Polity & Governance
- Why it’s critical to remove article 35A from J&K?
Government Schemes & Policies
- National Creche Scheme
- Several Proposals to be funded from Nirbhaya Fund
- Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana
- Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- International Tiger Day: India achieves Tiger Census target 4 years before deadline
- Predicting pollution levels using oceans’ memory
Defence & Security Issues
- CISF launches encyclopaedia to strengthen security services
- Army’s first Integrated Battle Groups to be structured by end of next month
Science & Technology
- Centre to launch Deep Ocean Mission in October
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
Polity & Governance
Why it’s critical to remove article 35A from J&K?
The Union Home Ministry’s order of rushing 10,000 additional paramilitary personnel to Kashmir followed by a police missive on riot control equipment have amplified apprehensions on the ground about the removal of the Article 35A and Article 370.
[To know and understand all about the Article 35A, read IASToppers’ Mains Article @ Click Here]
Government Schemes & Policies
National Creche Scheme
National Crèche Scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of women and child development as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
- It aimed at providing day care facilities to children (age group of 6 months to 6 years) of working mothers.
- The scheme provides an integrated package of the services such as Day care services including sleeping facilities, Early stimulation for the children below 3 years of age and provides pre-school education for the 3 to 6 years old children, Equipment and play material etc.
Objectives of the Scheme
- This scheme facility enables the parents to leave their children while they are at work and where the children are provided with a stimulating environment for their holistic development.
- This scheme ensures to improve the health and nutrition status of the children.
- It promotes physical, social, cognitive and emotional/holistic development of the children.
- It also educates and empowers parents/caretakers for the better childcare.
The scheme is being structurally revised with the enhanced financial norms, stringent monitoring and sharing pattern between the Government of India and the implementing agencies and NGOs.
- The State Government, Voluntary Institutions, Mahila Mandals with the know report of service in the field of child welfare department and registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or registered as a Public Trust at least for the period for last 2 years are eligible for applying for the financial assistance from the fund.
- The fund sharing pattern under National Creche Scheme amongst Centre, States/UTs & Non-Governmental Organisations/Voluntary Organisations for all recurring components of the scheme is in the ratio of 60:30:10 for States, 80:10:10 for North Eastern States and Himalayan States and 90:0:10 for UTs.
Why early childhood care and development (ECCD) is important?
- The physical and cognitive development of a child begins in the womb and 90% of it happens before he/she is 3 years of age.It is in this time that good nutrition is critical.
- A child must also get a chance to socialise, learn and solve simple problems through play.
- There is scientific evidence that without these, the child’s physical and mental development are compromised for life, and the damage is mostly irreversible.
Challenges for creche facility in India:
- The Central government had a provision under the National Creche Scheme that creches be run by NGOs, with 90% of costs borne by the Centre and 10% by states.
- In 2017, the Centre reduced its contribution to 60%, leaving the states to cover the balance.
- The number of facilities under the National Creche Scheme has reduced from over 23,000 in 2015 to around 7,000 in 2019.
- Early childhood care and development (ECCD) for younger children is not a fundamental right, unlike right to education for children (6-14 years).
- This translates into weak policies, governance and implementation.
Insufficient community involvement:
- There is insufficient community involvement in running creches.
- Successful creches engage parent or neighbourhood groups, local governments and other stakeholders in their operations.
- While the State mandates that trained creche workers run facilities six days a week, they are poorly paid and not entitled to any social security.
- This decreases their motivation and ultimately on quality of services provided.
Several Proposals to be funded from Nirbhaya Fund
In accordance with the Framework for Nirbhaya Fund, an Empowered Committee (EC) of officers chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) appraises and recommends proposals to be funded under this framework.
- A total of 59 proposals/schemes have been received from various Ministries and State Governments and UT Administrations under Nirbhaya Fund during the last three years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 onwards.
About Nirbhaya fund:
- The Nirbhaya Fund was started in 2013 by Government of India to implement initiatives aimed at enhancing safety and security of women across the country.
- The fund comes under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- The Fund is administered by Department of Economic Affairs of the Finance Ministry.
- This fund is expected to support initiatives by the government and NGOs working towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India.
- This fund was instituted following gang rape of a girl in Delhi in 2012 which triggered a nation-wide outrage and protests.
- Till date, 30 projects/ schemes have been appraised and recommended by the Empowered Committee of officers for funding under Nirbhaya Fund.
- However, only 42% of Nirbhaya fund released for projects since 2015.
Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana
The Government launched the Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana (AHVY) in the year 2001-2002 to empower and develop artesian into a well-organized market.
More about Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana:
- It is one of the component of National Handicraft Development Programme for development and promotion of Handicrafts Sector.
- It is a cluster specific scheme in which Government has identified and adopted 90 clusters covering aspirational districts, women clusters, weaker section and export potential clusters.
- These clusters will be transformed in a time period of 3 years by ensuring self-sustainment of the Self Help Groups/artisans of these clusters.
Features of the scheme:
- Design & Technology Upgradation
- Human Resource Development
- Direct Benefit to Artisans
- Infrastructure and Technology Support
- Research and Development
- Marketing Support & Services
Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry
Tamil Nadu, which has been ranked among the leading silk producing States in the country, will receive about Rs 6.22 crore under the Silk Samagra — an Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry (ISDSI).
About the Silk Samagra Scheme:
- The Silk Samagra scheme in the Country is implemented with an objective to scale up production by improving the quality and productivity of silk.
- It is a Scheme of Ministry of Textiles.
- It is an Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry, aimed at sustaining and strengthening the Sericulture activities in the country.
- It is implemented through Central Silk Board (CSB).
- The scheme also comprises of various beneficiary oriented components to support Mulberry, Vanya and Post Cocoon
- Maintain Breeders stock and Breed improvement through R&D Projects
- Technology translation through Sericulture Information Linkages and Knowledge System (SILKS) Portal.
- Maintain & Certify the quality standards set by the R&D units for Silkworm Seed, Cocoon, Raw Silk and Silk products covering the entire Silk value chain.
Components of scheme:
- Research & Development: Development of improved disease resistant Silkworm breeds through collaborative research
- Seed Organizations: Seed production units will be strengthened, Private Graineurs to produce quality seed and Chawki Rearing Centres (CRCs) with Incubation facilities to produce and supply chawki worms.
- Quality Certification Systems (QCS) / Export Brand Promotion and Technology Up-gradation: Promote Indian silk through quality certification by Silk Mark. Besides, emphasis on use of Silkworm by-products (pupa) for Poultry feed, Sericin for Cosmetic Applications and Product Diversification into non-woven fabrics, Silk Denim, Silk Knit etc.
Significance of the scheme:
- Increases the Silk production from the level
- Increases the production of Bivoltine Import Substitute Silk
- Increases Vanya Raw Silk production
- Produces International Grade Silk of 4A and above for minimizing the import to bare minimum.
- Generating additional employment
Silk Production in India:
- Karnataka is the largest producer of silk in India. It produces about one-third of the total silk production in India.
- The districts of Kolar and Chikkaballapura accounted for the second and third largest area under mulberry respectively, under both rainfed and irrigation conditions.
- As sericulture is a state subject, the Government of Karnataka has launched intensive programmes like Karnataka Sericulture Project with the assistance from the World Bank to develop sericulture industry in the state.
- Mysuru and North Bengaluru in Karnataka are famous for their silks and are called the “Silk City” as they majorly contribute to the silk production in India.
- India, being the second largest producer of silk after China, produces all the four varieties of silk – Mulberry silk, Oak Tasar & Tropical Tasar silk, Muga silk, and Eri silk.
- Among these four kinds, the mulberry silk contributes to more than 80% of the silk. India also holds the global monopoly for production of the famed golden ‘Muga’ silk.
- The employment generation in the country is raised to 8.51 million persons in 2016-17 compared to 8.25 million persons in 2015-16, indicating a growth of 3.15% by producing silk in the state.
[Ref: PIB, Deccan Chronical]
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
International Tiger Day: India achieves Tiger Census target 4 years before deadline
Releasing the All India Tiger Estimation 2018 on the occasion of Global Tiger Day in New Delhi, the Prime Minister of India reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protecting the tiger and taking all possible steps.
Highlights of All India Tiger Estimation 2018 Report:
- The India has more than 2900 tigers, which has been the result of a growth of 33 per cent in the fourth cycle of the Tiger Census.
- India is home to almost 75 per cent of the global tiger population.
- Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers (526), followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
- However, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram seen a decline in the Tiger while Odisha maintained its tiger count. All other states witnessed a positive trend.
- While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
- The report states that India achieved its target of doubling the tiger population four years early ahead of 2022.
About International Tiger Day:
- Every year, July 29 is celebrated as International Tiger Day in order to spread awareness on the conservation and promotion of the protection of the natural habitat of tigers.
- Also known as Global Tiger Day, International Tiger Day was first established in 2010 at Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia to raise awareness about the decline of wild tiger numbers and to encourage the work of Tiger conservation.
- In the Summit, St. Petersburg Declaration was made that Governments of tiger populated countries had vowed to double the tiger population by 2020.
About Global Tiger Initiative:
- The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), backed by World Bank, was launched in 2008 with the aim of working together to save wild tigers from extinction.
- Over the years, the initiative has institutionalised itself as a separate entity in the form of the Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC), with its two arms – the Global Tiger Forum and the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program.
About Tx2 programme:
- Tx2 was launched by World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) at the 2010 St Petersburg Tiger Summit held in Russia.
- Under it, 13 tiger range countries (TRCs) had agreed to double the world tiger population by 2022, which is the year of tiger in Chinese calendar.
- These 13 Tiger range countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Tiger conservation efforts in India:
- In 1973, Project Tiger was started in India which was a unique plan to save tigers on the planet.
- The project was promoted by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi till 1990. Later on, several changes took place in the project.
- The project included Enabling provisions for tiger in the national legislation, Creation of National Tiger Conservation Authority, Modern protocol for field monitoring (M-STrIPES), Year-round monitoring of tiger and prey, Online database of tiger crime etc.
Worldwide tiger conservation efforts:
- Several initiatives are underway for the protection of the wild tiger, especially in South and South-East Asia.
- Cambodia has evinced a great interest in bringing back wild tigers while Myanmar is being assisted in shaping state of the art tiger plan for Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary, one of their priority sites.
- Global Tiger Forum (GTF) missions have functioned in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Lao PDR on several thematic areas, including tiger assessment.
- A special High-Altitude project is ongoing with the IUCN’s support for appraisal of tiger status in High Altitude Ecosystems of South Asia.
- Threats to Habitats and Connectivity: Threats to tiger habitats remain significant and are predicted to intensify with rapid infrastructure development and investment in extractive industries.
- Poaching and Wildlife Crime Control: Poaching and wildlife crime continue to be major concerns, with poaching remaining a significant issue, while it remains to accurately pinpoint overall trends and indicators of wildlife crime and assessments of law enforcement efforts.
- Demand Elimination: Eliminating demand for tiger products remains a significant hurdle.
- Degradation of Habitats: Tigers want disturbance free habitat to survive but due to several developmental activities in the landscape of the protected areas (PAs) pose big threat to tigers.
- Climate Change: With the rise of sea level due to climate change lead to wipe out of Sundarbans one of the habitats of Royal Bengal Tigers.
- Several diseases: Several animals die and there is no way to ascertain the cause of their death. Certain diseases spread epidemic like Feline Panleucopania, tuberculosis etc.
- Man-animal conflict also affects the population of big cats.
- Lack of protection infrastructure.
- Increasing tourism day by day is also one of the factors for the decline in tiger numbers.
- Lack of funds for the conservation of tiger is also one of the main reasons.
- Capacity Building: Developing institutional capacity and national centers of excellence are priority activities to scale up current efforts.
- Scientific Monitoring: Monitoring results are essential for guiding management interventions, such as identification of poaching corridors around the world.
- Rebuilding Tiger Populations: Sharing existing experience on how to rebuild tiger populations is a priority and essential for countries that are working to prevent the extinction of the species.
- The tiger must be secured at three basic levels: field formation, national and international. International engagements between border countries are important for evolving a common portfolio to address the threat of trafficking.
- Tigers are the largest wild cats in the world.
- Tigers are the third-largest carnivore on land after polar bears and brown bears.
- Unlike most members of the cat family, tigers are good swimmers.
- Tigers are the only cat species that are completely stripped. They even have stripes on their skin.
- The fossil remains of tigers found in parts of China are believed to be 2 million years old.
- There are five subspecies of tiger existing today: Bengal, South China, Indochinese, Sumatran and Siberian. However, three of them have become extinct – Caspian, Bali and Javan.
Predicting pollution levels using oceans’ memory
A team of researchers affiliated with various institutions in China and the U.S. has discovered that data from El Niño and Antarctic Oscillation events can be used to foretell air pollution levels in northern India.
About the Model developed to forecasts pollution in Northern India
- Scientists from China and USA have constructed a computer model which incorporates the El Nino and Antarctic Oscillation data to see the impact on winter weather in northern India.
- The favourable or unfavourable weather decondition for pollution will help the government frame a more stringent pollution control plan if needed.
- The model they have developed shows 75% accuracy in predicting pollution levels, and the prediction can be done even a season in advance.
- India has been emerging as one of the world’s most polluted countries, with particulate matter PM 2.5 levels spiking more than 999 microgram per cubic metre in parts of Delhi last year.
- Studying a combination of El Nino, Antarctic Oscillation and the anomalies in sea surface temperature during autumn (September-November), can help forecast the pollution conditions in winter (December-February).
- The statistical model developed by the team can also help the government in adjusting policies and strategies for pollution control before winter comes, the paper published in Science Advances adds.
Effect of El Nino and Antartic Osicallion on air pollution levels in northern India:
- They report that El Niño occasions tend to end in lowered wind speeds within the area, which prevented airborne pollutants from moving out of densely populated areas.
- Also, they found that Antarctic Oscillation occasions create stronger winds in some components of northern India and weaken them in others, resulting in uneven impacts on pollution levels.
- In recent years, northern India has experienced poor air quality, significantly in the winter months.
- Researchers have also noted that in some years, pollution levels seem worse than normal due to weather conditions.
What is El Nino?
- El Nino refers to a band of warm ocean water that develops in the Pacific Ocean and causes global changes of both temperatures and rainfall.
- El Nino is the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO).
- The ENSO cycle is the way scientists describe the fluctuations in temperature between the atmosphere and the ocean in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
- Basically, El Nino is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.
- El Nino is Spanish for “the boy child,” which is often used to refer to Jesus Christ, and the phenomenon earned this name because it typically occurs in December around Christmas.
- El Nino occurs every 2-7 years, and can last anywhere between nine months and two years.
What is El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)?
- The ENSO cycle is the fluctuations in temperature between the atmosphere and the ocean in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
- El Nino and La Nina are opposite phases of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. While El Niño as the warm phase of ENSO, La Niña is referred to as the cold phase of ENSO.
- Hence, El Niño and La Niña are the extreme phases of the ENSO cycle, between these two phases is a third phase called ENSO-neutral.
- This oscillating warming and cooling pattern or ENSO cycle, directly affects rainfall distribution in the tropics and can have a strong influence on weather across the United States and other parts of the world.
Antarctic oscillation (AAO)
- The Antarctic Oscillation is a wind occasion caused by a low-pressure belt forming over Antarctica.
- It is also known as the Southern Annular Mode (SAM).
- It is characterized by a poleward intensification of the mid-latitude westerly winds that extends from the surface to the upper jet.
- In its positive phase, the westerly wind belt contracts towards Antarctica, while its negative phase involves this belt moving towards the Equator.
- Winds associated with the AAO cause oceanic upwelling of warm circumpolar deep water along the Antarctic continental shelf, which could destabilize large portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
- It has an important influence on rainfall over high-latitude countries, Southern Ocean circulation, and sea-ice concentration as well as biological productivity.
Defence & Security Issues
CISF launches encyclopaedia to strengthen security services
The Central Industrial Security Force launched an online encyclopaedia — Securitypedia — which incorporates a wide gamut of security-related practices across the globe.
About the Securitypedia:
- It was launched by the Central Industrial Security Force (CSIF).
- It has been developed as a repository of knowledge and contains extensive information on technical learning, CISF manuals, case studies, technical compendium, etc.
- The CISF has established a technical lab at National Industrial Security Academy (NISA) in Hyderabad to maintain and update Securitypedia about the latest innovations in the field safety and security that can be used in places like airports and government offices.
About Central Industrial Security Force (CISF):
- The CISF is a central armed police force under the aegis of Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
- It was initially established under the Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968 to protect major Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). However, it was converted to an armed force with a larger ambit under an amendment to the Act in 1983.
- Now, CISF provides security to industrial ventures and establishments, VIPs and engages in disaster management amongst others. It also has a Fire Wing to response to fire emergencies/accidents.
- Currently, the CISF guards 59 civil airports across the country.
[Ref: The Hindu]
Army’s first Integrated Battle Groups to be structured by end of next month
The new concept of Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) which the Army plans to create as part of overall force transformation is close to implementation.
About Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)
- IBGs are brigade-sized, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of hostilities.
- Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task (3 Ts) and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts.
- They will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.
- The composition of IBGs will depend upon whether it is defensive or offensive. While the offensive IBGs would quickly make thrust into enemy territory for strikes, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.
How does IBGs fit into current Indian Military Structure?
- While a command is the largest static formation of the Army spread across a defined geography, a corps is the largest mobile Typically, each corps has three divisions and each division has three brigades.
- The aim is to reorganise brigades into IBGs which are brigade-sized units but have all the essential elements like infantry, armoured, artillery and air defence embedded together based on the three Ts.
- During the 2001 terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Indian military took weeks to mobilise army losing the element of surprise.
- Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive.
- Moreover, Indian Army has initiated four major studies to undertake overall transformation of the force.
- Restructuring of Army Headquarters
- Force restructuring which includes creation of Integrated Battle Groups (IBG)
- The cadre review of officers
- Review of the terms and conditions of Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks.
- The aim is holistic integration to enhance the operational and functional efficiency, optimise budget expenditure, facilitate force modernisation and address aspirations.
- The overall transformation will also see a reduction in the size of Indian Army.
Science & Technology
Centre to launch Deep Ocean Mission in October
After successfully venturing into space exploration, India will launch its ambitious ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ by October to enter hitherto untapped 75,000 sq km of area in international waters to tap vast marine resources.
About the Deep Ocean Mission:
- The ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’ to be led by the Union Earth Sciences Ministry will commence from October 31, 2019.
- A major thrust of the mission will be looking for metals and minerals.
- Mission would be an integrated programme where several scientific departments of the government will work together for sustainable harnessing of ocean resources.
- Underwater robotics and manned submersibles are key components of the Mission.
- A remotely operable submersible (ROSUB 6000), capable of operating at depths of 6,000 metres, is a part of this mission.
- The mission includes offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy and developing a deep sea submersible vehicle.
- It will help India harness various living and non-living (water, mineral and energy) resources from the seabed and deep water.
- It will help in leveraging the blue economy for the country’s overall economic growth.
What are Polymetallic Nodules?
- Polymetallic nodules (PMN) are also known as manganese nodules.
- They are potato-shaped, largely porous rocks found in abundance carpeting the sea floor in the deep sea of the world oceans.
- It has been estimated that 380 million metric tonnes of polymetallic nodules are available at the bottom of the seas in the Central Indian Ocean.
- India has been allotted a site of 75,000 sq. km. in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
- Accessing even 10% of that reserve can meet the energy requirement for the next 100 years.
Manganese nodules occur in all oceans. But only in 4 regions is the density of nodules great enough for industrial exploitation.
Polymetallic Nodules contain:
- Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium.
- Of these metals nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.
- It is an acronym for Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART).
- It is a scheme of Ministry of Earth Sciences.
- It encompasses a total of 16 sub-projects addressing ocean development activities such as Services, Technology, Resources, Observations and Science.
- Strengthening of Ocean Observations and Modelling
- Strengthening of Ocean Services for Fishermen
- Setting up Marine Coastal Observatories
- Continuation of Ocean Survey and Exploration of Minerals and Living Resources
- Technology Development for Deep Ocean Mining- Deep Mining System and Manned Submersibles
- Early warning systems for oceanic disasters