Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 8th September-2020

 

1) Naga conflict:

Chronology of events:

  • 1953 Centre Bans Naga National Council headed by Phizo.
  • 1956 NNC establishes Naga Federal government.
  • 1975 Isaac Chishi Swu and Muivah reject Shillong Accord, form National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in January 1980.
  • 1988 NSCN splits into Isaac-Muivah (IM) & khaplang factions, NSCN-IM banned in 1990.
  • 1997 NSCN-IM signs ceasefire pact with Centre.
  • 2015 party signs peace Accord with Modi government.

What the pact may achieve:

  • Silence India’s longest running insurgency.
  • Open up Northeast, particularly Nagaland and Manipur, to development and Investments.
  • Help curb extortion, kidnapping and gun-running racket being fuelled by China.
  • Improve ties with neighbor Myanmar.

Ceasefires and factions:

  • The Modi government and the national socialist Council of Nagalim(Isaac-Muivah) , or the NSCN-IM, The most powerful of the Naga insurgent groups which has been in peace talks with the center since the 1997 ceasefire, had signed a Framework agreement in August 2015 which was climbed historic achievement at that time.
  • But a final Accord has remained elusive since.
  • When the Centre realized that privileging one insurgent group could eventually only distort the contours of the final peace Accord, it subsequently enlarged the peace process by roping in 7 other Naga insurgent groups under the umbrella of Naga National Political groups (NNPG).
  • But another important group, the NSCN- KHAPLANG, whose cadres are reported to be inside Myanmar is still outside the formal process.

Issues Raised:

  • Given this Complex backdrop, Mr. Ravi’s recent letter to Nagaland’s chief Minister
  • In his widely circulated letter, Mr. Ravi had expressed his anguish over the culture of extortion and the collapse of general law and order situation in Nagaland, Where organized armed gangs run their own parallel tax collection regimes.
  • One of the major aims of the NSCN-IM has been to acquire formal recognition to this informal practice through negotiations.
  • The NSCN-IM cannot be branded as an armed gang and is vehemently opposed to the treatment of the Naga issue as a law and order problem.
  • Offended by military actions initiated against its cadre in recent months, the NSCN -IM Is equally angry over recent directive by the Nagaland government asking his employees to self-declare the membership of any of their close relatives with underground groups.

Unease over interpretations

  • There has already been much debate and controversy about the interpretation of sovereignty, as reflected in the Naga Independence Day speech by NSCN-IM chief
  • Demand for a separate Flag and a constitution has been a key hindrance in building trust among the parties.
  • Some Indian states contiguous to Nagaland have been affected through the mobilization of the Naga population in the states.
  • That is why they are apprehensive of the demand for Greater Nagalim, which would imply a ceding of their Naga inhabited territories.
  • How the weapons in the NSCN-IM camps are going to be managed is another issue.

 

2) Mid-day meal scheme:

Context: The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today suggested that milk could be given either as part of breakfast or the mid-day meal in order to improve the nutritional levels of children.

Aim: To enhancing enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE)

  • It was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 15th August 1995, initially in 2408 blocks in the country.
  • From 2008-09 i.e. 1st April, 2008, the programme covers all children studying in Government, Local Body and Government-aided primary and upper primary schools and the EGS/AIE centres including Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under SSA of all areas across the country.
  • From the year 2009 onwards the following changes have been made to improve the implementation of the scheme:-
  • Food norms have been revised to ensure balanced and nutritious diet to children of upper primary group by increasing the quantity of pulses from 25 to 30 grams, vegetables from 65 to 75 grams and by decreasing the quantity of oil and fat from 10 grams to 7.5 grams.
  • One cook- cum-helper for schools up to 25 students.
  • Two cooks-cum-helpers for schools with 26 to 100 students.
  • One additional cook-cum-helper for every addition of upto 100 students.

The existing system of payment of cost of food grains to FCI from the Government of India is prone to delays and risk.

Decentralization of payment of cost of food grains to the FCI at the district level from 1.4.2010 allowed officers at State and National levels to focus on detailed monitoring of the Scheme.

 

3) International Literacy Day:

September 8 is celebrated by the UNESCO and other world organizations. The day was first celebrated in 1967.

The aim of celebrating the day is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals.

Theme: Literacy teaching and learning in COVID-19 crisis and beyond

  • Apart from COVID-19, it will also focus on role of educators.
  • The celebrations of the day was first announced at the 14th session of UNESCO General Conference.
  • According to UNESCO, South Asia has the lowest adult literacy rate followed by sub-Saharan Africa. There is strong connection between literacy and severe poverty.

About the Day

  • The day was adopted as a part of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Programme in 2015.
  • It is important to mark the day as there are more than 775 million that lack literacy skills. Out of this, two-thirds are women and 60.7 million are children.
  • The National Statistical Office recently released its report on literacy in India. According to the report, 77.7% of Indians are literate.

 

4) Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle:

Context: India on Monday successfully flight-tested the indigenously-developed hypersonic technology demonstration vehicle (HSTDV), joining a select group of countries having the capability to develop the next-generation hypersonic cruise missiles.

What is Hypersonic Cruise Missile?

A Hypersonic cruise missile is the fastest running missile at the present time. These missiles run at a speed which is at least five times the speed of sound which is huge in terms of speed.

The HSTDV, based on hypersonic propulsion technologies and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), will help India develop futuristic space assets like long-range missile systems and aerial platforms, they said.

The HSTDV is capable of powering missiles to attain a speed of around Mach 6 or six times the speed of sound, only a very few countries like the US, Russia and China have such a capability.

The HSTDV operates on a scramjet engine, as against the ramjet engine which is used on most missiles. The ramjet engines operate at supersonic speeds of up to Mach 3.

This would help in realizing PM’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

It said the hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a proven rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 kilometres

Uses:

  • Has multiple civilian applications also. It can be used for launching satellites at low cost too, according to government officials.
  • This is dual-use technology, which when developed, will have multiple civilian applications. It can be used for launching satellites at low cost.
  • It will also be available for long-range cruise missiles of the future. E.g.: Brahmos 2.
    Scramjet Engine Technology Demonstrator
  • As of now, satellites are launched into orbit by multi-staged satellite launch vehicles that can be used only once (expendable).These launch vehicles carry oxidizer along with the fuel for combustion to produce thrust.
  • Launch vehicles designed for one time use are expensive and their efficiency is low because they can carry only 2-4% of their lift-off mass to orbit. Thus, there is a worldwide effort to reduce the launch cost.
  • Therefore, the next generation launch vehicles must use a propulsion system which can utilize the atmospheric oxygen during their flight through the atmosphere which will considerably reduce the total propellant required to place a satellite in orbit.
  • Ramjet, Scramjet and Dual Mode Ramjet (DMRJ) are the three concepts of air-breathing engines which are being developed by various space agencies.

A ramjet

  • Is a form of air-breathing jet engine that uses the vehicle’s forward motion to compress incoming air for combustion without a rotating compressor.
  • A ramjet-powered vehicle requires assisted take-off like a rocket assist to accelerate it to a speed where it begins to produce thrust.
  • Ramjets work most efficiently at supersonic speeds around Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) and can operate up to speeds of Mach 6.
  • However, the ramjet efficiency starts to drop when the vehicle reaches hypersonic speeds.

A scramjet engine is an improvement over the ramjet engine as it efficiently operates at hypersonic speeds and allows supersonic combustion. Thus it is known as Supersonic Combustion Ramjet, or Scramjet.

A dual mode ramjet (DMRJ) is a type of jet engine where a ramjet transforms into scramjet over Mach 4-8 range, which means it can efficiently operate both in subsonic and supersonic combustor modes.

 

5) Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA):

Context: The 19th meeting of Supreme Court -mandated Committed on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) was held.

About the Committee:

  • Under the Supreme Court guidelines of 2015 the content of government advertisements should be relevant to the government’s constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizens’ rights and entitlements
  • Subsequently to Supreme Court directives the Government of India in 2016 has set up a three-member body constituting of persons with an impeccable impartiality and who have excelled in their respective fields to look into content regulation of government funded advertisements in all media platforms
  • The committee is empowered to address complaints from the general public on violation of the Supreme Court guidelines and make suitable recommendations it can also take suo-motu cognizance of any violation of the Supreme Court guidelines
  • Presently the CCRGA is chaired by Shri Om Prakash Rawat former Chief Election Commissioner of India.

As per directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, states are mandated to set up their respective three member committees on Content Regulation of Government Advertisements.

Karnataka, Goa, Mizoram and Nagaland States have already constituted state-level Three Member Committees.

The State Government of Chhattisgarh has given its consent to the Central Committee to monitor the content of their government advertisements.

 

6) First World Solar Technology Summit:

Context: First World Solar Technology Summit to be held virtually

  • Four partnership agreements to be inked including one between M/o NRE, World Bank & ISA
  • International journal on Solar technology to be launched
  • Being organized by the International Solar Alliance (ISA), More than 26000 participants from 149 countries have registered to join the

virtual Summit

  • Which is expected to bring the spotlight on accelerating affordable and sustainable clean green energy by showcasing and deliberating on innovative state of the art next generation technologies in solar power.
  • Nobel Laureate, Dr M Stanley Whittingham, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (jointly with John B Goodenough & Akira Yoshino) in 2019 for the revolutionizing discovery of the lithium ion batteries will deliver the key note
  • The inaugural will witness the rolling of an action- packed agenda with the conclusion and announcement of three agreements between ISA and International Institute of Refrigeration, a second with Global Green Growth Institute and a third agreement with National Thermal Power Corporation.
  • A tripartite agreement between India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the World Bank and the International Solar Alliance is also set to be inked.
  • ISA’s technology journal, Solar Compass 360 will also be launched
  • The Global CEO’s session which follows the inaugural will see a moderated discussion between the CEOs of the world’s largest corporations that contribute greatly towards the promotion of solar energy integration with other renewables and storage for sustainable energy solutions.
  • Equally interesting sessions have been planned on exploring low cost – electricity (Towards a Decarbonized Grid) followed by intense deliberations on Disruptive Solar Technologies and Solar beyond the Power Sector.

 

7) Global Multidimensional Poverty Index and India:

Context: NITI Aayog as the nodal agency has been assigned the responsibility of leveraging the monitoring mechanism of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to drive reforms.

Global MPI is part of Government of India’s decision to monitor the performance of the country in 29 select Global Indices.

What is Global MPI?

  • It is an international measure of multidimensional poverty covering 107 developing countries and was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for UNDP’s Human Development Reports.
  • The Global MPI is released at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development of the United Nations, every year.

How is it computed?

Global MPI is computed on 10 parameters based on -nutrition, child mortality, and years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing and household assets.

It utilizes the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) which is conducted under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS).

According to Global MPI 2020, India is 62nd among 107 countries

As the Nodal agency for the MPI, NITI Aayog has constituted a Multidimensional Poverty Index Coordination Committee (MPICC).

 

 

 

 

 

8) Kamath Panel report: 

Context: Report to identify 26 sectors for loan restructuring

Five member committee under the leadership of the former chief of New Development Bank K V Kamath submitted its report to the Reserve Bank of India.

The panel was formed to make recommendations on financial parameters to be considered for one-time restructuring of loans that were affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the sectors are:

  • Power
  • Construction
  • Roads
  • Iron and Steel Manufacturing
  • Non Ferrous metals
  • Real Estate

Recommendations of the panel

  • To frame a recast plan, banks should consider pre-covid financial state of the company and COVID impacts
  • The Inter-Creditor agreement has been made mandatory in all cases that involves multiple lending institutions.

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