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UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 25th January 2022

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy – UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 25th January 2022

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 25th January 2022

    

  • The 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation
  • Drone in Agriculture
  • District Good Governance Index
  • The education emergency

 

1.The 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation

#GS3-Conservation

Context

  • At the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, the Union Environment Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change emphasised different facets of India’s effective tiger conservation programme.

In depth information

  • The 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation was convened by the Malaysian government and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF).
  • It’s an important gathering for reviewing progress on the Global Tiger Recovery Programme and tiger conservation pledges.

India’s accomplishments

  • India has accomplished the incredible achievement of doubling the tiger population in just four years, four years ahead of schedule for the year 2022.
  • India’s tiger governance model is currently being reproduced for other animals such as the Lion, Dolphin, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and other small wild cats, and the country is on the verge of reintroducing the Cheetah to its original range.
  • The community dependent on natural resources is a crucial aspect of tiger conservation, and India’s conservation efforts place a strong emphasis on the “people agenda.”

Recently launched initiative:

  • The budgeted commitment for tiger conservation has increased from Rs 185 crore in 2014 to Rs 300 crore in 2022, and 14 Indian Tiger Reserves have now received international CATS accreditation, with attempts underway to bring in more Tiger Reserves.
  • CATS is a widely used conservation tool that establishes best practises and standards for tiger management, as well as assessments to track progress.
  • The government has granted Rs 2 lakh life cover under e-Sharm and Rs 5 lakh health cover under Ayushman Yojana to each contractual/temporary worker, as they are a vital pillar of tiger conservation.
  • 51 Tiger Reserves in India provide around 4.3 million man-days of employment, and money from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) are being used to promote voluntary village displacement from core regions of the Tiger Reserves.

Tigers’ Importance

  • Over 70% of the world’s tiger population is found in India.
  • Tigers, being the ecosystem’s apex predators, play a critical role in regulating and perpetuating ecological processes.
  • The survival of wooded habitats, the biodiversity they represent, as well as water and climatic security, are all dependent on the conservation of this apex carnivore.
  • Tigers can be found in a range of habitats throughout India, including high mountains, mangrove swamps, tall grasslands, dry and damp deciduous forests, and evergreen forest systems.
  • As a result, the tiger is not just a conservation emblem, but also an umbrella species for the majority of the Indian subcontinent’s ecology.

Tigers are threatened by a variety of factors.

  • Poaching: Every part of the tiger is sold on the black market. It’s utilised in traditional Asian medicine, however it has no therapeutic effect, so killing these animals for this purpose is pointless.
  • Tigers have lost 93 percent of their historical range due to habitat destruction or degradation caused by human activity.
  • With less forests to hunt in, tigers are forced to murder livestock, and when they do, farmers frequently retaliate by killing the big cat.

Conservation Efforts for Tigers

  • Lidar-based survey technology is being employed for the first time to address the issue of human-animal conflict, which is resulting in animal deaths.
  • Lidar is a distance measurement technique that involves shining laser light on a target and measuring the reflection using a sensor.
  • Official training:
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority has approved official training to cope with emergencies including tigers straying into human-dominated areas, tiger livestock predation, and active tiger rehabilitation.
  • Policy and management:
  • Significant changes have been made to tiger population policy and management in order to fully implement provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, such as tiger landscape conservation plans and the designation and notification of inviolate critical core and buffer areas of tiger reserves.

New tiger reserves are being identified and declared.

  • At the highest levels of government, tiger landscapes and the value of corridors and their physical delineation are recognised, and tiger conservation and development initiatives are integrated using the power of trustworthy data in a Geographic Information System database.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change’s Project Tiger is a centrally sponsored scheme.
  • It provides tiger conservation assistance to the tiger states in designated tiger reserves.

Collaboration on a global scale

  • India and China have signed a treaty on tiger protection, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on Sundarbans conservation with Bangladesh.
  • In addition, the Cabinet has approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Myanmar to combat timber trafficking and wildlife conservation.
  • Aside from bilateral activities, Bhutan, Nepal, and Cambodia are also involved.
  • Guatemala’s government has asked India’s government for help in protecting the country’s Jaguar population.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ A. N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution have inked a tripartite agreement for tiger conservation at the institute level.

 

2.Drone in Agriculture

#GS3-Agricultural

Context

  • In an effort to make drones more accessible to farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare recently announced amended instructions for the “Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization” (SMAM) scheme.

In depth information

  • By assisting with the purchase, hiring, and demonstrations of agriculture drones, the financing guidelines will make this technology more accessible.
  • The financial help and grants will be valid until March 31, 2023.
  • The SMAM scheme was introduced in 2014-15 with the goal of expanding farm mechanization’s reach to small and marginal farmers, as well as to regions and tough places where farm power is scarce.

Points to Remember

  • Subsidy of 40% to 100%: A grant of up to 100% of the cost of an agriculture drone or Rs.10 lakhs, whichever is less, would be offered as a grant for the purchase of drones.
  • However, only Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, and State Agriculture Universities will be eligible for the whole payment.

Agriculture Graduates Subsidy:

  • Agriculture graduates who open Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) will be eligible for a 50% discount on the cost of a drone and its accessories, or a grant of up to Rs. 5 lakh for drone purchases.

Subsidies to FPOs (Cooperative Society of Farmers):

  • Existing or new CHCs, established or to be established by farmer cooperative societies, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), and rural entrepreneurs, are eligible for a 4 percent (maximum Rs. 4 lakh) grant on the drone’s base cost.
  • CHCs are the primary grassroots organisations that promote farm mechanisation, and drone use will not gain traction until they are provided incentives.
  • Those who have passed the class tenth test from a recognised Board and obtained a remote pilot licence from an institute approved by the Director-General of Civil Aviation are considered rural entrepreneurs (DGCA).

Demonstration Objectives:

  • If the drone is only used for demonstration purposes, the FPOs will be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of the cost of the drone.
  • Additionally, these implementing agencies will receive Rs. 6,000 per hectare if they employ drones for demonstrations from CHCs, Hi-tech Hubs, drone manufacturers, and start-ups.
  • However, if they buy the drones for protests, they will be paid Rs 3,000 per hectare.

Significance:

  • Agriculture drones will be more inexpensive because to subsidised purchases for CHCs/Hi-tech Hubs, leading in wider usage.
  • This will make drones more available to the general public in India, while also boosting local drone production.

 

3.District Good Governance Index

#GS2-Governance and transparency

Context:

  • Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, recently announced the introduction of the District Good Governance Index (DGGI) in Jammu & Kashmir, the first Union Territory to do so.

In depth information

The index is as follows:

  • Launched in 20 Jammu & Kashmir districts.
  • It was created in collaboration with the administration of the Union Territory by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).
  • The index has been used to track the national and state governments’ policies, initiatives, and programmes at the district level.

The index’s importance:

  • This index will begin in Jammu and Kashmir and gradually expand to all other states, with a good governance competition beginning in every district across the country.
  • The index included 58 indicators and ten sectors.
  • The index will have a significant impact on inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir since it will strive to enhance district machinery, make districts more result-oriented, and improve delivery mechanisms.

The following are some of the index’s highlights:

  • The Jammu Division’s Doda and Samba districts came in second and third, respectively, in the composite ranking.
  • Pulwama district in the Srinagar Division came in fourth, with Srinagar district coming in fifth.
  • Rajouri district came in worst place, while Poonch and Shopian districts were also in the bottom of the rankings.
  • In the Public Infrastructure and Utilities sector, Srinagar was ranked #1.
  • Srinagar also scored 5.313 points in the Kashmir Division’s Composite GGI, placing it among the top five districts.
  • Kishtwar won the ‘Agriculture and Allied Sector’ category, Pulwama won the ‘Human Resource Development’ category, Reasi won the ‘Public Health’ category, Ramban won the ‘Social Welfare and Development’ category, and Ganderbal won the ‘Financial Inclusion’ category.

The state of J&K’s performance in the National Good Governance Index is as follows:

  • Jammu & Kashmir had a 3.7 percent improvement in Good Governance Indicators from 2019 to 2021, according to the National Good Governance Index released by the Centre on December 25 last year.
  • J-strong K’s performance was highlighted in a variety of disciplines, including trade and industry, agriculture, the judiciary, and public infrastructure.

 

4.The education emergency

#GS2-Health & Education

Context

  • Faced with an unparalleled education crisis, now is the moment to significantly increase public education investment and improve its effectiveness.

In depth information

Education has a low budget allocation.

  • According to UNESCO’s 2030 framework for action, public education investment should be between 4% and 6% of GDP and 15% to 20% of total government spending.
  • According to a recent World Bank research, India spends 14.1% of its budget on education, compared to 18.5 percent in Vietnam and 20.6 percent in Indonesia, all of which have similar GDP levels.
  • However, because India has a higher proportion of people under the age of 19 than comparable countries, it should be allocating a larger portion of the budget.
  • Even before the pandemic, India’s public education spending was lower than that of other middle-income countries in most states.
  • According to the Ministry of Education’s Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure on Education, most large states spent 2.5 percent to 3.1 percent of their state income on education.
  • In comparison, lower-middle-income nations spent 4.3 percent of GDP on average between 2010-11 and 2018-19.
  • Even though the amount of the overall budget increased, the Central government’s contribution for the Education Department was cut in the 2021-22 Budget compared to the previous year.
  • In comparison to 2020-21, eight of the major States and Delhi lowered or nearly maintained their budget allocation for education departments in 2021-22.

a path forward

  • During the 20 months of school closures, the great majority of the 260 million children enrolled in preschool and school, particularly in government schools, did not have meaningful structured learning opportunities.
  • Infusion of funds: The education system now requires not only a multi-year infusion of funds, but also a greater focus on the needs of poor and disadvantaged pupils.
  • It matters what it is spent on and how efficiently resources are used.

What additional resources are necessary is obvious.

  • Back-to-school campaigns and re-enrollment drives; expanded nutrition programmes; reorganisation of the curriculum to help children learn language and mathematics in particular, as well as support their socio-emotional development, particularly in the early grades; additional learning materials; teacher training and ongoing support; additional education programmes; and data collection and analysis are among the requirements.
  • Teacher education is a priority: What is the relationship between technology spending and teacher training, which accounts for only 0.15 percent of total anticipated elementary school spending?
  • Why does India spend so little on teacher training while teachers are so important to the quality of education?

The lack of transparency in India’s education finance statistics

  • It’s tough to understand due to the opacity of school financing statistics.
  • According to the Economic Survey of 2020-21, the combined Central and State government spending on education in 2018-19 was anticipated to be 2.8 percent of GDP.
  • Since 2014-15, this figure has been constant.
  • On the other hand, according to Ministry of Education figures, public education spending increased to 4.3 percent of GDP in the same year, up from 3.8 percent in 2011-12.
  • The disparity in the figures arises from the inclusion of education spending by departments other than the Education Department.
  • It is, of course, legal to include education spending by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (on Anganwadis, scholarships, and so on), and the Ministry of Science and Technology (for higher education).
  • However, the breakdown of these costs isn’t publicly available.

Conclusion

  • The Budget’s questions should be straightforward. In 2021-22, how much additional funding will the key departments devote to various levels of education? Are the money being used for the exact actions required to alleviate the children’s education crisis?

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 25th January 2022

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