents the local Boards located in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai representing 4 regions of India).
- 10 Non-official Directors nominated by RBI itself (These are persons having expertise in various segments of Indian Economy).
- Besides, there is one representative (usually Financial Services Secretary) of Central Government nominated under Section 8 (1) (d) of the RBI Act.
Government Schemes & Policies
President inaugurates ‘One District One Product’ Summit in UP
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the ‘One District One Product’ (Ek Zila – Ek Utpadan) Summit in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
- The summit, which aims to give boost to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), is a consequence of the UP Investors Summit held in UP in February 2018.
About the ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) scheme:
- The ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) scheme aims to promote one traditional industry in every district such as lock industry in Aligarh, Banarasi silk-weaving in Varanasi and biscuit-making in Amethi.
- Under the scheme, the Uttar Pradesh government has set a goal of providing employment to 25 lakh people in five years through the financial assistance of Rs 25000 crores.
- It aims to optimise production, productivity and income, preservation and development of local crafts, promotion of art, improvement in product quality and skill development.
Significance of this summit:
- The ODOP Summit is stated to be the first of its kind in the country and is expected to give a big boost to the MSME and handicraft in the state.
- The scheme will create large number of employment opportunities for the youth and strengthen the inclusive and sustainable development of Uttar Pradesh.
- The ODOP scheme seeks to promote traditional industries synonymous with their respective districts to spur local economy and create jobs.
What is One District One Product (ODOP) concept?
- ODOP is basically a Japanese business development concept, which gained prominence in 1979.
- It is aimed at promoting a competitive and staple product from a specific area to push sales and improve the standard of living of the local population.
- Over time, it has been replicated in other Asian countries as well.
Traditional industrial hubs in UP:
- UP is uniquely famous for product-specific traditional industrial hubs across 75 districts, including Bhadohi (carpet), Lucknow (chikan), Kanpur (leather goods), Agra (leather footwear), Moradabad (brassware) Meerut (sports goods) and Saharanpur (wooden products).
Issues related to Health & Education
NITI Aayog to join hands with CII to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in GII
NITI Aayog has proposed to join hands with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to develop a Roadmap for Top 10 Rank in Global Innovation Index (GII).
- Global Innovation Index 2018 has placed India at the 57th position among 130 countries.
Delhi High Court decriminalises begging in the national capital
The Delhi High Court has ruled that begging will no longer be a criminal offence in the national capital.
- The court has struck down provisions of the 59-year-old Act– Bombay Prevention of Begging Act-that criminalises begging.
- The act of begging in the national Capital was made a criminal offence after the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, was extended to Delhi by a Central government amendment in 1960.
- The law prescribes a penalty of three years of detention in beggar homes in case of first conviction for begging and the person can be ordered to be detained for 10 years in subsequent conviction.
- At present, there is no central law on begging and destitution but most states have adopted the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959.
- In India, 20 States and two Union Territories have either enacted their own legislations or adopted the legislations enacted by other States.
Key observations made by the court:
- Begging is not a choice but the compulsion for people who have no other means to survive. People beg on the streets not because they wish to, but because they need to.
- Begging is a symptom of a disease, of the fact that the person has fallen through the socially created net.
- There can be no cavil that the above are the basic and primary needs of every human being. It remains a hard reality that the State has not been able to ensure even the bare essentials of the right to life to all its citizens, even in Delhi.
- Begging was a direct result of the government’s failure. The government has the mandate to provide social security for everyone, to ensure that all citizens have basic facilities, and the presence of beggars is evidence that the state has not managed to provide these to all its citizens.
- The Central government had in November last year said that begging should not be a crime if it is done because of poverty. It, however, had sought to protect the provision in the law that allows police to arrest a beggar without a warrant.
- The Centre had argued that it was necessary to detain a person in order to ascertain whether the person was begging out of poverty or has been forced into begging.
- The Bench remarked that this explanation violated the rights of such persons accorded under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It said that the act of lodging and detaining beggars in beggar homes was an exercise in “futility” and a wastage of public funds.
Is the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 struck down?
- The court made it clear that the provisions of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, which do not directly or indirectly criminalise begging or relate to the offence of begging, are not required to be struck down and are maintained.
- The court declared 25 different sections of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act as “unconstitutional” and struck them down.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
August 10: World Bio-fuel Day
World Bio-fuel Day or the International Biodiesel Day is observed every year on August 10.
- The day is observed with an aim to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels i.e. Green Fuels or Bio-fuels an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.
About World Bio Fuel Day:
- On 10th August in 1893, Sir Rudolph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil. His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines. Thus, to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.
- In India, World Biofuel Day is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
Government initiatives to promote the use of Biofuels:
Since 2014, the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to increase blending of biofuels.
- The major interventions include administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying the procurement procedures of OMCs, amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
- The Government approved the National Policy on Biofuels-2018 in June 2018. The policy has the objective of reaching 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by the year 2030. Among other things, the policy expands the scope of feedstock for ethanol production and has provided for incentives for production of advanced biofuels.
- Recently, the Government has increased the price of C-heavy molasses-based ethanol to Rs. 43.70 from Rs. 40.85 to give a boost to EBP Programme. Price of B-heavy molasses-based ethanol and sugarcane juice-based ethanol has been fixed for the first time at Rs. 47.40.
- The Government has reduced GST on ethanol for blending in fuel from 18% to 5%.
- The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is making all efforts to increase ethanol supply for petrol and has taken several steps in this direction.
Outcomes of these efforts:
These interventions of the Government of India have shown positive results.
- Ethanol blending in petrol has increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14 to an estimated 141 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2017-18.
- Bio-diesel blending in the country started from 10th August, 2015 and in the year 2018-19, Oil Marketing Companies have allocated 7.6 crore litres of biodiesel.
- Oil PSUs are also planning to set up 12 Second Generation (2G) Bio-refineries to augment ethanol supply and address environmental issues arising out of burning of agricultural biomass.
Cabinet nod for 4 additional NDRF battalions
Union Cabinet has given approval for raising of four additional battalions of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to strengthen the India’s disaster response set up.
- The objective of raising four additional battalions is to reduce response time keeping in view vast geographic area of the country.
- These battalions will be placed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi National Capital Region based on their disaster vulnerability profile.
- The Disaster Management (DM) Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
- NDRF is a specialised force capable of responding to any type of disaster in the country and abroad. It is strategically deployed across the nation as per the vulnerability profile of the country.
Evolution of NDRF:
- Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.
- The NDRF raised on January 19, 2006.
Role and mandate of NDRF:
- Specialized response during disasters
- Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations
- Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills
- Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills
- Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards)
- Community Capacity Building Programme
- Public Awareness Campaign
What are the features which make NDRF a Unique Force?
- The only dedicated disaster response force of the world.
- The only agency with comprehensive response capabilities having multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone nature.
- Experienced paramilitary personnel specially trained and equipped for disaster response.
- Capabilities for undertaking disaster response, prevention, mitigation and capacity building.
Locations of NDRF BNs:
- These NDRF battalions are located at ten different locations in the country based on the vulnerability profile of country and to cut down the response time for their deployment at disaster site.
Nation observes 76th anniversary of Quit India movement
76th anniversary of Quit India movement was observed on August 8th, 2018.
All about Quit India Movement:
- The Quit India Movement also known as India August Movement or Bharat Chodo Andolan was launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1948.
- The protest was initiated to demand an end to the British rule in India.
- Since the movement was held in August it is also known as August Kranti or August Movement. The movement was started on August 9, 1942, and since then the day is celebrated as August Kranti Day/Diwas.
- The day is celebrated by paying tribute to freedom fighters with national integration speeches and other events.
- Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan also known as August Kranti Maidan is the place where Mahatma Gandhi delivered his speech marking the beginning of the Quit India Movement. Mahatma along with other leaders gathered here on August 8 and 9, 1942. The maidan also houses a monument as a tribute to the historical event.
- In his speech at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank, Gandhiji called the nation to ‘Do or Die’ in his speech. Within hours of the speech, almost the entire INC was imprisoned without trial.
- Several national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were arrested.
- The Congress was declared an unlawful association, leaders were arrested and its offices all over the country were raided and their funds were frozen.
- The first half of the movement was peaceful with demonstrations and processions. The peaceful protest was carried till Mahatma Gandhi’s release.
- The second half of the movement was violent with raids and setting fire at post offices, government buildings and railway stations. Lord Linlithgow adopted the policy of violence.
- The Viceroy’s Council of Muslims, Communist Party and Americans supported Britishers.
- After the arrest of major leaders, young Aruna Asaf Ali presided over the AICC session. Despite several police warnings and government notices for banning public processions and assemblies, a large crowd gathered at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan where Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the flag.
- The final phase of the movement was marked on September 1942 where mobs getting together and bombings in government places of Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh.
- The British refused to grant immediate independence and stated that it could only be granted after the war ended. Finally, India got independence in 1947.
Key Facts for Prelims
‘Train Captain’ service
- In a bid to promote a single point of contact for all sorts of guidance, assistance and grievance redressal for onboard passengers, the Indian Railways has introduced a novel concept of ‘Train Captain’ service.
What will the ‘Train Captain’ do?
- The train captain will be the overall incharge of the train and will be responsible for ensuring passenger amenities throughout the train journey, including availability of water, cleanliness of coaches and toilets, working of electrical fittings such as fans, lights and mobile charging points.
- The train captain will initiate necessary action to redress the problems faced by the passengers instantly. In case the problem cannot be solved immediately, the train captain will take up the matter with higher officials for necessary action.
Pakistani troops to receive training at Russian military institutes
- Pakistan and Russia have signed an agreement to allow Pakistani troops to receive training at Russian military training institutes, a move aimed at boosting their bilateral defence ties.
- The agreement was signed at the conclusion of the first meeting of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC).
- JMCC is the highest forum of defence collaboration between Pakistan and Russia.