Polity & Governance
- “E-Tribes India” launched
- P. stakes claim for basmati GI tag
Government Schemes & Policies
- Centre begins process of selling enemy properties
Issues related to Health & Education
- ‘National Conference on Down Syndrome’ held
- Smart India Hackathon-2018
Bilateral & International Relations
- ISA and India sign the Host Country Agreement
Science & Technology
- NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
Key Facts for Prelims
- SWFIT GPI
- Surat becomes first district to have 100% solar powered health centres:
- National Water Digest Award
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Polity & Governance
“E-Tribes India” launched
The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India, (TRIFED), under Ministry of Tribal Affairs has launched E-Tribes India banners on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm & GeM.
- Moreover, TRIFED has developed its own e-commerce (electronic commerce) website i.e., tribesindia.com for sale of all its products and app to tap m-commerce (mobile commerce) too.
Significance of this move:
- Going Digital will lead to expansion of tribal commerce and the availability of tribal products over large area, reaping greater benefits for tribal artisans.
- Retail Trade of tribal products would expand all over the country and the world.
- Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) is an apex organisation at National Level and functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
What TRIFED is doing?
- TRIFED is serving the interests of Tribals, who are engaged in collection of NTFP and making of Tribal Art & Handicraft Products for their livelihood so as to ensure better remunerative price for their products as well as for the socio-economic betterment through Self Help Groups, Empanelled NGOs, State level Tribal Development Corporations, Forest Development Corporations for undertaking marketing development of the tribal products.
- TRIFED is playing and lead role in protecting, promoting and multiplication of Honey Bees by Scientific, Non-destructive collection practices, thereby increasing the livelihood of tribal people living in various forest areas of the country, contributing to the growth of Honey Bees population and reducing the mortality rate of Honey Bees drastically.
- It also organizes exhibitions like National Tribal Craft Expo called “Aadi Mahotsav” etc. in which it promotes and markets tribal products.
M.P. stakes claim for basmati GI tag
Madhya Pradesh has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court challenging an order passed by Assistant Registrar of Geographical Indications (GI) on March 15 excluding the State from being granted the GI tag for basmati rice.
- In May 2010, GI status was given to basmati grown only in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and parts of western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
- Madhya Pradesh moved a statutory opposition demanding that its 13 districts be recognised as traditional Basmati growing regions.
- However, GI registry had rejected Madhya Pradesh’s claim as being the original and unique basmati growing region.
- It had observed that the documents and evidence filed by Madhya Pradesh show the importance, special characters of rice cultivated in Madhya Pradesh but not the basmati cultivation in the traditional growing area.
- Madhya Pradesh says non-inclusion of the state in the basmati growing areas would have an adverse effect on the lives of farmers who mainly depend upon basmati cultivation and it will also affect the export potential, which will indirectly reduce the country’s turnover from the export of basmati.
Government Schemes & Policies
Centre begins process of selling enemy properties
The government has initiated the process of sale of more than 9,400 enemy properties by issuing guidelines and directing the office of the custodian to submit the list of all such movable and immovable assets within three months.
- There are 9,280 properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and 126 properties which belonged to Chinese nationals.
- The sale of enemy properties is expected to fetch around Rs 1 lakh crore for the government exchequer.
- The move comes after the amendment of the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Act 2017 and the Enemy Property (Amendment) Rules, 2018, which ensured that the heirs of those who migrated to Pakistan and China during partition and afterwards will have no claim over the properties left behind in India.
What are Enemy properties?
- In the wake of the Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971, there was migration of people from India to Pakistan.
- Under the Defence of India Rules framed under the Defence of India Act, the Government of India took over the properties and companies of such persons who had taken Pakistani nationality.
- These enemy properties were vested by the Union Government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.
- The properties of enemies in India were classified as enemy property.
- The properties included land, buildings, shares held in companies, gold and jewellery of the citizens of enemy countries.
Enemy properties Act:
- After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the custodian’s powers.
- The government amended the Act in the wake of a claim laid by the heirs of Raja Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, known as Raja of Mahmudabad, on his properties spread across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the Central government.
- After the 1965 war, India and Pakistan signed the Tashkent Declaration on 10 January 1966.
- The Tashkent Declaration inter alia included a clause, which said that the two countries would discuss the return of the property and assets taken over by either side in connection with the conflict.
- However, the Government of Pakistan disposed of all such properties in their country in the year 1971 itself.
Issues related to Health & Education
‘National Conference on Down Syndrome’ held
National Conference on Down Syndrome was recently inaugurated in New Delhi.
- The objective of this conference was to provide excellent opportunities to the parents to obtain information about latest development in education and skilling and inclusive living of persons with Down Syndrome.
- The Conference was organized by National Trust for the welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities under M/o SJ&E in collaboration with Muskaan, a registered organisation of the National Trust.
- On 19th December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared to observe 21st March as World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) and since then every year, this day is officially observed by UN to create awareness about people with Down Syndrome.
About Down Syndrome:
- Down Syndrome is a chromosomal condition associated with intellectual and learning disabilities.
- Persons with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes as compared to 46 in majority of people.
- This one Extra chromosome causes its own impact and slows down learning process.
- It impacts neurological functioning causing impairment of intellectual functions e.g. analytical thinking, complex abstractions and judgement etc.
- Good schooling, loving family, learning and work opportunities make them grow up to be responsible, loving and cheerful persons. Their emotions and needs are like any other person of the same age.
- Accepting and respecting family/community is a big support to their growth and development.
About National Trust:
- The National Trust is a Statutory Body under Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
- It was set up under the “National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Retardation and Multiple Disabilities” Act (Act 44 of 1999).
- The National Trust was envisaged with a core mission of providing opportunities for capacity development of Persons with Disabilities and their families, fulfilling their rights, facilitating and promoting the creation of an enabling environment and an inclusive society.
Disabilities under NTA
The National Trust works for the welfare of persons with any of the following four disabilities
- Cerebral Palsy
- Mental Retardation
- Multiple Disabilities
The objectives of the National Trust in particular are:
- to enable and empower persons with disability to live as independently and as fully as possible within and as close to their community as possible;
- to facilitate the realisation of equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation of persons with disability;
- to extend support to its registered organisations to provide need based services; and
- to evolve procedures for appointments of guardians and trustees for persons with disabilities.
- The National Trust has been set up to discharge two basic duties – legal and welfare.
- Legal duties are discharged through Local Level Committee (LLC) set up at district level under the chairmanship of the District Collector / District Magistrate and providing legal guardianship.
- Welfare duty is discharged through the schemes and activities. The schemes and activities of the National Trust inter-alia include training, awareness and capacity building programmes and shelter, care giving and empowerment.
Composition of National Trust:
- A Chairperson to be appointed by the Central Government from amongst the persons having expertise and experience in the field of autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disability.
- Nine persons to be appointed in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed from amongst the registered organisations out of which three members each shall be from voluntary organisations, associations of parents of persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disability and from associations of persons with disability, members; Provided that initial appointment under this clause/shall be made by the Central Government by nomination.
- Eight persons not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India nominated by the Government to represent the Ministries or Departments of Social Justice and Empowerment, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Finance, Labour, Education, Urban Affairs and Employment and Rural Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Members, ex officio.
- Three Persons to be nominated by the Board representing the associations of trade, commerce and industry engaged in philanthropic activities, members.
- The Chief Executive Officer, who, shall be of the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, Member-Secretary, ex officio.
Various Schemes of National Trust:
- DISHA (Early Intervention and School Readiness Scheme)
- VIKAAS (Day Care)
- SAMARTH (Respite Care)
- GHARAUNDA (Group Home for Adults)
- NIRAMAYA (Health Insurance Scheme)
- SAHYOGI (Caregiver training scheme)
- GYAN PRABHA (Educational support)
- PRERNA (Marketing Assistance)
- SAMBHAV (Aids and Assisted Devices)
- BADHTE KADAM (Awareness and Community Interaction)
Smart India Hackathon-2018
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is organizing Smart India Hackathon 2018.
- Smart India Hackathon 2018 is a non-stop digital product development competition, where problems are posed to technology students for innovative solutions.
- Smart India Hackathon 2018 would be the second massive scale hackathon initiative in India following Smart India Hackathon 2017.
- It will harnesses creativity & expertise of students and sparks institute-level hackathons.
- It builds funnel for ‘Startup India’ campaign and crowdsources solutions for improving governance and quality of life. It also provides opportunity to citizens to provide innovative solutions to India’s daunting problems
- Winners stand to get cash prizes and a chance to be part of the NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups program.
Bilateral & International Relations
ISA and India sign the Host Country Agreement
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), have signed the Host Country Agreement.
About the framework agreement:
- The Agreement will give ISA a juridical personality and gives it power to contract, to acquire and dispose off movable and immovable properties, to institute and defend legal proceedings.
- Under this agreement, ISA shall enjoy such privileges, applicable tax concessions and immunities as are necessary for ISA’s Headquarter to independently discharge its function and programmes.
- ISA shall be deriving its status, privileges and immunities as per Article 10 of Framework Agreement.
About International Solar Alliance (ISA):
- ISA is initiative jointly launched by India and France in November 2015 at Paris on side lines of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference.
- Its Framework Agreement came into force in December 2017. It celebrated its founding day on 11th March, 2018.
- It is headquartered at campus of Natioanl Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Harayana, making it first international intergovernmental treaty based organization to be headquartered in India.
Objectives of ISA
- Undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology
- Mobilize more than US $1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy
- Pave way for future technologies adapted to needs of solar rich 121 countries lying fully or partially between Tropic of Cancer and Capricon.
Ongoing programmes of ISA:
ISA presently has 4 ongoing programmes
- Scaling Solar Mini Grids
- Affordable Finance at Scale,
- Scaling Solar Applications for Agricultural Use,
- Scaling Solar Rooftop catering to the needs of solar energy in specific areas
Science & Technology
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
NASA has partnered with private space launching company SpaceX to launch Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to search for exoplanets using the transit method.
- It is planned to be launched in April 2018 on board of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
About TESS mission:
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is an upcoming NASA mission that will look for planets orbiting the brightest stars in Earth’s sky.
- TESS is designed to carry out first spaceborne all-sky transiting exoplanet survey.
- It is equipped with four wide-angle telescopes and associated charge-coupled device (CCD) detectors.
- The mission will monitor at least 200,000 stars for signs of exoplanets, ranging from Earth-sized rocky worlds to huge gas giant planets.
- TESS, however, will focus on stars that are 30 to 100 times brighter than those Kepler examined. This will help astronomers better understand the structure of solar systems outside of our Earth, and provide insights into how our own solar system formed.
- TESS will occupy a never-before-used orbit high above Earth. The elliptical orbit, called P/2, is exactly half of the moon’s orbital period; this means that TESS will orbit Earth every 13.7 days.
- Its closest point to Earth (67,000 miles or 108,000 kilometers) is about triple the distance of geosynchronous orbit, where most communications satellites operate.
- It will provide prime targets for further characterization by James Webb Space Telescope, as well as other large ground-based and space-based telescopes of the future.
Key Facts for Prelims
- The SWIFT (Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunication System) platform has expanded its GPI (Global Payment Innovation) Tracker system to help banks track their global transactions at all times and keep full vigil on payments activity.
- SWFIT GPI was launched in May 2017 to help banks to track their global transactions at all times, keeping full vigil on payments activity.
- It covers all payment instructions sent across network, enabling GPI banks to track all their SWIFT payment instructions at all times, and giving them full visibility over all their payments activity.
Surat becomes first district to have 100% solar powered health centres:
- Surat district in Gujarat become first in country to have 100% solar powered Primary Health Centers (PHCs).
- All 52 PHCs in the district are now powered by solar system.
- The solarification of all PHCs in Surat district will bring down electricity bill by 40% and also help fight global warming.
National Water Digest Award
- On the occasion ‘World Forestry Day’ (observed on March 21), Chhattisgarh was awarded National Water Digest Award for Water Conservation-Diversion and increasing the irrigation capacity in the state.
About National Water Digest Award:
- The Award is presented every year by globally renowned magazine ‘Water Digest’ which focuses mainly on water resources.
- The award is given in association with Central Water Resources River Development (CWRRD) and Ganga Cleaning Ministry, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Central Water Board (CWB), Central Water Commission (CWC) and Ganga Purification National Mission.
- The award is recognised by UNESCO.