Government Schemes & Policies
- Odisha reduces Kalia assistance to Rs 4,000 from Rs 10,000
- Missing boy traced within 24 hours after registering Zero FIR
- Anglo-Indians left out as Bill to extend quota in legislature gets nod
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Climate Emergency CoP 25: The Adaptation Fund is perfectly fit to serve the Paris Agreement
- Asian Elephant Specialist Group meet starts in Malaysia
- Ripu Daman Bevli announced as Plogging Ambassador of India on 50th Fit India Plogging Run
Bilateral & International Relations
- India’s forex reserves cross $450 billion for the first time
- 58 migrants dead after boat capsizes off Mauritania
- Curtain Raiser: Exercise INDRA 2019
Science & Technology
- Indian Neutrino Observatory unit to come up in Tamil Nadu
- Indian Railways saving ₹1100 crore per year in diesel cost with HOG technology
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Government Schemes & Policies
Odisha reduces Kalia assistance to Rs 4,000 from Rs 10,000
Odisha government has reduced the financial assistance given to farmers under the Kalia scheme to Rs 4,000 per annum from Rs 10,000.
About merging Kaliya scheme with PM-KISAN
- The decision to reduce the Kalia assistance was taken after the Odisha government merged the Kalia scheme with the Centres Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
- Keeping the parity of both the schemes, the small farmers/marginal farmers will be given with Rs 5,000 for 2019- 20 and Rs 4,000 per year from 2020-21, so that they will get Rs 10,000 annually i.e Rs 6,000 from PM-KISAN and Rs 4,000 from KALIA.
- Farmers residing under urban local bodies will not be considered for both the schemes. Both PM-Kisan and Kalia will have common exclusion criteria.
About KALIA scheme
- Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme was launched by the Government of Odisha.
- Under the scheme, Rs 10,180 crorewill be spent over three years until 2020-21 in providing financial assistance to cultivators and landless agricultural labourers.
- The focus of the scheme is not on farming loan waiverbut to support farming on a small scale, sharecropping, fishing, animal herding, which are caught in debt traps set up by local moneylenders.
- Out of a total of 75 lakh farm families to be included in the Kalia scheme, 50 lakhs will be small and marginal farmers and sharecroppers while the remaining 25 lakhs will be landless agricultural households.
- It would benefit about 92% of the farmersin the State.
- Assistance for Cultivation: Financial aid of Rs. 25,000 per farm family over five seasons to small and marginal farmers.
- Assistance for Livelihood: Financial assistance of Rs 12,500 to each landless agricultural household for agricultural allied activities such as goat rearing, small layer poultry units, duckery units etc.
- Assistance for Vulnerable Agricultural Household: Financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per family per year to the vulnerable cultivators/landless agricultural labourers and to the vulnerable cultivator/landless Agricultural Laborers who are in old age, having disability/ disease and are vulnerable for any other reason.
- Life Insurance for Cultivators & Landless Agricultural Laborers: Life insurance cover of Rs. 2.00 lakh to all savings bank account holder of age between 18-50 years.
- Interest Free Crop Loan: Vulnerable landless laborers, cultivators, share croppers and agricultural families identified by Gram Panchayats will be provided with cop loans up to Rs 50,000 made available at 0% interest.
- Small and Marginal Farmers
- Landless agricultural households
- Vulnerable agricultural household covering vulnerable cultivators/landless agricultural labourers
Who is a small and marginal farmer?
- A small farmer is a cultivator who owns 2.5 acres to 5 acres of arable land. A marginal farmer is one who owns less than 2.5 acres of arable land.
What is a Farm Family?
- A farm family constitutes a farmer and his/her spouse along with their dependent children.
- Any farmer wanting to get information on KALIA scheme can register for ‘Kalia Barta’.
About the PM-KISAN
- In the Interim budget of 2019-20, Government has announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)’ for providing an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers.
Highlights of Programme
- Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
- This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each.
- Funded by Government of India, this programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs. 75,000 crores.
Small and marginal landholder family comprises of
- Husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to two hectare as per the land records of the concerned states.
Significance of Programme
- Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit.
- PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season.
- PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.
- So far, over 8 crore Indian farmers have been enrolled in PM-Kisan, even though there are around 14.5 crore landholding farmers in India.
- Among the States where the enrolment is less than half are Madhya Pradesh (49 per cent), Tamil Nadu (47 per cent), Kerala (40 per cent) and Bihar (26 per cent).
- Odisha offers free healthcare to elderly under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.
Missing boy traced within 24 hours after registering Zero FIR
The Kanchikacherla police registered a ‘Zero FIR’ following a missing person complaint lodged by a BC Welfare Hostel warden of Veerulapadu, which is located under the limits of Veerulapadu police station. The investigation was taken up immediately and the boy was traced within 24 hours.
What is Zero FIR?
- Normally, an FIR is registered by a serial number in the police station having territorial jurisdiction to investigate the Crime.
- A Zero FIR can be registered in the Police station where the information about a Cognizable Offence is received, irrespective of whether it has got territorial jurisdiction or not. Zero FIR can only be registered but not numbered.
- Such unnumbered FIR is then forwarded to the concerned police station where it gets numbered and then proceeded for investigation.
- Justice Verma Committee Report recommended the provision of Zero FIR, after the December 2012 gang rape of a 23- year old girl in Delhi.
Section 166A IPC
As per Section 166A(c) of Indian Penal Code, Whoever being a Public Servant fails to record any information given to him shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Satvinder Kaur case
In Satvinder Kaur v. Govt. of NCT, Delhi, the Supreme Court held that,
(i) The Station House Officer (S.H.O.) has statutory authority under Section 156 of the Criminal Procedure Code to investigate any cognizable case for which an FIR is lodged.
(ii) At the stage of investigation, there is no question of interference on the ground that the investigating Officer has no territorial jurisdiction.
(iii) After investigation is over, if the Investigating Officer arrives at the conclusion that the cause of action for lodging FIR has not arisen within his territorial jurisdiction, then he is required to submit a report and to forward the case to the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence.
Ramesh Kumari v. State (NCT of Delhi)
- The Court held that, in case, an officer-in-charge of a police station refused to exercise the jurisdiction vested upon him to register a case on the information of a cognizable offence reported, the person aggrieved by such refusal can send the information to the Superintendent of Police concerned, should either investigate the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by any police officer.
Anglo-Indians left out as Bill to extend quota in legislature gets nod
The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to do away with the provisions that allowed representation of the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha even as it extended the reservation of Schedule Castes (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST) by 10 years.
- The reservation for SC/ST communities and the Anglo-Indian community was to expire in January 2020, but the new Bill will extend the reservation for SC and ST communities by 10 years, till January 25, 2030.
Who is an Anglo-Indian person?
- An Anglo-Indian is a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or was born within such territory of parents habitually resident therein and not merely established there for temporary purposes.
Provision related to Anglo-Indian community in parliament
- Under Article 331, the President can nominate 2 members of the Anglo-Indian community to the Lok Sabha, if the community is not adequately represented. Similarly, the governor of a state can nominate one member of the Anglo-Indian community to the state legislative assembly, if the community is not adequately represented.
- Originally, these two provisions of reservation and special representation were to operate for ten years (i.e., up to 1960) only. But this duration has been extended continuously since then by ten years each time.
- Now, under the 95thAmendment Act of 2009, these two provisions of reservation and special representation are to last until 2020.
The reasons for the extension of the above two provisions are as follows:
- Article 334 of the Constitution lays down that the provisions of the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for the SC and ST and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in the House of the People and the Legislative Assemblies of the States shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period of 60 years from the commencement of the Constitution.
- Although the SC and ST have made considerable progress in the last sixty years, the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provisions with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats and nomination of members have not ceased to exist. It is, therefore, proposed to continue the reservation for the SC and ST Tribes and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination for a further period of ten years.
The reason for this special representation to the Anglo-Indians is: “Anglo-Indians constitute a religious, social, as well as a linguistic minority. These provisions were necessary, for, otherwise, being numerically an extremely small community, and being interspersed all over India, the Anglo-Indians could not hope to get any seat in any legislature through election.”
Special Provision in Services and Educational Grants for Anglo-Indians:
- Before independence, certain posts were reserved for the AngloIndians in the railway, customs, postal and telegraph services of the Union. Similarly, the Anglo-Indian educational institutions were given certain special grants by the Centre and the states. Both the benefits were allowed to continue under the Constitution on a progressive diminution basis and finally came to an end in 1960.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Climate Emergency CoP 25: The Adaptation Fund is perfectly fit to serve the Paris Agreement
Since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has directed $532 million to 80 concrete adaptation projects in the most vulnerable communities of developing countries, serving 5.8 million direct beneficiaries.
About Adaptation Fund
- The Adaptation Fund was set up in 2001 under the Kyoto Protocol to finance projects and programmes in developing countries to adapt to the harmful effects of climate change.
- The finance was raised, in part, by levying a 2 % “share of proceeds” on the value of credits traded on the international carbon market under the Protocol — known as the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’. It also relies on contributions from developed countries.
What is the issue?
- 70 % of Adaptation Fund Board is represented by members from developing countries. This has become the core of a disagreement over the future of the Fund, which was discussed at the Conference of Parties 25 (CoP25).
- The technical issue is whether the Adaptation Fund automatically becomes a body under the Paris Agreement, or whether there needs to be a decision of the CoP formalising the transition. The technical issue has become a mere reason for the disagreement, with several developed countries refusing to sign off on the transition unless the governance structure of the Adaptation Fund is changed to ensure more developed country participation.
- Due to this conflict, despite the Paris Decision calling for a balance in finance between mitigation and adaptation, only one-fifth of finance provided by the OECD went to adaptation in 2017.
Asian Elephant Specialist Group meet starts in Malaysia
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 10th Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) Meeting started at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Kota Kinabalu, where the meet is being organised, is located on island of Borneo.
- The island of Borneo, divided between Malaysia and Indonesia, is home to the Borneo elephant, also called the Borneo pygmy elephant.
About Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG)
- The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a part of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the international Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- AsESG is a global network of voluntary specialists concerned with the Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) that exist in 13 range states.
- Gajah is the bi-annual journal of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG). The journal is intended as a medium of communication on issues that concern the management and conservation of Asian Elephants both in the wild and in captivity.
The mandate of the AsESG is to
- Assess and monitor biodiversity
- Analyse the threats to biodiversity
- Facilitate and undertake conservation action
- Convene expertise for biodiversity conservation
Key facts about Elephants:
- As per the available population estimates, there are about 400,000 African elephants and 40,000 Asian elephants across the globe.
- Asian elephants are listed as “endangered” and African elephants are listed as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
- Indian elephant is one of three recognized subspecies of Asian elephant and native to mainland Asia is national heritage animal of India (declared in 2011).
- The vanishing corridors or passages within the forests through which the animal migrates without human disturbance is the biggest stumbling block in the way of conservation.
To know more about ‘Elephants in India: Status, Threats and Solutions’, Refer to IASTopper’s Mains Article: https://www.iastoppers.com/elephants-india-status-threats-solutions-mains-article/
[Ref: Down To Earth]
Ripu Daman Bevli announced as Plogging Ambassador of India on 50th Fit India Plogging Run
Fit India Plogging Run, which was launched on October 2, 2019, concluded in Delhi’s Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, having covered 50 cities across India.
What is Plog Run?
- Plog Run is a unique way of picking up garbage while jogging and was added to the Fit India Movement as a unique way of combining cleanliness and fitness.
- Ripu Daman Bevli, who started plogging in 2017, started the Fit India Plogging Run with the aim to make India litter-free.
Bilateral & International Relations
India’s forex reserves cross $450 billion for the first time
India’s foreign exchange reserves crossed the $450-billion mark for the first time ever on the back of strong inflows which enabled RBI to buy dollars from the market, thus checking any sharp appreciation of the rupee.
Foreign Exchange Reserves
- Foreign exchange reserves (Forex) are assets held on reserve by a central bank in foreign currencies. These reserves are used to back liabilities and influence monetary policy.
Purpose of Foreign exchange reserves
- To keep the value of their currencies at a fixed rate. For example, when China stockpiles dollars, it raises the dollar value compared to that of the yuan. That makes Chinese exports cheaper than American-made goods, increasing sales.
- Those countries with a floating exchange rate system use reserves to keep the value of their currency lower than the dollar. They do this for the same reasons as those with fixed-rate systems.
- To maintain liquidity in case of an economic crisis. For example, a flood or volcano might temporarily suspend local exporters’ ability to produce goods. That cuts off their supply of foreign currency to pay for imports. In that case, the central bank can exchange its foreign currency for their local currency, allowing them to pay for and receive the imports.
- To provide confidence. The central bank assures foreign investors that it’s ready to take action to protect their investments.
- To make sure a country will meet its external obligations. These include international payment obligations, including sovereign and commercial debts.
- Some countries use their reserves to fund sectors, such as infrastructure.China, for instance, has used part of its forex reserves for recapitalizing some of its state-owned banks.
- To diversify portfolios of central bank.
The Foreign exchange reserves of India consists of below four categories:
- Foreign Currency Assets
- Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
- Reserve Tranche Position
Foreign currency assets (FCAs):
- This component of the Forex Reserves consisting of US dollar and other major non-US global currencies. It also comprises investments in US Treasury bonds, bonds of other selected governments, deposits with foreign central and commercial banks.
- Gold reserve is the gold held by the Reserve Bank of India with the intention to serve as a guarantee to redeem promises to pay depositors, note holders (e.g. paper money), or trading peers, or to secure a currency.
Special Drawing Rights (SDRs):
- The SDR was created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)as an international reserve asset in the year 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves.
- It is essentially an artificial currency used by the IMF and is basket of national currencies.
Reserve Tranche Position:
- Each member of the IMF is assigned a quota, part of which is payable in SDRs or specified usable currencies (“reserve assets”), and part in the member’s own currency.
- The difference between a member’s quota and the IMF’s holdings of its currencyis a country’s Reserve Tranche Position (RTP).
- A part of the quota can be withdrawn from IMF any timewithout any interest during critical situations of a country such a BOP crisis. This part of money which can be withdrawn without any interest is called RTP.
58 migrants dead after boat capsizes off Mauritania
A boat, going from Gambia toward the Canary Islands drowned 58 people when it tried to approach the Mauritanian coast to get fuel and food.
- Former President of Gambia severely affected the country’s economy, especially for youth, and contributed greatly to the exodus. As a result, a large number of citizens, mostly young men, sought asylum in Europe.
- Since Jammeh fled into exile in January 2017 after a surprise election loss, European countries have been pushing to return asylum seekers.
Location of Mauritania
- Mauritania is located on the Atlantic coast of Africa.
- It shares land borders with 4 countries: Mali, Algeria, Senegal, Western Sahara.
- Mauritania forms a geographic and cultural bridge between the North African Maghrib (a region that also includes Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) and the westernmost portion of Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Much of Mauritania encompasses part of the Sahara desert.
Curtain Raiser: Exercise INDRA 2019
Exercise INDRA 2019 will be conducted in India in December 2019 simultaneously at Babina (near Jhansi), Pune, and Goa. The exercise will consist of a 5 day training phase, Tactical operations end drills such as cordon house intervention, handling and neutralisation of Improvised Explosive Devices, prevention of arms smuggling through the sea route and anti-piracy measures.
About Exercise INDRA
- Exercise INDRA is a joint, tri services exercise between India and Russia.
- The INDRA series of exercise began in 2003 and the First joint Tri Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
Science & Technology
Indian Neutrino Observatory unit to come up in Tamil Nadu
The Centre reiterated that the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be established in picturesque Theni in south Tamil Nadu though there has been opposition to the project by locals.
About the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO)
- The INO project, in Theni district of Tamil Nadu, is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building an underground laboratory for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India.
- The observatory is placed at the end of a carven in Bodi West Hills on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala boundary to reduce the noise from cosmic rays which would outnumber the rare neutrino interactions.
- The initial goal of INO is to study neutrinos.
- It is a mega-science project jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Components of INO:
- Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface facilities.
- Construction of an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector to observe naturally occurring atmospheric neutrinos.
- Setting up of National Centre for High Energy Physics at Madurai, for the operation and maintenance of the underground laboratory.
Controversy over INO in Tamil Nadu:
- Environmental activists from Tamilnadu have raised concerns regarding the project being located in the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats.
- Moreover, the activist blame that the project did not took clearance from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board as well as from Animal Welfare Board of India.
- However, the government says that the INO project does not disturb the ecosystem around the site and does not release any radiation, as it does not have any radioactive substance.
What are neutrinos?
- Neutrinos, first proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe, only second to photons, the particle which makes up light.
- In fact, neutrinos are so abundant among us that every second, there are more than 100 trillion of them passing right through each of us — we never even notice them.
- Neutrinos occur in three different types. These are separated in terms of different masses. From experiments so far, we know that neutrinos have a tiny mass, but the ordering of the neutrino mass states is not known and is one of the key questions that remain unanswered till today. This is a major challenge INO will set to resolve.
Significance of Neutrinos:
- Neutrinos hold the key to several important and fundamental questions on the origin of the Universe and the energy production in stars.
- Another important possible application of neutrinos is in the area of neutrino tomograph of the earth,that is detailed investigation of the structure of the Earth from core onwards. This is possible with neutrinos since they are the only particles which can probe the deep interiors of the Earth.
Why should the laboratory be situated underground?
- Neutrinos are difficult to detect in a laboratory because of their extremely weak interaction with matter. The background from cosmic rays (which interact much more readily than neutrinos) and natural radioactivity will make it almost impossible to detect them on the surface of the Earth. This is the reason most neutrino observatories are located deep inside the Earth’s surface.
- The overburden provided by the Earth matter is transparent to neutrinos whereas most background from cosmic rays is substantially reduced depending on the depth at which the detector is located.
Indian Railways saving ₹1100 crore per year in diesel cost with this new technology
Railway Ministry announced that it would be upgrading all existing Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches with the Head on Generation (HOG) technology, a move that would cause the trains to become more cost-efficient and less polluting.
- To tackle the dual menace of air and noise pollution, HOG technology is being implemented in the trains of Indian Railways.
What is Head on Generation (HOG) system?
- As opposed to the older End on Generation (EOG) system, the Head on Generation (HOG) system runs the hotel load by taking electricity from the overhead electric lines through the pantograph (an apparatus mounted on the roof of an electric train to collect power through contact with an overhead electric line).
Advantages of HOG Technology
- Since the HOG-fitted trains do not require power from diesel generators, they only have one emergency generator car attached, instead of two regular generator cars.
- The extra spacecreated would now be used for an LSLRD (LHB Second Luggage, Guard & Divyaang Compartment).
- The increased cost efficiency is because of the low price per unit of electricityin the HOG system at INR 6/unit, as compared to the price of INR 22/unit in the EOG system.
- Significant reductionof CO2 (over 2500Ton) & NOX(over 10Ton) emissions till now.
- The reduction in emissions could also help the Railways accrue carbon credits, and trade them on the international market.
Reduction in Noise
- Premium passenger trains uses 2 diesel power cars for feeding power to air-conditioning and lighting load in the passenger coaches which produce an unbearable noise of around 100dB. HOG will recued noise from 100dB noise to noise less.
- It saves up to 1 Million liters of diesel per train per annum.
How is it different from the present EOG technology?
- Under the End on Generation (EOG) system, the train’s ‘hotel load’ (the load of air conditioning, lights etc.) is provided with electricity from two large diesel generator sets, which supply 3-phase power at 750 Volts 50 Hz to the entire length of the train.
- Each coach then picks up the power supply through a 60 KVA transformer, bringing down the voltage to 110 volts at which level the equipment in the compartment is run. The generator cars are attached to either end of the train, giving the system its name.
About Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches
- The LHB passenger coaches of Indian Railways have been built in India at the Asansol-based Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW)after the Railways purchased their technology from the German manufacturer Linke Hofmann Busch in 1996.
- These coaches were originally designed to operate on the End on Generation (EOG)
- Under the EOG system, the load of air conditioning, lights, fans, and pantry, etc. (called Hotel Load) is provided with electricity from two large diesel generator sets. The generator cars are attached to either end of the train, giving the system its name – End on Generation.
What are ICF Coaches?
- ICF stands for “Integral Coach Factory” which is one of the railways’ main coach production plants. The Integral Coach Factory is located in Perambur near Chennai.
- The ICF design refers to the conventional design of coaches seen across trains in India.
LHB Coach advantages over ICF Coaches
[Ref: PIB, Indian Express]