Insights Daily Current Events, 02 October 2015
Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
Mid-day meals rules lay stress on quality, regularity
The Centre has notified the mid-day meals rules. The rules were notified by the union human resource development ministry in accordance with the provisions of the National Food Security Act 2013 act after consultation with states and other related central ministries.
- Mid-day meals provided to students at schools will be tested each month by accredited laboratories to ensure nutritional standards and quality.
- The meal provided to children will be evaluated and certified by the government food research laboratories or any laboratory accredited or recognised by law.
- The rules make it mandatory for schools to dig into funds meant for other purposes if the funds meant for providing mid-day meals to students are exhausted for some reason.
- The schools are required to provide an allowance to students if meals cannot be given them.
- Concerned state governments are required to fix responsibility on the person or agency if meals are not provided on three consecutive school days or five days in a month.
- Every child within the age group of six to 14 years studying in Classes 1 to 8, enrolled with and attending school, shall be provided hot-cooked meal having nutritional standards of 450 calories and 12 gm of protein for primary and 700 calories and 20 gm protein for upper primary classes free of charge every day except on school holidays.
- The mid-day meals shall be served to the children only in the school.
- The schools will also have to ensure meals are cooked in a hygienic manner. Schools in urban area may use the facility of centralised kitchens wherever required in accordance with the guidelines issued by the central government.
- The heads of schools are empowered to utilise any available fund for the continuation of the scheme. The amount will be reimbursed to the school account.
- The National Food Security Act, 2013, contains provisions related to welfare schemes, including the mid-day meal scheme.
- The Midday Meal Scheme was designed to improve the nutritional status of school children nationwide.
- The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternative innovative education centres, Madrasas and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Paper 2 Topic: Urbanisation – problems and remedies.
Swachh Bharat: plan to produce power, compost from solid waste
On the first anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission, the Urban Development Ministry has announced some crucial policy changes since it is planning to generate electricity and compost from municipal solid waste.
- Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has decided to bring a proposal before Cabinet to provide Market Development Assistance on sale of city compost to farmers.
- Ministry of Power is in the process of amending the Electricity Act 2003 to enable mandatory purchase of power generated from municipal solid waste.
About Swachh Bharat Mission:
It was officially launched on 2 October 2014 and is India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive. The mission seeks to achieve clean India and aims to provide access to toilets to all households in the country.
Objectives of the mission:
- Eliminate open defecation.
- Conversion of insanitary toilets to pour flush toilets.
- Eradication of manual scavenging.
- 100% collection and scientific processing/disposal reuse/recycle of Municipal Solid Waste.
- To bring about a behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices.
- Generate awareness among the citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health.
- Strengthening of urban local bodies to design, execute and operate systems.
- To create enabling environment for private sector participation in Capital Expenditure and Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs.
The components of the programme are:
- Construction of individual sanitary latrines for households below the poverty line with subsidy (80%) where demand exists.
- Conversion of dry latrines into low-cost sanitary latrines.
- Construction of exclusive village sanitary complexes for women providing facilities for hand pumping, bathing, sanitation and washing on a selective basis where there is not adequate land or space within houses and where village panchayats are willing to maintain the facilities.
- Setting up of sanitary marts.
- Total sanitation of villages through the construction of drains, soakage pits, solid and liquid waste disposal.
- Intensive campaign for awareness generation and health education to create a felt need for personal, household and environmental sanitation facilities.
Sources: the hindu, wiki.
Paper 3 Topic: Indians’ achievement in S&T.
NHAI to sign pact with Isro for satellite mapping of highways
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is planning to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for adoption of best technologies in the road sector.
- It is also planning to utilise ‘GAGAN’ and ‘BHUVAN’ satellite systems to prepare a 360-degree mapping of all national highways by 2017 under its road assets management system (RAMS).
- This will facilitate timely repair of roads, maintenance, monitoring of road progress, formulation of detailed project reports (DPR), etc.
- It is also mulling signing a pact with the North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) for deployment of drones and aerial vehicles in difficult terrains to map the roads under RAMS.
What is RAMS?
Road Asset Management System (RAMS) is a strategic and systematic process of maintaining, upgrading, and operating road assets effectively. Information collected and made available through this system will be useful for the agencies responsible for road development and maintenance, investors, as well as road users.
- The development of a Road Asset Management System (RAMS) for the entire National Highways along with collection of requisite data is part of the Digital India initiative.
- It is a World Bank funded project which helps in creation of centralised road database for all NH’s in the country.
- Initially, data collection for 3,000 km length of the pilot NH network shall be included in RAMS. In subsequent stages; it is proposed to collect data for all NHs in India.
- Development of single road database for NHs supported by analytical tools to be used by NHAI and MORTH
- Institutionalise RAMS in NHAI and ministry of road transport and highways (MORTH) to assist in planning, programming and budgeting for road maintenance and upgrading works
- Integrate GIS within RAMS to form publicly accessible Traveller/Tourist Information System
- Information collected from this project will be useful for the transport ministry, finance ministry, NHAI, and funding agencies.
Indian Highways network is the world’s second largest road network of 4.87 million km. The total length of National Highways in India is over 97,135 km as on March 2015. National Highways account for only 2% of total road network, but carries 40% of the traffic.
- GAGAN was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at a cost of Rs. 774 crore, over 15 years.
- GAGAN will provide augmentation service for the GPS over the country, the Bay of Bengal, South East Asia and Middle East and up to Africa.
- Some of its benefits are improved efficiency, direct routes, increased fuel savings, approach with vertical guidance at runways, significant cost savings because of the withdrawal of ground aids and reduced workload of flight crew and air traffic controllers.
- Gagan works by augmenting and relaying data from GPS satellites with the help of two augmentation satellites and 15 earth-based reference stations.
- The system utilises the satellite-based wide area augmentation system (SBAS) technology which has been developed by Raytheon.
Sources: the hindu, pib.