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CURRENT AFFAIRSTHE HINDU : AUGUST 2019

Daily Current Affairs : 11th August 2019 : The Hindu News Analysis

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Mukhya Mantri Krishi Ashirwad Yojna of the Jharkhand Government
Various structural reforms in the agricultural sector along with financial assistance schemes like Direct Benefit Transfer to make agriculture profitable and sustainable has been proposed.

Highlights of the Scheme
  • Under the scheme, all the small and marginal farmers of the state, who have arable land up to a maximum of 5 acres, will be given a grant-in-aid at the rate of Rs. 5000 / - per acre per year, which will also reduce their dependence on loans. 
  • This amount would be given in two installments through Direct Benefit Transfer to the beneficiary’s bank account. 
  • This is in addition to PM Kisan Nidhi Yojana under which each small & marginal farmer’s family having combined landholding ownership of up to two hectares is paid Rs. 6, 000 per year.

Defence Minister approves extension of benefits of Child Care Leave to single male service personnel

The Ministry has approved extension of benefits of Child Care Leave (CCL) to single male service personnel and certain relaxations of CCL provisions in case of woman officers of defence forces, in line with a recent DoPT order extending similar benefits of CCL to civilian employees.

What are the present provisions ?

Presently, CCL is being granted to woman officers in defence forces.

Recently, DoPT has made certain amendments for grant of CCL to civilian employees, whereby the CCL granted to woman employees till now has been extended to single male government servants also.

The age limit of 22 years prescribed earlier in the case of a child with 40% disability has been removed for the purpose of availing CCL.

Further, the minimum period of CCL that can be availed at a time has been reduced to five days instead of earlier fifteen days.

What has changed with this proposal ?

With this proposal, single male service personnel will be able to avail the benefit of CCL.

Single male service personnel and woman officers of defence forces will also be able to avail CCL in respect of child with 40% disability without any restriction of age limit of the child.

Further, the minimum period of CCL that can be availed in each spell has been reduced to 5 days from the earlier limit of 15 days.


Government of India, Govt. of Tripura and National Liberation Front of Twipra (NLFT- SD) Sign Memorandum of Settlement(MoS)


Background

National Liberation Front of Twipra (NLFT) has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 1997 and has been involved in violence, operating from their camps across the international border.

NLFT has been responsible for violent activities including 317 insurgency incidents in which 28 security forces and 62 civilians lost their lives during the period 2005-2015.

Peace talks with NLFT were initiated in 2015 and there has been no violence by NLFT since 2016.

The Agreement 

NLFT (SD) has agreed to abjure the path of violence,  join the mainstream and abide by the Constitution of India.

It has agreed to the surrender of its 88 cadres with their weapons.

The surrendered cadres will be given surrender benefits as per the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme, 2018 of the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The State Government of Tripura will help the surrendered cadres in housing, recruitment, education etc.

Expression for Interest by Oil Marketing Companies for Biodiesel, made from Used Cooking Oil

The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel released the Expression for Interest (EOI) by National Oil Marketing Companies (IOC, HPCL and BPCL) for procurement of Biodiesel, made from Used Cooking Oil(UCO).

The Expression of Intent (EOI) has been released as part of the World Biofuel Day.

A sticker on RUCO viz., Repurpose Used Cooking Oil that  will imply that the establishment having it conforms to the RUCO ecosystem, and does not reuse the cooking oil and a mobile app that will facilitate the collection of UCO and will enable stakeholders to track and trace all transactions has also been launched.

This year the theme of the World Biofuel Day is Production of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO)”.

What is EoI all about ?

The EOI on Bio Diesel from UCO proposes that the entrepreneurs who are setting up Biodiesel plants will get remunerative price and assurance of complete offtake of production by the Oil companies ( IOC, HPCL and BPCL).

The EoI is to be launched in 100 cities, and will ensure that Rs 51/ litre is paid for Biodiesel for the first year, Rs 52.7 for the second year and Rs 54.5 for the third year.

Also, the Oil companies will bear the cost of transportation and GST for the first year.

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is working on a four-pronged strategy in this regard -promoting Ethanol, 2-G ethanol, Compressed bio-Gas and Bio-diesel.

Certification of seeds to be made mandatory to step-up agricultural output

The main aim of the new legislation is to bring uniformity in the process of quality regulation.  The new Bill removes the word 'certain' and aims to regulate the quality of all seeds sold in the country, as well as exported and imported seeds.



What is the present scenario?
  • Currently, about 30% of the seeds is what the farmer himself saves from his crop. He may replant that or sell it in local market. Of the remaining seeds that are commercially bought and sold, approximately 45% comes through the ICAR system and have gone through the mandated certification process.
  • The other 55%, are sold by private companies, most of which are not certified but rather what we call 'truthful label seeds' i.e., they are simply self-certified by the company and can prove to be disastrous from the farmer's point of view.
  • The new Bill will also raise the stake by increasing penalties for non-compliance. Currently, the fine ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5000, but it is now expected to be raised to a maximum of Rs. 5 lakh.
The Centre also hopes to roll out a software to barcode seeds in order to ensure transparency and traceability. The software system will be able to track seeds through the testing, certification and manufacturing process.

By connecting to a dealer licensing system, seeds will be tracked through the distribution system as well.


Also read : The Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2019


Newly discovered lake of NEPAL

The Kajin Sara Lake, in Manang district of Nepal, is expected to earn the distinction of world's highest lake.

Previously, the title for the world's highest lake was with Tilicho Lake (in Manang District only).

The Kajin Sara Lake is located at a height of 5,200 metres at Singarkharka in Chame rural municipality and was discovered about a few months ago by a team of mountaineers.

The lake, called Singar locally, is said to have formed out of the water melted from the Himalayas. It can be reached after an 18-hour trek from Chame, the Manang district headquarters.

The lake has Mt. Manaslu to the east, Mt. Damodar to the west, Mt. Annapurna and Mt. Lamjung to the south, and Mt. Peri to the north.

The case of Reusable Rocket Race : China

Chinese startup LinkSpace completed its third test of a reusable rocket in last 5 months, thus giving a boost in the race to develop a technology key to cheap space launches in an expected global boom in satellite deployment.

The Beijing-based company aims to launch its next generation RLV-T16 next year that will be capable of reaching an altitude of up to 150 km. 

China is moving towards its vision of constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed Internet for aircraft and rural areas to tracking coal shipments and commuter traffic.

Reliable, low-cost and frequent launches will be key, with recoverable or partially recoverable rockets like the Falcon 9 from Elon Musk’s SpaceX one way to eventually affordable satellite deployment missions.

SpaceX has already used recoverable rockets on a number of orbital missions since a historic launch early in 2017, spurring Europe, Russia, Japan and China to speed up their own research into the technology or at least consider studying it.

The reusable design of its next-generation rocket could lead to a predicted cost reduction of 70%.

QUICK FEEDS

  • Pakistan formally suspends trade ties with India.
    • The decision has been taken on the backdrop of India's step to bring down special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Trade relations had already been strained by the Pulwama terror attack, with India having imposed a 200% customs duty on all goods from Pakistan.
    • Imports from Pakistan declined by 92% to $2.84 million in March this year, as against $34.61 million in March 2018.
    • The total exports from India to Pakistan during the 2018-19 fiscal were around $2 billion. The major items exported includes chemical products and textiles. The imported items includes mineral products.
  • Low-cost handheld device to help detect bacteria has been developed. The bio-compatible sensor can detect bacteria almost instantaneously-without cell culture and microbiological assays.
    • It has been developed by researchers at IIT-Guwahati.
    • The device will enable rapid detection of bacteria, which is important not only in healthcare but also in anti-bioterrorism measures and environmental monitoring applications.
    • At present, the detection of bacteria in body fluids is done in laboratories. The cells are derived from the patient and are cultured so that enough of the bacterial cells are available for the microbiological analysis. 
    • The new device does not require cell culture and microbiological analyses, and it distinguishes between gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria almost immediately.
  • Union Ministry of Health has recently released a report-card on breast-feeding.
    • According to the Report, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Punjab fare the worst when it comes to the practice of breastfeeding.
    • The ministry report notes that these states have the lowest rate for breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breast feeding for 6 months and complementary breast-feeding from 6-9 months.
    • According to the WHO estimates, if breastfeeding was scaled up to near-universal levels, lives of about 8,20,000 children could be saved every year.
  • Who are Foreign National Prisoners ?
    • These refer to prisoners who do not carry the passport of the country in which they are imprisoned. They are entitled to the basic minimum guarantees as enshrined and  carefully set out in the Constitution of India.
    • As per Prison Statistics of India 2015, there are 6,185 FNPs in India. There are no official data for more recent years.
    • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) published a report titled ‘Strangers to Justice’, in which they tallied the number of FNPs across 22 States and 4 Union Territories to 3,908 based on RTI responses.
    • The report also mentioned that 40%-50% of the FNP population in jails alleged that Indian prisoners are able to secure bail more easily even if they have committed the same offence.
    • The CHRI report had stated that only 5.7% of FNPs in India 222 out of 3,908 — have ever received consular access.

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