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14 September Current Affairs

Kartarpur Sahib pilgrim corridor

In News:

India has urged Pakistan to show flexibility regarding some outstanding issues in the Kartarpur corridor project.

Issues:

Pakistan is planning to charge $20 per pilgrim.

It has also not agreed to the initial number — 10,000 pilgrims that India proposed.

India has not received favourable response on the presence of the consular officer who should accompany the pilgrims.

What is the “Kartarpur Corridor” project?

The corridor – often dubbed as the “Road to Peace” – will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

The construction of the corridor will allow visa-free access to pilgrims from India.

Implementation:

The Kartarpur corridor will be implemented as an integrated development project with Government of India funding, to provide smooth and easy passage, with all the modern amenities.

The shrine and it’s significance:

The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.

It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

The shrine is visible from the Indian side, as Pakistani authorities generally trim the elephant grass that would otherwise obstruct the view.

Indian Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak.

National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons

In News:

Recently Launched Scheme

About the scheme:

It is a pension scheme for the Vyaparis (shopkeepers/retail traders and self-employed persons) with annual turnover not exceeding Rs 1.5 crore.

It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme.

The enrolment under the scheme is free of cost for the beneficiaries.

The enrolment is based upon self-certification.

It has a provision for minimum assured pension of Rs 3,000/- monthly on attaining the age of 60 years.

The Central Government shall give 50 % share of the monthly contribution and remaining 50% contribution shall be made by the beneficiary.

Eligibility:

Beneficiary is required to have an Aadhaar card and a saving bank/ Jan-dhan Account passbook only.

He/ She should be within 18 to 40 years of age group.

GSTIN is required only for those with turnover above Rs. 40 lakhs.

The beneficiary should not be income tax payer and also not a member of EPFO/ESIC/NPS (Govt.)/PM-SYM.

Significance:

This scheme will target enrolling 25 lakh subscribers in 2019-20 and 2 crore subscribers by 2023-2024. An estimated 3 crore Vyaparis in the country are expected to be benefitted under the pension scheme.

Salmonella

In News:

MDH masalas in US have tested positive for Salmonella.

Details:

A group of bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses known as salmonellosis.

Symptoms:

Nausea, diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after contracting the infection.

Usually, the illness lasts for 4-7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

Who is more vulnerable?

According to the CDC, children under the age of 5 are at highest risk for Salmonella infection.

Older adults and people with weakened immune systems too, are likely to have severe infections.

Spread:

Salmonella bacteria are widely distributed in domestic and wild animals. They are prevalent in food animals such as poultry, pigs, and cattle, as well as in pets, including cats, dogs, birds, and turtles.

Salmonella can pass through the entire food chain from animal feed, primary production, and all the way to households or food-service establishments and institutions.

Bioterrorism

In News:

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh says bio-terrorism among new threats facing Armed Forces Medical Services of SCO countries.

Details:

He called on them to find effective ways to deal with new threats posed by advancing battle field technologies.

What is bioterrorism?

A form of terrorism where there is the intentional release of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, or other germs). This is also referred to as germ warfare.

Concerns:

In effect, biological warfare is using non-human life to disrupt — or end — human life. Because living organisms can be unpredictable and incredibly resilient, biological weapons are difficult to control, potentially devastating on a global scale, and prohibited globally under numerous treaties.

The threat of bioterrorism is increasing as a result of the rise of technical capabilities, the rapid expansion of the global biotechnology industry, and the growth of loosely sophisticated networks of transnational terrorist groups that have expressed interest in bioterrorism.

Impact:

While a biological agent may injure or kill people, animals, or plants, the goal for the terrorist is to further their social and political goals by making their civilian targets feel as if their government cannot protect them.

Pangong Tso lake

In News:

The Indian and Chinese armies clashed recently along the Pangong lake in Ladakh.

Key facts:

Pangon lake or Pangong Tso, a 135-km long lake, located in the Himalayas at the height of approximately 4,350 m, stretches out from India to China.

One-third of water body, its 45 km stretch, is in Indian control while the rest of the 90 km is under Chinese control.

It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.

It is a salt water lake.

Strategic significance: By itself, the lake does not have major tactical significance. But it lies in the path of the Chushul approach, one of the main approaches that China can use for an offensive into Indian-held territory.

6th schedule of the constitution

In News:

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) Writes to Union Home Minister & Union Tribal Affairs Minister Conveying Its recommendation to Include Union Territory of Ladakh Under 6th Schedule of Constitution Of India.

Details:

The total tribal population in Ladakh region is more than 97%. The region is inhabited by following Scheduled Tribes, namely:

  • Balti
  • Beda
  • Bot, Boto
  • Brokpa, Drokpa, Dard, Shin
  • Changpa
  • Garra
  • Mon
  • Purigpa

6th schedule:

It deals with the administration of the tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Key provisions:

The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.

If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.

Composition: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.

Term: The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.

Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.

Powers of councils: The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.

Village councils: The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes. They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of high court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.

Powers and functions: The district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads and so on in the district. It can also make regulations for the control of money lending and trading by non-tribals. But, such regulations require the assent of the governor. The district and regional councils are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.

Exceptions: The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.

The governor can appoint a commission to examine and report on any matter relating to the administration of the autonomous districts or regions. He may dissolve a district or regional council on the recommendation of the commission.

Related- 125th amendment bill:

It seeks to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 Autonomous Councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of the northeastern region.

The amendments provide for elected village municipal councils, ensuring democracy at the grassroot level.

The village councils will be empowered to prepare plans for economic development and social justice including those related to agriculture, land improvement, implementation of land reforms, minor irrigation, water management, animal husbandry, rural electrification, small scale industries and social forestry.

The Finance Commissionwill be mandated to recommend devolution of financial resources to them.

The Autonomous Councils now depend on grants from Central ministries and the State government for specific projects. At least one-third of the seats will be reserved for women in the village and municipal councils in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura after the amendment is approved.

Government e Marketplace (GeM)

In News:

GeM and Punjab Government sign MoU for Setting up Project Management Unit.

About GeM:

GeM is a state-of-the-art national public procurement platform of Ministry of Commerce and Industries, that has used technology to remove entry barriers for bonafide sellers and has created a vibrant e-marketplace with a wide range of goods and services.

Aim: GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.

Features: It facilitates online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organisations / PSUs. It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users, achieve the best value for their money.

Eradicating Malaria by 2050

A report in ‘The Lancet’ concludes that it is possible to eradicate malaria as early as 2050 or within a generation.

It requires the right strategies and sufficient funding.

Since 2000, global malaria incidence and death rates declined by 36% and 60%, respectively.

Today, more than half of the world’s countries are malaria-free.

However, Malaria cases are rising in 55 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

  1. Over 200 million cases of malaria reported each year, claiming nearly half a million lives.
  2. Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo accounts for 36 % of global cases.

Analyses indicate that socioeconomic and environmental trends, together with improved coverage of malaria interventions, will helps to eradicate malaria as early as 2050.

To achieve eradication by 2050, the report identifies 3 ways to accelerate the decline in malaria cases,

  1. The world must improve implementation of malaria control programnes.
  2. The world must develop and roll out innovative new tools to overcome the biological challenges to eradication.
  3. Malaria-endemic countries and donors must provide the financial investment needed.

Project Bal Basera

‘Bal Basera’ or a ‘Creche’ has been inaugurated for the welfare of Children of Construction Workers deployed at AIIMS Rishikesh.

Project is being executed by ‘Central Public Works Department’ (CPWD), Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.

CPWD has signed an MoU with CPWD OWA (Officers’ Wives Association), which shall run Bal Basera.

The Creche shall accommodate about 35 Children.

CPWD OWA, a socio cultural organization, is actively involved in the social welfare activities of weaker sections of society.

It is providing monetary help to the families of CPWD employees in distress.

It manages a large number of Bal Baseras and organizing health camps at construction sites, a day care centre.

 

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