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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 5th November to 10th November – 2019

  • IASbaba
  • November 11, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 5th to 10th November, 2019

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GS-2

National Hydrology Project (NHP)

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

Implemented by: Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with support from World Bank

  • The project has a coverage on pan India basis and intends to set up of a system for timely and reliable water resources data acquisition, storage, collation, management and dissemination. 
  • NHP would also be a platform to develop tools and systems for informed decision making in field of flood management, reservoir operations, drought management, etc.
  • The project also seeks to build capacity of the State and Central sector organisations in water resources management through the use of Information Systems and adoption of State-of-the-art technologies. 
  • To achieve the objectives as above, NHP contemplates to promote international level knowledge exchange, solutions exchange and networking necessary to realize these changes.

Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has declined by 8 points in one year as per the latest Special Bulletin on MMR released by the Registrar General of India. This decline is important as it translates to nearly 2000 additional pregnant women saved annually.

  • MMR has declined from 130/ lakh live births in 2014-16 to 122/ lakh live births in 2015-17 (6.2% decline). With this persistent decline, India is on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target for reducing MMR by 2025, five years ahead of timeline of 2030
  • 11 States have achieved the ambitious target of MMR of 100/lakh Live Births by 2020 set under the National Health Policy 2017: Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Karnataka and Haryana.
  • The most important feature of this bulletin is that MMR for the States of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been published independently for the first time. 
  • A total of seven States, namely Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana have shown a decline in MMR that is greater than or equal to the national average of 6.2%.

What contributed to it – 

  • This has been possible in view of the gains made in institutional deliveries and focused approach towards High Priority Districts and inter-sectoral action to reach the most marginalized and vulnerable population. 
  • Focus on quality and coverage of health services through public health initiatives under the National Health Mission such as Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram and Janani Suraksha Yojana have contributed to this decline
  • New initiatives in the form of LaQshya, POSHAN Abhiyan and SUMAN (Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan Initiative) will help to ensure that all pregnant women receive quality maternal care with dignity and that no mother or newborn dies due to a preventable cause.

Way Forward: Four states namely Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will have to intensify their efforts to accelerate the MMR decline to achieve the SDG target.


Steel Scrap Recycling Policy

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

Steel Ministry’s endeavor is to develop a globally competitive steel industry by adopting state of the art environment friendly technologies. 

Ferrous Scrap being the primary raw material for EAF/ IF based steel production, the policy envisages a framework to facilitate and promote establishment of metal scrapping centers in India. This will ensure scientific processing & recycling of ferrous scrap generated from various sources and a variety of products. The policy framework shall provide standard guidelines for collection, dismantling and shredding activities in an organized, safe and environmentally sound manner.

Steel is a material most conducive for circular economy as it can be used, reused and recycled infinitely. While iron ore remains the primary source of steel making, used or re-used steel in the form of Scrap is the secondary raw material for the steel industry.

National Steel Policy 2017 (NSP-2017) aims to develop a globally competitive steel industry by creating 300 Million TPA Steel production capacity by 2030 with a contribution of 35-40% from EAF/IF route. Although, scrap is the main raw material for secondary sector but primary sector also uses Scrap in the charge mix of BOF to the tune of 15% to improve efficiency, minimize cost of production and other process needs. The availability of raw materials at competitive rates is imperative for the growth of the steel industry and to achieve NSP-2017 target. Thus, the availability of right quality of scrap, in adequate quantity is one of the critical factors for the future growth for both EAF/IF sector & primary sector.

Further, Scrap based steel making technologies have been envisaged as one of the important options to reduce GHG emission intensity. This shall feature as an important initiative of the steel sector to minimize Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. This shall also contribute in adopting the principle of 6Rs i.e. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacture to avoid any adverse impact on the environment and strengthening the foundation of sustainable development.

Features:

  • To promote circular economy in the steel sector
  • To promote a formal and scientific collection, dismantling and processing activities for end of life products that are sources of recyclable (ferrous, non- ferrous and other non-metallic) scraps which will lead to resource conservation and energy savings and setting up of an environmentally sound management system for handling ferrous scrap.
  • Processing and recycling of products in an organized, safe and environment friendly manner.
  • To evolve a responsive ecosystem by involving all stakeholders.
  • To produce high quality ferrous scrap for quality steel production thus minimizing the dependency on imports.
  • To decongest the Indian cities from ELVs and reuse of ferrous scrap.
  • To create a mechanism for treating waste streams and residues produced from dismantling and shredding facilities in compliance to Hazardous & Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 issued by MoEF & CC.
  • To promote 6Rs principles of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacture through scientific handling, processing and disposal of all types of recyclable scraps including non-ferrous scraps, through authorized centers / facility.

Cabinet Approves

MoU between India and Maldives on Training and Capacity-Building Programme for Maldivian Judicial Officers in India: The MoU will promote cooperation between India and Maldives in judicial and other legal areas, and enable exchange of knowledge and technology in training and capacity building.

MoUs signed between India and German Agency in the field of Occupational Diseases, Re-habilitation and vocational training: Exchange of information and collaboration will enable capacity building and social re-habilitation of Insured Persons with disabilities, besides prevention, detection and treatment of occupational diseases.

MoU signed between India and Bangladesh on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni River by India: As on date, there is no water sharing agreement on Feni river between India and Bangladesh.  The present supply of drinking water to Sabroom town is inadequate. The ground water in this region has high iron content.  Implementation of this scheme would benefit over 7000 population of Sabroom town.

MoU between India and Paraguay for Strengthening Cooperation in the field of Tourism: 

  • Expansion of bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector;
  • Exchange of information and data related to tourism;
  • Encouraging cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour Operators and airlines;
  • Establishing exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resource Development;
  • Investment in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors;
  • Exchanging visits of Tour Operators/Media/Opinion-Makers for promotion of two-way tourism;
  • Exchange of experience in the areas of promotion, marketing destination, development and management;
  • Participation in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country; and
  • Promoting safe, honourable and sustainable tourism.

MoU between India and Brazil on Cooperation in the field of Health & Medicine: The bilateral MoU between India and Brazil will encourage cooperation between the two countries through joint initiatives, technology development in the health sector and development of research in the health sector. It will facilitate in improving the public health status of people of both the countries. . It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Brazil.

Protocol amending the Convention between India and Brazil for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income: 

  • Through updation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention’s (DTAC’s) provisions to international standards, the Amending Protocol between India and the Federative Republic of Brazil will facilitate elimination of double taxation. 
  • Clear allocation of taxing rights between Contracting States through DTAC will provide tax certainty to investors & businesses of both countries. 
  • The Amending Protocol will augment the flow of investment through lowering of tax rates in source State on interest, royalties and fees for technical services. 
  • The Amending Protocol implements minimum standards and other recommendations of G-20 OECD Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project. 
  • Inclusion of Preamble Text, a Principal Purpose Test, a general anti abuse provision in the DTAC along with a Simplified Limitation of Benefits Clause as per BEPS Project will result in curbing of tax planning strategies which exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules

MoU between India and Switzerland on Technical Cooperation in the field of Climate Change and Environment: 

  • Capacity-building on Climate Change and Sustainable Water management;
  • Sustainable Forest Management;
  • Sustainable development of mountainous regions;
  • Environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development;
  • Addressing issues of Air, land and water pollution;
  • Focussing on Clean and Renewable Energy; and
  • Climate change risk management

MoU signed between India and Guinea in the field of Renewable Energy

  • To establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship
  • To encourage and promote bilateral technical cooperation in the field of renewable energy on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity between the Parties.
  • Areas of cooperation include Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Bio-energy, and Waste to energy, Small Hydro Storage and Capacity Build

Ayodhya Verdict

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

India finally found closure in a 500-year old dispute on the birthplace of Lord Ram, who is a deity, hero and icon to the majority of over 1.3 billion Indians. The day is also historic because almost all parties to the dispute have pledged to accept the need for reconciliation and unity and the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has come to a unanimous decision underlining the secular character of India while accepting Ramlalla Virajman as a legal entity in the Ayodhya context. 

Crux of the dispute: Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya on the banks of the river Sarayu, according to the Ramayana. This place is identified with Ayodhya in present-day Uttar Pradesh. As per Hindu beliefs, an ancient temple stood at the birthplace to mark the spot. And that it was demolished in 1528 by first Mughal emperor Babur when he built a mosque – Babri Masjid – which was subsequently demolished by kar sevaks on December 6, 1992.

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, has delivered its verdict in the Ayodhya case. The other judges on the bench included justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

The court has based its assessment mainly on the Archaeological Survey of India findings that there is a structure underneath the Babri mosque built 500 years ago by Mir Baqi, the General of Babar.

  • The Supreme Court has asked the centre and Uttar Pradesh government to find a suitable, prominent five acre land as an alternative site for Muslims to build a new mosque. The 2.77 acre land where the disputed structure existed will now become the site for a temple under a trust to be constituted by the centre.
  • The Court recognises demolition of the mosque in 1992 as a crime. This should preclude any notion that the verdict gives licence for fresh acts of vandalism against places of worship.
  • It directed the Centre and the UP government to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. The court said the mosque should be constructed at a “prominent site”. 
  • The demolition of the Babri masjid was a violation of law, the Supreme Court held. The Muslims were dispossessed upon the desecration of the mosque on 22-23 December, 1949, which was ultimately destroyed on 6 December 1992, the top court said.
  • Three-way bifurcation of the land by the Allahabad High Court was legally unsustainable. Even as a matter of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, the solution which commended itself to the High Court is not feasible, the court said, LiveLaw quoted.

Modi, in the middle: Two of the three core promises of the party over the last seven decades have been fulfilled in a brief span of just three months of PM Modi’s re-election, which is historic

  • Abrogation of Article 370 (end of special status to Jammu and Kashmir)
  • Building of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya through an amicable court verdict
  • Now what remains is the Uniform Civil Code.

RCEP & India

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

  • India’s economic interests and national priorities come first and the concerns of the farmers, dairy sector, MSMEs and domestic manufacturing will be addressed and these sectors will be protected. 
  • Commerce and Industry Minister informed that throughout the seven year long negotiations in RCEP India has consistently stood its ground to uphold its demands particularly over controlling trade deficit, stronger protection against unfair imports and better market opportunities for Indian goods and services. The opening up of the Indian market must be matched by openings in areas where our businesses can benefit and India will not allow its market to become a dumping ground for goods from other countries said the Minister.
  • Commerce and Industry Minister further informed thatthe Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Japan, South Korea and ASEAN countries are being reviewed. 
  • The review of the FTA with South Korea, which began 3 years back, is being fast tracked.
  • India has already secured agreement in ASEAN for a review of the FTA and a Joint Working Group (JWG) is discussing the issues to be addressed in Japan FTA.

GS-3

‘Wastelands Atlas’ – 2019

(Topic: Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment)

India with 2.4% of total land area of the World is supporting 18% of the World’s population.  The per capita availability of agriculture land in India is 0.12 ha whereas World per capita agriculture land is 0.29 ha.  

  • Unprecedented pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into degradation of lands in the Country. Therefore, robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes significance and effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes/schemes.
  • This Wastelands Atlas-2019 provides district and state wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area including mapping of about 12.08 Mha hitherto unmapped area of Jammu & Kashmir. 
  • The changes in wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16 have been presented in the Atlas.
  • A reduction in wasteland area was observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy land, sandy areas, degraded pastures / grazing land and gullied and / or ravinous land.

Prelims Oriented Notes:

November 5, 2019: 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

President of UAE: President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’: Indian Navy – Indonesian Navy Bilateral Maritime Exercise

Most recent cyclone in the month of November over west-central & adjoining east-central Bay of Bengal: Cyclone Bulbul – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

No separate environmental clearance is required to produce additional ethanol from B-heavy molasses as it does not contribute to the pollution load. Sugar mills are expected to undertake production of ethanol from B-heavy Molasses and other by-products/products, resulting in incidental increase in the production of ethanol without any increase in the total pollution load in the existing distilleries or sugar mills to which environmental clearance have already been granted.

Khadi gets separate unique HS code: Khadi has once again come out of its customary veil, marking its presence in the exclusive HS code bracket, issued by the central government on 4th Nov’19 to categorize its products in export.

  • Earlier, Khadi did not have its exclusive HS code. As a result, all the data regarding export of this signature fabric used to come as a normal fabric under the textile head. Now, we will be able to keep a constant eye not only on our export figures, but it will also help us in planning our export strategies.
  • Khadi and Village Industries products are eco-friendly and natural, and are in great demand in the International Markets. Recognizing its potential to generate exports and its eco-friendly importance, the Ministry of Commerce had accorded deemed Export Promotional Council Status (EPCS) to KVIC in 2006, to boost the export of Khadi products. However in the absence of separate HS code, the export of Khadi products was difficult to categorize and calculate.
  • HS Stands for Harmonized System and it is a six digit identification code. It was developed by the WCO (World Customs Organization) and custom officers use HS Code to clear every commodity that enters or crosses any international border.

Quotes

Vice President calls for collaboration between musicians & scientists to enhance the harmony of Indian musical instruments

Launching a monograph on the “Musical Excellence of Mridangam” at a function, the Vice President described it as a path-breaking effort in which tools of modern science were brought to bear service to an ancient instrument, Mridangam.

Lauding the authors–eminent Mridangam artiste, Dr.Umayalpuram K Sivaraman, scientists Dr. T. Ramasami and Dr. MD Naresh, the Monograph proved scientifically that our ancestors were able to design, develop and demonstrate musical excellence through human ingenuity.

The book serves three purposes – 

  • First, it makes a strong case for collaboration between music and science
  • Secondly, it opens up new opportunities for future research on Mridangam
  • Thirdly, it is an outreach of South Indian music to the global musical community

Described the monograph as the footprint of such connectedness without borders and continuation of the Indian tradition of knowledge creation. It is like an isthmus which connects music and science. It strives to enable but not replace tradition with modernity.

Pointing that the roots of Indian music can be traced to Vedic literature, Sama Veda in particular, he said that every note and cadence associated with our ancient music systems has to be preserved and propagated.

Personality in News

Guru Nanak Devji

  • Born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan
  • He advocated nirguna bhakti
  • He firmly repudiated practices of religions around him like sacrifices, ritual baths, idol worship, austerities, and scriptures of both Hindus and Muslims.
  • He took the god as formless which has no gender and proposed a simple way to connect to him by just remembering and repeating his name.
  • He set up rules for congregational worship (sangat) involving collective recitation.
  • He appointed Angad to succeed him as the Guru.
  • He never wished to establish new religion, but after his death his followers consolidated his practices and distinguished from both Hindus and Muslims by calling themselves ‘Sikhs’.
  • Fifth Guru Arjandev Ji compiled Guru Nanak, his successor, and other religious poets teaching in Adi Granth Sahib.

Values & teaching of Guru Nanak and present social challenges —

  • The time in which Guru Nanak lived and present time are not very different. Back then, caste system, idol worship, exploitation of poor and women, intolerance towards other religions, fraud godman, addiction of drugs and other problems were prevalent. Unfortunately, all of them are present today also.
  • Some basic teachings of Guru Nanak were —
    • Submission to the will of God (Waheguru)
    • One God
    • Goodwill for all
    • Speaking truth
    • Social Service
    • Overcoming 5 evils — Ego, Anger, Greed, Attachment and Lust
    • Adopting 5 virtues — Truth, Compassion, Contentment, Discipline and Contemplation
    • No discrimination
    • Stop following rituals/idol worship/superstitions
  • Guru Nanak opined that moral principles have great value not just in thinking but also in practical orientation in society. Therefore, social philosophy of Guru Nanak was primarily based on moral philosophy with support of religious outlook.
  • His teaching hold great value today in overcoming caste and religious discrimination, intolerance of other views, corruption, addiction of alcohol and drugs, clash of civilisations, terrorism and other social evils.
  • Problem with today’s generation is we have limited Guru Nanak and his teaching just to Guru Granth Sahib and have not adopted it, i.e., moral philosophy is lacking. Therefore, there is a strong need to revive the values and teachings of Guru Nanak.

Sikh women to sing hymns in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple in Amritsar

  • Only Sikh men perform ‘kirtan’ at the Golden Temple as of now.
  • The resolution passed states that “Guru Nanak Dev had visualised a society in which there would be no place for discrimination or distinction on the basis of caste or creed, social status or gender, a society that is to be based upon the principle of egalitarianism and committed to welfare of all”

Ik Onkar

  • In a unique gesture to mark 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, Air India has depicted Sikh religious symbol ‘Ik Onkar’ on the tail of one of its aircraft.
  • The national carrier has put the symbol on its Boeing 787 aircraft which will fly on October 31 from Amritsar to Stansted, UK.
  • Ek Onkar means “God is One”. The symbol is an emblem of the Sikh religion and is found on Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) around the world.
  • The gesture is unique as the national carrier has never depicted any religious symbol on its planes

Kartarpur corridor

Founding stone for the four-lane “human corridor” i.e. Kartarpur corridor was laid; it is hoped that the corridor would pave the way for peace and greater progress of all people. The corridor will drastically cut down the journey pilgrims have to make from more than 200 km to just 6 km.

  • The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.
  • It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
  • The shrine is visible from the Indian side, Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak.
  • Access to gurdwaras in Pakistan: Sikh jathas from India travel to Pakistan on four occasions every year — for Baisakhi, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev. These Indian pilgrims are given access to all gurdwaras in Pakistan.

Must Attempt:

In the context of the Kartarpur Corridor, consider the following statements.

  1. The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi.
  2. It was here that Guru Gobind assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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