Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 16, 2018

Government Schemes

First comprehensive survey for rural India. Survey launched to rank States on rural cleanliness 6, 980 villages across 698 districts will be surveyed

WHAT

  • The Centre has launched the Swachh Survekshan Grameen, 2018, a nationwide survey of rural India to rank the cleanest and dirtiest States and districts on the basis of qualitative and quantitative evaluation.
  • A random selection of 6, 980 villages across 698 districts will surveyed during the month of August, following which the Swachh Survekshan Grameen awards are expected to be announced in time for Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2.
  • This is the first comprehensive survey for rural India, which has been launched after three successful editions of a similar survey in urban India,

Enlighten about the ranking parameter

  • The rankings will be based on three basic parameters: direct observation of public places by independent surveyors, service-level progress using data from the Swachh Bharat Mission’s information system and citizens’ feedback.
  • The feedback will be solicited through village meetings, online feedback and direct interviews, as well as discussions with key influencers such as local officials, elected representatives and anganwadi workers

Environment

NGT to hear pleas via videoconference

WHAT

  • In a bid to tackle vacancies at the regional Benches of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the green panel is set to start hearing matters of the other Benches via videoconferencing.

Enlighten about National Green Tribunal

  • The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
  • It draws inspiration from the India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment
  • The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible.
  • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.

Enlighten about the formation of NGT

  • During the Rio de Janerio summit of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June 1992, India vowed the participating states to provide judicial and administrative remedies for the victims of the pollutants and other environmental damage.
  • There lie many reasons behind the setting up of this tribunal.
  • After India's move with Carbon credits, such tribunal may play a vital role in ensuring the control of emissions and maintaining the desired levels.
  • This is the first body of its kind that is required by its parent statute to apply the "polluter pays" principle and the principle of sustainable development.
  • This court can rightly be called ‘special’ because India is the third country following Australia and New Zealand to have such a system.

Enlighten about the NGT members

  • The NGT consist of a full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members.
  • A judge of the Supreme Court of India or Chief Justice of High Court are eligible to be Chairperson or judicial member of the Tribunal. Even existing or retired judge of High Court is qualified to be appointed as a Judicial Member

Economy

IIP(Factory output measurement) Industry growth slips to 7-month low of 3.2% in May Data released by the Central Statistic Office (CSO

WHAT

  • Factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has slipped to seven month low of 3.2% in May 2018.

WHY

  • It was mainly due to sluggish performance of manufacturing and power sectors coupled with poor offtake of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).
  • Besides, IIP was revised down to 4.8% in April 2018 from previous estimate of 4.9%.
  • During April-May 2018, the IIP had recorded growth of 4.4% a compared to 3.1% in same period year ago.
  • The IIP had expanded by 2.9% May 2017 and previous low was 1.8% in October 2017.

Enlighten about the industrial growth in May 2018

  • IIP Manufacturing sector: It grew by just 2.8%, marginally up from 2.6% in the corresponding period last year.
  • Power generation growth: It decelerated sharply to 4.2% as compared to high of 8.3% year ago.
  • Mining sector output: It recorded an impressive growth of 5.7% as again 0.3% in May last year.
  • FMCG sector: It was the worst performer among user based goods segment as its output declined by 2.6% as against a growth of 9.7% year ago.

Enlighten about Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

  • IIP is composite indicator that measures short-term changes in volume production of basket of industrial products during given period with respect t chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by Central Statistic Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Base year: CSO had revised base year of IIP from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in May 2017 to capture structural changes in economy and improves quality an representativeness of indices.
  • The revised IIP (2011-12) reflects changes industrial sector and also aligns it with base year of other macroeconomics indicators like Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • The items included falls into 3 categories viz. Manufacturing (405 items), Mining items) & Electricity (1 item).
  • The weights of three sectors are 77.63%, 14.37% 7.9% respectively. The revised combined weightage of eight core Industries the IIP is 40.27%.

Infrastructure Development

Purvanchal highway

WHAT

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone for the Rs 23,000 crore Purvanchal highway

Enlighten about the Project

  • The Purvanchal Expressway project is expected to cost Rs. 23,000 crore and is likely to be completed in record three years' time.
  • Purvanchal Expressway in Uttar Pradesh is being touted as India's longest expressway that will connect Lucknow to Ghazipur. I
  • Its foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Azamgarh on Saturday.
  • The six-lane Purvanchal Expressway can be expanded to eight lanes.
  • The Purvanchal Expressway project is expected to cost Rs. 23,000 crore and is likely to be completed in record three years' time.
  • An air-strip will be constructed in Sultanpur district to facilitate landing of Indian Air Force aircraft in emergency situation.

Enlighten about some facts regarding The Purvanchal Expressway,

  • It will be a 340-km-long and it will not just increase connectivity but also give a boost to agriculture, commerce, tourism and industries besides social and economic development in the areas through which it will pass.
  • The Purvanchal Expressway will connect Lucknow with Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur.
  • The Purvanchal Expressway will be linked with the Lucknow-Agra Expressway and Yamuna Expressway which connects Agra to Delhi and will considerably bring down the travel time between Delhi and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Purvanchal Expressway will be linked with Varanasi through a separate link.

Enlighten about the EPC Model

  • EPC is a model of contract between the government and private sector players for public infrastructure building.
  • Under this system, the entire project is funded by the government.
  • The EPC entails the contractor build the project by designing, installing and procuring necessary labour and land to construct the infrastructure, either directly or by subcontracting.
  • Under EPC model the contractor is legally responsible to complete the project under some fixed predetermined timeline and may also involve scope for penalty in case of time overrun.
  • Under EPC, all the clearances, land acquisition and regulatory norms have to be completed by the government itself.

Person in News

Hima Das

  • Hima Das became the first Indian woman to win a gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in the 400m final race.
  • Hima Das, 18-year-old athlete from Assam, won World Under-20 championships gold at Tampere in Finland.
  • It is a remarkable achievement as Indians have never done well in sprints on the global stage, even if athletes such as P.T. Usha dominated the 400 m at the Asian level.
  • Hima’s under-20 title was the country’s first-ever gold in a track event at any IAAF World event.

Defence

Shwet Ashwa Drass Expedition

WHAT

  • Shwet Ashwa, the elite motorcycle display team of the Corps of Military Police, commenced a motor cycle expedition from Bengaluru to Drass on 2nd July 2018 as a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives during the Kargil war.
  • After a gruelling ride through the Western Ghats and encountering heavy rains at Mumbai and Jaipur, the expedition reached New Delhi on 13th Jul 2018 from where it will be flagged off for Drass on 16th July 2018
  • They reach Drass on 24th July 2018.
  • At Drass, they will participate in the Vijay Diwas celebrations to commemorate India’s Victory in the Kargil war and pay homage to the 527 brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives during this operation.

Agriculture

IFFCO iMandi IFFCO rolls out portal for farmers

  • Fertiliser major IFFCO has partnered with Singapore-based technology firm iMandi to start an e-commerce platform for farmers, with an investment of about 80 crore.
  • An e-commerce app, ‘IFFCO iMandi’, has been introduced and would cater to 5.5 crore farmers already associated with the cooperative.
  • A web portal has also been developed.
  • IFFCO’s subsidiary IFFCO eBazar Ltd has taken 26% stake in iMandi Pte Ltd.
  • “[The app] is a ‘one stop shop’ for agri inputs and produce, FMCG, electronics, loans, insurance etc

Environment Protection

Golden jackal

WHAT

  • Destruction of mangrove cover in the Bandar Reserve Forest (BRF) Andhra Pradeah is forcing the golden jackal (Canis aureus) out of its habitat, triggering a conflict with the local communities.
  • The conservation status of the animal is the ‘least concern’ and it preys on wild crab and fish.

Enlighten about Golden Jackal

  • They are 70- 85 cm long and weigh around 8 -10 kg.
  • They are golden yellowish in colour with a reddish tail having a black tip.
  • Males are usually larger than the females.

Presence in India

  • Golden Jackal are found in Kutch , Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana.It can also be spotted in the Bandhavgarh and Bandipur National Park

Habitat

  • Golden Jackal are found in the variety of habitats.
  • They are mostly spotted in the semi- desert, evergreen forests, savannas and agricultural areas.
  • Golden Jackal are omnivorous. They feed on small mammals, insects, hares, fish, birds and fruits.

Harriers decline as grasslands disappear

WHAT

  • Harrier birds, a migratory raptor species that regularly visits vast swathes of India, are declining.
  • This may foretell lurking dangers to the country’s grasslands.
  • Every winter, several species of harrier birds travel thousands of kilometres to escape frigid Central Asia for the grasslands of the subcontinent.
  • At least five species of harriers were recorded in India over the years; India has one of the largest roosting sites in the world for Pallid Harriers and Montagu’s Harriers.
  • The researchers focused on six of the 15 major roosting sites in six States, where consistent observations had been made for over five years.

Rollapadu Bustard Sanctuary

  • While a general declining trend was observed in all the monitored sites, researchers noted the most dramatic changes at the Rollapadu Bustard Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district, one of the largest.

Reason for declining population

  • The gravest concern is the loss of grasslands, either to urbanisation or to agriculture.
  • In February-March, peak season for the arrival of the birds, farmlands are burnt or over-grazed.
  • Of the 15 roosting sites surveyed, eight no longer exist as grasslands, and only five are protected.
  • Excessive use of pesticides in farms in and around the roosting sites could also be a reason for the lowered population counts.
  • In crops such as cotton, the use of pesticides kills grasshoppers, the harriers’ primary prey, and could lead to mortality of the birds themselves as they are on the top of the food chain

Enlighten about harrier species

  • Globally, of the 16 harrier species, only two are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Solution

  • More intensive research is needed
  • The conservation of India’s grasslands could be a start in protecting the magnificent migrators.

Sources – PIB , The Hindu , Indian Express