Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 July 2018
Topic: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018
Context: Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) has launched Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018 (SSG 2018).
About Swachh Survekshan Grameen:
SSG is a rural cleanliness survey to rank all states and districts on basis of qualitative and quantitative evaluation.
The objective of SSG 2018 is to undertake ranking of states and districts on basis of their performance attained on key quantitative and qualitative Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G) parameters. The rankings will be based on taking into account set of comprehensive cleanliness parameters.
The criteria of SSG-2018 include survey of public places, citizens’ perspective of cleanliness, their recommendations and data from SBM-G. As part of it, 6,980 villages in 698 districts across India will be covered. It will cover total 34,000 public places namely schools, anganwadis, public health centres, haat/bazaars/religious places in these villages.
- The SSG 2018 will assign 65% weightage to findings and outcome and 35% to service level parameters to be obtained from Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the MDWS.
- The weights to different elements of SSG are direct observation of sanitation in public places (30%), citizen’s feedback on sanitation parameters (35%), service level progress on sanitation progress in the country as per SBMG-MIS (35%).
The SSG 2018 will be conducted by independent survey agency in all districts from 1st to 31st August 2018. It will also take feedback from over 50 lakh citizens on SBM related issues through direct interaction as well as online feedback. The top performing states and districts are expected to be awarded on 2nd October 2018.
- For Prelims: SSG Survey- criteria.
- For Mains: SSG- significance.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
Context: NCPCR has come up with a model fee regulatory framework for unaided private schools.
NCPCR has been receiving reports that children were being harassed by school administrations and that they considered committing suicide over the fee hike issue.
- The framework is for private unaided schools – which are 23% of the total schools in India and cater to 36% of the total population of children attending school.
- The framework is a model document that may be recommended to states where the fee regulation mechanism does not work effectively.
- According to the draft regulations, if a school violates the norms provided in the uniform fee framework, the respective government can bar the school from taking new admissions for the next academic year or impose fine equivalent to 10% of the total revenue generated by the school or society or trust in the preceding year.
- A 10% yearly cap on fee hike in private, unaided schools.
- Set up a district fee regulatory authority in states to monitor school fee increases.
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
- It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
- The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
- The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- For Prelims: NCPCR- Statutory status and mandate of the commission.
- For Mains: Protection of vulnerable section of the society, need for regulation of fees.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Social Media Hub
Context: The Supreme Court has taken a strong note of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s decision to set up a social media hub for monitoring online data and said that it will be like creating a surveillance state. These observations were made by the court based on a petition filed.
Concerns over the proposed Social media hub:
- The petition alleged that though the stated aim of the project was to enable the government to understand the impact of social media campaigns on welfare schemes and improve the reach of such campaigns, the project had two aspects — “mass surveillance apparatus that aims at collecting and analysing huge volumes of data, and profiling people based on that” and “utilising this data to predict the mood of people online and issue responses, including those targeted at individuals or groups”.
- The social media analytical tool is expected to ‘listen’ to conversations on all major digital channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, as well as blogs and news channels.
- Therefore, the petition contended that “such intrusive action on the part of the government, is not only without the authority of law, but also infringes fundamental right to freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.” The move is violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21.
What is Social media communication hub?
The hub proposes to monitor social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even email) handles at the very local level in multiple languages to carry out “sentiment analysis”, track down the influence-making social media users and to categorise the conversations on social media into positive, negative and neutral sections.
It also aimed to track real time the way social media receives news on government’s schemes and announcements and also political events.
This information would help the government in formulating policies, schemes or rectify any flaws in their implementation at the ground level so that the ultimate beneficiary who is the common man is benefited and has a direct way to communicate any complaints regarding the same to the Government.
Social media managers:
As per the proposal, the project is meant to strengthen the social media division and recruit social media managers to be deployed in 712 districts of the country. Each district will have one social media manager who will be entrusted with the tasks of keeping a close eye on the regional and local media, collecting data of regional media and of local events, providing content for social media and supporting media units at the regional level for social media publicity.
Role of social media managers:
These social media managers will also monitor local editions of newspapers, local cable channels, local audio channels (FM) and key local social media handles for important local developments. They will make a daily analysis report incorporating local sentiments to be sent to region head in the PIB as well as the media hub (command centre).
The proposal to set up such a hub had turned controversial, as many called it an indirect measure to “snoop” on and influence voters.
- For Prelims: Social Media Hub- features and concerns, Social media managers- roles.
- For Mains: Controversy surrounding the proposed Social Media Hub.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology.
MeerKAT radio telescope
Context: South Africa has unveiled MeerKAT- a super radio telescope, a first phase of what will be the world’s largest telescope in a project to try to unravel the secrets of the universe. The telescope was inaugurated in the remote South African town of Carnarvon.
- MeerKAT is a followup to the KAT 7 (Karoo Array Telescope), built in the vast semi-desert Karoo region north of Cape Town to demonstrate South Africa’s ability to host the SKA. It will be the biggest radio telescope of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
- Built at a cost of 4.4 billion rand, MeerKAT will be incorporated into the complex Square Kilometre Array (SKA) instrument, which when fully operational in the late 2020s would be the world’s biggest and most powerful radio telescope.
- MeerKAT will address some of the key science questions in modern astrophysics – how did galaxies form, how are they evolving, how did we come to be here.
The SKA Project:
- The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area.
- The SKA will eventually use thousands of dishes and up to a million low-frequency antennas that will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky much faster than any system currently in existence.
- Its unique configuration will give the SKA unrivalled scope in observations, largely exceeding the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope. It will also have the ability to image huge areas of sky in parallel a feat which no survey telescope has ever achieved on this scale with this level of sensitivity.
- Both South Africa’s Karoo region and Western Australia’s Murchison Shire were chosen as co-hosting locations for many scientific and technical reasons, from the atmospherics above the desert sites, through to the radio quietness, which comes from being some of the most remote locations on Earth.
- Whilst 10 member countries are the cornerstone of the SKA, around 100 organisations across about 20 countries are participating in the design and development of the SKA.
For Prelims and Mains: SKA and MeerKAT- objectives and key features.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Infrastructure- roadways.
Context: The 354-km Purvanchal Expressway project, the country’s longest, is on stream with the Uttar Pradesh government awarding the eight packages of the project to five companies — PNC Infratech Limited, Gayatri Projects, GR Infra, Oriental Structural Engineering and Apco Infra.
About Purvanchal Expressway:
- The project, which will connect Lucknow with Ghazipur, will start from Chand Sarai area near NH-56 in Lucknow and is estimated to cost around Rs 23,000 crore.
- It will also be connected to Varanasi through a separate link road.
- Once completed, the Purvanchal Expressway will provide uninterrupted connectivity to 9 districts of Lucknow, Ghazipur, Amethi, Ajamgarh, Faizabad, Barabanki, Mau, Ambedkar Nagar and Sultanpur.
- It would provide seamless access to the national capital Delhi via the 302-km long Lucknow-Agra expressway and the 165-km Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway.
- The Project is being implemented on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode.
- With the Construction of Purvanchal Expressway, accelerated convenient mode of Transportation shall be available between the Eastern boundary of the State and the National Capital via State capital through other similar Expressways in the State viz. ‘Agra to Lucknow Expressway’ and ‘Yamuna Expressway’.
- Being an Access Controlled Expressway, it would provide benefits like fuel saving, time saving and Control in Pollution level, along with reduction in accidents.
- The areas covered by this Expressway would be benefited in Social & Economical way. The agriculture, commerce, tourism and other industrial development will also get a fillip.
- Industrial Training Institutes, Educational Institutes, Medical Institutes, New Townships and other various Commercial set ups shall be developed, especially near the Expressway areas, which will result into more opportunities for employment in the region. The overall social/economic development in the state will get a boost.
- The proposed Expressway will prove to be a catalyst for development of the region and State.
- The proposed Purvanchal Expressway getting connected with existing Agra-Lucknow Expressway shall become a vast Industrial Corridor connecting Eastern boundary to Western boundary of the state which will result into overall development of the state.
What is EPC model?
- EPC is a model of contract between the government and private sector players for public infrastructure building. Under this system, the entire project is funded by the government.
- The EPC entails the contractor build the project by designing, installing and procuring necessary labour and land to construct the infrastructure, either directly or by subcontracting.
- Under EPC model the contractor is legally responsible to complete the project under some fixed predetermined timeline and may also involve scope for penalty in case of time overrun.
- Under EPC, all the clearances, land acquisition and regulatory norms have to be completed by the government itself.
- For Prelims: Purvanchal Expressway- Districts covered.
- For Mains: Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode, need for Expressways and their significance.
Facts for Prelims:
Shwet Ashwa Drass Expedition:
What is it? Shwet Ashwa is the elite motorcycle display team of the Corps of Military Police.
Why in News? It has commenced a motorcycle expedition from Bengaluru to Drass as a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives during the Kargil war.