Insights Daily Current Events, 21 September 2015
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology.
Hydroponic fodder to revitalise dairy sector
Kerala Dairy Development Department (KDDD), in Kannur and Thrissur districts, under its Integrated Dairy Development Project, has recently introduced a scheme to produce hydroponic green fodder.
What is hydroponic fodder?
- It is fodder produced using hydroponic technique.
What is hydroponics?
‘Hydroponics’ means the technique of growing plants without soil or solid growing medium, but using water or nutrient-rich solution only, for a short duration.
Details of the production unit:
- The production unit used to produce hydroponic fodder consists of a greenhouse and a control unit.
- The greenhouse has tiered racks, each rack has rows of perforated trays for soaked seeds.
- Pipes fitted with micro-foggers above each tray ensures proper maintenance of required humidity and water fogging of the seed trays in the greenhouse.
- Tube lights provide optimal light requirement inside the greenhouse.
- The sensor-controlled unit regulates input of water and light automatically.
- Seeds like maize, barley and sorghum are used to grow fodder.
- The unit requires electricity round the clock.
The seeds are sown in a batch of 12 trays on a daily basis. Water and soluble nutrients are sprayed at regular intervals. Within six days the plants reach a height of 22 cm; they are then peeled off from the trays, and the fodder is now ready to feed the cattle.
Need for such fodder:
- There is a scarcity for quality cattle feed, especially for dairy farmers in urban areas who do not have enough land to cultivate the required quantity of green fodder.
- Due to scarcity the cost of cattle feed is also increasing.
- Shrinking land size in the state ensures lack of availability of green fodder and hay in sufficient quantities.
- The spiralling cost of packaged cattle feed adds to the cost of dairy farming.
Problems with hydroponic fodder:
Hydroponic fodder cannot substitute green fodder and hay completely, as it lacks in fibre content.
Sources: The Hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Biodiversity.
Blackbuck conservation reserve proposed in Chamarajanagar
There was a proposal in the recently held Karnatka Wildlife Board meeting for a blackbuck conservation reserve in Chamarajanagar district, Karnatka, to sustain their numbers in the wild.
- Though a final decision on the issue is pending, it was decided at the meeting to send a delegation of experts to assess the habitat before approving the project.
- The proposed reserve is slated to come up on 1,504.39 acres of government land in the two villages.
- The concept was mooted by the Chief Conservator of Forests of Chamarajanagar Circle under section 36-A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- In a preliminary report submitted to the authorities, it was pointed out that the area was a good habitat to sustain a sizeable number of blackbuck along with other wildlife, and even the local community was not averse to the idea.
Blackbuck: quick facts:
- The blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is a large species of antelope native to the Indian subcontinent.
- It has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2003, as its range has decreased sharply during the 20th century.
- The blackbuck is the only living species of the genus Antilope.
- Only males have horns that are diverging, cylindrical, spiral, and ringed throughout.
- The blackbuck population is confined to areas in Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, with a few small pockets in central India.
- They are found in Nepal and Pakistan too.
- In India, hunting of blackbucks is prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Paper 2 Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
Nepal Adopts New Constitution
Nepal has adopted its first full democratic charter, a historic step for a nation that has witnessed war, a palace massacre and devastating earthquakes since a campaign to create a modern state began more than 65 years ago.
- This is the fifth constitution enacted by Nepal.
Some unique features of the new constitution:
- The constitution defines Nepal as a secular country, despite widespread protests for it to be declared a Hindu state.
- A clause stating “Religious and cultural freedom, with the protection of religion and culture practiced since ancient times” has angered some people who say it favours Hinduism.
- Proselytising remains illegal, reflecting fears of growing numbers of low-caste and other marginalized groups converting to Christianity.
- Rights to citizenship were hotly debated during the drafting and critics say the constitution discriminates against women in terms of passing on citizenship.
- The constitution is the first in Asia to specifically protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The state and the judiciary are prohibited from discriminating against sexual and gender minorities.
- The rhododendron is the national flower, and the cow remains the national animal after seeing off a charge from several lawmakers proposing the one-horned rhino.
But, India has not welcomed the new constitution. Why?
Although India was one of the major backers of the constitution making process over the past decade, it believes the new constitution is not broad-based and is concerned that it could spur violence which could spill over into its own territory.
- India’s concern has been with the violent reaction to the constitution in the low-lying southern plains, adjoining India, the Terai.
- Communities living in the Terai, especially the Madeshis and the Tharu ethnic minorities, have expressed concern that the proposed boundaries of the new provinces could lead to their political marginalisation.
- The two groups make up nearly 40% of Nepal’s population and the Madeshis share close ethnic ties with people in India.
- According to the new constitution, the constituency delimitation is skewed against the Madhes population as half the population, that is the Pahadi (Hill) community gets 100 seats but the other half consisting of the Madhesi and the Janjatis get only 65 seats.
- The ‘proportional inclusion’ clause, for reservation includes many forward castes of the Pahadi region, which negates the principle of affirmative action.
- India also feels let down that many of the commitments given by Nepal during the framing of the 2007 interim Constitution have been forgotten.
India and Nepal:
India shares a 1,751km (1,088-mile) open border with Nepal through which people pass freely but which has often concerned the country’s security agencies because of its use by smugglers, human traffickers and terror suspects.
Sources: The Hindu, bbc.
Paper 2 Topic: NGOs.
Centre drops two contentious clauses on NGOs
The union government has decided to drop some contentious clauses in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR), 2015.
- to ensure greater disintermediation of processes so that there is minimal contact with the bureaucracy.
- Earlier, it was decided to make mandatory for NGOs receiving foreign contributions to declare their social media accounts like their Twitter handle and Facebook pages with the government. It will now be made optional instead.
- The government has also dropped the clause which required NGOs to post their returns and activities on a weekly basis. It will now be done quarterly.
- The government will also help NGOs in hosting their own websites since it proposes to make all official communication and dealings online now.
- The MHA has also reduced the number of forms to be filled in by the NGOs.
The MHA is all set to notify the amended Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR), which will govern foreign contributions received by NGOs.
- The government has been severely criticized for allegedly targeting NGOs, specially the ones receiving foreign funds.
- The proposed amendments come in the wake of the home ministry’s cancellation and suspension of licences, under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), of approximately 8,000 organizations, and recent court cases involving Greenpeace India and Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust.
But, NGOs are still not happy. Why?
The MHA has retained the clause where banks have to inform it about all foreign funds coming to an NGO account within 48 hours. Through this arrangement, the government will be able to monitor if the foreign funds are being misused or not. This enables the government to immediately stop the payment if any NGO is involved in anti national activities. The NGOs oppose this move and say this is a ploy to pry on their activities.
Sources: The Hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
No denying education to children involved in cases
The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has put its foot down on denial of education to any child under the age of 18 who is involved in a criminal case or is found guilty by the Juvenile Justice Board.
- This has forced the Higher Education Department to issue guidelines that put the onus on principals of institutions to ensure that the education is not denied to these youngsters. They are liable to disciplinary action in case they were to initiate punitive action against such students.
- The commission’s strong intervention in a number of such cases where the procedures as laid by the relevant juvenile acts were not followed has prompted the Higher Secondary Education Department to issue the guidelines.
- The guidelines say that suspension or dismissal of a student without following the proper procedure is against natural justice.
- The guidelines make it mandatory to inform the parents or guardians and the regional deputy director if action is being taken against a student in order to give an opportunity to submit an explanation under the Kerala Education Rules.
What the law says?
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, lays down that even if a child under the age of 18 is found guilty under the Act, it does not render the youngster ineligible for education.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000:
- It is the primary legal framework for juvenile justice in India.
- The Act provides for a special approach towards the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency and provides a framework for the protection, treatment and rehabilitation of children in the purview of the juvenile justice system.
- This law, brought in compliance of Child Rights Convention 1989, repealed the earlier Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 after India signed and ratified Child Rights Convention 1989 in year 1992.
History: The first legislation on juvenile justice in India came in 1850 with the Apprentice Act which required that children between the ages of 10-18 convicted in courts to be provided vocational training as part of their rehabilitation process. This act was transplanted by the Reformatory Schools Act, 1897, the Indian Jail Committee and later the Children Act of 1960.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.