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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 20 August 2022

 

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Lord Curzon

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Disclosure of Aadhaar details

2. The injustice of exceptionalism

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Draft Indian Port Bill

2. Indian team deliberating on ocean diversity pact

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)

1. Japan asking its youth to drink more!

2. Suicides due to agri-distress

3. From darkness to solar-powered light

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Development Action Plan for Scheduled Castes (DAPSC)

2. International Transport Forum (ITF)

3. UPI continues global expansion, now entering the UK market

4. Guidelines by SEBI

5. POSOCO

6. Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme(series II)

7. Har Ghar Jal

8. Tilapia Fish

9. AK-203 rifles


 

Lord Curzon

GS Paper 1

Source: Indian Express

 

Direction: Try to remember some reforms by the governor general and Viceroys. This is important for both Prelims and Mains.

 

Context: The Bardhaman municipality, West Bengal has decided to erect a statue of an erstwhile maharaja in front of the landmark Curzon Gate in the city.

 

About Curzon

He served as Under-Secretary of State for India (1891-1892), and for Foreign Affairs (1895-1898), before being appointed Viceroy of India in 1899.

Of all the Viceroys of India, Curzon is possibly the most criticised — he is the man who partitioned Bengal in 1905, and triggered a wave of Bengali nationalism that contributed to the wider Indian national movement. He was also one of the more openly imperialist of viceroys, and a man who saw Britain’s rule over India as critical to the survival of the empire.

In 1900, Curzon famously stated, “We could lose all our [white settlement] dominions and still survive, but if we lost India, our sun would sink to its setting.”

 

Reforms by Lord Curzon:

      • Educational: Curzon brought in the Indian Universities Act of 1904,which brought all the universities in India under the control of the government.
      • Scientific: The Agriculture Research Institute in Pusa (Bihar – Bengal Presidency) was established.
      • Administrative: He instituted a Police Commission in 1902 under the chairmanship of Sir Andrew Frazer.
      • During the Curzon regime, the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) was established which covered roughly the areas of the upper course of the River Indus.
      • MilitaryImperial cadet corpswas set up which became an instrument for the Indianisation of the army later.
      • Other reforms: He passed a law called the Ancient Monuments Act, 1904which made it obligatory on the part of the government and local authorities to preserve monuments of archaeological importance and their destruction an offence.

 

Insta Links

Mains Link

You can relate the article to an argument on Curzon’s policies, their impact (e.g. Partition of Bengal and Swadesh Movement) e.g. it is said about Curzon -“Out of his tyranny was born a stronger sense of nationhood”

Q. The Partition of Bengal was the culmination of a systemic attack on nationalists of Bengal by Curzon and was not done for administrative convenience as stated officially by the government. Analyse. 15M

 

Prelims Link

      1. Contributions of Governor General and Viceroys.
      2. Various Acts were passed during Lord Curzon.

The Partition of Bengal made by Lord Curzon in 1905 lasted until (UPSC 2014)

(a) the First World War when Indian troops were needed by the British and the partition was ended.

(b) King George V abrogated Curzon’s Act at the Royal Durbar in Delhi in 1911.

(c) Gandhiji launched his Civil Disobedience Movement.

(d) the Partition of India in 1947 when East Bengal became East Pakistan.

Answer: B

Karnataka High Court directs UIDAI to disclose Aadhaar details of 12 Bangladeshi nationals to NIA

GS paper 2 & 3

Syllabus: Adhar and issues related to it, UIDAI, NIA, issues related to security and human trafficking etc

 

Source: The Hindu

Directions: Provisions related to NIA and some details about Aadhar Act is important. Do keep a note of it.

 Context: The High Court of Karnataka has directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to furnish information and documents submitted for securing Aadhaar by 12 Bangladesh nationals to NIA. Many of whom are facing severe criminal charges such as rape and trafficking.

 Legal Provision

      • Section 33 of the Aadhar Act mandates that confidential information/ authentication documents, which are prohibited from being revealed, can be disclosed in certain cases only by an order of the court not inferior to a judge of the High Court.
      • Accused not heard: Contrary to the principle of ‘natural justice’, HC didn’t hear the accused citing Aadhaar Act, 2016, which only mandated the court to hear the UIDAI (and not the person accused) before granting permission to provide confidential details
National Investigation Agency(NIA):

●        It is a central agency to investigate and prosecute offences:

○        affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of State, and friendly relations with foreign States.

○        against atomic and nuclear facilities.

○        smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency.

●        It is also the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.

●        It is empowered to deal with terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states.

●        Established under the National Investigation Agency Act 2008.

●        Works under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Jurisdiction:

●        A State Government may request the Central Government to hand over the investigation of a case to the NIA, provided the case has been registered for the offences as contained in the schedule to the NIA Act.

●        The Central Government can also order the NIA to take over the investigation of any scheduled offence anywhere in India.

Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI):

●        It is a statutory authority established in 2016 by the Government of India under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, following the provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016.

●        The UIDAI is mandated to assign a 12-digit unique identification (UID) number (Aadhaar) to all the residents of India.

 Role & Responsibilities of UIDAI:

●        Under the Aadhaar Act 2016, UIDAI is responsible for:

○        Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle

○        developing the policy, procedure, and system for issuing Aadhaar numbers to individuals

○        Perform authentication and the security of identity information and authentication records of individuals.

Composition of the Authority:

●        It consists of two part-time Members and a Chief Executive Officer who shall be the Member-Secretary of the Authority.

Insta Links:

Aadhaar Act

NIA

 

Mains Links

You can relate this topic to the Right of privacy (Puttaswamy Judgement) Vs National security. Do keep a note regarding the powers of NIA, whether they infringe federal powers of the state, issues related to it etc. You may attempt this Question.

Q. Discuss the mandate of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), What are the impediments to its operative functioning? How can these concerns be addressed? Elucidate. (250 words)

 

Prelims Link:

Keep a note of NIA, UADAI and Aadhar Act- a few important and contentious provisions, and SC cases related to it. Now attempt this Qn.

    1. With reference to National Investigation Agency(NIA), consider the following statement:
    2. It can deal with terror-related crimes across states with special permission from the states.
    3. It works directly under Prime Minister’s office(PMO)

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)

The injustice of exceptionalism

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Remission policy for convicts, Bilkis Bano case etc

 

Directions: It is important for prelims to know the concepts of the terms such as remission, suspension, respite, and commute (do go through them once).

Source: The Hindu

Context: Eleven men who were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008 for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano were released this week from a jail in Gujarat. This calls into question the state government’s remission policy for convicts.

 

Argument: While the state government says, they have already completed 14 years of their imprisonment and have shown good behaviour in court and are therefore eligible for remission. Experts point out that remission for heinous crimes such as rape and murder is unjustified.

      • Previously, a Special Central Bureau of Investigation Court had sentenced the men to life imprisonment in 2008.

 

What is Remission?

In remission, the nature of the sentence is remained untouched, while the duration is reduced i.e. the rest of the sentence need not be undergone.

For example, if a person is sentenced to a term of 20 years, his sentence is now reduced to 15 years.

 

Argument against the release of convicts

      • Ineligible for premature release: As in most States, Gujarat’s current remission policy (it adopted a new and revised remission policy for prisoners in 2014), makes those convicted of rape ineligible for premature release.
      • Against justice for the victim and minorities community
      • Some experts view remission of the accused as politically motivated

 

Argument for release

      • Remission policy of 1992: Supreme Court of India had earlier ruled that the remission question, in this case, would be governed by the remission policy of 1992 that was in force at the time of conviction which did not exclude those convicted of rape from executive remission.
      • The ground of Good behaviour: State governments have laid down behaviour/activities that can earn prisoners a certain amount of days as remission, which is then deducted from their sentence.
      • Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is clear that life convicts have to undergo a minimum of 14 years of actual imprisonment before they can be considered for remission/premature release.
      • But in this case, the term of imprisonment of all 11 men was more than 15 years and therefore, the calculation of 14 years is irrelevant.

 

Power of Governor: State governments have also developed premature release rules that include the power to give effect to the Governor’s powers of remission under Article 161 of the Constitution.

      • Those powers are not governed by the CrPC and are often used to bypass the minimum 14 years of actual imprisonment requirement in the CrPC.

 

Article 161:

      • It deals with the Pardoning Power of the Governor.
      • The Governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishments or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.

 

Insta Links:

Pardoning power of Governor

 

Mains Links

Learn about the powers of the President and governors and their differences ( e.g. The difference between the pardoning power of the President and that of the Governor is that the Governor does not enjoy the power to grant a pardon to a death sentence). You may attempt this Qn.

Q. Instances of the President’s delay in commuting death sentences have come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyze. (UPSC 2014)

Prelims Link:

Know the difference between the key terms (as directed before) pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishments or suspend, remit and commute.

    1. Which of the following statements is/are correct?
    2. The scope of the pardoning power of the Governor under the Constitution is wider than the pardoning power of the President.
    3. The pardoning power of the Governor does not extend to death sentence cases.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Justification:

  • The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161.
  • The President can grant pardon in all cases where the sentence given is the sentence of death but the pardoning power of the Governor does not extend to death sentence cases.

Draft Indian Port Bill

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure- Port

 

Source: PIB

Direction: Go through the provisions. Note down a few points. Understand the issue with Indian ports and why this bill was needed to address those issues.

Context: Recently, the government circulated Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022 for wider consultation. It has major objectives of ensuring coordination between States and centres; prevent pollution; address issues with dispute resolution systems and use data for the development of the port.

 

Need for the Bill: Indian ports are governed by Indian Ports Act 1908 (which is more than 110 years old) and Major Port Trust Act, 1963. Also, India’s ports are falling behind its Asian competitors (Sri Lanka, Singapore) in terms of cargo handled and infrastructure facilities.

 

About the Bill:

      • Aim: It seeks to repeal and replace the existing Indian Ports Act 1908, which is more than 110 years old.
      • Significant provisions of the Bill:
        • Environmental compliance: The bill will ensure the prevention and containment of pollution at ports, by complying with the maritime treaties and international instruments to which India is a party
          • India has signed the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)
        • Institutional changes proposed:
          • Empower and establish State Maritime Boards and State Maritimes Development Council for effective administration, control and management of non-major ports in India.
          • Provide adjudicatory mechanisms for redressal of port-related disputes
          • Establish a national council for fostering structured growth and development of the port sector.
          • Constitution of maritime State Development Fund
        • Benefit of the Bill: It will ensure optimum utilisation of the coastline of India, address logistics bottlenecks and help India emerge as a major trading hub.

 

Status of Indian Ports:

      • There are 13 major ports and over 200 non-major and minor ports in India.
      • Up to 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)is allowed under the automatic route for port and harbour construction and maintenance projects.
      • Significance of the port sector: India has over 7500 Km long coastline. About 95% of India’s trade by volume (and 65% trade by value) is done through maritime transport.
      • Administration: Major Ports are under the Union list (owned and managed by the central government through a board of trustees) while minor ports are under state administration.
      • Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP) has become the first major 100% landlord portin India, having all berths being operated on the PPP model. (more on this on 21st July CA) (also see diagram below)

 

Conclusion:

Reforms in the port sector need to be supplemented by scientific and consultative planning, with a keen focus on ever-increasing safety, security and environmental issues.

 

Insta Links

Sagarmala Project

(Sagarmala project: To promote “Port-led development” along India’s 7500 km long coastline by developing Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ)

 

Mains Link

Relate this topic with what are the issues plaguing the ports sector in India (e.g. India doesn’t have a deep port with a sufficient draft for larger container vessels; India’s eastern coast doesn’t have a good harbor; dependency on Sri Lanka and Singapore for transshipment and saturated major ports). What is the Indian Port Ecosystem? Then answer this Qn.

Q. Discuss the prospects for ports in India. What are the issues and challenges with Indian Ports? Examine. (250 Words)

 

Prelims Link

Try to learn more about Indian position in logistics (As per the 2018 World Bank’s logistics performance index, India ranked 44 out of 160 countries (slipped from 35th rank in 2016)); about Sagarmala Project (link given above), names (including location) of major ports in India (India’ latest port is Vadhavan Port (MH)) and Project UNNATI (seeks to enhance the operational and financial performance of major ports)

 

Consider the following pairs: (UPSC 2014)

Hills                                   Region

Cardamon Hills     :      Coromandel Coast

Kaimur Hills         :       Konkan Coast

Mahadeo Hills       :     Central India

Mikir Hills             :       North-East India

Which of the above pairs are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 3 and 4

(d) 2 and 4

Answer: C

Indian team deliberating on ocean diversity pact

GS paper 2 & 3

Syllabus: International organizations, UN, UNCLOS, marine biodiversity, mining activity in ocean etc

 

Directions: This may be important for both Mains and Prelims. Keep a watch on this topic.

Source: The Hindu

 

Context:

      • A delegation from India and other member countries of the United Nations is in New York to deliberate on a one-of-its-kind agreement to conserve marine biodiversity in the high seas, namely the oceans that extend beyond countries’ territorial waters.
      • The Indian delegation comprises officials from the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), the Center for Marine Fisheries and Research Institute and the Ministry of External Affairs.

 

Ocean diversity pact:

      • Legally binding instrument: The agreement will follow a resolution by the UN General Assembly in May and is expected to be the final in a series set in motion since 2018 to draft an international legally binding instrument under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
        • The high seas comprise nearly 45% of the Earth’s surface.
      • Rights of companies: A key aspect of the agreement is deciding on the rights of companies that undertake exploration for biological resources on the high seas.
        • To decide if companies have absolute rights on any discovery or extraction in these regions or should they share their gains, in terms of intellectual property and royalties with an UN-prescribed body.
      • Studies on sustainable utilization of deep-sea bio-resources: It will be the main focus.
        • There are companies already carrying out such exploratory activities though little was known about them.
        • Hence an international agreement that spells out obligations and permissible activities is important, Secretary, MoES said.

 

Uses of mining activity in the sea:

      • Gas hydrates
      • Precious metals
      • Fossil fuel resources
      • with advances in biotechnology and genetic engineering, several companies see potential in exotic microbes and other organisms
        • They could be used for drugs, vaccines and a variety of commercial applications

 

Importance of Sustainable oceans and seas:

      • Poverty eradication
      • Sustained economic growth
      • Food security and the creation of sustainable livelihoods
      • Helping to build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

 

High Seas:

      • The ocean surface and the water column beyond the EEZ are referred to as the high seas.
      • It is considered as “the common heritage of all mankind” and is beyond any national jurisdiction.
      • States can conduct activities in these areas as long as they are for peaceful purposes, such as transit, marine science, and undersea exploration.

 

Insta Links

UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)

 

Mains Links

You can relate the article to the need for conservation of marine biodiversity, and the impact of climate change on ocean biodiversity. You may opt for this Qn. 

Q. How do ocean currents and water masses differ in their impacts on marine life and the coastal environment? (UPSC 2019)

 

Prelims Link:

Related information: London Convention (1972)- Its objective is to promote the effective control of all sources of marine pollution as well as the MARPOL Convention. Government SAGARMALA initiative and Deep Sea Mining Mission. O-SMART (Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART) scheme. Try to answer this Qn.

 

Consider the following statements:

  1. A coastal state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baseline.
  2. The Exclusive Economic Zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c

Justification:

      • According to Article 3 under section 2 of United Nations conventions (UNCLOS) regarding the territorial limits of the sea- every state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.
      • The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines an Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ). It is an area that shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines.
      • The EEZ is measured from the breadth of the territorial sea.

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/ Essay)


Japan asking its youth to drink more!

Direction: This example can be used to highlight issues like Economic growth vs Sustainable habits, keeping state revenue above citizens’ health, state interference in public/individual choices etc.

Context: In a bid to revitalize revenue collections, the Japanese government through its ‘Sake Viva’ competition is finding ways to get youngsters to drink more.

In Japan, the liquor industry contributes to regional economies and the growth of small to medium enterprises, which dominate liquor production in the country.

The competition comes amid a series of measures undertaken by the Japanese government to promote its alcohol industry, such as nationwide online festivals for wine and craft beer, awareness campaigns about local liquors, establishing an online registry of breweries, promoting sake internally and overseas, and expanding exports.

Concerns regarding promoting unhealthy habits by the government:

Findings of a survey conducted by Kyoto University showed that alcohol-related diseases and the risk of addiction associated with at-home consumption of alcoholic beverages increased during the pandemic.

 

Nearly 600 farmer suicides in 8 months: Is Marathwada facing Agri-distress

Direction: This data can be used to highlight farmer issues, rising suicide among farmers etc.

Context: Nearly 600 farmers in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region have died by suicide between January 1, 2022, and mid-August. Activists have blamed government policies as well as lack of financial help from legal sources to be the cause of the deaths.

Farmers need money on time during the sowing season. However, banks often delay the payments due to lengthy procedures, forcing the farmers to opt for private loans as an alternative for immediate investment requirements.

Though such practices are illegal, farmers have no option other than seeking money from moneylenders “The interest rates charged on these private loans are extremely high. Lenders charge up to 60 per cent interest over the loan amount.

 

From darkness to solar-powered light

Life has changed in Sarkhipara, in Tripura’s Khowai district after a micro-grid solar plant was installed a year ago. This was a game changer in not only providing electricity but also solar irrigation projects.

This example can be written in the mains answers as a success story.

 


Facts for Prelims


Development Action Plan for Scheduled Castes (DAPSC)

Source: Economic Times

Direction: Although not the flagship scheme of government, you can use it as an example in your mains answer. For prelims: know the % of SC population16.6% (SC) and 8.6% (ST) as per 2011 census); also know about the National Commission of Scheduled Castes ( constitutional body under Art 338) and e-utthaan portal.

 

Context: Ministry of finance will reallocate unspent SC welfare funds from DAPSC under 8 ministries to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE)

MoSJE will use this fund for infrastructure development and income-generating schemes of SC such as:

      • Dr Ambedkar Ustasv Dham (for community hall construction in villages);
      • PM Amrit Jaladhaara ( assistance to SC landowner for developing irrigation facilities);
      • PM young Entrepreneurs Schemes (PM-YES) ( for improving logistics such as tractors, harvesters in villages);
      • BLISS ( support to SC entrepreneurs engaged in service activities)

 

About DAPSC: It is an umbrella programme consisting of many schemes run by different ministries for promoting the social and financial inclusion of SCs.

 

International Transport Forum (ITF)

Context: Cabinet nod to India-France contract to support ITF activities in the Indian transport sector.

The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 64 member countries. It acts as a think tank for transport policy and organises the Annual Summit of transport ministers. ITF is the only global body that covers all transport modes. The ITF is administratively integrated with the OECD, yet politically autonomous.

 

UPI continues global expansion, now entering the UK market

Source: The Hindu

Direction: UPI is an important technology. Learn about how the system works.

 Context: Continuing its expansion outside India, the indigenously developed real-time payments solution UPI will now enter the UK market starting with QR code-based transactions.

The UK will be the eighth country where UPI-based services will be made available. UAE, Japan, the US, Singapore, Bhutan, Nepal and France are already accepting UPI-based payment services.

The NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) has forged a partnership with payments solutions provider PayXpert to internationalise the acceptance of its payment solutions in the UK.

 

Guidelines by SEBI

Source: Economic Times

Direction: Generally in economics, be clear of basic terms such as AIFs, and VCFs, and know about SEBI (statutory body est. in 1992 under SEBI Act, 1992). What are securities? Avoid in-depth technical details such as sections of SEBI etc.

 

Context: SEBI has issued guidelines to protect the interest of investors and promote the development of the securities market.

SEBI will now allow investment (of AIFs, VCFs etc.) in global companies that are:

      • Signatories to IOSCO or
      • A signatory to bilateral MoU with SEBI

Exceptions: Countries under FATF are barred and transfer or sale of investment in overseas companies can only be made to entities eligible under FEMA 1999.

Background: previously investments were allowed only in those global companies having some connection to India or have a back-office in India.

 Basics:

      • IOSCO (International Organization of Securities Commission): It is an international body for securities regulators ( e.g. SEBI in India) and set standards for them. Currently from India, SEBI is an ordinary member, the International Financial Services centre authority (IFSCA) is an associate member and NSE, BSE, and Multi-commodity exchange of India are affiliate members.
      • AIFs (Alternative investment fund): It is a privately pooled investment vehicle which collects funds from sophisticated investors, whether Indian or foreign for investment purposes. It must be incorporated or established in India.
      • VCFs (Venture Capital Fund): It is a type of AIF but here major investment is in Startups or SMEs (which have greater growth potential, but more risks)
      • Securities are fungible (interchangeable) and tradable financial instruments used to raise capital in public and private markets. Types:
        • Equity—which provides ownership rights to holders
        • Debt—essentially loans repaid with periodic payments
        • Hybrids—combine aspects of debt and equity.

 

POSOCO

Source: The Hindu

Direction: Be clear about the issues of DISCOMs, remember a few provisions of UDAY schemes (its success and failures)

 

Context: Power system operation corporation (POSOCO) (under the Ministry of Power) has debarred 13 state DISCOMs from buying and selling electricity from the spot market.

 

Reason: Not clearing of the timely bill by DISCOMs to power generators.

POSOCO invoked (for 1st time) Electricity (Late payment surcharge and related matters) Rules 2022 to debar DISCOMs

      • Issues with DISCOMs: Political interference, no periodic revision of the tariff, delay in subsidy allotment by the state government, issues with the recovery of dues (esp. from rural areas)
      • Issue of Generation Companies (Gencos): Delayed payment by DISCOMs leads to a debt trap as they have to borrow money to keep up their operation.

Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana is the financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies of India.

Government announced UDAY 2.0 (which aims at the installation of smart prepaid metres, prompt payment by DISCOMs, making coal available for the short term and reviving gas-based plants)

 

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme(series II)

Source: PIB

Direction: Go through it once.

 Context: Sovereign Gold Bonds(SGB) 2022-23 (Series II) will be opened for subscription during the period August 22-26, 2022 with a Settlement date of August 30, 2022.

 SGB scheme:

      • It was launched in November 2015 with an objective to reduce the demand for physical gold and shift a part of the domestic savings – used for the purchase of gold – into financial savings.
      • Issuance: The Gold Bonds are issued as Government of India Stock under the Government Securities (GS) Act, 2006.
        • These are issued by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) on behalf of the Government of India.
      • Minimum and Maximum limit: The minimum permissible investment limit will be 1 gram of gold, while the maximum limit will be 4 kg for individuals, 4 kg for Hindu Undivided families and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the government from time to time.
      • Stock exchange: Bonds are sold through Commercial banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges vizNational Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange, either directly or through agents.
      • Eligibility: The bonds are restricted for sale to resident individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), trusts, universities and charitable institutions.
      • Term: The gold bonds come with a maturity period of eight years, with an option to exit the investment after the first five years
      • Collateral: Bonds can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loans mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.

  

Har Ghar Jal

Source: Indian Express

Direction: JJM is important, both for Mains and Prelims. Do remember its important aspects (e.g. JJM shifted focus from habitation to household; emphasis on community ownership, women, children and weaker sections; Integrated water management; use of technology such as geo-tagging, dashboard-based monitoring etc.)

Context: Goa became 1st state to be certified with ‘Har Ghar Jal’ in the country.

 Process followed: After every household in the village is connected with tap water, Gram Sabha passes a resolution that not a single household is left out. Only after every village certifies its, State can be declared ‘Har Ghar Jal’

 About Har Ghar Jal

      • It aims to encourage the state to ensure tap water connection to every household by 2024
      • Under Jal Jeevan Mission (Ministry of Jal Shakti)
      • Status: Above 52% of the rural households are now connected with tap water (in 2019 it was only 17%)

 

 

Tilapia Fish

Source: PIB

Direction: Know a few facts about Tilapia. Know about Aquaculture, PMMSY and Blue Revolution. Also, remember a few basic facts (e.g. India is the 2nd largest fish-producing country in the world accounting for 7.56 per cent of global production)

 Context: Technology Development Board(TDB) (a statutory body under the DST) is funding its first ever ‘Aquaculture’ project using ‘state of the art’ Israeli technology for the production of Tilapia Fish”.

 Impact: It will help support Blue Revolution in India

 What is Tilapia Fish?

      • ‘Tilapia’ (also called “aquatic chicken” due to its quick growth and low maintenance) is one of the most productive and internationally traded food fish in the world.
      • It belongs to the family Cichlidae, native to Africa and the Middle East
      • It can adapt to a wide variety of conditions and has omnivorous food habits
      • It has also turned ‘invasive’ in some parts of India.

Under the project, Tilapia will be grown from the imported parent broodstock ‘Hermon’ from Israel.

      • Hermon is a hybrid of two selected strains of Tilapia, namely Oreochromis Niloticus (Male) and Oreochromis Aureus (Female), and shows:
        • high growth rate
        • resistance to low temperature
        • all hybrid fry progeny of males only

 

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana: It aims to Adopt ‘Cluster or Area-based Approaches’ and create fisheries clusters through backward and forward linkages. It further aims to double the export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore from the fisheries sector by 2024-25.

Blue Revolution: It refers to the time of intense growth of the worldwide aquaculture industry from the mid-1960s to the present day.

Fig: Tilapia Fish

 

AK-203 rifles

Source: The Hindu

Direction: Don’t overthink on these news (unless you are an arms enthusiast), go through it once. Know the names of a few items jointly being produced by India and Russia and know a few basic facts (e.g. India is still the largest importer of arms (2017-21 period).

 Context: Manufacture of the AK-203 assault rifles by the Indo-Russian joint venture at Amethi (UP) will begin by year-end (after a delay due to the Russia-Ukraine war)

 About AK 203 assault rifles:

      • It is the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle.
      • It is expected to replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) assault rifle (presently being used by Army, Navy and the Air Force)
      • These rifles are a type of Kalashnikov rifle, which can work under extreme climatic conditions and are effective even in sand, soil and water.
      • Issues with INSAS Rifles: It is not suitable for use at high altitudes. Several other issues with these rifles include gun jamming, oil leakage etc.

Background:

India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) in February 2019 for the production of AK 203 assault rifles.

As per contractual terms, the first 70,000 AK-203 rifles will be produced in India with a phased increase in the extent of localisation from 5% to 70%. The remaining rifles (of 6 lakh planned) will be produced with 100% localisation.

Other India-Russia bilateral projects:

      • Indigenous production of T-90 tanks
      • Su-30-MKI aircraft
      • Supply of MiG-29-K aircraft
      • Kamov-31 and Mi-17 helicopters
      • Upgrade of MiG-29 aircraft
      • Supply of Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher Smerch.
      • Supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles

Expenditure on purchase: the expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources has reduced from 46% to 36%, thereby reducing the import burden, in the last 3 (three) years i.e. from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

 


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