Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 1st to 7th December, 2019
Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019
As per the intent of the original law, SPG focusses on Prime Minister’s security, as the PM is constitutionally the Head of the Government. It looks after the Prime Minister’s personal security, health, communication and secures the PMO and Prime Minister’s residence.
There is a perception that the amendment in SPG Act is being brought only for the purpose to remove the SPG security cover for the Gandhi family. Opposed to that, the Gandhi family’s security level was not being removed but was changed from SPG to Z+ with ASL (Advance Security Liaison) and 24X7 Ambulance provision. This has been done on the basis of threat perception as per the original version of the law and the family’s security cover is at par with that of the HM, Defence Minister etc.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019
This will –
- Fruitful utilization of manpower
- Improve administrative efficiency
- Reduce administrative expenditure
- Improve service delivery
- Facilitate better monitoring of schemes
- Ensure better cadre management of employees
There will be no change in administration and service conditions and reservation. Similarly, there will be no change in the status of Group III and IV employees. The merger would bring about administrative convenience, speedy development and effective implementation of central and state government schemes. The new entity would be called the UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and would be governed under the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court.
- Having two separate constitutional and administrative entities in both the Union territories leads to lot of duplicity, inefficiency and wasteful expenditure.
- Further, this also causes unnecessary financial burden on the Government.
- Besides these, there are various challenges for cadre management and career progression of employees.
- Availability of more officers and infrastructure would help in more efficient implementation of flagship schemes of the government
Election Commission of India to implement “Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System” (PPRTMS)
The Election Commission of India has reviewed the system and process of registration of political parties. The new guidelines will be effective from 1st January, 2020. Accordingly the “Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System” (PPRTMS) will be implemented through an online portal, to facilitate tracking of status of application by applicants. The salient feature in the Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System is that
- The applicant (who is applying for party registration from 1st January, 2020 onwards) will be able to track the progress of his / her application and will get status update through SMS and email.
- The applicant is required to provide contact mobile number and email address of the party / applicant in his application if he/she wishes to track the progress of the application.
The Registration of Political Parties is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. A party seeking registration under the said section with the Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation in prescribed format with basic particulars about the party such as name, address, membership details of various units, names of office bearers, etc., as required under sub-section (4) of the said section, and such other particulars that the Commission has specified under sub-section (6) of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as mentioned in the Guidelines for registration.
Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)
(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable population)
There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward. These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development and generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support. 75 such groups have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
- Coverage for activities like education, housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, construction of link roads, installation of non-conventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, social security or any other innovative activity meant for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs.
- Under the scheme, State Governments submits Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) Plans on the basis of their requirement.
- 100% grants-in-aid are made available to States as per the provisions of the scheme.
National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR) for 2018-2025
(Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable population)
The Plan aims at reduction of adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multi-pronged strategy.
The activities under the NAPDDR, inter-alia, include
- Awareness generation programmes in schools/colleges/Universities, workshops/seminars/ with parents
- Community based peer led interactions intervention programmes for vulnerable adolescent and youth in the community
- Provisioning of treatment facilities
- Capacity building of service providers
INDIA and ADB sign $206 million loan to strengthen urban services in 5 Tamil Nadu cities
(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $206 million loan to develop water supply and sewerage infrastructure in 5 cities of Tamil Nadu and strengthen capacities of urban local bodies (ULBs) for improved service delivery.
This is the second project loan for the ADB-supported $500 million multi-tranche financing for Tamil Nadu Urban Flagship Investment Programme, approved in September 2018 that will overall develop climate-resilient water supply, sewerage, and drainage infrastructure in 10 cities of Tamil Nadu. The first project under the Programme with $169 million financing is currently under implementation.
- The project is aimed at improving the lives of the urban people in the identified cities of Tamil Nadu by providing universal access to water supply and sanitation, and improving sewage treatment and drainage systems.
- The project interventions will benefit residents, workers and industries in the state’s economic corridors thereby building industrial competitiveness and creating good jobs.
- It also supports urban reform agenda such as better service delivery through private operators and with quality benchmarking
- The project will target four cities — Ambur, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruppur, and Vellore — for developing sewage collection and treatment and drainage systems by setting up or rehabilitating sewage treatment plants, pumping stations, and connecting all households in the project area to the sewerage network, including below poverty line households.
- Wastewater reuse for industry will also be achieved in at least 4 cities. Improvement to water supply systems would be targeted in the cities of Madurai and Tiruppur through commissioning of over 1,260 km of new distribution lines to connect nearly 190,000 households with metered water supply, including below poverty line households.
- In addition, nearly 200 km of new transmission mains and 230 km of feeder mains would be constructed along with two new water treatment plants.
- The project will also strengthen capacity of the Commissioner of Municipal Administration in Tamil Nadu for new project development, and monitoring and benchmarking quality of services across the 135 urban local bodies in the state.
India & Sweden
(Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests)
India sees Sweden as a key partner in its Make in India, Start-up India, Clean India, Digital India and Smart City programmes. Swedish companies have made significant investment in India. There is potential for them to do a lot more, especially in clean technologies, circular economy, water partnership and next generation infrastructure.
Defence: India’s growth and potential in the defence sector also presents significant opportunities for Swedish companies to manufacture in India for the domestic market and for exports.
Health sector is another area of close cooperation. India and Sweden sign Memorandum for India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre
- The India-Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre in collaboration between the Swedish Trade Commissioner’s Office, AIIMS Delhi and AIIMS Jodhpur aims to develop an ecosystem of open innovation that start-ups and the healthcare delivery stakeholders can use to collaborate and address current and future challenges in the healthcare sector.
- It will operate on well-defined challenges and services for stakeholders to build capabilities and methodologies and, help socialize and scale up innovative solutions across the country’s healthcare delivery network.
- A holistic view of innovation shall be taken which shall include technology, data, protocols and processes, skill development and business models.
- The key components of this Centre to drive innovation are innovation challenges, incubation, mentorship, live Centre of excellence, skilling, global reach, conferences, digital showroom, white papers and support to access capital sources.
Technology: An impressive number of Indian companies have invested in Sweden especially in the areas of IT and technology solutions. Three agreements in the fields of polar research, science and technology and sea-faring were exchanged in the presence of the President and the Swedish King.
Climate Change: Both India and Sweden are committed to tackling climate change. The co-leadership in the Industry Transition Track would be very helpful to the cause. Invitaion was extended to Sweden to join the International Solar Alliance. India is also keen to engage with Sweden in the Arctic region.
The world of machine-intelligence must be accompanied by equity, for meeting basic needs of people, to protect our natural resources and to preserve our planet. India wants to engage with Sweden on circular economy, resource efficiency and climate-smart models.
Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)
Aim: To empower women in agriculture by making systematic investments to enhance their participation and productivity, as also to create and sustain their agriculture-based livelihoods.
- Under MKSP, a total number of 36.06 lakh Mahila Kisans have been benefitted through 84 projects in 24 States/UTs in the country, out of which 1.81 lakhs women have been benefitted in the State of Maharashtra.
- A total Central allocation of Rs.847.48 crore has been made towards implementation of the approved projects, out of which an amount of Rs. 52.15 crore has been allocated for projects in Maharashtra State.
- The Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare is also providing additional support and assistance to female farmers, over and above the male farmers under various Schemes namely Agri-Clinic & Agri-Business Centre (ACABC), Integrated Schemes of Agricultural Marketing (ISAM), Sub-Mission of Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) and National Food Security Mission (NFSM).
Measures to Increase Solar Energy Generation
- Announcement of a target of installing 100 GW of solar energy capacity by December, 2022.
- Waiver of Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) charges and losses for inter-state sale of solar power for projects to be commissioned up to December, 2022.
- Permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100 percent under the automatic route.
- Notification of standard bidding guidelines to enable distribution licensees to procure solar and wind power at competitive rates in cost effective and transparent manner.
- Declaration of trajectory for Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) up to year 2022.
- Implementation of Green Energy Corridor project to facilitate grid integration of large scale renewable energy capacity addition.
- Notification of Quality Standards for deployment of solar photovoltaic system/devices.
- Launch of various schemes including. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan Yojana (PM-KUSUM), CPSU (Government Producers) Scheme -Phase II and Solar Rooftop Phase II program.
Promotion to Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles
(Topic: Pollution, Climate Change)
National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP) and FAME
- India has a “National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP)” in place to “achieve sales” of 60-70 lakh units of electric vehicles (that includes buses, two-wheelers and cars) by 2020.
- In 2015, the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme was launched to fast-track the goals of NEMMP.
- FAME India Phase II, with an emphasis on electrification of public transport, was also launched from April 1, 2019.
- Electric two wheelers have been the major part of EV sales with sales of around 54,800 in 2018.
- Indian market share in electric cars is only 0.06%.
- Uttar Pradesh topped the list of the States with highest EV sales of 6,878 units in 2017-18.
Phase –II Fame-India Scheme
Based on outcome and experience gained during the Phase-I of FAME India Scheme and after having consultations with all stakeholders including industry and industry associations, the Government notified Phase-II of FAME India Scheme on 8th March 2019, which is for a period of three years commencing from 1st April 2019 with a total budgetary support of Rs. 10,000 crore. This phase will mainly focus on
- Supporting electrification of public & shared transportation
- Support through incentives about 7000 e-buses, 5 lakh e-3 wheelers (e-3W), 55000 e-4 wheelers (e-4W) passenger cars and 10 lakh e-2 wheelers
- In addition, creation of charging infrastructure will be also supported to address range anxiety among users of electric vehicles
Under Phase-II of FAME-India Scheme, incentives is being provided to the consumers on purchase of electric vehicles, used for public transport or those registered for commercial purposes in e-3W, e-4W (including Strong Hybrid) segment however, privately owned registered e-2W are also be covered under the scheme. The demand incentive to these electrical vehicles is linked to battery capacity i.e. Rs. 10,000/KWh subject to capping of 20% cost of these vehicles. Demand incentive is restricted to vehicles with prices less than the threshold value which is Rs 1.5 Lakh for e-2W, 5 lakh for e-3W and 15 Lakh for e-4W.
Renewable energy in India
- India’s adoption of electric vehicles was part of its larger thrust towards increasing the share of renewable energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
- The share of renewables (excluding hydro above 25 MW) in total power generation was around 10% in 2018-19 compared with around 6% in 2014-15.
- India stands fourth in wind power, fifth in solar power and fifth in renewable power installed capacity.
Blue Flag Certification for beaches
(Topic: Environment conservation)
The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an Eco-tourism model endeavouring to provide to the tourists/beach goers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.
The Ministry has embarked upon a programme for ‘Blue Flag’ Certification for select beaches in the country. This Certification is accorded by an international agency “Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads i.e.
(i) Environmental Education and Information
(ii) Bathing Water Quality
(iii) Environment Management and Conservation
(iv) Safety and Services in the beaches
13 pilot beaches that have been identified for the certification, in consultation with concerned coastal States/UTs:
- Ghoghala Beach (Diu)
- Shivrajpur beach (Gujarat)
- Bhogave (Maharashtra)
- Padubidri and Kasarkod (Karnagaka)
- Kappad beach (Kerala)
- Kovalam beach (Tamil Nadu)
- Eden beach (Puducherry)
- Rushikonda beach (Andhra Pradesh)
- Miramar beach (Goa)
- Golden beach (Odisha)
- Radhanagar beach (Andaman & Nicobar Islands)
- Bangaram beach (Lakshadweep)
- Rushikonda beach (Andhra Pradesh)
Tiger corridors in Country
(Topic: Environment, Wildlife conservation)
The National Tiger Conservation Authority in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India has published a document titled “Connecting Tiger Populations for Long-term Conservation”, which has mapped out 32 major corridors across the country, management interventions for which are operationalised through a Tiger Conservation Plan, mandated under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
3 pronged strategy to manage human-tiger negative interactions:
- Material and logistical support: Funding support through the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger, is provided to tiger reserves for acquiring capacity in terms of infrastructure and material, to deal with tigers dispersing out of source areas. These are solicited by tiger reserves through an Annual Plan of Operation (APO) every year which stems out from an overarching Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP), mandated under Section 38 V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Inter alia, activities such as payment of ex-gratia and compensation, periodic awareness campaigns to sensitize, guide and advise the general populace on man-animal conflict, dissemination of information through various forms of media, procurement of immobilization equipment, drugs, training and capacity building of forest staff to deal with conflict events are generally solicited.
- Restricting habitat interventions: Based on the carrying capacity of tigers in a tiger reserve, habitat interventions are restricted through an overarching TCP. In case tiger numbers are at carrying capacity levels, it is advised that habitat interventions should be limited so that there is no excessive spill over of wildlife including tigers thereby minimizing man-animal conflict. Further, in buffer areas around tiger reserves, habitat interventions are restricted such that they are sub-optimal vis-à-vis the core/critical tiger habitat areas, judicious enough to facilitate dispersal to other rich habitat areas only.
- Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs): The National Tiger Conservation Authority has issued following three SOPs to deal with man-animal conflict which are available in public domain:
- To deal with emergency arising due to straying of tigers in human dominated landscapes
- To deal with tiger depredation on livestock
- For active management towards rehabilitation of tigers from source areas at the landscape level.
|Sl. No.||Landscape||Corridor||States/ Country|
|1.||Shivalik Hills & Gangetic Plains||
|(ii) Corbett-Dudhwa||Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal|
|(iii) Dudhwa-Kishanpur-Katerniaghat||Uttar Pradesh, Nepal|
|2.||Central India & Eastern Ghats||(i) Ranthambhore-Kuno-Madhav||Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan|
|(ii) Bandhavgarh-Achanakmar||Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh|
|(iii) Bandhavgarh-Sanjay Dubri-Guru Ghasidas||Madhya Pradesh|
|(iv) Guru Ghasidas-Palamau-Lawalong||Chhattisgarh & Jharkhand|
|(v) Kanha-Achanakmar||Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh|
|(vi) Kanha-Pench||Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra|
|(vii) Pench-Satpura-Melghat||Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra|
|(viii) Kanha-Navegaon Nagzira-Tadoba-Indravati||Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh|
|(ix) Indravati-Udanti Sitanadi-Sunabeda||Chhattisgarh, Odisha|
|(xi) Nagarjunasagar-Sri Venkateshwara National Park||Andhra Pradesh|
|3.||Western Ghats||(i) Sahyadri-Radhanagari-Goa||Maharashtra, Goa|
|(ii) Dandeli Anshi-Shravathi Valley||Karnataka|
|(v) Nagarahole-Bandipur-Mudumalai-Wayanad||Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu|
|(vi) Nagarahole-Mudumalai-Wayanad||Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu|
|(vii) Parambikulam-Eranikulam-Indira Gandhi||Kerala, Tamil Nadu|
|(viii) Kalakad Mundanthurai-Periyar||Kerala, Tamil Nadu|
|4.||North East||(i) Kaziranga-Itanagar WLS||Assam, Arunachal Pradesh|
|(ii) Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong||Assam|
|(v) Kaziranga-Papum Pane||Assam|
|(vi) Manas-Buxa||Assam, West Bengal, Bhutan|
|(vii) Pakke-Nameri-Sonai Rupai-Manas||Arunachal Pradesh, Assam|
|(viii) Dibru Saikhowa-D’Ering-Mehaong||Assam, Arunachal Pradesh|
|(ix) Kamlang-Kane-Tale Valley||Arunachal Pradesh|
|(x) Buxa-Jaldapara||West Bengal|
Prelims oriented News
Navy Gets its First Woman Pilot: SLt Shivangi
India based Neutrino Observatory: Theni district in Tamil Nadu (under discussion)
Electricity: Concurrent subject
- As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – IV (20015-16), 54.2 percent women (15-49 years) and 59.5 percent children (6-59 months) in rural area of the country are anaemic.
- As per Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (2016-18), 19% children aged 1-4 years, 17 % children aged 5-9 years and 32% adolescents aged 10-19 years have zinc deficiency in the country.
- The most common cause of anaemia is iron deficiency, caused by inadequate dietary iron intake or absorption, increased needs for iron during pregnancy or growth periods, and increased iron losses as a result of menstruation and helminth (intestinal worms) infestation.
- Other important causes of anaemia include hemoglobinopathies such as Sickle Cell anemia, Thalassaemia, etc., Malaria and Flurosis.
- Statehood day of Nagaland
- Worlds AIDS Day
- Focus on Three Zeros’ – i.e. zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination
- In sync with the Ministry’s ‘Digital India’ campaign, NACO has strengthened its monitoring mechanism with more than 35,000 reporting units providing information on completely IT enabled system
- NACO has not only signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 18 key Ministries/Departments to augment a comprehensive AIDS response but also with more than 650 industries of public and private sectors to mobilize their support.
- International Day of Persons with Disabilities
- Jayanti of the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad
- In office from 1952 to 1962
- A supporter of Mahatma Gandhi, Prasad was imprisoned by British authorities during the Salt Satyagraha of 1931 and the Quit India movement of 1942
- In his speech before the Constitution was adopted, Dr Rajendra Prasad rightly noted that the successful working of democratic institutions requires willingness to respect the views of others, and capacity for compromise and accommodation. He said, [quote] “Many things which cannot be written in a Constitution are done by conventions. Let me hope that we shall show those capacities and develop those conventions.” [Unquote] Seventy years later, we have reasons to believe that the nation has lived up to his hopes to a fair degree.
First Manned Mission – Gaganyaan
- The Human Space Mission: Gaganyaan is targeted for December 2021. The Gaganyaan Programme has been approved by the Government of India. The design and configuration of major subsystem are finalized. The procurement and system/ subsystem realisation for tests and flight has commenced.
- GSLV Mk III launcher which is ISRO’s heavy lift launcher is identified for Gaganyaan mission. It has requisite payload carrying capacity for Orbital module in desired elliptical orbit. Process for human rating of GSLV Mk-III is progressing well.
Ministry of Culture updates
- The Government has de-classified all records relating to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Azad Hind Fauj
- A new museum of antiquities proposed to be opened in Purana Quila by April 2020: Central Antiquity Collection Section is a centre for housing the collection of antiquities explored and excavated by Archaeological Survey of India. These antiquities date backfrom the Prehistoric period to post Independence era. The objective to open newmuseum is to display antiquities such as tools, potteries, terracotta, beads of semi-precious stones, sculptures, architectural fragments, etc. for general public, students andresearch scholars.
Exercise Mitra Shakti -VII: 2019 – Aimed at enhancing interoperability and operational efficiency amongst the armies of both India and Sri Lanka when deployed as part of United Nations peace keeping forces
MSMEs contribute 29.7% of GDP and 49.66% of Indian Exports. Government has taken various initiatives to enhance the competitiveness of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through schemes such as Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS), Micro and Small Enterprises – Cluster Development Programme, Procurement and Marketing Support and support for MSMEs to participate in international exhibitions / trade fairs, conferences / summits/ workshops.
Compressed Bio-Gas from Paddy Stubble
Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) can be produced from biomass and organic waste sources including paddy stubble. Compressed Bio-Gas has properties similar to the commercially available natural gas and can be used as an alternative renewable fuel.
- Government of India has launched Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative to promote CBG as an alternative, green transport fuel for efficient management of biomass and organic waste.
- As part of the SATAT scheme, Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies, Gail (India) Limited and Indraprastha Gas Limited had launched Expression of Interest (EoI) for procurement of CBG from the entrepreneurs at an assured price.
Maternity Benefits under PMMVY
The maternity benefits under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) are available to the eligible beneficiaries for first living child. Normally, the first pregnancy of a woman exposes her to new kinds of challenges and stress factors. Hence, the scheme provides support to the mother for safe delivery and immunization of her first living child.
- The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes like Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna (PMMVY) under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme as direct targeted interventions to address the problem of malnutrition among women and children in the country.
- Government has set up POSHAN Abhiyaan for a three-year time frame commencing from 2017-18. The goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the three years with fixed targets.
- The Abhiyaan aims to reduce malnutrition in the country in a phased manner, through a life cycle approach, by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach.
- The Abhiyaan has mechanisms for timely service delivery and a robust monitoring as well as intervention infrastructure.
- It targets to bring down stunting of the children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by the year 2022.
- The major activities undertaken under this Abhiyaan are ensuring convergence with various other programmes; Information Technology enabled Common Application Software for strengthening service delivery and interventions; Community Mobilization and Awareness Advocacy leading to Jan Andolan- to educate the people on nutritional aspects; Capacity Building of Frontline Functionaries, incentivizing States/ UTs for achieving goals etc.
A multi-pronged strategy to address the issue of road safety based on Education, Engineering (both of roads and vehicles), Enforcement and Emergency Care
The National Road Safety Policy outlines various policy measures such as promoting awareness, establishing road safety information data base, encouraging safer road infrastructure including application of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety laws with regard to Road Safety. In addition, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 provides for Road Safety Councils and Committees at National, State and District level to discharge function relating to Road Safety Programmes.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 focuses on road safety and includes, inter-alia, stiff hike in penalties for traffic violations and electronic monitoring of the same, enhanced penalties for juvenile driving, computerization/automation of vehicle fitness and driving, tests, recall of defective vehicles, extending the scope of third party liability and payment of increased compensation for hit and run cases etc.
- Advocacy/Publicity campaign on road safety through the electronic media and print media to create awareness.
- Issue of Guidelines for protection of Good Samaritans.
- Setting up of model driving training Institutes in States.
- Sanction of 24 Inspection and certification Centres for testing the fitness of the commercial vehicles through an automated system
- Launch of mobile app for highway users i.e. “Sukhad Yatra 1033” which enables highways users to report potholes and other safety hazards on National Highways including accidents.
- Observance of Road Safety Week every calendar year for spreading awareness and strengthening road safety.
- Road safety has been made an integral part of road design at planning stage.
- The threshold for four laning of national highway has been reduced from 15,000 Passenger Car Units (PCUs) to 10,000 PCUs.
- Safety standards for automobiles have been improved.
- High priority has been accorded to identification and rectification of black spots (accident prone spots) on national highways.
- Ministry has delegated powers to Regional Officers of MORTH for technical approval to the detailed estimates for rectification of identified Road Accident black spots for expediting the rectification process to ensure safety of road users.
- Guidelines for pedestrian facilities on National Highways for persons with disabilities have also been issued to all States / UTs.
- A Certification Course for Road Safety Auditors has been commenced in Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) and 42 Auditors are certified.
- Removal of Liquor Shops as per directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court vide circular
Personality in News
Mahaparinirvan Diwas: Death Anniversary of Ambedkar
- Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour.
- He was independent India’s first law and justice minister, the principal architect of the Constitution of India, and a founding father of the Republic of India.
His autobiography: Waiting for a Visa
- Annihilation of Caste – It strongly criticised Hindu orthodox religious leaders and the caste system in general, and included “a rebuke of Gandhi” on the subject.
- Who Were the Shudras? – Ambedkar tried to explain the formation of untouchables. He saw Shudras and Ati Shudras who form the lowest caste in the ritual hierarchy of the caste system, as separate from Untouchables.
Reserve Bank of India
Ambedkar was trained as an economist, and was a professional economist until 1921, when he became a political leader. He wrote three scholarly books on economics:
- Administration and Finance of the East India Company
- The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India
- The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), was based on the ideas that Ambedkar presented to the Hilton Young Commission.
Ambedkar and Untouchability
While practising law in the Bombay High Court, he tried to promote education to untouchables and uplift them. His first organised attempt was his establishment of the central institution Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha, intended to promote education and socio-economic improvement, as well as the welfare of “outcastes”, at the time referred to as depressed classes. For the defence of Dalit rights, he started five periodicals –
- Mooknayak (the leader of the dumb, 1920)
- Bahishkrit Bharat (Ostracized India, 1924)
- Samta (Equality, 1928)
- Janata (The People, 1930)
- Prabuddha Bharat (Enlightened India, 1956)
Manusmriti Dahan Din: In a conference in late 1927, Ambedkar publicly condemned the classic Hindu text, the Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), for ideologically justifying caste discrimination and “untouchability”, and he ceremonially burned copies of the ancient text. On 25 December 1927, he led thousands of followers to burn copies of Manusmrti. Thus, annually 25 December is celebrated as Manusmriti Dahan Din (Manusmriti Burning Day) by Ambedkarites and Dalits.
Kalaram Temple movement: About 15,000 volunteers assembled at Kalaram Temple satygraha making one of the greatest processions of Nashik. The procession was headed by a military band, a batch of scouts, women and men walked in discipline, order and determination to see the god for the first time. When they reached to gate, the gates were closed by Brahmin authorities.
In 1932, British announced the formation of a separate electorate for “Depressed Classes” in the Communal Award.
- Gandhi fiercely opposed a separate electorate for untouchables, saying he feared that such an arrangement would divide the Hindu community. Gandhi protested by fasting while imprisoned in the Yerwada Central Jail of Poona. Following the fast, Congress politicians and activists such as Madan Mohan Malaviya and Palwankar Baloo organised joint meetings with Ambedkar and his supporters at Yerwada.
- On 25 September 1932, the agreement known as Poona Pact was signed between Ambedkar (on behalf of the depressed classes among Hindus) and Madan Mohan Malaviya (on behalf of the other Hindus). The agreement gave reserved seats for the depressed classes in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate.
- Due to the pact, the depressed class received 148 seats in the legislature, instead of the 71 as allocated in the Communal Award earlier proposed by British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. The text uses the term “Depressed Classes” to denote Untouchables among Hindus who were later called Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under India Act 1935, and the later Indian Constitution of 1950. In the Poona Pact, a unified electorate was in principle formed, but primary and secondary elections allowed Untouchables in practice to choose their own candidates.
- Examine in detail the ideas and ideals of Dr. Ambedkar to make India a modern nation.
- How far do you agree with the statement of Dr. BR Amedkar that the CAG is the most important functionary in the Constitution? Substantiate your views.
- What were the views of Dr. Ambedkar regarding the Indian Constitution? Did in his views the mere existence of a constitution guaranteed the freedoms envisaged by it? Discuss.
- During Constitutional debates, Dr B R Ambedkar advocated for reservation of socially and economically backward classes. Now, even after almost seven decades of independence, reservation still exists. Recently demands are being raised for reverse discrimination. What is reverse discrimination? What steps can be taken to check these demands?
The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu
‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’ must be renamed as ‘International Day of Persons with Special Abilities’, to reflect the enormous potential and capabilities that differently-abled people possess and to dispel the stigma that society attaches to disability.
- We must build an inclusive society that is respectful and sensitive to the needs of the differently-abled. There is a need to provide right nutrition and care to pregnant mothers and young children and to create good and accessible medical facilities across rural India.
- Early identification of disability is crucial to undertake effective interventions from the beginning for rehabilitation measures and empowerment of the affected persons. There is also a need to harmonize the immunization and disease prevention programmes with appropriate rehabilitatory models at least at the District level.
- A change in society’s attitude towards disability is crucial and added that differently-abled persons are not objects of ‘sympathy’ and ‘pity’ and must instead be given ‘empathy’ and ‘support’.
- There is a need to develop collaborative efforts among all stakeholders for developing barrier free environment for the Persons with Disabilities.
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