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2nd August Current Affairs

Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

The Kerala government has opposed the new set of proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.

The State Industries Minister met the Union Coal and Mines Minister and told him that the amendments are a breach of States Rights as minerals come under the purview of States.

The Centre had invited suggestions from the public to the draft amendments to the MMDR Act.

Key Highlights:

Centre to auction some minerals from the list of atomic minerals: The main objection is against the sixth item in the note for consultation sent to the State governments that will empower the Centre to auction some minerals from the list of atomic minerals.

Entry 23 of List II and Article 246(3): State Governments are the owners of the mines and minerals located within the territory of the State concerned, and under Entry 23 of List II of the Constitution and the Constitutional right of the State under Article 246(3), State Assemblies can make laws on such minerals.

Article 246(3):

The Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the “State List”).


It is one of the beach sand minerals that contain rare earth like lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium etc.

It also contains thorium which is a “prescribed substance”, the list of which was revised in 2006 under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.

It is a rare phosphate mineral that usually occurs in small isolated grains in Igneous and Metamorphic rocks such as granite, pegmatite, schist, and gneiss.

It is translucent and one of the most resistant minerals to weathering.

It is a radioactive atomic mineral used for the production of Thorium (as high as 500 ppm) and has the potential to be used as fuel in the nuclear power system.

Private players can use drones for delivery purposes in accordance with Drone Rules, 2021

(GS-II: Drone Rules, 2021, application of drones etc)

In News:

The government is utilizing the services of drone providers for vaccine delivery, an inspection of oil pipelines and power transmission lines, agricultural spraying, etc. Private players can now also do so.


In 2021, the government notified the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to promote the growth of drone manufacturing by private companies.

The PLI rate is 20 per cent of the value addition over three financial years. PLI for a manufacturer shall be capped at 25 per cent of the total annual outlay.

The beneficiaries include 12 manufacturers of drones and 11 manufacturers of drone components.

Key aspects of the regulatory framework under Drones Rules, 2021:

Registration and having a Unique Identification Number (UIN): Every drone, except for those meant for research, development and testing purposes, is required to be registered and should have a Unique Identification Number (UIN).

Segregating the entire airspace: An airspace map of the country segregating the entire airspace into red, yellow and green zones is available on the digital sky platform.

Operation of drones in red and yellow zones is subject to the approval of the Central Government and the concerned Air Traffic Control (ATC) authority respectively.

No approval is required for operation of drones in green zones.

Empowering State and UT Government’s: The State Government, the Union Territory Administration and Law enforcement agencies have been empowered under the Rules to declare a temporary red zone for a specified period.

Necessary type certification: Drones are required to have the necessary type certification issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

No type certification is however required in case of nano drones (up to 250 gram all-up weight) and model drones made for research and recreation purposes.

Necessary personal details: The owner and operators of drones are required to furnish the necessary personal details including their Indian passport number etc. for issuance of any registration or licence.

Rule 17 of the Drone Rules, 2021: It lays down the provision of transfer of drone to another person by way of sale, lease, gift or any other mode, after providing requisite details of the transferor, transferee and unique identification number of the drone on the digital sky platform along with the applicable fees.

Authorisation of Remote Pilot Training Organizations (RPTO): It will be done by DGCA within specified time limits.

Punishment for violation: Drone operations that violate the provisions of the Drone Rules, 2021 are punishable under Rule 49 of the Drone Rules, 2021 as well as provisions of any other law, for the time being in force.

Sowing the ‘AI’ seed for intelligent farming”

(GS-III: E-technology in the aid of farmers)

In News:

John McCarthy, the American computer scientist, first introduced the world to the term “artificial intelligence” at the 1955 Dartmouth Conference.


According to NITI Aayog, AI has the potential to add $1 trillion to India’s economy by 2035. And, as per some experts and academicians, a significant amount of this would be in the agriculture sector.

Application of the AI in agriculture:

Efficient and cost-effective resource and yield management in the agricultural sector.

Enable Smart Agriculture: It refers to the usage of technologies like the Internet of Things, sensors, location systems, robots and artificial intelligence on your farm.

AI, cloud computing, satellite imagery, and advanced analytics, in combination, can create an ecosystem for smart agriculture.

Prediction analysis: Will ensure the highest possible yields based on the seasonal forecast models.

Address supply-demand mismatch in real-time. For example, a supply-demand engine or predictor that can map supply and demand can reduce this issue significantly.

Precision farming by determining whether pesticides and weedicides should be used by detecting and targeting weeds in the identified buffer zone.

This can lead to higher yields and reduced use of pesticides and weedicides.

Extension services: AI-based natural language translation facilitates the issuance and spread of Agri-advisories, weather forecasts, and early warnings for droughts in multiple vernacular languages.


Lack of proper infrastructure and know-how, faith in conventional styles of functioning, lack of awareness and scarcity of farmer capital,

Fragmentation of land could also prove to be a hurdle for the large-scale implementation of new technologies.

Measures Taken:

ICAR initiatives for cyber agro-physical systemsto make Indian farming a viable, self-sustaining, and internationally competitive enterprise.

NITI Aayog identifies agriculture as one of the focus areas as part of its national strategy for AI.


Karnatakahas partnered with a leading MNC for agricultural produce, price-related information, and intelligence using predictive modelling

Uttar Pradesh is collaborating with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Tata Trust to set up the Indian Agritech incubation network at IIT-Kanpur

Maharashtra has launched the Maha AgriTech projectthat is aimed at utilizing and promoting the application of satellites and drones to solve various agrarian problems.


It is high time that collaborative Agri-data stacks are created and MSME and large corporations invest in this space. There is a need for the right mix of participation from public and private institutions.

District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs)

In News:

PM addressed the inaugural session of the 1st DLSA meet


DLSA has been established to provide free legal aid, organize Lok Adalat, legal literacy for the poor.


Established under Legal Services Authorities Act (LSA) 1987.

District Legal Services Authority is constituted in every District to implement Legal Aid Programmes and Schemes in the District.

There are 676 DLSA in India (headed by a District judge (acting as Chairman))


Legal Services Institutions have been set up at various levels e.g.,

NALSA (national level, CJI is a patron in chief)

SLSA (state level, headed by the chief justice of HC)

DLSA (district level)

Taluka/sub-division level (TLSC) (Taluka level, headed by Civil Judge)

Eligibility: Women and children, Members of SC/ST, Industrial workmen, Victims of mass disaster/violence, Disabled persons, Persons in custody, etc.

Initiative: Government has combined all the access to justice programmes under the DISHA scheme