Polity & Governance
- KVIC distributes 50 leather kits, 350 bee-boxes on World Tribal day in Rajasthan
- ‘Shillong Declaration’ on e-Governance adopted
Government Schemes & Policies
- VP Inaugurated Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana in Jharkhand
Issues related to Health & Education
- International Youth Day celebrated by UN
- Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports confers the National Youth Awards
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- State-run oil marketing companies to buy biodiesel made from used cooking oil
Bilateral & International Relations
- U.N. chief invokes Shimla Agreement, calls for ‘maximum restraint’ on Kashmir
Science & Technology
- IIT Madras registers initial success with iron ion battery
- Uber for tractors’: Government to launch app to aid farmers
Key Facts for Prelims
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Polity & Governance
KVIC distributes 50 leather kits, 350 bee-boxes on world Tribal day in Rajasthan
Khadi and Village Industry Commission (KVIC) distributed as many as 50 leather kits and 350 Bee-Boxes with live bee colonies in tribal-dominated village in Sirohi district of Rajasthan, one of the aspirational districts in India identified by the NITI Aayog, on World Tribal Day.
About the Leather mission
- KVIC is launching a new programme ‘Leather Mission’ on World Tribal Day from the tribal-dominated village of Chandala, Andhra Pradesh.
- Under this new programme, KVIC will give Leather Kits to the leather artisans across the nation.
- It will not only increase tribal incomes manifold but will also inspire the traditional leather artisans who had migrated to other jobs from their traditional skill to adopt this vocation
About Honey Mission
- Khadi & Village Industries Commission took the task of development of the beekeeping Industry with a view to uplift the financial status of people living in extremely interior rural areas by introducing and popularizing modern beekeeping.
- KVIC has distributed over 1.15 lakh Bee-Boxes across the nation among the marginalised community, which has provided jobs to over 11,500 people.
- It has not only increased the income of the bee-keeping farmers, but has also increased the yield of the crops by up to 30 percent due to cross-pollination of the honey-bees.
Different Schemes introduced by KVIC for promoting beekeeping in India:
- Till 1995, provided financial support to the beekeepers through aided institutions with pattern approach as mentioned under:
- Capital Expenditure Loan (CE Loan) on subsidized interest rates
- Working Capital Loan (W C Loan) on subsidized interest rates
iii. Short-term Stocking Loan.
- Later, the pattern approach was withdrawn Project approach was introduced known as Consortium Bank Credit (CBC). This CBC Scheme has been converted into Rural Employment Generation Scheme (REGP) and now known as PMEGP.
- UNDP Cluster approach, 12 beekeeping clusters have been established and installed beekeeping infrastructure for the overall growth of beekeeping in the areas.
- Similarly, the schemes like Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) and Khadi Reform and Development Programme (KRDP) was introduced, wherein several beekeeping clusters were established for the overall growth of beekeeping in the areas.
About Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
- The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body formed by the Government of India, under the Act of Parliament, ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’.
- In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
- It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India
- KVIC seeks to – “plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.”.
Objectives of KVIC:
- The social objective of providing employment in rural areas
- The economic objective of producing saleable articles
- The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor and building up of a strong rural community spirit
About World Tribal Day
- World Tribal Day or the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed on August 9 every year.
- It was first declared by the United Nations in December 1994 marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982.
- It is aimed at protecting the rights of the world’s tribal population.
Tribal movements of India
India has seen several tribal movements across Bihar (1772), Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The Santhal rebellion (1855 to 1856):
- Also known as the Santhal Hool, it was a native rebellion in eastern India against both the British colonial authority and zamindari system by the Santhal people.
- The rebellion was led by the four Murmu Brothers – Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand and Bhairav.
- The uprising was aimed towards ending despotic British revenue system, usury practices, and the zamindari system in India.
The Munda Rebellion:
- Birsa Munda led the movement in the region south of Ranchi in 1899-1900, seeking the establishment of Munda Raj and independence after the system of khuntkattidar was corroded by the jagirdars and thikadars who came as moneylenders and as traders.
- The government would go on to attempt to redress the grievances of the Mundas through the survey and settlement operations of 1902-10 and the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908 provided some recognition to their khuntkatti rights and banned beth begari.
The Bodo Movement:
- The official movement of the Bodos for an independent state of Bodoland started under the leadership of Upendranath Brahma of All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) in 1987.
- While the movement was suppressed by the then government, the ABSU created a political organization called the Bodo People’s Action Committee (BPAC).
- ABSU began the new movement with the slogan ‘Divide Assam Fifty-Fifty’, but it ended up with the creation of Bodo Accord in 1993.
- The accord collapsed and there was a split in ABSU and other political parties. After the Bodo Accord, the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) was constituted, which was later replaced by the BTQ.
Other tribal revolutions that have risen in India between the 18th century and the 20th century include:
- 784-1785: Uprising of the Mahadev Koli tribes in Maharashtra.
- 1812: Kurichya Rebellion organised by the tribal people Kurichyas against the Wayanad invasion of British in 1812.
- 1857-1858: The Bhil revolted against under the leadership of Bhagoji Naik and Kajar Singh.
- 1862: The Koya tribal community revolted in Andhra against tribal landlords called ‘Muttader’ in tribal dialect.
- 1891: The tribals of North-East India revolted against the British under leadership of Tikendraji Singh.
- 1910: The Bastar Revolution in central India
- 1917-1919: Kuki Uprising in Manipur against British colonialism under the leadership of their chieftains called haosa
- 1941: The Gond and the Kolam revolted in collaboration against British Government in the Adilabad district of the state of Telangana.
- 1942: Tribal revolt under leadership of Lakshmana Naik at Koraput in Orissa.
‘Shillong Declaration’ on e-Governance adopted
Shillong Declaration was adopted during the two day 22nd National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) 2019 held at Shillong, Meghalaya.
About the National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) 2019
- The theme of the NCeG 2019 Conference was ‘Digital India: Success to Excellence’.
- The two-day Conference was organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology in collaboration with the Meghalaya Government.
- The ‘Shillong Declaration’ on e-Governance was adopted after intensive deliberations in NCeG.
Sub-themes of NCeG 2019
- India Enterprise Architecture (INDEA)
- Digital Infrastructure
- Inclusion and capacity building
- Emerging Technology for Practitioners
- Secretariat Reforms
- National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA)
Highlights of Shillong Declaration
- Improve the citizen’s experience with Government services by promoting timely implementation of India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) and implementing a single sign-on for among e-Government applications.
- Consolidate the State level e-Governance projects to replicate them as a common application software
- Ensure improvement in ease of living and ease of doing business by making a big shift in the role of government from Service Provider to Service Enabler.
- Take steps to further improve connectivity in North Eastern States by addressing the issues of telecommunications connectivity.
- Take steps to enhance the activities of Electronics Sector Skill Council in North Eastern States.
- Promote use of e-Office and move towards less paper State Secretariats in the North-Eastern States.
- Improve the quality of delivery of e-Services in the North East.
- Promote the Digital India Projects with focus on Smart Cities and Smart Villages through Startups and Smart Entrepreneurship
What is e governance?
- e-Governance is generally understood as the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at all the level of the Government in order to provide services to the citizens, interaction with business enterprises and communication and exchange of information between different agencies of the Government in a speedy, convenient efficient and transparent manner.
- E-Governance is one of the subjects allocated to DARPG, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions under II Schedule to the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961.
- DARPG has been entrusted role to promote e-Governance activities in consonance with the overall national objectivities and priorities.
- Whereas, DeitY’s, under Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeITY) mandate is to encourage e-Governance to empower citizens, promote inclusive and sustainable growth of Electronics, IT & ITeS industries.
Government Schemes & Policies
VP Inaugurated Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana in Jharkhand
In a move to provide maximum benefits to more than 13 lakh farmers, Vice President visited Ranchi in Jharkhand to inaugurate Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana (MMKAY).
About Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojana (MMKAY)
- It aims to provide welfare and financial support to farmers in Jharkhand.
- It is the first scheme by the Jharkhand government that provides 100 percent settlement through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) medium.
- The scheme will provide cash support to farmers as the government will transfer Rs 3000 crore as a gift to more than 35 lakh farmers in the state.
- The scheme was incorporated in the state budget from the financial year 2019-2020.
- Farmers holding land of an acre or less would be eligible for receiving Rs 5,000
- Farmers with five acres of land would be eligible to receive Rs 25,000
- According to an assessment done by the state agriculture department, more than 83 per cent state farmers have less than or equal to two acres of land.
- Out of this, 65 per cent of farmers has less than one acre of land registered in their names.
Issues related to Health & Education
International Youth Day celebrated by UN
International Youth Day (IYD), observed on August 12, is an awareness day designated by the UN.
About International Youth Day 2019
- The theme for International Youth Day 2019 is “Transforming education”.
- The theme supports the Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
About International Youth Day:
- The United Nations’ (UN) International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 each year to recognize efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society.
- The UN’s International Youth Day is a United Nations day of observance, but it is not a public holiday.
- The UN defines the worlds’ youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population.
- It was instituted by the (UNGA) by passing resolution 54/120 in December 1999, on the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth held in Lisbon (Portugal).
- It was first observed on 12 August, 2000.
Need for significant transformations in Education
There is need for significant transformations to make education systems more inclusive and accessible as:
- Only 10% of people have completed upper secondary education in low income countries
- 40 % of the global population is not taught in a language they speak or fully understand
- Over 75 % of secondary school age refugees are out of school.
- In addition, indigenous youth, young people with disabilities, young women, young people belonging to vulnerable groups or in vulnerable situations, etc. are facing additional challenges to access education.
Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports confers the National Youth Awards
The Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports conferred the National Youth Awards on individuals (aged between 15-29 years) and organizations for excellent work and contribution in different fields of development and social service.
About National Youth Awards
National Youth Award is conferred on young men and women and voluntary organization every year by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Objectives of the Award
- To motivate young persons to achieve excellence in the field of national development or social service.
- To encourage young people to develop a sense of responsibility to the community and thus to improve their own personal potential as good citizens.
- To give recognition to the outstanding work done by voluntary organizations working with the youth for national development and / or social service.
- Must be a citizen of India
- Should be between the ages of 15 – 29 years
- Persons employed in any government service are not eligible for the award
- Be registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860 for the last three years or under corresponding State Act and have proper constitution or Articles of Association
- Should be a non-profit organization
- Have rendered extra-ordinary service involving the Youth in the relevant field for at least three years
- Have a good reputation among the local community/area;
- Should not have been conferred with this award earlier
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
State-run oil marketing companies to buy biodiesel made from used cooking oil
In a bid to encourage the biofuel sector, Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry announced on World Biofuel Day that the state-run oil marketing companies would procure the entire supply of biodiesel produced from used cooking oil for a three-year period.
- In January 2019, FSSAI order Food Business Operators (FBOs) consuming more than 50 litres of oil a day for frying to strictly maintain the usage records and stop reusing the oil more than three times.
- The order says all FBOs should compulsorily dispose off their used cooking oil to authorised collection agencies or aggregators.
- FSSAI will also ask cooking oil manufacturers to come out with colour charts (either on the product or in a booklet along with the product) that will help people to identify if the oil is fresh or re-used.
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had launched RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil), an initiative that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel.
- Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil.
About Used Cooking Oil (UCO)
- In India, the same cooking oil is used for repeated frying which adversely affects the health due to formation of polar compoundsduring frying. These polar compounds are associated with diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases among others.
- When used multiple times, cooking oil becomes acidic and darkens in colour. This may alter the fatty acid composition of the oil.
- UCO is either not discarded at all or disposed off in an environmentally hazardous manner choking drains and sewerage systems. The National Policy on Biofuels 2018 envisages production of biofuel from UCO.
- At present, approximately 850 crore litres of (HSD) is consumed on a monthly basis in India. The National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 envisages a target of 5% blending of Biodiesel in HSD by 2030.
- In order to achieve the blending target, 500 crore litres of Biodiesel is required in a year. In India, approximately, 2700 crore litres of Cooking Oil is used out of which 140 Crore UCO can be collected from Bulk Consumers such as hotels for conversion giving 110 crore litres of Biodiesel in one year.
- Presently there is no established collection chain for UCO. Thus, there is a huge opportunity in production of biodiesel from UCO.
Total Polar Compounds (TPC):
- In many countries, TPC is used to measure the quality of oil.
- The level of TPC increases every time oil is re-heated. Some of the studies show that TPC accumulation in oil without food is slower than that in oil frying with food.
- During frying process, a wide variety of chemical reactions result in the formation of compounds with high molecular weight and polarity.
- The repeated use of oil at high temperatures result in several oxidative, polymerization and thermal degradation reactions leading to changes properties of oil.
- Determination of total polar compounds (TPC) is one of the most reliable methods for continuous monitoring of the quality changes in oils during the frying process.
- The Total Polar compounds are determined by reference methods such as Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) Official Method.
- However, these methods are time consuming for on-site measurements. For this purpose, hand-held devices (cooking oil tester based on the dielectric method which records all polar and non-polar components) are available in market for rapid measurements.
- Higher level of TPC in cooking oil leads to health issues like hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and liver disease. One of the studies also noticed high levels of glucose, creatinine and cholesterol with declined levels of protein and albumin in cooking oil.
Salient Features of the policy:
- The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
Scope of raw materials:
- The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
Protection to farmers:
- Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
Viability gap funding:
- With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
Boost to biodiesel production:
- The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
- The policy aims at reducing import dependency.
- By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
- Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.
- One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
Additional Income to Farmers:
- By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these waste if a market is developed for the same.
- RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil) is an initiative of The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel.
- Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel invented the Diesel engine. He designed an engine based on the Carnot cycle.
- In India, Ethanol blending in petrol has gone up from 1.5% to about 8% and is likely to touch 10% soon.
- Karnataka is the first State to have a Bio Energy Development Board.
Bilateral & International Relations
U.N. chief invokes Shimla Agreement, calls for ‘maximum restraint’ on Kashmir
U.N. chief urged India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir, as he highlighted the Shimla Agreement which rejects any third-party mediation on the issue.
What is the issue?
- After revoking Article 370 by India, Pakistan termed the revocation as unilateral and illegal and took the matter to the U.N. Security Council to look in the issue of Jammu & Kashmir.
- In response, UN urges both countries to refer to the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Shimla Agreement.
What is Simla Agreement?
- The Simla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in July 1972, following a war between India and Pakistan in 1971.
- It liberated East Pakistan and led to the creation of Bangladesh.
- The Simla Agreement seeks to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war (i.e. to bring about withdrawals of troops and an exchange of Prisoner of war).
Principles of Simla Agreement
- Mutual commitment to the peaceful resolution of all issues through direct bilateral approaches.
- Build the foundation of a cooperative relationship with a focus on people-to-people contacts.
- Uphold the inviolability of Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Provisions of the treaty:
- Under this agreement, both countries decided to stop the conflict and to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.
- Both the governments agreed that that the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations would govern bilateral relations and differences would be resolved by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations.
- Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, the two sides had agreed that the line of control resulting from the cease-fire of December 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side.
- Further, the two nations also agreed to refrain from the use of threat or force in violation of this Line.
- Both governments had also agreed that their respective Heads would meet again to discuss the questions of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.
Science & Technology
IIT Madras registers initial success with iron ion battery
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras researchers have for the first time fabricated a rechargeable iron ion battery using mild steel as the anode.
About the Iron battery
- The team demonstrated the performance of an iron ion battery for up to 150 cycles of charging and discharging.
- While lithium ions are the charge carriers in lithium ion battery, the Fe2+ ions perform that function in the case of iron ion battery.
- There are no lithium reserves in India as well as there is shortage of lithium reserves in the world.
- Hence, it is the need of the hour to develop rechargeable batteries of comparable performance using materials other than lithium.
Why use Iron?
- Iron has favourable physico-chemical properties like lithium.
- The redox potential of iron ion is higher than lithium ion and the radius of the Fe2+ ion is nearly the same as that of the lithium ion.
- In pure iron, the easy removal of iron ions from the anode and their reinsertion, which is an essential mechanism in battery operation, is not possible. However, small amount of carbon present in mild steel facilitates this process.
- Iron is more stable during the charging process and therefore prevents short-circuiting of the batteries. Thus, when compared with the popular lithium metal-based batteries, researchers are able to cut down the cost and make it safer to handle.
- In iron ion battery, vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) is used as the cathode. Vanadium pentoxide was chosen as it has a layered structure with very large spacing between the layers.
- The large inter-layer spacing in vanadium pentoxide allows iron ions to easily move in and bind to the interlayers of the cathode and also easily get detached and move back to the anode.
- An ether-based electrolyte containing dissolved iron perchlorate was used.
- The amount of energy that can be drawn from the iron ion battery is 220 Wh per kg, which is 55-60% of lithium ion battery’s performance.
- It is also cost-effective.
- Researchers are trying out different metal oxides to increase the amount of iron ions that can bind to the cathode. When more iron ions bind to the cathode, more energy can be stored in the battery leading to improved performance.
Uber for tractors: Government to launch app to aid farmers
India’s agriculture ministry has developed a farm equipment rental app for Indian farmers.
About the App:
- The app lets Indian farmers hire tractors, rotavator and other farm related machinery on rent for with flexible tenures.
- Several custom hiring centres (CHCs) have been setup across India with the capacity to rent 2.5 Lakh farm equipment annually.
- Provide affordable access to cutting-edge technology at farmer’s doorstep
- Create an invaluable database for policy-makers, who can track the use and cost of equipment
- Track the usage of new technology that the government wants to promote, such as the Happy Seeder that aims to prevent stubble burning that causes air pollution, or solar dryers that can help farmers process and preserve their produce.
Agri-tech in India
- With more than 58% of the rural population relying on agriculture for sustenance, India currently ranks second globally in terms of farm output. However, the tech innovations in agriculture have been limited in our country.
- The total funding in agritech startups in India has grown from INR 320 Cr in 2017 to INR 463 Cr in 2018, which is still less than 10% of what sectors like ecommerce and fintech have received in this period.
Key Facts for Prelims
- Chinese telecom giant Huawei unveiled its own operating system called ‘HarmonyOS’.
What is the issue?
- In August 2019, the president of US banned US government from doing business with Huawei (telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics manufacturer based in China).
- Huawei faces the threat of losing access to Android systems amid escalating US-China trade tensions.