(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Culture
- Foundation Stone was laid down for “Development of Maa Bamleshwari Devi Temple, Dongargarh, Chhattisgarh” under PRASHAD Scheme
- Ministry: Ministry of Tourism.
Important value additions
‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD)
- It is a Central Sector Scheme
- Launched by: Ministry of Tourism in 2014-15
- Objective: Integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations
- Aim: Infrastructure development such as entry points (Road, Rail and Water Transport), last mile connectivity, ATM/ Money exchange, area Lighting and illumination with renewable sources, first aid centers, etc
- Till now, 13 projects have been successfully completed under PRASHAD Scheme.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Environment; Pollution
- The Nag River Pollution Abatement Project has been approved at a cost of Rs. 2,117.54 crores.
- The project was approved under the National River Conservation Plan.
- It will be implemented by the National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD).
- It will reduce the pollution level in terms of untreated sewage, flowing solid waste and other impurities flowing into the Nag river and its tributaries.
Do you know?
- The Nag River is a river flowing through Nagpur, Maharashtra.
- The city derives its name from the Nag river
- Forming a part of the Kanhan-Pench river system, the Nag River originates in Lava hills near wadi.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy; Taxation
- ; (CRCL), New Delhi was recently recognized as a Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL) of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for Asia-Pacific Region.
Important value additions
Central Revenues Control Laboratory (CRCL)
- CRCL is under the administrative control of Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs.
- Established in 1939
- With its recognition as RCL, CRCL joins a select group of Customs Laboratories in the region like those in Japan & Korea.
World Customs Organization (WCO)
- Established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC).
- It is an independent intergovernmental body
- Mission: To enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations
- Headquarter: Brussels, Belgium.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Biodiversity; Environment
- Himalayan serow was spotted in the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam recently
Important value additions
- The Himalayan serow is a subspecies of the mainland serow native to the Himalayas.
- Common name: Himalayan Serow
- Scientific name: Capricornis sumatraensi thar.
- Local name: Jingal, Yemu
- It has an appearance of a goat with long, donkey like ears.
- It has a habit of standing with forelegs making it an ungainly goat antelope.
- Its coarse coat varies from black to red.
- IUCN status: Vulnerable
- It is listed in CITES Appendix I
- It is listed under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides absolute protection.
Do you know?
- Previously assessed as ‘near threatened’, the Himalayan serow is now been categorised as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List.
St. George’s orthodox church
The centuries-old St. George’s Orthodox Church is located at Cheppad, Kerala
It is now set to become a Centrally-protected monument of national importance with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) recognition.
- The church is one of the rarest in Kerala.
- It has traditional Kerala church architectural pattern with rare and beautiful mural paintings on the walls of the altar.
- These paintings blend Persian and Kerala mural art styles,
Exercise Desert Flag VI
- The Indian Air Force is participating for the first time in Exercise Desert Flag
- It involves air forces of UAE, USA, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain.
- It is an annual multi-national large force employment warfare exercise.
- Hosted by: United Arab Emirates Air Force.
- The IAF is participating with six Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircrafts.
- Aim: To provide operational exposure to the participating forces while training them to undertake simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment.
- GS-2: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
- GS-2: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
Context: Recently the Haryana government notified a new law that requires 75% of private sector jobs in the state, up to a specified salary slab (under Rs 50,000 per month), reserved for local candidate (born in the state or living there for five years)
- Objective: The legislation, the government argued, is aimed at boosting local employment particularly for the youth in unskilled jobs.
- Applicability of the law: The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act 2020, requires all companies, LLPs, trusts, societies and partnership firms with more than 10 employees to follow these local employment requirements
- Enforcement Power: The law specifically empower the district administrations to enforce the new regulations through inspections with a 24-hour notice.
Criticism of the legislation
- Impractical: The lack of a sufficiently large qualified domestic workforce in Haryana made the implementation of the new act “impractical”.
- Balkanisation of India’s labour market: Such kind of restrictions hampers Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ that aims, among other things, an integrated and mobile labour market within the country. Free mobility of labour corrects several demographic and economic imbalances between states and curbing it will inhibit overall economic growth and employment generation.
- Will increase Informalisation: This move is likely to hurt the low-skilled workers and push the state’s industrial and services sector towards greater “informalisation”. In other words, the same workers will be paid less and have next to nothing social security because they will not be formally on the payrolls
- Gives encouragement to inspector raj & Corruption: The provision in the law that requires a firm to seek exemption from the district administration if it cannot find enough qualified workers brings in an element of bureaucratic discretion in the entire process thus paving way to the old inspector Raj, corruption and rent-seeking.
- Impacts Economic Recovery: The economic recovery (post-Covid) will definitely be affected by these restrictions
- Impacts Investments: The Gurgaon-Manesar belt in Haryana, has attracted high business investments — both in manufacturing and services. Such kind of labour restriction is not in line with free market principles which could hinder investments coming into Haryana
- Competitive Federalism: The move could further affect the competitiveness of Haryana thus diverting away investment and industries into more market friendly states like Gujarat & Karnataka
- Increased Compliance Burden: Under the regulations, firms and companies would also have to register all of their employees receiving a gross salary of Rs 50,000 or less on a government portal and update it at regular intervals. This is not in line with Union government’s agenda of ease of doing business.
- Impacts all of State’s Labour Market: According to the Union government’s own Periodic Labour Force Survey, nearly 97% of workers in the private sector draw a salary of less than Rs 50,000 a month. So the Rs 50,000 monthly salary limit is quite significant and would cover most of the private sector employment in the state.
- Lacks Consultation: Majority of industry association members criticised the move also on the grounds that they had not been consulted before the announcement of the change.
- Lacks time period for preparation: It is not possible for so many skilled and semi-skilled local workers to become available so quickly. Instead, the government should have been flexible in the implementation of this regulation so that businesses can continue their work “peacefully.”
- Impacts Expansion plans of small firms: Industry Organisation are of opinion that the legislation would damage small firms and halt expansion plans. This will lead to job destruction instead of job creation for locals as nobody will expand operations in the state.
- Against the spirit of free market: This legislation has renewed the debate on whether the government force should private companies to adopt its reservation policy in jobs.
- Questions on Constitutionality of law: While constitutional guarantees for reservation has been limited to public employment (Article 16(4)), attempts to extend it to private sector is contested one. The Constitution has no manifest provision for private employment from which the state draws the power to make laws mandating reservation.
- State abdicating its responsibility: The Constitution places the responsibility of ensuring equality of opportunity to all citizens squarely on the state. By mandating private sector to adopt the reservation policy, the state is delegating its role to the citizen which is criticised by some as abdicating its responsibility
What is the government’s rationale in bringing such laws?
- Needs such policies to achieve substantial equality: With public sector jobs constituting only a minuscule proportion of all jobs, legislators have talked about extending the legal protections to the private sector to really achieve the constitutional mandate of equality for all citizens
- Legitimate Right to ask Private Sector to share Burden: Since private industries use public infrastructure in many ways (infrastructure, subsidised land & credit, etc) the state has a legitimate right to require them to comply with the reservation policy.
- Similar Reservation in Education was upheld: A similar argument was made in requiring private schools to comply with the Right to Education Act, which the Supreme Court also upheld.
- Similar Affirmative Action in other countries: In the US, although there is no statutory requirement for employers to have quotas, courts can order monetary damages and injunctive relief for victims of discrimination(US Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, colour, national origin, religion, and sex). The Employment Equity Act in Canada also protects minority groups, especially aboriginals from discrimination in federally regulated industries, even in the private sector.
- In July 2019, the Andhra Pradesh government had passed a similar law, which was challenged in court. The AP HC had made a prima facie observation that the move might be unconstitutional, but the challenge is yet to be heard on merits.
Read Related Articles
- Andhra Pradesh Locals First Policy
- Madhya Pradesh domicile based quota
- Reservation is not a fundamental right
- GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
Unless climate change is tagged as a primary culprit, climate action will continue to falter.
Himalayan Glacier Melt & Global Warming
- The melting of the Himalayan glaciers that prompted the floods and landslides in Uttarakhand have the fingerprints of global warming.
- Reduced Albedo: As glacier cover is replaced by water or land, the amount of light reflected decreases further aggravating warming of atmosphere
Extreme Cold in Texas & Global Warming
- The extreme cold weather in Texas, is connected to Arctic-peninsula warming, at a rate almost twice the global average.
- Polar Vortex: Usually, there is a collection of winds around the Arctic keeping the cold locked far to the north. But global warming has caused gaps in these protective winds, allowing intensely cold air to move south — a phenomenon that is accelerating.
- India’s Climate Vulnerability: While HSBC ranks India at the top among 67 nations in climate vulnerability (2018), Germanwatch ranks India fifth among 181 nations in terms of climate risks (2020). But public spending does not reflect these perils.
- Impact of accumulated Carbon: Even if major economies speed up climate mitigation, catastrophes like Uttarakhand will become more frequent due to the accumulated carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
- Diluting of climate safeguards: Studies had flagged ice loss across the Himalayas, and the dangers to densely populated catchments, but policy response has been lacking. Similarly, Kerala ignored a landmark study calling for regulation of mining, quarrying and dam construction in ecologically sensitive places, which contributed to the massive floods and landslides in 2018 and 2019.
- Shift to Cleaner Energy Sources: Decisive switch is needed from highly polluting coal and petroleum to cleaner and renewable power sources.
- Need to announce Carbon Neutrality: India should announce a carbon neutrality target. China announced its Climate Neutrality targets in Oct 2020, likewise EU & Japan have also made announcements.
- Climate Budgeting: Explicitly including policies for climate mitigation in the government budget, along with energy, roads, health and education. Specifically, growth targets should include timelines for switching to cleaner energy.
- Climate Finance Mobilisation: The government needs to launch a major campaign to mobilise climate finance both from domestic and international sources. India’s Central and State governments must increase allocations for risk reduction, such as better defences against floods, or agricultural innovations to withstand droughts
Connecting the dots:
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
- Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.
Q.1 PRASHAD Scheme is associated with which of the following Ministry?
- Ministry of Environment
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Power
- Ministry of Tourism
Q.2 What is the objective of PRASHAD Scheme?
- Integrated development of identified rural schools
- Integrated development of identified National highways
- Integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations
- Integrated development of identified railway stations
Q.3Nag River was in news recently. It flows through which of the following?
Q.4 Where is World Customs Organization (WCO) headquartered?
- New York
- New Delhi
Q.5 Consider the following statements regarding Himalayan serow:
- Its IUCN Status is Near threatened.
- It is listed in CITES Appendix I.
Which of the above is or are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
ANSWERS FOR 4th March 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On efficacy of covaxin:
On spectrum sale:
On intimate partner violence: