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25th September Current Affairs

Carry out social audit of mid-day meal scheme

In News:

The Center has directed the states and Union Territories to carry out the social audit of the mid-day meal scheme in every district by November 30.

Details:

A social audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving a scheme’s social and ethical performance vis-à-vis its objectives.

Issues with Social Audit:

In many cases states have not submitted the final report of the social audit to the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education.

Meghalaya government has still not submitted the final audit report for the years 2019-20.

In at least nine states and four UTs, social audits for 2021-22 have not even been initiated.

Social audit for 2021-22: Many states like Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal etc reported not to have carried out social audits in 2021-22.

Social audit is never done: In the UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Ladakh and Lakshadweep, social audits have never been done, showing records.

Mid-Day meal scheme:

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

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

The Scheme comes under the Ministry of Education.

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

Under Section 28 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 social audit of the scheme is mandatory.

CSR Policy Amendment Rules 2022

In News:

MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) has released Companies (CSR Policy) Amendment Rules 2022.

New Rules:

Unspent CSR amount must be utilized within 3 years

Mandatory constitution of CSR committee to implement CSR works

Amount Spent for Social Impact Assessment (SIA) to not exceed 2.5% of total CSR or Rs 50 lakh

SIA has been made mandatory for businesses with Rs 10cr or more CSR budget or for projects with an outlay of Rs 1 cr or more

Transparency: Companies are to disclose the composition of the CSR Committee and CSR policy on the company website.

About Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

It is a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and on social welfare.

The rules in Section 135 of India’s Companies Act 2013 make it mandatory for companies (with an annual turnover of 1,000 crores and more, or a net worth of Rs. 500 crores and more, or a net profit of Rs. 5 crores and more) to spend 2% of their average net profit for the past three years on CSR.

India is the first country in the world to mandate CSR spending along with a framework to identify potential CSR activities.

UNSC Summit: A ground plan for India’s reformed multilateralism

(GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India and affecting India’s interests etc)

In News:

The Indian External Affairs Minister’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly has set the stage for an expansive range of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy by India.

Theme:

Theme of the 77th General Assembly: “A watershed moment: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges”.

India’s stand on UNSC:

Reformed multilateralism: India’s call for this structural overhaul of the UNSC must incorporate institutional accountability.

Wider representation of the developing countries: Growing stakes of developing countries in the Security Council could foster trust and leadership across the world.

The UN’s faultlines:

Unable to prevent wars: UN-led multilateralism has been unable to provide strong mechanisms to prevent wars.

China’s rise and aggression: Through its actions in the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific region etc have also underscored the limitations of UN-style multilateralism.

Impact of weak UN:

China’s growing dominance could lead it to carve its own multilateral strategies circumventing the West, economically and strategically.

Isolation of Russia and Iran: The international isolation of Russia and Iran as well as increasing the United States’ Taiwan-related steps.

Steps taken by India for Reforms in UN:

G4: Ministerial meeting of the G4 (Brazil, India, Germany and Japan).

69: Meeting of the Indian delegation with the L.69 Group(membership spread over Asia, Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and Small Island Developing States)

India’s engagements on the sidelines of the UN:

  • Quad: Minister’s participation in plurilateral meetings.
  • IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa)
  • BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
  • Presidency Pro Tempore CELAC (Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States)
  • India-CARICOM (Caribbean Community)
  • India-France-Australia
  • India-France-the the United Arab Emirates
  • India-Indonesia-Australia

Conclusion:

Because of the Russia-Ukraine war and lingering pandemic-induced restrictions, the need for the UN’s reform is likely to be felt more palpably than ever before. At a challenging time for the world order, India continues to affirm its commitment to “diplomacy and the need for international cooperation”.

Sittanavasal

In News:

With much of the art in Sittanavasal either damaged or vandalised, the Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken conservation measures and also introduced digital checks to track public access.

 About Sittanavasal:

It is considered by historians to be one of the oldest inhabited areas in the district and a major centre of Jain influence.

This is the only place in Tamil Nadu where we can see Pandya paintings.

The artwork on the ceiling of the sanctum and the Ardha mandapam of Arivar Kovil is an early example of post-Ajanta cave paintings of the fourth to sixth centuries, done using the fresco-secco technique.

The ceiling paintings show ‘bhavyas’ (exalted souls who work to achieve moksha or spiritual liberation) enjoying themselves in a pool, full of blooming lotuses; today much of it is obscured by patchy plastering.

Faint outlines linger of dancing girls on the ‘ Ardha mandapam’ pillars.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

In News:

CSIR- Indian Institute of Petroleum has signed MOU with Air India, AirAsia and Vistara (all under TATA), for SAF to achieve net zero emissions (NZE).

Details:

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has put the target of net zero in the aviation sector by 2050.

What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

Sustainable aviation fuels are biofuels made from sustainable resources, such as forestry and agricultural waste and used cooking oil and can be blended with fossil jet fuel to reduce emissions.

It is a ‘drop-in’ fuel, meaning it can be added with no changes needed to the aircraft.

In 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted a global market-based mechanism, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), to address CO2 emissions from international aviation (currently on a voluntary basis).

Beginning in 2027, virtually all international flights will be subject to mandatory offsetting requirements.