INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 DECEMBER 2019
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. “Oxygen Parlour” At Nashik Railway Station To Combat Air Pollution.
2. Tunnel Under Rohtang Pass To Be Named After Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
3. Bar-headed goose.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: 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: Features and significance of the scheme, Important circuits and overview of their locations and geographical significance.
Context: The Cabinet approves the release of funds for 10 projects of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme sanctioned in 2018-19.
About Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
Tourism Ministry launched the scheme in 2015.
Objective: to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
Under the Scheme 15 circuits have been identified for development namely Himalayan Circuit, North East Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Buddhist Circuit and Coastal Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit and Sufi Circuit.
Features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme:
- 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
- To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
- Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
- PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
- A National Steering Committee (NSC)will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
- A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Governance, transparency and accountability.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of RTF.
Context: To ensure that important government matters don’t get delayed owing to conflicting hierarchical and departmental priorities, the Haryana government has introduced a “Run Through Files” mechanism in the Centralised File Movement and Tracking Information System (CFMS).
It would be personally monitored by Chief Minister of Haryana.
- A file shall be marked as Run Through Files only by the CM in the CFMS.
- Every file marked as RTF has to be cleared on priority greater than that is currently being accorded to the files marked top priority.
- At whichever level any contribution other than mere signing on the file is made, the same will also be uploaded on CFMS portal.
- A system generated SMS and email will automatically be sent on each downward or upward movement of the file.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important international institutions.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: UPU- objectives, functions and significance.
Context: The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the ratification of the Tenth Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
What is UPU?
Established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874.
- It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
- Headquarters are located in Bern, Switzerland.
- The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration (CA), the Postal Operations Council (POC) and the International Bureau (IB).
- It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives. Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties.
- It coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.
Benefits of ratification for India:
- The approval enables the Postal Administration of India to have the Instrument of Ratification signed with the Director-General of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union through diplomatic channels along with the approval of other Acts of the Union.
- It will also enable the Department of Posts to bring out any administrative orders to implement the provisions of the UPU Convention in India.
GS Paper : 3
Atal Bhujal Yojana (AJY)
What to study?
For Prelims: Atal Bhujal Yojana- Objectives, funding and implementation, CGWA.
For Mains: Groundwater crisis- reasons, challenges, concerns and solutions, various efforts by the government.
Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2019 launched a scheme to conserve ground water in regions with low water tables.
About Atal Bhujal Yojana:
It is a Rs.6000 crore World Bank approved Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The funding pattern is 50:50 between Government of India and World Bank.
Aims to improve ground water management in priority areas in the country through community participation.
The scheme “envisages”:
- Community participation eg, “formation of Water User Associations”.
- Monitoring and dissemination of data.
- Water budgeting.
- Panchayat-level plans.
- Information, Education & Communication (IEC) activities.
- The priority areas identified under the scheme fall in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
- These States represent about 25% of the total number of over-exploited, critical and semi-critical blocks in terms of ground water in India.
- They also cover two major types of groundwater systems found in India – alluvial and hard rock aquifers- and have varying degrees of institutional readiness and experience in groundwater management.
Implementation of the scheme:
Funds under the scheme will be provided to the states for strengthening the institutions responsible for ground water governance, as well as for encouraging community involvement for improving ground water management to foster behavioural changes that promote conservation and efficient use of water. The scheme will also facilitate convergence of ongoing Government schemes in the states by incentivizing their focussed implementation in identified priority areas.
Topics covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: CDS- need, roles and functions, practice so far and significantly.
Context: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS).
He will be the single-point military adviser to the government as suggested by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999.
CDS oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services.
He will be a Four-star General.
- Not eligible to hold any Government office after demitting the office of CDS.
- No private employment without prior approval for a period of five years after demitting the office of CDS.
Roles and functions:
CDS will provide “single-point military advice” to the government, inject synergy in planning, procurements and logistics in the armed forces.
It will ensure integration of land-air-sea operations through the eventual setting up of theatre commands.
The CDS will also function as the military advisor to the PM-led Nuclear Command Authority, as also have direct command of tri-Service organizations to handle the new warfare domains of space and cyberspace.
Practice so far:
India has had a feeble equivalent known as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC); but this is a toothless office, given the manner in which it is structured.
The senior-most among the three Service Chiefs is appointed to head the CoSC, an office that lapses with the incumbent’s retirement.
- However, CoSC arrangement is seen as “unsatisfactory”, and its Chairman as a “figurehead”.
- The post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of assets.
- The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.
What is the case for having a CDS?
The first proposal for a CDS came from the 2000 Kargil Review Committee (KRC).
Although the KRC did not directly recommend a CDS — that came from the GoM — it underlined the need for more coordination among the three Services, which was poor in the initial weeks of the Kargil conflict.
- The KRC Report pointed out that India is the only major democracy where the Armed Forces Headquarters is outside the apex governmental structure.
- It observed that Service Chiefs devote most of their time to their operational roles, “often resulting in negative results”.
- Long-term defence planning suffers as day-to-day priorities dominate.
- Also, the Prime Minister and Defence Minister do not have the benefit of the views and expertise of military commanders, in order to ensure that higher level defence management decisions are more consensual and broadbased.
- The CDS is also seen as being vital to the creation of “theatre commands”, integrating tri-service assets and personnel like in the US military.
The charter of the CDS, if implemented properly, will prepare the 15-lakh strong armed forces for the wars of the future. The CDS is mandated to ensure the Army, Navy and IAF, which often pull in different directions, truly integrate to slash wasteful expenditure amidst the ongoing severe fund crunch for military modernization because of the ballooning pay and pension bills.
Facts for Prelims:
“Oxygen Parlour” At Nashik Railway Station To Combat Air Pollution:
To battle rising air pollution in cities, an ”Oxygen Parlour” has been opened at Nashik railway station.
It aims to provide an experience of breathing clean air to the commuters.
The initiative comes with the efforts of the Airo Guard in collaboration with the Indian Railways.
The parlour contains some unique plants that better absorb the five most harmful pollutants from the air.
Tunnel Under Rohtang Pass To Be Named After Atal Bihari Vajpayee:
The government will name the strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary on December 25th.
- The 8.8-km-long tunnel is the world’s longest above an altitude of 3,000 metres.
- The tunnel will cut through Pir Panjal range.
- The tunnel provides a temporary winter link to the outside world not only to residents of Lahaul and Spiti but also to those living in Zanskar Valley of Ladakh.
- The Seri nullah default zonelies inside the tunnel.
- Also known as Anser indicus, it is known to be one of the highest flying birds in the world. It can fly at altitudes of 25,000 feet, while migrating over the Himalayas, where oxygen and temperature levels are extremely low.
- The species has been reported as migrating south from Tibet, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia before crossing the Himalaya.
- It is classified as “Least Concerned” as per the IUCN Red List.