Daily Current Affairs: 3rd December 2019: The Hindu+PIB
The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.
As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.
Minor Forest Produce
Context: Government of India has notified 50 items in the list of Minor Forest Produce.
The Minimum Support Price notified by Government of India was enhanced on 26th December 2018 and 11th January 2019 on the basis of the recommendation of the pricing cell which is set-up from time to time in Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED). Van Dhan Vikas Karykram has been introduced by the Government of India under which the Minor Forest Produce gatherers will be given training in scientific method of collection of Minor Forest Produces, their processing, value addition etc. The trainees will also be provided with tool kit suitable for the type of Miner Forest Produce collected at that Kendra. What is Minor Forest Produce? Non-wood forest products, generally termed ‘Minor Forest Produce (MFP)’ means all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and will include bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, Honey, Lac, Tusser etc. which are an important source of livelihoods for tribal people. How is it beneficial? The Minor Forest Produces provide both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests. They form a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sale. Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribals who belong to the poorest of the poor section of society. It has significant economic and social value for the forest dwellers as an estimated 100 Million people derive their source of livelihood from the collection and marketing of Minor Forest Produce (Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011). The importance of Minor Forest Produces for this section of the society can be gauged from the facts that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on Minor Forest Produces for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. It is important for them for food, shelter medicines and case income beside providing critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Talking about the tribals, they derive 20-40% of their annual income from Minor Forest Produce on which they spend major portion of their time. This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the Minor Forest Produces are collected and used/sold by women. Minor Forest Produce sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country. About TRIFED TRIFED or The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India came into existence in 1987 as a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India. TRIFED has its registered and Head Office located in New Delhi and has a network of 13 Regional Offices located at various places in the country.
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)
Context: Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing the scheme of “Development of PVTGs” which covers the 75 PVTGs in existence for various progressive activities.
The activities are planned to take place in the field of education, housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, animal husbandry, construction of link roads, installation of non-conventional sources of energy for lighting purpose, social security or any other innovative activity meant for the comprehensive socio-economic development of PVTGs. Under the scheme, State Governments submits Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) Plans on the basis of their requirement. 100% grants-in-aid are made available to States as per the provisions of the scheme. What are PVTGs? Identification of Tribal communities by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness is often a common phenomenon. Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting,gathering for food, havingpre-agriculture level of technology,zero or negative growth ofpopulation and extremely low level of literacy. These groups are calledParticularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
STATE-WISE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TRIBAL GROUPS (PVTGS)
Why there is a need of identification? Basically the PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development. Particularly keeping in mind the above context, in 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory (UT), in the country (2011 census).
What are the characteristics of PVTGs? PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc. In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups. In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). What about the population of PVTGs in India? Tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population of India. Tribal people live in about 15% of the geographical area of the country. The places they live vary from plains,forests, hills, inaccessible areas etc. The PVTGs are scattered in different geographical areas of the country. According to the 2001 census, the PVTGs population is approximately. 27,68,322. There are 12 PVTGs having a population above 50,000 and the remaining groups have a population of 1000 or less. The PVTG of Sahariyas has the highest population of 4,50,217, while the PVTGs of Sentinelets and Andamanese has a very small population of 39 and 43, respectively.
Schemes related to Women and Youth
Context: A overview of Schemes for Women and Youth has been recently put forward by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India.
Key Highlights of the Schemes
- Pradhan Mantri Yuva Udyamita Vikas Abhiyaan (PM YUVA) Yojana 2.0: The PM YUVA Yojana 2.0 is underway through the Institutes in the Skill Ecosystem of the Ministry i.e. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Polytechnics, Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Training Centres to create an enabling ecosystem for Entrepreneurship Development through entrepreneurship education and training across the Country.
- National Entrepreneurship Awards Scheme (NEAS): Instituted in 2016 by the Government of India to promote a culture of entrepreneurship among India’s youth and inspire them to set-up their own enterprise and create employment opportunities for others.
- Stand-up India Scheme: As part of the Scheme, Government is providing financial support to the aspiring entrepreneurs in the form of Bank Loan of between Rs. 10 lakh and 1 crore to at least one Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up a greenfield enterprise in trading, services or manufacturing sector. As on 15.11.2019, a total of Rs. 14,761.97 crore as loan amount has been given to women entrepreneurs.
- Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMYY): The scheme has been launched with an objective to enable aspiring entrepreneur/existing entrepreneurs to setup or expand their business activities. As part of the Scheme, the aspiring entrepreneur/existing entrepreneurs can avail a collateral free loan upto Rs. 10 lakh in the non agricultural sector for activities allied to agriculture. As on 15.11.2019, a total of Rs. 4,62,115.61 crore of loan amount has been provided to women entrepreneurs under the Scheme.
- Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs): An assistance is given to aspiring entrepreneurs in the form of bank credit and skill training through RSETI to become self-employed and start their own micro enterprises with focus on rural poor. Presently, 583 RSETIs are functioning in 27 States (expect Goa) and 6 UTs (except Delhi, Chandigarh and Daman & Diu).
Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) Programme
Context: For implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) have signed a contract with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore.
About the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) Programme
MGNF or the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship Programme is basically a 2-year academic programme with an in-built component of on-ground practical experience with the district administration.
The programme seeks to create a cadre of individuals, and train them in a blended academic program that provides both academic inputs and requires a field immersion at the district level to understand and contribute to the creation of a district level ecosystem to support skill development.
Upon completion of these components, a Certificate of Public Policy and Management would be awarded to the Fellows.
In the pilot phase, 75 Mahatma Gandhi National Fellows would be deputed to 75 districts across 06 identified States namely (i) Gujarat; (ii) Karnataka; (iii) Meghalaya; (iv) Rajasthan; (v) Uttarakhand; and (vi) Uttar Pradesh.
The eligibility criteria for selection as a Fellow are as follows:
Should be a citizen of India
Age between 21-30 years at the time of application
At least a graduate from a recognized University in Engineering, Law, Medicine, Arts, etc. or a post-graduate from a recognized University
3 years of work experience after secondary schooling in the social/non-profit sector with an interest in working in rural areas is preferred.
However, individuals with no work experience and a strong motivation to work in this area may apply.
Should be able to express proficiency in the local language of the state that they will work in.
Any candidate, who has been provisionally selected in the past for the Fellowship and joined the program, but didn’t complete their full term, will not be eligible.
Important steps to Increase Tonnage Capacity of Shipping Industry
Context: In a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya informed about the initiatives taken to increase the tonnage capacity in the country.
What is Tonnage Capacity? Tonnage capacity is basically a measure of the cargo-carrying capacity of a ship. In modern maritime usage, “tonnage” specifically refers to a calculation of the volume or cargo volume of a ship and it should not be confused with displacement, which refers to the actual weight of the vessel. Tonnage is commonly used to assess fees on commercial shipping. Key Highlights of the initiatives
- Providing Indian shipping industry cargo support through Right of First Refusal.
Reducing GST from 18% to 5% on bunker fuel used in Indian flag vessels.
Allowing carriage of coastal cargo from one Indian port to another Indian port via foreign ports in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Removing licensing requirement for chartering of foreign registered ships by citizens of India, companies incorporated in India and Registered Societies to encourage coastal movement of agriculture and other commodities, fertilizer, EXIM Trans-shipment Containers and Empty containers.
Bringing parity in the tax regime of Indian seafarers employed on Indian flag ships vis-à-vis those on foreign flag ships.
Allowing shipping enterprises based in India to acquire ships abroad and flag them in the country of their convenience.
Allowing use of imported Containers for carrying of domestic cargo and allowing use of locally manufactured or domesticated containers conforming to the specifications from the International Organization (ISO), for transportation of EXIM cargo.
Context: Under SATAT initiative, as on 26.11.2019, 441 Letters of Intent has been awarded for production and supply of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG).
About the SATAT Initiative
SATAT or Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation initiative was launched by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in October 2018 which was aimed at providing sustainable alternative towards affordable transportation. The initiative was launched with PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs i.e. IOC, BPCL and HPCL). The SATAT initiative had potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste, as well as provide additional revenue source to farmers. It also benefited vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs. As part of the SATAT scheme, Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies, Gail (India) Limited and Indraprastha Gas Limited had launched Expression of Interest (EoI) for procurement of CBG from the entrepreneurs at an assured price.
Compressed Bio-Gas plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs. CBG produced at these plants will be transported through cascades of cylinders to the fuel station networks of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative.
The entrepreneurs would be able to separately market the other by-products from these plants, including bio-manure, carbon-dioxide, etc., to enhance returns on investment.
It was planned to roll out 5,000 Compressed Bio-Gas plants across India in a phased manner.
This initiative is expected to generate direct employment for 75,000 people and produce 50 million tonnes of bio-manure for crops.
What is Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG)?
Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly same as the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. Having a calorific value of approximately 52,000 KJ/kg and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel.
Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years. It can be produced from various bio-mass/waste sources, including agricultural residue, municipal solid waste, sugarcane press mud, distillery spent wash, cattle dung and sewage treatment plant waste.
The other waste streams, i.e, rotten potatoes from cold storages, rotten vegetables, dairy plants, chicken/poultry litter, food waste, horticulture waste, forestry residues and treated organic waste from industrial effluent treatment plants (ETPs) can be used to generate biogas.
What are the benefits associated with the conversion into CBG?
There are multiple benefits from converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on a commercial scale:
Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution.
Additional revenue source for farmers.
Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment.
Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals.
Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil.
Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations.
The potential for Compressed Bio-Gas production from various sources in India is estimated at about 62 million tonnes per annum. Looking forward, Compressed Bio-Gas networks can be integrated with city gas distribution (CGD) networks to boost supplies to domestic and retail users in existing and upcoming markets. Besides retailing from OMC fuel stations, Compressed Bio-Gas can at a later date be injected into CGD pipelines too for efficient distribution and optimised access of a cleaner and more affordable fuel.
Blue Flag Certification for beaches
Context: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has embarked upon a programme for ‘Blue Flag’ Certification for select beaches in the country.
This Certification is accorded by an international agency “Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads i.e.
(i) Environmental Education and Information,
(ii) Bathing Water Quality,
(iii) Environment Management and Conservation
(iv) Safety and Services in the beaches.
The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an Eco-tourism model endeavouring to provide to the tourists/beach goers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.
13 pilot beaches that have been identified for the certification, in consultation with concerned coastal States/UTs, are:
Ghoghala Beach (Diu),
Shivrajpur beach (Gujarat), .
Padubidri and Kasarkod (Karnataka),
Kappad beach (Kerala),
Kovalam beach (Tamil Nadu),
Eden beach (Puducherry),
Rushikonda beach (Andhra Pradesh),
Miramar beach (Goa),
Golden beach (Odisha),
Radhanagar beach (Andaman & Nicobar Islands) and
Bangaram beach (Lakshadweep).
Rushikonda beach in Andhra Pradesh also features in the list of 13 pilot beaches, for development of facilities and infrastructure accordingly.
- MSMEs contribute 29.7% of GDP and 49.66% of Indian exports.
- Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) is investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) based on Nifty 50, Sensex, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and Bharat 22 Indices. EPFO does not invest in shares and equities of individual companies.
- The total amount invested by EPFO in ETFs as on September, 2019 is Rs. 86,966 crore.
- The Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions (EPF & MP) Act, 1952 is applicable to every establishment employing 20 or more persons which is either a factory engaged in any industry specified in Schedule–I of the Act or an establishment to which the Act has been made applicable by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.
- For old age protection in the form of monthly pension, Ministry of Labour & Employment has launched Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana which is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme for providing monthly minimum assured pension of Rs. 3,000/- on attaining the age of 60 years.
- The unorganised workers in the age group of 18-40 years whose monthly income is Rs.15,000/- or less and not a member of EPFO/ESIC/NPS can join the scheme.
- Under the scheme, 50% monthly contribution is payable by the beneficiary and equal matching contribution is paid by the Central Government.
- The enrolment is being done through the country-wide network of 3.50 lakh Common Service Centres under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- During last three financial years (2016-17 to 2018-19), 58 contractshave been placed on foreign vendors out of which23 contracts have been signed withUSA andIsrael for capital procurement of defence equipment for the Indian Defence Forces.
- The other major countries from which defence equipment have been procured include Russia, France and United Kingdom.
- There have been 950 incidents of Ceasefire Violations along Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir region during the last three months (August to October, 2019).
- Sub-lieutenant Shivangi became the first woman pilot for the Indian Navy on December 2, 2019.
- In August 2019, Indian Air Force’s Wing Commander S Dhami has become the first female officer in the country to become the Flight Commander of a flying unit. (Hindon Air Force Base)
- The 8th India-China joint training exercise ‘HAND-IN-HAND 2019’ with the theme “counter terrorism” under United Nations mandate is scheduled to be conducted at Umroi, Meghalaya from 07 to 20 December 2019.