Polity & Governance
- Kerala Assembly passes resolution against Citizenship Amendment Act
- Indian History Congress did not invite Governor
- Supreme Court bats against transfer of community resources
Government Schemes & Policies
- PM-Kisan: Centre to disburse Rs 12,000 crore to 6 crore farmers on January 2
- Swachh Survekshan 2020: Nashik features in top 10 list
Issues related to Health & Education
- Odisha tribals still suffering from hunger, malnutrition
- FM unveils ₹102 lakh crore national infrastructure plan
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- One-fifth of country’s forests prone to fires: study
- Disaster waiting to happen as debris being dumped in Ghataprabha
- Eight lakh people pay tributes on Koregaon battle anniversary
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Polity & Governance
Kerala Assembly passes resolution against Citizenship Amendment Act
The Kerala Assembly passed a resolution demanding scrapping of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), becoming the first state in the country to do so. The resolution was passed at the special session convened to ratify the extension by another 10 years the reservation for SC and ST community in the state assemblies and Parliament.
- The Kerala House also passed another resolution criticising the removal of the Anglo Indian community from the reservation in the state assemblies and Parliament.
- The Kerala CM argued that the CAA was against the “secular” outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
- He noted that the Act had triggered widespread protests among various strata of society and dented India’s image in front of the international community.
- Kerala has already put on hold all the activities in connection with the National Population Register (NPR) considering the anxiety among people that it relates to the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
To know more about all the aspects of controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), refer to IASTopper’s Mains article here: https://www.iastoppers.com/editorial-notes-explained-citizenship-amendment-bill-2019/[Ref: The Hindu]
Indian History Congress did not invite Governor
Historian Irfan Habib said the Indian History Congress (IHC) did not invite Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and it was the host institution, Kannur University, which invited him and other political leaders.
What is the issue?
- The Kerala governor, at the inauguration of the 80th edition of Indian History Congress, spoke in favour of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and denounced the Muslims. This was opposed by many groups.
About Indian History Congress
- Founded in 1935, the Indian History Congress(IHC) is the largest association of professional historians in South Asia. It has been publishing its proceedings every year since 1935.
- Its main objective is to promote secular and scientific writing of history.
- The Bharata Itihasa Samshodhaka Mandala (BISM) organised an All India Congress in 1935 to celebrate its silver jubilee. The Indian History Congress (IHC) was thus born with about 50 delegates.
- BISM was founded by Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade in 1910 in Pune with the support of K C Mehendale.
Contribution of IHC
- It passed significant resolutions regarding the protection of monuments of historical importance and the role the government and Archaeological Survey of India should play in their preservation. In fact, in 1946, it petitioned the government to allow researchers access to archives.
- In 1977, the IHC cautioned against the use of communal rhetoric in public life and the dangers of political appropriation of monuments.
- In 1948, IHC resolved to contribute to the syllabi in universities and colleges across the country.
- The ‘Proceedings of the Indian History Congress’ have been published annually without any break, a rare achievement for any independent professional body.
Supreme Court bats against transfer of community resources
The Government has no right to transfer “invaluable” community resources like village water ponds to a few powerful people and industrialists for commercialisation of the property, when many areas of the country perennially face water crisis, the Supreme Court has held.
- The judgment came on a plea by activist against the transfer of village ponds’ sites of Saini Village in the Delhi to some private industrialists by the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority.
What the supreme court said?
- Protection of community resources like village water ponds is essential to safeguard the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 of Constitution.
- The court said the State cannot divest villagers of their existing source of water even if it promises to provide them an alternative site. There is no guarantee that the adverse effect of destroying the existing water body would be offsetand people would be compelled to travel miles to access the alternative site.
Government Schemes & Policies
PM-Kisan: Centre to disburse Rs 12,000 crore to 6 crore farmers on January 2
As a new year gift to farmer, Centre will transfer over Rs. 12,000 crore to the bank accounts of more than 6 crore farmers under the flagship PM-Kisan Scheme in Karnataka.
About the PM-KISAN
- In the Interim budget of 2019-20, Government has announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)’ for providing an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers.
Highlights of Programme
- Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
- This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each.
- Funded by Government of India, this programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs. 75,000 crores.
- Initially, the target was to cover 12 crore small and marginal farmers (owning up to 2 hectare). But in May, the government expanded the scheme to cover all the farmers, benefiting additional 2 crore growers. Small and marginal landholder family comprises of Husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to 2 hectares.
Exclusion: All institutional Land holders; and Farmer families in which one or more of its members belong to former and present holders of constitutional posts, government office, who paid income Tax in last assessment year and Professionals like Doctors, Engineer etc.
Significance of Programme
- Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit.
- PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season.
- PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.
- So far, over 8 crore Indian farmers have been enrolled in PM-Kisan, even though there are around 14.5 crore landholding farmers in India.
- Among the States where the enrolment is less than half are Madhya Pradesh (49 per cent), Tamil Nadu (47 per cent), Kerala (40 per cent) and Bihar (26 per cent).
- Of 14 crore farmers estimated to get the PM-Kisan benefits, the Centre has collected data of as many as 9.2 crore farmers.
- West Bengal, with an estimated over 70 lakh farmers, is the only state out of the ambit of PM-Kisan as it has refused to share and authenticate farmers’ data.
- Uttar Pradesh is the top-performing state, which has collected data of nearly 2 crore (out of 2.4 crore) farmers, so far.
[Ref: Financial Express]
Swachh Survekshan 2020: Nashik features in top 10 list
Nashik city has featured among the top 10 cities (in more than 10 lakh population category) in the Swachh Survekshan League 2020 (Quarter 1 and Quarter 2).
About Swachh Survekshan
- Swachh Survekshan is a ranking exercise taken up by the Government of India to assess rural and urban areas for their levels of cleanliness and active implementation of Swachhata mission initiatives in a timely and innovative manner.
- It was first conducted in 2016 with 73 cities. The 2017 and 2018 round of the survey widened the coverage of the assessment to 434 cities with a population of one lakh and above and 4,203 cities respectively.
Swachh Survekshan League 2020 (Quarter 1 and Quarter 2)
- Swachh Survekshan League 2020 (SS League 2020) was introduced to sustain the onground performance of cities along with continuous monitoring of service level performance when it comes to cleanliness.
SS League 2020 is being conducted in 3 quarters, i.e.
- April- June
- July – September
- October- December
It allots 2,000 marks for each quarter and is evaluated on the basis of i) Monthly updation of details by cities and ii) Citizen’s validation on the 12-service level progress indicators through outbound calls.
Ranks have been assigned in two categories, namely,
- Cities with population of one lakh and above (with two sub-categories, i.e. 1-10 lakh and 10 lakhs and above)
- Cities with population of less than 1 lakh (under the < 1 lakh population category, the rankings are given zone and population wise).
In Swachh Survekshan 2020, there are around 40 different indicators such as garbage lifting, garbage segregation, waste composting, cleanliness drive, public toilets, cleanliness of roads and markets etc.
Highlights of ‘Swachh Survekshan League 2020
For more than 10 lakh population category:
- Quarter 1: Indore (1st rank) was followed by Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) and Surat (Gujarat) in the second and third place respectively.
- Quarter 2: Indore was followed by Rajkot (Gujarat) and Navi Mumbai(Maharashtra) in the second and third place respectively.
1-10 lakh population:
- Quarter 1: Jamshedpur was followed by New Delhi (Delhi) and Khargone (Madhya Pradesh) in the 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
- Quarter 2: Jamshedpur was followed by Chandrapur (Maharashtra) and Khargone (Madhya Pradesh) in the 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Cantonment board ranking:
- Quarter 1: Tamil Nadu (St.Thomas Mount Cantt.) ranked 1st which was followed by Uttar Pradesh (Jhansi Cantt.)and New Delhi(Delhi Cantt).
- Quarter 2: Delhi ranked 1st, followed by Uttar Pradesh (Jhansi Cantt.) and Punjab (Jalandhar Cantt.)
Secunderabad Cantonment Board in Hyderabad was worst performer among other cantonment boards.
[Ref: Times of India]
Issues related to Health & Education
Odisha tribals still suffering from hunger, malnutrition
Right to Food Campaign, a platform of social activists, said poor implementation of government welfare programmes was marginalising tribals further in backward pockets of Odisha.
- In the wake of malnutrition deaths of infants of the Juanga tribe at Nagada village in Jajpur district of Odisha in 2016, the Right to Food Campaign activists started visiting villages inhabited by particularly vulnerable tribal groups in different parts Odisha.
Findings of RTF
- Paudi Bhuyan tribes in four villages (Kiri, Keta, Kundula and Kunu) under Bonai subdivision of Sundargarh districts were suffering from hunger and malnutrition.
- Integrated Child Development Service programme, one of the most important food security programmes, was found non-existent in Paudi Bhuyan tribal villages.
- Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 21 tribals of these villages had worked in a road construction work in 2014, but they had not got their payments
- Juangas are one of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG).
- The Juangas believe that in ancient times, their tribe emerged from earth on the hills of Gonasika in nearby Kendujhar district from where the river Baitarani originates.
- Juangas don’t believe in gods or deities and only worship Basumati or Mother Earth.
- Early marriage is a common practice among Juangas, leading to complications among children born out of young parents.
Paudi Bhuyan tribes
- Paudi Bhuyan, a tribe within Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), live in the forested mountains of Odisha. They are also found in Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.
- They are major section of the historically famous Bhuinya tribe.
- They live in hills and mountain forests (hence Paudi Bhuyan are also called Hill Bhuyan) and are geographical isolated tribe.
- They are shifting cultivators and supplement this primary occupation by collection of non-timber forest produces.
FM unveils ₹102 lakh crore national infrastructure plan
Union Finance Minister has outlined plans to invest more than ₹102 lakh crore on infrastructure projects by 2024-25, with the Centre, States and the private sector to share the capital expenditure in a 39:39:22 formula.
- It is estimated that India would need to spend $4.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to sustain its growth rate.
- Moreover,100 lakh crore would be invested on infrastructure over the next five years, including social and economic infrastructure projects. To implement an infrastructure program of this scale, it is important that projects are adequately prepared and launched.
- To achieve this task, a Task Force was constituted by Union Finance Minister to draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for each of the years from FY 2019-20 to FY 2024-25.
- The National Infrastructure Pipeline includes greenfield and brownfield projects costing above Rs 100 crore each.
Overview of the Infrastructure plan
- Nearly one-fourth (Rs 24.54 lakh crore) investment will flow in the energy sector, and of that Rs 11.7 lakh crore would be in just the power sector.
- Irrigation and rural infrastructure projects would account for 8% (Rs 7.7 lakh crore each). Rs 3.07 lakh crore would be spent on industrial infrastructure. Agriculture and social infrastructure would account for the rest.
- Road projects will account for 19% (Rs 19.63 lakh crore) while another 13% (Rs 13.68 lakh crore) would be for railway projects.
- Port projects would see spending of Rs 1 lakh crore and airports another Rs 1.43 lakh crore. Rs 16.29 lakh crore would be spent on urban infrastructure and Rs 3.2 lakh crore in telecom projects.
- Social infrastructure, including health and education, will get 3% of the capital expenditure, with digital communication and industrial expenditure each getting the same amount as well.
- Agriculture and food processing infrastructure will get 1% of the planned capital expenditure.
- ₹42 lakh crore NIP projects which are in the implementation stage now include expressways, national gas grid and PMAY-G.
Benefits of National Infrastructure Pipeline
- Economy: Well-planned NIP will enable more infra projects, grow businesses, create jobs, improve ease of living, and provide equitable access to infrastructure for all, making growth more inclusive.
- Government: Well-developed infrastructure enhances level of economic activity, creates additional fiscal space by improving revenue base of the government, and ensures quality of expenditure focused in productive areas.
- Developers: Provides better view of project supply, provides time to be better prepared for project bidding, reduces aggressive bids/ failure in project delivery, ensures enhanced access to sources of finance as result of increased investor confidence.
- Banks/financial institutions/investors: Builds investor confidence as identified projects are likely to be better prepared, exposures less likely to suffer stress given active project monitoring, thereby less likelihood of NPAs.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
One-fifth of country’s forests prone to fires: study
About 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires, with forests in the north-eastern region and central India being the most vulnerable, as per a study carried out by the FSI along forest fire points identified across India from 2004 to 2017.
About the study
- The forest fire points (FFP) identified were analysed using a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) by overlaying the points coverage over the grid coverage of 5 km x 5 km.
Highlights of the study
About 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires. Out of this,
- Extremely fire prone areas are 3.89%
- Very highly fire prone areas are 6.01%
- Highly fire prone areas are 11.50%.
- Mizoram recorded the highest number of fire alerts (2,795).
- The seven States of the north-eastern region make up about one-third of alerts in India.
- The forest cover in the north-east, particularly in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland — has decreased.
- Central Indian States also recorded a high number of forest fire alerts, with Madhya Pradesh accounting for highest alerts (2,723) followed by Maharashtra.
Reason for fire
- One of the major reasons for forest fires in the north-east is slash-and-burn cultivation, commonly called jhoom or jhum cultivation. The fires are not due to the burning of forest as north-east has tropical evergreen forests (unlike the dry deciduous forests of central India) which are not likely to catch fire easily.
- In cases of natural reasons, the scientist pointed to thunderstorms as the most likely cause.
- The MODIS is a payload imaging sensor that was launched into Earth orbit by NASA in 1999 on board the Terra satellite, and in 2002 on board the Aqua satellite.
Disaster waiting to happen as debris being dumped in Ghataprabha
South Western Railways (SWR) is suspected to have landed in a legal snag after it has come to light that it violated one of the laws of National Green Tribunal (NGT) by dumping debris, geenraed from excavation of construing a railway line, into the Ghataprabha river.
- Ghataprabha is an important right-bank tributary of the Krishna river. The old Bagalkot town is located on the bank of this river. It flows eastward before its confluence with the Krishna River at Chikksangam.
[Ref: Indian Express]
Eight lakh people pay tributes on Koregaon battle anniversary
At least 8 lakh people paid their tributes at the “Jaystambh” (victory pillar) in Perne village in Pune district of Maharashtra on the occasion of the 202nd anniversary of the Bhima- Koregaon battle amidst tight security.
- Bhima Koregaon is a small village in Pune district of Maharashtra with a strong Dalit-nationalist historical connection.
About Bhima Koregaon battel
- It was fought between the forces of the Peshwa and the British on January 1, 1818 at Bhima Koregaon village. The British army comprised primarily of Dalit soldiers. Peshwa army had an upper caste domination. Mahars (a community found largely in the state of Maharashtra and neighbouring areas) were considered an untouchable community, and were not recruited in the army by the peshwas.
Result: The Dalit-dominated British troops defeated the Peshwa army.
Background of Battel of Koregaon
- By the 1800s, the Marathas were organized into a loose confederacy, with the major constituents being the Peshwa of Pune, the Scindia of Gwalior, the Holkar of Indore, the Gaekwad of Baroda, and the Bhosale of Nagpur.
- The British intervened in a revenue-sharing dispute between the Peshwa and Gaekwad, and in June 1817, the Company forced Peshwa Baji Rao II to sign an agreement renouncing claims on Gaekwad’s revenues and ceding large swaths of territory to the British. This treaty of Pune formally ended the Peshwa’s rule over other Maratha chiefs, thus officially ending the Maratha confederacy.
- The Peshwa then fled to Satara, and the Company forces took complete control of Pune. Britishers received news that the Peshwa intended to attack Pune. The British troops came across the Peshwa’s forces while Peshwa was running away from Britishers. This resulted in the Battle of Koregaon.
Background of Bhima Koregaon village
- Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Chhatrapati Shivaji, had been murdered on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. His body was thrown in the Bhima river, which flows by the village and gave name to the settlement as Bhima Koregaon.
- Aurangzeb had warned the populace against performing the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj. However, Govind Gopal Mahar, ignored the warning and performed last rites of the Sambhaji Maharaj.
- There is a Samadhi or resting place of Sambhaji Maharaj at Vadhu Badruk. Later, when Govind Gopal Mahar was killed by the British forces, a memorial was built in his honour just opposite to the Samadhi of Sambhaji Maharaj.
What is the issue?
- 2018 was the 200th year of the victory of Mahars over the Brahmanical Peshwas. During the celebrations, there were violent clashes between Dalit and Maratha groups, resulting in the death of at least one person and injuries to several others.
[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express]