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14 August Current Affairs

Centre sets the ball rolling for J&K polls

In News:

The earliest possible date for Assembly polls in the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is around March next year, officials in the Home Ministry indicated, as the Election Commission (EC) held its first meeting for the delimitation exercise, necessitated under the new Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.

Details:

The EC held “internal discussions” on the matter and “formal communication was awaited from the Ministry of Home Affairs”.

Delimitation exercise undertaken by the EC, with help from the Home Ministry, is the first step towards holding Assembly polls in the Union Territory.

First of all, the new Assembly, under the Reorganisation Act is to have 114 seats, of which 24 have been kept aside for areas under Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which means elections will be conducted for 90 seats. The old Assembly had a strength of 111 seats (again 24 kept aside for PoK) with four seats for Ladakh region. That means seven extra seats will be added to the effective strength of the House. Which part of J&K will these seats be from remains to be decided.

Reserved seats:

The delimitation exercise will also take into account reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as provided for under the Constitution, and that could tip the scales in favour of one region.

There is also a significant population of those who were displaced during Partition in 1947-48 and settled in Jammu, who have had no voting rights so far in the Assembly polls; a ball park figure puts the number of these persons at around eight lakh.

About Delimitation:

Delimitation means the drawing of boundaries. The boundaries may be domestic, national and International, but the most general use of this term is in context with electoral boundaries. Article 82 (Readjustment after each census) makes provision for delimitation of the electoral boundaries. It is the process of allocation of number of Seats and their demarcation into territories.

Under Article 82, the Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census. After coming into force commencement of the Act, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission. This Delimitation Commission demarcates the boundaries of the Parliamentary Constituencies as per provisions of the Delimitation Act.

Delimitation commissions have been set up four times in the past viz. 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under Delimitation Commission acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.

Disqualified MLA from Karnataka seek urgent hearing

In News:

A Supreme Court Bench ledby Justice Arun Mishra askeddisqualified Karnataka legislators tocommunicate to the Registrartheir urgency to listpleas against their ousterfrom the House under theantidefectionlaw forhearing.

Details:

The petitions urged thecourt to set aside the formerSpeaker’s decision.

“The petitioners have a fundamentalright under Article19 to carry on any trade,business and profession.Their right to resign fromthe post of MLA and carryon any vocation of theirchoice, including public service,cannot be denied bythe Respondent Speaker bya completely illegal and unconstitutionalorder. The actionof the Speaker is thus inviolation of the fundamentalrights of the petitionersunder Articles 19 and 21,”they have argued.

The legislators arguedthat the disqualification orderunder the Tenth Schedulewas not in consonancewith Rules 6 and 7 of theKarnataka Legislative Assembly(Disqualification of members on Ground of Defection)Rules of 1986.

Legal Provisions for the disqualification:

The disqualification was as per the provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951. The Representation of the Peoples act defines the corrupt practices for the disqualification of the elected representative.

Under the section 125 (4) of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1951, The publication by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent, of any statement of fact which is false, and which they either believes to be false or does not believe to be true, in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature, or withdrawal, of any candidate, would be reasonably calculated to prejudice the prospects of that candidate’s election and it constitutes corrupt practice.

57.3% allopathic practitioners not qualified

In News:

The Union Health Ministryhas warned that an unevendistribution of qualified doctorsputs rural patients atrisk.

Details:

At present, 57.3% ofpersonnel currently practisingallopathic medicine donot have a medical qualification, this puts ruralpatients at risk given thehigh density of doctors in urbanareas and India’s poordoctorpopulationratio of1:1456 as compared with theWorld Health Organisationstandards of 1:1000.

There is a huge skew in thedistribution of doctors workingin the urban and ruralareas. Consequently, most ofour rural and poor populationis denied good qualitycare, leaving them in theclutches of quacks.

Prohibition:

Section 15 of the IndianMedical Council Act, 1956,prohibits a person otherthan a medical practitionerenrolled on a State MedicalRegister to practice medicinein the State.

Action:

They requested allChief Ministers of all theStates to take appropriateaction under the law againstquacks, and also to evolvesuitable policies to ensureavailability of a qualityhealth workforce in ruralareas.

Other details:

According to governmentrecords, a total of 11,46,044allopathic doctors were registeredwith the State MedicalCouncils/ Medical Councilof India as on December31, 2018.

Cancer

In News:

Government of India is planning to include all types of cancers and their treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. It is because cancer care costs cause massive financial crisis among people and many had to go without treatment.

Cancer in India:

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the rate of mortality due to cancer in India is high, with cancer the second-most common disease in India, responsible for maximum mortality, with about 0.3 million deaths per year.

Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in India, followed by breast cancer and oral cancers.

The estimated number of people living with the disease stands at around 2.25 million, with over 11 lakh new cancer patients registered each year.

In India, the risk of developing cancer before the age of 75 years for males stands at 9.81% and females at 9.42%. The risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years stood at 7.34% in males and 6.28% in females.

Ayushman Bharat Yojana- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is the Central Government’s health insurance scheme that aims to give medical cover to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families of approximately 50 crore beneficiaries, providing coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

So far, 16,000 hospitals have been empanelled, nearly 34 lakh beneficiaries have been admitted, and 9 crore e-cards have been issued.

Ground Water Year Book – India 2017-18

In News:

According to the latest Ground water year book – India 2017-18, India is seeing levels declining across the country.

About: 

Groundwater, the source of 40% of India’s water needs, is depleting at an unsustainable rate, according to Niti Aayog.

India, the world’s largest groundwater user, is seeing levels declining across the country. India accounts for 12% of global groundwater extraction, pumping some 230 billion cubic metres each year. At this rate, by 2030, nearly 60% of the aquifers will be in a critical state.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan are facing the prospect of having no groundwater left for irrigation by 2025.

A study using data from NASA’s “Grace” mission found that India’s Indus Basin aquifer to be one of the most overstressed aquifers in the world.

Reason:

Consecutive years of weak monsoons, massive deforestation, poor rainwater harvesting and pollution of rivers and lakes have led the country to depend on groundwater.

More than 90% of the rice-wheat areas in north-west India are irrigated using groundwater.

India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power

  • A short time ago, solar power was considered a marginal power source. But it is now one of the major drivers behind the transition to greener, more sustainable energy.
  • Around the globe, prices are falling and India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power, according to an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) survey.
  • The costs of building large-scale solar installations in India fell by 27% in 2018, year-on-year, thanks to a combination of low-priced panel imports from China, abundant land and cheap labour.
  • Average solar prices from large-scale installations in India were less than a third of Canada’s, where costs were highest of the countries surveyed.
  • More than half of the total costs of building a solar installation in India relate to hardware, like racking and mounting, while the remainder involves soft costs such as system design and financing.
  • Lower service and labour outlay have contributed to a dramatic fall in the investment needed to set up large-scale solar power-generating projects. Between 2010 and 2018, setup costs in India fell by 80%, the most precipitous decline of any country.

Back to nature:

  • As prices come down, demand goes up. The expanding global solar sector now accounts for 55% of all new renewable power-generating capacity. Last year, 94 gigawatts of new capacity came online, largely added by Asian countries.
  • China was responsible for 44 gigawatts of all new solar capacity, almost five-times more than India, which followed directly behind. Other rapidly expanding markets include the US, Japan, Australia and Germany.

A powerful incentive:

  • As markets shift to cleaner energy sources, non-renewables – such as fossil fuels and nuclear power – have seen a steady decline throughout Europe, North America and Oceania.
  • But countries in Asia and the Middle East are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, where oil- and gas-generating capacity is on the rise.
  • Onshore wind and solar power are quickly becoming less expensive than coal and oil, which could provide a powerful incentive for fossil fuel-dependent countries to switch to more sustainable energy sources.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)

In News:

Khadi and Village Industry Commission (KVIC) distributed as many as 50 leather kits and 350 Bee-Boxes with live bee colonies in tribal-dominated village in Sirohi district of Rajasthan, one of the aspirational districts in India identified by the NITI Aayog, on World Tribal Day.

World Tribal Day:

Observed on August 9 every year, World Tribal Day or the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is aimed at protecting the rights of the world’s tribal population.

The day also recognises the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

It was first declared by the United Nations in December 1994 marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982.

About Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC):

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament (Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956). In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.

Functions: It is an apex organization under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India, which seeks to – “plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.”

The Commission has three main objectives which guide its functioning. These are:

  • The Social Objective – Providing employment in rural areas.
  • The Economic Objective – Providing salable articles.
  • The Wider Objective – Creating self-reliance amongst people and building up a strong rural community spirit.

Few tribal movements that have sprouted across India over the years:

The Santhal rebellion (June 30, 1855 to January 3, 1856): Also known as the Santhal Hool, it was a native rebellion in eastern India against both the British colonial authority and zamindari system by the Santhal people.

The Munda Rebellion: Birsa Munda led the movement in the region south of Ranchi in 1899-1900, seeking the establishment of Munda Raj and independence after the system of khuntkattidar was corroded by the jagirdars and thikadars who came as moneylenders and as traders.

The Bodo Movement: The official movement of the Bodos for an independent state of Bodoland started under the leadership of Upendranath Brahma of All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) on March 2, 1987. While the movement was suppressed by the then government, the ABSU created a political organization called the Bodo People’s Action Committee (BPAC). After the Bodo Accord, the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) was constituted, which was later replaced by the BTQ which was established in accordance with the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) on February 10 2003.

Other tribal revolutions that have risen in India between the 18th century and the 20th century include:

  • 1784-1785: Uprising of the Mahadev Koli tribes in Maharashtra.
  • 1812 Kurichya Rebellion organised by the tribal people Kurichyas against the Wayanad invasion of British in 1812.
  • 1857-1858 The Bhil revolted against under the leadership of Bhagoji Naik and Kajar Singh.
  • 1862 The Koya tribal community revolted in Andhra against tribal landlords called ‘Muttader’ in tribal dialect.
  • 1891 The tribals of North-East India revolted against the British under leadership of Tikendraji Singh.
  • The Bastar Revolution in central India
  • 1917-1919 Kuki Uprising in Manipur against British colonialism under the leadership of their chieftains called haosa
  • 1941 The Gond and the Kolam revolted in collaboration against British Government in the Adilabad district of the state of Telangana.
  • 1942 Tribal revolt under leadership of Lakshmana Naik at Koraput in Orissa.

Govt. to launch ‘Uber for tractors’ app to aid farmers

In News:

India’s agriculture ministry has developed a farm equipment rental app-‘Über for tractors’- for Indian farmers.

Key facts:

The app lets farmers hire tractors, rotavator and other farm related machinery on rent for with flexible tenures.

The app would enable farmers to have affordable access to cutting-edge technology at their doorsteps.

The app seeks to efficiently connect farmers with custom hiring centres CHCs, just like Uber connects passangers to cabs.

The app also includes a rating system wherein the feedback from both the CHC and the farmers, allowing customers to make informed decisions.

The app will also create an invaluable database for policy-makers, who can track the use and cost of equipment.

Significance:

The system would also help to track the usage of new technology that the government wants to promote, such as the Happy Seeder that aims to prevent stubble burning that causes air pollution, or solar dryers that can help farmers process and preserve their produce.

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