Polity & Governance
- 20 States rewarded for promoting urban reforms under Atal Mission during 2015-16
- ‘Citizenship amendment bill communally motivated’: Activists
Environment & Ecology
- T.N. tops list of endemic flowering plants
Bilateral & International Relations
- ‘New Delhi Declaration on Education’
- OPEC agrees on modest oil production curbs
Science & Technology
- Aircraft with Indian airborne warning system set for induction
Key Facts for Prelims
- ‘Vayoshreshtha Samman’
- ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Andolan Yatra’
- Mt Gorichen Expedition
- Advantage Health Care India 2016 (AHCI 2016)
- INDOSAN – India Sanitation Conference
Polity & Governance
20 States rewarded for promoting urban reforms under Atal Mission during 2015-16
19 States and the Union Territory of Chandigarh were rewarded with performance incentive for promoting urban reforms under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) during 2015-16.
- Among the AMRUT entrants, Tamil Nadu topped the list of performing States, Chandigarh headed the list of Union Territories.
- 400 cr was earmarked for reform incentive during 2015-16. 23 States/UTs applied to the Ministry of Urban Development.
- After verification of claims States/UT scoring 70% marks were identified for giving reform incentive. Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and A & N Islands could not qualify.
About AMRUT scheme:
The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 with the focus of the urban renewal projects is to establish infrastructure that could ensure adequate robust sewerage networks and water supply for urban transformation.
- Rajasthan was the first state in the country to submit State Annual Action Plan under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
- AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
- The scheme is dependent with public private partnership model (PPP) model.
- AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.
- AMRUT will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above. It would cover some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few state capitals and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
- Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
- Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
- Under this mission, states get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring.
- States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central government will not appraise individual projects.
‘Citizenship amendment bill communally motivated’: Activists
Civil society groups are opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, terming it “communally motivated humanitarianism.”
What’s the issue?
- The proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Muslim majority countries, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
- According to activists, this would mean, for instance, that the sizeable population of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh living in Assam would become citizens while Muslims who migrated to Assam from East Bengal a century ago would continue to be harassed as ‘illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
- The new Bill also violates Article 14 of the constitution, say activists. Since Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners, differentiating between people on the grounds of religion would be in violation of the constitution.
- The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences (e.g. parking in a no parking zone).
Highlights of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016:
- The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
- Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years. The Bill relaxes this 11-year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
- The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
Environment & Ecology
T.N. tops list of endemic flowering plants
According to the recent publication released by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number flowering plants in the country.
- The publication titled Endemic Vascular Plants of India also revealed that almost one of every four species of flowering plants found in India are endemic to the country.
- Of the total 18,259 flowering plants reported in the country, 4,303 (over 23%) are found only in India or they are endemic to the country.
- Of these, Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number of species with 410, followed by Kerala (357 species) and Maharashtra (278 species).
- In case of the geographical distribution of endemic plants, Western Ghats tops the list with about 2,116 species, followed by the Eastern Himalayas with 466 species. These two regions are among the biodiversity hot spots of the country.
- At least 37 species of Black plum Syzyguim (Jamun), 274 species of orchids and 10 varieties of Musa (banana) are found only in the country.
- Four different varieties of roses, 2 herbs and 2 climbers and 12 species of jasmines are exclusively found in India.
- There are 45 species of black pepper family, 19 species of ginger and 13 different kinds of large cardamom endemic to India.
- There are also 40 species of bamboos (Bambusoideae) endemic to India.
- Some of the plants species are restricted to only certain areas of the country like an insectivorous plant Nepenthes khasiana which is only found in the Khasi hills of Meghalaya.
Bilateral & International Relations
‘New Delhi Declaration on Education’
The BRICS nations have adopted the ‘New Delhi Declaration on Education’ resolving to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.
- The declaration was adopted at 4th conference of Education Ministers of the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — held to discuss and coordinate areas of mutual interest and develop framework for future cooperation in the field of education.
- It is important to note that BRICS countries account for over half of the world population.
About the Declaration:
The Declaration, among other things, involves:
- Initiating actions to formulate country-specific targets within the broader scope of the Sustainable Development Goal four (SDG4),
- Reaffirming the need for universal equal access to quality education,
- Including secondary and higher education, technical and vocational education and training, and lifelong learning opportunities for all,
- Organising an annual conference of the BRICS Network University,
- Encouraging more universities to participate in the BRICS University League to facilitate student mobility and collaborative research,
- Strengthening the BRICS – TVET (Technical and vocational education and training) working group to develop national reports and undertake various studies.
It also calls for the BRICS countries’ collaboration in education, research and innovation through the BRICS Network University.[Ref: PIB, Indian Express]
OPEC agrees on modest oil production curbs
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached an agreement to cut oil production for the first time since 2008 after an informal meeting in Algiers, Algeria.
- It was decided that OPEC would reduce output to a range of 32.5 to 33.0 million barrels per day (bpd) from its current output at 33.24 million bpd.
- However, how much each country will or reduce its output will be decided at the OPEC’s next formal meeting scheduled in November 2016.
- In this meeting, special invitation will be sent to Russia (non-OPEC member) to join cuts in production.
Impact on India:
- India, being the 3rd largest importer of crude oil imports 85% of total oil and 95% of natural gas from OPEC nations.
- In recent time due to cheaper oil prices in international market due to overproduction and non-coordination among OPEC countries Indian economy had immensely benefited.
- However, this decision may result in spike in oil prices which can have major implications for the India’s current account deficit and overall economy in general.
In recent times, lower oil prices kept the Indian economy on the shining path and managed to keep inflation under control making it fastest growing economy in G20 countries.[Ref: The Hindu]
Science & Technology
Aircraft with Indian airborne warning system set for induction
The DRDO has fitted its own airborne early warning and control system (AEW & CS) on a modified Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft imported from Brazil.
- With this, the first of the two small surveillance aircraft carrying the first Indian airborne early warning system is slated to be inducted into the Air Force in about two months, it is reliably learnt.
About AEW&C System:
The airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is developed by DRDO in collaboration with CAB (Cantre for Airborne Systems) that provides an airborne surveillance system.
- It is the first native AEW system developed by DRDO and CAB. It was completely developed and built using the native technology platform, EMB-145.
- The AEW&C system is developed to serve the Indian Air Force in detection and tracking, identification and classification of threats, guidance and interception control, display of air situation picture and multisensor data integration.
- The system enables the armed forces to communicate with fighter jets and other AEW&C assets.
- It also allows for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, mission planning as well as record and replay for post mission analysis.
Key Facts for Prelims
The President of India presented the National Awards for Senior Citizens “Vayoshreshtha Samman-2016” to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their service towards the cause of elderly persons, especially indigent senior citizens.
These awards were presented as part of the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) on 1st October.
Vayoshreshtha Samman is a Scheme of National Awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment initially in 2005 and was upgraded to the status of National Awards in 2013.
The Ministry has been conferring “Vayoshrestha Samman” every year on this day i.e. 1st October since 2005.
‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Andolan Yatra’
It is a nation-wide campaign to make society liquor free. It would be launched at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on October 2 to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Mt Gorichen Expedition
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister recently flagged off the all-women Mount Gorichen Expedition.
This will be the first all women team attempting to summit Mount Gorichen.
Mount Gorichen is the second highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh.
Its altitude is 6488 meter (21286ft) high above sea level. It belongs to the Himalaya Mountain Group and is a sub-range to Assam Himalaya.
It is also the Headwaters of the Kameng River in Tawang.
Advantage Health Care India 2016 (AHCI 2016)
Ministry of Commerce and Industry is now organizing the second edition of ‘Advantage Health Care India 2016 (AHCI 2016)’, an International Summit on Medical Value Travel with the aim of ‘Promoting Healthcare Services Exports from India’.
AHCI is an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC).
AHCI is the first ever International Summit on Medical Value Travel being organized in India for promoting services exports from India, and will bring together stakeholders from 67 countries, first such initiative in the Indian Subcontinent.
India is emerging as a preferred healthcare destination for patients across the globe. Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27%, the inflow of medical tourists in India is likely to cross 3.2 million in 2015.
INDOSAN – India Sanitation Conference
It was recently held in New Delhi.
INDOSAN is envisaged as an annual national event, that brings together all stakeholders working in sanitation government, NGOs, academicians, researchers, partner agencies, corporates on one platform for a shared vision.
Bringing together all such stakeholders, will create an opportunity for collective vision, collective understanding of the key elements of the Swachh Bharat Mission programme.
INDOSAN is the platform, where unfolding story of Swachh Bharat will actually happen, where each state will share their approaches most suitable to them to reach ODF.
INDOSAN will discuss on all these approaches, emerging innovations, learnings are cross shared, for the benefit of all.