Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. About Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For Prelims: NBW- composition, objectives and functions.
For Mains: Environmental concern associated with the project and measures to address them.
Context: National Wildlife Board issues final nod for Mumbai-Nagpur highway amid lockdown. The approval was given via video-conferencing.
The 701-km Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg connecting Mumbai and Nagpur covering 10 districts, 26 talukas and 392 villages, will reduce the existing travel time of 15 hours to eight hours.
The project will require felling of over one lakh trees and passes through the 10-km eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Katepurna and Karanja Sohal Blackbuck wildlife sanctuaries towards one end of the state while cutting through the ESZ of Tansa lake sanctuary closer to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
About National Board for Wildlife:
It is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Roles and functions:
- Its role is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.
- Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
- It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
- No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL.
The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has 47 members including the Prime Minister. Among these, 19 members are ex-officio members. Other members include three Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha), five NGOs and 10 eminent ecologists, conservationists and environmentalists.
- Chairpersons and other members of NBW.
- Various such bodies headed by PM.
- Difference between National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries,
Topics covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of iGOT.
For Mains: Need for and significance of iGOT, concerns surrounding protection of frontline workers, ways to address them.
Context: The Department of Personnel and Training launches online training platform- iGOT in the fight against COVID-19. The platform is called iGOT — Integrated Government Online Training.
What is it for?
It offers online training for doctors, nurses, paramedics, hygiene workers, technicians, Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMS), central & state govt. officers, civil defence officials, various police organisations, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Bharat Scouts & Guides (BSG) and other volunteers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key features of the platform:
- It is set to be hosted on the Human Resources Development Ministry’s DIKSHA platform.
- The iGOT platform delivers curated, role-specific content, to each learner at their place of work or home and to any device of their choice.
The platform currently hosts nine courses on topics like:
- Basics of COVID.
- ICU Care and Ventilation Management.
- Clinical Management, Infection Prevention through PPE.
- Infection Control and Prevention.
- Quarantine and Isolation.
- Laboratory Sample Collection and Testing.
- Management of COVID 19 Cases.
- COVID 19 Training.
Need for and significance of this platform:
India’s first line of workers are already engaged in COVID-19 relief. But “a larger force will be needed to replace the first line” and to deal with “exponential or geometric increase” in COVID-19 positive cases in the subsequent stages of the pandemic.
Hence, the platform can be useful to combat COVID-19 for all front-line workers and equip them with the training and updates in coping with the pandemic. It provides a one-stop source to learn about critical areas and update their knowledge and capacity.
What is Diksha portal?
- DIKSHA Portal is an initiative of HRD ministry for providing a digital platform to teacher to make their lifestyle more digital.
- Diksha portal launched with a tagline “National Digital Infrastructures for Our Teacher Our Teacher”.
- The portal will consist the whole teacher’s life cycle – from the time they were enrolled as student teachers in Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) to after they retire as teachers.
- Teacher can learn and train themselves for which assessment resources will be available.
- It will help teachers boost their teaching skills and create their own profile with their skills and knowledge.
- When and who launched Diksha portal?
- Targeted groups of iGOT and Diksha.
- Who are frontline workers in COVID 19 context?
Discuss the features and significance of an Online training platform- iGOT launched recently by the Government of India.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: About UN Peacekeeping- need, significance, challenges and operations in place.
Context: UN chief Antonio Guterres has suspended the rotation and deployment of peacekeepers until June 30 to mitigate the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus.
What is peacekeeping? It’s significance?
United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support. Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council. The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States. According to UN Charter every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.
UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel. Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis. Civilian staff of peace operations are international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.
- United Nations Peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create conditions for lasting peace.
- Peacekeeping has unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy and sustain troops and police from around the globe, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to advance multidimensional mandates.
UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:
- Consent of the parties.
- Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
UN peacekeeping is a unique global partnership. It brings together the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributors and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security.
- Who funds peacekeeping operations?
- Role of UNSC.
- Composition of Peacekeepers?
- Why peacekeepers are called as Blue Helmets?
- Guiding principles of UN peacekeeping.
- Ongoing peacekeeping missions.
Write a note on UN Peacekeeping and its significance.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Biotechnology related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Madhuban Gajar- features and significance.
Context: Biofortified carrot variety developed by farmer scientist benefits local farmers.
- The bio fortified crop- Madhuban Gajar was developed by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist from Junagadh district, Gujarat.
- It contains high β-carotene and iron content.
- It is being planted in an area of over 200 hectares in Junagadh, and the average yield, which is 40-50 t/ha, has become the main source of income to the local farmers.
- The variety is being cultivated in more than 1000 hectares of land in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh during the last three years.
- Madhuban Gajar carrot variety possesses a significantly higher root yield (74.2 t/ha) and plant biomass (275 gm per plant) as compared to check variety.
What is biofortification?
Biofortification is the process of increasing nutritional value of food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding; agronomic practices or biotechnology. Examples of these vitamins and minerals that can be increased through biofortification include provitamin A Carotenoids, zinc and iron.
How are crops fortified?
Conventional crop breeding techniques are used to identify varieties with particularly high concentration of desired nutrients. These are cross-bred with varieties with other desirable traits from the target areas (such a virus resistance, drought tolerance, high yielding, taste) to develop biofortified varieties that have high levels of micronutrients (for example, vitamin A, iron or zinc), in addition to other traits desired by farmers and consumers.
Agronomic biofortification entails application of minerals such as zinc or iron as foliar or soil applications, drawing on plant management, soil factors, and plant characteristics to get enhanced content of key micronutrients into the edible portion of the plant.
Biofortification is one solution among many interventions that are needed to solve the complex problem of micronutrient malnutrition. It is considered one of the most cost-effective interventions for countries to employ in combating micronutrient malnutrition.
- Biofortification reaches rural consumers who have limited access to industrially fortified foods, supplementation interventions, and diverse diets.
- Biofortification combines increased micronutrient content with preferred agronomic, quality, and market traits and therefore biofortified varieties will typically match or outperform the usual varieties that farmers grow and consume.
How does Biofortification differ from food fortification?
Biofortification has the increased nutritional micronutrient content imbedded in the crop being grown. Food fortification increases the nutritional value of foods by adding trace amounts of micronutrients to foods during processing.
- Bio fortification vs Genetic modifications.
- Micro vs Macronutrients.
- Approval for Biofortified and GM crops in India.
- GM crops allowed in India.
What do you understand by fortification of foods? Discuss its advantages.
Facts for Prelims
About Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR):
ICCR was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Independent India’s first Education Minister.
It is an autonomous organisation.
ICCR has been assigned the responsibility of facilitating the celebration of the International Day of Yoga by Indian Missions/Posts abroad since 2015.
- To actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programs pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.
- To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations.
Important awards by ICCR:
- Distinguished Indologist Award.
- World Sanskrit Award.
- Gisela Bonn Award.
Why in News?
ICCR celebrated its 70th foundation day on April 9.
Insights Current Affairs Analysis (I–CAN) by IAS Topper