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29th July Current Affairs

‘Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021’

(GS-III: Infrastructure- waterways)

In News:

The Parliament has passed the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021, which will repeal the Lighthouse Act, 1927, an over nine-decade-old law governing the traditional navigation aid, i.e. lighthouses.

Highlights of the Bill:

Application: The Bill applies to the whole of India including various maritime zones including territorial waters, continental shelf, and exclusive economic zone.

The Bill provides that the central government will appoint the Director General of Aids to Navigation. The Director General will advise the central government on matters related to aids to navigation, among others.

The central government may appoint a Central Advisory Committee (CAC) consisting of persons representing the interests affected by the Bill, or having special knowledge of the sector.

The government may consult the CAC on matters including: (i) establishment of aids to navigation, (ii) additions, alteration, or removal of, any such aids, (iii) cost of any proposal relating to such aids, or (iv) appointment of any sub-committee.

The central government will be responsible for the development, maintenance, and management of all general aids to navigation and vessel traffic services.

The Bill provides that no person shall be allowed to operate on any aid to navigation (including any ancillary activities), or any vessel traffic service in any place unless he holds a valid training certificate.

Dispute redressal: Any dispute related to the marine aids to navigation dues, expenses, or costs, will be heard and determined by a civil court having jurisdiction at the place where the dispute arose.

Need for a new law on this:

The need for enactment of a new Act is necessitated to provide an appropriate statutory framework which reflects the modern role of marine aids to navigation and to be in compliance with India’s obligations under International Conventions.

Benefits of the new law:

Improved Legal Framework for Matters related to Aids to Navigation & Vessel Traffic Services.

Enhanced safety and efficiency of shipping.

Skill development through Training and Certification.

Marking of “Wreck” in general waters to identify sunken / stranded vessels for safe and efficient navigation.

Development of Lighthouses for the purpose of education, culture and tourism, which would tap the tourism potential of coastal regions and contribute to their economy.

What is Telangana Dalit Bandhu scheme, and why has it drawn criticism?

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

In News:

Dalit Bandhu is the latest flagship programme of the Telangana government envisioned as a welfare scheme for empowering Dalit families.

What is the Telangana Dalit Bandhu scheme?

Dalit Bandhu enables entrepreneurship among Dalits through a direct benefit transfer of Rs 10 lakh per family.

This is going to be the biggest cash transfer scheme in the country.

To promote Dalit entrepreneurship, the government has decided to start a system of reservation for Dalits in sectors where the government issues licences. This includes wine shops, medical shops, fertiliser shops, rice mills, etc.

Dalit Security Fund:

Apart from monetary assistance, the government plans to create a corpus called the Dalit Security Fund permanently to support the beneficiary in the event of any adversities.

This fund will be managed by the district collector concerned, along with a committee of beneficiaries.

Why has the Dalit Bandhu scheme faced criticism?

The intentions and rationale behind the scheme are being questioned. The government has also faced criticisms for failing to uphold existing legislation and schemes for the protection and empowerment of Dalits.

Food Systems Summit

(GS-III: Food security related issues)

In News:

It is taking place in Rome.

Details:

The Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit will set the stage for the culminating global event in September.

Background:

Originally announced on 16 October 2019 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the UN Food Systems Summit, including a Pre-Summit, was conceived following conversations with the joint leadership of the three Rome-based United Nations agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme – at the High-level Political Forum in July 2019.

About the Summit:

The Food Systems Summit is convened as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

Guided by five Action Tracks, the Summit will bring together key players from the worlds of science, business, policy, healthcare and academia, as well as farmers.

Why food systems?

The term “food system” refers to the constellation of activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and consuming food.

Food systems touch every aspect of human existence.

The health of our food systems profoundly affects the health of our bodies, as well as the health of our environment, our economies and our cultures.

When they function well, food systems have the power to bring us together as families, communities and nations.

Concerns/Challenges:

Too many of the world’s food systems are fragile, unexamined and vulnerable to collapse, as millions of people around the globe have experienced first-hand during the COVID-19 crisis.

When our food systems fail, the resulting disorder threatens our education, health and economy, as well as human rights, peace and security. As in so many cases, those who are already poor or marginalized are the most vulnerable.

Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Yojana (PDDUUKSY)

(GS-III: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management)

In News:

So far, 108 training programmes have been organised across 24 states/UTs under the scheme.

About PDDUUKSY:

The scheme was launched in 2016 to develop human resource in organic farming, natural farming and cow based economy for environmental sustenance and soil health.

Implemented by the Education wing of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Objectives:

To build skilled Human Resource at village level who are relevant for development organic farming and sustainable agriculture.

Provide rural India with technical support in the field of Organic Farming or Natural Farming or Rural Economy or Sustainable Agriculture.

To extend other activities of this Yojana at village level through there established centres.

The designated Centers may select the farmers for this initiative, subject to the conditions that:

The farmers must be assessed in terms of their interest in organic farming, natural farming and cow-based economy prior to their selection.

Priority must be attached to the farmers who are currently practising organic farming, natural farming or cow-based economy.

Farmers of all communities must be given a fair representation.

The selection shouldn’t involve any gender discrimination.

Significance of the Cow-Based Economy:

India’s traditions and practices, at least some of them, holds greater value than what was thought in the dawn of its modern state; and so is the case with the way the nation has always treated its cows.

This domestic animal has been an integral part of rural India since the days of yore.

With respect to agriculture, Indian cow breeds are proven to possess genetic capacity that produces better quality milk.

The milk so produced contains a higher level of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which is anti-carcinogenic.

Apart from that, cow urine can be used as a bio-fertilizer and post repellant which helps in increasing crop production with reduced costs.

Given these facets, the government considers cow farms among its major focal areas.