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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 May 2020

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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. PM Ujjwala Yojana.

2. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

3. General Financial Rules.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Odisha adopts contract farming system.

2. What are geotextiles?

3. What is Quantum entanglement?

4. Preservation of Eastern, Western Ghats

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Textiles Committee.

2. International Day for Biological Diversity.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: 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.

PM Ujjwala Yojana

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance and performance analysis of the scheme.

Context: 6.8 Crore free LPG cylinders distributed among the PMUY beneficiaries so far.

About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

Launched in May 2016.

Aim: To provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.

Key features: A deposit-free LPG connection is given to the eligible household with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

Target: The scheme gained traction with its ambit being expanded to include 80 million poor families from the earlier target of 50 million families with an additional allocation of Rs 4,800 crore.

Eligibility criteria:

  1. Applicant must a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.
  2. Applicant should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.
  3. No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.
  4. The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.
  5. Applicant must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.

Objectives of the scheme are:

  1. Empowering women and protecting their health.
  2. Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
  3. Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  4. Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is LPG?
  2. What are Parliamentary committees?
  3. Targets and goals under the scheme.
  4. States and UTs which became kerosene- free under the scheme.

Mains Link:

It is said that the real test of the PMUY and its successor programmes will be in how they translate the provision of connections to sustained use of LPG or other clean fuels such as electricity or biogas. For this which issue need to be addressed? Also discuss the significance of PMUY.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: 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.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview, implementation and bodies established under the act.

For Mains: Significance of the law, performance analysis and ways to improve.

Context: Government of India has disbursed RS 170 crores to MGNREGA workers. The amounts were disbursed to the beneficiaries through the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

About MGNREGA:

The scheme was introduced as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.

The key tenet of this social measure and labour law is that the local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.

Key objectives:

  1. Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
  2. Proactively ensuring social inclusion by strengthening livelihood base of rural poor.
  3. Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
  4. Reduce urban migration from rural areas.
  5. Create rural infrastructure by using untapped rural labour.

The following are the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:

  1. Must be Citizen of India to seek MGNREGA benefits.
  2. Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
  3. The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
  4. Applicant must volunteer for unskilled labour.

Key facts related to the scheme:

  1. The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
  2. Individual beneficiary-oriented works can be taken up on the cards of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, small or marginal farmers or beneficiaries of land reforms or beneficiaries under the Indira Awaas Yojana of the Government of India.
  3. Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
  4. Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
  5. Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
  6. The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands.
  7. It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.

Role of Gram Sabha:

  1. It determines the order of priority of works in the meetings of the Gram Sabha keeping in view potential of the local area, its needs and local resources.
  2. Monitor the execution of works within the GP.

Roles of Gram Panchayat:

  1. Receiving applications for registration
  2. Verifying registration applications
  3. Registering households
  4. Issuing Job Cards (JCs)
  5. Receiving applications for work
  6. Issuing dated receipts for these applications for work
  7. Allotting work within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought in the case of an advance application.
  8. Identification and planning of works, developing shelf of projects including determination of the order of their priority.

Responsibilities of State Government in MGNREGA:

  1. Frame Rules on matters pertaining to State responsibilities under Section 32 of the Act ii) Develop and notify the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for the State.
  2. Set up the SEGC.
  3. Set up a State level MGNREGS implementation agency/ mission with adequate number of high calibre professionals.
  4. Set up a State level MGNREGS social audit agency/directorate with adequate number of people with knowledge on MGNREGA processes and demonstrated commitment to social audit.
  5. Establish and operate a State Employment Guarantee Fund (SEGF).

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Under MGNREGA, what are the roles of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, States, State Food Commission, Centre?
  2. What are jobs cards, who issues them?
  3. Who sets up SEGF?
  4. What is Wage employement?
  5. Who conducts social audit?

Mains Link:

Discuss the key features and significance of MGNREGA.

Sources: pib.

 

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

General Financial Rules

What to study?

For Prelims: Objectives of GFR, overview and recent amendments.

For Mains: Significance of these rules, need for and implications.

Context: The government has notified amendments to General Financial Rules (GFR) to ensure that goods and services valued less than Rs 200 crore are being procured from domestic firms, a move which will benefit MSMEs.

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Implications:

The amendments ensure that henceforth global tenders will be disallowed in government procurement up to Rs 200 crore, as announced in the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package.

What are GFRs?

The General Financial Rules (GFRs) are set of rules that deal with matters that involve public finances. They were first issued in 1947 bringing together all the existing orders. They are instructions that pertain to financial matters.

They lay down the general rules applicable to Ministries / Departments, and detailed instructions relating to procurement of goods are issued by the procuring departments broadly in conformity with the general rules, while maintaining flexibility to deal with varied situations.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: 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.

Odisha adopts contract farming system

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Meaning, features m benefits and regulation in India.

Context: The Odisha Government has promulgated an ordinance allowing investors and farmers to enter into agreement for contract farming, in view of the continuing uncertainties due to the pandemic.

Significance:

  • The ordinance is aimed at facilitating both farmers and sponsors to develop mutually beneficial and efficient contract farming system.
  • It argued the new system will improve production and marketing of agricultural produce and livestock while promoting farmers’ interest.

Highlights of the ordinance:

Participants: The agreement will be entered into between the contract farming sponsor (who offers to participate in any component) or entire value chain including pre production, and the contract farming producer (farmers who agree to produce the crop or rear the livestock).

Recovery: The loans and advances given by the sponsor to the producer can be recovered from the sale proceeds of the produce. It cannot be realised by way of sale or mortgage or lease of the land in respect of which the agreement has been entered into.

No transfer of Land Rights: No title, rights, ownership or possession of land or premises or other such property will be transferred or alienated or vest in the sponsor or its successor or its agent.

Constitute Contract Farming and Services Committee: To review the performance of the contract farming and to make suggestions to the government for its promotion and efficient performance.

What is Contract farming?

The concept of Contract Farming (CF) refers to a system of farming, in which bulk purchasers including agro-processing/exporting or trading units enter into a contract with farmer(s), to purchase a specified quantity of any agricultural commodity at a pre-agreed price.

How is it regulated in India?

Regulated under the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

The Model APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) Act, 2003 provides specific provisions for contract farming, like compulsory registration of contract farming sponsors and dispute settlement.

Ministry of Agriculture came out with a draft Model Contract Farming Act, 2018. The draft Model Act seeks to create a regulatory and policy framework for contract farming. Based on this draft Model Act, legislatures of states can enact a law on contract farming.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are APMCs? How they are regulated?
  2. Agriculture under Indian constitution?
  3. Overview of Model Contract farming act.
  4. What is an ordinance?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: e-technology in the aid of farmers.

What are geotextiles?

What to study?

For Prelims: About Geotextiles and PMGSY.

For Mains: Significance of this move and benefits associated.

Context: National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (NRIDA) has announced that coir geo textiles will be used for construction of rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY-III).

What is Coir geotextile?

Coir is a 100% natural fiber, obtained from a renewable source – the coconut husk.

Coir Geo Textile is naturally resistant to rot, molds and moisture, and free from any microbial attack hence it needs no chemical treatment. It has a permeable, natural and strong fabric with high durability.

Benefits:

  • It has a permeable, natural and strong fabric with high durability.
  • It protects the land surface and promotes quick vegetation.
  • It is totally biodegradable, and helps in soil stabilisation.
  • It can dissipate the energy of flowing water and absorb the excess solar radiation.

What are Geotextiles?

They are permeable fabrics which, when used in association with soil, have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain. These are typically made from polypropylene or polyester.

Applications:

  • They support many civil engineering applications including roads, airfields, railroads, embankments, retaining structures, reservoirs, canals, dams, bank protection, coastal engineering and construction site silt fences or geotube.
  • They are also used for sand dune armoring to protect upland coastal property from storm surge, wave action and flooding.
  • They are used as matting to stabilize flow in stream channels and swales.
  • They can improve soil strength at a lower cost than conventional soil nailing.

Features of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-lll (PMGSY-III):

Under the PMGSY-III Scheme, it is proposed to consolidate 1,25,000 Km road length in the States.

It involves consolidation of Through Routes and Major Rural Links connecting habitations to Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs), Higher Secondary Schools and Hospitals.

The funds would be shared in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and State for all States except for 8 North Eastern states and Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand for which it is 90:10.

Background:

A total of 5,99,090 Km road length has been constructed under the scheme since inception till April, 2019 (inclusive of PMGSY-I, PMGSY-II and Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Area (RCPLWEA) Scheme).

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

What is Quantum entanglement?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: What is it? Significance and applications.

Context: Researchers from Kolkata have developed a novel protocol to find out whether a pair of electrons is in an entangled state so that they can be safely used as resources for facilitating quantum information processing tasks. The protocol has been developed through theoretical and experimental analysis.

What is the protocol?

The theoretical idea is based on applying the fine-grained uncertainty relation to perform quantum steering. The experiment uses an all-optical set-up in which entangled pairs of photons are created by laser light on Beta barium borate (BBO) crystals, a nonlinear optical crystal, used as laser crystal.

What is Quantum entanglement?

It is a quantum mechanical phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated.

It is the physical phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles is generated, interact, in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the pair or group cannot be described independently of the state of the others.

Significance:

Quantum entanglement is one of the peculiarities of quantum mechanics, which makes phenomena such as quantum teleportation and super-dense coding possible.

For further understanding, please watch:

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Preservation of Eastern, Western Ghats

What to study?

For Prelims: Western Ghats- Key geographical and environmental facts.

For Mains: Issues related to the conservation of the region, overview of Gadil and Kasturirangan committee reports.

Context: 6 States have expressed desire to expedite early notification of Ecologically Sensitive Area of Western Ghats.

These six states include Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Background:

The government had constituted a High Level Working Group under the Chairmanship of Dr. Kasturirangan to conserve and protect the biodiversity of Western Ghats while allowing for sustainable and inclusive development of the region.

The Committee had recommended that identified geographical areas falling in the six States of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu may be declared as Ecologically Sensitive Areas.

What are Eco-Sensitive Areas?

They are located within 10 kms around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

ESAs are notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) under Environment Protection Act 1986.

The basic aim is to regulate certain activities around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries so as to minimise the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem encompassing the protected areas.

Objectives of declaring areas as ESA:

  • To manage and regulate the activities around these areas with the intention of creating some kinds of ‘shock absorbers’.
  • To provide for a transition zone between the highly protected and relatively less protected areas.
  • To give effect to Section 3(2)(v) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 which restricts the operation of industries or processes to be carries out in certain areas or to maintain certain safeguards to operate industries.

What did the Gadgil Committee say?

  1. It defined the boundaries of the Western Ghats for the purposes of ecological management.
  2. It proposed that this entire area be designated as ecologically sensitive area (ESA).
  3. Within this area, smaller regions were to be identified as ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) I, II or III based on their existing condition and nature of threat.
  4. It proposed to divide the area into about 2,200 grids, of which 75 per cent would fall under ESZ I or II or under already existing protected areas such as wildlife sanctuaries or natural parks.
  5. The committee proposed a Western Ghats Ecology Authority to regulate these activities in the area.

Why was Kasturirangan Committee setup?

None of the six concerned states agreed with the recommendations of the Gadgil Committee, which submitted its report in August 2011.

  • In August 2012, then Environment Minister constituted a High-Level Working Group on Western Ghats under Kasturirangan to “examine” the Gadgil Committee report in a “holistic and multidisciplinary fashion in the light of responses received” from states, central ministries and others.
  • The Kasturirangan report seeks to bring just 37% of the Western Ghats under the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) zones — down from the 64% suggested by the Gadgil report.

Recommendations of Kasturirangan Committee:

  1. A ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining.
  2. No new thermal power projects, but hydro power projects allowed with restrictions.
  3. A ban on new polluting industries.
  4. Building and construction projects up to 20,000 sq m was to be allowed but townships were to be banned.
  5. Forest diversion could be allowed with extra safeguards.

Importance of western ghats:

  • The Western Ghats is an extensive region spanning over six States. It is the home of many endangered plants and animals. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • It is one of the eight “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity in the world.
  • According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas. They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer.

Eastern Ghats:

The Eastern Ghats run from the northern Odisha through Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka.

They are eroded and cut through by four major rivers of peninsular India, viz. Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Kaveri.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical extension of Eastern and Western ghats.
  2. Imports plant and animal species found in this region.
  3. Endemic species in the region.
  4. What are ESAs?
  5. What are ESZs?
  6. Differences between recommendations of the two committees.
  7. What is a World Heritage site?
  8. What are “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity?
  9. Important rivers, passes and mountain ranges.
  10. Tallest peaks.

Mains Link:

Various committees have been formed to give recommendations on preservation of Western Ghats, but not a lot has happened on that front. Examine.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 1


Textiles Committee:

  • It is a statutory body established in 1963.
  • It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • It has been formed to ensure the quality of textiles and textile machinery both for internal consumption and export purpose.

Important functions: establishing laboratories for the testing of textiles and textile machinery and providing for their inspection and examination.

International Day for Biological Diversity:

Observed on 22nd May every year to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

Theme for the year 2020 is “Our solutions are in nature”.

Background: The resolution to celebrate the day was adopted in 1992. The day was initially celebrated on December 29 till 2000 starting from 1993. It was marked on December 29 to celebrate the Day the Convention on Biological Diversity came into effect. It was later shifted to May 22 to commemorate the adoption of convention at Rio Earth Summit.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper