PreQuiz 2018

[Current Affairs] Flash Cards Sample Set #7

Precision agriculture or Satellite farming; North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP); Ratle Dam; Rule of Law Index; Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA); Essential Commodity Act;
By PreQuiz Masters
March 18, 2019



What are the silent features of The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) of 1968?

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The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA):

  • The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) was enacted in 1968 by the Parliament of India.
  • It aims to maintain certain essential services that are necessary for the normal life of the community.
  • Any service with respect to which the Parliament has power to make laws or the government feels that its discontinuation would affect the maintenance of supplies and services necessary for sustaining life is considered an essential service.
  • It extends to the whole of India provided that it shall not apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir except to the extent to which the provisions of this Act relate to Union employees.
  • The Act includes a long list of “essential services” ranging from post and telegraph, railway, airport and port operations etc, and it prohibits the key employees in these services from striking.
  • The employees can’t even refuse to work overtime if their work is considered necessary for the maintenance of any of the essential services.
  • The Act allows states to choose the essential services on which to enforce ESMA.
  • It gives police the right to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating the Act’s provisions.
  • Any person who instigates the strike or commences a strike or otherwise takes part in any such strike shall be punishable with imprisonment or financial penalty or both.
  • The interpretation of “essential services” varies from state to state.
  • Legal mechanisms exist for challenging a decision taken under the terms of this Act if a dispute arises.

What is the Essential Commodity Act?

  • The Essential Commodity Act empowers the government to control production, supply and distribution of certain commodities.
  • The act is aimed at maintaining or increasing supplies and for securing the equitable distribution and fair price availability of these commodities.
  • The act is also intended to work against unethical trade practices like hoarding and black-marketing.


Rule of Law Index is released by?

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  • Rule of Law Index is released by The World Justice Project (WJP).

The World Justice Project (WJP):

  • The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide.
  • It engages advocates from across the globe and from diverse interests and disciplines to advance the rule of law.
  • Effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and disease, and protects people from injustices large and small. It is the foundation for communities of equity, opportunity, and peace—underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights.

WJP Rule of Law Index highlights:

  • The WJP Rule of Law Index® measures rule of law adherence in 113 countries and jurisdictions worldwide based on more than 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys.
  • The Index measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors:
    1. Constraints on Government Powers,
    2. Absence of Corruption,
    3. Open Government,
    4. Fundamental Rights,
    5. Order and Security,
    6. Regulatory Enforcement,
    7. Civil Justice, and
    8. Criminal Justice.
  • World Justice Project (WJP) Releases 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index on 13th January 2018.
  • As per the report the human rights and checks on government powers weakened worldwide.
  • More Countries Declined Than Improved in 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index.
  • India ranked 62 out of 113 countries on rule of law, rising four positions.
  • The greatest decline was seen in, Fundamental Rights (71 countries dropped out of 113), which measures absence of discrimination, right to life and security, due process, freedom of expression and religion, right to privacy, freedom of association, and labour rights.
  • It says that the world is witnessing a global deterioration in fundamental aspects of the rule of law.
  • The Philippines saw the most significant drops in Constraints on Government Powers, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, and Criminal Justice.
  • Burkina Faso, Kazakhstan, and Sri Lanka showed the biggest improvements in overall rank.
  • Top three overall performers are Denmark, Norway and Finland.
  • The bottom three are Afghanistan, Cambodia and Venezuela.
  • Nepal at 58th position leads the Index in South Asia.
  • Globally, countries in Western Europe and North America continue to top the WJP Rule of Law Index, followed by countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. On average, the South Asia region scored lowest.



Ratle Dam is constructed on which Indian river?

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Ratle Dam:

  • The Ratle Hydroelectric Plant is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station.
  • It is currently under construction on the Chenab River, downstream of the village of Ratle, near Drabshalla in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The installed capacity will be 850 MW.
  • In August 2017, the World Bank allowed India to construct the dam.
  • Pakistan alleged that the construction of the dam was not in line with the Indus Water Treaty.



What is precision agriculture/satellite farming? And how does it work?

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Precision agriculture/satellite farming:

  • Precision agriculture (PA) or satellite farming (SF) is also known as site specific crop management (SSCM).
  • It is an approach to farm management that uses information technology (IT) to ensure that the crops and soil receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity.
  • The concept is based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.
  • The goal of precision agriculture research is to define a decision support system (DSS) for whole farm management with the goal of optimizing returns on inputs while preserving resources.
  • It ensures profitability, sustainability and protection of the environment.
  • The advancements in technologies such as; GPS and GNSS have further evolved the idea.
  • Emerging technologies that are being incorporated into precision agriculture are:
    • Agricultural Robots (AgBots)
    • Satellite imagery and drones and
    • Internet of things (IoT).
  • The mobile apps, smart sensors, drones and cloud computing makes precision agriculture possible for farming cooperatives and even small family farms.

How does it work?

  • The approach includes accessing real-time data about the conditions of the crops, soil and ambient air, along with other relevant information such as hyper-local weather predictions, labor costs and equipment availability.
  • Predictive analytics software uses the data to provide farmers with guidance about crop rotation, optimal planting times, harvesting times and soil management.
  • The farmers can create a precision point in the field that will increase the yield of crops.
  • They can take an infra-red image of the internal properties of the farm (this includes: topography, moisture level, organic content, nitrogen level, etc).
  • Using the technology will be able to carry operations like:
    • Mapping agricultural land and crop classification
    • Vegetation health monitoring
    • Site-specific crop yield management programmes
    • Near infrared imaging capability
    • Terrain feature identification and change monitoring
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly called drone) are also used that can be fitted with hyperspectral cameras.


What are the objectives of North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP)?

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North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP):

  • North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) is a livelihood and rural development project.
  • It is aimed to transform the lives of the poor and marginalized tribal families in North East (NE) India.
  • NERCORMP is a joint developmental initiative of:
    • The North Eastern Council (NEC),
    • Ministry of DoNER, Govt. of India and
    • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
  • The project operates in three states and six districts viz:
    • Assam (Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills),
    • Manipur (Ukhrul and Senapati) and
    • Meghalaya (West Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills).
  • NERCORMP completed its first phase in 2008 and the second phase i.e. NERCORMP II started its operations in July 2010.
  • The third phase plans to include two districts each in Arunachal Pradesh (Tirap and Changlang) and Manipur (Chandel and Churachandpur).
  • The project has a Regional Society headquartered in Shillong, to supervise and support the district teams, who implement the project in the field.


  • To improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups in a sustainable manner through improved management of their resource base in a way that contributes to the preservation and restoration of the environment
  • Social mobilization, organization and capacity building to tap and realize the great latent potential of the communities by employing time tested their traditional value systems and culture
  • Intervene with the economic and social activities and infrastructure with predominant thrust on income generating activities to achieve economic transformation

Project focus areas are:

  • Capacity Building of Communities and Participating Agencies
  • Economic and Livelihood Activities
  • Extension and Technology Transfer
  • Credit
  • Social Sector Activities
  • Village Roads and Rural Electrification
  • Community Based Bio-diversity Conservation/ Natural Resource Management& Communication
  • Convergence with ongoing Government schemes/programmes
  • Marketing Support
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