SC to hear plea against sale of electoral bonds
The Supreme Court has agreed to urgently hear a plea by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms to stay the sale of a new set of electoral bonds on April 1, before the Assembly elections in crucial States such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
What’s the issue?
The petitioner pointed out that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Election Commission had both said that the sale of electoral bonds had become an avenue for shell corporations and entities to park illicit money and even proceeds of bribes with political parties.
What are electoral bonds?
SC sought Centre’s response in “ration cards cancellation” case
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to respond to a plea related to the cancellation of over three-crore ration cards for not linking them to Aadhaar.
Also, the SC has sought a report on the implementation of the grievances redressal mechanism. It is contained in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
What’s the issue?
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court which said that such cancellations had led to starvation deaths across the country.
Right to food, which the ration card symbolised, cannot be curbed or cancelled because of lack of Aadhaar, says the petitioner.
The Court said the issue is concerning because the government has cancelled cards of even tribal people and the poor, solely because they could not be biometrically linked with Aadhaar.
The Union of India casually gives an explanation that these cancelled cards were bogus. The real reason is that the technological system based on iris identification, thumb prints, non-possession of Aadhaar, non-functioning of the Internet in rural and remote areas, etc., led to largescale cancellation of ration cards, without notice to the family concerned.
What are Ration Cards?
Ration card is an official document issued by state governments in India to households. The Household should be eligible to purchase subsidized food grain under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). They also serve as a common form of identification for many Indians.
Under the NFSA, all state governments have to identify eligible households under the Public Distribution System and provide them with ration cards.
India’s ranking in global indices:
The Hunger Watch Report of the Right to Food Campaign in 2020 characterised the hunger situation in India as “grave”.
India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2020 and is in the ‘Serious Hunger Category’.
Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP)
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been strongly demanding national project status for the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP).
What is the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP)?
The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project aims to harvest surplus water available during the rainy season in rivers in southern Rajasthan such as Chambal and its tributaries including Kunnu, Parvati, Kalisindh.
Besides supplying drinking water in 13 districts, the mega project will also provide irrigation water to an additional 2 lakh hectares of land.
It will also supply water to the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and take care of the flood and drought situation in the area.
According to the state Water Resources Department, Rajasthan, the largest state of India with a geographical area of 342.52 lakh hectares which amount to 10.4 per cent of the entire country, holds only 1.16 per cent of India’s surface water and 1.72 per cent of groundwater.
Among the state’s water bodies, only the Chambal river basin has surplus water. But, this water cannot be tapped directly because the area around the Kota barrage is designated as a crocodile sanctuary.
Therefore, the ERCP aims to create a network of water channels which will cover 23.67 per cent area of Rajasthan along with 41.13 per cent population of the state.
Why is the demand of declaring the ERCP as a national project?
The reason cited by the Chief Minister for wanting the ERCP to be a national project is that its estimated cost is around Rs 40,000 crore, which is not possible to be borne by the state government.
National Technical Textiles Mission
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had, in 2020, approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at an total outlay of ₹1,480 Crore.
To position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.
The Mission will be implemented for four years from 2020-2021 and will have four components:
What are technical textiles?
Technical textiles are defined as textile materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic and decorative characteristics.
Depending upon their application areas, Technical Textiles products are divided into 12 broad categories: Agrotech, Buildtech, Clothtech, Geotech, Hometech, Indutech, Mobiltech, Meditech, Protech, Sportstech, Oekotech, Packtech.