Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience
The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs inaugurated the 1st International Conference on “Landslides Risk Reduction and Resilience” in Delhi. It has been organized by the National Institute of Disaster management (NIDM).
A landslide is the movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope. Landslides are known also as landslips, slumps or slope failure.
Reasons: They result from the failure of the materials which make up the hill slope and are driven by the force of gravity. Landslides can be triggered by natural causes or by human activity.
Types of Landslide Movement:
Fall: This is generally characterised by a rapid to extremely rapid rate of movement with the descent of material characterised by a freefall period.
Topple: This is characterised by the tilting of rock without collapse, or by the forward rotation of rocks about a pivot point. Topples have a rapid rate of movement and failure is generally influenced by the fracture pattern in rock. Material descends by abrupt falling, sliding, bouncing and rolling.
Flow: This is the most destructive and turbulent form of landslide. Flows have a high-water content which causes the slope material to lose cohesion, turning it into a slurry. They are channelled by the landscape and move rapidly.
Spread: This phenomenon is characterised by the gradual lateral displacement of large volumes of distributed material over very gentle or flat terrain.
Landslip monitoring stations in the highlands:
Based on the recommendations of the National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS), the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has initiated steps to establish a network of landslip monitoring stations in the highlands.
The units based on acoustic emission technology will also have an early warning mechanism to alert the local community.
Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019
The Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment introduced The Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha.
The draft code on Industrial Relations has been prepared after amalgamating and simplifying the relevant provisions of following three Central Labour Acts:
The Trade Unions Act, 1926
The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946
The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
Setting up of two-member tribunal (in place of one member) and introducing a concept that some of the important cases will be adjudicated jointly and the rest by a single member resulting speedier disposal of cases.
To impart flexibility to the exit provisions, for which, the threshold for prior approval of appropriate Government has been kept unchanged at 100 employees, but added a provision for changing ‘such number of employees’ through notification.
The re-skilling fund, is to be utilised for crediting to workers in the manner to be prescribed.
Definition of Fixed Term Employment and that it would not lead to any notice period and payment of compensation on retrenchment excluded.
Vesting of powers with the government officers for adjudication of disputes involving penalty as fines thereby lessening the burden on tribunal.
Coal India Limited (CIL) To Produce 2 MMSCB (Million Metric Standard Cubic Metres) Per Day Of Coalbed Methane (CBM) Gas
The Ministry of Coal has asked the state-run coal miner Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic metres) per day of coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the next 2 to 3 years.
What is coalbed methane (CBM)?
CBM is extracted from unconventional gas reservoirs — where gas is extracted directly from the rock that is the source of the gas.
The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater. The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.
What are the uses of CBM?
CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel with significant prospects.
CBM can be used for power generation, as compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel, as feedstock for fertilisers, industrial uses such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants, and for methanol production.
According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India’s CBM resources are estimated at around 92 trillion cubic feet (TCF), or 2,600 billion cubic metres (BCM).
The Damodar Koel valley and Son valley are prospective areas for CBM development.
According to the Directorate, CBM production in March 2015 was around 0.77 MMSCMD from 5 CBM blocks.
In 2018, the Union Cabinet relaxed the rules for Coal India Limited (CIL) to extract natural gas lying below coal seams to boost production.
Indian Railways has started Procurement of Power in Punjab for Northern Railway as Deemed Licensee under Open Access to reduce the cost of operations under “Mission 41K”.
“Mission 41K” document was unveiled by Ministry of Railways in 2017. It targets for saving of Rs. 41,000 Crore through integrated Rail Energy Management System by 2025.
Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL), a JV of Ministry of Railways and RITES Ltd., has been endeavouring to achieve this target by gradual migration from Consumer to Deemed Licensee.
Deemed Licensee status enables Indian Railways to buy electricity directly from any generating company by paying wheeling charges to Central and State transmission system under open access as per The Electricity Act,2003.
These efforts have resulted in keeping electricity price at most economical rate on sustainable basis since 2015 on Indian Railways.
Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana
Union Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment has informed Lok Sabha about Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana.
About the yojana:
Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana is a welfare measure.
It is being implemented by the Employees State Insurance (ESI) Corporation.
The scheme was launched in 2018.
It is implemented on pilot basis for a period of two years initially.
It offers a relief payable in cash directly to the Bank Account in case an insured person is rendered unemployed and is in search for new engagement.
The scheme is for Insured Persons covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.
Under the scheme, the cash benefit given to the unemployed persons searching for new employment is 25% of his average earnings of 90 days.
Details of the scheme:
The Insured Person should have been rendered unemployed during the period the relief is claimed.
The Insured Person should have been in insurable employment for a minimum period of two years.
The Insured Person should have contributed not less than 78 days during each of the preceding four contribution periods.
The contingency of unemployment should not have been as a result of any punishment for misconduct or superannuation or voluntary retirement.
In case the IP is working for more than one employer and is covered under the ESI scheme he will be considered unemployed only in case he is rendered unemployed with all employers.
About Employees State Insurance Act, 1948:
The Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948 was the first major legislation on social security for workers in India.
The act provides for medical, cash, maternity, disability and dependent benefits to the Insured Persons under the Act.
The Act is administered by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
The ESIC is a Statutory Body and Administrative body.
It is under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
Parliament passes National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill 2019
Parliament has passed National Institute of Design (Amendment) Bill, 2019, with the Lok Sabha approving it on 26 November 2019. The bill was already passed by Rajya Sabha on 6 August 2019. The Bill will now be placed before President to seek his assent, before it becomes a law.
Key Provisions of Bill:
The bill seeks to amend National Institute of Design Act, 2014 that declares National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad as an institution of national importance.
The bill will help fulfil the aspirations of a new and modern India.
It also seeks to declare 4 National Institutes of Design (NID) as institutions of national importance.
These institutes are located at Kurukshetra in Haryana, Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Jorhat in Assam.
The four institutes will have the standards at par with the institute in Ahmedabad and will impart quality education in the field of design.
At present, these institutes are registered as Societies under Societies Registration Act, 1860 and thus do not have the power to grant degrees/diplomas.
Once these four institutes are declared as institutions of national importance, they be granted the power to grant degrees and diplomas.
Milan 2020: Indian Navy to host multi-nation military drill in March
Indian Navy will be hosting military drill called ‘Milan 2020’ at Visakhapatnam in March 2020 which will witness the participation of several countries. MILAN stands for ‘Multilateral Naval Exercise’.
Apart from a large number of ships, senior dignitaries are also expected to take part in various functions and visit naval facilities during MILAN 2020.
About ‘Milan 2020’:
The MILAN series of biennial exercises commenced in 1995. It was conducted at Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) until last year, is being conducted for the first time on mainland at Eastern Naval Command (ENC) with increased scope and complexity of the Exercise.
The government pursues cooperation initiatives with friendly foreign countries, including in Indian Ocean Region (IOR), through structured interactions such as Empowered Steering Group and Staff Talks.
The areas of cooperation include capacity building, training, operational exercise marine domain awareness, hydrography, technical assistance.
41 nations from South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe that share defence cooperation with India have been invited for the drill.
These include- Indonesia, Maldives, Australia, Somalia, Kenya, Mozambique, Sudan, Qatar, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, France, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar, New Zealand, USA, Israel, Tanzania, Comoros, Seychelles Brunei, Philippines, Japan, UK, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Mauritius, Cambodia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Kuwait, Iran, Russia, Djibouti, Bahrain, UAE, Eritrea and Bangladesh.
The 6th Asian Dendrochronology Conference being held at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow.
Dendrochronology is the study of tree rings that hold a wealth of information about not only a tree’s past but also that of the ecosystem in which it lives.
This is the first time that the conference is being held in India.