Borrowing limit of States and four specific State-level reforms (PIB)
- Context: Ministry of Finance has granted additional borrowing permission to two more States, Uttar Pradesh & Andhra Pradesh (Telangana, Goa, Karnataka and Tripura earlier) for successfully undertaking reforms in the Public Distribution System (PDS) and Ease of Doing Business.
- In view of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Government had in May, 2020 allowed an additional borrowing limit of up to 2 percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to the States for the year 2020-21.
- One percent of this is subject to the implementation of following four specific State-level reforms, where the weightage of each reform is 0.25 percent of GSDP: –
- Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System;
- Ease of doing business reform;
- Urban Local body/ utility reforms; and
- Power Sector reforms
Borrowing limit of States under normal circumstances
- At present, States can borrow up to 3 percent of their fiscal deficit limit, but the additional limits can be permitted subject to certain conditions.
- They can have the flexibility of 0.25 percent over and above this for any given year for which the borrowing limits are to be fixed if their debt-GSDP ratio is less than or equal to 25 per cent in the preceding year.
- States will be further eligible for an additional borrowing limit of 0.25 per cent of GSDP in a given year for which the borrowing limits are to be fixed if the interest payments are less than or equal to 10 per cent of the revenue receipts in the preceding year.
- The flexibility in availing the additional limit under either of the two options or both will be available to a State only if there is no revenue deficit in the year in which borrowing limits are to be fixed and the immediately preceding year.
- Approval for additional borrowing has to be taken from the Centre.
- Recently, the Expenditure Department under Finance Ministry, keeping in view the Centre’s policy for cooperative federalism, has decided to simplify the process of approval of such additional borrowing limits requested by States.
- It will process each proposal along with complete information independently as and when it is received in contrast to the earlier process of bunching all proposals into a single proposal.
B) Science and Technology/Defence/Space
2.Exercise Bongosagar and CORPAT (PIB)
- The second edition of the Indian Navy (IN) – Bangladesh Navy (BN) Bilateral Exercise Bongosagar took place in the Northern Bay of Bengal in October 2020.
- Exercise Bongosagar, whose first edition was held in 2019, is aimed at developing inter-operability and joint operational skills through the conduct of a wide spectrum of maritime exercises and operations.
- This exercise was followed by the 3rd edition of IN – BN Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) in Northern Bay of Bengal in October 2020, wherein IN and BN units will undertake joint patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
- Besides Bangladesh, Indian Navy regularly conducts CORPATs with Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand.
- It also conducts EEZ surveillance of Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles on their request.
Integrated Defence Staff (PIB)
- Context: Integrated Defence Staff celebrated its 20th Raising Day.
- Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff, popularly known as HQ IDS is tasked to promote Jointness among the Armed Forces and ensure better coordination with Ministry of Defence and other Departments & Ministries.
- To ensure a high degree of synergy between the Armed forces, the Government has set up the Integrated Defence Staff, headed by the Chief of Integrated Staff as the Chairman.
- It was created on 1 October 2001 based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers which was set up in 2000 (post-Kargil) to review India’s defense management.
- It acts as the point organization for the integration of policy, doctrine, warfighting, and procurement by employing best management practices.
- The IDS is headed by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff advises and assists the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
- The creation of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and the institution of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the past year are major milestones that have provided the much-needed impetus to the transformation of the Armed Forces and their integration in the Higher Defence Organisation of the Nation.
Post Kargil Developments
- After the Kargil Conflict, the Government constituted the Kargil Review Committee to carry out an in-depth review and analysis of Security Management System in the country.
- Major recommendations included:
- Setting up of the Integrated Defence Staff
- Creation of a full-time National Security Advisor (NSA), a position then held by the principal secretary to the Prime Minister.
- Induction and deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for effective surveillance along the borders.
- Saying that the Army must be fit, the report warned of “restructuring” of the role of the military and paramilitary forces.
- The report suggested a “reduction in the age profile of the Army”.
- It also underlined the need for military modernisation and the importance of equipping India’s frontline fighters — the infantry soldiers — with modern weapons and gear.
- Creation of post of Chief of Defense staff (CDS)
Chief of Defense Staff (CDS)
- The CDS is a single-point military advisor to the government.
- CDS is in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief.
- The CDS also heads the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) that has been created within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and function as its Secretary.
- The CDS comes under the ambit of ‘Right to Information Act, in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.
- The post of CDS was recommended by the Kargil Review Committee in 2001.
Role and responsibilities
- The CDS will be “first among equals” in that he will consult and solicit the views of the services, but the final judgment will be the CDS is alone and he will be the principal military adviser to the Defence Minister on all tri-Services matters.
- However, the three Chiefs will continue to advise the Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services, and the CDS would not exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership.
- The CDS is also vested with the authority to provide directives to the three chiefs.
- In the strategic domain, the CDS would function, in advisory role, as the “Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority” chaired by the Prime Minister.
- The recently created specialized tri-Service divisions, special operations, cyber and space will come under the ambit of the CDS.
- Above all, core function will be to foster greater operational synergy between the three service branches of the Indian military and keep inter-service frictions to a minimum.
Some extra Information
- The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is the first integrated theatre command in India with headquarters at Port Blair.
- It operates directly under the COSC (Chiefs of Staff Committee).
4.Data Governance Quality Index (DGQI) (PIB)
- Department of Fertilizers under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been ranked 2nd amongst the 16 Economic Ministries / Departments and 3rd out of the 65 Ministries / Departments on Data Governance Quality Index (DGQI).
- DGQI is a Survey conducted by Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), NITI Aayog to assess different Ministries /Departments’ performance on the implementation of Central Sector Schemes (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS).
- DGQI is a self-assessment based review of data preparedness levels across Ministries / Departments.
- The objective of assessing data preparedness of Ministries / Departments on a standardized framework to drive healthy competition among them and promote cooperative peer learning from best practices.
- To avoid straight-forward irrelevant comparisons, Ministries / Departments were classified in 6 (six) categories:
- Economic and
D) Schemes/Policies/Initiatives/Social Issues
5.Ayush Grid and National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) (PIB)
- The operational integration of Ayush Grid, the emerging IT backbone for the AYUSH Sector, with the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), was endorsed recently at a high-level meeting.
National Digital Health Mission (NDHM)
- As part of his Independence Day address, the Prime Minister unveiled the NDHM.
- Under NDHM, every Indian will get a Health ID card.
- Every time you visit a doctor or a pharmacy, everything will be logged in this card.
- From the doctor’s appointment to the medication, everything will be available in your health profile.
- The National Health Authority (NHA), the attached office of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare which runs the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, would “design, build, roll-out and implement the NDHM.
- The scheme would first be tested in the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
- The NDHM would be a voluntary programme to reduce the gap among stakeholders, such as doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers, by connecting them in an integrated digital health infrastructure.
RAISE 2020 – Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020 (PIB)
- It is a first of its kind, Global Virtual Summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to drive India’s vision and roadmap for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment through responsible AI.
- It was organized jointly by NITI Aayog along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in October 2020.
One Nation One Ration Card Scheme (PIB)
- Context: Two more States, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh have been integrated today with the existing national portability cluster of 26 States/UTs under One Nation One Ration Card.
- This article has already been covered in detail on 2nd
Phase VII of Vande Bharat flights commence (TH, pg 8)
- Phase VII of the Vande Bharat Mission by the External Affairs Ministry to repatriate Indians stranded abroad due to COVID-19 has commenced.
- The stranded include business travelers and tourists; students; professionals and laborers who have lost jobs due to the economic impact of global lockdowns.
Tribes India e-Marketplace and TRIFED (PIB)
- Tribes India e-Marketplace is a state-of-the-art e-commerce platform through which TRIFED aims to onboard 5 lakh tribal producers for sourcing of various handicrafts, handloom, natural food products across the country.
- Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development of India Ltd., (TRIFED) is an organization under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and is engaged in marketing development of tribal products including tribal art & craft under the brand name “TRIBES INDIA”.
- The main mandate of TRIFED is capability enhancement of the tribals, promotion of tribal products and creation of marketing opportunities for the tribals with a view to ensuring them fair prices for their products and augmenting their income on a sustainable basis.
- All the products supplied by TRIFED carry “Tribal Craft Mark” in form of a hologram/ label/tag for its genuineness and authenticity.
- Ministry of Tribal Affairs along with Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Ltd (TRIFED), organizes “AADI MAHOTSAV”- a celebration of the spirit of Tribal Culture, Cuisine and Commerce.
- Recently, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Federation (TRIFED) signed an agreement to partner with Amazone’s Global Selling Programme to sell products made by tribes.
E) Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
10.Major and Minor Minerals (TH, Pg 10)
- Context: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to regulate extraction of minor minerals from water bodies and set up an expert committee to assess any environmental degradation.
What are major and minor minerals
- In India, the minerals are classified as minor minerals and major minerals.
- According to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 “Minor Minerals” means building stones, gravel, ordinary clay, marble, ordinary sand, mica, gypsum, dolomite
- Major minerals are those specified in the first schedule appended in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act 1957) and the common major minerals are Lignite, Coal, Uranium, iron ore, gold etc.
- It may be noted that there is no official definition for “major minerals” in the MMDR Act.
- Hence, whatever is not declared as a “minor mineral” may be treated as the major mineral.
- The major-minor classification has nothing to do with the quantum /availability of these minerals, though it is correlated with the relative value of these minerals.
- Further, this classification is based more on their end use, rather than level of production, level of mechanization, export and import etc.
- The power to frame policy and legislation relating to minor minerals is entirely delegated to the State Governments while policy and legislation relating to the major minerals are dealt by the Ministry of Mines under Union /Central Government.
- However, the central government has the power to notify “minor minerals” under the MMDR Act, 1957.
- On the other hand, State Governments have complete powers for making Rules for grant of concessions in respect of extraction of minor minerals and levy and collection of royalty on minor minerals.
District Mineral Foundation (DMF)
- District Mineral Foundation (DMF) is a trust set up as a non-profit body, in those districts affected by the mining works, to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas (both directly affected as well as indirectly) affected by mining-related operations.
- It is funded through the contributions from miners through royalty.
- Its manner of operation comes under the jurisdiction of the relevant State Government.
- Setting up of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) in all districts in the country affected by mining related operations was mandated through the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, (MMDRA) 2015.
- Further, using the funds generated by this contribution, the DMFs are required to implement the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY), Ministry of Mines, launched for the welfare of mining areas and affected population.
- At least 60% of PMKKKY funds will be utilized for high priority areas like:
- (i) drinking water supply;
- (ii) environment preservation and pollution control measures;
- (iii) health care;
- (iv) education;
- (v) welfare of women and children;
- (vi) welfare of aged and disabled people;
- (vii) skill development; and
- (viii) Sanitation.
- The rest of the funds will be utilized undertaking works like for:
- (i) physical infrastructure;
- (ii) irrigation;
- (iii) energy and watershed development; and
- (iv) any other measures for enhancing environmental quality in mining district.
- Under the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), natural resources (including forest produce, water sources and minor minerals) are to be managed and owned by the Gram Sabha.
NGT overruled the Environment ministry’s notifications
- Recently, the NGT has overruled the Environment ministry’s notifications that exempted mining of minor minerals like sand in up to 25 hectares area from EIA. The NGT directed public hearings and EIA for minor mineral mines with 5 to 25 ha area.
- It added state environment impact assessment authority would evaluate smaller mines of up to 5 ha instead of district environment impact assessment authorities which lack scientific expertise.
Forest Rights Act, 2006 (TH, pg 8)
- Context: Tribal people in Srikakulam district (Andhra Pradesh) will be given 1.28 lakh acres under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
Forest Rights Act, 2006
- To address the adverse living conditions of many tribal families living in forests was on account of non-recognition and vesting of pre-existing rights, a landmark legislation viz. Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, has been enacted.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the nodal agency for implementing the provisions of
the Forest Rights Act.
- The Act seeks to recognize and vest the Forest Rights and Rights for the occupation of forest land on forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded.
- It grants several other rights to ensure their control over forest resources which, inter-alia, include right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce, community rights such as nistar; habitat rights for primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities; right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use.
- The Act also provides for diversion of forest land for public utility facilities managed by the Government, such as schools, dispensaries, fair price shops, electricity and telecommunication lines, water tanks, etc. with the recommendation of Gram Sabhas.
Forest Rights Granted Under FRA, 2006
- This Act recognizes the rights to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation or livelihood.
- For the first time, it recognises and secures Community Rights or rights over common
property resources of the communities, in addition to their individual rights
- Rights in and over disputed land Rights of settlement
- Conversion of all forest villages, old habitation, un-surveyed villages and other villages
in forests into revenue villages (This is done by State Govt through office of District
- Right to protect, regenerate, conserve or manage any community forest resource which the communities have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use
- Right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and
- It has the provision for creating critical wildlife habitats within protected areas which currently is the strongest conservation provision among existing laws of the country.
Role of Gram Sabha under FRA, 2006
- To initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both that may be given to the forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers
- To recommend developmental projects managed by the Government which involve felling of trees.
- To consider the resettlement or alternative packages prepared by the State Governments for providing a secure livelihood to the affected individual forest rights holders and communities whenever Centre/State government modifies/ declares National Park, Tiger
Reserve/Protected area etc.
- To protect the wildlife, forest, biodiversity, adjoining catchments areas, water sources other ecological sensitive areas.
- To preserve the habitat of forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers from any form of destructive practices affecting their cultural and natural heritage etc.
UN Biodiversity Summit (PIB)
- Context: The summit is first of its kind ever taken place on Biodiversity in the United Nations General Assembly.
- The Biodiversity Summit was participated by Head of States/Minister level representing the countries which are party to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- There is consensus that conservation targets set a decade ago in Aichi, Japan, to be achieved by 2020, have spectacularly failed.
- Evidence was presented by the latest UN Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report that none of the 20 targets has been fully met.
- Many countries have chosen to ignore the connection between biodiversity and well-being, and depleted ecological capital in pursuit of financial prosperity.
Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO)
- Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is the flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
- The GBO-5 is a final report card on the progress made by countries in achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
- These 20 global biodiversity targets were included in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the 2011-2020 period.
- But none of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets have been met, the GBO-5 has shown.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- The CBD is one of the key agreements adopted during the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
- It has near-universal membership (US has signed but not ratified).
- The CBD Secretariat is based in Montreal, Canadaand it operates under the United Nations Environment Programme.
- The Parties (Countries) under the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD), meet at regular interval and these meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP).
- The Convention, while reaffirming sovereign rights of nations over their biological resources, establishes three main goals:
- the conservation of biological diversity,
- the sustainable use of its components, and
- the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
- CoP-10 to the CBD in October 2010 had adopted a Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for 2011-2020, with five goals and 20 Aichi Targets.
- The Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets are the overarching framework on biodiversity not only for CBD and biodiversity related conventions but for the entire UN system.
- The UN General Assembly has declared 2011-2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity, coinciding with the duration of the Strategic Plan.
- In January 2000, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP5)adopted a supplementary agreement to the Convention known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Came into force in 2003)
- The Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
- The Nagoya Protocolon Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan at COP10. (Came into force in 2014)
- It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
- It not only applies to genetic resources that are covered by the CBD, and to the benefits arising from their utilization but also covers traditional knowledge (TK) associated with genetic resources that are covered by the CBD and the benefits arising from its utilization.
- Along with Nagoya Protocol on Genetic Resources, the COP-10 also adopted a ten-year framework for action by all countries to save biodiversity, officially known as “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020”.
- It provided a set of 20 ambitious yet achievable targets (divided into 5 sections: A to E), collectively known as the Aichi Targets for biodiversity.
- The ‘Aichi Targets’ were adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its Nagoya conference.
- The IUCN Species Programme provides advice to Parties, other governments and partners on the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and it’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2011 – 2020).
India and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- India enactedBiological Diversity Act in 2002 for giving effect to the provisions of the CBD.
- The National Biodiversity Authority is a statutory body, which was established by the Central Government in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
- It performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions for the Government of India on issues of conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.
- The NBA is headquartered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
13.Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (TH, pg 9)
- Union Minister for Women and Child Development addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action to highlight India’s achievements in gender equality.
- The document identifies 12 critical areas of concern:
- Women and the environment
- Women in power and decision-making
- The girl child
- Women and the economy
- Women and poverty
- Violence against women
- Human rights of women
- Education and training of women
- Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
- Women and health
- Women and the media
- Women and armed conflict
Antifa and Proud Boys (TH, pg 13)
- President Donald Trump said he condemned all White supremacists, including the “Proud Boys,” an organization identified as a hate group, further walking back comments he made this week that were viewed as emboldening the group.
- Antifa is a far-left movement whose followers aim is to confront those they view as authoritarian or racist.
Source-The Hindu, PIB, IE and Others