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30th July Current Affairs

Issues with India’s public examination System

(GS-II: Government Policies and intervention)

In News:

Editorial by Varun Gandhi in which he highlighted how the recruitment process for some government posts never ends. It’s diminishing the demographic dividend. As per CMIE data, India needs to create 20 million jobs annually

Issues highlighted:

Delayed recruitment:

  1. recently 4,500 candidates in Andhra Pradesh who cleared a district selection committee exam in 1998 have finally been offered regular jobs as teaching staff in government schools. With 24 job-seeking years, most of them reach close to retirement.

Railway exams of 2019 have seen over 1,000 days of delay for exams to be conducted

Delayed recruitment cycle of SSC exams

High tuition cost:g. tuitions costs can vary from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 for minor posts, to Rs 1.5-2.5 lakh for UPSC coaching (excluding living costs).

Higher expenses due to delay: If such exams get delayed, then the youth will suffer financially and mentally.

Solution:

Reforms in the Examination Schedule:

Each ministry should ask all departments to prepare an existing vacancies list within three days from the defined zero date.

The departments should ideally advertise the approved list of existing vacancies within seven days of the approval of such a list

For each week of delay beyond 30 days, the defaulting department could be liable for a small reduction in their administrative expenses

Final examination results should be announced within a defined period.

In the event of cancellation of examinations, compensatory attempts shall be provided to all applicants by relaxing age norms.

Reform the examination process: E.g.

  • a waiver of examination fees
  • removing a barrier for candidates from economically challenging backgrounds
  • providing travel and lodging allowances if the examination centre is not within a specified distance
  • all examination centres must have the basic infrastructure (biometric attendance, cloakroom) and adequate security (guards, invigilators, CCTV cameras) to ensure a fair process
  • An integrated examination calendar for all major educational institutions and recruitment to PSUs should be published while ensuring minimal overlap.

Government Initiative:

National Recruitment Agency (NRA): NRA is a national testing agency which would conduct the Common Eligibility Examination (CET) for non-gazetted Group B and C posts. In the initial years, NRA will conduct the recruitment examinations for Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs), Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) and Staff Selection Commission(SSC) and would gradually expand its operations in other examination process as well.

Conclusion:

India needs to face the challenge of job creation and upskilling of youth for the labour market to ensure that India’s demographic dividend does not become a demographic disaster.

Need for a new legal framework governing telecommunication in India

(GS-II & III: Governance/ S&T)

In News:

Given emerging technologies such as 5G, IoT, etc., the Ministry of Communication has underscored the need to have a legal framework for these technologies.

Proposals of the New Law:

Recognition of exclusive privilege of the government over telecommunication

Simplification of regulatory framework related to spectrum allocations.

Effective policy for the Right of Way (RoW): Right of way is the legal right, established by a grant from a landowner or long usage, to pass along a specific route through property belonging to another.

CAG on Spectrum allocation:

CAG criticized that Spectrum allocation in India is conducted on an ad hoc basis (2012-2021); the spectrum allocated to the government is not optimally used.

What is a spectrum?

Energy travels in the form of waves known as electromagnetic waves. These waves differ from each other in terms of frequencies. This whole range of frequencies is called the spectrum. In telecommunication like TV, radio and GPRS, radio waves of different wavelengths are used.

Mobile phones use two technologies based on different parts of the radio spectrum— GSM (global system for mobile communications) and CDMA (code division multiple access). Most of the radio spectrum is reserved in countries for defence. The rest is available for public use. But following an increase in the number of phone users and new services, countries started auctioning the frequencies to telecom companies.

Seekho aur Kamao (Learn and Earn) scheme

In News:

The scheme has nearly 59% female trainees (far greater than earmarked 33%) in 2020-21.

About the Scheme:

Nodal ministry: Central Sector Scheme under the Ministry of Minority Affairs (since 2013-14)

Aim: Upgrading the skills of minority youth (14-35 years age group) and ensure 75% placements, out of which 50% should be in the organized sector. Post placement support of Rs. 2000/- per month is provided to placed trainees for two months as placement assistance.

Implementation: Through selected Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs).

Other Schemes of Ministry of Minority Affairs:

  • Naya Savera Scheme (to provide free coaching to minority students for the various competitive exam)
  • Padho Pardesh Scheme (interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas higher studies)
  • Nai Udaan Scheme (supports students clearing Prelims of UPSC, SPSC or other exams )
  • Nai Roshni Scheme ( Leadership development of women belonging to minority communities)
  • USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development)
  • Nai Manzil Scheme (for formal school education & skilling of school dropouts)
  • Hamari Dharohar (to preserve the rich heritage of minority communities of India)

Aridity Anomaly Outlook Index

In News:

Recently Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) released the Index for the month of July

Key findings:

  • Nearly 660 of 756 districts (85%) were facing different degrees of aridity, while only 63 are non-arid.
  • At least 196 districts are in the grip of a ‘severe’ degree of dryness and 65 of these are in Uttar Pradesh
  • Nearly 69% of India is dry land
  • Applications: Impacts of drought in agriculture, especially in the tropics where defined wet and dry seasons are part of the climate regime. Both winter and summer cropping seasons can be assessed using this method.

Large Arid regions are found in the desert of Rajasthan, Rann of Kutch and semi-arid regions of Punjab and Gujarat, rain shadow areas of Western Ghats.

What can be done: Further intensify drought-prone area programme (DPAP), crop diversification, cultivation of traditional varieties, mulching, intercropping, micro-irrigation, etc.

Three types of drought: Meteorological (actual rainfall is significantly less than the climatological mean); Hydrological (a marked depletion of surface water); Agriculture ( low soil moisture leading to acute crop stress).

Agriculture Census

In News:

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched the 11th Agriculture Census (2021-22)

Background: The census is part of the World Census of Agriculture of FAO and has been conducted every 5 years from 1970-71.

Unique feature of the 11th Census:

  • Data collection will be conducted on smartphones and tablets
  • Use of digital land records like land title records and survey reports

Aim: It will provide updated information number and area of operational holdings, their size, class-wise distribution, land use, tenancy and cropping pattern, etc.

Operational holding is defined as “all land which is used wholly or partly for agricultural production and is operated as one technical unit by one person alone or with others without regard to title, legal form, size or location”. It is taken as a statistical unit for data collection in Agriculture Census.

10th agriculture census (2015-16): As per the census, the land holding was inequitably distributed, Small and marginal farmers (less than two hectares of land) accounted for 86.2% of all farmers but owned just 47.3% of the crop area.

World Census of Agriculture (WCA): Started in 1950 by FAO. Unlike FAO’s definition, Indian operational holding doesn’t include holdings under livestock, poultry, fishing, etc.