Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 10th Feb to 16th Feb – 2019
Land Rights of Scheduled Tribes
(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population)
The Scheduled Tribes (STs) have been the most marginalized, isolated and deprived population. To protect and safeguarding the land rights and other rights of Scheduled Tribes, following constitutional and legislative measure have been put in place.
- The Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006– to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land to forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes.
- Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFCTLARR Act, 2013) – safeguards against displacement of Scheduled Tribes. Special provisions have been made for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under Sections 41 and 42 of the RFCTLARR Act, 2013 which protect their interests. The RFCTLARR Act, 2013 also lays down procedure and manner of rehabilitation and resettlement.
- The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996– provides that the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level shall be consulted before making the acquisition of land in the Scheduled Areas or development projects and before resettling or rehabilitating persons affected by such projects in the Scheduled Areas
- Constitutional provisions under Schedule – V also provide for safeguards against displacement of tribal population because of land acquisitions etc. The Governor of the State, having scheduled Areas, is empowered to prohibit or restrict transfer of land from tribals and regulate the allotment of land to members of the Scheduled Tribes in such cases.
- The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 provides for legal services to members of Scheduled Tribes.
- The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 has been introduced to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, to provide for the trial of such offences and for the relief of rehabilitation of the victims of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Cabinet approves Introduction of Registration of Marriage of NRI Bill 2019
(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population)
The Union Cabinet has approved the introduction of Registration of Marriage of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Bill, 2019, for creating more accountability and offering more protection against exploitation of Indian citizens, mostly women by their NRI spouses.
- The Bill provides for amendment of the legal framework to act as a deterrent to the erring NRI spouses and creating more accountability and offer protection against exploitation of Indian Citizens married to NRIs.
- Once the Bill is passed, marriages performed by NRIs would be registered in India or Indian Missions & Posts abroad, and necessary changes would be carried out in the:
- Passports Act, 1967; and
- Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 by insertion of Section 86A.
- Serving judicial summons for Court proceedings in India is a major problem, which would be taken care of by this Bill by amending the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Thus, the Bill would offer great protection to Indian citizens married to NRIs and serve as a deterrent to NRIs against harassment of their spouses.
- This Bill would benefit Indian women married to NRIs worldwide.
Increase in duration of e-Tourist and e –Business Visa
(Topic: International Relations)
The e-Tourist Visa which was introduced in September 2014 with 46 countries has now been made applicable for 166 countries. Recently, government has made series of amendments in e-visa regime, liberalizing it further and making it more tourist friendly.
Important modifications made are highlighted as under_
- Duration of stay in India of e-Tourist and e-Business Visas is maximum upto 1 Year with multiple entry subject to the stay stipulations.
- Also, the existing restriction of allowing foreigner for a maximum of three times has also been removed.
Changes in e-Tourist Visa
- On e-Tourist Visa continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa except nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan.
- In case of nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days.
- In all cases no registration will be required.
Changes in e-Business Visa
- Continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa
- No registration will be required if the stay is for a period of less than 180 days.
- e-Visa is valid for entry through 2 (two) more designated Airports (Bhubaneswar and Port Blair) raising the total number of such airports to 28.
- Attending Destination wedding under normal e-Tourist visa or Tourist visa- No separate category of Destination Wedding Visa
- Foreign nationals who fall sick during their stay in India can now avail medical treatment without converting their visa into Medical Visa. This would take care of sudden medical emergencies.
- Visa-on-Arrival facility extended to the nationals of Republic of Korea.
Extension of tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis
(Topic: Institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections)
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for Extension of tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis (NCSK) beyond 31.3.2019 for three years.
- The NCSK was established in the year 1993 as per the provisions of the NCSK Act 1993 initially for the period upto 31.3.1997. Later the validity of the Act was initially extended upto 31.3.2002 and thereafter upto 29.2.2004.
- The NCSK Act ceased to have effect from 29.2.2004. After that the tenure of the NCSK has been extended as a non-statutory body from time to time. The tenure of the present Commission is upto 31.3.2019.
- The major beneficiaries of the proposal would be the SafaiKaramcharis and persons engaged in manual scavenging in the country since the NCSK will work for their welfare and upliftment.
- The number of Manual Scavengers identified under the MS Act Survey as on 31.01.2019 is 14226 and under the National Survey undertaken by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment at the behest of NITI Aayog is 31128 on 31.01.2019.
- The NCSK has been giving its recommendations to the Government regarding specific programmes for welfare of SafaiKaramcharis, study and evaluate the existing welfare programmes for SafaiKaramcharis, investigate cases of specific grievances etc.
- Also as per the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act,
- NCSK has been assigned the work to monitor the implementation of the Act, tender advice for its effective implementation to the Centre and State Governments and enquire into complaints regarding contravention/non-implementation of the provisions of the Act.
Current situation and steps needed
- Though the Government has taken many steps for the upliftment of the SafaiKaramcharis, the deprivation suffered by them in socio-economic and educational terms is still far from being eliminated.
- Practice of manual scavenging is still prevalent in the country and its eradication continues to be an area of the highest priority for the Government.
- Hence, the Government feels that there is a continued need to monitor the various interventions and initiatives of the Government for welfare of SafaiKaramcharis and to achieve the goal of complete eradication of the practice of manual scavenging in the country.
Methodology for Fixing National Minimum Wage
(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector)
The Ministry of Labour and Employment had constituted an expert committee on 17th January 2017, under the Chairmanship Dr. Anoop Satpathy to review and recommend methodology for fixation of National Minimum Wage (NMW). The Expert Committee has submitted its report on “Determining the Methodology for Fixation of the National Minimum Wage” to the Government of India.
Proposed criteria for minimum wage
- Using the nutritional requirement norms as recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for Indian population, the report has recommended a balanced diet approach which is culturally palatable for fixation of national minimum wage.
- Accordingly, it has proposed that food items amounting to the level of ± 10 per cent of 2,400 calories, along with proteins ≥ 50 gm and fats ≥ 30 gm per day per person to constitute a national level balanced food basket.
- It also proposes minimum wage should include reasonable expenditure on ‘essential non-food items’, such as clothing, fuel and light, house rent, education, medical expenses, footwear and transport, which must be equal to the median class and expenditure on any ‘other non-food items’ be equivalent to the sixth fractile (25-30 per cent) of the household expenditure distribution as per the NSSO-CES 2011/12 survey data.
- Apart from proposing the level of a single national minimum wage at an all-India level, the report has also estimated and recommended different national minimum wages for different geographical regions of the country to suit the local realities and as per socio-economic and labour market contexts.
- The committee has also recommended reviewing the consumption basket every five years, subject to the availability of NSSO-CES data, and – within the period of 5 years – revising and updating the basic minimum wage at least in line with the consumer price index (CPI) every six months, to reflect changes in the cost of living.
- The report will be put before the Central Advisory Board/tripartite bodies for necessary consultations and approval of the methodology.
1st Mega Food Park of Himachal Pradesh
(Topic: Marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints)
1st Mega Food Park of Himachal Pradesh inaugurated, the park will give an impetus to the growth of the Food Processing Sector in Himachal Pradesh.
What is Mega Food Park?
Mega Food Park is an inclusive concept and a scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing of the Government of India, aimed at establishing a “direct linkage from farm to processing and then to consumer markets” through a network of collection centres and primary processing centres
Need for Mega Food Parks
- Mega Food Parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach.
- Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs).
- Attraction of youths towards agriculture and allied activities.
Highlights of scheme
- Government provides grants up to Rs 50 crores for each food park to a consortium of companies.
- 30-35 food processing units are expected to be established.
- Collective investment of companies is expected to be at least 250 crores.
- A turnover of 400-500 crore and employment generation of at least 30000 from each mega food park is expected.
PETROTECH-2019, the 13th Edition of India’s flagship hydrocarbon Conference, held at Greater Noida. The theme of this conference is – ‘Shaping the New Energy World through Innovation and Collaboration’
PETROTECH provides the perfect setting to ponder over the future of the energy sector. It is a good platform to reflect on how global shifts, transitions, policies and new technologies will influence market stability and future investments in the sector.
Importance of energy security for India
- Energy is integral to support the fast growing Indian economy and need to deliver energy justice to the poorest of the poor.
- The robust growth of India has been achieved through a series of policy reforms focused on improving India’s long-term economic and social prospects.
- India has made remarkable jump in World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking from 142 in 2014 to 77th position in 2018.
- Significant increase in the energy demand over the next 20 years and oil and gas are likely to remain prominent fuels in the global energy basket. However, given the increasing emission and CO2 levels globally, it is also important that we take care of challenges arising out of global warming.
- India is third largest energy consumer in the world, with demand growing at more than five percent annually.
Facts and figures
- Oil & Gas sector is a key contributor to India’s economy and accounted for almost 55% of our energy mix in 2017.
- India is the third largest consumer of crude oil and petroleum products globally, accounting for 4.5 % of world oil consumption.
- Indian Oil and Gas companies are present in 28 countries with investments worth approximately 38 billion US dollars.
- National Data Repository has been set up to facilitate potential investors to take informed decisions based on the geo-scientific data of hydrocarbon resources in the country.
Energy security schemes
- UJJWALA scheme, under which 64 million households have been provided the LPG connections, enhancing access to clean cooking fuel which is called as the Blue Flame Revolution.
- Ambitious projects with 3200 KM long Prandhan Mantri Urja Ganga Project and 1600 KM long Indradhanush Gas Grid to connect eastern and north eastern parts of India with the National Gas Grid.
- India is shifting directly from BS-IV to BS-VI standards for fuel from April 2020. The supply of BS VI quality fuel has already begun in national capital of Delhi from April 2018.
- Ethanol Blended Petrol Program is being implemented and National Biofuel Policy to promote alternate fuels has been introduced.
- In next few years 70% of India’s population and 53 % of the country’s area shall get covered with city gas distribution networks.
- LNG is being promoted as a transport fuel for long-haul trucking along expressways, industrial corridors and inside mining areas.
- Hundred per cent electrification of households in India, through a targeted programme called SAUBHAGYA.
- LED bulbs distributed across the country under the UJALA scheme, have resulted in an annual saving of seventeen thousand crore rupees, or nearly 2.5 billion dollars.
- The Enhanced Oil Recovery Policy aims to promote the use of latest technology in improving productivity of upstream fields.
Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)
In a boost to energy security of the country, PM dedicated to the nation, 1.33 MMT Visakhapatnam Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) facility of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Limited (ISPRL). The cost of the Project is Rs. 1125 crore. The Facility has the largest underground storage compartment in the country.
- Central Government under phase I of SPR programme had announced to build three underground crude oil storage facilities with total capacity of 5.33 million tonnes at Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh, storage capacity of 1.33 million tonnes), Mangalore (Karnataka, 1.5 million tonnes) and Padur (Kerala, 2.5 million tonnes) to provide energy security of 10 days of consumption in response to external supply disruptions.
- All these are located on the east and west coasts of India which are readily accessible to the refineries. These strategic storages are in addition to the existing storages of crude oil and petroleum products with the oil companies and serve in response to external supply disruptions.
- In the 2017-18 budget, it was announced that two more such caverns will be set up Chandikhole in Jajpur district of Odisha and Bikaner in Rajasthan as part of the second phase. This will take the strategic reserve capacity to 15.33 million tons
- They are maintained by ISPRL, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which is wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) under Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
India and Norway launch initiative to combat Marine Pollution
(Topic: Environmental pollution and degradation)
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change signed a letter of Intent establishing the India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative.
Highlights of the initiative
- A joint Task Force on Blue Economy with government officials, researchers and experts as well as private sector was established to develop sustainable solutions within strategic areas of the blue economy, such as maritime and marine sector in addition to energy sector.
- In partnership, Norway and India will share experiences and competence, and collaborate on efforts to develop clean and healthy oceans, sustainable use of ocean resources and growth in the blue economy.
- Both the governments launched the first Joint initiative under this new partnership. The India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative will combat marine pollution, which is one of the fastest growing environmental concerns.
Objective of Blue economy
The objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities within the Indian Ocean region’s maritime economic activities.
- Sustainable harnessing of ocean resources, research and development
- Developing relevant sectors of oceanography.
- Stock assessment of marine resources.
- Introducing marine aquaculture, deep sea/long line fishing and biotechnology; and human resource development.
International Dam Safety Conference
(Topic: disaster management)
The 5th International Dam Safety Conference–2019 is being held in Bhubaneswar as a joint initiative of the Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank under aegis of the ongoing World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as a part of institutional strengthening.
Facts and figures on dams in India
- About 80 per cent of our large dams are over 25 years old. About 209 dams are over 100 years old and were built in an era when design practices and safety considerations were much below the current design and safety norms.
- Several of these dams may be experiencing distress and are in need of attention for ensuring their structural safety and operational efficiency
- In the 1990s, a World Bank assisted DSRP project was launched to rehabilitate 183 distressed dams.
- In 2012, the Water Resources Ministry initiated the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) with a duration of six years and financial outlay of Rs. 2100 crores. Presently, DRIP covers rehabilitation of 198 large dam projects located in seven states namely Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand.
Environmental Problems Caused By Dams
- Soil erosion: Dams hold back the sediment load normally found in a river flow, depriving the downstream
- Spread of Disease: Dam reservoirs in tropical areas, due to their slow-movement, are literally breeding grounds for mosquitoes, snails and flies, the vectors that carry malaria and river blindness
- Water logging: The Indian Institute of science estimates that 40 percent of the command area for Sardar Sarovar Dam will become waterlogged. This area contains black cotton soils which are particularly prove to water logging under perennial irrigation due to high water retention capacity. Soils become water logged and crop yields fall.
- Salinisation: The arid and semi-arid areas are incapable of handling large amounts of water brought by irrigation. Irrigation water has more saline content and adds more salt to the system leading to the increase of salinisation.
Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring Application (DHARMA)
- It is software tool for asset management has been developed to capture authentic data pertaining to all large dams to act as information repository.
- It covers the monitoring and health information to regularly review the safety aspects of any dam.
- This tool has the appropriate access to policymakers, project managers, and dam managers to review the information and take appropriate action.
- The central government is striving to address the issue of dam safety in a comprehensive way for quite a long time.
Importance of Dam Safety Conference
- The government has given in-principle approval to the project and will be funded by the World Bank. The project has wide spatial coverage, having 18 states and two central agencies, and covering about 13 per cent of large dams of India.
- The basic objective of these annual events is to give exposure to non-DRIP states as well as other stakeholders across the country and world, to the best global practices and technological advancements to address the emerging dam safety challenges.
- The new project is proposed to be a state sector scheme with a 10-year duration, with each proposed phase of six years duration with two years overlapping.
LADIS – Least Available Depth Information System
(Topic: Infrastructure- ports)
Inland Waterways Authority of India launches portal for real-time information on available depth on stretches of National Waterways (NWs)
- LADIS will ensure that real-time data on least available depths is disseminated for ship/barge and cargo owners so that they can undertake transportation on NWs in a more planned way.
- An assured depth of waterway is required for seamless movement of vessels.
- If real time information is made available regarding LADs in stretches of various NWs, it will help transporters by guiding them on the suitability of time of movement.
- Details of LAD will be fed into the portal by respective surveyors and regional in charge deputed with IWAI survey vessels which constantly move on NWs.
- It will enhance credibility and efficiency of information sharing to achieve seamless operations on National Waterways, besides pre-empting problems that may occur during movement of vessels.
Inland Waterways Authority of India
- Inland Waterways Authority of India was created by Government of India on 27 October 1986 for development and regulation of Inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
- The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of Inland Waterway Terminal infrastructure on National Waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways.
- Sela Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh: The Project costing Rs. 687 crore being constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) would be completed in the next three years. It covers a total distance of 12.04 kms which consist of two tunnels of 1790 and 475 meters. Once completed this would result in.
- All weather connectivity to Tawang and forward areas.
- Reduction in more than one hour of travelling time from Tezpur to Tawang.
- Travellers would be able to avoid the dangerous snow covered Sela top at a height of 13,700 feet.
- ‘GiveItUp’ campaign: As on 06.02.2019, nearly 1.04 crore LPG consumers have voluntarily surrendered their LPG subsidy under ‘GiveItUp’ campaign. Domestic LPG prices are revised every month in line with international price of LPG with corresponding revision in monthly LPG subsidy under PAHAL scheme. Entire subsidy burden is borne by the Government.
- PM serves 3 billionth meal to underprivileged children: PM serves 3 billionth meal to underprivileged children in Vrindavan by Akshaya Patra Foundation.
- The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation in India that runs school lunch programme across India. The organisation was established in 2000.
- Once the Mid-Day Meal Scheme was mandated centrally by the Government of India in 2003, Akshaya Patra partnered with the Government to serve cooked meals at all Government schools.
- Defence Innovation Hubs: The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework of the Government envisages setting up and managing independent Defence Innovation Hubs (DIHs). These DIHs will serve as platforms where innovators can get information about needs and feedback from the Services directly and create solutions for India’s major defence platforms. The Framework to Fund Defence Innovation Hubs under iDEX, approved by the Board of Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) prescribes the following minimum criterion for setting up Defence Innovation Hubs:
- Any Central Government recognized Incubator including but not limited to:
- Department of Science and Technology (DST) recognized Incubators.
- Atal Innovation Mission, NITIAayog created Atal Incubation Centers (AICs) and Established Incubation Centers (EICs).
- Ministry of MSME recognized incubators.
- Any other incubator recognized or funded through any Central government scheme.
- The incubator located in districts mentioned in the list of SME clusters hosted by the Ministry of MSME in collaboration with UNIDO.
- Incubator / Hub promoted by local industry associations.
- Light House Projects challenge: The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has instituted a challenge for States/ UTs to select six sites across the country for constructing the Lighthouse projects under Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC- India).
- The challenge has three components viz. i) Conduct of Grand Expo-cum-Conference, ii) Identifying Proven Demonstrable Technologies from across the globe and iii) Promoting Potential Technologies through the establishment of Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators- India (ASHA-I) for incubation and accelerator support.
- KUSUM scheme: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has formulated a Scheme ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)’. The Scheme is currently under the process of seeking approval. The proposal on KUSUM Scheme provides for:
- Installation of grid-connected solar power plants each of Capacity up to 2 MW in the rural areas;
- Installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfil irrigation needs of farmers not connected to grid; and
- Solarisation of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps to make farmers independent of grid supply and also enable them to sell surplus solar power generated to DISCOM and get extra income.
- Swachh Shakti 2019: Swachh Shakti-2019 is a national event which aims to bring in to focus the leadership role played by rural women in Swachh Bharat Mission. Women Sarpanches and Panches from all over the country will be attending the event. Around 15,000 women are expected to participate in this year’s Swachh Shakti event aimed at empowering the women.
- Swachh Shakti is an example of how at the grass root level, rural women champions are acting as a change agent to mobilize the community and lead from the front women taking initiatives for a Swachh Bharat.
- The movement is a part of ongoing activities under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
- e-AUSHADHI portal for Online Licensing System of AYUSH Medicine: Ministry of State (IC) for AYUSH launched the e-AUSHADHI portal, for online licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and related matters. Portal is intended for increased transparency, improved information management facility, improved data usability and increased accountability.
- Timelines will be fixed for processing of application through this portal with SMS and e-mail status updates at each step of the process
- This portal will not only aid the licensing authority , manufactures and consumers, as it will provide real time information of the licensed manufactures and their products, cancelled and spurious drugs, contact details of the concerned authority for specific grievances.
Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi
On energy security
- My vision for India’s energy future has four pillars: Energy access, Energy efficiency, Energy sustainability &Energy security.
- If we succeed in delivering the nutrition coverage to every mother, every child many lives will be saved.
Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu
On sustainable development
- Sustainable development is inclusive development.
- India’s traditional practices reflected a sustainable lifestyle
On health and modern life style
- Instant food means constant disease
- Yoga and meditation would not only help in improving physical fitness, but also ensure mental equilibrium, which is the need of the hour in view of the increased stress faced by the youngsters.