Polity & Governance
- 3rd issue of Newsletter of North Eastern Council released
- Prime Minister replied to the motion of thanks on the President’s Address in the Lok Sabha
Issues related to Health & Education
- NITI Aayog Releases the Second Edition of “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report
- Government is taking several steps to control the spread of Fall Army Worm
- APEDA organises buyers-sellers meet in Manipur
- Beekeeping Development Committee under EAC-PM releases its report
Bilateral & International Relations
- Russia extends ban on European food imports until end of 2020
Defence & Security Issues
- 1.02 lakh more excluded from draft NRC in Assam
- Mohan Ranade, Veteran Freedom Fighter Behind Goa Liberation Movement Dies
- A Peace Museum opens on the 75th anniversary of Battle of Imphal
Key Facts for Prelims
- 4 Plastic Parks approved for implementation in Phase-I
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Polity & Governance
3rd issue of Newsletter of North Eastern Council released
The Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region released the third issue of Newsletter of North Eastern Council (NEC) which highlighted some of the initiatives taken by the NEC during July, 2018 to March, 2019.
About North Eastern Council:
- In 1971, the Indian Central government set up the North Eastern Council by an Act of Parliament.
- The eight States of North East India viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, are members of the council, with their respective Chief Ministers and Governors representing them.
- Sikkim was added to the council in the year 2002.
- The headquarters of the council is situated in Shillong.
- It functions under the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
- The Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which the North Eastern States have a common interest and advise the Central Government as to the action to be taken on any such matter.
- This was done so as to take care of the economic and social planning of these states, as well as to provide mediation in the event of inter-State disputes.
- The Council is normally expected to meet at least twice in a year.
- In July, 2018, the NEC has been restructured through the nomination of the Home Minister as Chairman of NEC and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region as the Vice-Chairman of NEC.
- NEC and all the Governors and Chief Ministers of North Eastern States will be Members.
Prime Minister replied to the motion of thanks on the President’s Address in the Lok Sabha
Prime Minister of India thanked the members of the House for taking part in the debate and added that the President’s address envisions a New India as dreamt by millions of Indians.
About Motion of thanks:
- Under article 87 of the Constitution, the president addresses the joint sitting of both houses of the parliament at the commencement of the first session after every General Election and the first session of every fiscal year is called Motion of Thanks.
- This address is discussed by Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on a motion which is called the ‘Motion of thanks’.
- The President reads the Address in Hindi or English. The other version of Address in English or Hindi, as the case may be, is read out by the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
- National anthem is played before and after the president’s address.
- President’s Address and Motion of Thanks are governed by Articles 86 (1) and 87 (1) of the Constitution and Rules 16 to 24 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
- Members of Parliament vote on this motion of thanks. This motion must be passed in both of the houses.
- A failure to get motion of thanks passed amounts to defeat of government and leads to collapse of government. This is why, the Motion of Thanks is deemed to be a no-confidence motion.
Content of the Address:
- The President’s Address is the statement of policy of the Government which contains a review of various activities and achievements of the Government during the previous year.
- Speech includes the programmes which Government wishes to pursue in future.
- The Address also indicates items of legislative business which are proposed to be brought during the sessions to be held in that year.
Session begun Without the President’s Address:
- The president’s Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
- If at the time of commencement of the first session of the year, Lok Sabha is not in existence and has been dissolved, Rajya Sabha can have its session without the President’s Address.
- This happened in 1977, during the dissolution of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha had its session in without the President’s Address.
Discussion on the Address by Motion of Thanks:
- The president’s address is followed by the motion of thanks which is moved in each house by a member (of Ruling party) and seconded by another member.
- Members who are to move and second the Motion are selected by the Prime Minister.
- The critical analysis on this motion last for three to four days in which opposition critically discusses the government’s policies and mission.
- The discussion may also be postponed in favor of an urgent Government Bill or other business.
- The time allotted by the House for discussion on the Motion of Thanks is distributed amongst various parties and groups in proportion to their strength in the House.
- At the end of the discussion, the Prime Minister replies to the debate.
- Thereafter, the amendments by opposition party are disposed and then the Motion of Thanks is put to vote in the House.
- If any of the amendments is accepted, then the Motion of Thanks is adopted in the amended form.
- A motion of thanks must be passed or else it is considering defeat of government and leads to collapse of government.
Amendment to the Motion of Thanks:
- Amendments may refer to matters contained in the President’s Address which, in the opinion of the members, the Address has failed to mention.
- Every year, a large number of amendments are moved by members of the opposition highlighting the issues.
- The lists of amendments are circulated to members in advance and amendments are moved in the House.
- There have been only three instances so far, when the Motion of Thanks was adopted by Rajya Sabha with amendments.
- The Motion of Thanks with an amendment was adopted for the first time in January 1980. In December 1989, the Motion of Thanks was adopted with six amendments. Again in March 2001, the Motion of Thanks was adopted with an amendment.
- In its entire history, the Rajya Sabha has only five times amended the Motion of Thanks to Presidential Address. Once each during the time of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, VP Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, in last three years alone, the Motion of Thanks to Presidential Address has been twice amended during Prime Minister Modi’s tenure.
- In the past, there have been only two instances when the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address was not passed.
- The only limitations are that members cannot refer to matters which are not the direct responsibility of the Central Government and that the name of the President cannot be brought in during the debate since the Government and not the President is responsible for the contents of the Address.
Issues related to Health & Education
NITI Aayog Releases the Second Edition of “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report
NITI Aayog released the Second Edition of ‘Healthy States, Progressive India’ report.
Highlights of the second edition of “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report
- The second edition focuses on measuring the overall performance and incremental improvement over a two-year period (2016-17 and 2017-18) in the States and UTs.
- It considers 2015-16 as a Base Year and 2017-18 as a Reference Year.
- Among the Larger States, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Maharashtra ranked on top in terms of overall performance.
- Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand are the top three ranking States in terms of annual incremental performance which showed the maximum gains in improvement of health outcomes from base to reference year in indicators such as Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR), Under-five Mortality Rate (U5MR), Proportion Low Birth Weight among New-borns etc.
- Among Smaller States, Mizoram ranked first followed by Manipur on overall performance.
- Tripura followed by Manipur were the top ranked States in terms of annual incremental performance.
- Manipur registered maximum incremental progress on indicators such as full immunization coverage, institutional deliveries, total Case Notification Rate of Tuberculosis etc.
- Among UTs, Chandigarh (first rank) and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (second rank) were ranked on top in terms of overall performance as well as in annual incremental performance.
- These two UTs showed the highest improvement in indicators such as total Case Notification Rate of Tuberculosis, Average Occupancy of an officer (in months) for 3 Key State posts for last 3 years, Proportion of ANMs positions vacant at Sub Centres etc.
About the ‘Healthy States, Progressive India’ report:
- The report ranks states and Union territories on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other.
- The report is aimed at releasing a composite Health Index based on key health outcomes and other health systems.
- The Health Index of the report is a weighted composite Index based on 23 indicators grouped into the domains of Health Outcomes, Governance and Information, and Key Inputs/Processes.
- The ranking is categorized as Larger States, Smaller States and Union Territories (UTs), to ensure comparison among similar entities.
- The States are categorized as Front-runners, Achievers and Aspirants. Further, the States are categorized into four groups based on incremental performance: not improved, least improved, moderately improved and most improved.
Performance of various states:
- Kerala has emerged as the top-ranking state in terms of overall health performance.
- Uttar Pradesh is the worst when it comes to overall health performance.
- Gujarat, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh stood at fourth, fifth and sixth spots.
- Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have emerged as the top ranking states based on historical performance across health indicators.
- Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand top the index based on incremental performance.
- Among the UTs, Chandigarh jumped one spot to top the list with a score of (63.62), followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli (56.31), Lakshadweep (53.54), Puducherry (49.69), Delhi (49.42), Andaman and Nicobar (45.36) and Daman and Diu (41.66).
- Only about half the States and UTs showed an improvement in the overall score between 2015-16 (base year) and 2017-18 (reference year).
- Among the eight Empowered Action Group States, only three States — Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh — showed improvement in the overall performance.
- Health Index has been developed as a tool to leverage co-operative and competitive federalism to accelerate the pace of achieving health outcomes.
- It would also serve as an instrument for “nudging” States & Union Territories (UTs) and the Central Ministries to a much greater focus on output and outcome-based measurement of annual performance than is currently the practice.
- With the annual publication of the Index and its availability on public domain on a dynamic basis, it is expected to keep every stakeholder alert to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal number 3.
Limitations of the Health Index:
- Some critical areas such as infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health is not fully captured in the Index due to non-availability of acceptable quality data.
- Data for indicators such as Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) were available only for formerly undivided States, which could not be used in the Index.
- As the West Bengal did not submit the approved data, the performance scores were generated by using the pre-filled indicator data for 12 indicators and for the remaining indicators the data were repeated for the Reference Year.
- For several key outcome indicators, data were available only for Larger States. Hence, the Health Index scores and ranks for Smaller States and UTs did not include these indicators.
Government is taking several steps to control the spread of Fall Army Worm
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has taken several steps to control the spread of Fall Army Worm (FAW).
About Fall Army Worm (FAW)
- Fall Armyworm is a species in the order of Lepidoptera and is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth.
- The term “armyworm” can refer to several species. The Fall Armyworm is more dangerous than the True Armyworm.
- It is regarded as a pest and can damage and destroy a wide variety of crops, which causes large economic damage.
- It is a native of the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas and was first detected in the African continent in 2016.
- It was reported in India for the first time in 2018 when it affected crops in Karnataka. Within a span of only six months, almost 50 per cent of the country, including Mizoram, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, has reported FAW infestations.
- This was due to its polyphagous (ability to feed on different kinds of food) nature and strong flying ability. Moreover, it has high reproductive capacity as a single female can lay 600 to 700 eggs.
- In its 45-day-long lifecycle, the female moth of this pest lays around 1,500-2,000 eggs on the top of leaves. In the roughly 30-day larval stage, the caterpillar goes through six stages of development or instars.
- This is the most dangerous part of the lifecycle as the caterpillar feeds on leaves, whorls, stalks and flowers of crop plants. Once this stage is completed, the growing moth pupates in the soil — for 8-9 days in summer and 20-30 days in cold weather. The nocturnal egg-laying adults live for about 10 days, during which they migrate long distances.
- FAW larvae are seen in groups. The larva of FAW can be identified by four characteristic spots on the last second segment forming a square. The head has an inverted “Y” mark.
- The lifecycle of the worm can range from 30 to 45 days. In winter, the cycle can extend up to even 90 days.
- The larva is the damaging stage of the insect. It generally causes damage to corn (maize), and can attack millet, vegetables, rice, sugarcane and sorghum.
- Till date, India has reported FAW infestation on maize, sorghum (jowar) and sugarcane crops.
Steps taken to control FAW:
- The Indian Council of Agriculture Research has prepared a detailed Package of Practices (POP) against FAW in Maize crop which contains mechanical, cultural, biological and chemical measures to control FAW.
- Based on the recommendations of the High Power Committee (HPC), various Sub-Committees have been constituted in the various states which are headed by the Director / Commissioner of Agriculture / Principal Secretary of the respective State.
- Regular surveys, surveillance and monitoring were conducted by the Central Integrated Pest Management Centres (CIPMCs) in collaboration with the State Department of Agriculture, SAUs and ICAR etc.
- Certain Bio-control Agents, which have found effective against FAW, have been mass produced.
[Ref: PIB, Indian Express]
APEDA organises buyers-sellers meet in Manipur
Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in association with North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC) organized the second Conference cum International Buyers-Sellers Meet in Imphal, Manipur recently.
- APEDA is an apex body of the Ministry of Commerce to promote the export of agricultural commodities and processed food products.
- APEDA was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act 1985.
- The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).
- APEDA links Indian exporters to global markets besides providing comprehensive export oriented services.
- APEDA provides referral services and suggest suitable partners for joint ventures.
- APEDA’s export basket ranges from typically Indian ethnic products like pickles, chutneys, sauces, curries etc. to rice, honey, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, beverages, guar gum, poultry, livestock products, confectionery, cut flowers, food grains, aromatic plants and other Indian delicacies.
- Vietnam, UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran, Iraq and Nepal are the major destinations for export of food products from India.
- APEDA has marked its presence in almost all agro potential states of India and has been providing services to agri-export community through its head office, five Regional offices and 13 Virtual offices.
Composition of the APEDA Authority:
- As prescribed by the statute, the APEDA Authority consists of the following members namely:
- A Chairman, appointed by the Central Government
- The Agricultural Marketing Advisor to the Government of India, ex-offical.
- One member appointed by the Central Government representing the Planning Commission
- Three members of Parliament of whom two are elected by the House of People and one by the Council of States
- Eight members appointed by the Central Government representing respectively; the Ministries of the Central Govt.
Products Monitored by APEDA:
APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the following scheduled products:
- Fruits, Vegetables and their Products.
- Meat and Meat Products.
- Poultry and Poultry Products.
- Dairy Products.
- Confectionery, Biscuits and Bakery Products.
- Honey, Jaggery and Sugar Products.
- Cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds.
- Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.
- Cereal and Cereal Products.
- Groundnuts, Peanuts and Walnuts.
- Pickles, Papads and Chutneys.
- Guar Gum.
- Floriculture and Floriculture Products.
- Herbal and Medicinal Plants.
Beekeeping Development Committee under EAC-PM releases its report
The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister set up a Beekeeping Development Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Bibek Debroy.
About Beekeeping Development Committee (BDC):
- BDC was constituted under the chairmanship of Professor Bibek Debroy.
- It was set up by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.
- It was created with an objective of identifying ways of advancing beekeeping in India that can help in improving agricultural productivity, enhancing employment generation, augmenting nutritional security and sustaining biodiversity.
- It provided the recommendations to enhance the contribution of the Honeybee sector in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes.
Recommendations of the report of the BDC:
- Beekeeping cannot be restricted to honey and wax only, products such as pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom are also marketable and can greatly help Indian farmers.
- The government should recognize honeybees as inputs to agriculture and considering landless beekeepers as farmers.
- It recommended the creation of national and regional infrastructure for storage, processing and marketing of honey and other bee products, along with clear standards for exports.
- Apiculture should be recognized as a subject for advanced research and the National Bee Board should be renamed as the Honey and Pollinators Board of India to strengthen bee development.
- It also suggests to create a honey price stabilisation fund.
- It suggests formation of Indian Institute of Honey Bees and Pollinators Research (LIHBPR) – a New Institute for Strengthening Beekeeping and Pollinator Research in India.
- It proposes Beekeeping Development by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) as a village industry.
- Honey bees shall be kept in locations with elephant – human conflict so as to minimize effect of the conflict.
- Since per capita honey consumption in India is very poor, considering the health benefits of consuming honey, honey and bee pollen shall be included in mid-day meals and child nutrition programmes
- Organizing the beekeepers into effective entities such as Beekeepers’ Federations or Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) like IFFCO for managing their inputs & equipments.
Status of Beekeeping in India:
- The practice of keeping bees in India dates back to ancient times when people hunted honey from feral colonies of the rock bee, the little bee and the Indian hive bee.
- The Indian hive bee was a domesticated species but was kept in wooden logs until the end of 19th
- In south India, Father Paul Newton in 1909 designed a hive for Indian hive bees, a cheap honey extractor. He trained several beekeepers in Kanyakumari district. This smaller hive named, as ‘Newton hive’ is in common use even today for beekeeping in plains.
- In north India, the Indian bee is bigger in size and darker and is usually called the A. cerana cerana, while in south the bee is yellowish and smaller and is called A. cerana indica.
- From 1920-50s, the beekeepers of India introduced ‘A. mellifera Linn.’ Honey bee in India due to its high honey yield and other good attributes.
- Successful introduction of A. mellifera was achieved in the erstwhile Punjab through ‘Interspecific Queen Introduction Technique’ and later on through the import of disease-free nuclei.
- Currently, based on the area under cultivation in India and bee forage crops, India has a potential of about 200 million bee colonies as against 3.4 million bee colonies today.
- India’s honey exports have increased between 2014-15 and 2017-18.
- India ranks eighth in the world in terms of honey production. China tops in Honey production.
- Among the different states of India, the maximum honey production is from four states namely Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab and Bihar which account for more than 50% of total honey production in India.
Role of Beekeeping in Agriculture:
- Honey bees travel from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen grains. The nectar thus collected is later converted into honey.
- As the bee flies from flower to flower, some of the pollen grains are transferred onto the stigma of other flowers.
- Nectar provides the energy for bee nutrition while pollen provides the protein. When bees are rearing large quantities of brood, bees deliberately gather pollen to meet the nutritional needs of the brood.
- Pollination is essential for the production of fruit and seed. There are many plants that cannot produce fruit and seed if pollinated by their own pollen and so require cross pollination. Such plants include those in which male and female parts are either borne on separate plants or on the same flower but they are physically excluded from each other.
- Honey bees, birds, bats and insects are important in pollination of most fruits and vegetables. Over 90% of all flowering plants and over three-quarters of the crop plants rely on animals for pollination.
- Seed and fruit production of cross-pollinated crops can be increased considerably in areas where there is a dearth of natural pollinators by placing honey bee colonies in the crop when it is in bloom.
Significance of honey and honey bees:
- As per Food and Agricultural Organization database, in 2017-18, India ranked eighth in the world in terms of honey production (64.9 thousand tonnes) while China stood first with a production level of 551 thousand tonnes.
- Further, beekeeping can be an important contributor in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes.
- Honey is an important Minor Forest Produce. About 90% of the Scheduled Tribes of the country live in and around forest areas and the forests provide 60% of the food & medicinal needs of tribals and 40% of their income from Minor Forest Produce (MFP) mostly of which come from Honey.
Benefits of beekeeping:
- Beekeeping has been useful in pollination of crops, thereby, increasing income of the farmers/beekeepers by way of increasing crop yield and providing honey and other beehive products, viz. royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis, bees wax, etc. that serves a source of livelihood for rural poor.
- Therefore, honeybees/ beekeeping has been recognised as one of the important inputs for sustainable development of agriculture/ horticulture.
- USA, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and France are the top honey importers of the world.
- The honey consumption in kg/capita/year was highest in New Zealand (2.02). It was only 0.02 in India much lower than the world average consumption of 0.36 kg/capita/year.
Bilateral & International Relations
Russia extends ban on European food imports until end of 2020
Russian President signed a decree extending a Russian ban on food imports from the European Union until the end of 2020.
- Russia imposed a ban on a wide range of imports from the European Union and other countries in 2014 in retaliation for international sanctions over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
- The EU extended economic sanctions against Russia to convince Russia to stop supporting rebels in eastern Ukraine who want to break up the Ukraine.
What is Russia-Ukraine Conflict?
- Ukraine was a part of former Soviet Union till 1991. However, Ukraine has been perceived by Russia as being part of its sphere of interest.
- Ukraine borders Russia on the East and Europe on the West. Hence, the Russia and Europe both are trying to maintain their power on Ukraine. Russia has spent more than two centuries trying to acquire Ukraine for its own.
- In 2013, former President of Ukraine rejected an economic deal with the European Union and accepted a $50 billion bailout from Russia to save Ukraine from economic collapse.
- This sparked mass protests as Ukrainian think that their country has been sold to Russia. Russia backed former Ukraine government in the crisis, while the US and Europe supported the protesters.
- The protesters toppled the government and elected new president. Russia, trying to salvage its lost influence in Ukraine, invaded and annexed Crimea peninsula of Ukraine next month.
- However,in 2014, Ukraine approved a trade deal with the EU that removed export tariffs and agreed to delay its implementation a year to avoid Russian energy sanctions.
- Moreover, Ukraine had been the second-most important contributor to the former Soviet Union’s economy which provided one-fourth of Soviet agricultural output. That is also why Russia wants to acquire Ukraine.
- The current crisis in Ukraine erupted in March 2014, when two Ukrainian gunboats were sailing towards the Kerch Strait, the only route for ships to enter the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea, which a per Russia, violated Russian territorial waters.
- Ukraine calls it Russian aggression because the Black Sea is free for shipping and annexed Crimea belongs to Ukraine.
- Between 2014 and 2018, a military conflict between Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists has continued in eastern Ukraine.
[Ref: The Hindu, Reuters]
Defence & Security Issues
1.02 lakh more excluded from draft NRC in Assam
Over one lakh people who were part of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published in July 2018, but were found ineligible thereafter have been named in the Additional Draft Exclusion List published recently.
Reason for exclusion from NRC:
These over one lakh people were found ineligible during re-verification for any one of the following reasons:
- Persons who were found to be DF (Declared Foreigner) or DV (Doubtful Voter) or PFT (persons with cases Pending at Foreigners Tribunals) or their descendants discovered after publication of draft NRC,
- Persons who were found to be ineligible while appearing as witness in hearings held for disposal of Claims & Objections
- Persons who were found to be ineligible during the process of verification carried out by the Local Registrars of Citizens Registration (LRCRs) after publication of draft NRC.
NRC Assam Additional Draft List 2019:
- People in the latest list will be informed individually through Letters of Information (LOI) to be delivered at their residential addresses along with the reason for exclusion.
- Such persons will have the opportunity to file their Claims which will be disposed through a hearing by a Disposing Officer. The submission of Claim and its disposal by the Disposing Officer through a hearing will happen together.
On what basis was the Assam NRC additional draft exclusion list prepared?
- The preparation of the draft exclusion list of the NRC was approved by the SC under the Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- The provision of suo moto verification, mentioned in the Citizenship Rules, 2003, says that the local registrar of citizen registration (LRCR) may at any time before the final publication of NRC in the state of Assam may verify names already in the final draft NRC.
What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?
- The NRC was introduced to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and recognise the Indian citizens in Assam.
- It was first prepared in 1951 and Assam is the only state having this arrangement.
- Under NRC, immigrants who have documents proving that they entered Assam before 1971 will be considered Indian citizens and others have to show that they their ascendants have lived in Assam even before 1971.
- The NRC list is being updated under the monitoring of the Supreme Court for the first time since 1951 to identify illegal migration into Assam.
- In 2018’s NRC draft, 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore applicants were included leaving out over 40 lakh people. Those excluded from final draft could appeal for their inclusion in the final NRC through the ‘claims and objections’ round. The final NRC list is scheduled to be released on July 31, 2019.
Who is a D-voter?
- Short for ‘dubious’ or ‘doubtful, this is a category of voters disenfranchised by the government for alleged lack of proper citizenship documents.
- Some 2.48 lakh people got the D-voter tag during NRC process.
Who is a declared foreigner?
- D-voters are tried by special tribunals under the Foreigners’ Act and if they fail to defend their citizenship claim they are marked as declared foreigners and sent to any of six detention camps, which are within jails for criminals, for deportation.
What are Foreign tribunals (FT)?
- The Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies meant to furnish opinion on the question as to whether a person is or is not a foreigner within the meaning of Foreigners Act, 1946.
- In 1964, the Centre passed the Foreigners’ (Tribunals) Order under provisions of Section 3 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
- The FTs get two kinds of cases: those against whom a reference has been made by border police, and those whose names in the electoral rolls have a D (Doubtful) against them.
Why did Foreign tribunals were set up in Assam?
- In 1962, the Registrar General of India in his report said more than 2 lakhs infiltrants had entered Assam from East Pakistan. As a result, a police drive was initiated to detect and deport such infiltrators. Many politicians opposed it stating that several genuine citizens were also being deported in the process.
- As a result, The Central government said that such persons would need to go through a judicial process before being deported which created the Foreign tribunals.
- Following the order, several tribunals were set up in Assam. After the Illegal (Migrant) Determination Act (IMDT), 1983 even more tribunals were set up.
- However, in 2005, the Supreme Court defined IMDT as unconstitutional and brought the Tribunals under the Foreigners Act.
Mohan Ranade, Veteran Freedom Fighter Behind Goa Liberation Movement Dies
Veteran freedom fighter Mohan Ranade, who also participated in the Goa liberation movement, died.
Life & Contributions of Mohan Ranade:
- He was born in 1929 at Sangli, Maharashtra. He was a lawyer by training and was greatly inspired by freedom fighters like Ganesh Damodar Savarkar and Vinayak Savarkar.
- Ranade decided to dedicate his life to liberate Goa from clutches of Portuguese and thus he entered Goa in 1950 under disguise as a teacher and founded an organisation called Azad Gomantak Dal, which was to raise an armed revolt against Portuguese rule. He was injured during an attack on a police station at Beti in 1955 and was consequently arrested by Portuguese police.
- After being arrested by Portuguese police in 1955, he was imprisoned at Fort of Caxias near Lisbon in Portugal where he was kept in solitary confinement for 6 years. Then in 1961 when Goa got liberated from Portuguese rule, Ranade was released in January 1969, after having spent 14 years in prison.
- He received Goa Puraskar in 1986 for social work and was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001. He has also authored books on Goa liberation movement.
Goa Liberation Movement:
- The Goa liberation movement was a movement which was aimed at ending Portuguese colonial rule in Goa.
- The movement built on the small scale revolts and uprisings of the 19th century.
- Between 1852 and 1912, fourteen different rebellions were sprung by the locals against the Portuguese. Such as Dipaji Rane, who carried the fight for four years and was able to extract several leniencies from the Portuguese.
- The Portuguese also imposed press censorship, suspension of laws and autocratic rule of the Governor of Goa.
- It was only after India gained her independence that Nationalists based in Goa and Bombay began to make a concerted effort to persuade the Indian Government to take necessary action to integrate Goa with the rest of the Indian Union.
- The movement was conducted both inside and outside Goa and was characterized by a range of tactics including nonviolent demonstrations, revolutionary methods and diplomatic efforts.
- In 1946, socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia called for a gathering of Goans in Madgao to agitate against the suspension of civil liberties. However, the Portuguese dispersed the crowds arrest Lohia.
- After 1946, the Portuguese tightened the control against the Satyagrahis, but leaders like T.B. Cunha kept the movement alive.
- After India became free, the Government of India lobbied the Government of Portugal very hard to relinquish Goa but the efforts were ignored.
- Many organizations started to liberate Goa. Some of these organizationa were Azad Gomantak Dal, the United Front of Goans, the Goa Liberation Council, the Goan People’s Party, and the Quit Goa Organization. However, no breakthrough Portuguese still prevailed in Goa.
- Since Portugal was a part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Indian government was not ready to get into a conflict with a NATO nation.
- Even at the Afro-Asian Conference in Delhi, India’s stance on Goa was questioned.
- In 1961, Portuguese fired at Indian steamers and fishing boats and tried to pull out villagers and take them hostage. Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet ordered military ‘Operation Vijay’ to capture Goa after which Portuguese Governor General Vassalo da Silva freed Goa on 18 December and on December 19th 1961, Goa became a part of India.
- Hence, since 1961, 19 December is celebrated as Goa Liberation Day.
A Peace Museum opens on the 75th anniversary of Battle of Imphal
Britain and Japan came together at the inauguration of the Imphal Peace Museum to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal that saw some of the fiercest fighting of World War II at Maibam Lokpa Ching popularly known as Red Hill.
About the Imphal Peace Museum (IPM):
- The Imphal Peace Museum (IPM) has been developed at the foothill of Red Hill in Manipur to provide glimpse from the Imphal war during World War II (March-July 1944) to the present Manipur culture.
- It is developed with the support of the Nippon Foundation, a non-profit grant-making organization in collaboration with Manipur Tourism Forum and Manipur Government.
- This museum is seen as the first of its kind in the country as it is divided into three sections.
- The first section exhibits a timeline of the Battle of Imphal. The second section depicts the post-war scenarios in Manipur highlighting the impact of war and the recovery process.
- Third section displays the arts and cultural life of Manipur through photographs, audio-visual features and still models.
About the Imphal war:
- The Battle of Imphal took place in the region around the city of Imphal, the capital of the state of Manipur from March – July 1944.
- Japanese armies attempted to destroy the Allied forces (promoted the alliance as a means to control Axis nations – German, Japanese and Italian aggression during world war II) at Imphal and invade India but were driven back into Burma with heavy losses.
- Together with the simultaneous Battle of Kohima (known as Stalingrad of East) on the road by which the encircled Allied forces at Imphal were relieved, the battle was the turning point of the Second world war’s Burma Campaign.
- Since the beginning of the World War II, the Japan wanted to make the Asian region free from western influence.
- In 1941, the Japanese attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbour and later declared war on Britain and the United States. In the weeks that followed, the Japanese invaded European colonies.
- Japan hoped to create a fortified perimeter around itself which could be defended from allied nations of world war II.
- Subsequently, after the Japan occupied Burma in 1942 to remove Britishers from India and to rule on India, the British-Indian Army began to build logistical bases at Dimapur and Imphal to support the retaking of Burma.
- A Japanese military operation in 1944, called U-Go, was an attempt to forestall this invasion by destroying Commonwealth forces and supplies on the Imphal plateau and cutting the Imphal-Dimapur road by capturing Kohima.
- However, Japanese troops suffering from near-starvation with limited supplies were forced to withdraw. The Japanese attack was finally called off.
- This defensive victory paved the way for the final victory in Burma allowing Commonwealth forces to plan a new offensive to drive the Japanese south towards Mandalay.
- The last of these battles was fought at Red Hill, where the Japanese War Memorial was built in 1944 to mark the 50th anniversary of the battle.
- In the memory of the war, there are three main memorials: Kohima War Cemetery, Imphal Indian Army War Cemetery and Imphal War Cemetery.
- Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital.
- It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Burma (Myanmar) lies to its east.
- Manipur is one of the Seven Sisters of India.
Formation of as a state:
- After Independence, only Manipur and Tripura were princely states and later, they became a part of India after the British rule.
- Maharaja Budhachandra signed a Treaty of Accession which granted the merger of Manipur with India. Being one of the important areas in South-East Asia, there are many disputes which are going on related to Manipur and the bordering countries.
- Manipur became part of India in 1949. In 1956, it became a Union Territory and subsequently 16 years later became a state of India.
- Manipur included the areas of Nagaland, Assam as well as Mizoram back to 50 BC.
- Nongthou Kangba was the first ruler of Manipur who started his reign in 33 AD.
- Manipur is known by various names like Kangleipak, Sanaleibak and Meeteileipak.
- Handloom weaving and sericulture are two marketing sectors that provide mass employment to the locals of Manipur.
- The most spoken language in Manipur is Meeteilon.
- Ningol Chakouba, Kut, Kang (Rath Yatra of Manipur), Heikru Hidongba and Lai haraoba, etc. are the major Festivals.
- The Barak River is the largest river in Manipur.
- (i) Barak Valley (ii) Yu River Basin, (iii) Manipur River Basin, and (iv) parts of the Lanye River Basin are major river basin in Manipur.
- The sport ‘Polo’ originated in Manipur. This game was later adopted by the Britishers and hence it gained popularity in the west.
- The state is surrounded with natural beauty. It is known as “Switzerland of India”.
Key Facts for Prelims
4 Plastic Parks approved for implementation in Phase-I
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers stated that there is a scheme in place to establish Plastic Parks across the country.
What is a Plastic Park?
- A plastic park is an industrial zone devoted to plastic enterprises.
- It includes a whole range of companies required by the plastics processing community from material and machinery suppliers, plastics processing companies, plastic recycling companies etc.
About the Plastic Park scheme:
- It is a scheme of Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers approved in 2015.
- The objectives of the scheme, inter-alia, are to increase competitiveness and investments, achieve environmentally sustainable growth and adopt the cluster development approach to consolidate the capacities in plastic sector.
- Under the scheme, Government of India provides grant funding up to 50% of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of Rs.40 crores per project.
- A Special Purpose Vehicle set up by the concerned State government, which is the implementing agency is responsible for all statutory approvals.
- The Scheme also provides building common infrastructure to support the plastic production units for hazardous waste management, incinerator, buildings and equipment/machinery for common facilities etc.
- In phase-I of the scheme, four Plastic parks in Assam (Tinsukia), Madhya Pradesh (Raisen), Odisha (Jagatsinghpur) & Tamil Nadu (Thiruvallur) are approved for implementation till 2019-20.
- Moreover, two plastic parks in of Jharkhand (Deogarh) and Madhya Pradesh (Bilaua) were given final approval in 2018-19.