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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 1st June to 7th June – 2020

  • IASbaba
  • June 9, 2020
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 1st June to 7th June – 2020

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GS-2

One Nation One Card scheme

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors)

Three more states namely – Odisha, Sikkim and Mizoram have been included in the scheme on ‘Integrated Management of Public Distribution System’ (IM-PDS)

Under this system nation-wide portability of the benefits under NFSA through “One Nation One Ration Card” plan is implemented to enable the NFSA ration card holders to lift their entitled quota of subsidised foodgrains from any ePoS enabled FPS of their choice anywhere in the country, by using the existing/same ration card after Aadhaar authentication on ePoS device.

What is One Nation One Ration Card (ON-ORC)?

  • The scheme seeks to provide portability of food security benefits all across the nation.
  • Families who have food security cards can buy subsidized food from any ration shop in the country. 
  • Ration cards should be linked with Aadhar Number to avail this service. 
  • It was started in mid-2019 with pilot project in 4 states and was supposed to be rolled-out across country by June 2020
  • However, the government has extended the deadline of March 2021 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

What are the challenges with ON-ORC?

  • First, the fiscal implications: ON-ORC will affect how the financial burden is shared between states. 
  • Second, the larger issues of federalism and inter-state coordination: Many states are not convinced about a “one size fits all” regime.
  • This is because States have customised the PDS through higher subsidies, higher entitlement limits, and supply of additional items. 
  • Third, the technology aspect: ON-ORC requires a complex technology backbone that brings over 750 million beneficiaries, 5,33,000 ration shops and 54 million tonnes of food-grain annually on a single platform.

Learning from GST to resolve above challenges of ON-ORC

1. About Fiscal Challenges – Compensation to States

  • Fiscal concerns had troubled GST from the start Ex: States like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat that are “net exporters” were concerned they would lose out on tax revenues to “net consumer” states like UP and Bihar
  •  Finally, the Centre had to step in and provide guaranteed compensation for lost tax revenues for the first five years
  • The Centre could provide a similar assurance to “net inbound migration” states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka that any additional costs on account of migrants will be covered by it for the five years.

2. Issues of Federalism- Creation of inter-state council

  • In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the central government created a GST council consisting of the finance ministers of the central and state governments to address the issues of inter-state coordination
  • The government could consider a similar national council for ON-ORC. 
  • To be effective, this council should meet regularly, have specific decision-making authority, and should operate through consensus building.

3. Technology Aspect – A special Vehicle for faster implementation

  • GST is supported by a sophisticated tech backbone, housed by the GST Network (GSTN), an entity jointly owned by the Centre and states.
  • The Nilekani-led task force recommended setting up of a PDS network (PDSN) 
  • PSDN would track movement of rations, register beneficiaries, issue ration cards, handle grievances and generate analytics.
  • Such a platform should incorporate principles such as inclusion, privacy, security, transparency, and accountability. 

4. Learning from the shortcomings and challenges of the GST rollout.

  • Delay in GST refunds led to cash-flow issues. Similar delays in receiving food rations could be catastrophic
  • Compliance burden for MSMEs during GST implementation. Likewise, PDS dealers need to be brought on board with adequate training

Did You Know?

  • Portable welfare benefits mean that a citizen should be able to access welfare benefits irrespective of where she is in the country. 
  • In the case of food rations, the idea was first mooted by a Nandan Nilekani-led task force in 2011. 
  • 45.36 crore people or 37% of the population is that of migrant labourers.

Discuss: Cooperative Federalism and Competitive Federalism


Energising the MSME Sector through entire gamut of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Package’

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors)

In the package announcement, the definition of micro manufacturing and services unit was increased to Rs. 1 crore of investment and Rs. 5 crore of turnovers. The limit of small unit was increased to Rs. 10 crore of investment and Rs 50 crore of turnovers. Similarly, the limit of a medium unit was increased to Rs 20 crore of investment and Rs. 100 crore of turnovers.

  • It was decided to further increase the limit for medium manufacturing and service units. Now it will be Rs. 50 crore of investment and Rs. 250 crore of turnovers. 
  • It has also been decided that the turnover with respect to exports will not be counted in the limits of turnover for any category of MSME units whether micro, small or medium. This is yet another step towards ease of doing business. This will help in attracting investments and creating more jobs in the MSME sector.
  • Approval for provisioning of Rs 20,000 crore as subordinate debt to provide equity support to the stressed MSMEs. This will benefit 2 lakh stressed MSMEs.
  • Approval for equity infusion of Rs. 50,000 crore for MSMEs through Fund of Funds (FoF). This will establish a framework to help MSMEs in capacity augmentation. This will also provide an opportunity to get listed in stock exchanges.

To provide immediate relief to MSME sector, various announcements have been made under the Package-

  • Rupees Three lakh crore collateral-free automatic loans for MSMEs to meet operational liabilities, buy raw material and restart businesses.
  • Revision of MSME definition to render maximum benefits to the sector;
  • Disallowing global tenders in procurements upto Rs. 200 crores- to create more opportunities for domestic players,
  • And clearing of MSME dues by the Government and Public Sector Units within 45 days.

Policy decisions 

  • The scheme for Rs. 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loans was earlier approved by CCEA and has been formally launched.
  • Modalities have been worked out for Upward revision of MSME Definition making it more inclusive broad-based providing greater avenues to MSMEs to harness their potentials.
  • Similarly, amendments in General Financial Rules mandating no global tenders for procurement upto 200 crore have been carried out. The new rules have already been issued and effected. This will open up new business avenues for Indian MSMEs.
  • MSME payments to be released within the timeframe of 45 days
  • To further ease the burden on MSMEs, RBI has extended moratorium on repayment of loans for another three months.

To manage all this, a robust ICT based system called CHAMPIONS has also been launched by the Ministry of MSME. 

CHAMPIONS: Technology Platform to empower MSMEs

Stands for: Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength

For making the smaller units big by solving their grievances, encouraging, supporting, helping and handholding

  • Grievance Redressal: To resolve the problems of MSMEs including those of finance, raw materials, labor, regulatory permissions etc., particularly in the Covid created difficult situation;
  • To help them capture new opportunities:  including manufacturing of medical equipments and accessories like PPEs, masks, etc., and supply them in National and International markets;
  • To identify and encourage the sparks:  i.e. the potential MSMEs who are able to withstand the current situation and can become national and international champions.

As part of the system a network of control rooms is created in a Hub & Spoke Model.


Atmanirbharta in Electronics and IT

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors)

A clarion call for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat – a self-reliant India does not mean India in isolation but India as a major country of the world with appropriate technology, capital including FDI and extraordinary human resource contributing significantly to the global economy.

With a view to building a robust manufacturing ecosystem which will be an asset to the global economy, there is a need to develop a strong ecosystem across the value chain and integrating it with global value chains.

  1. Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing: The PLI Scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under the target segments, to eligible companies, for a period of five years subsequent to the base year.
  2. Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS): The SPECS shall provide financial incentive of 25% on capital expenditure for the identified list of electronic goods, i.e., electronic components, semiconductor/ display fabrication units, Assembly, Test, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units, specialized sub-assemblies and capital goods for manufacture of aforesaid goods.
  3. Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme: The EMC 2.0 shall provide support for creation of world class infrastructure along with common facilities and amenities, including Ready Built Factory (RBF) sheds / Plug and Play facilities for attracting major global electronics manufacturers, along with their supply chains.

The triology of Schemes entail an outlay of about Rs. 50,000 crore (approximately USD 7 billion) and will –

  • Help offset the disability for domestic electronics manufacturing and hence, strengthen the electronics manufacturing ecosystem in the country
  • Enable large scale electronics manufacturing, domestic supply chain of components and state-of-the-art infrastructure and common facilities for large anchor units and their supply chain partners
  • Contribute significantly to achieving a USD 1 Trillion digital economy and a USD 5 Trillion GDP by 2025.
  • Attract substantial investments, increase production of mobile phones and their parts/ components to around Rs.10,00,000 crore by 2025
  • Generate around 5 lakh direct and 15 lakh indirect jobs

Consultation process for new Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) initiated

(Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors)

The fifth S&T policy of India is being formulated at a crucial juncture when India and the world are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. This is only the latest among the many important changes in the past decade that have necessitated formulation of a new outlook and strategy for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI). As the crisis changes the world, the new policy with its decentralized manner of formation will reorient STI in terms of priorities, sectoral focus, the way research is done, and technologies are developed and deployed for larger socio-economic welfare.

The STIP 2020 formulation process is organised into 4 highly interlinked tracks: 

  • Track I involves an extensive public and expert consultation process through Science Policy Forum – a dedicated platform for soliciting inputs from larger public and expert pool during and after the policy drafting process. 
  • Track II comprises experts-driven thematic consultations to feed evidence-informed recommendations into the policy drafting process. Twenty-one (21) focused thematic groups have been constituted for this purpose. 
  • Track III involves consultations with Ministries and States, while Track IV constitutes apex level multi-stakeholder consultation. For Track III nodal officers are being nominated in States and in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government of India for extensive intra-state and intra-department consultation 
  • Track IV consultation with institutional leadership, industry bodies, global partners and inter-ministerial and inter-state consultations represented at the highest levels are being carried out.

The STI Policy for the new India will also integrate the lessons of COVID-19 including building of an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self- reliance) through ST&I by leveraging our strengths in R&D, Design, S&T workforce and institutions, huge markets, demographic dividend, diversity and data

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Bhutan on Cooperation in the areas of Environment

The MoU will enable establishment and promotion of closer and long-term cooperation between the two countries in the field of environment protection and management of natural resources on the basis of equity, reciprocity and mutual benefits, taking into account the applicable laws and legal provisions in each country.

Keeping in view the bilateral interest of both sides and mutually agreed priorities, a Memorandum of Understanding covering the following areas of environment has been considered:

  • Air
  • Waste
  • Chemical Management
  • Climate Change

GS-3

President promulgates two Ordinances with the aim of giving a boost to rural India and agriculture

(Topic: Agriculture)

1. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020:

  • It will provide for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels. 
  • It will promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter–State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations. 
  • Besides, the Ordinance will provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

2. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020

  • Will provide for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri- business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The above two measures will enable barrier-free trade in agriculture produce, and also empower the farmers to engage with sponsors of his choice. The freedom of the farmer, which is of paramount importance, has thus been provided.


Agroecology and Natural Farming Could Accelerate Inclusive Economic Growth in India

(Topic: Agriculture)

Agroecology:

  • Agroecology is the study of ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems.
  • Agroecologists study a variety of agroecosystems recognised worldwide. The field of agroecology is not associated with any one particular method of farming. However, it has much more in common with organic and integrated farming

Agroecology impacts:

  • Enhances fertile landscapes,Increases yields,
  • Restores soil health and biodiversity,
  • Promotes climate resilience and 
  • Improves farmers’ well-being

Its practices are supported by many agricultural scientists, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), farmers’ groups and several NGOs

Natural farming avoids use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, while focusing on reviving the beneficial soil organisms that contribute to fertility and good nutrition of the plants. Experts explained that well-nourished plants lead to well-nourished human beings.

Both together can avoid excessive and wasteful use of water, prevent farmer indebtedness, and contribute to mitigating greenhouse gases while supporting farmer incomes and their ability to adapt to climate change. It is based on cutting-edge science of the future that recognises the need for systemic approaches to dealing with complex adaptive systems that are the basis of a healthy natural world. Working with nature, understanding how to do so will help us ‘build back better’

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana launched in 2015 to promote organic farming among small and marginal farmers has in the last four years covered 7 lakh hectares and 8 lakh farmers.

About ‘zero budget natural farming’ (ZBNF):

  • Pioneered by Subhash Palekar, an innovative farmer from Maharashtra
  • The technique replaces fertilisers and pesticides with concoctions of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery and pulse flour, and ensure perfect soil conditions for plant growth.
  • It does so by keeping the top soil covered with crop residues to increase water retention, coating of seeds with cow dung and urine, concoction made of dung, urine, jaggery and pulse flour to multiply soil microbes, concoction to protect plants from pests etc.

Is ZBNF useful for the farmers?

  • In 2019 annual budget, Prime Minister stressed on ZBNF that it will be an advantage for the farmers to reduce chemical residue in the soil.
  • It will help the farmers to grow organic products without any chemicals which fetch more prices in the market than the chemically grown produce.
  • Help the farmers to double their farm income.
  • Reduces use of chemicals as there are enough nutrients available to plants by air, soil and water, helps to reduce carbon emission rates.

Conclusion

  • More research is required to ensure that natural farming could truly live up to its expectations. The need for innovation, science and technology – the importance of regenerating soils and building on biodiversity as two key elements, along with use of natural inputs readily available to farmers in this knowledge intensive approach.
  • To protect our planet there is need for change in our attitude towards use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Technology can help in changing the way we farm and will enable the poorest of the poor to enhance their nutrition status and livelihoods.
  • It is not man vs nature, but man in nature or man with nature. Humans need to realize their responsibility in protecting other species and nature. We need knowledge-intensive agriculture and the metrics need to be redefined where production is not the only criterion for good performance. It has to include the entire landscape and the positive and negative externalities that are generated by alternative forms of agriculture practices

Note: India’s first organic State: Sikkim

Discuss: Agroecology-based farming is not regressive, but rather a technology of the future with a traditional idiom.

Mindmap: 

Zero Budget Natural Farming

Organic Farming


Major Impact on climate due to extension of Amery Ice Shelf (AIS), NCPOR study

(Topic: Climate Change)

The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) predicts that there would be a 24% increase in the expansion of Ameri Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries by 2021 and another 24% expansion by 2026 from its 2016 positions. The prediction made by NCPOR is based on a 16-year-long satellite-based observation that covered an area of 60,000 sq. km across the AIS. Scientists feel that this study would help understand the ongoing changes in the ocean and atmospheric forces better.

  • The floating sheets of ice called the ice shelves play a multi-faceted role in maintaining the stability of a glacier. Ice shelves connect a glacier to the landmass. The ice sheet mass balance, sea stratification, and bottom water formation are important parameters for the balancing of a glacier. Latent and sensible heat processes do play important roles here. 
  • The insulation of ice shelves from atmospheric forcing is dependent on a temperature gradient that the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelves provides. It is the pressure exerted by the ice shelves upon the ocean cavity that determines this temperature gradient.
  • There is always a stress on the sea ice and ice sheets itself plays an indirect role in reducing the amplitude of the ocean swell. This is assisted by the freezing atmospheric temperature, which is capable of promoting a change in the morphology of ice shelves.

The AIS is one of the largest glacier drainage basins in the world, located on the east coast of Antarctica, at about 70ºS Latitude, 70ºE Longitude. The AIS dynamics and mass balance help in understanding the changes in the global climate scenario.


Aerosol characterization and radiative effects at High Altitude site in Western-Trans Himalayas

(Topic: Environment, Climate change)

The study can help better understanding the aerosol optical and microphysical properties and improving the modelling of aerosol effects in view of aerosol-climate implications

Why is the study important: The atmospheric aerosols play a key role in the regional/global climate system through scattering and absorption of incoming solar radiation and by modifying the cloud microphysics. Despite the large progress in quantifying the impact of different aerosols on radiative forcing, it still remains one of the major uncertainties in the climate change assessment. Precise measurements of aerosol properties are required to reduce the uncertainties, especially over the oceans and high altitude remote location in the Himalayas where they are scarce.

The transport of light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosols and dust from the polluted Indo-Gangetic Plain and desert areas over the Himalayas constitutes a major climatic issue due to severe impacts on atmospheric warming and glacier retreat. This heating over the Himalayas facilitates the “elevated-hat pump” that strengthens the temperature gradient between land and ocean and modifies the atmospheric circulation and the monsoon rainfall. A better understanding of the aerosol optical and microphysical properties through the study can improving the modelling of aerosol effects in view of aerosol-climate implications via modifications in atmospheric warming and changes in the snow/glacier albedo over the trans-Himalayan region.

Technology

CeNS develops low-cost catalyst for hydrogen generation from water

  • Hydrogen can be generated from water and produces water on energy generation without any carbon footprint.
  • Electrolytic splitting of water is a promising method to generate hydrogen but requires energy input that can be brought down in the presence of a catalyst.
  • Hydrogen can be directly used as a fuel similar to natural gas or as input for fuel cells to generate electricity. It is the future energy for a clean environment and an alternative to fossil fuels, underlining the necessity of low-cost catalysts for its production.

ARCI develops Rare earth based magnetocaloric material for cancer treatment

  • Magnetocaloric materials can provide controlled heating required to kill the tumor cells
  • Used in conjunction with radiation therapy, the method would reduce the side effects, and also the treatment time

IASST develops an artificial intelligence-based computer diagnosis framework for rapid and accurate diagnosis of oral cancers

  • Around 16.1% of all cancers amongst men and 10.4% amongst women are oral cancer. Oral cavity cancers are also known to have a high recurrence rate compared to other cancers due to the high consumption of betel nut and tobacco.
  • The advent of deep learning in AI holds an extraordinary prospect in digital image analysis to serve as a computational aid in the diagnosis of cancer, thus providing help in timely and effective prognosis and multi-modal treatment protocols for cancer patients and reducing the operational workload of pathologists while enhancing management of the disease.

Please Note:

Cyclones in India in 2020

  • Cyclone Amphan: East coast – West Bengal, Odisha
  • Cyclone Nisraga: West coast – Maharashtra, Gujarat

World Environment Day: 5th June

  • #iCommit initiative: A clarion call to all stakeholders and individuals to continue moving towards energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability to create a robust and resilient energy system in the future. The pre-requisite for that goal is to create a flexible and agile power system. A healthy power sector can help the nation in meeting the objective of energy access and security for all.
  • Market Integration and Transformation Program for Energy Efficiency (MAITREE): This initiative is a part of the US-India bilateral Partnership between the Ministry of Power and USAID and is aimed at accelerating the adoption of cost-effective energy efficiency as a standard practice within buildings, and specifically focuses on cooling.
  • Prevention of Human and Animal Mortality on Highways: UNDP’s initiative
    • Ethics, economy and ecology are the three most important pillars of our country.
    • India witnesses nearly five lakh road accidents every year, in which about 1.5 lakh lives are lost.
    • Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has identified over five thousand black spots, and the process for their rectification including temporary and permanent measures is being carried out on urgent basis – rectification of Black Spots, traffic calming measures, Crash Barriers, Repairing, rehabilitation and reconstruction of dilapidated and narrow bridges, Road Safety Audit, Reduction of fatalities on vulnerable roads, Highway Patrolling, and Safety during Construction
    • “Eco friendly measures to mitigate impacts of linear infrastructure on wildlife” for making road or any linear infrastructure and take care of wildlife accordingly.

Urban Forest scheme to develop 200 ‘Nagar Van’ across the country: On the occasion of World Environment Day, the government announced implementation of the Nagar van scheme to develop 200 Urban Forests across the country in next five years with a renewed focus on people’s participation and collaboration between Forest Department, Municipal bodies, NGOs, Corporates and local citizens.

Malasur- The Demon of Defeca: A toolkit for a communication campaign on faecal sludge management which aims to heighten the risk perception of faecal sludge. Conceptualized and designed in support from BBC Media Action, the toolkit has a host of creative outputs in 10 Indian languages along with English.

Launch of pan-India Real Time Market in electricity: This has placed Indian electricity market amongst a league of few electricity markets in the world, which have real time market. 

  • Real time market is an organized market platform to enable the buyers and sellers pan-India to meet their energy requirement closer to real time of operation. 
  • Introduction of real time market will bring required flexibility in the market to provide real time balance while ensuring optimal utilization of the available surplus capacity in the system. 
  • It will also help manage diversity in the demand pattern in the country with an organized market at national level.
  • The Government of India’s target of 175 GW RE Capacity by 2022 is driving accelerated renewable penetration pan-India. The real time market would help to mitigate challenges to the grid management due to intermittent and variable nature of renewable energy generation and therefore, help to integrate higher quantum of renewable energy resources into the grid.
  • The distribution companies would be able to manage their power purchase portfolio optimally and need not tie up excess capacity. It would lead to cost optimization of power purchase and serving the consumers with reliable supply as any last minute requirement of power can easily be bought from the Real Time market.

Government to conduct skill mapping of citizens returning from overseas

  • With the aim of making the best of our skilled workforce returning to the country due to the ongoing pandemic, the Government of India has launched a new initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise of the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission. 
  • This is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs which aims to create a database of qualified citizens based on their skillsets and experience to tap into and fulfil demand of Indian and foreign companies.

Establishment of Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) as Subordinate Office under Ministry of AYUSH

The merger is aimed at 

  • Optimizing the use of infrastructural facilities, technical manpower and financial resources of the three organizations for enhancing the standardization outcomes of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs towards their effective regulation and quality control
  • Facilitating focused and cohesive development of standards of AYUSH drugs and publication of pharmacopoeias and formularies

Launch of TULIP – Urban Learning Internship Program for providing opportunities to fresh Graduates in all ULBs & Smart Cities

TULIP is a program for providing fresh graduates experiential learning opportunities in the urban sector. TULIP- “The Urban Learning Internship Program” would help fulfill twin goals of providing interns with hands-on learning experience as well as infusing fresh energy and ideas in the functioning of India’s ULBs and Smart Cities.

The Government proposes to start a program whereby the urban local bodies across the country would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period up to one year.”  Such a program will help reap the benefits of India’s demographic dividend as it is poised to have the largest working-age population in the world in the coming years. India has a substantial pool of technical graduates for whom exposure to real world project implementation and planning is essential for professional development. General education may not reflect the depth of productive knowledge present in society. Instead of approaching education as ‘doing by learning,’ our societies need to reimagine education as ‘learning by doing.’

Land of Rising Sun – Arunachal Pradesh

A. Geography

  • Dafla, Miri, Abor and Mishmi hills in Arunachal Pradesh are part of the Shivalik range.
  • Shivaliks are known by different names in different areas. They are called 
    • Jammu Hills in Jammu 
    • Dafla, Miri, Abor and Mishmi hills in Arunachal Pradesh. 
    • Dhang range 
    • Dundwa range of Uttarakhand
    • Chiria Ghat hills of Nepal
  • About Shivaliks:
    • The Shivalik comprises the outermost range of the Himalayas and is called the outer Himalayas.
    • It assumes a HogBack appearance due to its steep slopes. It runs almost parallel to lesser Himalayas for a distance of about 2400 kms from the Potwar Plateau to the Brahmaputra valley.
    • The width of the Shivaliks varies from 50 kms in Himachal Pradesh to less than 15 kms in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • The Shivaliks have been formed of sands, gravels and conglomerates of the MidPleistocene period.
  • Name of the passes: Bom Di La, Dihang Pass, Yonggyap Pass, Dipher Pass, Kumjawng Pass, Hpungan Pass, Chankan Pass
  • River Brahmaputra enters India in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh where it is known as the Siang river or Dihang locally.

B. School Categorisation by Arunachal Pradesh:

  • In Arunachal Pradesh, State where teacher absenteeism has been a major issue in the public education system, schools will be marked ‘hard’, ‘soft’ and ‘medium’-— based on topography, accessibility and degrees of difficulty in staying at the place of posting
  • Geography, lack of infrastructure and reluctance of teachers to work beyond their comfort zones are the reasons for this categorisation
  • According to new teachers posting policy:  All new recruits will be given a hard posting for a mandatory three years, inclusive of their probation period
  • The next five years will be in schools with levels of medium difficulty, followed by posting in soft schools. This ensures need-based distribution of teachers to protect the academic interest of students and optimise job satisfaction among the teachers in a free and transparent manner

C. Tribal rituals for lockdown

In News: Various tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh performed rituals to observe lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. 

Key takeaways:

  • Arr-Rinam was performed by the Galos community
  • The Adi community performed Motor ritual. 
  • The Nyishi community observed Arrue involving self-quarantine. 

Galos community

  • They belong to the Tani group inhabiting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, besides Tibet.
  • Only the Galos maintain genealogy through given names.
  • The Galos perform Popir dance. 
  • They have been recognized as a Scheduled Tribe under the constitution. 

Adi community

  • They are one of the most populous groups of indigenous peoples in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • Their prime festivals are Aran, Donggin , Solung, and Etor.
  • The majority of Adi traditionally follow Donyi-Polo religion. 

Nyishi community

  • It is the largest ethnic group in Arunachal Pradesh
  • The Nyishi language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family. 
  • Polygyny is prevalent among the Nyishi. 

D. Chakma and Hajong 

The Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) has directed the Arunachal Pradesh government to include the Chakma and Hajong communities in the COVID-19 relief programme.

  • The Chakmas and Hajongs are ethnic people. 
  • Chakmas are predominantly Buddhists while Hajongs are Hindus.
  • They were inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who migrated to India due to:
    • Submergence of their land by the Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli River in the 1960s.
    • Religious persecution they faced in East Pakistan as they were non-Muslims.
  • The Indian government set up relief camps in Arunachal Pradesh and a majority of them continue to live there even after 50 years.

E. ‘Tawang Monastery’: 

  • Located in Arunachal Pradesh, it is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa
  • It was founded in 1680-81, by a monk named Merag Lodre Gyatso of the Gelug sect after the 4th Dalai Lama gave him a painting of goddess Palden Lhamo to be kept in the monastery. 
  • An 8-metre high gilded statue of Lord Buddha dominates the sanctum of the monastery. It belongs to the Gelug school of Mahayana Buddhism and had a religious association with Drepung Monastery of Lhasa.
  • The library of the monastery has valuable old scriptures, mainly Kangyur and Tengyur.

F. Environment and Ecology:

  • A new species of green pit viper has been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh recently which was named Trimeresurus Salazar. They are distinguished by their heat-sensing pit organs between the eye and the nostril
  • It has been collected from the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Pakke-Kessang district in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Lies in the foothills of the eastern Himalaya in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is also known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve.
    • Falls within the Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot. 
    • Known for its amazing sightings of four resident hornbill species.
    • India is home to nine species of hornbills. Three of them, the wreathed hornbill (Aceros undulatus), the brown hornbill (Anorrhinus austeni) and the Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis) great hornbill is the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh and Kerala. 
    • It is ‘vulnerable’ under the IUCN Red list. Hornbill festival celebrated in Nagaland is named after the bird – Hornbill which is the most revered and admired bird for the Nagas.

G. Decision on Dibang Multipurpose Project postponed

In News: The Forest Advisory Committee (FEC), has once again deferred (postpone) its decision on Dibang project in Arunachal Pradesh. The project has been delayed for over six years because it requires diverting 1,165 hectares of forest which is rich in biodiversity.

Dibang Multipurpose Project

  • It is located on river Dibang, in Lower Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The project shall generate 2, 880 MW power. 
  • This is the largest ever Hydro Electric Project to be constructed in India.
  • The dam will be Concrete Gravity Dam. 

Forest Advisory Committee (FEC): It is the apex body of the Environment Ministry responsible for deciding whether forest land can be diverted for industrial projects. 

ESSAY TOPIC: Catalyzing Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India

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