Polity & Governance
- Article 370 only temporary provision, not permanent
Government Schemes & Policies
- One-Stop-Centres in Bihar
- 2.51 lakh more houses sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban
- Training Workshop for implementing teams of Van Dhan Yojana Organized
- National mission on natural language translation soon
- Grievances against Misleading Advertisements
Issues related to Health & Education
- HRD Ministry releases 5-yr vision plan ‘EQUIP’
- International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
- No proposal to fix minimum support price for milk
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- World Bank approves loan for Rebuild Kerala Initiative
Bilateral & International Relations
- Council of Europe Restores Russia’s Voting Rights
Key Facts for Prelims
- Loktantra Senanis
- Go Tribal Campaign
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Polity & Governance
Article 370 only temporary provision, not permanent
Union Home Minister said that Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir is only a temporary provision and not a permanent one.
- The question of extending the President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir was debated in parliament. Later, the House passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to replace an ordinance issued by the previous government.
All about Article 370 of Indian Constitution:
What is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution?
- Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a temporary provision that grants a special status of autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 370 accords special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. As per this article, all the different provisions of the constitution that are applicable to other states of India are not to be extended to Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 370 was enacted under part XXI of the constitution that pertains to “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”.
Provisions of Article 370:
- According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws.
- Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
- As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
- Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression.
- The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.
- Under Article 370, the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
- The Jurisdiction of the Parliament of India in relation to Jammu and Kashmir is confined to the matters enumerated in the Union List, and also the concurrent list. There is no State list for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- At the same time, while in relation to the other States, the residuary power of legislation belongs to Parliament, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the residuary powers belong to the Legislature of the State, except certain matters to which Parliament has exclusive powers such as preventing the activities relating to cession or secession, or disrupting the sovereignty or integrity of India.
- The power to make laws related to preventive detention in Jammu and Kashmir belong to the Legislature of J & K and not the Indian Parliament. Thus, no preventive detention law made in India extends to Jammu & Kashmir.
- Part IV (Directive Principles of the State Policy) and Part IVA (Fundamental Duties) of the Constitution are not applicable to J&K.
- When India and Pakistan gained their independence, Jammu and Kashmir remained independent from the India and Pakistan.
- Maharaja Hari Singh (former ruler of J&K) signed a standstill agreement with Pakistan where India declined to sign the agreement. Though, in October 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah sent Pakistani Muslim tribes to attack Maharaja Hari Singh and the people of J&K.
- In order to defend his state, Maharaja Hari Singh chose to accede J&K to India, rooting the primary cause for the creation of Article 370. J&K split with 2/3 going to India and a 1/3 going to Pakistan.
- Interestingly, Dr. BR Ambedkar refused to draft Article 370. However, the erstwhile Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1949, asked Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah to draft it.
- However, Gopalaswami Ayyangar finally drafted Article 370.
What are the reasons to exclude J&K from India?
The Gopalaswami Ayyangar, who drafted the article 370, argued that
- Kashmir unlike other princely states, was not yet ripe for integration (at the time of independence).
- India had been at war with Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir and while there was a ceasefire, the conditions were still unusual and abnormal.
- Part of the J&K territory was in the hands of rebels and enemies.
Is Article 370 still intact in its original form?
- The subsequent series of Presidential Orders have made most Union laws applicable to the J&K.
- Today, there is virtually no institution of the Republic of India that does not include J&K within its scope and jurisdiction.
- The only substantial differences from many other States are: permanent residents and their rights; the non-applicability of Emergency provisions on the grounds of internal disturbance without the concurrence of the State; and the name and boundaries of the State, which cannot be altered without the consent of its legislature.
Is it possible to delete Article 370?
- Article 370 permits deletion through a presidential order. Such an order must be however preceded by the concurrence of the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.
- One view says that this article cannot be deleted since such an assembly was dissolved in 1957. Another view says that it can be deleted if the state assembly concedes to deleting it.
Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill:
- The Bill amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and replaces an Ordinance promulgated on March 1, 2019.
- The 2004 Act provides for reservation in appointment and promotions in state government posts, and admission to professional institutions (government medical colleges, dental colleges, and polytechnics) for certain reserved categories.
- Extension of reservation: The Act provides for reservation in appointment in certain government posts to persons belonging to socially and educationally backward classes (persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control). The Bill amends this to include those persons living in areas adjoining the International Border, within the ambit of this reservation.
- Extension of Service: The Act states that any person who has been appointed on the basis of residence in an area adjoining the Line of Control, must serve in such areas for at least seven years. The Bill extends this condition to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border as well.
- Exclusion from reservation: The Act states that any person whose annual income exceeds three lakh rupees or other amount as notified by the state government, would not be included within socially and educationally backward classes. However, this exclusion does not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control. The Bill states that in addition, this exclusion will not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border also.
Government Schemes & Policies
One-Stop-Centres in Bihar
In Bihar, 38 One Stop Centre (OSCs) have been sanctioned in a phased manner during the financial years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2018-19.
About the One Stop Center Scheme:
- It is a centrally sponsored scheme of Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD).
- Implemented since 2015, It is a sub scheme of Umbrella Scheme for National Mission for Empowerment of women including Indira Gandhi Mattritav Sahyaog Yojana.
- This scheme is popularly known as ‘Sakhi’ (Female friend.)
- To support women who are affected by violence in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace.
- To provide support, remedy and specialized services to women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse irrespective of their age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race and culture.
- The OSC will support all women including girls below 18 years of age affected by violence.
- The Scheme will be funded through Nirbhaya Fund. The Central Government will provide 100% financial assistance to the State Government /UT Administrations under the Scheme.
Services offered in OSCs
- Emergency Response and Rescue Services – Provision of rescue and referral services to the women affected by violence.
- Medical assistance – Women affected by violence would be referred to the nearest Hospital for medical aid.
- Assistance to women in lodging FIR /NCR/DIR
- Psycho – social support/ counselling – A counsellor providing psycho – social counselling services would be available on call which will give women support to address violence or to seek justice.
- Legal aid and counselling – To facilitate access to justice for women affected by violence, legal aid and counselling would be provided at OSC through empanelled Lawyers or National/ State/District Legal Service Authority.
- Shelter – The OSC will provide temporary/long term shelter facility to aggrieved women. Women affected by violence along with their children (girls of all ages and boys up till 8 years of age) can avail temporary shelter at the OSC for a maximum period of 5 days.
- Video Conferencing Facility – To facilitate speedy police and court proceedings, the OSC will provide video conferencing facility.
Need for such protection:
- Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a global health, human rights and development issue that transcends geography, class, culture, age, race and religion to affect every community and country in every corner of the world.
- The Article 1 of UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence 1993 provides a definition of gender – based abuse, calling it “any act of gender – based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.
- In India, gender based violence has many manifestations; from the more universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence including rape, to harmful practices such as, dowry, honour killings, acid attacks, witch – hunting, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, child marriage, sex selective abortion, sati etc.
- Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of OSCs.
2.51 lakh more houses sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban
In a meeting under the Ministry of Housing& Urban Affairs, the Central Sanctioning cum Monitoring Committee (CSMC) under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY(U)), sanctioned more than 2.5 Lakh houses in 10 states.
About the new sanctions of houses under PMAY (U):
- The State of Uttar Pradesh presented proposals for construction of 1.38 lakh more houses which was the highest among all 10 participating states.
- With this, Uttar Pradesh has become first in the country in project sanctioned with about 12.96 lakh houses sanctioned, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is an initiative by Government of India under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor.
- The PMAY (U) mission was launched in June 2015 with the aim to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022.
- It will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.
Components of the PMAY (U):
- Beneficiary led Construction (BLC)
- Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS)
- Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP)
- In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR)
Features of PMAY(U)
- Subsidy of 6.5% on home loan interest rate for a term of 20 years.
- The credit linked subsidy up to Rs 6 lakhs. Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and National Housing Bank (NHB) are the Central Nodal Agencies (CNAs) to channelize this subsidy.
- Compulsory ground floor housing accommodation for senior citizens and the differently-abled.
- Mandatory use of eco-friendly materials for building construction.
- Extending scheme coverage to include all urban areas in India.
- Encouraging women to become home owners by making it mandatory to register a property with both the male and female heads of family unless there is no female family member.
- Economically Weaker Section (EWS): Annual household income less than Rs.3 lakh.
- Light Income Group (LIG): Annual household income ranging between Rs.3 lakh to 6 lakh.
- Medium Income Group (MIG1): Annual household income below Rs.12 lakh fall
- Medium Income Group (MIG2): Annual household income between Rs.12 to Rs.18.
- Minorities: People hailing from minority groups like SC/ST/OBC will fall under minorities.
- Women: Women belonging to EWS/LIG categories will be considered under PMAY scheme.
- EWS category of beneficiaries is eligible for assistance in all four components of the Missions whereas LIG and MIG categories are eligible under only Credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) component of the Mission.
- The scheme focuses to cover the entire urban area consisting of all statutory towns and areas including Notified Planning/ Development Area/ Industrial Development Authority/Special Area Development Authority/ Urban Development Authority or any such Authority under the State legislation which is entrusted with the functions of urban planning and regulations.
The scheme is divided into three phases.
· Phase I (April 2015 – March 2017) to cover 100 Cities selected from States/UTs as per their willingness.
· Phase II (April 2017 – March 2019) to cover additional 200 Cities
· Phase III (April 2019 – March 2022) to cover all other remaining Cities
Ownership of houses:
- House is to be allotted in the name of adult female member or in joint name and all houses to have toilet facility, drinking water and power supply. Preference is given to persons with disabilities, ST/ SC/ OBCs, minorities and transgender.
Training Workshop for implementing teams of Van Dhan Yojana Organized
A workshop to flag the 100 days’ plan for implementation of the Van Dhan Scheme was organised by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- The Van Dhan Scheme aims to set up and operationalize 3000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVK) in 2019-20, of which 600 VDVKs will be established during the 100-Day Plan.
Van Dhan Scheme:
- The Van Dhan Scheme was launched in April, 2018 and seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
- The programme aims to tap into traditional knowledge of tribals by adding technology & IT to upgrade it at each stage and to convert the tribal wisdom into a viable economic activity.
- It will provide enhanced livelihood to about 45 lakhs tribal gatherers which is about 4.5% of the total tribal population in India.
- Tribal community owned Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) and multi-purpose Van dhan Vikas Kendra are set up under this scheme.
- As per the plan, TRIFED will facilitate establishment of MFP-led multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, a cluster of 10 SHGs comprising of 30 tribal MFP gatherers each, in the tribal areas.
- The scheme is implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.
- At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.
- Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.
Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:
- Van Dhan Vikas Karyakram is primarily a component under the Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA).
- It would act as common facility centres for procurement cum value addition to locally available NTFPs and skill based handicraft.
- Instead of gathering NTFP products and directly selling it in the market, tribal gatherers can collect, perform primary value addition/processing at the Kendra and then sell the product in the market for better price realization.
- A typical Vikas Kendra constitute 10 tribal Van Dhan Vikas Self Help Groups (SHGs), each compromising up to 30 NTFP gatherers or tribal handcraft artisans.
- At least 60% beneficiaries of the SHG is tribal and the SHG is led by a tribal member.
- Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.
Minor Forest Produce:
- Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is defined as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, Tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tuber and the like.
- It is a subset of forest produce which got a definition in the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 or Forests Rights Act (FRA).
Provision of MFP in Forests Rights Act (FRA),2006
- The FRA Act recognizes and vests individual forest-dwellers with forest rights to live in and cultivate forest land that was occupied before December 2005 and to dispose minor forest products from forests where they had traditional access.
- The act also defines forest rights as inclusive of ‘Right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce. Individuals, communities and gram sabhas having rights under this particular section of the Act will not only have the rights to use but also rights of ownership over MFPs.
- This goes beyond the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension To The Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA Act) which had authorised states to entrust panchayats and gramasabhas as the owners of MFP.
Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support Price (MSP) scheme:
- The Government of India launched a central sector scheme for marketing of Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain to ensure fair monetary returns to MFP gatherers for their efforts in collection, primary processing etc.
- The scheme envisages fixation and declaration of Minimum Support Price for the selected MFP based on the suggestions received from TRIFED and the States concerned.
- Procurement and marketing operation at pre- fixed MSP is undertaken by the designated State agencies.
- The Scheme was implemented in eight States having Schedule areas as listed in the Fifth Schedule of the constitution of India. However, From November 2016, the scheme is applicable in all States.
Significance of Minor Forest Produce (MFP):
- MFP is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for tribal can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.
- It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time.
- This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.
National mission on natural language translation soon
The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) has proposed a National Mission for Natural Language Translation.
About the proposal of the Ministry of Electronics and IT:
- The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) proposed a ₹450 crore proposal for ‘Natural Language Translation’ which is one of the key missions identified by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
- The proposal is part of the 100-day action plan charted out by MeitY, following Prime Minister instructions.
- Using a combination of machine and human translation, the mission will enable access to teaching and researching material bilingually- in English and one’s native Indian language.
Lead Implementing Agencies:
- Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
- Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD)
- Department of Science and Technology (DST)
- To make science and technology accessible to all by facilitating access to teaching and researching material bilingually, in English and in one’s native Indian language.
- Translation activities can help generate employment for educated unemployed.
- The mission would help not just students but also teachers, authors, publishers, translation software developers and general readers.
About PM-STIAC (Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Advisory Council):
- The PM-STIAC is an overarching body that identifies challenges in certain areas of science and technology.
- It then creates a road map to deal with these challenges and presents the recommendations to the Prime Minister.
Missions of PM-STIAC:
- Quantum Frontier
- Artificial Intelligence
- National Bio-diversity mission
- Electric vehicles
- BioScience for Human Health
- Deep ocean exploration
- Agnii – Igniting Ideas
- Research Clusters
- Earth Museum
- Brahmaputra River System
- I-STEM (Indian Science, Technology and Engineering Facilities Map)
- Energy Security
Grievances against Misleading Advertisements
In 2015, The Government launched an online portal called “Grievance Against Misleading Advertisements” (GAMA) for complaints relating to misleading advertisements.
About the GAMA Portal:
- It is a dedicated online web portal established by Department of Consumer Affairs in 2015 to enable consumers to register their grievances on misleading advertisements which makes claims that are dubious or unverified.
- The focus of this portal is on seven sectors viz. food, agriculture, health, education, real estate, transport and financial services.
- GAMA serves as a central registry for complaints against misleading advertisements.
- Any consumer in any part of India can register on this site and can lodge a complaint against misleading advertisements.
- The Department of Consumer Affairs has partnered with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in tackling the menace of misleading advertisement through this portal.
What is a misleading advertisement?
- Any advertisement that gives false information, making false claims or contravening any other provision of the advertising code can be termed as a misleading advertisement.
Issues related to Health & Education
HRD Ministry releases 5-yr vision plan ‘EQUIP’
The Department of Higher Education of HRD Ministry has finalized and released a five-year vision plan named Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP).
About the Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP):
- Department of Higher Education, MHRD prepared the EQUIP as the five-year plan to be implemented during 2019-24.
Objectives as laid down in EQUIP for higher education sector:
- Double the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education and resolve the geographically and socially skewed access to higher education institutions in India
- Upgrade the quality of education to global standards
- Position at least 50 Indian institutions among the top-1000 global universities
- Introduce governance reforms in higher education for well-administered campuses
- Accreditation of all institutions as an assurance of quality
- Promote Research & Innovation ecosystems for positioning India in the Top-3 countries in the world in matters of knowledge creation
- Double the employability of the students passing out of higher education
- Harness education technology for expanding the reach and improving pedagogy
- Promote India as a global study destination
- Achieve a quantum increase in investment in higher education
International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a United Nations International Day against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade.
- It is observed annually on 26 June, since 1988, a date chosen to commemorate Lin Zexu’s dismantling of the opium trade in Humen, Guangdong, just before the First Opium War in China.
- 2019 Theme for International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is ‘Health for Justice’.
About United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a United Nations office.
- Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, UNODC operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices.
- It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and was renamed the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002.
- UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from Governments, for 90 per cent of its budget.
- UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.
- The World Drug Report is a yearly publication of UNODC that presents a comprehensive assessment of the international drug problem, with detailed information on the illicit drug situation.
No proposal to fix minimum support price for milk
There is no proposal to fix minimum support price (MSP) for milk in the country due to highly perishable nature of the product.
- Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Dairy said that there is no proposal to control the prices of milk in the country and it is not the work of this ministry as prices of milk are fixed on the basis of production cost from co-operative and private dairies.
What is minimum support price (MSP)?
- MSP is form of agricultural market intervention undertaken by Central Government in order to insure agricultural producers are protected against any sharp fall in farm prices.
- It was declared used first time in 1965 as a tool for agricultural price policy to meet the various objectives.
- It is announced for certain crops by Government prior to the sowing season.
- Its purpose is to incentivize cultivators to adopt modern technology and raise productivity and overall production in line with the emerging demand patterns in the country.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), determines the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) of various agricultural commodities in India based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices (CACP).
Pros of MSP:
- It is a one-price policy guaranteeing assured pay, which directly influences farmer’s pockets.
- It considers various factors when fixing the price and does not leave the farmer at the mercy of the market.
- Procurement for public distribution system and buffer stock for food security come from this policy.
- It has a heavy influence on market prices and also helps the farmer grow production and match up with other sectors in terms of income.
Cons of MSP:
- MSP covers numerous costs such as the cost of sowing and labour. These considerations are controversial with suggestions that it should be based on comprehensive costs, which also include land rent costs.
- Too much of a hike on MSP either paves way for inflationary effects on the economy, with a rise in prices of food grains and vegetables, or loss to government treasury if it decides to sell at a lower price as compared to the higher MSP it bought at.
- MSP is a nationwide single price policy. However, the actual costing for production varies from place to place, more severely so in areas lacking irrigation facilities and infrastructure. Thus, not all farmers have equal benefits.
- Market prices should ideally never be below MSP. If they fall below the MSP, then the farmer can always sell it to the government, which will then resell it or store as buffer. The market value in many cases does fall below MSP due to lack of infrastructure and procurement apparatus on the government’s end.
- MSP is notified for 24 crops, but effectively ensured only for two-three crops.
- Milk production is increasing every year in India with production of 176 million tonnes in 2017-18.
- Prices of milk in the country are decided by the Cooperative and Private dairies based on cost of production.
- Under the distribution of legislatives powers between the Union of India and States under Article 246(3) of the Constitution, the preservation of cattle is a matter on which the legislature of the States has exclusive powers to legislate.
- As per article 48 of Indian Constitution the state shall endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall in particular take steps for preserving improving the breed, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
- Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which also owns Amul Company, receives funding under central scheme ‘National Agriculture Development Scheme’ for milk collection and processing of camels during 2014-15 to 2017-18.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
World Bank approves loan for Rebuild Kerala Initiative
The Government of India, the Government of Kerala and the World Bank signed a Loan Agreement for the First Resilient Kerala Program to enhance the State’s resilience against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.
About the Resilient Kerala Programme:
- The aim of this programme is to strengthen Kerala’s institutional and financial capacity to protect the assets and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable groups.
- It is part of the Government of India’s ‘Rebuild Kerala Development Programme’ aimed at building a green and resilient Kerala.
- The Program is the First ‘State Partnership’ of the World Bank in India.
- It is also the First of two Development Policy Operations aiming to mainstream disaster and climate resilience into critical infrastructure and services.
Features of the programme:
- Improved river basin planning and water infrastructure operations management
- Water supply and sanitation services
- Resilient and sustainable agriculture
- Enhanced agriculture risk insurance
- Improved resilience of the core road network
- Unified and more up-to-date land records in high-risk areas
- Risk-based urban planning and strengthened expenditure planning by urban local bodies
- Strengthened fiscal and public financial management capacity
- The idea of availing assistance from World bank was mooted by the Kerala following the devastating floods that hit the it in August 2018. The devastating effect of flood convinced world Bank to consider Kerala’s proposal.
About World Bank’s Development Policy Operations (DPO)
- Development policy operations of the World Bank are quick-disbursing external financing to support policy and institutional reforms.
- They are financed in the form of development policy loans (DPL) or grants.
- The World Bank can provide development policy lending to national or sub-national level governments in a member country.
[Ref: PIB, The Hindu, Times of India]
Bilateral & International Relations
Council of Europe Restores Russia’s Voting Rights
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted in favour of restoring Russia’s voting rights, five years after they were revoked over its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
- Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in an internationally condemned referendum after a contentious change of government in Kyiv. Change in the capital, coupled with Moscow’s military intervention in Crimea, inflamed separatist sentiment in eastern Ukraine, triggering a rebel insurgency supported by pro-Russia forces.
- It is important to note that cases originating in Russia make up the largest portion of cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights.
- Some observers argued that expelling Russia from the council – a leading institution for human rights in Europe – would have been disastrous for organisations operating in the country.
About the Council of Europe:
The Council of Europe, along with its sister institution, the European Court of Human Rights, is tasked with promoting human rights and the rule of law in its 47 European member states (including 28 members of European Union).
- The organisation is separate from European Union (EU).
- It was established in 1949 with Headquarters in Strasbourg, France.
- Its objective is to achieve a greater unity between its members countries for purpose of safeguarding and realising ideals and principles which are their common heritage and also to facilitate their economic and social progress.
Key facts about Budapest Convention:
- The Convention on Cybercrime or Budapest Convention is the only binding multilateral treaty instrument aimed at combating cybercrime.
- It was drafted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France with active participation from its observer states in 2001.
- It was drawn up with the active participation of the Council of Europe’s observer states Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States.
- It is open for ratification even to states that are not members of the Council of Europe.
Location of Crimea:
- Crimea is a peninsula in Eastern Europe.
- It is situated in the southern region of Kherson, Ukraine and the western part of Kuban, Russia.
- It is surrounded by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
- It is separated from Russia to the east by the narrow Kerch Strait.
History of Crimea:
- Before the region was known as Crimea, the Peninsula was known as Taurica and was occupied by the Greek and Roman Empires.
- The Crimean territory was part of Russia until February, 1954, when the Presidium of USSR’s Supreme Soviet issued a decree on the transfer of the region from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR).
- According to the decree, the transfer was instigated due to cultural and economic relations, the proximity and the commonality of the economy of Crimea to Ukrainian SSR.
- Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was established as Ukraine’s constituent entity.
- The Crimean legislature declared conditional independence in 1992. However, due to opposition from Ukraine, there was never a referendum to confirm the decision.
- Following the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, the Russia became interested in apportioning the Peninsula for Russia. In a matter of days, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea were taken over by unmarked Russian forces and local militia.
- After a controversial referendum, the President of Russia signed a treaty of annexation with the self-declared Republic of Crimea. The region was then incorporated into the Russian Federation.
- Since Russia established control over Crimea in 2014, the region has been administered as part of the Russian Federation while the northern regions of the Arabat Spit and the Syvash are still under the control of Ukraine.
- The Russia announced the full integration of Crimea into Russia in July 2015. Despite Russia having control over the Crimean Peninsula, the international community together with Ukraine considers Crimea’s annexation illegal thus its sovereignty is still disputed.
[Ref: The Hindu, WIRE]
Key Facts for Prelims
- Haryana government has announced an annual financial health assistance of Rs.5 lakh to Loktantra Senanis or their spouse for treatment at private or government hospitals.
- Loktantra Senanis are people who were jailed during 1975-1977 Emergency under preventive detention laws.
Go Tribal Campaign
- Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) of Ministry of Tribal Affairs has organized this event to institutionalize collaborations and partnerships with different organizations to promote tribal products.
- The campaign will be launched under which a number of innovative activities have been planned to be undertaken to promote use of tribal handicrafts, handicrafts and natural products.