Insights Daily Current Events, 02 July 2015
New members appointed for North Eastern Council
Two eminent persons were recently appointed as the new members of the North Eastern Council for a period of three years. The two members are- Shri Chandra Kanta Das, a senior retired IAS officer and Prof Gangmumei Kamei, a distinguished academician, author and public activist. They will function as full time non-official members from the NEC headquarters at Shillong.
- Union Minister Jitendra Singh is the Chairman of the NEC.
About the North Eastern Council:
The North Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North Eastern Region which consists of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The chief ministers and governors represent them.
- The headquarters of the council is situated in Shillong, and it functions under Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.
- The North Eastern Council was constituted in 1971 by an Act of Parliament.
- The Council is an advisory body and may discuss any matter in which the north-eastern states have a common interest and advise the Central Government as to the action to be taken on any such matter.
- The funding of council mainly lies with the central government with small portions contributed by the state governments as well.
- The NEC act has been amended in 2002 to add Sikkim and restructure it as the regional planning body for the North Eastern Region.
Sources: PIB, NEC.
Digital ‘Guddi-Gudda Board’
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has adopted the ‘Digital Guddi-Gudda Board’ as a Best Practice under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme on the occasion of Digital India Week being observed from 1st July to 7th July, 2015.
About the’Digital Guddi-Gudda Board’:
The Digital Guddi-Gudda Board is an innovation of District Jalgaon in Maharshtra, initiated by its Collector, Ms Rubal Aggarwal with the support of Ms Raksha Khadse, MP, Raver and Mr. A.T. Nana Patil, MP, Jalgaon.
- The digital Board has been popularized in the district of Jalgaon, Maharashtra and works as a platform for dissemination of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Material on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme as well as updating monthly birth statistics.
- The digital board displays audio video material as well as still frames for disseminating information.
- This Board is being currently displayed at important state offices including that of the Chief Minister, district level offices, Zila Panchayat offices, primary health centers and other public places frequently visited by the common man.
- This is a fine example of digital innovation and best practice connected with the BBBP Scheme.
- Apart from displaying disaggregated birth statistics, this Board also contains other audio video IEC material related to the Scheme.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Andolan will help in generating awareness and improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.
- It is set up with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore.
Aim: The adverse and declining child sex ratio (CSR) across the States is a major cause of concern as it has fallen from 927 in 2001 to 918 in 2011. The BBBP seeks to arrest the trend and over time to reverse it.
- A 100 critical low CSR districts in all States and UTs have been identified for focused and convergent action by the Ministries.
- The Ministry of WCD is the nodal Ministry for this initiative and will carry out training to stakeholders, community mobilization and sensitization. It will also embark upon a range of advocacy measures and activities, not limited to the 100 low CSR districts but all across the country.
- All forms of media and social media platforms would be used for this.
Vijayanagar inscription found
An inscription dating back to the times of the Vijayanagar Empire has been found at a temple at Kandavara village in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district, Karnataka.
- Archaeologists said that the inscription dates back to the times of the Vijayanagar ruler Krishnadevaraya.
- The inscription was brought out during the renovation of the temple and installed on its outer premises.
- There are 30 lines written in Kannada on the rectangle stone slab. The writing mentioned in the inscription corresponds to 1509 AD. This date also corresponds to the first year of Krishnadevaraya’s reign.
About Vijayanagar ruler Krishnadevaraya:
- He was an emperor of the Vijayanagara Empire who reigned from 1509–1529.
- He is the third ruler of the Tuluva Dynasty.
- Krishna Deva Raya earned the titles Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana, Andhra Bhoja and Mooru Rayara Ganda.
- He became the dominant ruler of the peninsula of India by defeating the Sultans of Bijapur, Golconda, the Bahmani Sultanate and the Raja of Odisha.
- The great south Indian mathematician Nilakantha Somayaji also lived in the Empire of Krishnadevaraya.
- He was the most powerful of all the Hindu rulers of India at that time.
- Portuguese travellers Domingo Paes and Fernao Nuniz also visited the Vijayanagara Empire during his reign.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
With AFSPA, India has failed statute: Amnesty
Amnesty International recently released a detailed report on the implications of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Jammu & Kashmir, asserting that the Union government has often refused to prosecute the Army or paramilitary personal accused of human rights abuses.
Details of the report:
- The report is titled “Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu & Kashmir”.
- The report says, “By not addressing human rights violations committed by security force personnel in the name of national security, India has not only failed to uphold its international obligations but has also failed its own Constitution.”
- The report has urged India to become signatory of international conventions on human rights and has asked the Centre to “accept and facilitate” a request from the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance to visit India.
- Citing many instances where their RTI applications failed to get a response, Amnesty has called for making the information about the cases pertaining to human rights violations in J-K public.
- The report has also sought amendments in the legislations to limit the jurisdiction of military courts. It admits that to address the issue of impunity is a “challenge” but says is essential to ensure justice.
- The report also points out that legislation like the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990–which gives security officials special enforcement powers to act against alleged terrorists and separatists and protects them against civilian prosecution—do not conform with international human rights standards or the Indian Constitution that guarantees right to life, justice and remedy.
Recommendations made by the Amnesty International:
It has made a slew of recommendations to the federal authorities and state government in Jammu and Kashmir.
- It asks both the federal and state governments to take immediate steps to start independent and impartial investigations into all cases of alleged human rights violations by security forces and to prosecute the suspects in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards.
- It asks the federal government to repeal AFSPA and “ensure that all other national security legislation complies fully with India’s international legal obligations and is in line with international standards.” It has identified “impunity” and “lack of political will” as a long standing problem in J-K.
Sources: The Hindu, IE.
G.D. Birla award for Sanjeev Galande
Professor Sanjeev Galande has been chosen for the G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research for 2014. He has been selected for his contribution and research in the field of Epigenetics and Molecular Cell Biology.
About Sanjeev Galande:
- Galande, born in 1967, obtained his Ph.D in Biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 1996.
- As a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (1996-2001), he studied the role of MAR-binding proteins in tumour genesis.
- Joining the IISER in 2010, he established the epigenetics centre and assembled a team to study the evolution of epigenetic mechanisms using multiple model systems.
- He is Professor and Team Leader at the Centre of Excellence in Epigenetics of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune.
About the G.D. Birla Award:
- The award was instituted in1991.
- It seeks to recognize research by Indian scientists aged below 50 and living and working in India.
- It carries a cash prize of Rs. 2.5 lakh.
What is Epigenetics?
Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological trait variations that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. It is essentially the study of external or environmental factors that turn genes on and off and affect how cells read genes.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
World Bank approves $650 m loan for eastern freight corridor
The World Bank has approved an additional loan of $650 million for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), which is aimed at the faster delivery of goods between the northern and eastern parts of the country.
- This round of loans to the Eastern DFC follows two other loans by the World Bank. This round of World Bank funding will build the 401 km Ludhiana-Khurja section in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.
- The Cabinet had recently approved the revised cost estimate of Rs.81,459 crore for the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project.
About the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project:
The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor Project (EDFC) will ease congestion choking the railway system and reduce travel-time for passenger trains on the arterial Ludhiana-Delhi-Mughal Sarai railway route.
- The corridor will add additional rail transport capacity, improve service quality and create higher freight capacity.
- It will also help to develop the institutional capacity of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCCIL) and Ministry of Railways to best utilize heavy haul freight systems.
- This Project aims at the faster delivery of goods between the northern and eastern parts of the country.
- The project will help increase the capacity of these freight-only lines by raising the axle-load limit from 22.9 to 25 tonnes and enable speeds of up to 100 km/hr.
- An analysis of the projected greenhouse gases that are expected to be generated by the Eastern freight corridor project found that it would be 55 per cent lower than the levels of gases released without the project.
- The Eastern DFC project is expected to release 10.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions up to 2041-42, compared to a whopping 23.3 million tonnes in the absence of the freight corridor.
This is also part of India’s first Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) initiative – being built on two main routes – the Western and the Eastern Corridors. These corridors will help India make a quantum leap in increasing the railways’ transportation capacity by building high-capacity, higher-speed dedicated freight corridors along the “Golden Quadrilateral” – the four rail routes that connect Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB.
Cabinet clears setting up of online national agriculture market
The union cabinet recently approved the setting up of an online national agriculture market that will provide more options to farmers for selling their produce.
- Currently, farmers are restricted to selling their produce at mandis or market committees that charge various taxes on producers.
- According to the decision taken, an online platform would be set up wherein farmers will be able to sell and buy fruits, vegetables and other produce from across the country.
- An agency would be set up to oversee online trading and to ensure that transactions take place smoothly, they said.
- It will also focus on creating godowns and facilitating transportation of the farm produce after the online trade, sources added.
- The move is expected to give choice to farmers to sell the farm produce both in physical mandis or online platform.
- The freer access to sell via online trade is likely to boost their incomes and improve availability, moderating price rise.
- This online agriculture market will also focus on creating godowns and facilitate transportation of the farm produce after the online trade.
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