Government Schemes & Policies
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana for Disabled Persons
Issues related to Health & Education
- Ministry of Skill Development Skills Build platform in Collaboration with IBM
- Drug Abuse Among Youths
Bilateral & International Relations
- Report on ‘enclaves’ highlights gaps in promise and delivery
- Panipat’ controversy: Why Maharaja Surajmal matters in Rajasthan
Key Facts for Prelims
- Paul Volcker
- New Zealand volcano eruption: Up to 13 feared dead
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Government Schemes & Policies
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana for Disabled Persons
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana is a scheme of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
More about Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:
- This is a Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Central Government.
- The expenditure for implementation of the scheme will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund”.
- The Scheme duration is for period of the 3 years ie. upto 2019-20.
- The Scheme is implemented through the sole implementing agency – Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- Under the Scheme Aids and Assisted-Living Devices will be provided to eligible elderly beneficiary senior citizens such as Walking sticks, Elbow crutches, Walkers, Hearing Aids, Wheelchair, Artificial Dentures and Spectacles.
- 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 is provided with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions.
About Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP)’
- Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is implementing ‘Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP)’ Scheme.
- Under this scheme, aids and assistive devices are distributed to eligible Divyangjan for their empowerment.
- An Indian citizen of any age.
- Holds a 40% Disablement Certificate.
- Has monthly income from all sources not exceeding Rs. 20,000/- per month. In case of dependents, the income of parents/guardians should not exceed Rs. 20,000/- per month.
- Who have not received assistance during the last 3 years for the same purpose from any source. However, for children below 12 years of age, this limit would be one year.
Issues related to Health & Education
Ministry of Skill Development Skills Build platform in Collaboration with IBM
India is the 4th country where Skills Build platform was launched in November 2019, in alliance with the Directorate General of Training (DGT), after being launched in UK, Germany and France.
About SkillsBuild Platform
- SkillsBuild offers digital learning contentfrom IBM and other online coding teaching companies.
- A two-year advanced diploma in IT, networking and cloud computingwill be offered at the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) & National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs).
- The platform will be extended to train ITI & NSTI facultyon building skills in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- Skill Build
- Provide a personal assessmentof the cognitive capabilities and personality via MyInnerGenius to the students.
- Teach digital technologiesand professional skills such as resume-writing, problem solving and communication.
- Students will receive recommendationson role-based education for specific jobs.
- Will help develop the skills required to join the workforce in these “New Collar” roles, from the first-of-its kind ‘New Collar Curriculum’ for ITI launched in 2018 by IBM.
What are New collar jobs?
- New collar jobs are occupations which focus more on a candidate’s skills during the hiring process, rather than his or her level of education.
- Although new collar jobs do not require a four-year degree, they often do require other types of vocational training and certifications. This are mostly found in the information technology (IT), manufacturing and healthcare industries.
Drug Abuse Among Youths
A National Survey to collect State wise Data on Extent and Pattern of Substance Use was conducted in the country during the year 2018.
Highlights of Survey
- Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used by Indians. After Alcohol, Cannabis and Opioids are the next commonly used substances in India.
- Nationally, about 14.6% of the population (between 10 and 75 year of age) uses alcohol.
- For every one woman who consumes alcohol, there are 17 alcohol using men.
- States with the highest prevalence of alcohol use are Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa.
- About 2.8% of the population used cannabis product. The legal form of cannabis is bhang and other illegal cannabis products are ganja and charas.
- States with the highest prevalence of cannabis use are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.
- About 2.1% of the country’s population uses opioids which include opium, heroin and a variety of pharmaceutical opioids.
- Scientific evidence-based treatment needs to be made available for people with substance use disorders – at the required scale.
- Evidence-based substance use prevention programmes are needed to protect the young people.
- A conducive legal and policy environment is needed to help control drug problems.
- Harm reduction needs to be embraced widely as a philosophy to deal with substance use.
About the survey
- It was conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
- It was conducted to generate estimates for eight categories of psychoactive substances: Alcohol, Cannabis, Opioids, Cocaine, Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS), Sedatives, Inhalants and Hallucinogens.
- The report presents major findings of Indian population in the group of 10-75 years.
About National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated and is implementing a National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025.
- The Plan aims at reduction of adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multi-pronged strategy, including awareness generation programmes, community based interactions for vulnerable adolescent and youth and provisioning of treatment facilities.
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment implements a “Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse” under which financial assistance is provided to eligible Non-Governmental Organizations for running Integrated Rehabilitation Centres for Addicts.
- Narcotics Control Bureau developed a new software: Seizure information management system (SIMS) which create a complete online database of drug offences and offenders.
- Government constituted Narco-Coordination Centre (NCORD) in 2016 and revived the scheme of ‘Financial Assistance to States for Narcotics Control’.
- The government is also conducting National Drug Abuse Survey to measure trends of drug abuse in India through Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment with the help of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre of AIIMS.
Bilateral & International Relations
Report on ‘enclaves’ highlights gaps in promise and delivery
More than four years after the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh, a report released by civil rights organisations on the situation in erstwhile enclaves states that protest.
- Report was referring to the condition of over 900 people living in three enclave settlement camps in Dinhata, Halbibari and Mekhiliganj in Cooch Behar district who have now been asked to move into flats constructed by the State government.
What is an enclave?
- An enclave is any portion of a state that is totally surrounded by the territory of another state. In case of India, they are spread out in the areas of Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.
About Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement, 1974:
- Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), 1974 provides for exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.
- The Agreement was adopted by the two countries in 2015, when India passed the 119th Amendment to the Indian Constitution. Under this agreement, India received 51 Bangladeshi enclaves while Bangladesh received 111 Indian enclaves.
- The agreement involved handing over 17,000 acres of land to Bangladesh in return for 7,000 acres in 162 enclaves in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.
About the 119th Amendment Bill 2013:
- The 119th constitutional amendment bill 2013 sought to ratify the land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh. This amendment needed special majority in the parliament to get passed.
- The bill proposed to amend the 1st schedule of the constitution to exchange the disputed territories occupied by both the nations in accordance with the 1974 bilateral LBA.
- In 2015, the Parliament of India has passed the 119th constitutional amendment bill 2013, which now after the assent of the President will enter into the statue book [as Constitution 100th Amendment Act 2015].
- The origin of the Indian and Bangladeshi enclaves was result of a series of peace treaties signed from 1711-13 between the feudal Kingdom of Cooch Behar and the Mughal Empire. After conquering a wide swath of Cooch Behar, a number of Mughal soldiers controlled estates within Cooch Behar, collecting taxes and ruling over the locals, and those districts became Mughal enclaves.
- In 1947, partition procedures restricted independence for the princely states, including Cooch Behar, instead providing the option to choose whether to join India or Pakistan. Cooch Behar signed the Cooch Behar Merger Agreement with India in August 1949. Since there were no specific regulations governing the enclaves, they received international status following Cooch Behar’s merger with India.
- As a result, both India and East Pakistan (later independent Bangladesh) retained enclaves within the other’s newly demarcated boundaries. In practice, this led to small populations of Indian citizens living in territory completely surrounded by Bangladesh, and vice versa.
- In a further territorial complication, a number of enclaves also hosted counter enclaves within their boundaries—in essence, a pocket of Indian land, surrounded by Bangladeshi territory, situated within India land.
- Over time, each country occasionally demanded full access to its enclaves on the other’s territory, but was unwilling to allow reciprocal access in turn. As a result, neither country made a serious attempt develop infrastructure in the enclaves, leaving the residents in virtual statelessness and without basic educational, administrative, security, health, or postal services.
- For the first time, a vision to solve this issue had been enshrined in the Indira-Mujib pact of 1972.
- The Land Boundary Agreement of 2015 seeks to address this problem through swapping land (enclaves) between the two countries.
Panipat’ controversy: Why Maharaja Surajmal matters in Rajasthan
Rajasthan Chief Minister urged the Censor Board to take note of allegations that a film, Panipat, had wrongly portrayed Maharaja Surajmal.
- In the film, Maharaja Surajmal of Bharatpur is shown as having denied help to the Maratha army, one of the factors leading to the Marathas’ eventual defeat. Members of the Jat community have protested against the film and several theatres in Rajasthan have decided not to screen the film.
Who is Maharaja Surajmal?
- Maharaja Surajmal, born in 1707 inBharatpur, Rajasthan. ruled in the 18th century and was the son of the Jat chieftain Badan Singh.
- He is described as a strong leader who harried the Mughal empire in its decline, consolidated the kingdom with its capital at Bharatpur and used the resources gained to build forts and palaces, the most famous being the palace at Deeg and the Bharatpur Fort.
About third Battle of Panipat
- The Third Battle of Panipat took place in 1761 at Panipat between the Maratha Empire and invading forces of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali.
- Abdali was supported by two Indian allies—the Rohillas Najib-ud-daulah, Afghans of the Doab region and Shuja-ud-Daula-the Nawab of Awadh.
Cause of the Third Battle of Panipat
- After the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, there was a sudden rise of the Marathas. The Marathas reversed all his territorial gains in the Deccan and conquered a considerable part of India.
- The Mughal decline was hastened by the invasion of India by Nader Shah, who also took away Takht-i-Taus (the Peacock Throne) and Kohinoor Diamond in 1739.
- Marathas also captured Lahore and drove out Timur Shah Durrani(the son of the Afghan ruler, Ahmad Shah Abdali) from Lahore. Hence, Ahmad Shah Durrani planned to attack the Marathas.
- By the end of 1759, Durrani reached Lahore as well as Delhi. The Maratha and Durrani fought at Karnal and Kunjpura where the entire Afghan garrison was killed or enslaved.
- The massacre of the Kunjpura garrison angered Durrani and he ordered for crossing the Ravi river at all costs to attack the Marathas.
- The Marathas were defeated in the battle, with 40,000 of their troops killed, while Abdali’s army is estimated to have suffered around 20,000 casualties.
- It marked a loss of prestige for the Marathas, who lost their preeminent position in north India after this war, paving the way for British colonial power to expand here.
- The Marathas lost some of their most important generals and administrators, including Sadashivrao and heir-apparent Vishwasrao of the Peshwa household, Ibrahim Khan Gardi, Jankojirao Scindia, and Yashwantrao Puar.
Causes of defeat of Marthas
- Large Afghan armywith effective artillery. Afghan army used muskets while Martha used swords and lances.
- Marathas’ inability to persuade the Rajputs, Jats and Sikhsto fight on their side proved fatal for the Marathas.
- Near famine conditionin Maratha camp as road to Delhi was cut by off by afghan war.
- Mutual jealousiesamong Martha commanders.
- No supportfrom any Muslim power of Northern India
- The disaster of Panipat lowered Maratha prestigein the Indian political world. The Marathas who could not protect their dependents or themselves came to be looked upon as a weak ruler to bank upon.
- The Marathas took the Mughal emperor under their protection and escorted him to Delhi in 1772 and again in 1789, but they never made any attempt to recover the provinces of Punjab and Multan or to play the role of the wardens of the North west Frontier.
- The First Battle of Panipat (1526) laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India after its first ruler, Babur, ended the Delhi Sultanate led by the Lodi dynasty.
- The Second Battle of Panipat (1556) cemented Mughal rule when Akbar fought off a threat from the king Hemu ‘Vikramaditya’.
Key Facts for Prelims
Who was Paul Volcker?
- He was former Chairman of the Federal Reserve of USA.
- He is widely credited with having ended the high levels of inflation seen in the United States during the 1970s and early 1980s. He increased Interest rates and focused on expanding the money supply without increasing inflation.
Why in news?
- Paul Volcker who broke the back of US inflation in the 1980s and three decades later led President Barack Obama’s bid to rein in the investment risk-taking of commercial banks, has died.
New Zealand volcano eruption: Up to 13 feared dead
A volcano, named White Island, New Zealand coast erupted with a towering blast of ash and scalding steam as dozens of tourists were exploring the moon-like surface, killing five people and leaving eight others missing and feared dead.
Location of White Island:
- White Island is an active volcano located in New Zealand, in the Bay of Plenty.
- It is New Zealand’s most active volcano.
- The island is also known by the indigenous Maori name
- It is the tip of an undersea volcano.
- About 70% of the volcano of New Zeland lies under the sea.