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16TH JANUARY,2021 : MOST POWERFUL DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS CONCEPTS

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Index

  1. A) Art, Culture and History
  2. Thiruvalluvar Day 2021: History, significance and all you need to know about the iconic poet (PIB)
  3. B) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations
  4. Food Corporation of India (FCI) (PIB)
  5. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) (PIB)
  6. C) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
  7. Phase-II of “Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Power Plants Programme” (PIB)
  8. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 3.0 (PIB)
  9. D) International Relations
  10. Kalapani Boundary Dispute (TH)
  11. E) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
  12. Special Marriage Act, 1954 (IE)
  13. F) Miscellaneous
  14. SWITCH UAV (TH)
  15. Naga Nakti Bird Sanctuary (TH)

 

A) Art, Culture and History

  1. Thiruvalluvar Day 2021: History, significance and all you need to know about the iconic poet (PIB)

  • Context: Tamil Nadu celebrates Thiruvalluvar Day today (15th Jan) in honour of the Saint Poet Thiruvalluvar.

Analysis

  • Thiruvalluvar, a poet and philosopher, is regarded as a cultural icon by
  • His most popular work is Thirukkuṛaḷ, a collection of couplets on ethics, politics, economy and love.
  • Thiruvalluvar Day was first celebrated on May 17 and 18 in 1935.
  • In the present time, it is usually observed either on January 15 or 16 in Tamil Nadu and is a part of Pongal celebrations.

Who is Thiruvalluvar?

  • While not much is known about Thiruvalluvar’s life, speculations about it have been largely deduced from his work Thirukkural and other Tamil texts.
  • Earliest references of the poet are found in the text Tiruvalluva Maalai.
  • Legends say he may have lived in the town of Mylapore, a neighbourhood in present-day Chennai and flourished between the 4th century and 6th century.
  • Though the period in which he lived is also widely debated with some accounts saying that he lived from 8th to 9th century.
  • Thiruvalluvar’s primary work Thirukkural contains 1330 couplets (kurals) that are divided into 133 sections of 10 couplets each.
  • The text is divided into three parts with teachings on dharma, artha, and kama (virtue, wealth and love).
  • A statue of Valluvar was also erected outside the School of Oriental and African Studies in Russell Square, London.

B) Indices, Reports, Surveys, Committees and Organisations

2.Food Corporation of India (FCI) (PIB)

  • Context: 57thFoundation day of FCI.

Analysis

  • The Food Corporation of India (FCI) was setup under the Food Corporation’s Act 1964, in order to fulfill the following objectives of the Food Policy:
  • Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interests of the farmers.
  • Distribution of foodgrains throughout the country for public distribution system.
  • Maintaining a satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of foodgrains to ensure National Food Security.
  • Since its inception, FCI has played a significant role in India’s success in transforming the crisis management-oriented food security into a stable security system.
  • FCI’s Objectives are:
  • To provide farmers remunerative prices;
  • To make food grains available at reasonable prices, particularly to vulnerable section of the society;
  • To maintain buffer stocks as measure of Food Security;
  • To intervene in market for price stabilization.

Welfare Schemes

  • Besides, Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) & National Food Security Act (NFSA) ((Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution), Food Corporation of India is also issuing food-grains under various welfare schemes.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme (Ministry of Education)

  • The scheme is already covered in detail in 4th Nov file.

Wheat Based Nutrition Programme (WBNP)

  • This Scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • The foodgrains allotted under this Scheme are utilized by the States/UTs under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) for providing nutritious/ energy food to children below 6 years of age and expectant/lactating women.

Scheme for Supply of Foodgrains for SC/ST/OBC Hostels

  • The residents of the hostels having 2/3rd students belonging to SC/ST/OBC are eligible to get 15 kg foodgrains per resident per month.
  • Allocations of foodgrains under the scheme are made by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, based on the requests received from the State/UT Governments.

Scheme for Supply of Foodgrains to Welfare Institutions 

  • With a view to meet the requirement of Welfare Institutions viz. Charitable Institutions such as beggar homes, nariniketans and other similar welfare institutions not covered under TPDS or under any other Welfare Schemes, an additional allocation of foodgrains (rice and wheat) not exceeding 5% of the BPL allocation is made to States/UTs at BPL prices by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

Annapurna Scheme 

  • The Ministry of Rural Development launched the scheme in 2000-01.
  • Indigent senior citizens of 65 years of age or above who are not getting pension under the National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS) are provided 10 kgs. of foodgrains per person per month free of cost under the scheme.

Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – ‘SABLA’

  • The Ministry of Women & Child Development launched the SABLA Scheme on 19.11.2010 by merging two schemes namely Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls (NPAG) and Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY) in to a single scheme to be implemented in 200 selected districts across the country aims at empowering adolescent girls of 11-18 years by improvement of their nutritional and health status and upgrading various skills like home skills, life skills and vocational skills.
  • The requirement of food grains under the scheme for nutrition is @ 100 grams of grains per beneficiary per day for 300 days in a year.

Supply of foodgrains to Defence and Para-Military forces

  • FCI also supply foodgrains to the defence personnels and para-military forces on quarterly basis.
  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution on receipt of requirement of foodgrains from Ministry of Defence makes the allotment of foodgrains.
  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) (PIB)

  • Context: CARA Celebrates its 6th Annual Day.
  • CARA celebrates its Annual Day every year on the 15th January.

Analysis

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • CARA was granted the status of a Statutory body under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 for facilitating adoption in the country.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children.
  • It is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
  • CARA now comes under the umbrella of the ICPS (the Integrated Child Protection Scheme) agencies.

Hague Convention

  • It is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) to provide an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.
  • The Convention applies to children aged under 16 years.

Integrated Child Protection Services 

  • It is a sub-scheme under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)” being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • The purpose of the scheme is to provide for children in difficult circumstances, as well as to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities children have in various situations and actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children.
  • The specific objectives of the scheme are:

  • To institutionalize essential services and strengthen structures
  • To enhance capacities at all systems and persons involved in service delivery
  • To create database and knowledge base for child protection services
  • To strengthen child protection at family and community level
  • To coordinate and network with government institutions and non-government institutions to ensure effective implementation of the scheme
  • To raise public awareness about child rights, child vulnerability and child protection services.

 C) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues

4.Phase-II of “Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Power Plants Programme” (PIB)

  • Context: To generate solar power by installing solar panels on the roof of the houses, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Scheme (Phase-II).
  • Under this scheme Ministry is providing 40% subsidy for the first 3 kW and 20% subsidy beyond 3 kW and upto 10 kW.
  • The scheme is being implemented in the states by local Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOMs).
  • It has been brought to the notice of the Ministry that some rooftop solar companies / vendors are setting up rooftop solar plants by claiming that they are authorized vendors by the Ministry.
  • It is clarified that no vendor has been authorized by the Ministry. This scheme is being implemented in the state only by DISCOMs.
  • The DISCOMs have empaneled vendors through bidding process and have decided rates for setting up a rooftop solar plant.
  • Domestic consumers are informed that to get subsidy under the scheme of the Ministry, they should install rooftop solar plants only from the empanelled vendors of the DISCOMs following due process of approval by DISCOMs.
  • The solar panels and other equipment to be installed by the empanelled vendors also include 5-year maintenance of the rooftop solar plant by the vendor.

Analysis

  • As a part of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), India has committed to increase the share of installed capacity of electric power from non-fossil-fuel sources to 40% by 2030.
  • Solar energy is one of the main sources to accomplish the target of 40% of electric power from non-fossil-fuel.
  • Government of India has set the target of achieving 100 GW of solar power capacity in the country by the year 2022 of which 40 GW to be achieved from rooftop solar (RTS).
  • The rooftop solar (RTS) plant is a system installed mainly on the roof of a building and includes installations on open contiguous land within the area of premises wherein valid and live electricity connection has been provided by the concern Distribution utilities/companies (DISCOMS).
  • The Solar power so generated can then be used either for captive consumption of the premises or can be fed into the grid and be adjusted in the electricity bill.
  • Net-metering regulations notified by respective State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) provide a legal framework for such adjustment.
  • Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid.
  • If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output.
  • Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use.
  • Typically, a solar power system produces more energy in summer and comparatively less energy in winter.
  • RTS plants help DISCOMs in reducing transmission and distribution losses as power consumption and generation are co-located. These Plants are also useful in tackling day time peak load as solar generation profile matches such peak loads during the day.
  • The key objectives of the programme are:

  • To promote grid connected RTS in all consumer segments, viz., residential, institutional, social, Govt., commercial, industrial etc.
  • To bring DISCOMs at forefront as key drivers for rapid deployment of RTS.
  • To create awareness, capacity building, human resource development, etc.
  • To promote sustainable business models.
  • To create additional RTS capacity of 38000 MW in the country by 31.12.2022 out of which a capacity of 4000 MW in residential sector with Central Financial Assistance and 34000 MW in other sectors (i.e., Social, Government, educational, PSUs, Statutory /Autonomous bodies, Private Commercial, Industrial Sectors etc.) by suitably incentivizing DISCOMs.
  • To promote domestic manufacturing of solar cells and module.

  • The Scheme has two major components:
  • Component A: Setting up of 4000 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar projects in the residential sector with Central Financial Assistance (CFA)
  • Component B: Incentives to Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) based on achievement towards initial 18000 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar plants.
  • The programme provides for Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for the household owner and Group Housing Societies to set up RTS on the rooftop of their residence/residential campus.
  • Other than residential sector: CFA will not be available for other categories i.e. institutional, educational, social, government, commercial and industrial sectors as the beneficiaries in these sectors are high tariff paying consumers and adoption of solar would be economically beneficial for them even without CFA.
  • The power generated through RTS plant would result in significant reduction of the electricity bill paid by them to the DISCOMs, hence making it an economically viable solution.
  • Although CFA is not admissible for non-residential sectors, the DISCOMs will be incentivized for addition of RTS capacity in these sectors too.
  • For subsidized projects (i.e. for residential projects detailed above) only indigenously manufactured PV panels (both cells and modules) should be used.
  • 1 % of the amount allocated for CFA sector) has been allocated under the programme for capacity building /awareness activities.
  • The entire process of receiving proposals, processing them and giving approvals would be IT enabled except in those DISCOMs where the Online Portal is not developed.
  • To address the fact that the consumer had to approach multiple agencies (like State Nodal Agencies (SNA’s), Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and other Government Agencies (GAs) etc. involved in the earlier phase) for getting a RTS plant installed, it has been decided to implement the programme by making the DISCOMs and its local offices as the nodal points for implementation of the RTS programme.
  • Since the requisite expertise on solar energy for implementation of this Programme may not be available with DISCOMs, they will be at liberty to use the services of State Nodal Agencies (SNAs) engaged in the promotion of Renewable Energy of the respective States/UTs.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Vs Solar Thermal Systems

  • ‘Solar PV’ works by photons in sun’s rays knocking off electrons in the semi-conducting material in the panels and channels them through a wire—the stream of electrons is electricity.
  • Solar PV, therefore, works best where there is lot of sunlight.
  • Solar thermal systems, in contrast, suck up sun’s heat and conduct it to where it is needed – such as for drying of spices or fish or wet paint.
  • Production of same quantity of electricity is much cheaper by Solar thermal systems than by Solar PV
  • One big reason for this is, in solar PV, there is some loss in conversion of light energy into electric energy, whereas in solar thermal, there is no conversion—it is just heat all through.
  • For more details (what is Solar Photovoltaic(PV) cell), refer to 7th June file.
  1. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 3.0 (PIB)

  • Context: In a bid to empower India’s youth with employable skills, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) today launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 3.0.

Analysis

  • Launched in 717 districts, 28 States/eight UTs, PMKVY 3.0 marks yet another step towards ‘Atmnanirbhar Bharat’.
  • PMKVY 2.0 has been instrumental in bolstering the skilling ecosystem and with PMKVY 3.0, skill development will usher in a new paradigm with focus on demand-driven skill development, digital technology and Industry 4.0 skills.
  • PMKVY 2.0 broadened the skill development with inclusion of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and focus on training.
  • With the advent of PMKVY 3.0, the focus is on bridging the demand-supply gap by promoting skill development in areas of new-age and Industry 4.0 job roles
  • While the National Educational Policy puts focus on vocational training for a holistic growth and increased employability, PMKVY 3.0 role will be a propagator of vocational education at an early level for youth to capitalize on industry-linked opportunities
  • PMKVY 3.0 will encourage healthy competition between states by making available increased allocation to those states that perform better.
  • Mains Question: Skilling is not an objective but a necessary prerequisite for the economic growth of the country. Comment. (150 words)
  • For further details, refer to 15th Sep file.

D) International Relations

6.Kalapani Boundary Dispute (TH)

  • Context: Nepal has raised the Kalapani boundary dispute with India during the Joint Commission meeting.
  • Kalapani is a patch of land near the India-Nepal border, close to the Lipulekh Pass on the India-China border, which is one of the approved points for border trade and the route for the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra in Tibet.

Analysis

  • In June 2020, the Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament unanimously had voted for the Second Constitution Amendment Bill, which guarantees legal status for the new political map of the country that includes part of Indian territory in Uttarakhand.

Kalapani and the maps

  • India inherited the boundary with Nepal, established between Nepal and the East India Company in the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816.
  • Kali river constituted the boundary, and the territory to its east was Nepal. The dispute relates to the origin of Kali.
  • The territorial dispute stems from the fact that Nepal claims the land to the east of river Kali, which forms the country’s western border.
  • As per Kathmandu’s understanding, the river originates from Limpiyadhura in the higher Himalayas, giving it access to a triangular-shaped land defined by Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh and Kalapani.
  • India opposes the notion and says the origin of the river is much further down, which reduces Nepal’s territorial demand.
  • Nepal’s has also released a new political official map that claimed Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh of Uttarakhand as part of its sovereign territory.
  • However, the emergence of this dispute now has more to do with the domestic political compulsions of Nepali leaders who often use Nepali nationalism card, the flip side of which is anti-Indianism, to create an anti-India rhetoric to gain politically in the domestic elections.
  • Indian Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) is also an honorary general of the Nepal Army and vice-versa, highlighting the traditional ties between the two armies.

  • Indian States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim border Nepal.

E) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments

7.Special Marriage Act, 1954 (IE)

  • Context: In a judgment removing hindrances to inter-faith marriages, and likely to have a bearing on the set of laws enacted by some states including Uttar Pradesh that prohibit religious conversion for marriage, the Allahabad High Court has ruled that couples seeking to solemnise their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 can choose not to publish the mandatory 30-day notice of their intention to marry.
  • Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act, the legislation that allows solemnisation of marriages irrespective of the religion of the couple, requires parties to give a 30-day public notice of their intention to marry. The public notice is displayed at the office of the marriage officer, inviting potential objections to the marriage.
  • Anyone having any objection to the marriage can file against it within a period of 30 days. If any such objection against the marriage is sustained by the marriage officer, the marriage can be rejected.

Analysis

About Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954

  • The Special Marriage Act is central legislation made to validate and register inte-rreligious and inter-caste marriages in India.
  • It allows two individuals to solemnize their marriage through a civil contract.
  • No religious formalities (like marriage ceremonies or faith conversion etc.)are to be carried out under the Act.
  • But there are certain conditions laid down in Section 4 of the Act:
  • It says that neither of the parties should have a spouse living.
  • Both the parties should be capable of giving consent; should be sane at the time of marriage.
  • The parties shall not be within the prohibited degree of relations as prescribed under their law.
  • While considering the age, the male must be at least 21 and the female be 18 at least.

Publishing marriage details made optional

  • The recent verdict by Allahabad High Court made it optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the Marriage Officer to publish or not to publish a notice under Section 5 and 6 of the Act of 1954.

Section 5 and 6

  • The provision for mandatory publication of the notice,derived through “simplistic reading” of the particular law, “would invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy, including within its sphere freedom to choose for marriage without interference from state and non-state actors, of the persons concerned”.
  • The court also noted that despite the secular law for marriage, a majority of marriages in the country happen as per religious customs. It said that when marriages under personal law do not require a notice or invitation for objections, such a requirement is obsolete in secular law and cannot be forced on a couple.

Directives for Marriage officer

  • In case the parties do not make such a request for publication of notice in writing, the Marriage Officer shall not publish any such notice or entertain objections to the intended marriage and proceed with the solemnization of the marriage.
  • However, in case the officer has any doubt, he could ask for appropriate details/proof as per the facts of the case.
  • Recently rulings by the Supreme Court based on which this judgement came:

  • Aadhaar case (2017) which made the right to privacy a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  • Hadiya Marriage Case (2018) which held that the right to choose a partner is a fundamental right.
  • Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India case (2018) in which the court decriminalized homosexuality striking down Section 377 of IPC.

F) Clever Picks (Miscellaneous)

8.SWITCH UAV (TH)

  • The Indian Army has signed a $20-million contract with ideaForge, a player in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, to procure undisclosed quantities of a high-altitude variant of SWITCH UAV, an indigenous system used in surveillance operations.
  • SWITCH UAV is an indigenous system develop by Indian startup ideaforge.
  • It is built to cater to the most demanding surveillance operations of the Indian forces.
  • This fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing UAV can be deployed at high altitudes and under harsh environments for day and night surveillance

  1. Naga Nakti Bird Sanctuary (TH)

  • Context: Kalrav, Bihar’s first BIrd Festival at Naga Nakti Bird Sanctuary in Jamui District.

Analysis

  • The Nagi Dam (791 ha) and Nakti Dam (332 ha) are two sanctuaries so close to each other that they can be taken as one bird area in Bihar. These dams were built to supply water to local farms.
  • The site falls in Biome Indo-Gangetic Plains.
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