Polity & Governance
- Karnataka Govt not to Pursue Proposal on Separate State Flag for Karnataka
Government Schemes & Policies
- DAY-NULM Conferred the Prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award
- Government announces plan to merge 10 PSBs to 4 to gain size
- India population growing as fast as world’s
Issues related to Health & Education
- Union HRD Minister launches Integrated Online junction for School Education ‘Shagun’
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Anandan’s day gecko adds to biodiversity of the Western Ghats
- Special Tiger Force for Corbett Reserve set up
Bilateral & International Relations
- US to launch Space Command in a bid to expand military outreach
Science & Technology
- Michael Faraday and electromagnetic induction
Key Facts for Prelims
- Campaign Angikaar & E-Course on Vulnerability Atlas Launched
- Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree get GI tag
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
Polity & Governance
Karnataka Govt not to Pursue Proposal on Separate State Flag for Karnataka
The new government in Karnataka indicated that it would not pursue with the Centre, the previous government’s proposal for a separate state flag that was pending before it.
Should States have their own flags?
- There is no prohibition under the Constitution to hoist any flag other than the national flag.
- Under the Constitution, a flag is not enumerated in the Seventh Schedule (allocation of powers and functions between Union & States). However, Article 51A says that every citizen is abide by the Constitution and should respect the national flag and the national anthem.
- Under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, the statutory prohibition is only against use for any trade, business or in any trademark of design, any name or emblem specified in the Schedule.
- Under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, there is no prohibition against any State hoisting its own flag. What is prohibited under this Act is insulting the national flag by burning it, mutilating it, defacing it, etc.
- Even the Flag Code of India, 2002 does not impose prohibitions on a State flag.
- However, the Code expressly authorises the flying of other flags under the condition that they should not be hoisted from the same masthead as the national flag or placed higher than it.
- Hence, the Code provides for a State flag as long as it does not offend the dignity of the national flag. Similarly, the Code explicitly authorises (with restrictions) the flying of flags of other countries and also the flag of the United Nations.
Separate flag in other countries
- All the States in the U.S. have separate flags, apart from the national flag.
- In the U.K., the political units of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own flags without affecting the integrity of the U.K.
About the National Flag of India
National Flag of India
- The national flag is popularly known as Tiranga, which means “three colours” or “tricoloured”.
- The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India in 1947.
- Pingali Venkayya was an Indian freedom fighter who designed an early version of the tricolour on which the Indian national flag is now based.
- The National Flag is governed by the provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
- The National Flag is a tricolour panel made up of three rectangular panels or sub- panels of equal width.
- As per the Indian laws, the national flag is to be made up of
- Each colour of the Tricolor has different connotations. Saffron denotes courage & sacrifice, White denotes truth & purity, and Green signifies faith, fertility & growth.
- The wheel with 24 spokes in the middle of the “Tricolor” depicts Dharmachakra & represents motion or growth.
- The Flag Code of India is a set of standards governing the use of the Indian flag in different contexts that was created in 1968. It was later updated in 2002 and 2008.
- In 2002, India’s Flag Code was merged with Provisions of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour (Amendment) Act, 2005.
- As per the provisions of the Flag Code of India, 2002, there is no restriction on the display of the National Flag by members of general public, private organizations, educational institutions, etc., except to the extent provided in the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
- In February, 2016, the MHRD decreed that the national flag will fly on a minimum 207-feet high mast on the premises of all centre sponsored universities of India.
Evolution of National Flag
- During the period of Indian independence, several other designs of Indian flag were used and adopted.
- The first Indian flag had religious symbols and eight roses on it with Vande Matram written in the middle. It was hoisted in 1906 at Parsi Bagan Square in Kolkata.
- Second Indian flag had partial modifications. It was hoisted by Bhikaji Cama in Germany.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak used a different type of flag in the year 1917. The flag had the Union Jack on the top left and Crescent on top right corner with seven stars.
- In 1921, a new flag which contained colours according to religions came into existence. This flag was designed with the Ashoka Chakra in the centre.
- To avoid the spiritual intrusion, a new flag came into existence. It had three colours, saffron, white and green with a chakra in the middle. It was adopted in the year 1931.
- At last, current Indian National Flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya who was a freedom fighter from Andhra Pradesh.
- In November 2008, India became the 4th country to land its Flag on the Moon.
- In 1907, Bhikaji Rustom Cama became the first to raise the Indian Flag on foreign soil at the 2nd International Socialist Congress.
- Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha located in Bengeri village of Karnataka is the only unit that holds the official manufacturing rights of the Indian National Flag.
- Although the three colors of the Indian Flag can be found in many other country’s national flags, the closest resemblance to the Indian Flag is that of the Flag of Niger.
Government Schemes & Policies
DAY-NULM Conferred the Prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award
Deendayan Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) has been conferred the prestigious SKOCH Governance Gold Award for its Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access (PAiSA)
About Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana:
- Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY) with an aim to uplift the urban poor by enhancing sustainable livelihood opportunities through skill development.
- Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana was launched under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA).
- Government of India has provisioned Rs.500 crores for the scheme.
- The scheme is integration of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) and National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).
Components of the scheme
The scheme has two components one for urban India and other for rural India.
- The Urban component named as Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana is being implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.
- The rural component named as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is being implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development.
About Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY-NULM)
- National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) is renamed as Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-(DAY-NULM) and in Hindi as – Rashtriya Shahri Aajeevika Mission.
- Under the scheme urban areas extends the coverage to all the statutory cities and towns, there by covering almost the entire urban population.
- To reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self-employment
- To providing the shelter equipped with essential services to the urban homeless in a phased manner.
- To address the livelihood, concern of the urban street vendors
- Launched in November 2018, PAiSAis a centralized IT platform which simplifies release of interest subvention under the Deendayan Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM).
- It offers end to end online solution for processing, payment, monitoring and tracking of interest subvention claims from banks on a monthly basis.
Government announces plan to merge 10 PSBs to 4 to gain size
Union Finance Minister announced a major bank merger of ten public sector banks into four, taking the total number of public sector banks to 12 from 27 banks.
About the Merger of PSBs
- Punjab National Bank will merge with Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India and become India’s second-largest bank after State Bank of India.
- Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank will be merged.
- Union Bank of India will be merged with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank.
- Indian Bank and Allahabad Bank will merge.
Post this allegation, India will have at least six big banks in the public sector that can compete with large rivals both in the country and abroad for high-value lending.
Need for merger
- Many state-run banks are competing in the same area and have failed to evolve as efficient banking companies.
- These banks rely on the government for capital and many of them score relatively less with respect to efficiency against private rivals.
- Large Banks can operate globally. Large Banks would be in a position to take advantage of efficiencies of scale than in smaller Banks. Hence, to have larger banks, there is need to have merger of Banks.
- Besides these mergers, the finance minister also announced the appointment of chief risk officers with market-linked compensation.
- Till now, risk management has not been given adequate focus in government banks that reflected in their PSB’s asset quality.
Benefits of merger of Banks
- The objectives of financial inclusion and broadening the geographical reach of banking can be achieved better with the merger of large public sector banks.
- Merger will result in better NPA and Risk management
- The scale of inefficiency which is more in case of small banks, will be minimized.
- Larger size of the Bank will help the merged banks to offer more products and services and help in integrated growth of the Banking sector.
- Merger will help in improving the professional standards.
- A larger SBI can manage its short and long term liquidity better. There will not be any need for overnight borrowings in call money market and from RBI, under Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) and Marginal Standing Facility (MSF).
- In the global market, the Indian banks will gain greater recognition and higher rating.
- With a larger capital base and higher liquidity, the burden on the central government to recapitalize the public sector banks again and again will come down substantially.
- The merger will reduce the cost of banking operation. Multiple posts of CMD, ED, GM and Zonal Managers will be abolished, resulting in substantial financial savings.
- Bank staff will be under single umbrella in regard to their service conditions and wages instead of facing disparities.
Disadvantages of merger of banks
- Most acquisitions in India were borne out of compulsions and over 90 per cent of past acquisitions had failed to achieve the objectives.
- Many banks focus on regional banking requirements. With the merger the very purpose of establishing the bank to cater to regional needs is lost.
- Large bank size may create more problems also. Large global banks had collapsed during the global financial crisis while smaller ones had survived the crisis due to their strengths and focus on micros aspects.
- With the merger, the weaknesses of the small banks are also transferred to the bigger bank.
- Merger will result in shifting/closure of many ATMs, Branches as it is not economical to keep so many banks concentrated in several pockets.
- It will result in immediate job losses on account of large number of people taking Voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) on one side and slow down of further recruitment on the other.
- So far small scale losses and recapitalization could revive the capital base of small banks. Now if the SBI books huge loss, it will be difficult for the entire banking system to sustain.
- Mergers in Indian banking sector have initiated through the recommendations of Narshimhan committee II which recommended that the mergers between strong banks would make for greater commercial sense.
- Khan committee in 1997 stressed the need for harmonization of roles of commercial banks and the financial institutions.
- Verma committee pointed out that consolidation will lead to pooling of strengths and lead to overall reduction in cost of operations.
- Even taking about 25 percent of the banking business in the country, SBI is ranked 60th in the list of Top 1000 Banks in the world by the Banker in 2012.
- Merger is not new concept in India, the mergers in 60s had taken place under the direction of R.B.I and as result the 566 banks in India in the year 1951 came down to 85 in the year 1969.
[Ref: The Hindu, Indian Express]
India population growing as fast as world’s
India accounts for over one-sixth of the world’s population in 2019 (1.37 billion out of 7.71 billion) as per the State of the World Population 2019.
Highlights of the State of the World Population 2019
- China has a population growth rate of 0.5% per year between 2010 and 2019, which is less than half of that in India or in the world.
- Top five most populous countries in 2027 will like this: India – 1.5 billion; China – 1.1 billion; Nigeria – 733 million; United States – 434 million; Pakistan – 403 million.
India Specific highlights
- India accounts for over one-sixth of the world’s population in 2019 (1.37 billion out of 7.71 billion).
- India population grown at a rate 1.2% per year between 2010 and 2019, similar to the world growth rate.
- India’s life expectancy at birth (69 years) is lower than the world’s (72 years).
- 27 per cent of the India’s population is 0-14 years and 10-24 years each, while 67 per cent of the is in the 15-64 age bracket. Six per cent of the country’s population is of the age 65 and above.
- India scores higher than the global average in terms of access higher healthcare during childbirth and has a much lower adolescent birth rate.
- Between 2006 and 2017, 86% of births in India were attended by skilled health personnel, as compared to 79% across the world.
- India’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in 2015 was 174 deaths per lakh live births (down from 448 in 1994) while the global MMR in 2015 was 216.
- While 28 of every 1,000 Indian adolescent women (age 15-19) gave birth between 2006 and 2017, the global adolescent birth rate was 44 per 1,000.
- India’s fertility rate in 2019 is 2.3 births per woman, compared to 2.5 worldwide.
Concerns and challenges
- The absence of reproductive and sexual rights has a major and negative repercussions on women’s education, income and safety, leaving them unable to shape their own futures.
- Threat to women’s and girls’ reproductive rights posed by emergencies caused by conflict or climate disasters.
- About 35 million women, girls and young people will need life-saving sexual and reproductive health services in 2019, as well as services to address gender-based violence, in humanitarian settings.
About the report
- The report was published by the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFP).
- For the first time, the report includes data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas – sexual intercourse with their partner, contraception use and health care.
Issues related to Health & Education
Union HRD Minister launches Integrated Online junction for School Education ‘Shagun’
Union Human Resource Development Minister launched one of world’s largest Integrated Online Junction for – School Education ‘Shagun’.
About School Education Shagun initiative
- School Education Shagun is an initiative to improve the school education system.
- It involves creating a common platform for all portals and websites of the Department of School Education and all States and Union Territories (UTs).
- It seeks to connect approximately 92 lakh teachers and 26 crore students.
About the Integrated National School Education Treasury (INSET)
- It is an information network for all parameters relating to the students, teachers, and schools in the country.
Main focus areas
- Cleaning the data of the Integrated Online Junction through feedback from Stakeholders
- Ensuring full interoperability among the websites, portals and applications which are already hosted in the junction
- Creating high quality e-contents to enhance learning
- Using artificial intelligence in a variety of ways to enhance the quality of school education
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Anandan’s day gecko adds to biodiversity of the Western Ghats
The recently discovered Cnemaspis anandani (Anandan’s day gecko), is the most recent day gecko found in the Nilgiris and is endemic to the Western Ghats.
About the newly discover Anandan’s day gecko
- It was found in the in the areas surrounding a forest in Kotagiri, Nilgiris.
- What makes this discovery significant is that this species of day gecko was not found in inaccessible forests, but near human habitations.
- Researchers are concerned that the Anandan’s day gecko, like many other species, some of which may still be undiscovered in the Western Ghats, faces the threat of extinction.
- While one threat may be from natural predators such as calotes (lizards), the more serious threat could be due to anthropogenic factors.
What are Day Gekos?
- Day geckos are a common name of a group of over 60 species of small lizards that vary in size, appearance, and behaviors.
- They belong to the genus Phelsuma and family Gekkonidae.
Special Tiger Force for Corbett Reserve set up
The Uttarakhand government has decided to form a ‘Special Tiger Force’ for Corbett Tiger Reserve, a move which will help serve as the much needed second layer of protection for the big cat.
About the Special Tiger Force for Corbett Tiger Reserve
- The Special Tiger Force will check the illegal human intrusion into the reserve through villages located on its fringes.
- It will serve as a second layer of protection for tigers at the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
The decision of forming Special Tiger Force is in line with Government of India guidelines for providing three-tier protection to tigers at reserves.
- The first layer of protection is provided in the inner range by beat level forest guards through regular patrols.
- The second layer of protection will be taken care by Special Tiger Force.
- The third layer of protection comes from intelligence-gathering mechanisms in which forest, police and central intelligence agency personnel work together to prevent crimes like the poaching of tigers.
About the Jim Corbett National Park
- Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.
- It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment.
- The park encompasses the Patli Dun valley formed by the Ramganga river.
- The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.
- The park is surrounded by the dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, peepal, rohini and mango trees. Forest covers almost 73% of the park, 10% of the area consists of grasslands.
- Corbett National Park is one of the thirteen protected areas covered by the World Wide Fund for Nature under their Terai Arc Landscape Program. The program aims to protect three of the five terrestrial flagship species, the tiger, the Asian elephant and the great one-horned rhinoceros, by restoring corridors of forest to link 13 protected areas of Nepal and India, to enable wildlife migration.
Bilateral & International Relations
US to launch Space Command in a bid to expand military outreach
The United States will officially launch the Space Command.
About the US Space Command:
- The US Space command will be the 11th combatant command, the first one to be created in more than a decade.
- The space command will ensure that America’s dominance in space is never questioned and never threatened.
- The space force will organize, train and equip warriors to support the Space Command’s mission.
- In February 2019, US signed a directive to start the process of creating a sixth branch of the military called the US Space Force dedicated to handling threats in space.
- The force will be responsible for a range of space-based US military capabilities, including satellites enabling the Global Positioning System (GPS) and sensors that help track missile launches.
- S. Air Force accuse that it could take resources away from it and the prestige that comes with being the driver of space military operations.
- It could undercut ongoing missions. It could increase budgetary allocations in the future.
- It potentially increases greater organisational uncertainty within the U.S. military.
- Physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft.
- The technical demands of spacecrafts in space make the possibility of dominance difficult.
China and Russia’s responses
- China knows that it is the prime target of US’s space force. With a range of terrestrial interests in direct conflict with the Americans, China will not allow U.S. space dominance.
- China’s space military programme has been dedicated to building “Assassin Mace” technologies (an array of kinetic and non-kinetic means of attack) that are geared to help win wars rapidly.
- Russia, however, given its lack of the resources for competition, align itself with China.
Implications for India
- While India is officially committed to ‘The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space’ (PAROS), it is yet to establish a credible space command of its own
- China’s could create a much stronger space force as a response to US space force and it does possess a formidable space military programme that far exceeds current Indian capabilities.
- Hence, India should publish an official white paper on space weapons. The government needs to engage with multiple stakeholders directly about the role space weapons will play in India’s grand strategy.
Science & Technology
Michael Faraday and electromagnetic induction
On August 29 in 1831, British scientist Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction, a breakthrough which laid the groundwork for later researchers such as James Clerk Maxwell, and led to important inventions such as electric motors, transformers, inductors, and generators.
Contribution of Michael Faraday
- He contributed in both chemistry and electromagnetism.
- He discovered Benzene (an organic chemical compound).
- He also discovered diamagnetism, electrolysis and the effect of magnetism on light.
What is Faraday’s iron ring experiment?
- Faraday wrapped an iron ring with two coils of insulated wire. One coil was connected to a battery, and the other to a galvanometer (instrument used for measuring an electric current).
- When the battery circuit was closed, Faraday saw a momentary deflection on the galvanometer. A similar momentary deflection but in the opposite direction was seen when the battery circuit was opened.
- This observation led to the discovery that a change in a magnetic field produces an electromotive force and current in a nearby circuit. This phenomenon, called electromagnetic induction, was later mathematically modelled by James Clerk Maxwell and came to be known as Faraday’s Law.
Key Facts for Prelims
Campaign Angikaar & E-Course on Vulnerability Atlas Launched
Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs launched “angikaar”, a campaign for change management and e-Course on Vulnerability Atlas of India.
About Angikaar campaign
- Angikaar campaign aims for social behaviour change, focusing on issues such as water & energy conservation, waste management and sanitation for beneficiaries of completed houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) (PMAY (U)), through community mobilisation and door to door activities.
- The campaign will be initiated on 2nd October 2019 commemorating 150th Gandhi Jayanti and culminate on the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10th December, 2019.
- It will converge with Missions of other Ministries dealing with these subject, especially focusing on Ujjwala for gas connection and Ayushman Bharat for health insurance to the beneficiaries of PMAY (U).
About the e-course on Vulnerability Atlas
- It is a course that offers understanding about natural hazards, helps identify regions with high vulnerability with respect to various hazards (earthquakes, cyclones etc.) and specifies district-wise level of damage risks to the existing housing stock.
- It is offered by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs in collaboration of School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), New Delhi and Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC).
Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree get GI tag
The products — the Dindigul lock and the Kandangi saree — were given the GI tag by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.
About Dindigul Lock
- The Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city is called Lock City.”
- The abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the lock-making industry.
- Though machine-made locks are easily available, government institutions like prisons, godowns, hospitals use the older pattern locks manufactured around Dindigul.
Need for giving GI tag to Dindigul locks
- Over the last few years, this industry has been slowly dying due to competition from Aligarh and Rajapalayam.
- Marketing these locks has also been a challenge. Several people have moved away from the craft due to meagre wages and waning demand.
- The GI tag will help people differentiate Dindigul locks from others.
About Kandangi saree
- The Kandangi saree is manufactured in Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu.
- The original Kandangi saree is made manually.
- These sarees are characterised by the large contrast borders and exude brilliant colours like bright yellow, orange, red and a minimal black in the traditional pattern of stripes or checks with broad borders woven in coarse cotton.
Need for giving GI tag to Kandangi saree
- The market is flooded with sarees that are woven in other parts of the State and look like the Kandangi saree.