GoI directs to include Chakma and Hajong in COVID-19 relief programme
On May 1, 2020, the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region directed Arunachal Pradesh Government to include Hajong and Chakma communities in the COVID-19 relief programme
The Chakma and Hajong communities, the migrants from the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) are still living in relief camps. They came to India in 1964. There are more than 1 lakh Chakma and Hajong refugees in the country. Apart from these people, there are around 15,000 Chakmas and 2,000 Hajongs in the relief camp set up in Arunachal Pradesh. Even after 50 years, many continue to live here.
What is the issue?
The Chakmas were predominantly Buddhists and the Hajongs were Hindus. They inhabited the Chittagong hills in the regions of East Pakistan. They migrated to India due to the construction of Kaptai dam across the Karnaphuli river in 1960s. They also faced persecution in East Pakistan as they were non-Muslims.
Currently, the tribes do not have citizenship or land rights. However, they are provided the basic amenities.
Karnaphuli is the largest river the in the Chittagong hills. The river originates in Mizoram and flows into Bangladesh and then joins the Bay of Bengal. The tributaries of the Karnaphuli river include Kawrpui river, Phairuang river and Tuichawng river.
Kashmir Saffron receives GI Tag
The Saffron cultivated in the Kashmir valley has received Geographical Indication Tag. It is to be noted that three other products such as Gorakhpur Teracotta, Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai and Black rice of Manipur also received GI tag recently.
About Kashmir Saffron:
The Saffron cultivated in Kashmir is long, thick and has natural deep red colour. Also, it has high aroma and is processed without adding any chemicals.
The colour of the saffron is unique due to the high quantity of crocin. It has a rich flavour because of safranal and the bitterness is due to the presence of picrocrocin.
What is special about the Saffron?
The Kashmir Saffron is the only saffron in the world that is grown at an altitude of 1,600 metres.
Where are Kashmir Saffron grown?
Kashmir Saffron is a world renowned spice and is grown in regions of Pulwama, Kishtwar, Budgam and Srinagar.
Types of Saffron:
The Saffron is available in three types namely Lachha Saffrin that is simply separated from the flower and dried without processing. Mongra Saffron that is detached from the flower, dried and processed traditionally. The Guchhi Saffron that is dried and packed loosely in air tight containers, joined together in a bundle with a red thread.
Environment Ministry Clears New Parliament at Rs 922 crores
On May 2, 2020, the Expert Appraisal Committee cleared the proposal to new Parliament at Rs 922 crores. The Central Vista committee has also approved the new plan.
Support from other Government Entities:
The case on minimized tree cutting and its related environmental concerns is still pending before the Supreme court. However, the apex court had refused to stay the Central Vista Redevelopment project recently.
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), amidst COVID-19 crisis is supporting the project. According to CPWD, the Parliament was constructed 93 years ago and building a new building is of utmost importance.
Central Vista Redevelopment Project:
The project aims to build a triangular parliament building. It will revamp the 3-km long Raj Path from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
What is Central Vista?
The Central Vista of New Delhi houses Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, North and South Block and National Archives. The Parliament House was designed by Lutyens and Baker. The Rashtrapati Bhavan was designed by Edwin Lutyens and the secretariat that includes both north and south block was designed by Herbert Baker.
Many historians are concerned that the project will demolish historical buildings.
The plan is to be completed by 2022. The new buildings will have underground parking system. Also, the new building will have metro connectivity and separate metro stations.
E-Nam: 200 new Mandis integrated
On May 1, 2020, around 200 Mandis were added to the E-NAM platform. The mandis were from 7 different states. They were joined through a video conference held by the Union Minister of Agriculture Shri Narendra Singh Tomar.
The mandis added were from the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. These addends have brought the number of E-Nam mandis in the country to 785.
What is special about the step?
For the first time, a mandi from the state of Karnataka has been added to the E-NAM platform. Also, E-NAM has been integrated with the Rashtriya E-Market Service of Karnataka. This is the first time, two trading platforms of agriculture commodities have been integrated in India. This will help in inter-state trade development.
The National Agriculture Market was launched in 2016. It facilitates farmers, buyers and traders to trade their commodities online. More than 90 commodities are listed and are available for trade. The features of E-NAM were enhanced by attractive launchings such as BHIM, MIS dashboard, etc.
BHIM is Bharat Interface for Money. It is an application developed by National Payment Corporation of India. The app supports all the banks in the country and also helps user to transfer money instantly.
Kisan Sabha Application developed by CSIR launched
On May 1, 2020, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI) launched Kisan Sabha Application. The application was launched to connect farmers to freight transportation and supply chain.
The application aims in providing timely support to farmers and help in increasing their profit. This is possible as the application minimizes interference of middle men and connects with the institutional buyers directly. Thus, the farmers are able to get best market rates for their crops. The rates are easily obtained better than the nearby mandi.
Functions of the application
The application helps the farmers in the following ways:
The application connects the transporters and farmers. It also helps service providers, mandi dealers and other customers like online stores, retail outlets and institutional buyers.
The portal also acts as single stop to every agriculture related entity.
Apart from farmers and transporters, the application is also helpful for dealers who are involved in pesticides and fertilizer business.
There are 6 major modules that are operated by the application. They include mandi dealers, farmers, transporters, service providers, consumers and mandi board members.
Before designing the application, a detailed survey was conducted in Asia’s biggest Azadpur Mandi. Under the study, major challenges like wastage and produce being sold at lowest rates were studied.
Project Monitoring Unit launched by Ministry of Coal
The Ministry of Coal recently launched a project monitoring unit to facilitate early operationalization of coal mines that were allocated by the central government. The aim of launching the unit is to bring in more bidders.
The Project Monitoring Unit will facilitate Ease of Doing Business as it will support coal mines in receiving timely approval in order to operate the mines. The unit will also help the mines in getting clearances from the state and central government authorities for their operationalization. The unit will help improve business environment and production of coal in the country.
Ease of Doing Business:
India ranks 63rd in ease of doing business in the ranking released by World Bank. India was one of the top 10 improvers in the 2019 ranking. The unit will help India improve further and promote international trade as well.
Coal Production in India:
India has the fifth largest coal reserves in the world. The major states that produce coal in India are Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
Nationalisation and Denationalisation of Coal Mines
The Nationalisation of coal mines was done in two phases. The first phase of nationalization was done in 1971 under the Coking Coal Mines (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971 to manage coking coal mines. The Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited and the Indian Iron and Steel Company limited were nationalized and brought under BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Limited).
The Coal Mines were denationalized under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. The law allowed the private sector to mine coal.
Core sector Growth of India hit due to Lock Down
The core sectors of India include crude oil, steel, natural gas, refinery product, cement, fertilizer, electricity and coal. According to the figures released by the Ministry of Commerce recently, the production of core industries of India shrank in March, 2020 due to lock down.
The output of the core industries has reduced by 6.5% in the month of March. This is the sharpest reduction since 2012.
The petroleum sector slid by 0.5% as the transportation sector was completely halted.
The demand of electricity decreased by 7.2%. The production was relatively reduced.
With the construction sector coming to a complete halt, cement industry saw 25% drop.
The steel production demand reduced by 13%.
The only sector that saw a positive figure was coal.
The eight crore industries have a weight of 40.27% in the Index of Industrial Production. With these industries contracting in their output, the country is to face very low economic output.
Index of Industrial Production:
The Index of Industrial Production is published by the Central Statistical Organization. It shows the growth rate of different industrial groups. The IIP is calculated with 2004-05 as the base year.
The IIP indicator measures broad sectors namely mining, electricity and manufacturing. It also measures use-based sectors namely capital goods and intermediate goods and basic goods.