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10th November Current Affairs

SMILE Scheme

(GS-II: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society)

In News:

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated this scheme for Support for Marginalized Individuals.

About the scheme:

“SMILE stands for Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise”.

Focus of the scheme is on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counseling, basic documentation, education, skill development, economic linkages etc.

It includes sub scheme – ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging’.

The scheme would be implemented with the support of State/UT Governments/Local Urban Bodies, Voluntary Organizations, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) , institutions and others.

Beggars In India:

According to the Census 2011 total number of beggars in India is 4,13,670 (including 2,21,673 males and 1,91,997 females) and the number has increased from the last census.

West Bengal tops the chart followed by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at number two and three respectively. Lakshadweep merely has two vagrants according to the 2011 census.

Among the union territories, New Delhi had the largest number of beggars 2,187 followed by 121 in Chandigarh.

Among the northeastern states, Asam topped the chart with 22,116 beggars, while Mizoram ranked low with 53 beggars.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

(GS-II: India and neighbours)

In News:

The CPEC or the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is getting increasingly unmanageable with local Pakistanis unhappy with the Chinese soldiers and civilians working on the project. Therefore, Pakistan has been forced to deploy more soldiers in the area.

For the security of Chinese engineers and others working in the Bhasha Dam, the Pakistan Army has deployed 340 Infantry Brigade of the 34 Special Security Division. Pakistan was forced to raise this and another division for the CPEC’s security.

About CPEC:

Launched in 2015, the CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.

The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of highways, railways, and pipelines.

CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.

The proposed project will be financed by heavily-subsidised loans, that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banks.

But, why is India concerned?

It passes through PoK.

CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean. Hence, it is widely believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will undermine India’s influence in the Indian Ocean.

It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.

Besides, India shares a great deal of trust deficit with China and Pakistan and has a history of conflict with both. As a result, even though suggestions to re-approach the project pragmatically have been made, no advocate has overruled the principle strands of contention that continue to mar India’s equations with China and Pakistan.

Midday meal scheme

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

Flagging “critical” levels of malnutrition and anaemia among children, the Union Government has urged the states to explore the possibility of introducing millets in the mid-day meal scheme, now known as PM Poshan.

Need for and significance:

Millets or nutri-cereals, which include Jowar, Bajra, and Ragi, are rich in minerals and B-complex vitamins, as well as proteins and antioxidants, making them an ideal choice for improving the nutritional outcome of children.

About the Mid-Day meal scheme:

The scheme guarantees one meal to all children in government and aided schools and madarsas supported under Samagra Shiksha.

Students up to Class VIII are guaranteed one nutritional cooked meal at least 200 days in a year.

The Scheme comes under the Ministry of HRD.

It was launched in the year 1995 as the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP – NSPE), a centrally sponsored scheme. In 2004, the scheme was relaunched as the Mid Day Meal Scheme.

The Scheme is also covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.

Objective:

Address hunger and malnutrition, increase enrolment and attendance in school, improve socialisation among castes, provide employment at grassroot level especially to women.

The MDM rules 2015, provide that:

The place of serving meals to the children shall be school only.

If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.

The School Management Committee mandated under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 shall also monitor implementation of the Mid-day meal Scheme.

Nutritional norms:

In terms of calorie intake, as per the MDM guidelines, the children in primary schools must be provided with at least 450 calories with 12 grams of protein through MDM while the children in upper primary schools should get 700 calories with 20 grams of protein, as per MHRD.

The food intake per meal by the children of primary classes, as provided by MHRD is 100 grams of food grains, 20 grams of pulses, 50 grams of vegetables and 5 grams of oils and fats. For the children of upper-primary schools, the mandated breakup is 150 grams of food grains, 30 grams of pulses, 75 grams of vegetables and 7.5 grams of oils and fats.

UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recently held a meeting with the women activists and applauded their courage and affirmed that the UN will continue to stand by the people of Afghanistan.

What is UNAMA?

UNAMA was established on 28 March 2002 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1401.

It was basically established to assist the state and the people of Afghanistan in laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development.

Its original mandate was to support the implementation of the Bonn Agreement (December 2001).

Reviewed annually, this mandate has been altered over time to reflect the needs of the country.

UNAMA is an integrated mission. This means that the Special Political Mission, all UN agencies, funds and programmes, work in a multidimensional and integrated manner to better assist Afghanistan according to nationally defined priorities.

What is the Bonn Agreement?

Bonn was a closed-door negotiation; participants were isolated, outside contact was limited during the negotiations, and there was no publicity until after the agreement was signed.

The existing nominal head of state (Rabbani) was sidelined and did not participate, and the Taliban were completely excluded from the Bonn negotiations.

The United Nations and several other international actors played major roles in pushing the negotiations forward, and the Bonn Agreement was blessed by the U.N. Security Council.

The Bonn Agreement set an ambitious three-year political and administrative roadmap which was, by and large, followed:

The Emergency Loya Jirga (grand council) of June 2002 established the transitional administration, a new Constitution was ratified in early 2004, and presidential and parliamentary elections were held in 2004 and 2005.

What are UN special political missions?

The term ‘Special Political Mission’ encompasses entities that are not managed or directed by the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) such as the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.