Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - November 25, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)
Shri Hardeep Singh Puri launches Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge across 243 Cities
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS, I/C, Housing and Urban Affairs today stated that Government of India is committed to ensure that no person needs to enter a sewer or septic tank, unless absolutely unavoidable in the interest of greater public hygiene.
- Launching the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge at a webinar in New Delhi, he added that within this context we are today setting another milestone by launching the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge which aims to ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of ‘hazardous cleaning.
- The Challenge, aptly launched on the occasion of World Toilet Day, is aimed at preventing ‘hazardous cleaning’ of sewers and septic tanks and promote their mechanized cleaning.
- The virtual event saw the Chief Secretaries, State Mission Directors and other senior State/ Union Territory and city officials coming together to take a pledge on behalf of 243 cities to mechanize all sewer and septic tank cleaning operations by 30th April 2021, and gave their commitment to work towards preventing any deaths from hazardous entry.
About the challenge
- The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (2013) and various judgements of Hon'ble Supreme Court expressly prohibit hazardous cleaning, i.e. manual entry into a septic tank or sewer without protective gear and observing operating procedures.
- Despite this, recurring episodes of human fatalities among those engaged in cleaning of septic tanks and sewers, typically belonging to the economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities of society, continue to be an issue of concern.
- The Challenge will focus extensively on creating citizen awareness on this critical issue along with infrastructure creation for mechanized cleaning and capacity building of workforce.
- Along with this, a dedicated helpline number has been set up to register complaints and provide real-time solutions on desludging or sewer overflow.
- The actual on-ground assessment of participating cities will be conducted in May 2021 by an independent agency and results of the same will be declared on 15 August 2021.
- Cities will be awarded in three sub-categories – with population of more than 10 lakhs, 3-10 lakhs and upto 3 lakhs, with a total prize money of Rs 52 crores to be given to winning cities across all categories.
India becomes 4th nation to get IMO nod for navigation satellite system
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
- The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has been recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as a part of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) for operation in the Indian Ocean Region.
- India has become the fourth country in the world to have its independent regional navigation satellite system recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
- The other three countries that have its navigation systems recognised by the IMO are the US, Russia and China
- The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was designed to provide accurate position information services to assist in the navigation of ships in Indian Ocean waters.
- The Director-General of Shipping (DGS) had approached the IMO for granting recognition to the IRNSS as a component of the WWRNS, similar to the US-owned Global Position System (GPS) or Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) – a process that took two years.
- The IRNSS was a modern and more accurate navigation system and at any given time, there are at least 2,500 merchant vessels in Indian waters that will now be able to use the system.
- The IRNSS will be used to assist in the navigation of ships in ocean waters within the area of approximately 1,500 km from the Indian boundary.
Source: Indian Express.
Awas Diwas and Awas Week celebrated
Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
- On the occasion of “Awaas Diwas” celebration,Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Food Processing, Govt of India interacted with Rural Development Ministers and officials of the States/ Union Territories through the Video Conference.
- During the interaction, the Minister congratulated the States/ UTs for their contribution towards the noble goal of “Housing for All” by providing houses to rural households.
- Awaas Diwas / Awaas Week is not just a day to celebrate a scheme, but a day to connect with crores of rural households, who have been greatly benefited by this scheme or in the Permanent Wait List (PWL) to receive the benefit of the scheme.
- Moreover, it is also an opportunity to spread awareness about the scheme among all stakeholders.
- The Rural Housing Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) was launched by the Prime Minister of India on 20thNovember 2016 at Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
- To commemorate the launch of PMAY-G, which aims to provide “Housing for All” by 2022, it was decided to celebrate 20thNovember every year as “Awaas Diwas”.
- The program envisages the completion of 2.95 crore PMAY-G houses with all basic amenities by the year 2022.
- In the 1stphase of the scheme i.e. from 2016-17 to 2018-19, a target for construction of 1 crore pucca houses were set. In the 2nd phase of the scheme starting from 2019-20 to 2021-22, the target of construction of the remaining 1.95 crore houses has been set.
- As on date, a total of 1.75 Crore PMAY-G houses has been sanctioned and 1.20 Crore houses have been completed against the allocated cumulative target of 2.26 Crore houses.
- Under PMAY-G with the introduction of certain implementation reforms, the Government aims at maintaining transparency and enhancing the speed of house construction, maintaining quality, ensuring timely release of funds to beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), technical assistance to beneficiaries, offering bouquet of region specific house designs to the beneficiaries, stringent monitoring through MIS-Awaas Soft and Awaas App.
- The Awaas Diwas/ Awaas week was celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm in the country during previous years 2017, 2018, and 2019 also wherein the States/ UTs undertook various activities with the active participation of the beneficiaries of PMAY-G.
- This year, the States/ UTs have been requested to celebrate Awaas Diwas on 20th November 2020 and Awaas Week / Saptah (16th November 2020 to 22nd November 2020) and undertake various activities at different levels of the administration i.e. State, District, Block, Gram Panchayat complying to the directions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family welfare considering the prevalent conditions owing to COVID19.
Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurates Seismic Survey Campaign by Oil India Ltd
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
- Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated the Seismic Survey Campaign by Oil India Limited.
- The survey under the Open Acreage Licensing Policy, OALP, will be undertaken in 5 blocks of 8 districts of Odisha in the Mahanadi basin and nearby areas.
- Declaring the campaign open through virtual mode, Union Minister Mr Pradhan said that the commercial production of oil and gas from the Mahanadi basin will be a game changer in the socio-economic development of Odisha.
- He said, this will also thrust Odisha and the eastern India on the path of progress and prosperity in sync with the vision of Purvodaya.
Source: AIR News.
World Bank Signs $120 Million Project to Improve Connectivity in Meghalaya
Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
- NABARD has so far released a total amount of Rs. 1754.60 crore Interest Sub-vented Loan from Micro-Irrigation Fund (MIF).
- Government has created a dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) of Rs. 5000 crores with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
- Its objective is to facilitate States in mobilizing resources for expanding coverage of Micro Irrigation and incentivizing its adoption beyond provisions of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana-Per Drop More Crop (PMKSY-PDMC).
- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) is the Nodal Ministry.
About the fund
- The objective of the fund is to facilitate State Govts. efforts in mobilizing additional resources for expanding coverage under micro irrigation and incentivizing its adoption beyond provisions of PMKSY-PDMC.
- A total amount of Rs. 2841.57 cr stands sanctioned as on 31 March 2020 under the Fund.
- The Government has set the target of covering 100 lakh ha in five years under micro-irrigation.
- The Department of Agruculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) is implemting Per Drop More Crop component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojna (PMKSY-PDMC) since 2015-16 for enhancing water use efficiency in agriculture sector.
Virtual court and e-challanproject launched in Assam
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
- The Virtual Court (traffic) and e-Challan project have been recently (12th November, 2020) inaugurated in Assam by Shri SarbanandaSonowal, the chief minister of Assam.
- The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Committee of Gauhati High Court in association with Government of Assam and Assam Police, under the aegis of e-Committee of Supreme Court of India, are spearheading the project in the State.
- Maharashtra's 2nd virtual court called “NyayKaushal” was recently inaugurated by Shri Arvind Bobde, the Chief Justice of India and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of the Supreme Court at Judicial Officers Training Institute in Nagpur.
- E-challan solution is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) whereas the software has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
- It will replace the present concept of manual challan with an electronically generated digital challan.
- Virtual court is an initiative of E-Commitee of Supreme Court along with Department of Justice, Ministry of Law& Justice, Government of India.
- Virtual Court is an online court being managed by Virtual Judge (which is not a person but an algorithm) whose jurisdiction can be extended to entire state and working hours may be 24X7.
- There is no brick& mortar building of the court.
- In a trial by Virtual Court, neither litigant shall come to the court nor will Judge have to sit physically in the court to adjudicate the case.
- The communication may only be in electronic form and the sentencing and further payment of fine or compensation will also be online. Only single process is allowed and there can be no argument.
- It may be proactive admission of guilt by the accused or proactive compliance of the cause by defendant on receipt of the summons in electronic form.
- On payment of Fine, such matters may be treated as disposed off.
- Citizen neither has to wait in lines in courts nor have to confront Traffic Police man.
- It will increase productivity of citizen as well as judicial officers.
- It will promote greater accountability and less corruption in Traffic Police Department thus bettering life of people.
- In Assam due to Virtual Court work of 10 judges will be done by only single judge thus sparing 9 Judges for judicial work.
Rs 2 lakh crore investment in 5,000 compressed bio-gas plants in offing
Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
- India will see an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore in setting up 5,000 plants that will produce gas from bio and crop wastes by 2023-24, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
- To boost the availability of affordable and clean transport fuel, an agreement was signed for setting up 900 compressed bio-gas or CBG plants by companies such as Adani Gas and Torrent Gas.
- Under the Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative, the government is looking at setting up of 5,000 CBG plants by 2023-24 with a production target of 15 million tonnes, an official statement said.
- Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said, "We have developed a clear-cut roadmap for SATAT. Letter of intent for 600 CBG plants has already been given and with today's signing of MoUs for 900 plants, a total of 1500 CBG plants are at various stages of execution."
- As much as Rs 30,000 crore investment is envisaged in these 900 plant.
- A total of 5000 CBG plants with an approximate investment of Rs 2 lakh crores are envisaged.
- The gas produced at CBG plants can be used as fuel to power automobiles.
- Biofuels have the potential to reduce fuel import bill by Rs 1 lakh crore, he said without elaborating.
- SATAT provides for generating gas from municipal waste as well as forest and agri waste.
- Animal husbandry and marine wastes are also included.
- The policy provides for guaranteed offtake of the gas produced at the CBG plants by the state-owned firms.
- "SATAT will establish an ecosystem for the production of compressed bio gas from various waste and biomass sources in the country leading to multiple benefits such as reduction of natural gas import, reduction of greenhouse gas emission, reduction in burning of agriculture residues, remunerative income to farmers, employment generation and effective waste management," the statement said.
Source: Indian Express.
Test your Knowledge
- Consider the following statements with reference to LIC Ananda:
- ANANDA will enable an agent to complete a policy even without physically meeting the customer.
- This application has evoked tremendous response from all intermediaries of the Corporation.
- The process of new business completion has been re-engineered by converting physical formats into digital ones.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
- Which of the following languages novel will be awarded the Booker Prize?