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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 26 June 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 26 June 2019


Relevant articles from PIB:

Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

 

Beekeeping Development Committee report

 

What to study?

For prelims: India’s rank in honey production, key recommendations.

For mains: Challenges faced by the industry and what needs to be done to realise the full potential of the industry.

 

Context: Beekeeping Development Committee under EAC-PM releases its report.

 

Background:

The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister set up a Beekeeping Development Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Bibek Debroy.

BDC was constituted with the objective of identifying ways of advancing beekeeping in India, that can help in improving agricultural productivity, enhancing employment generation, augmenting nutritional security and sustaining biodiversity.

 

Some of the recommendations in the report include:

  • Recognizing honeybees as inputs to agriculture and considering landless Beekeepers as farmers.
  • Plantation of bee friendly flora at appropriate places and engaging women self-help groups in managing such plantations.
  • Institutionalizing the National Bee Board and rechristening it as the Honey and Pollinators Board of India under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. Such a body would engage in advancing beekeeping through multiple mechanisms such as setting up of new Integrated Bee Development Centres, strengthening the existing ones, creating a honey price stabilization fund and collection of data on important aspects of apiculture.
  • Recognition of apiculture as a subject for advanced research under the aegis of Indian Council for Agricultural Research. 
  • Training and development of beekeepers by state governments. 
  • Development of national and regional infrastructure for storage, processing and marketing of honey and other bee products. 
  • Simplifying procedures and specifying clear standards for ease of exporting honey and other bee products.

 

Significance of Beekeeping:

As per Food and Agricultural Organization database, in 2017-18, India ranked eighth in the world in terms of honey production (64.9 thousand tonnes) while China stood first with a production level of 551 thousand tonnes.

Further, beekeeping can be an important contributor in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes

 

What needs to be done?

Expand the scope: Beekeeping cannot be restricted to honey and wax only, products such as pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom are also marketable and can greatly help Indian farmers.

Increase in area: Based on the area under cultivation in India and bee forage crops, India has a potential of about 200 million bee colonies as against 3.4 million bee colonies today. Increasing the number of bee colonies will not only increase the production of bee-related products but will boost overall agricultural and horticultural productivity. 

 

Way ahead:

India’s recent efforts to improve the state of beekeeping have helped increase the volume of honey exports from 29.6 to 51.5 thousand tonnes between 2014-15 and 2017-18 (as per data from National Bee Board and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare). However, challenges persist and a lot more can be done to enhance the scope and scale of beekeeping.


Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  2. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

Motion of thanks to President’s Address

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: What is Motion of thanks, what it contains? Its significance and what happens if it is not passed.

 

What is “Motion of Thanks” and what it contains?

The President makes an address to a joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget session, which is prepared by the government and lists its achievements. It is essentially a statement of the legislative and policy achievements of the government during the preceding year and gives a broad indication of the agenda for the year ahead.

The address is followed by a motion of thanks moved in each House by ruling party MPs. During the session, political parties discuss the motion of thanks also suggesting amendments.

 

Amendments to the “Motion of Thanks”:

Notices of amendments to Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address can be tabled after the President has delivered his Address. Amendments may refer to matters contained in the Address as well as to matters, in the opinion of the member, the Address has failed to mention. Amendments can be moved to the Motion of Thanks in such form as may be considered appropriate by the Speaker.

 

Limitations:

The only limitations are that members cannot refer to matters which are not the direct responsibility of the Central Government and that the name of the President cannot be brought in during the debate since the Government and not the President is responsible for the contents of the Address.

 

Provisions governing them:

President’s Address and Motion of Thanks are governed by Articles 86 (1) and 87 (1) of the Constitution and Rules 16 to 24 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.

 

Its passage:

Members of Parliament vote on this motion of thanks. This motion must be passed in both of the houses.

A failure to get motion of thanks passed amounts to defeat of government and leads to collapse of government. This is why, the Motion of Thanks is deemed to be a no-confidence motion.

 

Constitutional provisions on this:

Article 86(1) of the Constitution provides that the President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members.

Article 87 provides for the special address by the President. Clause (1) of that article provides that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons. No other business is transacted till the President has addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together.

 

Mains Question: What is an amendment to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address? Why is it resorted to? Give examples and examine significance of this amendment.


Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

North Eastern Council

 

What to study?

For Prelims: NEC, its functions and composition.

For Mains: Significance of North Eastern region of the country and efforts by government for the development of the region.

 

Context: Centre releases 3rd issue of Newsletter of North Eastern Council.

 

About NEC:

  • NEC was established under the North Eastern Council Act, 1971as an apex level body for securing balanced and coordinated development and facilitating coordination with the States.
  • Subsequent to the Amendment of 2002, NEC has been mandated to function as a regional planning body for the North Eastern Area and while formulating a regional plan for this area, shall give priority to the schemes and projects benefiting two or more states provided that in the case of Sikkim, the Council shall formulate specific projects and schemes for that State.
  • The Union Cabinet, in June 2018, approved the proposal of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) for the nomination of the Union Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC). The Cabinet also approved that Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER would serve as Vice Chairman of the Council.
  • NEC and all the Governors and Chief Ministers of North Eastern States will be Members.

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

 

Fall Armyworm (FAW)

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: FAW- causes, effects, concerns and measures needed.

 

Context: The Department has taken note of Fall Army Worm (FAW) infestation in the country. The infestation has been found primarily on maize and to a small extent on Ragi and Sorghum.

 

What is FAW?

A native of the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas, FAW was first detected in the African continent in 2016. Since then, it has spread to other countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

In India: It was reported in India for the first-time last year, when it affected crops in Karnataka. Within a span of only six months, almost 50 per cent of the country, including Mizoram, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, has reported FAW infestations.

 

Life cycle:

In its 45-day-long lifecycle, the female moth of this pest lays around 1,500-2,000 eggs on the top of leaves. In the roughly 30-day larval stage, the caterpillar goes through six stages of development or instars.

This is the most dangerous part of the lifecycle as the caterpillar feeds on leaves, whorls, stalks and flowers of crop plants. Once this stage is completed, the growing moth pupates in the soil — for 8-9 days in summer and 20-30 days in cold weather. The nocturnal egg-laying adults live for about 10 days, during which they migrate long distances.

 

What makes FAW dangerous?

It is the polyphagous (ability to feed on different kinds of food) nature of the caterpillar and the ability of the adult moth to fly more than 100 km per night.

Given its ability to feed on multiple crops — nearly 80 different crops ranging from maize to sugarcane — FAW can attack multiple crops.

Similarly, it can spread across large tracts of land as it can fly over large distances. This explains the quick spread of the pest across India.

 

How FAW affects output?

Till date, India has reported FAW infestation on maize, sorghum (jowar) and sugarcane crops. Maize has been the worst affected as most maize-growing states in southern India have been affected by the pest.

FAW infestation and drought has led to a shortfall of nearly 5 lakh tonnes in output, prompting the central government to allow import of maize under concessional duty. Maize is the third most important cereal crop grown in the country and the infestation, if not checked in time, can wreck havoc.

 


 

Relevant articles from various news sources:

 

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Particulars of NRC.

For Mains: Update of NRC- issues associated including ethical concerns.

 

Context: Over one lakh people who were part of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published in July last year but were found ineligible thereafter — they have been named in the Additional Draft Exclusion List published recently.

 

Why they are out of Assam NRC additional draft exclusion list?

These over one lakh people were found ineligible during re-verification for any one of the following reasons: Persons who were found to be DF (Declared Foreigner) or DV (Doubtful Voter) or PFT (persons with cases Pending at Foreigners Tribunals) or their descendants, as applicable, discovered after publication of draft NRC, persons who were found to be ineligible while appearing as witness in hearings held for disposal of Claims & Objections, persons who were found to be ineligible during the process of verification carried out by the Local Registrars of Citizens Registration (LRCRs) after publication of draft NRC.

 

NRC Assam Additional Draft List 2019: What happens now?

People in the latest list will be informed individually through Letters of Information (LOI) to be delivered at their residential addresses along with the reason for exclusion.

Such persons will have the opportunity to file their Claims which will be disposed through a hearing by a Disposing Officer. The submission of Claim and it’s disposal by the Disposing Officer through a hearing will happen together.

 

On what basis was the Assam NRC additional draft exclusion list prepared?

The preparation of the draft exclusion list of the NRC was approved by the SC under the Clause 5 of the Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

The provision of suo moto verification is mentioned in Section 4 (3) of the Schedule of the above mentioned Citizenship Rules, 2003, which says that the local registrar of citizen registration (LRCR) may at any time before the final publication of NRC in the state of Assam may verify names already in the final draft NRC if considered necessary.

 

What is the Assam NRC?

The NRC is basically a list of Indian citizens of Assam.

NRC prepared in 1951 is being updated to include the names of people or their descendants who appear in the 1951 NRC, in any of the Electoral Rolls, or in any one of the other admissible documents issued up to the midnight of March 24, 1971.

 

Why is March 24, 1971 the cut-off date?

There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

NITI Aayog’s Health Index

 

What to study?

For prelims: key features of the index, performance of various states.

For mains: Need for and significance of the index.

 

Context: NITI Aayog has released its second edition of comprehensive Health Index report titled, “Healthy States, Progressive India”.

 

What you need to know about the report?

The report has been developed by NITI Aayog, with technical assistance from the World Bank, and in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

The report ranks states and Union territories innovatively on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other.

It aims to establish an annual systematic tool to measure and understand the heterogeneity and complexity of the nation’s performance in Health.

 

Background:

States and UTs have been ranked in three categories namely, Larger States, Smaller States, and Union Territories (UTs), to ensure comparison among similar entities.

 

How are states ranked?

The Health Index is a weighted composite Index, which for the larger States, is based on indicators in three domains: (a) Health Outcomes (70%); (b) Governance and Information (12%); and (c) Key Inputs and Processes (18%), with each domain assigned a weight based on its importance.

 

Significance:

Health Index has been developed as a tool to leverage co-operative and competitive federalism to accelerate the pace of achieving health outcomes.

It would also serve as an instrument for “nudging” States & Union Territories (UTs) and the Central Ministries to a much greater focus on output and outcome-based measurement of annual performance than is currently the practice.

With the annual publication of the Index and its availability on public domain on a dynamic basis, it is expected to keep every stakeholder alert to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal number 3.

 

Performance of various states:

  • Kerala has emerged as the top-ranking state in terms of overall health performance.
  • Uttar Pradesh is the worst when it comes to overall health performance.
  • Gujarat, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh stood at fourth, fifth and sixth spots.
  • Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have emerged as the top ranking states based on historical performance across health indicators.
  • Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand top the index based on incremental performance.
  • Among the UTs, Chandigarh jumped one spot to top the list with a score of (63.62), followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli (56.31), Lakshadweep (53.54), Puducherry (49.69), Delhi (49.42), Andaman and Nicobar (45.36) and Daman and Diu (41.66).
  • Only about half the States and UTs showed an improvement in the overall score between 2015-16 (base year) and 2017-18 (reference year).
  • Among the eight Empowered Action Group States, only three States — Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh — showed improvement in the overall performance.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Russia extends ban on European food imports until end of 2020:

Context: Russia has extended its ban on food imports from the European Union until the end of 2020.

Background: Russia imposed an embargo on a wide range of imports from the EU and other countries in 2014 in retaliation for international sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

 

Plastic Parks:

Context: 4 Plastic Parks approved for implementation in Phase-I- in the States of Assam (Tinsukia), Madhya Pradesh (Raisen), Odisha (Jagatsinghpur) & Tamil Nadu (Thiruvallur).

There is a scheme in place to establish Plastic Parks across the country.

As per the Scheme guidelines, a Special Purpose Vehicle set up by the concerned State government, which is the implementing agency, is responsible for all statutory approvals, including environmental clearances from the state level authorities at the DPR stage. 

Further, the Scheme also provides building common infrastructure to support the plastic production units for hazardous waste management, incinerator, buildings and equipment/machinery for  common facilities for characterization, prototyping & virtualization, non-destructive material  testing, incubation, training, warehousing, plastic recycling, tooling, designing, Research & Development, plastic waste recycling etc. and establishment of effluent treatment plant, to ensure environmentally sustainable growth through innovative methods of waste management, recycling, etc

 

In News- About APEDA:

Context: The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act 1985. The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).

 

APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the following scheduled products:

  • Fruits, Vegetables and their Products.
  • Meat and Meat Products.
  • Poultry and Poultry Products.
  • Dairy Products.
  • Confectionery, Biscuits and Bakery Products.
  • Honey, Jaggery and Sugar Products.
  • Cocoa and its products, chocolates of all kinds.
  • Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Cereal and Cereal Products.
  • Groundnuts, Peanuts and Walnuts.
  • Pickles, Papads and Chutneys.
  • Guar Gum.
  • Floriculture and Floriculture Products.
  • Herbal and Medicinal Plants.

 

Administrative set up:

  1. Chairman – Appointed by the Central Government.
  2. Director – Appointed by APEDA.
  3. Secretary – Appointed by the Central Government.
  4. Other Officers and Staff – Appointed by the Authority.

 

Summaries of important Editorials:

 

India must recognise the right to a minimally decent life- The Hindu.

Context: Recent Incidents of systematic failure of health care in Bihar highlight the need for having a robust doctrine of basic rights.

 

But, what are basic rights?

Basic rights flow from basic needs such as physical security or subsistence. 

These needs depend on the way human bodies are constituted. They are a solid necessity; one cannot get on without them. Nor can they be fulfilled by substitutes.

It is true, of course, that though terribly important, basic needs are not what we live for. They don’t make our life worth living. But, anything really worth pursuing depends on the satisfaction of basic needs.

 

Why ensure basic needs?

People suffer if basic needs are met inadequately or with delay. They are then denied a minimally decent life.

When basic needs are not fully met, people feel vulnerable and helpless.

 

What does the language of rights add to the idea of basic needs?

First, a right is something that is owed to us; it is not a favour. So, rights help the recognition of anything that satisfies basic needs as an entitlement. Basic rights are claims on the state to provide us with goods and services that satisfy our basic needs.

 

Which basic needs should be considered rights?

  1. The right to physical security is socially guaranteed when the state provides its people a well-trained, professional police force.
  2. The right to minimum economic security and subsistence, that includes clean air, uncontaminated water, nutritious food, clothing and shelter.
  3. The right to free public expression of helplessness and frustration, if deprived of other basic rights.

These three basic rights can be summed up in a single phrase, the right to a minimally decent life. This is a threshold right.

 

Why classify them as rights?

When something is identified as a basic right, it puts the state under a duty to enable its exercise. The state becomes its guarantor. When society and its government reneges on its commitment to do so, people can hold them accountable. It follows that basic rights are a shield for the defenceless against the most damaging threats to their life which include starvation, pestilence and disease.

As the philosopher Henry Shue, puts it, it is ‘an attempt to give to the powerless a veto over some economic, social and political forces that harm them’.

These rights are basic also because many intrinsically valuable rights can be enjoyed only once these rights are secured.

 

What needs to be done?

Credible threats to these rights can be reduced by the government by establishing institutions and practices that assist the vulnerable; for example, by setting up hospitals with adequate number of doctors, nurses, beds, medical equipment, intensive care units, essential drugs and emergency treatments.

For this, proper budgetary allocation is required that depends in turn on getting one’s political priority and commitment right. When a government fails to provide primary health care to those who can’t afford it, it violates their basic rights.

Governments must make arrangements for people to demand that their basic rights be satisfied, to complain when these demands are not met, to report lapses and omissions on the part of governments, point fingers at apathetic government officials, criticise the government for its failures and to do so without fear.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. First, like the constitutional principle of a basic structure, it is time to articulate an equally robust doctrine of basic rights.
  2. Second, these basic rights must be viewed primarily as positive, rights not against interference from the state (negative rights) but to the provision of something by it.
  3. Third, just as individuals are punished for legal violations, the government of the day must also be punished for the violation of these basic rights. Defaulting governments must be held legally accountable. The systematic violation of basic rights must be treated on a par with the breakdown of constitutional machinery.