Polity & Governance
- NCST recommends ‘tribal area’ status for Ladakh
- MHRD’s organized the first Annual Innovation Festival in coordination with AICTE
- GeM and Punjab Government sign MoU for setting up project management unit
Issues related to Health & Education
- Minister of State for HRD launches Curriculum for Life Skills (Jeevan Kaushal)
- PM launches animal disease eradication programme, calls for putting end to single-use of plastic
- Top 10 Indian universities ranked in World University Rankings 2020
Bilateral & International Relations
- Why India skipped SCO’s Eurasian Economic Forum in China
- The 24th World Energy Congress kicks off in Abu Dhabi
Defence & Security Issues
- DRDO successfully flight-tests MPATGM
Art & Culture
- Nataraja idol, smuggled to Australia, brought back to India after 37 years
Key Facts for Prelims
- Army’s mountain strike Corps to conduct exercise in Arunachal
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Polity & Governance
NCST recommends ‘tribal area’ status for Ladakh
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) recommend that Ladakh should be declared a tribal area under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
- The total tribal population in Ladakh region is more than 97 %. This tribal population includes Balti, Beda, Bot, Boto, Brokpa, Drokpa, Dard, Shin, Changpa, Garra, Mon and Purigpa tribe
- As per NCST, inclusion of Ladakh in 6th schedule will help
- Democratic devolution of powers
- Promote distinct culture of the region
- Protect agrarian rights including rights on land and
- Enhance transfer of funds for speedy development of the region.
- NCST also said that the autonomous district councils of erstwhile Union Territory of Mizoram had helped in mitigating the genuine aspirations of people.
About 6th schedule
- The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India allows for the formation of Autonomous District Councils to administer regions which have been given autonomy within their respective states (i.e., Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram).
Features of 6th Schedule
- The tribal areas in the four states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have been constituted as autonomous districts. But, they do not fall outside the executive authority of the state concerned.
- The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts. Thus, he can increase or decrease their areas or change their names or define their boundaries.
- If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
- Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise. The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor. Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
- The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.
- The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits.
- The district and regional councils are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.
- The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
- The governor can appoint a commission to examine on any matter relating to the administration of the autonomous districts or regions. He may dissolve a district or regional council on the recommendation of the commission.
- Under the Govt. of India Act, 1935, the hill areas of Assam were divided into two categories-Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas.
- The Lushai Hills (now Mizoram) the Naga Hills and the North Cachar Hills were under the excluded areas, over which the provincial ministry had no jurisdiction.
- The Khasi and Jaintia Hills, the Garo Hills, and the Mikir Hills were partially excluded areas. These districts had five representatives in the Assam Legislative Assembly.
- Briefly, these areas were administered by the state government subject to the special powers of the Governor. The 1935 Constitution did not give local self-government or political autonomy to the hill tribes of the excluded and partially excluded areas to manage their local affairs according to their own genius and ability.
- In order to ensure their participation in decision making and safeguarding tribal interests, the Government of India appointed a Sub-Committee of the Constituent Assembly – the North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Committee – under the Chairmanship of Gopinath Bardoloi, Chief Minister of Assam.
- The Bardoloi Committee’s recommended for a simple set-up (District Councils) of the tribal areas, which were incorporated into the Article 244 (2) of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
- The Bardoloi Committee also made provision for Regional Council for the tribes other than the main tribe. This scheme sought to build up autonomous administration (District Councils and the Regional Council) in the hill areas of Assam so that the tribal people could preserve their traditional way of life, and safeguard their customs, and cultures.
- The Committee also recommended the abolition of the excluded and the partially excluded areas and representation of the hills districts in the legislative Assembly.
About 125th amendment bill
- The Bill amends provisions related to the Finance Commission and the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
- It increases the financial and executive powers of the 10 Autonomous Councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the north-eastern region.
- The amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grassroot level.
- The Finance Commission will be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to them.
- The Autonomous Councils now depend on grants from Central ministries and the State government for specific projects. At least one-third of the seats will be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura after the amendment is approved.
About National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
- It is a constitutional bodyestablished with a view to provide safeguards against the exploitation of Scheduled Castes.
- It aims to promote and protect their social, educational, economic and cultural interests.
Composition of the commission
- The Commission consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members.
- They are appointed by the President by warrant.
- Their conditions of service and tenure of office are also determined by the president. The commission presents an annual report to the president.
Functions of the commission
- To investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes.
- To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes.
- To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
- To present to the President reports upon the working of those safeguards.
- To make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes.
MHRD’s organized the first Annual Innovation Festival in coordination with AICTE
In order to foster the culture of innovation in all educational institutions of India, the Ministry of Human Resource’s Innovation Cell organised the first Annual Innovation Festival in coordination with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
- The event also witnessed the release of the Start-Up Policy Document, Protsahan Mudra Scheme, and Vishwakarma Award, Smart India Hackathon 2020, Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020, and Institution’s Innovation Council 2.0 and ATAL Academies.
About Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)
- ARIIA is an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development to systematically rank all major educational institutions and universities on indicators related to ‘promotion of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development’ amongst their students and faculties.
- ARIIA was launched in 2018 and being implemented by MHRD’s Innovation Cell and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in technical partnership with INFLIBNET, Gandhinagar.
- All recognized Higher Educational Institutions of India are eligible to participate in the ARIIA ranking.
Major Indicators of ranking
- Budget & Funding Support
- Infrastructure & Facilities
- Awareness, Promotions & support for Idea Generation & Innovation
- Promotion & Support for Entrepreneurship Development
- Innovative Learning Methods & Courses
- Intellectual Property Generation, Technology Transfer & Commercialization.
- Innovation in Governance of the Institution
About Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC)
- MHRD’s Innovation Cell established a network of Institution’s Innovation Council (IICs) in Higher Educational Institutes to promote innovation and start-up in academia.
- IIC program was inaugurated in 2018, after which network of 950+ IICs was established across country.
Smart India Hackathon
- Launched in 2017, Smart India Hackathon or SIH is a flagship program and nationwide initiative by MHRD’s Innovation Cell (MIC) and AICTE to provide students a platform to solve some of the pressing problems of daily lives and thus to inculcate a culture of product innovation.
- The AICTE Training And Learning (ATAL) Academies was established to train technical teachers and research scholars in 9 thrust areas such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI & ML), 3-D Printing, Big Data Analysis, Blockchain, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, Quantum Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics & Cyber Security.
- Protsahan Mudra is real time rewards Engine to give rewards to Students and teachers daily or as close to the action that qualifies for the reward.
- The primary categories for the award may include Social work, Academics, Sports and Arts.
- AICTE has introduced Vishwakarma Awards from 2017 to encourage young students and institutions to raise their performance in their specific domains.
- AICTE has announced the Vishwakarma Award 2019 with the theme of “How to enhance the income of Village”.
GeM and Punjab Government sign MoU for setting up project management unit
Government e-Marketplace (GeM) under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Government of Punjab has signed MoU to set up a GeM Organizational Transformation Team (GOTT) Project Management Unit (PMU) in Punjab.
About Government e-Marketplace
- GeM is a short form of one stop ‘Government e-Market Place’ hosted by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) where common user goods and services can be procured.
- Launched in August 2016, GeM is the national public procurement portal (e-market place) that enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.
- It facilitates online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organisations / PSUs.
- GOTT will assist the buyer to redesign the procurement processes and enhance competencies to derive maximum benefit from the online marketplace.
- Government of Punjab is the first State which will establish GOTT PMU for effectively utilizing GeM initiative.
- Through the initiatives of GOTT PMU, Government of Punjab will be able to transact around Rs 1700 crore in terms of annual Gross Merchandize Value (GMV) on GeM platform in the first year and over Rs 3000 crore per annum, over a period of time.
Issues related to Health & Education
Minister of State for HRD launches Curriculum for Life Skills (Jeevan Kaushal)
Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development launched the Curriculum for Life Skills (JeevanKaushal) designed by University Grants Commission (UGC).
About Jeevan Kaushal
- University Grants Commission (UGC) constituted an Expert Committee which prepared a Curriculum for Life Skills (JeevanKaushal) for Under Graduate Programme.
- The curriculum is designed to impart the knowledge and skills relevant to the current Industry demand.
- Life skills curriculum cover the set of human talents such as communication skill, interpersonal skill, time management, problem solving ability etc.
PM launches animal disease eradication programme, calls for putting end to single-use of plastic
Prime Minister launched the National Animal Disease Control Programme (NACDP) to check and eradicate the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis among the livestock.
- He also launched the National Artificial Insemination Programme and a country-wide workshop at all the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in all the 687 districts of the country on vaccination and disease management, artificial insemination and productivity.
- The Prime Minister also launched the Swachhta Hi Seva Programme with a focus on reducing the usage of single-use plastic in the country.
What are Krishi Vigyan Kendras?
- Krsihi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) are agricultural extension centres created by ICAR (Indian Council for Agricultural Research) and its affiliated institutions at district level to provide various types of farm support to the agricultural sector.
- The first KVK was established during 1974 (Pondichery) and has grown as a largest network in the country.
Activities under KVKs
KVKs provide several farm support activities like providing technology dissemination to farmers, training, awareness etc. To achieve the set objectives KVKs undertake following types of activities in the adopted villages:
- Farm Advisory Service
- Training programme for different categories of people.
- Training programme for the extension functionaries.
- Front Line Demonstration (Fill)
- On Farm Testing (OFT)
Why upskilling is needed?
- About 40% of the country’s workforce is linked to agricultural knowledge activities. The government aims to double farmers’ income. However, without skill upgradation, this is not possible. There are rapid technological strides in the agriculture sector; therefore, upskilling is needed.
About the Swachhta Hi Seva campaign
- The campaign is being coordinated by Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, convening Ministry for the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- Its objective is to mobilise people and reinforce jan aandolan (mass movement) for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a Clean India.
- It will see large scale mobilisation of people from all walks of life to undertake shramdaan (voluntary work) for cleanliness and construction of toilets. There will be targeted cleaning of public and tourist places.
- The main agenda of the campaign will be to reach out to the poor and marginalised and provide them with sustainable sanitation services.
Top 10 Indian universities ranked in World University Rankings 2020
The Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2020 features six Indian institutes among the top 500 in the world, an increase from last year’s five institutes.
Highlights of World University Rankings 2020
- The Times Higher Education’s 2020 edition of its World University Rankings of 1,300 universities in 92 countries shows 56 Indian institutions, making India the fifth most-represented country in the list and the third in Asia behind Japan and China.
First Rank: University of Oxford
Top 10 Indian universities ranked in World University Rankings 2020
- Indian Institute of Science (rank in 301-350 bracket)
- IIT Ropar
- IIT Indore
- IIT Bombay
- IIT Delhi
- IIT Kharagpur
- Institute of Chemical Technology
- IIT Gandhinagar
- IIT Roorkee
- Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
About World University Rankings 2020
- It is published by Times Higher Education, a leading provider of higher education data for the world’s research-led institutions.
- It’s university ranking is based on 13 performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfers and international outlook.
Bilateral & International Relations
Why India skipped SCO’s Eurasian Economic Forum in China
India skipped a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which was organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in China.
Why did India skip meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)?
- In May 2017, India strongly opposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China, passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- Since the BRI’s launch in 2017, India has remained firm on not singing it off at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) annual summits in 2018 and 2019.
- In 2018, China said that it will synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union.
- Hence, as EAEU is collaborating with Belt and Road Initiative, India skipped the EAEU meeting.
About Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)
- The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an international economic union the comprises countries located in northern Eurasia.
- The founding member countries, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia established the union by the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, which entered into force on January 1, 2015.
- Currently, it has 5 members: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
- Key objectives of the EAEU include increasing cooperation and economic competitiveness for the member states and the promotion of stable development.
- The EAEU heads of state comprise a governing body known as The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, and the executive body which oversees day-to-day operations is known as the Eurasian Economic Commission, an analog to the European Commission. The Court of the EAEU serves as the judicial body.
- Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, many Eurasian republics began to experience economic decline, prompting dialog between states in the region regarding economic cooperation.
- In 1994, Kazakhstan first suggested the idea of establishing a trade alliance. As a result, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed The Treaty on the Customs Union in 1995, laying the groundwork for free economic cooperation.
- In December 2010, ‘The Declaration on Establishment of the Single Economic Space of the Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russia’ was signed, establishing the foundation for the EAEU. This treaty, which entered into force in 2012, ensured the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital between the states.
- In 2014, the EAEU was formally established when founding members signed the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union and this treaty was entered into force on January 1, 2015.
To know more about China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Refer IASTopper’s Mains Article: https://www.iastoppers.com/one-belt-one-road-obor-initiative-india-join/[Ref: Indian Express]
The 24th World Energy Congress kicks off in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi hosts the 24th World Energy Congress from 9-12 September, 2019.
- The theme of the 24th World Energy Congress’s theme is ‘Energy for Prosperity’.
World Energy Congress
- The World Energy Congress is the World Energy Council’s global flagship event offering a unique platform for global energy leaders to explore new energy futures, critical innovation areas, and new strategies.
- As the flagship event of the World Energy Council, the triennial Congress is the longest-running energy event in the world.
World Energy Council
- World Energy Council (WEC) is a global body for tangible engagement in the pursuit of sustainable supply and use of energy.
- It was established in 1923 and has currently close to 100 country members including India.
- It is the UN accredited global energy body.
- It published the ‘World Energy Trilemma Index’ since 2010 annually, which provides a rating of national energy system performance across the three Trilemma dimensions: Energy Security, Energy Equity, and Environmental Sustainability of Energy System.
[Ref: The Hindu]
Defence & Security Issues
DRDO successfully flight-tests MPATGM
In a major boost for Indian Army, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in the ranges of Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.
- This is the third series of successful testing of MPATGM. The test paves the way for the Army to have developed 3rd generation man portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile indigenously.
About Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM)
- The Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MP-ATGM) is an Indian third-generation Anti-tank guided missile derived from the Nag missile.
- MPATGM is incorporated with state-of-the-art Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics.
Art & Culture
Nataraja idol, smuggled to Australia, brought back to India after 37 years
An antique panchaloka idol of lord Nataraja, stolen from a temple in southern Tamil Nadu and smuggled to Australia 37 years ago, has been brought back to India.
- The 700-year-old statue belonged to the Pandya era.
- “Nataraja (Lord of the Dance) is the Hindu god Shiva in his form as the cosmic dancer. His dance is called Tandavam or Nadanta”
- It represents apocalypse and creation of universe as he dances away the illusory world of Maya transforming it into power and enlightenment.
- The classical form of the depiction appears in stone reliefs, as at the Ellora Caves and the Badami Caves, by around the 6th-century.
- Around the 10th century, it emerged in Tamil Nadu in its mature and best-known expression in Chola bronzes, of various heights typically less than four feet.
- A red Nataraja sandstone statue, from 9th to 10th century was discovered from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, Nataraja artwork has been found in archaeological sites in the Himalayan region such as Kashmir, albeit in with somewhat different dance pose.
- Nataraja artwork have also been discovered in Gujarat, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
- The Nataraja reliefs have been identified in historic artwork from many parts of southeast Asia such as in Bali, Cambodia, and in central Asia.
- Nataraja Temple, also referred to as the Chidambaram Nataraja temple or Thillai Nataraja temple, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Nataraja Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.
Key Facts for Prelims
Army’s mountain strike Corps to conduct exercise in Arunachal
The Army is scheduled to conduct a major Exercise ‘HimVijay’ beginning October in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam with its newly created Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) involving 15,000 troops.
What are Integrated Battle Groups?
About Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)
- IBGs are brigade-sized, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of hostilities.
- Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task (3 Ts) and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts.
- They will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.
- The composition of IBGs will depend upon whether it is defensive or offensive. While the offensive IBGs would quickly make thrust into enemy territory for strikes, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.
How does IBGs fit into current Indian Military Structure?
- While a command is the largest static formation of the Army spread across a defined geography, a corps is the largest mobile Typically, each corps has three divisions and each division has three brigades.
- The aim is to reorganise brigades into IBGs which are brigade-sized units but have all the essential elements like infantry, armoured, artillery and air defence embedded together based on the three Ts.
- During the 2001 terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Indian military took weeks to mobilise army losing the element of surprise.
- Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive.
- Moreover, Indian Army has initiated four major studies to undertake overall transformation of the force.
- Restructuring of Army Headquarters
- Force restructuring which includes creation of Integrated Battle Groups (IBG)
- The cadre review of officers
- Review of the terms and conditions of Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks.