Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Daily Current Affairs 31st August

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 31st August-2021

Daily Current Affairs 31st August – Topics

  • New Guidelines for Poultry Farmers
  • NITI bats for tax breaks to achieve monetization goal.    
  • New Maritime Regulations for Foreign ships by China
  • Hari Singh Nalwa: The Sikh Warrior
  • e-Shram portal

 

  1. New Guidelines for Poultry Farmers

#GS3 #Environment pollution and degradation #Agriculture and allied activities- Animal rearing

Context: According to new guidelines for poultry farmers, small and marginal poultry farmers in India will now have to take measures to prevent environmental pollution.

  • Poultry, hatchery and piggery were considered ‘green’ by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in its guidelines of 2015.
  • This meant they were exempt from air, water and environmental protection laws.
  • In 2020, the National Green Tribunal advised the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to revisit the guidelines for keeping poultry farms in the green category and free from air, water and environmental protection laws.

Major provisions of new guidelines

  • New Definition of Poultry Farmer:
    • Small Farmers are those who manage 5,000-25,000 birds
    • Medium Farmers: More than 25,000 and less than 1,00,000 birds
    • Large Farmers: More than 1,00,000 birds
  • Consent to Establish: As per the new guidelines, for starting and operating a medium-sized poultry farm of 25,000-100,000 birds, a farmer will have to acquire a certificate of Consent to Establishment or Consent to Operate.
  • This will have to be taken from the State Pollution Control Board or Committee under the Water Act, 1974 and the Air Act, 1981.
  • Permission will be valid for 15 years.
  • Guidelines at the state level and district level will be implemented by the Animal Husbandry Department.
  • On reducing Pollution:
    • Poultry farms should have a ventilated room to lessen the gaseous pollution from the birds.
    • Also, care should be taken so that poultry faeces do not mix with running water or any other pesticide.
    • A farm should be set up 500 metres away from a residential area, 100 metres from rivers, lakes, canals and drinking water sources, 100 metres from national highways and 10-15 metres from village footpaths and rural roads.
    • Stress has also been given to daily removal of birds that die, through burial, without hurting the environment.
      • Burial should be done three metres above the ground water level.
    • Farmers should provide for proper distancing between the birds at the farm and protect them from rodents and flies.
    • Mixing and preparing poultry feed should be done in a gated chamber so that dust does not fly during the process.

Need for the new guidelines:           

  • Gaseous emissions and waste are a main problem in poultry farming.
  • The faeces of poultry birds release gaseous ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and methane, all of which produce odours.
  • Poultry production also attracts flies, rodents, dogs and other pests that create local nuisances and carry diseases.
  • Poor management of manure, litter and wastewater etc. adversely affects the living in the vicinity.
  • Furthermore, intensive poultry production may be responsible for greenhouse gasses, acidification and eutrophication.
  • As per NGT 2020 ruling the sustainable development is a part of the right to life and it is the duty of state authorities to protect the environment as per sustainable development concept.

Daily Current Affairs 31st August – Poultry Birds in India:

  • As per the 20th Livestock Census, there are 851.8 million poultry birds in India.
  • About 30 per cent (250 million) of this is ‘backyard poultry’ or small and marginal farmers.
  • According to the 19th Livestock Census, the number of such farmers is about 30 million.
  • Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, etc, are reared in poultry farms for meat and eggs. Chickens that are reared for eggs are called ‘laying hens’ or ‘layers.
    • Those reared for meat are called ‘broilers’.
  • Data from the 20th Livestock Census,2020 shows that Tamil Nadu (120 million), Andhra Pradesh (107 million), Telangana (79 million), West Bengal (77 million), Maharashtra (74 million), Karnataka (59 million crores), Assam (46 million) and Kerala (29 million) have the highest poultry populations.
  • The National Action Plan for Egg and Poultry-2022 report to increase the income of farmers by 2022 states that the total number of poultry in 2017 was 720 million. Of these, 230 million were backyard poultry.

 

  1. NITI bats for tax breaks to achieve monetization goal.

#GS3 #Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment #Infrastructure #GS2 #Niti Aayog

Context: Niti Aayog recently recommended the union government to give Income tax breaks to attract retail investors into instruments like Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) in order to make the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) successful.

Key Details:

  • NITI Aayog is developing this pipeline which has been projected to raise almost  6 lakh crore for the exchequer over 04 years.
  • It has also called for bringing such Investment Trusts under the ambit of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to provide better comfort to investors.
  • Making policy and regulatory changes to scale up monetisation instruments like InvITs and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and increase their investor base have been considered as a crucial component for the NMP.
  • The government plans to use the InvITs and REITS route to monetise public assets like highways, gas pipelines, railway tracks and power transmission lines.

 

  • As per Niti Aayog’s blueprint on NMP, providing tax benefits in InvITs as eligible security to invest under Section 54EC of the Income-Tax Act, 1961, is an important starting point for initiating retail participation in the instruments.
    • Section 54EC allows taxpayers to offset long-term capital gains from transactions in immovable properties through investments in bonds issued by some government-backed infrastructure firms.
  • Extending IBC provisions to InvITs would help lenders access a faster and more effective debt restructuring and resolution option.
  • ‘Streamlining operational modalities, encouraging investor participation and facilitating commercial efficiency’ could ensure ‘efficient and effective’ outcomes from the monetisation drive, as per the NITI Aayog.

What is InvIT model?

  • InvITs are designed so as to give investors a chance to invest in infrastructure assets with predictable cash flows, while the asset owners can raise upfront resources against future revenue cash flows from those assets, which in turn can be deployed in new assets or used to repay debt.
  • Individual and institutional investors to earn a small portion of the income as return.
  • The InvITs are regulated by the SEBI (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.

What is NMP:

  • Pipeline aims to unlock value in brownfield projects by engaging the private sector, utilising institutional and long-term patient capital, transferring to them revenue rights and not ownership in the projects, and using the funds so generated for infrastructure creation across the country.
  • NMP is envisioned to serve as a medium-term roadmap for identifying potential monetisation- ready projects, across several infrastructure sectors.

  • The government has emphasised that these are brownfield assets, which have been “de-risked” from execution risks, and therefore should encourage private investment.
  • Roads, railways and power sector assets will include over 66% of the total estimated value of the assets to be monetised, with the remaining upcoming sectors including telecom, mining, aviation, ports, natural gas and petroleum product pipelines, warehouses and stadiums.
    • In terms of annual phasing by value, 15% of assets with an indicative value of Rs 0.88 lakh crore are envisioned for rollout in the current financial year.
  • The NMP will run co-terminus with the Rs 100 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) announced in December 2019.
    • The projected capital to be raised through monetisation is around 14% of the planned outlay for the Centre of Rs 43 lakh crore under NIP.

Significance:

  • Asset monetisation, based on the philosophy of Creation through Monetisation, is intended at getting private sector investment for new infrastructure creation.
  • This is essential for generating employment opportunities, thereby aiding high economic growth and seamlessly integrating the rural and semi-urban areas for overall public welfare.

 

  1. New Maritime Regulations for Foreign ships by China

#GS2 #India and its neighbourhood # Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests

Context: Chinese authority’s recently notified maritime rules which require a range of vessels “to report their information” when passing through what China sees as its “territorial waters”, starting from September 01, 2021.

  • China claims most of the disputed South China Sea’s waters under ‘Nine Dash Line’ on its map.

Key provisions of new rules:

  • Operators of submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas and other toxic and harmful substances are required to report their detailed information upon their visits to Chinese territorial waters.
    • China claims almost all of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. It has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region.
  • In addition to above category of vessels, any vessel deemed to “endanger the maritime traffic safety of China” will also be obligated to report its info, which would contain their name, call sign, current position next port of call, and estimated time of arrival.
  • The vessels will also have to provide details on the nature of goods and cargo dead weight.
  • After entering the Chinese territorial sea, it is mandatory to give follow-up reports every 02 hours until it leaves the territorial sea, if the vessel’s automatic identification system does not work properly.
  • The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration also has the power to oust or reject a vessel’s entry to Chinese waters if the vessel is found to pose threat to China’s national security.

Implications of the new rules:

  • It is seen as a sign of stepped-up efforts to safeguard China’s national security at sea by implementing strict rules to boost maritime identification capability.
  • China sees the United States intrusion into the region is of assertive nature that can be the biggest destroyer of peace and stability in the region.
  • As per estimates by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), over $5 trillion trade passes through the South China Sea, and 55% of India’s trade pass through its waters and the Malacca Straits.
  • Indian commercial vessels as well as ships of the Indian Navy frequently navigate the waters of the South China Sea, through which pass key international sea lanes.
  • These new rules could have wide range of ramifications for the free passage of both military and commercial vessels in the South China Sea.
  • It is seen as contrary with United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which states that ships of all countries “enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea”.
  • The new rules are likely to increase tensions if China strictly imposes them in the disputed South China Sea and the Taiwan straits where the US and its allies have been conducting naval expeditions, challenging China’s claims to assert the freedom of navigation.

‘Nine dash line’

  • The nine-dash line refers to the inaccurate demarcation line used by the People’s Republic of China for its claims of the major part of the South China Sea.
  • The contested area in the South China Sea includes the Paracel Islands, the Spratly Islands, and various other areas including Pratas Island and the Vereker Banks, the Macclesfield Bank and the Scarborough Shoal.
  • The claim encompasses the area of Chinese land reclamation known as the “Great Wall of Sand”.
  • The “nine dash line” is deemed by most countries as being inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which only gives states the right to establish a territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles.

 

  1. Hari Singh Nalwa: The Sikh Warrior

#GS1 #Modern History- significant events, personalities, issues.

Context: Afghanistan, which is infamously called as “graveyard of the empires”, could not be controlled by anyone completely.

  • Over the years, Afghanistan has been notoriously difficult to govern, with the US now and erstwhile USSR in 1988 deciding to pull out their forces after having once established control in the region.
  • But, Hari Singh Nalwa, a legendary Sikh commander, restrained the turbulent forces at play in Afghanistan and got the reputation of the most feared Sikh warrior there.

Nalwa and his achievements:

  • He was a commander in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s (1801-39) army and the governor of Kashmir, Hazara and Peshawar.
  • He was feared and recognised after defeating several Afghans and gained control over various regions along the boundary of Afghanistan.
    • Afghanistan was called the unconquered region and it was Hari Singh Nalwa who prevented Afghans from ravaging the North-West Frontier for the first time by taking control over several regions along the Afghanistan border and Khyber Pass.
  • He, thus, prevented Afghans from entering Punjab through Khyber Pass, which was used by foreign invaders enter India from 1000 AD till early 19th century.
  • He had defeated Hazars tribesmen who were three time bigger than his army.
  • “In Afghan folklore, mothers used to use Nalwar’s name to scare and quieten their unruly children”
  • For his bravery and ferocity, the Indian government released a stamp on the name of Nalwa in 2013.
  • He defeated Afghani ruler Kutab-ud-din Khan in 1807 Battle of Kasur.
  • Nalwa along with other commanders won against Azim Khan and his brother Dost Mohammad Khan (Durrani Pathans) in Battle of Attock (in 1813)
  • Nalwa took control over Jamrud in 1837, a fort at the entryway to Afghanistan through Khyber Pass in 1818 Battle of Peshawar.
  • Historians maintain that if Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his commander Hari Singh Nalwa would have not won Peshawar and the North West Frontier, which is part of Pakistan now, then this area could have been part of Afghanistan and the invasions of Afghans into Punjab and Delhi would have never stopped.

 

5.e-Shram portal

#GS2 #Government policies and intervention #GS3 # Employment- Government Initiatives for Generating Employment# Growth & Development

Context: The Union government launched the e-Shram portal, a database of unorganised sector worker recently.

Background: The development of e-Shram portal came after the Supreme Court directed the Union Government to complete the registration process of unorganized workers so that they can gain the welfare aids given under various government schemes.

What is the e-Shram portal?

  • The objective is to register 38 crore unorganised workers, such as construction labourers, migrant workforce, street vendors and domestic workers, among others.
  • The workers will be given an e-Shram card containing a 12-digit unique number.
  • This unique ID will help in including them in social security schemes.

How will the registration for workers happen on the portal?

  • The registration of workers on the portal will be corresponded by the Labour Ministry, state governments, trade unions and CSCs, officials said.
  • To encourage registration, nationwide awareness campaigns would be planned.
  • A national toll-free number will also be launched to assist and address the queries of workers seeking registration on the portal.
  • A worker can register on the portal using his/her Aadhaar card number and bank account details, apart from filling other necessary details like date of birth, home town, mobile number and social category.

Status of Unorganised Sector in India:

  • As per the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS 2018-19), 90% of workers were in the informal sector, which is 419 million of the 465 million workers.
  • The Union Labour ministry has categorized the unorganized labour force under 04 groups:
    • Based on Occupation: Small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers, sharecroppers, fishermen, those engaged in animal husbandry, beedi making, etc.
    • Based on Nature of Employment: Attached agricultural labourers, bonded labourers, migrant workers, contract and casual labourers come under this category.
    • Specially Distressed Category Labour force: Toddy tappers, scavengers, carriers of head loads, drivers of animal driven vehicles, loaders and unloaders.
    • Service Category Labour force: Midwives, Domestic workers, Fishermen and women, Barbers, Vegetable and fruit vendors, Newspaper vendors etc.

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