RBI excludes six State-Run Banks from Second Schedule of RBI Act, 1934 (livemint)
- Context: The Reserve Bank of India has excluded six public sector banks from the Second Schedule of the RBI Act, 1934, following their merger with other banks.
- The six banks are Syndicate Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, United Bank of India, Andhra Bank, Corporation Bank, and Allahabad Bank.
- “…Syndicate Bank has been excluded from the Second Schedule to the RBI Act, 1934…since it has ceased to carry on banking performance business with effect from April 01, 2020…”, RBI said in a notification.
- It has issued similar notifications regarding the other five state-owned banks.
- A bank mentioned in the Second Schedule of the Reserve Bank of India Act is known as ‘Scheduled Commercial Bank’.
- These six banks merged with other public sector banks with effect from April 1.
- OBC and United Bank of India merged into Punjab National Bank;
- Syndicate Bank into Canara Bank;
- Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank into Union Bank of India; and
- Allahabad Bank into Indian Bank.
- After the consolidation, there are now seven large PSBs, and five smaller ones.
- There were as many as 27 public sector banks in 2017. The total number of PSBs in the country has now come down to 12.
2.Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (PIB)
- Context: Indian Prime Minister recently released a commemorative coin of Rs 75 denomination to mark the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organisation [FAO] of the United Nations.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- FAO is the oldest permanent specialized agency of the United Nations, established in October 1945 with the objective of eliminating hunger and improving nutrition and standards of living by increasing agricultural productivity.
- It also helps countries draw up policy and change legislation to support sustainable agriculture.
- Based on a shared vision of promoting world food security for all, the UN’s Rome-based Agencies – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) – work together, both at global and country-level, to maximize results and support countries in fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty in a sustainable way.
- From these three only the WFP has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (in 2020).
- WFP focuses on emergency assistance as well as rehabilitation and development aid. Two-thirds of its work is in conflict-affected countries, where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than elsewhere.
- It works closely with the other two Rome-based UN agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which helps countries draw up policy and change legislation to support sustainable agriculture, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which finances projects in poor rural areas.
- The organization, which has more than 180 members, is governed by the biennial FAO conference, in which each member country, as well as the European Union, is represented.
- The conference elects a 49-member Council, which serves as its executive organ.
- The aim of the Food and Agriculture Organization, as defined in its Constitution, is to:
- raise levels of nutrition and standards of living;
- secure improvements in food production and distribution;
- better the conditions of rural people and;
- contribute toward an expanding world economy and ensure freedom from hunger.
FAO Awards (all awarded biennially)
- R Sen Award: Recognising the outstanding performance of field officers during country assignment.
- H. Boerma Award: For journalists who have successfully steered public attention towards food security topics.
- Edouard Saouma Award: For institutions that have created true impact in the efficient execution of FAO Project.
- Jacques Diouf Award: Best Contribution to Global Food Security.
- R Sen, A. H. Boerma, Edouard Saouma and Jacques Diouf were former Director Generals of FAO.
- Margarita Lizárraga Medal Award: It is awarded biennially to a person or organization that has served with distinction in the application of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
- SDG2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
India and the Global Hunger Index 2020 (TH)
- Context: The Global Hunger Index 2020, a peer-reviewed report released annually by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welthungerhilfe, has been released.
- Overall, India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).
- 2020 scores reflect data from 2015-19.
- According to the report, with a score of 27.2 (3 in 2019), India has a level of hunger that is “serious”.
- A low score gets a country a higher ranking and implies better performance.
- India’s rank was 102 out of 117 countries last year.
- In the index, India features behind Nepal (73), Pakistan (88), Bangladesh (75), Indonesia (70) among others.
- Out of the total 107 countries, only 13 countries fare worse than India including countries like Rwanda (97), Nigeria (98), Afghanistan (99), Liberia (102), Mozambique (103), Chad (107) among others.
- It uses four parameters to determine its scores. India fares worst in child wasting (low weight for height, reflecting acute undernutrition) and child stunting (low height for age, reflecting chronic undernutrition), which together make up a third of the total score.
- India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition, according to the Global Hunger Index 2020.
- The situation has worsened in the 2015-19 period, when the prevalence of child wasting was 17.3%, in comparison to 2010-14, when it was 15.1%.
- Although it is still in the poorest category, however, child stunting has actually improved significantly, from 54% in 2000 to less than 35% now.
- Child wasting, on the other hand, has not improved in the last two decades and is rather worse than it was a decade ago.
- India has improved in both child mortality rates, which are now at 3.7%, and in terms of undernourishment, with about 14% of the total population which gets an insufficient caloric intake.
- In the region of south, east and south-eastern Asia, the only countries which fare worse than India are Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and North Korea.
- The world is not on track to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG2)— known as Zero Hunger for short — by 2030.
- At the current pace, approximately 37 countries will fail even to reach low hunger, as defined by the Global Hunger Index Severity Scale, by 2030.
- These projections do not account for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may worsen hunger and undernutrition in the near term and affect countries’ trajectories into the future.
Why is India ranked so low on GHI?
- So, even though India has improved its score, many others have done more and that explains why despite achieving relatively fast economic growth since 2000, India has not been able to make commensurate strides in reducing hunger.
What are the reasons for which India’s improvements have been slow?
- For one, notwithstanding the broader improvements, there is one category — Child Wasting, that is, children with low weight for their age — where India has worsened.
- The situation has worsened in the 2015-19 period, when the prevalence of child wasting was 17.3%, in comparison to 2010-14, when it was 15.1%.
- Wasting is indicative of acute undernutrition and India is the worst among all countries on this parameter.
Global Hunger Index (GHI)
- The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and national levels.
- The reason for mapping hunger is to ensure that the world achieves “Zero Hunger by 2030” — one of the Sustainable Development Goals laid out by the United Nations.
- While in common parlance hunger is understood in terms of food deprivation, in a formal sense it is calculated by mapping the level of calorie intake.
- The GHI slots countries on a scale ranging from “low” hunger to “moderate”, “serious”, “alarming”, and “extremely alarming”.
- India is one of the countries that have “serious” levels of hunger.
- Countries scoring less than or equal to 9.9 are slotted in the “low” category of hunger, while those scoring between 20 and 34.9 are in the “serious” category and those scoring above 50 are in the “extremely alarming” category.
- Each country’s data are standardised on a 100-point scale and a final score is calculated after giving 33.33% weight each to components 1 and 4, and giving 16.66% weight each to components 2 and 3.
- The GHI is designed to:
- raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger;
- provide a means to compare the levels of hunger between countries and regions; and
- call attention to the areas of the world in greatest need of additional resources to eliminate hunger.
- To capture the multidimensional nature of hunger, GHI scores are based on four indicators:
- Undernourishment: the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient);
- Child Wasting: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
- Child Stunting: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
- Child Mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
- The indicators included in the GHI formula reflect caloric deficiencies as well as poor nutrition.
- The undernourishment indicator captures the nutrition situation of the population as a whole, while the indicators specific to children reflect the nutrition status within a particularly vulnerable subset of the population for whom a lack of dietary energy, protein, and/or micronutrients (essential vitamins and minerals) leads to a high risk of illness, poor physical and cognitive development, and death.
- The inclusion of both child wasting and child stunting allows the GHI to document both acute and chronic undernutrition.
GHI scores are not calculated for certain high-income countries
- GHI scores are not calculated for some high-income countries where the prevalence of hunger is very low.
- Even within certain high-income countries, however, hunger and undernutrition are serious concerns for segments of the population.
- Unfortunately, nationally representative data for three of the four GHI indicators—undernourishment, child stunting, and child wasting—are not regularly collected in most high-income countries.
- While data on the fourth GHI indicator, child mortality, are usually available for these countries, child mortality does not reflect undernutrition in the high-income countries to the same extent as it does in low- and middle-income countries.
- For these reasons, GHI scores are not calculated for most high-income countries.
- In addition, GHI scores are not calculated for certain countries with small populations.
C) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues
4.Bodoland Statehood Movement (TH)
- Context: A new organisation has announced the revival of the Bodoland statehood movement ahead of the elections to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
- The five-decade-old demand for a separate State for the Bodos, the largest plains tribe in the Northeast, was said to have ended with the signing of the third peace accord on January 27 for transforming the BTC into the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) with more powers.
- But the All India Bodo People’s National League for Bodoland Statehood has vowed to rekindle the statehood movement.
- Members of this league, formed on October 15, panned the BTR accord, which they said prescribes a reduction of the area currently under the BTC.
- The accord has a provision for excluding from the BTR villages with more than 50% non-Bodos and including villages with more than 50% Bodo people left out of the BTC map after the 2003 accord.
- The Bodoland statehood movement has its roots in the 1967 Udayachal stir seeking self-rule for the areas dominated by the Bodo community.
First Bodo Accord
- The movement was doused temporarily with the signing of the first Bodo Accord in February 1993 between the government and moderate leaders of the movement.
- This resulted in the creation of the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC).
Second Bodo Accord
- The Centre signed the second Bodo peace accord in February 2003, with the erstwhile insurgent outfit, Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT), elevating the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
Third Bodo Accord
- In January 2020, the Centre, the Assam government and Bodo groups — including all factions of the militant National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) — signed an agreement (Third Bodo Peace Accord) for peace and development.
- The new deal offers more hope than the 1993 and 2003 accords; some of the most potent factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland that had stayed away from earlier agreements are now on board.
- More significantly, the stakeholders have agreed that the updated political arrangements would remain confined to the realm of wider autonomy within the State of Assam, giving statehood and Union Territory demands a final burial.
- The generous terms promise an expanded area to be renamed as Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), a ₹1,500-crore development package, and greater contiguity of Bodo-populated areas.
- There is also an offer of general amnesty for militants, with heinous crimes likely to be benignly reviewed, and ₹5 lakh each to the families of those killed during the Bodo movement — it claimed nearly 4,000 lives.
- The Bodos comprise not more than 30% of the population in the BTR region.
What is the Bodo issue?
- Bodos are the single largest community among the notified Scheduled Tribes in Assam, and constitute about 5-6% of Assam’s population.
- The Bodoland region is in western Assam.
What is the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)?
- It is an autonomous body under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
- The area under the jurisdiction of BTC, formed under the 2003 Accord, was called the Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD).
- Under the latest agreement, the BTAD was renamed Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
- The new Accord provides for “alteration of area of BTAD” and “provisions for Bodos outside BTAD”.
- A commission appointed by the state government will examine and recommend if villages contiguous to BTAD and with a majority tribal population can be included into the BTR while those now in BTAD and with a majority non-tribal population can opt out of the BTR.
- The government will set up a Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council for focused development of Bodo villages outside BTAD — which opens up a way to potentially address the needs of Bodos outside BTAD.
- The agreement provides for more legislative, executive, administrative and financial powers to BTC; and amendments to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to “improve the financial resources and administrative powers of BTC”.
- The 2020 agreement says the Government of Assam “will notify Bodo language in Devanagri script as the associate official language in the state”.
- The settlement says criminal cases for “non-heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn and those in connection with heinous crimes “shall be reviewed case by case according to the existing policy on the subject”.
Activating faultlines: The movement for Kamatapur State
- Bodo groups have suspended their statehood movement, but the new Bodo Accord has triggered the intensification of the movement for Kamatapur State by organisations of the Koch-Rajbongshi community.
- The territory of the demanded Kamatapur State overlaps with the present Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD), proposed BTR and demanded Bodoland.
- Clamour for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Koch-Rajbongshis, Adivasis and several other non-ST communities has also grown.
- Deeper ethnic faultlines in an ethnocentric power-sharing model will become exposed when the Koch-Rajbongshis and the Adivasis are granted ST status, as promised by the present government.
- For, the reservation of seats of BTC is for the STs and not exclusively for the Bodos. The new accord has no clear answer to such critical questions.
- Sub-paragraph 2 of the first paragraph of the Sixth Schedule provides that, “If there are different Scheduled Tribes in an autonomous district, the Governor may, by public notification, divide the area or areas inhabited by them into autonomous regions.”
- However, constitutional amendments were made following the previous Bodo Accord to ensure that this provision shall not apply in respect of the BTAD.
D) Art, Culture and History
5.Baba Banda Singh Bahadur (PIB)
- Context: PM paid tributes to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur on his 350th Jayanti.
- “He is remembered for his sense of justice. He made many efforts to empower the poor”, the Prime Minister said.
Crusade of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur
- Just before his death, the tenth and last Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, who was in exile in Nanded (in present-day Maharashtra), sent Banda Singh Bahadur to Punjab to offer resistance to the Mughal force in Punjab.
- The first meeting between Guru Gobind Singh and Bairagi Madho Das (later known as Banda Singh Bahadur after vaporization by the Guru) took place at Nander, on the banks of the river Godavari, on 3rd September 1708.
- The Sikh tradition believes that the main clause of his mission was to teach a lesson to Wazir Khan, the Subedar of Sirhind, who was responsible for bricking alive the two younger sons (Sahibzadas)
of Guru Gobind Singh.
- There, Banda Singh rallied Sikh volunteers to form an army, and with them established a large but temporary kingdom between the Sutlej and Yamuna Rivers.
- He captured many important cities in the region including the Mughal provincial capital of Sirhind in 1710.
- The Muslim chieftains of these areas were devastated and their landholdings were distributed to cultivators of their lands.
- This was a revolutionary step in the history of India when the feudal system was abolished in Punjab.
- The Sikh army under Banda Singh was not a regular army but they were highly motivated to defeat and destroy the oppressive regime of Mughals.
- Wazir Khan (Mughal Governor of Sirhind) confronted Baba Banda Singh at Chappar Chirri (near Present day Chandigarh).
- Chappar Chirri was a historical battle fought on May 12, 1710 in which mighty Mughal army was defeated by the Khalsa and Sirhind was captured.
Foundation of Khalsa Raj
- Banda Singh chose a place called Mukhlisgarh (renamed Lohgarh) in the Shivalik hills of Nahan state as his capital.
- But this Khalsa glory was short-lived. The Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah himself led the Mughal army and attacked the Lohgarh fort, but Banda Singh had a narrow escape and could not be captured alive.
- The Khalsa army re-assembled to conquer areas of Jallandhar Doab. He re-captured Lohgarh again and hoisted the Khalsa flag.
The capture of Banda Singh Bahadur
- Mughal Emperor Farukhsiyar appointed Abdus Samad Khan, the Subedar of Lahore, to capture Banda Singh alive.
- Abdus Samad Khan captured Banda Bahadur from a fortress at Gurdas Nangal near Gurdaspur (Battle of Gurdas Nangal) after cutting off all food and fodder supplies for 8 months (7th April 1715 to 7 December 1715).
- It is unfortunate that fissures appeared in followers of Banda Singh Bahadur. They split into two groups: Bandais and Tat Khalsa.
- This may be one of the reasons of their defeat at the hands of Abdus Samad Khan.
- Earlier, Banda Singh wrote letters to Rajput Maharajas to join his crusade for uprooting the Mughal Empire. He wrote a letter to Mirza Raja Swai Jai Singh on September 11, 1711 but got no moral or physical support.
- In campaign of Lohgarh and Gurdas Nangal, Hindu Rajas of Shivalik hill states supported the Mughal army by men and materials.
- Banda Singh and 700 Sikh soldiers of his army were brought to Delhi in chains and massacred in 1716.
Highlights of Banda Singh Bahadur’s campaign
- Baba Banda Singh created the first Khalsa commonwealth of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s dreams in Punjab.
- He abolished feudal system of Jagirdari and established democracy and Panchayati raj.
Sikh Coins of Banda Singh Bahadur (1710)
- The first-ever Sikh coins are credited to the great Sikh warrior and commander of the Khalsa army, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.
- Up until then, Mughal coins were in use during the reign of the ten Sikh Gurus (1469-1708 CE).
- The first Sikh coins came with the establishment of a Sikh kingdom by Banda Bahadur and his associates, within a few years of Guru Gobind Singh’s passing away somewhere around 1710 CE.
- They were inscribed in the prevalent Persian language but, unlike other kingdoms in which the bust or name of the king along with the period of his reign was mentioned, these Sikh coins bore the name of the Sikh Gurus and the Almighty.
- The coins followed the indigenous Bikrami (Vikram Samvat) and Nanakshahi Samvat (base year 1469, the birth year of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak) calendars to mark dates.
- The coins of Banda Bahadur, however, issued till 1713 CE, after which the war with the Mughals intensified.
Gobindshahi Sikka (1765)
- The first Misl-period coin, made of silver, was issued in 1765 CE.
- It was inscribed in Persian in the name of Guru Gobind Singh, just like Banda Singh Bahadur’s coins.
- These coins were known as ‘Gobind Shahi’ coins and were issued from the Lahore mint up to 1775 CE.
Nanakshahi Sikka (1775)
- In 1775 CE, the Sikh mint was transferred to Amritsar.
- The coins produced here were known as ‘Nanakshahi’ coins (in the name of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak) and were similar to the early Sikh coins.
- After this triumph in Lahore, Ranjit Singh issued various coins, which reflect his ideology and the political climate during his reign.
- Fateh Burj, the memorial of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Chappar Chrri village in Punjab.
- This 328 feet high Burj is India’s tallest victory tower, even taller than the famous Qutub Minar of Delhi.
- It was constructed to mark the 3rd centenary of the historical battle of Chappar Chiri.
E) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues
6.Kala Sanskriti Vikas Yojana (KSVY) (PIB)
- Context: The Culture Ministry issued guidelines for holding events in online mode, allowing artists to take benefits of government schemes even if they are unable to hold such programmes in physical settings owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The ministry said the guidelines will ensure continued financial assistance to artistes and help them tide over the present crisis.
- Kala Sanskriti Vikas Yojana (KSVY) is an umbrella scheme under Ministry of Culture for the promotion of art and culture in the country.
- KSVY has the following sub-schemes through which financial assistance is provided to cultural organizations:
- Scheme of Financial Assistance for Promotion of Art and Culture- Repertory Grant (Under Repertory Grant, training of artistes by their respective Gurus and performance of Cultural Activities may be conducted online)
- Scheme of Financial Assistance for Promotion of Art and Culture- Financial Assistance to Cultural Organizations with National Presence
- Scheme of Financial Assistance for Promotion of Art and Culture- Cultural Function and Production Grant (CFPG)
- Scheme of Financial Assistance for Promotion of Art and Culture- Financial Assistance for Preservation and Development of Cultural Heritage of the Himalayas
- Scheme of Financial Assistance for Promotion of Art and Culture- Financial Assistance for Development of Buddhist/Tibetan Arts and Culture
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