Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 24th September-2020

 

1) Effectiveness of women in roles of authority:

Germany, Taiwan and New Zealand, these countries have women heading their governments located in different continents the countries seem to have managed it much better than their neighbors

  • United States reports that States which have female Governors had few covid-19 related deaths perhaps partly because of female governors acted more decisively by issuing earlier stay at home orders
  • The authors concluded that women leaders are more effective than their male counterparts in times of crisis

Critics

  • Deficiencies in data, hence we can’t make generalizations based on the study

But the point of making generalizations here is valid

  • Study such as these do not establish the superiority of all female leaders over their male counterparts
  • All female leaders are not necessarily efficient
  • The important take away from the recent experience and studies is the necessity of getting rid of inherent biases and perceptions about female effectiveness in leadership roles
  • Female leaders perform significantly better than men in implementing policies that promote the interests of women this was demonstrated in study conducted by Nobel Laureate Esther Duflo and co-authored Raghabendra Chattopadhyay
  • For instance women Pradhans were more likely to invest in in providing easy access to drinking water since the collection of drinking water is primarily if not solely the responsibility of women
  • Women leaders help in promoting gender equality

Right to vote for women

  • Most important dimension of participation in public life is through voting
  • What proportion of women stand for election to the various state and Central legislature
  • How many are elected of them
  • Most importantly how many women occupy important positions in the executive branch of the government?
  • Independent India gave women right to vote from 1950 onwards and so women could participate on an equal footing with men from first general election in 1951-52
  • The so called democracy of Western Europe and United States took several decades of struggle before women were allowed to vote
  • In US women were allowed to vote in 1920 and in Europe Universal suffrage was achieved during interwar period
  • Since most able bodied men went away to the battlefield during the First World War increasing number of women had the opportunity to show that they were adequate substitute in activities that with earlier the sole preserve of men

Women leaders in India

  • Female leaders like Indira Gandhi Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Sushma Swaraj and Mamata Banerjee among others
  • Example of gender stereotyping was the labelling of Indira Gandhi as the only man in the cabinet

Apart from these the overall figures are depressed

  • The female representation National Democratic Alliance Government at the Centre is from a probably not very far from the typical gender composition in Indian Central and state governments
  • Female members make up about only 10% of total ministerial strength
  • The underrepresentation of female ministers in India is also reflected in the fact that Mamata Benerjee is currently the only female chief minister
  • The under representation of women In Indian legislature is even more striking
  • For in instance election the 2019 election send the largest number of women to the Lok Sabha despite women constitute just over 14% of the total strength of Lok Sabha
  • This gives us a dismal rank of 143 out of 192 countries for which data are reported by the Inter Parliamentary Union
  • Tiny Rwanda comes out on top with a staggering 60% of the seats in its lower house occupied by women

Challenges and solutions in creating a level playing field through appropriate legal measures

  • Establishment of quotas
  • Mandated reservation for women in Gram Panchayat was established in all major states in since mid-1990s
  • Attempts have also been made to extend quotas for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies through a Women’s Reservation Bill
  • The bill was first presented to Lok Sabha by HD Deve Gowda Government in 1996
  • Male members from several parties opposed the bill on various pretexts,
  • The bill was reintroduced in successive Parliaments, but without any success
  • Although Rajya Sabha did pass the bill in 2010 the Lok Sabha and state legislators are yet to give their approval despite 24 years that have passed since it was first presented in Lok Sabha

 

2) G4 countries and UNSC reforms:

G 4 countries include India, Brazil, Japan and Germany

The G4 group that is a group of countries seeking permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council

  • The country’s met virtually to further their objective of permanent membership to UNSC
  • The ministers reaffirmed, their Common resolve to finally take decisive steps towards the early and comprehensive reform of the Security Council that was envisaged by heads of the state and government in 2005 world summit
  • The G4 will work with other reform minded countries and groups to start text based negotiations without delay and seek concrete outcomes during the 75th session of UNGA
  • The ministers reiterated support for each other’s membership to the UNSC and given the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security
  • India will commence a 2 years non-permanent term on the UNSC, has long sought a permanent seat at the Council and is a proponent of other UNSC reforms such as increasing the number of permanent seats currently 5, and non-permanent seats currently 10 seats and ensuring greater representation for Africa
  • Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of a reformed and expanded Security Council to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under representation in Security Council
  • India is a proponent of text based negotiations at United Nations

 

3) Kritagya’ Hackathon by National Agricultural Higher Education Project of ICAR:

To promote potential technology solutions for enhancing farm mechanization with special emphasis on women friendly equipments, a hackathon named “KRITAGYA” has been planned by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).

  • Students, faculties and innovators/entrepreneurs from any university / technical institution across the country can apply and participate in the event in the form of a group.
  • Ag-Tech-Hackathon to promote innovation in farm mechanization with special emphasis on women
  • In one group maximum 4 participants can compete, with not more than one faculty and or more than one innovator or entrepreneur.
  • Participating students can collaborate with local start-ups, students from technology institutes, and can win Rs. 5 lakhs, Rs 3 lakhs and Rs. 1 lakh as first, second and third prize.
  • This event will give an opportunity to the students, faculties, entrepreneurs, innovators and other stakeholders to showcase their innovative approaches and technology solutions to promote farm mechanization in India.
  • The initiative undertaken by NAHEP along with Agricultural Engineering Division of ICAR will also help in enhancing the learning capabilities, innovations and disruptive solutions, employability and entrepreneurial drive in Farm Mechanization sector.
  • Besides, the event will also help in taking forward the vision of high-quality higher education with equity and inclusion as envisaged in NEP-2020.
  • In view of increasing women participation in the field operations mainly due to migration of men for better prospects in non-farm opportunities, the ICAR has felt it necessary to organize this event with the overall aim to enhance automation and mechanization to increase the farm productivity and profitability and also to reduce the drudgery.

Background:

  • The ICAR commenced NAHEP, a Government of India and World Bank project, in November 2017
  • With the overall objective to support the National Agricultural Research and Education System in providing more relevant and better quality higher education in agriculture to the students

 

4) Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development:

Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) has launched a new component called “Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development” under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY-RAFTAAR) in 2018-19

  • With objective to promote innovation and agripreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.
  • Start-ups are being encouraged in order to contribute directly and indirectly to enhancing the income of farmers by providing opportunities to them and to provide employment to youth.
  • Five Knowledge Partners (KPs) and twenty four Agribusiness Incubators (R-ABIs) have been appointed by DAC &FW to advice on smooth and efficient execution of this programme in various States
  • Under this programme, for idea/pre-seed stage, a selected startup shall be eligible for a maximum financial assistance of Rs. five lakh.
  • For seed stage, a selected startup shall be eligible for a maximum financial assistance of Rs. Twenty five lakh.
  • These start-ups were trained for two months at various agribusiness incubation Centre’s (i.e. KPs & RABIs) spread across the country.

 

5) Minimum Support Price:

National Commission on Farmers (NCF) headed by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan had recommended that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be at least 50 percent more than the weighted average cost of production.

However, when the National Policy for Farmers, 2007 was finalized by the then Government, this recommendation of providing 50 per cent returns over cost of production was not included.

The Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced the pre-determined principle to keep MSP at a level of one and half times of the cost of production.

Accordingly, Government has increased the MSPs for all mandated Kharif, Rabi and other commercial crops with a return of atleast 50 per cent over all India weighted average cost of production from agricultural year 2018-19.

In line with the same principle, Government has announced the increase in MSP for all mandated kharif crops of year 2020-21 on 1st June, 2020 and for all mandated rabi crops of year 2020-21 on 21st September 2020.

 

6) Cold Storage Facilities in the Country:

Government is implementing following schemes under which financial assistance is provided for setting up of cold storages throughout the country to bridge the gap between availability and required cold storage capacity:

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH):

  • Department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare is implementing Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) under which financial assistance is provided for various horticulture activities including setting up of cold storages.
  • The component is demand/entrepreneur driven for which Government assistance in the form of credit linked back ended subsidy is available at the rate of 35% (for general areas) and 50% (for hilly and scheduled areas) of eligible capital cost of the project for both public and private sector enterprises

Scheme for Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure:

  • Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing the Scheme for Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure as one of the component of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)
  • With the objective of reducing post-harvest losses of horticulture & non-horticulture produce and providing remunerative price to farmers for their produce.
  • Under the scheme, Ministry provides financial assistance in the form of grant-in-aid at the rate 35% for general areas and 50% for North East States, Himalayan States, ITDP areas and Islands for storage and transport infrastructure and at the rate of 50% and 75% respectively for value addition and processing infrastructure subject to a maximum of Rs.10 crore per project for setting up Integrated Cold Chain projects including Irradiation facility.
  • Standalone cold storages are not covered under the Scheme

 

7) Plastic Parks:

Government has come up with a scheme of Setting up of Plastic Parks with a state-of-the-art infrastructure through cluster development approach.

  • Under the scheme, Central Government provides grant funding up to 50% of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of Rs. 40 crore per project.
  • The remaining project cost is to be funded by the State Government, beneficiary industries and by loan from financial institutions.
  • Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals has approved setting up of 10 Plastic Parks in the country, out of which 6 parks have been given final approval in the States of Assam, Madhya Pradesh (two parks), Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand.
  • For the setting up of remaining 4 Plastic Parks, the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for setting up of Plastic Parks in the States of Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh are under evaluation and proposal for setting up of two new Plastic Parks are under process.
  • The Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering and Technology (CIPET) has established a Centre for Skilling and Technical Support (CSTS) at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh which provides Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma programmes and also skill development training programmes in the field of Plastics Engineering & Technology

 

8) EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCILS:

  • Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) are organizations of exporters, set up under the Societies Registration Act/ Companies Act,
  • Objective of promoting Indian exports.
  • The councils are responsible for promotion of a particular group of products/ projects/services as given in Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-2020.
  • The accounts of the councils are subject to mandatory audit.
  • The review reports of performance of the councils are laid in the Parliament along with Annual Report each year.

 

9) ISO Tank:

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), M/o Commerce and Industry, has given permission to the Petroleum and Explosives Safety organization (PESO) to introduce ISO Tank Containers for movement of Liquid Oxygen for domestic transport.

  • In the wake of the Covid19 pandemic, and the urgent need felt to move oxygen in sufficient quantity, at a short notice, from surplus areas to deficit areas, it was felt necessary to give permission to ISO containers to move liquid oxygen for domestic transport.
  • Amid Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic, the movement of oxygen within the country through the ISO containers shall greatly enhance the translocation of safe and fast movement of oxygen through road network.
  • ISO Tank is a tank container built to the ISO standard (International organization for standardization). ISO tanks are designed to carry liquids in bulk.
  • The tank is made of stainless steel and is surrounded by various types of protective layers.
  • ISO tanker can carry 20 MT of liquid oxygen. Since they can carry huge amount of Oxygen at one go, ISO containers will help to translocate sufficient Oxygen to areas where required.

 

10) Laser Guided ATGM Successfully Test-fired:

Laser Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test fired

  • The weapon has a range of up to 4 km.
  • It was test fired from an MBT Arjun Tank at KK Ranges in Armored Corps Centre and School (ACC&S).
  • It is a laser-guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).
  • It will enhance the fire-power capability of the Indian Army along border with Pakistan and China.
  • The ATGM hits the targets with accuracy and precision.
  • The missile employs a tandem HEAT High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armored vehicles.

About Anti-Tank Missiles (ATMs)

  • ATMs are the guided missiles designed to destroy the heavily armored vehicles and tanks.
  • These missiles uses various guiding programmes including the laser-guided missiles, wire-guided missiles, etc. ATMs have various sizes,
  • Small ATMs – they can be carried by a single person and can be launched from shoulder.
  • Medium ATMs – they need a team of soldiers to carry them and launch.
  • Large ATMs- these are mounted on Aircraft or Main Battle Tanks. They can be launched from large distances.
  • DRDO ATM, AMOGHA, JASMINE, Spike ATGMs, NAG are some of the 1st generation Anti- Tank Missiles that has been launched by DRDO.

MBT Arjun Tank

  • The Arjun is a 3rd generation battle tank that has been developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for its use in the Indian Army.
  • The missile employs a tandem HEAT High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armored vehicles.
  • It has been developed with multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from gun of MBT Arjun

 

11) Shinkun La Tunnel:

  • Government of India is giving priority to build Infrastructure in border areas of UT of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.
  • To improve connectivity in the remote and inaccessible areas of Ladakh and Lahaul & Spiti District.
  • Government is constructing World’s Longest High-Altitude Shinkun La Tunnel (13.5 Km long) along with its approach roads in UT of Ladakh and Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • On completion of this tunnel, the Manali – Kargil highway will remain open throughout the year.
  • Project will improve connectivity in the remote and inaccessible areas of Ladakh and Lahaul & Spiti District.

 

12) CAG report toilets in schools:

  • Public sector units claimed to have constructed 1.4 lakh toilets in schools as part of a right to education project
  • But almost 40% of those surveyed by the CAG were found to be not existent, partially constructed or unused.
  • Over 70% did not have running water facilities in toilets while 75% for not being maintained hygienically
  • The swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan was launched by Human Resource Development Ministry in September 2014 to meet the right to education act mandate that all schools must have separate toilet for boys and girls
  • Poor maintenance and poor water availability in toilets were identified as major challenges and Central Public Sector Enterprises were roped in to bridge the gap over 1 year period

 

13) Indian museum:

  • Indian Museum Kolkata awarded the modernization work on nomination basis and executed the work without any conservation plan for preparation of detailed project report and proper planning
  • Renovation works at Indian Museum in Kolkata for carried out without following the necessary conservation process leading to prices articrafts being damaged
  • The Indian museum founded in 1849 is the oldest Museum on the subcontinent and houses a range of antiquities including an Egyptian mummy
  • Indian Museum functions under Union Ministry of culture

 

14) China to go carbon neutral by 2060:

  • Beijing seized the climate agenda by vowing to go carbon neutral by 2060
  • The goals which include a pledge to reach peak emissions in 2030
  • China which is the world’s biggest polluter and account for a quarter of the planets greenhouse gases emissions
  • Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Chinese President Xi jinping on Tuesday renewed his support for Paris climate and called for a green focus as the world recover from covid-19 crisis
  • United States The world’s second-largest polluter, pulled out of the agreement blaming China for the stalled Momentum on tackling global emissions

Critics about China’s policy:

  • China already feeds nearly 15% of its energy demand with non-fossil fuels
  • China’s installation of renewable energy stands at 30% of the world total
  • But experts say the picture is more nuanced with massive investments continuing at home and Overseas in coal and other fossil fuels
  • China currently giga watts of coal power capacity either permitted or under construction according to global energy monitor, San Francisco based environmental group

 

15) Mukhya Mantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana to be launched in Madhya Pradesh:

Madhya Pradesh government is going to launch the ‘Mukhya Mantri Kisan Kalyan Yojana’ by following the path of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi which is an initiative of the central government.

  • Existing beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi who are getting Rs. 6,000 per annum, will also be getting additional financial assistance of Rs. 4,000 under the announced scheme.
  • Thus, in total, the farmers would be getting annual assistance to be Rs. 10,000.
  • Around 80 lakh farmers will be benefitted from the announced Chief Minister Kisan Kalyan Yojana.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sammann Nidhi:

  • It is an initiative of the Indian government announced during the interim Union Budget of India, 2019.
  • It provides all the farmers up to Rs. 6000 per year in three installments as minimum income support.
  • The support money is directly transferred to the farmer’s bank accounts.

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