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[op-ed snap] The road to e-vehicles

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Need for a pan-India policy for smoother transition towards clean mobility.


News

Leading by example

  1. Jharkhand government has recently introduced electric vehicles for official use.
  2. While 20 vehicles have been acquired for the first phase, another 30 are expected to be added to the fleet in the coming weeks.

E-Vehicles integral to Smart Cities Mission

  1. In the current scenario of soaring fuel prices and the spectre of climate change looming large over the planet, it is a welcome step that a Jharkhand government is taking the lead in switching to e-vehicles.
  2. Clean mobility powered by clean energy is our most powerful weapon in our fight against climate change.
  3. It is a well known fact that government officials are tremendous guzzlers of fossil fuel.
  4. It is very realistic opinion that they could exchange their petroleum-based vehicles for electric ones.

Motivation for others

  1. If other States and the Centre were to follow the example set by Jharkhand, it would have two positive spin-offs.
  2. First, it would encourage the spread of a transportation infrastructure specific to e-vehicles.
  3. And second, it would spur the early adoption of e-vehicles by first-time buyers, generating consumer momentum for India’s stated goal of ensuring that by 2030.
  4. This is not far-fetched as quite a few countries, such as Norway and France, already have a substantial percentage of their vehicles running on either electricity or alternate fuels.

Way Forward

  1. Electric vehicles are also an integral component of smart cities, as they are an automatic assumption in frameworks of smart transportation.
  2. Meanwhile, the government needs to speed up the formulation of rules for e-vehicles as a category.
  3. The policy makers must come up with an India-specific road map for a transition that needs to be smooth if only because it is inevitable.
Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

NITI Aayog for clear policy on ‘jhum’ cultivation

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Jhum Cultivation

Mains level: Need for formalizing Jhum Cultivation.


News

Recognizing Shifting Cultivation

  1. A recent NITI Aayog report has recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture should take up a “mission on jhum cultivation” to ensure inter-ministerial convergence.
  2. The document said land for shifting cultivation be recognised as “agricultural land” where farmers practise agro-forestry for the production of food rather than as forestland.
  3. Various authorities often have divergent approaches towards shifting cultivation.
  4. This creates confusion among grass-roots level workers and jhum farmers said the report.
  5. The report suggests that shifting cultivation fallows must be legally perceived and categorised as ‘regenerating fallows’ and that credit facilities be extended to those who practise shifting cultivation.

Falling area

  1. Locally referred to as jhum cultivation, this practice is considered as an important mainstay of food production for a considerable population in North-East India.
  2. The report notes that between 2000 and 2010, the land under shifting cultivation dropped by 70 %.
  3. The report quotes data of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education which points out that from 35,142 sq km in 2000, the area under jhum cultivation dropped to 10,306 sq km in 2010.
  4. The Wastelands Atlas Map shows a reduction in shifting cultivation in north-eastern States from 16,435.18 sq km to 8,771.62 sq km in two years.

Food security on anvil

  1. While the practice ensures food security it does not provide adequate cash for the families and thus they are shifting to regular agriculture, particularly to horticulture.
  2. The MGNREGA has also had an impact on reducing dependency of people on shifting cultivation.
  3. The issue of food and nutritional security of communities involved in jhum cultivation during transition and transformation is rampant
  4. It can be ensured by broadening the PDS to ensure widespread access to cereals and other basic food items.

Issues with Jhum Cultivation

  1. One of the issues jhum cultivation was that people were returning to fallow land left after shifting in a shorter span.
  2. Earlier the cultivators returned to fallows after 10-12 years, now they are returning in three to five years which has impacted on the quality of the soil.

Back2Basics

Jhum (Shifting) cultivation

  1. It is a slash and burn practice of cultivation in States of North Eastern Hill Region of India and people involved in such cultivation are called Jhumia.
  2. It involves technique carried out since the Neolithic period from 13,000 to 3,000 B.C.
  3. The practice involves clearing vegetative/forest cover on land/slopes of hills, drying and burning it before onset of monsoon and cropping on it thereafter.
  4. After harvest, this land is left fallow and vegetative regeneration is allowed on it till the plot becomes reusable for same purpose in a cycle.
  5. Initially, when Jhum cycle was long and ranged from 20 to 30 years, the process worked well.
  6. However, with increase in human population and increasing pressure on land, Jhum cycle reduced progressively (5-6 years) causing problem of land degradation and threat to ecology of the region at large.
  7. Burning of residues provide potash to the soil. However it has several cons.
  8. Tree burning leads to:
  • Higher  CO2, NO2 and other Greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions
  • Loss of Biomass hence higher surface run off of rainwater leading to soil erosion
NITI Aayog’s Assessment

Kerala Tourism bags coveted awards

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PATA

Mains level: Enhancing Tourism Potential in Kerala


News

Context

  1. Kerala Tourism’s efforts got an impetus after its innovative marketing campaigns won the entity two prestigious gold awards of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
  2. Kerala Tourism got the first gold for its ‘Yalla Kerala’ print media campaign in the Gulf countries.

Yalla Kerala

  1. With the punch line, ‘Yalla Kerala,’ the campaign triggered a lot of interest for God’s Own Country as a tourism destination in the Gulf countries.
  2. It showcased the State’s greenery and backwaters, a different world from the Gulf, just four hours away.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB)

  1. The second gold award came for an innovative poster for the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), the biggest contemporary art show in south Asia.
  2. The post titled ‘live-inspired’ featured a colourful boat and fishermen, and could be put up straight as well as upside down.

Back2Basics

Pacific Asia Travel Association

  1. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association working to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.
  2. Founded in 1951, the PATA is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism in Asia Pacific region.
  3. The PATA Awards are presented to outstanding entries in the principal categories of Marketing; Education and Training; Environment, and Heritage and Culture.
Tourism Sector

U.P. to launch first-ever dial-FIR

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Dial FIR Scheme, Criminal Data Dossier

Mains level: Policing Reforms through technology initiatives


News

Dial FIR Scheme

  1. The Uttar Pradesh Police are set to launch a first of its kind dial-FIR scheme in the country where a common man can register regular crimes without going to a police station.
  2. Besides this, they are also expanding the counter-terror combat and response grid in the State by training over 100 fresh commandos in special skills including a maiden batch of women personnel.

Online Dossier of Criminals

  1. To combat crime, an online dossier of criminals in the state has also been prepared.
  2. The investigating officers in various districts of the state will be given 22,000 new i-pads soon on which we have fed a dossier of over 1-lakh small and big criminals.
  3. Once they reach a crime spot they will show photos of the probable suspects of the area and other places, based on initial leads.
  4. Criminal details from the jail department will enrich this database.
  5. This dossier would help in solving a case fast as the suspects can be identified quickly.
  6. P. is the only second state to prepare such a localised online criminal database after Punjab.

Why such move?

  1. UP Police were getting almost 20,000 events every day over UP 100 (police emergency number) on call.
  2. Everything that is reported to U.P. 100 relates to certain categories of crime that includes cases like those of vehicle theft.
  3. For such crimes, one can dial the emergency number and file an FIR, a call-based FIR.
  4. This will be like a regular FIR, under similar sections of IPC, and people need not come to the police station to get a case registered.
Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

In managing water, Surat takes lead

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Not Much

Mains Level: The newscard emphasizes need to prioritize waste water treatment and highlights benchmark efforts by Surat.


News

Context

  1. India is facing its worst water shortage in history, according to the composite water management index prepared by the Niti Aayog.
  2. Nearly 600 million Indians faced high to extreme water stress and about 2,00,000 people die every year in the country because of inadequate access to safe water.

Surat Municipality to supply 115 MLD treated water

  1. India’s ‘Diamond City’ offers a lesson for the country’s ever-expanding cities on water management and the optimal use of water, which is rapidly becoming a scarce resource.
  2. Surat’s civic body is setting up state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants (STPs) to ensure every drop of waste water is treated and reused for purposes other than drinking.
  3. From March 2019, the Surat Municipal Corporation will be supplying 115 MLD (million litres per day) treated water to industries located within the city to meet the entire industrial requirement.

What makes it Special?

  1. This is the largest capacity of tertiary water treatment in the country.
  2. In fact, Surat was the first city in the country to start selling recycled water to industries in 2014.
  3. The entire quantum of water will be treated from domestic sewerage water in tertiary treatment plants at the Bamroli and Dindoli areas
  4. This will supply water to mainly adjacent textile factories housing over many dying and printing units.
  5. This cost effective water management system is most advantageous for its contribution towards reducing the dependency on conventional resources of water, and thus optimal use of the resource.
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Andhra launches e-Rythu to boost cashless farm ecosystem

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars and utility of the app.

Mains level: AP and Telangana have always led the way for welfare of its farmers through various first-of-its kind initiatives in India.


News

e-Rythu App

  1. The government of Andhra Pradesh has launched a mobile platform, e-Rythu (e-farmer in Telugu) which will enable small-scale farmers to market their produce at reasonable prices.
  2. It aims to digitize agriculture marketplaces, payments, workflows, and provide farmers an easy and secure way to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural products via their feature phones.
  3. The platform has been developed by MasterCard Labs for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, Kenya, and has been customized for India use by the Labs team based at Pune.

Utility of the App

  1. The app will help farmers looking to sell their produce to connect with the right buyers more efficiently in local language and receive the best possible prices.
  2. Due to the small scale, and long travel distance from the places where they sell, most small and medium farmers in Andhra Pradesh suffer income losses.
  3. Additionally, since these farmers do not have a formal credit history, it is difficult for them to access any formal financial services.
  4. It will make horticulture markets more transparent for sellers, buyers, and other stakeholders, and pave the way for financial inclusion of millions of small and medium farmers in the state.
Agricultural Marketing Reforms – eNAM, Model APMC Act, Eco Survey Reco, etc.

Heritage tag for 2 irrigation facilities in Telangana

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation & irrigation systems storage

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ICID, HIS, Ana-katta, Pedda-Cheruvu

Mains level: Irrigation systems in India


News

Context

The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) has accepted Telangana’s nomination of Sadarmatt anicut across river Godavari in Nirmal district and Pedda Cheruvu in Kamareddy district in the ICID Register of Heritage Irrigation Structures (HIS).

Sadarmatt anicut

  1. The HIS award is a deserving recognition to this irrigation facility which has provided precious water for paddy crops in its designed ayacut of 13,100 acres since its construction in 1891-92.
  2. It has also served as a picnic spot for people from an area which may not be as vast its catchment area of nearly 40,000 sq miles but is spread over old undivided Adilabad, Karimnagar and Nizamabad districts.
  3. The anicut, which is English word for Telugu’s ana-katta, meaning a rainfall bund, was built by Nawab Ikbal-ud-Dowla who bore the tile of Vicar-ul-Umrah Bahadur in 1891-92 about 50 km downstream of the Sri Ram Sagar Project (SRSP).
  4. Ottley was the engineer and Khanapur was a jagir of the Nawabs during the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
  5. Sadarmatt bund is 437.4 m long on its left flank and 23.8 m on its right flank.
  6. The left canal is 21.5 km long while the right canal is 10 km and the distributory is 12 km in length irrigating 5,700 acres, 3,400 acres and 4,000 acres respectively.

Pedda Cheruvu

  1. The Pedda Cheruvu (big tank in Telugu) located on the outskirts of this district headquarters town is spread over an area of 618 acres.
  2. It was built in 1897 during the rule of Mir Mahaboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad State.
  3. It has a 1.8-km-long tank bund and 145-metre weir and three sluices. It’s catchment area is spread over 68.97 sq. km.
  4. With a capacity of 0.175 tmcft it provides water for irrigation to over 900 acres in Kamareddy, Sarampally, Narsampally and old Rajampet.
  5. It also provides drinking water for residents of the area.
  6. Womenfolk play Bathukamma during the Navaratrotsavalu on its bund and immerse them in its waters.
  7. This tank was taken up under the second round of Mission Kakatiya to be developed as a mini tank bund with an estimated outlay of ₹ 6.6 crore.

Back2Basics

International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID)

  1. The ICID is a Technical and Voluntary Not-for-profit, International NGO, dedicated to enhance the world-wide supply of food and fibre for all people by improving water and land management, and the productivity of irrigated and drained lands.
  2. The ICID By-laws have been enacted its International Executive Council for the due implementation of the provisions of the Constitution of the Commission.
  3. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  4. ICID has been involved in the global discussions leading to Agenda 21, World Water Vision, World Water Forums etc., which have become the focal point of several of its technical activities.
  5. In recognition of its significant contribution to the programs and objectives of International Year of Peace proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, on 15 September 1987 ICID was designated as a Peace Messenger by the UN Secretary General.
Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Tourism Ministry sanctions new projects in Kerala under Swadesh Darshan

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Rivers mentioned in the newscard

Mains level: Enhancing Tourism Potential in Kerala


News

Context

  • Union Ministry of Tourism on sanctioned Malanad Malabar Cruise Tourism Project under Swadesh Darshan Scheme for development of a rural circuit in Kerala.

Malanad Malabar Cruise Tourism Project

  1. The project will be focusing on the development of water-based thematic cruise experiences in and around Valapattanam and Kuppam Rivers of Kannur District.
  2. Three thematic cruises being developed under this project will be on Valapattanam and Kuppam River.
  • The first cruise on Valapattanam River will be Malabari Cuisine and Culinary Cruise (Muthappan Cruise) which will start from Valapattanam and will cover a distance of 40 Km to reach Munambu Kadavu in Valapattanam River.
  • There will be another cruise in Valapattanam River- Theyyam Cruise– which will begin from Valapattanam and will go up to Pazhayangadi in Valapattanam River.
  • The third cruise will be a Mangrove Cruise in Kuppam River covering a distance of 16 Km from Pazhayangadi to Kuppam.
  1. The cruises under the project will be operated under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
  2. Under the project the union ministry will be providing funds for development of basic infrastructure facilities such as Passenger Terminals, Boat Terminals, Bio Toilets, Wi-Fi facility, Drinking Water Facilities, Floating Markets for local produce among others etc.

Waterways in Kerala

  1. Waterways have been an important mode of transport in Kerala from the time immemorial.
  2. The total length of the navigation route in Kerala is 1900 km.
  3. Kerala has 44 Rivers and 7 Backwater regions.
  4. Water-based tourism is getting prominence all over the world. Kerala is blessed with wide stretches of water bodies. However, the potential of these is not tapped properly till date.

Back2Basics

Swadesh Darshan

  1. India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for development of tourism and job creation in the country
  2. This can be achieved only through an integrated approach by providing engaging experiences for distinct categories of tourists i.e. Domestic and International
  3. In due recognition to this the Government of India, Ministry of Tourism (MoT) launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme (Central Sector Scheme) for integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country in 2014-15
  4. Various themes which are unique and specific to the area can include beaches, culture, heritage, wildlife etc.
  5. Such theme based tourist circuits are developed in a manner that supports communities, provides employment and fosters social integration without comprising upon the environmental concerns and provides unique experiences to the tourists
  6. This scheme is envisioned to synergise with other Government of India schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India etc. with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation and economic growth.
Tourism Sector

Panel urges plan to save Himalayan springs

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level:  Need for conserving the natural springs in Himalayan region.


News

Context

  1. While Meghalaya with 3,810 villages with springs had the highest number of these water sources in the Eastern Himalayan States, Sikkim had the greatest density with 94% of its villages having a spring.
  2. In the Western Himalayas, Jammu & Kashmir had both the highest number of villages with springs at 3,313 and the greatest density of 50.6%.
  3. These springs are under threat due to ever increasing urbanisation in region.

Mission to revive Himalayan springs

  1. NITI Aayog constituted a group of experts that has urged the government to set up a dedicated mission to salvage and revive spring water systems in the Himalayan States.
  2. This is due to their vital importance as a source of water for both drinking and irrigation for the region’s inhabitants.

Why such move?

  1. The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) has been heavily reliant on the natural groundwater sources that are under increasing threat from the urbanisation.
  2. Almost half of the perennial springs have already dried up or have become seasonal and tens of thousands of villages are currently facing acute water shortage for drinking and other domestic purposes
  3. Almost 60% of low-discharge springs that provided water to small habitations in the region have reported clear decline during the last couple of decades.

Shimla crisis

  1. The extent of the crisis plaguing the mountainous region was recently evident when some districts of Himachal Pradesh and the capital Shimla faced a severe drinking water crisis this summer.
  2. Reduced snowmelt and depressed flow from springs was the main reason of the crisis.
  3. Also, with almost 64% of the cultivable area in the Himalayas fed by natural springs, they are often the only source of irrigation in the region.

Pollution of these Springs

  1. There were multiple sources of pollution in springs and these were due to both geogenic and anthropogenic.
  2. Microbial content, sulphates and nitrates were primarily because of anthropogenic reasons and contamination from fluoride, arsenic and iron was mainly derived from geogenic sources.
  3. Coliform bacteria in spring water could originate from septic tanks, household wastewater, livestock facilities, and manure lagoons in the source area or in the aquifers feeding springs.
  4. Similarly, nitrate sources were septic tanks, household wastewater, agricultural fertilisers, and livestock facilities.

Way Forward

  1. A multidisciplinary, collaborative approach of managing springs involving the existing body of work on spring water management must be developed.
  2. The programme could be designed on the concept of an action-research programme as part of a hydrogeology-based, community-support system on spring water management.
  3. The task force moots an 8-year programme to overhaul spring water management.
  4. This includes: preparing a digital atlas of the country’s springsheds, training ‘para-hydrogeologists’ who could lead grassroots conservation and introduction of a ‘Spring Health Card.’
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

The Nilgiri tahr climbs population charts

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read B2B

Mains level: The rise in numbers of the species is assign of successful conservation effort.


News

Nilgiri Tahr Population climbs ups

  1. A recent census has revealed that the population of the Nilgiri tahr (an endangered mountain goat) at the Mukurthi National Park has grown by an impressive 18% in the last two years, from 480 to 568.
  2. A count conducted in 2016 had put the population in the national park at around 480, but a revised count in 2017 pegged it at 438.
  3. Apart from the increase in numbers, the sex ratio, too, was encouraging. There are two adult females for every male.
  4. This indicates a viable breeding population, and hints at further population growth.
  5. The population estimation exercise, completed in May, was conducted jointly by the Forest Department and the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Biology, Government Arts College, Udhagamandalam.

Several threats

  1. The continuing spread of invasive species of flora, such as wattle and pine, and exotic weeds like scotch broom (Cystisus scoparius) and gorse diminishes grazing land.
  2. The impact of consumption of exotic weeds by the animals is still unknown.
  3. The rise in the animals’ population has led to a few herds migrating out of the national park.
  4. Incidences of hunting and poaching are also often.
  5. However the Forest Department was stepping up efforts to remove exotics, with wattle eliminated in over 125 hectares of Shola grasslands.

Back2Basics

Nilgiri tahr

  1. IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered
  2. The Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) aka the Nilgiri ibex or simply ibex.
  3. It is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India.
  4. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.
  5. The Nilgiri tahr inhabits the open montane grassland habitat of the South Western Ghats montane rain forests eco-region.
  6. At elevations from 1,200 to 2,600 metres (3,900 to 8,500 ft), the forests open into grasslands interspersed with pockets of stunted forests, locally known as sholas.
  7. Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population of this Tahr.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Now marriage certificate must for official work in Meghalaya

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Role of women & women’s organization

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The newscard highlights unique matrilineal tradition of Khasi Community and government measures to protect these marriages.


News

Marriage certificate now Mandatory

  1. The State govt. in matrilineal Meghalaya has made it mandatory for married people to produce marriage certificates for all official purposes.
  2. The govt. has also decided to deny government jobs and benefits to men who have abandoned their families and are not providing for maintenance of their children.
  3. All govt. departments have been asked to ensure that individuals, if married, are made to submit copies of their marriage certificates for all official purposes.

Protecting women against broken marriage

  1. The step has been taken in view of increasing cases of broken marriages and women being forced to fend for themselves and their children.
  2. It was pointed out that the abandonment of families by men lead to a spike in school dropouts and juvenile crimes.
  3. It sought implementation of the Meghalaya Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2012.

Fight for maintenance

  1. The government’s order cannot stop divorce, but marriage certificates will help abandoned women fight for the maintenance of their children after their husbands abandon them.
  2. Most marriages in the Khasi society are not registered, and this makes it difficult for abandoned women to fight for the maintenance of their children.
Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

Monitoring of nutrition to go hi-tech in Rajasthan

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nutrition Month

Mains level: States strategies for countering malnutrition and related problems.


News

Smartphone based monitoring in Rajasthan

  1. Monitoring of nutrition and health-related services in the Anganwadi centres will go hi-tech in Rajasthan during September, observed as a “nutrition month”.
  2. With the mobile applications replacing the manual observation methods, smartphones will be supplied to all Anganwadi centres in the State to ensure success of nutrition programmes.

Boosting NNM implementation

  1. Rajasthan plans to implement NNM with a vision document for 2022, which is under formulation.
  2. This is to ensure convergence of work by all stakeholders for improving nutrition levels of women and children and reducing under-nutrition and low birth weight by 2% each year.
  3. The free milk distribution in schools for the students of Classes I to VIII along with the midday meals was also extended from three days to all days in the week.
  4. The declaration of September as a “nutrition month” forms part of the strategies for addressing the issue of under-nutrition and stunting.
Hunger and Nutrition Issues – GHI, GNI, etc.

MP seeks revival of cheetah reintroduction project

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Asiatic Cheetah

Mains level: Reintroduction of the already extinct Cheetah in India


News

MP seeks reintroduction of Cheetah

  1. The Madhya Pradesh forest department has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the State’s Nauradehi sanctuary.
  2. The ambitious project, conceived in 2009, had hit a roadblock for want of funds.
  3. The proposal was to put the felines in the enclosure with huge boundary walls before being released in the wild, he said.
  4. Nauradehi was found to be the most suitable area for the cheetahs as its forests are not very dense to restrict the fast movement of the spotted cat.
  5. The country’s last spotted cheetah died in Chhattisgarh in 1947.
  6. Later, the cheetah which is the fastest land animal was declared extinct in India in 1952.

Financial Crunch – the key hurdle

  1. According to the earlier action plan, around 20 cheetahs were to be translocated to Nauradehi from Namibia in Africa.
  2. The Namibia Cheetah Conservation Fund had then showed its willingness to donate the felines to India, Mr. Dubey said.
  3. However, the State was not ready to finance the plan contending that it was the Centre’s project.
  4. The M.P. forest department need finances from the Centre for the project adding.
  5. It was estimated that an amount of ₹25 crore to ₹30 crore would be needed to build an enclosure in an area of 150 sq km for the cheetahs in Nauradehi.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Odisha to get Legislative Council

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Polity| Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features.

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: Article 169 of the Constitution

Mains Level: Need for a Legislative Council


News

Odisha to get a Legislative Council

  1. Odisha is all set to get a Legislative Council like several other States in the country.
  2. The proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the 147-member State Assembly.
  3. The State will have to spend ₹35 crore annually for the Council, the members of which will get salary and allowance as given to the members of the Legislative Assembly.
  4. The Odisha government had set up a committee in 2015 to study the Legislative Councils in other States and recommend for establishment of one in the State.

Back2Basics

Legislative Council

  1. Article 169 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of a Vidhan Parishad.
  2. The Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council is the upper house in those states of India that have a bicameral legislature.
  3. As of 2017, seven (7) (out of twenty-nine) states have a Legislative Council viz.
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Bihar
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Karnataka
  • Maharashtra
  • Telangana
  • Uttar Pradesh

Term

  1. Each Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) serves for a six-year term, with terms staggered so that the terms of one third of a council’s membership expire every two years.
  2. This arrangement parallels that for the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.

Qualification

  1. MLCs must be citizens of India, at least 30 years old, mentally sound, not an insolvent.
  2. He must be registered on the voters’ list of the state for which he or she is contesting an election.
  3. He or she may not be a Member of Parliament at the same time.

Size of the House

  1. The size of the Vidhan Parishad cannot be more than one third of the membership of the Vidhan Sabha.
  2. However, its size cannot be less than 40 members (except in Jammu and Kashmir, where there are 36 by an Act of Parliament.)

Elections of Members

They are elected by local bodies, legislative assembly, governor, graduates, teacher, etc. MLCs are chosen in the following manner:

  1. One third are elected by members of local bodies such as municipalities, gram sabhas/gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and Zila Parishad.
  2. One third are elected by members of Legislative Assemblies of the State from among the persons who are not members of the Assembly.
  3. One sixth are nominated by the governor from persons having knowledge or practical experience in fields such as literature, science, arts, the co-operative movement and social service.
  4. One twelfth are elected by persons who are graduates of three years’ standing residing in that state.
  5. One twelfth are elected by persons engaged for at least three years in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower than secondary schools, including colleges and universities.

Why need Legislative Council?

  1. VP has no powers in terms of passing bills; be it money bills or ordinary bills, unlike Rajya Sabha which has equal powers as that of Lok Sabha in terms of Ordinary bills and Amendment bills.
  2. This is the reason, it is generally optional to have Vidhan Parishad.
  3. The purpose of having a bicameral legislature is to re-check the decisions taken by the lower house.
  4. Even though the upper house has no power to totally reject the bill (even if it rejects, the state assembly can go ahead with the bill after governor’s approval), it can delay the bill for some time.
  5. The delay will be the time given to the assembly to revise its decision and make any changes to the proposed bill.
  6. It will cool down the rush of the hour feeling in the popularly elected house and paves way for much rational thoughts.
  7. As there are no powers for Vidhan Parishad to block any bills, there is not much harm in having such a house.
  8. The Council has no powers to advise a bill passed in the Assembly.
  9. It can only delay the passage of the bill for 3 months in the first instance and for one month in the second.
  10. There is no provision of joint sitting as in case of disagreement in Parliament over ordinary bills.
  11. In the ultimate analysis, the Legislative Council is a dilatory chamber so far as ordinary legislation is concerned.
  12. It can delay the passage of the bill maximum for a period of four months.
Legislative Council in States: Issues & Way Forward

Kerala flood lesson for Assam

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Dams mentioned and their downstream impacts.

Mains level: Flooding events have become consequent in every parts of India. The newscard highlights man-made causes which worsen havoc created by floods.


News

Network of dams in the “control of other States”

  1. Flood-experienced Assam can learn a lesson from the Kerala to avoid large-scale disaster.
  2. The experts have found a similar pattern to recurrent floods in Assam up to four times a year between April and October – and Kerala’s worst flood ever.
  3. The most worrying similarity is a network of dams in the control of other States surrounding Kerala and Assam.

Flash Floods due to sudden release from dams

  1. Assam is surrounded Hydropower projects in neighbouring States and in adjoining Bhutan.
  2. Assam has been rain-deficient by 30% this year, but Golaghat district experienced flash flood due to the release of excess water by the Doyang dam in Nagaland.
  3. Similar was the case in Assam’s Lakhimpur district last year because of the Ranganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh while the Kurichu dam in Bhutan has often caused flooding in western Assam.

A downstream impact in Kerala

  1. A majority of 39 dams that affected Kerala are on inter-State rivers and under the control of neighbouring States such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  2. The decision of how much water and when to be released is not within the purview of Kerala, which is suffering from downstream impact of those dams and the situation is similar for Assam.

More dams coming in NE

  1. More dams coming up in other NE States and in Bhutan could spell doom for Assam.
  2. Arunachal Pradesh too is wary of the impact of big dams.
  3. The river Siang (one of three that meet to form the Brahmaputra downstream) has suffered from dams and other constructions in China upstream.

Rampant deforestation and negligence

  1. The second lesson that Assam needs to learn from Kerala is the effect of rampant deforestation, mining, and quarrying.
  2. Kerala has allowed settlement on elephant corridors such as Thirunelli-Kadrakote and Kottiyoor-Periya, leading to felling.
  3. The consequence has been killer landslides on an unprecedented scale.
  4. Kerala is by far one of the more developed States in terms of literacy and development planning, but it has suddenly been exposed like Tamil Nadu was during the devastating floods in 2015.
  5. Kerala is reaping the consequences of neglecting, like other Western Ghats States, the recommendations of the Gadgil and Kasturirangan panels against hydro-power projects in ecologically sensitive zones.

Way Forward

  1. Micro-climate controlled by land use was the primary reason behind the catastrophe in Kerala though climate change was the overriding factor.
  2. Rainfall in Kerala has been increasing after a dip in 2013, but the annual rainfall in many parts of the northeast is much higher than the southern coastal State.
  3. The densely populated floodplains of Assam thus have to worry because of changes in land use that have impacted the micro-climate adversely.
Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

Telangana Govt launches Disaster Response Force vehicles

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Disaster Management | Disaster and disaster management.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DRF

Mains level: Enhancing preparedness for disaster management.


News

Disaster Response Force (DRF) vehicles

  1. The Telangana Government has launched Disaster Response Force (DRF) vehicles in Hyderabad to combat situations like flash floods, heavy rains, building collapse and fire mishaps.
  2. The vehicles will be parked at 24 locations with Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) DRF staff and will be pressed into action at the time of need.
  3. Hyderabad is also the second city to have an exclusive Enforcement Vigilance Disaster Management wing.

Enhancing Preparedness for disaster

  1. The main aim behind the initiative is that the state should have its own disaster force.
  2. The force has been trained in tackling urban flooding, tree falls, structural collapses and any other site of emergencies.
  3. The team is capable to work continuously during emergencies.
  4. The disaster personal will be available on the field for 24/7.
Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

Rythu Bima providing instant aid to families

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Rythu Bima scheme

Mains level: The newscard discusses the Rythu Bima scheme which is gaining wide acknowledgement and puts Centre to think over such framework at pan India level.


News

Rythu Bima Scheme

  1. Rythu Bima group life insurance scheme is introduced by the Telangana government for all the landholding (pattadar) farmers in the age group of 18-59 years from August 14.
  2. It is proving to be an instant aid to their families in case of death of the enrolled farmer, irrespective of the cause either natural or otherwise.
  3. The death of farmers with any reason is compensated within a maximum time of seven days by NEFT transaction by crediting the amount of ₹5 lakh each to the nominees.
  4. The settlement of claims has proved to be the fastest under any life insurance schemes available in the country.
  5. Settlement of 52 claims out of deaths of 78 beneficiary farmers in the first five days of implementation of the scheme is an ample proof of fastest life insurance claims settlement in the country.

Seamless Operational Framework

  1. State government departments have been provided with tablet PCs for this.
  2. Agriculture Department officials have been putting the devices to optimal use beginning with collection of details of lands under cultivation by Agriculture Extension Officers early in 2017.
  3. Later, the devices were used during purification of land records and now for Rythu Bima.
  4. Manual work in the settlement of Rythu Bima claims is limited only at village and mandal-level.
  5. The AEO concerned collects the copies of Aadhaar of deceased farmer and the nominee, bank account passbook copy of the nominee, filled-in claim form and death certificate.
  6. These documents are attested by Mandal Agriculture Officer (MAO) at mandal-level.
  7. It’s everything online from the next step onwards — till crediting of claim amount to the nominee account.

Uses NIC developed software

  1. The NIC has developed special software for the purpose of forwarding the claims received from District Agriculture Offices (DAOs) to the LIC without human intervention every day at 5 p.m.
  2. The software creates a text file of all claims received till 4 p.m. every day and forwards them to LIC’s E-Sat office in Hyderabad along with scanned documents in PDF format for further processing.

Way Forward

  1. Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bima have improved the image of Agriculture Department and its officials in villages enormously and the recognition would help in maintaining good liaison with farmers.
  2. Besides, the act of helping somebody get instant help gives immense satisfaction to the field-level work by the officials.
  3. A scheme with such an operational framework can be a remedy to the distressed farmers at pan-India level.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Odisha to showcase its biodiversity

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: Bhitarkanika National Park

Mains Level: Read the attached story.


News

Setting up world-class interpretation centre

  1. The Odisha government is setting up a world-class interpretation centre at Dangamal near Bhitarkanika National Park to showcase its efforts in protecting crocodiles and preserving its rich mangrove diversity.
  2. The project, which has been approved under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, will be taken up at an estimated cost of ₹3 crore.
  3. It is planned to develop the centre both as a tourist attraction and a place for students to learn about the environment.

Mangroves as Bio-shield

  1. In 1999 when coastal Odisha was battered by Super Cyclone, the rich mangrove forests had then acted as a bio-shield.
  2. There was very little impact of the cyclone in the mangrove-forested regions.
  3. In fact, Kalibhanjdia Island spread over 8.5 square km, a place in Bhitarkanika, has attracted the attention of foreign scientists as its possesses 70% of the total mangrove species of the world.

Back2Basics

Bhitarkanika National Park

  1. Bhitarkanika National Park is a national park located in Kendrapara district of Odisha in eastern India.
  2. It spreads over 672 km2 and is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary.
  3. It was designated as national park on 16 September 1998 and as a Ramsar site on 19 August 2002.
  4. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east, and separates swamp region cover with canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal.
  5. The national park is home to saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Indian python, King cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
  6. It hosts a large number of mangrove species, and is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India.
  7. The national park and wildlife sanctuary is inundated by the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, Pathsala.
  8. Bhitarkanika, one of the State’s finest biodiversity hotspots, receives close to one lakh visitors every year.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM):

  1. Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) or Integrated coastal management (ICM) is a process for the management of the coast using an integrated approach, regarding all aspects of the coastal zone, including geographical and political boundaries, in an attempt to achieve sustainability.
  2. It is a World Bank assisted project.
  3. The ICZM plan involves identification of infrastructure requirements and livelihood improvement means in coastal districts. Conservation of mangroves is among the components.
  4. The national component of the project includes mapping of the country’s coastline and demarcation of the hazard line.
  5. It is being implemented by the Department of Forests and Environment with assistance from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  6. The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, will provide scientific and technical inputs.

Odisha launches health scheme for 70 lakh families

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level:  Non-compliance of states to AB-NHPM


News

Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana

  1. Odisha CM launched Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, a health for all scheme, on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day.
  2. The scheme provides health assurance coverage to 70 lakh families, covering more than 70% of the State’s population
  3. It may be recalled that the Odisha government had rejected the National Health Protection Scheme as it covered much lesser number of people in Odisha by adopting the 2011 census.
  4. The State government went ahead with its own scheme with coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per year per family. The amount is ₹7 lakh per family with women members.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Initiative to address Unemployment related issues


News

Mukhyamantri Yuva Nestam- a Pension Scheme

  1. The AP government has launched this  scheme through which an allowance of Rs 1000 per month will be provided to unemployed youth in the state.
  2. About 12 lakh youths in the age group of 22-35 years will get the benefit of the scheme.
  3. The registration for the scheme will start mid-August.
  4. The scheme will be extended to all those eligible even if there are more than one beneficiary in a family.
  5. It will implement the scheme in a very transparent manner like pension scheme.
  6. The money will be credited directly into the bank accounts through biometric authentication.
Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.