Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 26 July 2019
Relevant articles from PIB:
- Context: Indian Army declared the Kargil mission successful on July 26, 1999; since then the day has been celebrated annually as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
- India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of the Line of Control.
- Background: The war took place between May and July of 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district. It began with the infiltration of both Pakistani troops and terrorists into Indian territory. The infiltrators positioned themselves in key locations that gave them a strategic advantage during the start of the conflict.
- Safed Sagar, the Indian Air Force’s operation, was a major part of the Kargil war. It used air power at the height of 32,000 feet for the first time.
- India’s first Governor General Shri C Rajagopalachari formally inaugurated the Indian Territorial Army on October 9 in 1949.
- It is an organization where volunteers apply for a short period of training every year, so as to be ready to tackle any emergent situation or to serve for the defence of India.
- The Territorial Army, also known as the ‘Terriers’, is considered the second line of national defence after the regular Army.
- The Territorial Army is part of a Regular Army and its present role is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the country is threatened and to provide units for Regulars Army as and when required.
- Territorial Army comes under the Defence Ministry.
GS Paper 3:
- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
What to study?
For Prelims: GII- performance of India and other countries.
For Mains: Need for innovation and government efforts to promote innovation.
Context: Global Innovation Index 2019 has been released.
- GII rankings are based on 80 indicators, from traditional measurements like research and development investments and international patent and trademark applications.
- Theme for the year 2019 is – Creating Healthy Lives – The Future of Medical Innovation, which aims to explore the role of medical innovation as it shapes the future of healthcare.
- It is published by a specialized agency of the United Nations – the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in association with Cornell University and graduate business school INSEAD.
- India’s rank has been improved as it has reached at 52nd position in 2019. India was at 57th position in 2018.
- In terms of innovation and newly-emerging technologies India has been performing well and has improved its position by 29 places in the global index since 2015.
- India had ranked 81 in 2015, which rose to 66 in 2016, 60 in 2017 and 57 in 2018.
India continues to be the most innovative economy in central and southern Asia.
- Public R&D expenditures, particularly in some high-income countries, are growing slowly or not at all.
- Global landscape of science, innovation, and technology has undergone important shifts over the last decades.
Asian economies especially middle-income one, are rapidly contributing to global research and development (R&D) and international patenting rates via WIPO’s International Patent System.
GS Paper 2:
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
What to study?
For Prelims: Van Dhan Vikas Kendras.
For Mains: MFP and its significance.
Context: Training Workshop for implementing teams of Van Dhan Yojana Organized.
About Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:
- The initiative aims to promote MFPs-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans.
- It mainstreams the tribal community by promoting primary level value addition to MFP at grassroots level.
- Significance: Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.
- The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.
- At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.
- Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.
- Composition: As per the plan, TRIFED will facilitate establishment of MFP-led multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, a cluster of 10 SHGs comprising of 30 tribal MFP gatherers each, in the tribal areas.
Significance of MFP:
- Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income.
- It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time.
- This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.
Relevant articles from various news sources:
GS Paper 2:
- Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For prelims: NDQF- features, need and launched by?
For mains: The need for data management, challenges present and measures to address them.
Context: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute for Medical Statistics (ICMR-NIMS), in partnership with Population Council, has launched the National Data Quality Forum (NDQF).
- The NDQF aims at establishing protocols and good practices when dealing with data collection, storage, use and dissemination that can be applied to health and demographic data, as well as replicated across industries and sectors.
- The NDQF aims to do brainstorming, piloting and employ advanced modeling techniques in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data analytics along with using technology-based solutions to improve data quality.
Roles and functions:
NDQF will integrate learnings from scientific and evidence-based initiatives and guide actions through periodic workshops and conferences.
It will fetch quality data in upcoming health studies and surveys such as National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
Benefits and significance:
Its activities will help establish protocols and good practices of data collection, storage, use and dissemination that can be applied to health and demographic data, as well as replicated across industries and sectors noted a release issued by ICMR.
Data on health and demographics in India is plagued by incomplete information, overestimation, and under- and over-reporting that lead to hindrance in policy planning.
- lack of comparability and poor usability of national level data sources.
- discordance between system and survey level estimates.
- increased questionnaire length and questions on socially restricted conversation topics that translate to poor data quality.
- age-reporting errors or non-response and intentional skipping of questions.
- underreporting due to subjective question interpretation and incompleteness.
- paucity of data to generate reliable estimates on mortality as major barriers to quality data.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: Key features of the bill, need, significance, concerns, challenges and alternatives present.
Context: Andhra Pradesh clears bill granting 75% reservation in jobs for locals in factories.
AP Employment of Local Candidates in Industries and Factories Bill, 2019- highlights:
The bill seeks to provide 75% reservation for locals in factory jobs.
Coverage: The reservation in jobs for local people of the state will extend to industries, factories, joint venture units and projects taken up under Public-Private Partnership initiatives.
The concerned factories will need to take up training programmes of the local workforce in case they don’t have the requisite skills.
Rationale behind this move:
With growth in industries, the demand for land has been increasing. Since most of the land requirement is met by acquiring private agricultural lands, the land owners are being displaced and deprived of their occupation and thereby loss of income.
Local people have complained that industrialisation in their areas have deprived them of means of livelihood.
To address this gap, the government has brought this legislation.
Will it help?
- The Andhra Pradesh government’s proposed law to enforce 75 percent reservation for local candidates in private sector jobs may be right in intent, but conceptually flawed and may have little practical value beyond political jingoism.
- This would mean irrespective of the availability, all private sector enterprises will have to ensure a minimum of 75 percent employment for local candidates.
- In the absence of local candidates of a particular skill level, the law would force the employers to recruit them anyway and train them. The government has promised help to upskill the staff, but this could be time-consuming. Businesses that have to remain nimble to adapt their business strategies to changing market situations may find it tough to meet this requirement.
- A provision of such sweeping import could in fact hinder the state’s economic growth by affecting the ease of doing business. Ease of recruiting talent is a major aspect that influences the index.
- If job creation is the intention, the move may become counterproductive.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3:
What to Study?
For Prelims and Mains: Meaning, significance and potential of rooftop solar energy, challenges therein.
Context: Government has set a target for installation of Rooftop Solar projects (RTS) of 40,000 MegaWatt (MW) by 2022 in the country including installation of RTS on rooftop of houses.
What is rooftop solar?
Rooftop solar installations — as opposed to large-scale solar power generation plants — can be installed on the roofs of buildings. As such, they fall under two brackets: commercial and residential. This simply has to do with whether the solar panels are being installed on top of commercial buildings or residential complexes.
What are the benefits?
- Rooftop solar provides companies and residential areas the option of an alternative source of electricity to that provided by the grid.
- While the main benefit of this is to the environment, since it reduces the dependence on fossil-fuel generated electricity, solar power can also augment the grid supply in places where it is erratic.
- Rooftop solar also has the great benefit of being able to provide electricity to those areas that are not yet connected to the grid — remote locations and areas where the terrain makes it difficult to set up power stations and lay power lines.
What is the potential for rooftop solar in India?
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has pegged the market potential for rooftop solar at 124 GW. However, only 1,247 MW of capacity had been installed as of December 31, 2016. That is a little more than 3% of the target for 2022, and 1% of the potential.
Why is it not being adopted widely?
- One of the major problems with rooftop solar — and what affects solar energy generation in general — is the variability in supply. Not only can the efficiency of the solar panels vary on any given day depending on how bright the sunlight is, but the solar panels also produce no electricity during the night. Arguably, night is when off-grid locations most need alternative sources of electricity.
- Storage is one solution. Storage technology for electricity, however, is still underdeveloped and storage solutions are expensive. Most residential customers will find the cost of installing both rooftop solar panels and storage facilities prohibitive. Residential areas also come with the associated issues of use restrictions of the roof — if the roof is being used for solar generation, then it cannot be used for anything else.
- Another major reason why rooftop solar is not becoming popular is that the current electricity tariff structure renders it an unviable option. Many states have adopted a net metering policy, which allows disaggregated power producers to sell excess electricity to the grid. However, the subsidised tariffs charged to residential customers undermine the economic viability of installing rooftop solar panels. The potential profit simply does not outweigh the costs.
Sources: the Hindu.
Mains Question: India has made remarkable strides in renewable energy during the recent years, which has emerged as an integral part of the solution to nations energy needs. Discuss the steps taken by the government in this direction.
GS Paper 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: key features and significance of the programme.
Context: India and UK have joined hands together for UKIERI Mobility Programme: Study in India which will allow UK students to visit India for higher studies.
About the UK India Education & Research Initiative (UKIERI) Mobility Programme: Study in India:
It will be a bilateral pilot programme which will support UK universities to collaborate with Indian partners to send UK students to India as part of their studies.
It provides flexible grants to UK higher education institutions (HEIs) and their Indian partner institutions to design and deliver academically rigorous short-term mobility opportunities in India for undergraduate students from UK HEIs.
The aims and objectives of the Programme:
- Increase the levels of outward student mobility from the UK.
- Enhance the employability of UK graduates, recognizing the positive correlation between international experience, academic performance and graduate employability.
- Support the internationalization of Indian higher education institutions in line with the Government of India’s ‘Study in India’ programme through the diversification of the student body, and through establishing links with the potential to seed deeper institutional partnerships and research collaboration.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for prelims:
What is it? It Is a new species of vine snake discovered recently by researchers from the Western Ghats that dates back 26 million years.
The species, endemic to southern Western Ghats, is thought to have evolved during the mid-Oligocene.
Context: IIT Kharagpur team develops app CARE4U for elderly people.
Key features of the app:
- The android-based app will connect the caregiver to the elderly person.
- The app has a record of medical histories, allergies’ account, an SOS button, real time location tracking and so on.
- The network-based fall detection algorithm in the app installed on the phone of the elderly can detect whether the elderly has fallen down.
- If there is a fall, it automatically calls the caregiver and emergency services along with the exact location of the elderly person.
- CARE4U can also detect emotions and whenever the elderly opens the app, the phone takes his picture and a mood index is calculated. This detects whether the person is sad or not and automatically updates the caregiver with the time stamp.
- It has a ‘Medicine Reminder’ feature to remind both the elderly as well as the caregiver that it is time for the former to take medicine.
Jute fibre converted into low-cost bio-degradable cellulose sheets:
Context: Scientists in Bangladesh have developed a method to convert Jute fibre into low-cost bio-degradable cellulose sheets named ‘Sonali’ which can be used as wrapping material and carrying bag.
Uses: The Eco-friendly jute poly bags made up of Sonali can be used in garments and food packaging work and they are not harmful for human health.
Summaries of important Editorials:
What is a floor test or trust vote?
A floor test is a constitutional mechanism. It is used to determine if the incumbent government enjoys the support of the legislature.
How it takes place?
- This voting process happen in the state’s Legislative Assembly or the Lok Sabha at the central level.
- Technically, the chief minister of a state is appointed by the Governor. The appointed chief minister usually belongs to the single largest party or the coalition which has the ‘magic number’. The magic number is the total number of seats required to form a government, or stay in power. It is the half-way mark, plus one. In case of a tie, the Speaker casts the deciding vot
- However, at times, a government’s majority can be questioned. The leader of the party claiming majority has to move a vote of confidence.
- If some MLAs remain absent or abstain from voting, the majority is counted on the basis of those present and voting. This effectively reduces the strength of the House and in turn brings down the majority-mark.
- The voting process can happen orally, with electronic gadgets or a ballot process.
- The Governor can also ask the Chief Minister to prove his or her majority in the House if the stability of the government comes into question.
- Composite floor test:
- While there is another test, Composite floor test, which is necessitated when more than one person stake the claim to form the government and the majority is not clear.
- Governor may call a special session to assess who has the majority. The majority is counted based on those present and voting and this can be done through voice vote also.