Highest Allocation to MGNREGA
The Government of India has allocated Rs 1,01,500 crores under the MGNREGA programme in the year 2020-21 so far. This is the highest provision of funds allocated for the scheme since its launch.
The Government of India has already released Rs 31,493 crores. So far 6.69 crore persons have been offered work under the scheme. In May 2020, Rs 2.51 crores was spent for the scheme per day.
Under the scheme, the focus is given to irrigation, water conservation, horticulture. The scheme also focuses on beneficiary works that promote livelihood.
The MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) was strengthened to make sure the migrant workers that returned to their villages could support their living.
In order to achieve this, the GoI increased the wages under the scheme from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day.
Jal Jeevan Mission:
The labour intensive Jal Jeevan Mission is being actively implemented all over the country to make sure the MGNREGA workers get more working hours. The Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide clean tap water to all households in the country.
India to set up Coal Exchange
India is to set up Coal Exchange trading platform soon. According to the proposal to set up the India Coal Exchange platform, the entire coal mined in the country is to be traded on a common platform called “Coal Exchange”.
Why is Coal Exchange important?
It is important to set up the trading platform as it will pave way for multiple buyers and sellers in coal sector. It is to be noted that the coal ministry will start auctions for commercial coal mining on June 11, 2020.
The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman had announced that the monopoly of the Government in the coal sector will be removed completely. This is being done to increase production of coal in India and reduce its dependence of imported coal. India holding third largest coal reserves in the world is still importing coal.
About Coal Exchange:
Though India opens the coal sector to market access through the platform, Coal India will remain the dominant player in the coal sector. This is mainly because of its fixed target and allocated coal production of 1 billion tonnes by 2024.
Different Colour bands for BS VI vehicles
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued distinct colour band for the number plate sticker of BS VI vehicles.
The order makes it mandatory for the BS VI vehicles to carry a green strip of 1 cm width on the top of the existing sticker. The sticker should carry details of registration of BS-VI vehicle and its fuel type. The petrol fuel vehicles should hold orange colour and diesel fuel vehicles should carry a blue colour.
BS VI Emission Norms:
The volume of PM 2.5 in BS VI fuel ranges between 20 and 40 micro grams per cubic metres. On the other hand, it is 120 micrograms per cubic metres in BS IV fuel. The BS VI fuel is to bring down the Sulphur content by 5 times. The BS VI fuel vehicles will emit 80% less particulate matter for every kilo metre.
The lower Sulphur of BS VI will help reduce toxic emissions such as CO, nitrogen Dioxide and Sulphur Dioxide. The change in density of oil will help reduce air pollution to great extent.
India-Denmark sign MoUs
The Ministry of Power, India and Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate, Denmark signed Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Cooperation.
Under the MoU, the countries have agreed to collaborate in areas such as long- term energy planning, offshore wind, consolidation of grid codes, incentivize power plants, increase flexibility in power purchase agreements. Through this, the Indian electricity markets are to benefit to a larger extent.
A joint work group is to be set up to establish specific details.
Recent news about Denmark:
In April 2020, the United States offered financial aid to Greenland that angered Denmark. Greenland is an autonomous island that is under the territory of Denmark Kingdom. The financial help being offered are seen by Denmark as extension of colonial policy of US towards Greenland.
Greenland has largest deposits of rare-earth metals such as praseodymium, neodymium, dysprosium and terbium. For a long time, China has been the supplier of these rare-earth metals. Also, Arctic ice is melting at faster rate and opening up waters for maritime and military trade.
ARPIT: Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation by Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force recently developed Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT). The pod is to be used to evacuate critical patients that are suffering from COVID-19.
The Indian Air Force identified the need for an air evacuation system that will prevent the spread of infectious aerosols from the COVID-19 patients during air travel. This has now been fulfilled by ARPIT.
The Indian Air Force has used indigenous materials to develop ARPIT. This has been done in the intention of boosting Make in India initiative. The IAF has spent Rs 60,000 to develop the system. The system is also light weight as it was made from aviation certified material.
The ARPIT uses HEPA, High frequency Particulate Air H 13 filters to support invasive ventilation. The machine also holds monitoring instruments such as pulse oximeter, defibrillator and infusion pumps. It also has space for long arm gloves and power packs.
The Indian Air Force is inducting 7 ARPITs as of now.
FSSAI Food Safety Index
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India recently launched food safety index of the year 2019-20. The states of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have topped the ranking.
The index was prepared based on five parameters as follows:
The FSSAI also released an e-book on “Eat Right during COVID-19”. The E-Book highlights on safe food practices that are to be followed.
Among the smaller states, Goa topped the ranking followed by Manipur and Meghalaya. Among Union Territories Chandigarh, Delhi and Andaman islands topped the ranking.
The Food Safety Index was released on World Food Safety Day under the theme
Theme: Food Safety is everyone business.
The theme was dedicated to persons that were in supply chain and ensured uninterrupted availability of safe food during the lock down. The World Food Safety Day is celebrated on June 7 every year.
Ayushman Bharat: Migrant Workers to get insurance
The Government of India has extended its flagship programme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (Ayushman Bharat) to the migrant workers. Earlier, GoI had announced that the Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries will receive free COVID-19 testing.
The decision has been taken to help the migrant workers that have lost their jobs and livelihood due to lock down. The National Health Authority that is implementing the scheme will issue E-Cards to the eligible migrants identified under the scheme.
Why Ayushman Bharat for Migrants?
The GoI has selected Ayushman Bharat primarily to help the migrant workers for several reasons. The main reason is that the workers returning belong to rural India. And at least 80% of the beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat are from rural India.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana is a paperless and cashless scheme that aims to provide health cover up to Rs 5 lakhs per family per year. Around 53 crore beneficiaries have been identified under the scheme.
Uttarakhand opens Biodiversity Park
The State of Uttarakhand has recently opened a biodiversity park in Haldwani as the rich botanical heritage of the state is facing threats from climate change and degrading habitat loss, degrading landscapes and development activities.
The Park was established on World Environment Day. The hill state that is rich in biodiversity has been losing flora and fauna due to the following reasons:
The main reason for the degradation of biodiversity in the state, especially in the hilly regions of the country is popularity that is gained by food products from hilly regions of the country. The foods have been labelled “Super Foods”. While, the hills are converted into plantation, very little efforts are put in to conserve the forests.
Impact on local food:
The new plantations coming up in the hilly regions of India are giving importance only to commercially profitable food items. This has led to threats of local food varieties.
About the park:
There park consists of 40 thematic sections. It includes fruits, plant edible species and also plants of medicinal and commercial importance. The park also includes plants that have religious, cultural and historical significance.
The park also includes local food varieties. This mainly included wild berries such as Kaphal, Ghingharu, Hisalu and Kilmora. These berries naturally grow in the forests and consumed by the locals.