(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: Prelims and GS – II – Policies and interventions
Context Five crore households had been provided with water connections since the launch of the Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019.
- Tap water was now reaching every household in about 1.25 lakh villages.
- Jal Jeevan Mission app has also been launched for improving awareness among stakeholders and for greater transparency and accountability of schemes under the mission.
- The Rashtriya Jal Jeevan Kosh has also been launched, where any individual, institution or philanthropist, be it in India or abroad, could contribute to help provide tap water connections.
What is Jal Jeevan Mission?
- It is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.
- It envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
- It also includes functional tap connection to Schools, Anganwadi centres, GP buildings, Health centres, wellness centres and community buildings
- The programme will also implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting.
- JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
- The Mission is based on a community approach to water. It looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
- It promotes and ensures voluntary ownership among local communities by way of contribution in cash, kind and/ or labour and voluntary labour.
- Parent Ministry: Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti
- Funding Pattern: The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
- Four-tier implementation & monitoring of the scheme at National, State, District & village level.
Part of: Prelims and GS II – Citizenship
Context The Assam government has set up an eight-member sub-committee to examine and prepare a framework for the implementation of all clauses of the Assam Accord of 1985.
- The sub-committee has also been mandated to examine and prepare a framework for updating the National Register of Citizens, issues of flood and erosion, rehabilitation of martyrs’ families and victims of Assam Agitation besides the potential of the State’s all-round development.
What is Assam Accord?
- It was a tripartite accord signed between the Government of India, State Government of Assam and the leaders of the Assam Movement in 1985.
- The signing of the Accord led to the conclusion of a six-year agitation that was launched by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in 1979, demanding the identification and deportation of illegal immigrants from Assam.
- It sets a cut-off of midnight of 24th March 1971, for the detection of illegal foreigners in Assam.
- However, the demand was for detection and deportation of migrants who had illegally entered Assam after 1951.
Do you know?
- The Clause 6 of the Accord pertains to the constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to “protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Defence and security
Context The maiden sea trials of the indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant have progressed very well and the second phase of trials are expected to begin by October-end, with the third phase planned in December.
- Vikrant is expected to be delivered to the Navy in April and likely to be commissioned in August 2022
- Vikrant is India’s most complex warship (aircraft carrier) to have been indigenously built by Cochin Shipyard for the Indian Navy.
- Cochin Shipyard Limited is the largest public sector shipyard and the only shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
- Vikrant has more than 76% indigenous content.
- It is the first time in the country that a ship the size of an Aircraft Carrier is completely modeled in 3D and production drawings extracted from the 3D model.
- The IAC is the largest warship built in the country having a displacement of about 40,000 tonnes.
- The Aircraft Carrier is a mini floating city, with a flight deck area covering the size of two football fields.
- The vessel is named Vikrant after the decommissioned maiden carrier of the Navy.
- It will have an air component of 30 aircraft, comprising MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 airborne early warning helicopters and the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter, besides the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters.
- The shipborne weapons include Barak LR SAM and AK-630, while it has MFSTAR and RAN-40L 3D radars as sensors.
- At present, India has only one aircraft carrier, the Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya.
- The combat capability, reach and versatility of the aircraft carrier will add formidable capabilities in the defence and help secure India’s interests in the maritime domain.
- It would offer an incomparable military instrument with its ability to project air power over long distances.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Intellectual property rights
Context The Alibaug white onion was given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, bringing worldwide recognition to its medicinal properties.
- Alibaug, is a coastal town, just south of Mumbai, in the state of Maharashtra
- Local farmers have preserved the seed for over two centuries. The onion is also mentioned in a government gazette published in 1883.
- The soil of Alibaug taluka has low sulphur content.
- The onions have low pungency, sweet taste, ‘no tear’ factor, low pyruvic acid, high protein, fat and fibre content, besides high antioxidant compounds (quercetin).
- It boosts immunity, helps with insomnia, blood cleaning, blood pressure and heat-related ailments.
What is GI tag?
- It is an indication which is definite to a geographical territory.
- It is used for agricultural, natural and manufactured goods.
- The goods need to be produced or processed or prepared in that region.
- The product must have a special quality or reputation.
- The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 provides registration and also protection of GI goods in India.
- The Geographical Indications Registry for India is located in Chennai.
- A registered GI tag prohibits a third party to use such products.
- GI is a collective intellectual property right and is thus owned by all the producers within the defined GI territory.
- Patents and trademarks are owned by an individual or a business entity.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Environment
Context A new species of swamp eel was discovered from a well in Mumbai
- The eel is called Rakthamichthys Mumba, the Mumbai blind eel.
- It belongs to the genus Rakthamicthys that is endemic to India.
- This is the fifth species from the genus to be described from India.
- Unlike other species of its genus, the mumba lacks eyes, fins and scales, has jaws equal in forward extent, different gill aperture, crescentic-shaped cephalic.
- This is the first completely blind subterranean freshwater fish species to be described from Maharashtra and the Northern western Ghats.
Part of: Prelims and GS I- Society
Context: Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the Vayoshreshtha Samman National Award to senior geriatrician V.S. Natarajan.
- The recipient of the award has been taking various initiatives through his enterprise (Dr. V S Natarajan Geriatric Foundation) for the healthy welfare of the elders.
- Vayoshreshtha Samman is a Scheme of awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
- It gradually upgraded to the status of National Awards, for institutions involved in rendering distinguished service for the cause of elderly persons especially indigent senior citizens and to eminent citizens in recognition of their service/achievements.
(News from PIB)
Part of: GS-Prelims and Mains GS-III: Environment and Conservation
Context: On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and heralding the Iconic Week of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav of MoEFCC (4-10th October 2021), a web portal – ‘Wetlands of India Portal’ (http://indianwetlands.in/), giving details on wetlands of the country, was launched by the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- The portal is a single point access to all information relating to wetlands – capacity building material, data repository, videos and and information for students.
- A dashboard for each State and UT has been developed to access the portal and populate it with information of wetlands in their administration.
- The project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under the International Climate Initiative (IKI).
Important value additions
- They are highly productive ecosystems that provide the world with nearly two-thirds of its fish harvest.
- They play an integral role in the ecology of the watershed.
- They provide an ideal environment for organisms that form the base of the food web and feed many species of aquatic animals.
- They help in carbon sequestration (removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).
- They provide habitat for animals and plants and support plants and animals that are found nowhere else.
- They are also an important source of ground water recharge.
There are six kinds of wetlands:
- Marine or coastal wetlands which include coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs
- Estuarine wetlands including deltas, tidal marshes and mangrove swamps
- Lacustrine wetlands associated with lakes
- Riverine wetlands along rivers and streams
- Palustrine wetlands, essentially marshes, swamps and bogs
- Man-made wetlands like fish, shrimp and farm ponds, irrigated agricultural land, salt pans, reservoirs, gravel pits and canals.
Threats to Wetlands
- Agriculture: Construction of a large number of reservoirs, canals and dams have altered the hydrology of the associated wetlands.
- Pollution: Due to mercury from industrial sources
- Climate Change: Increased air temperature; increased frequency of storms, droughts, and floods; increased sea level rise
- Dredging and sand mining: Dredging of streams lowers the surrounding water table and dries up adjacent wetlands.
- Exotic Species: Exotic introduced plant species such as water hyacinth and salvinia clog waterways and compete with native vegetation.
News Source: PIB
Part of: Mains GS-III: Energy
In News: The launch of the Electricity (Transmission System Planning, Development and Recovery of Inter-State Transmission Charges) Rules 2021 has paved the way for overhauling of transmission system planning, towards giving power sector utilities easier access to the electricity transmission network across the country.
Transmission system is the vital linkage in the power sector value chain connecting the generation and the demand. The Rules will
- Streamline the process of planning, development and recovery of investment in the transmission system.
- The rules are aimed at encouraging investments in the generation and transmission sectors.
- The rules will enable the country to develop deeper markets.
- Underpins that “electricity transmission planning shall be made in such way that the lack of availability of the transmission system does not act as a brake on the growth of different regions and the transmission system shall, as far as possible, to be planned and developed matching with growth of generation and load and while doing the planning, care shall be taken that there is no wasteful investment”.
News Source: PIB
Part of: Mains GS-I: Persons in history, India after independence
In News: PM paid tributes to Lal Bahadur Shastri on his Jayanti
- The 2nd Prime Minister of India
- Deeply impressed and influenced by Mahatma Gandhi
- Joined the Indian independence movement in the 1920s
- Led the country during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
The man of integrity
- Like millions of Indians, Shastri drew inspiration from the Mahatma and plunged into the freedom struggle when he was in his teens.
- More than 60 years ago, Shastri showed what probity and integrity in public life are all about.
- Following a train accident at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu, in which more than 140 people were killed, he resigned as railway minister taking moral responsibility for the incident.
- Lauding him for his integrity, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said that he was accepting his resignation because it would set an example in constitutional propriety, although Shastri was in no way responsible for it.
- When he married in 1928, at the insistence of his in-laws to accept dowry, he took a charkha (spinning wheel) and some khadi cloth. Even when he passed away, he reportedly had no property in his name and left behind a few books and a dhoti-kurta. As a child, Shastri is known to have swum across the river to reach school to save his impoverished family money to pay for a boat ride.
- Since the children were rarely allowed to use the official car to go to school when their father was Prime Minister, the family decided to buy a Fiat car for Rs. 12,000. A bank loan for Rs. 5,000 was taken, which Shastri’s widow had to clear after his sudden death, from his pension. On a visit to a textile mill as Prime Minister, when the owner offered to gift him expensive sarees, Shastri insisted on buying and paying for only those he could afford. He also had an undue promotion for his son overturned.
A rational and moral personality
- He displayed a broad outlook at a very young age and dropped his caste-based surname when he was in the seventh standard.
- His progressive attitude came to the fore when he asked for khadi cloth and a spinning wheel as dowry.
- His maiden Independence Day speech in 1964 is as relevant today as it was then.
- Shastri observed: “We can win respect in the world only if we are strong internally and can banish poverty and unemployment from our country. Above all, we need national unity. Communal, provincial and linguistic conflicts weaken the country. Therefore, we have to forge national unity. I appeal to all to work for national unity and usher in a social revolution to make our country strong. In the ultimate analysis, the strength of the country does not lie in its material wealth alone. It requires people like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore. It requires the force of character and moral strength. I appeal to our young men to inculcate discipline in themselves discipline and work for the unity and advancement of the nation”.
- His stress on character and moral strength acquire special significance today, when we see all-round degeneration of values in various fields.
Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan
- During the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965, Shastri gave the immortal slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” which continues to inspire every Indian even today.
- During his prime ministerial tenure, which unfortunately was cut short by his untimely death, Shastri boosted the morale of the nation by leading India to victory over Pakistan.
- His vision for self-sufficiency in foodgrains led to sowing the seeds of the Green Revolution, and promotion of the White Revolution.
- The country owes it to him in no small measure that we are self-sufficient in foodgrains production today.
- During his speech at death anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati he said : “The nation cannot afford to relax. It is difficult to say what the future holds for us. Pakistan had not yet given up her policy of aggression. The duty of the nation is therefore clear. The country’s defences have to be strengthened. The people should spare no efforts to strengthen the defences. Side-by-side, food production has to be increased. Food self-sufficiency is as important as a strong defence system. It was for this reason that I raised the slogan, ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. The kisan is as much a soldier as the jawan”.
- Many years later, former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee added “Jai Vigyan” to Shastri’s slogan in order to hail achievements of Indian scientists.
Country’s Interests first
- Shastri placed the country’s interests above everything else.
- Although he was wedded to the principles of peace, Shastri showed that he was made of sterner mettle when it came to protecting India’s unity and integrity.
- His response was swift and decisive in ordering the Indian armed forces to retaliate against Pakistan’s unprovoked aggression.
- Shastri’s love for the motherland was evident when he responded to Mahatma Gandhi’s call to join the Non-Cooperation Movement at the young age of 16.
- An incident from his life shows that he was a man of deeds. Before appealing to the countrymen to skip one meal a week in the wake of the foodgrain shortage, he implemented the measure at his house.
- His appeal had an electrifying impact and many households across the country responded positively to his call.
A visionary man
- His humane quality was reflected in another instance. As Uttar Pradesh’s Minister of Police and Transport, he ordered that the police should use water jets instead of lathis to control unruly crowds.
- The fact that Shastri was the first transport minister to open the post of bus conductors to women showed how forward-looking he was.
- His visionary outlook is reflected in the observations he had made at a rural projects meet in Delhi in 1964.
- “We must inject new elements in the services. Let us introduce professors, economists, teachers, engineers and others, even outsiders, so that there is some freshness, a real exchange of views, a meeting of different approaches,” he said.
- Perhaps, the government’s decision to open 10 senior civil services positions for lateral entry is in line with this philosophy.
- Since he didn’t believe in the caste system (he was a Kayastha from birth), he gave up his surname as a young schoolboy. The title “Shastri” was bestowed on him upon graduating from Kashi Vidyapeeth, as a mark of scholarly achievement.
Can you answer the following question?
- What are the contributions of Lal Bahadur Shastri to post-Independent India’s polity and economy? Do you think he is relevant in today’s time? Discuss.
AGRICULTURE / GOVERNANCE/ FEDERALISM
- GS-3: Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Context: Philosophy Farmers camping at Delhi’s borders for the past 10 months have clear cut demands —
- The cancellation of three farm laws
- Legal assurance on Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops
- Continuation of the ongoing MSP scheme for wheat and paddy.
What is the government’s position?
- There are indications that the government was leaning towards the withdrawal or cancellation of the three farm laws.
- However, the government is not willing to take direct responsibility of ensuring legal guarantee of MSP for all crops
What is Minimum Support Price (MSP)?
- MSP is the price set by the government to purchase crops from the farmers, whatever may be the market price for the crops.
- MSP is declared by Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs before the sowing time on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)
- CACP is not any statutory body but is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. It can recommend MSPs, but the decision on fixing (or even not fixing) and enforcement rests finally with the government.
- Support prices generally affect farmers’ decisions indirectly, regarding land allocation to crops, quantity of the crops to be produced etc
- MSP assures farmers agricultural income besides providing a clear price signal to the market
- The major objectives are to support the farmers from distress sales and to procure food grains for public distribution.
- The government declares MSPs for crops, but there’s no law mandating their implementation
- MSP is devoid of any legal backing. Access to MSP isn’t an entitlement for farmers. They cannot demand it as a matter of right.
- The Centre currently fixes MSPs for 23 farm commodities based on the CACP’s recommendations —
- 7 cereals – paddy, wheat, maize, bajra, jowar, ragi and barley
- 5 pulses – chana, arhar/tur, urad, moong and masur
- 7 oilseeds – rapeseed-mustard, groundnut, soyabean, sunflower, sesamum, safflower and nigerseed
- 4 commercial crops – cotton, sugarcane, copra and raw jute
What is the issue with MSP?
- Most of the 23 crops, for which MSP is announced, are purchased by private players and there is high fluctuation in the prices.
- Sometimes these crops are sold much below the MSP and sometimes they fetch a little more than the MSP.
- The farmers, therefore, want a legal guarantee that crops can be sold only at MSP or above it.
- But the government is not ready to give legal guarantees at the moment, except reiterated verbally several times that it will continue its current MSP regime, which mostly covers wheat and Paddy in Punjab, Haryana, MP and parts of UP. The farmers, however, have refused to budge.
Can state-level policies assure that the farmers get MSP for their crops?
- Some states have stepped in and started compensating farmers for crops selling below the MSP rates under their own state-level policies.
- In the past years, some states like Madhya Pradesh (MP) under Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojna (price difference payment scheme), Haryana under floor prices regime, Kerala under its Bhavantar Bharpayi Yojna, set the floor price or state price and if the covered crops are sold below that price then the state government pays the difference to the registered farmers on their respective portals.
- While the MP government has covered some cereals, pulses, oilseed and horticulture crops under its scheme, Haryana and Kerala have covered only horticulture crops. Haryana has recently added millet to its scheme.
- These schemes are good but the state governments do not have resources to sustain such policies and to cover all the crops in long run.
Is there a solution then?
- Along with the current MSP regime, corporations, like Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), should be formed by the centre government for cereals, some of which are not covered under centres’ current MSP regime.
- CCI enters the market when the price of ‘Kapas’ (unginned raw cotton) goes below the MSP fixed by CACP. The CCI then purchases Kapas at MSP, which in turn forces the private players also to offer prices at par with the MSP so as to stop the CCI from purchasing all the cotton from the market.
- In the case of Basmati last year, farmers got much less because of their dependence on the private players. That is where a corporation like CCI could step in and play the role of a deterrent to stop farmers from being exploited.
- Just like wheat and paddy MSP, which the government purchases through Food Corporation of India (FCI) by taking cash credit limit (CCL) from RBI, such corporations too can follow the same policy because there is a huge market of oilseeds and pulses in our country.
- Some farmer leaders suggested that even a state-Centre joint “Bhavantar scheme” can be launched to compensate farmers in case their crop price goes below the fixed rate.
Connecting the dots:
- How has agri-marketing policy changed over years
- New Farm Acts and Opposition to it
- Basis for MSP
- MSP in the age of Surplus
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- GS-3: Environment & pollution
Context: Recently, the Supreme Court said a preliminary enquiry by the CBI into the firecracker industry, including in Tamil Nadu, revealed rampant violation of its ban on use of toxic ingredients like barium and its salts
What did the Supreme Court rule three years ago?
- Three years ago, the court ruled out a full ban on firecrackers and issued orders stipulating that only reduced emission and green crackers be allowed, with tight restrictions on timings when they could be burst.
- SC also prohibited chemicals such as Barium salts and to label the firecrackers in compliance with the law.
- The orders relate to a petition — Arjun Gopal and Others vs Union of India and Others — filed on behalf of three children in 2015, seeking measures to mitigate air pollution and asserting their right to clean air under Article 21 of the Constitution.
What is the controversy?
- Firecrackers use fuel and oxidisers to produce a combustion reaction, and the resulting explosion, releasing energy, spreads the material in a superheated state. The metal salts in the explosive mix get ‘excited’ and emit light.
- Metals in the mix, which have a varying arrangement of electrons in shells outside their nucleus (different mass number), produce different wavelengths of light in this reaction, generating spectacular colours.
- Barium compounds, for example, produce green light and Strontium and Lithium salts, red.
- But as many studies show, the burning of firecrackers is an unusual and peak source of pollution, made up of particles and gases.
- The Central Pollution Control Board conducted a study in Delhi in 2016, and found that the levels of Aluminium, Barium, Potassium, Sulphur, Iron and Strontium rose sharply on Deepavali night, from low to extremely high.
- For instance, Barium rose from 0.268 microgrammes per cubic metre to 95.954 mcg/m3.
- Pollution from firecrackers affects the health of people and animals, and aggravates the already poor ambient air quality in Indian cities.
- This has resulted in court cases calling for a total ban on firecrackers, and court finally deciding to restrict the type of chemicals used as well as their volume.
- Evidently, the new cracker formulations by SC is followed by majority of firecracker manufacturers. Firecrackers are not labelled with information on the person responsible for legal compliance, as ordered by the court.
- The petitioners argue that out of about 2,000 manufacturers, only 120 had the capacity and inclination to work with the court to green the crackers. The industry is therefore seeking light regulation as many jobs are dependent on it.
Can green crackers make a difference?
- The Central government says through its National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI), Nagpur, has come out with firecrackers that have “reduced emission light and sound” and 30% less particulate matter using Potassium Nitrate as oxidant.
- These crackers are named
- Safe Water Releaser, which minimises Potassium Nitrate and Sulphur use, but matches the sound intensity of conventional crackers
- Safe Minimal Aluminium , where Aluminium use is low
- Safe Thermite Crackers with low Sulphur and Potassium Nitrate.
- These crackers are to be identified using unique QR codes to guide consumers.
- The Supreme Court had also previously ordered that the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation should certify the composition of fireworks only after being assured that they were not made of banned chemicals.
At the recent hearing, the Supreme Court noted that there had been a “flagrant violation” of previous orders. It took note of the large volume of crackers burnt almost every day and felt inclined to fix responsibility. “If liability is fixed on the Commissioner of Police, only then can this happen,” it remarked.
Connecting the dots:
- Death by fireworks
- Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO)
(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.
Q.1 Geographical Indication (GI) tag is given as per the
- New Design Act, 2000
- Patent Act, 1970
- Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act,1999
- Indian Copyright Act, 1957
Q.2 Which of the following is/are true regarding Vikrant:
- It is the first time in India that a ship the size of an Aircraft Carrier is completely modeled in 3D
- It is the largest warship built in the country having a displacement of about 40,000 tonnes.
Select the correct statements:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3 Why the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats have low rainfall?
- The straight west coast
- The lack of winter depressions
- Their leeward location
- The heights of the Ghats
ANSWERS FOR 2nd Oct 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On Food Security:
On Nord Stream 2:
On distress in India’s informal labour market: