Mahila Police Volunteers
The Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs has envisaged engagement of Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) in the States and Union Territories who will act as a link between police and community and help women in distress.
All Chief Secretaries of States/UTs have been requested to adopt this initiative in their respective States.
Haryana is the first state to adopt the initiative at Karnal and Mahindergarh District on a pilot basis under Nirbhaya Fund during the financial year 2016-2017. Further, the proposals of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have also been approved for implementation of MPVs.
About the scheme:
Originally conceived by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development, Mahila Police Volunteer is a joint initiative with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Mahila Police Volunteers scheme envisages creation of a link between the police authorities and the local communities in villages through police volunteers who will be women specially trained for this purpose.
Their primary job will be to keep an eye on situations where women in the village are harassed or their rights and entitlements are denied or their development is prevented.
In order to provide a link between police and community and facilitate women in distress, one Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV) is envisaged per Gram Panchayat across the country. MPV must be atleast 21 years old and class 12th These will be selected through a laid out procedure from among the empowered, responsible, socially aware women who will facilitate police outreach on gender concerns.
Source: The Hindu
Ujjwala Sanitary Napkins initiative
The Ujjwala Sanitary Napkins initiative has been launched by three oil marketing companies – IOCL, BPCL and HPCL.
Key highlights of the scheme:
The mission, which forms part of the CSR initiative of OMCs in Odisha, is aimed to educate women on female hygiene and health, improve accessibility to low cost eco-friendly sanitary pads and boost rural employment and economy.
The three companies will set up 100 manufacturing units at the Common Service Centres (CSC) covering 93 Blocks across 30 districts of Odisha at an estimated cost of ₹2.94 crore.
At least 10 Ujjwala beneficiary women will get employment at each CSC. Each facility will have a capacity to produce 1,200-2,000 pads per day and will have a sterilisation room to ensure that the napkins are sterilised before they are packed for use by rural women.
The CSCs are also being provided with raw material, enough to make 45,000-50,000 pads. These napkins will be priced at ₹40 per pack, each containing eight pads.
The Ujjwala pads will be made of virgin wood pulp sheet, non-woven white sheet and a gel sheet which are all biodegradable in nature and will leave minimal carbon footprint.
Source: The Hindu
Rajasthan government scraps minimum education criteria for civic poll candidates
Rajasthan government has approved to do away with the minimum education qualification required to contest panchayat and urban bodies’ elections.
The education criteria was introduced by the previous government, which stipulated that for contesting the zila parishad or panchayat samiti polls, a contestant must have a minimum qualification of secondary education (Class X).
To contest the sarpanch elections, an aspirant from the general category must have passed Class VIII and a SC/ST aspirant must have passed Class V.
Why has it been scrapped?
Few experts are of the opinion that the requirement of minimum qualification for contesting elections is against the very spirit of 73rd and 74th amendments.
It also violates the right of every citizen to vote and to contest elections, which form the basic structure of the constitution.
It may be noted here that due to these restrictions, many able candidates were debarred from contesting elections. In one way, it can be said that this law has prevented many people from coming to the mainstream.
What has the Supreme Court said in this regard?
Even Haryana had passed a similar law mandating minimum education qualification for those contesting in Panchayat Raj Institutions. The constitutional validity of this law of Haryana was questioned in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had upheld the constitutional validity of the law enacted by Haryana government to bar the illiterate from contesting panchayat polls in the state. The Supreme Court had ruled that “it is only education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad”.
The Supreme Court’s interpretation is based on the fact that uneducated or illiterate people getting elected to the local bodies can easily be misled by officials if they don’t know to write and read. In such cases, administrative actions that they are going can pose many challenges. The Court has further observed that it is only the education which can give people the power to differentiate between right and wrong, and good and bad.
Rajasthan Literacy Rate 2011: Literacy rate in Rajasthan has seen upward trend and is 66.11 percent as per 2011 population census. Of that, male literacy stands at 79.19 percent while female literacy is at 52.12 percent. In 2001, literacy rate in Rajasthan stood at 60.41 percent.
Source: The Hindu
One District, One Product Regional Summit
The One District, One Product Regional Summit was held recently in Varanasi.
ODOP is aimed at giving a major push to traditional industries synonymous with the respective districts of the state.
The objective of the ODOP is to optimise production, productivity and income, preservation and development of local crafts, promotion of art, improvement in product quality and skill development.
ODOP is basically a Japanese business development concept, which gained prominence in 1979. It is aimed at promoting a competitive and staple product from a specific area to push sales and improve the standard of living of the local population. Over time, it has been replicated in other Asian countries as well.
The main objectives of the One District One Product Scheme of Uttar Pradesh are as follows:
Facts for Prelims:
UP is uniquely famous for product-specific traditional industrial hubs across 75 districts, including Varanasi (Banarasi silk sari), Bhadohi (carpet), Lucknow (chikan), Kanpur (leather goods), Agra (leather footwear), Aligarh (locks), Moradabad (brassware), Meerut (sports goods) and Saharanpur (wooden products).
Source: The Hindu
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
The Prime Minister dedicated the 6th International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) to the nation. The Institute is built at the campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi.
It will serve as a hub for rice research and training in South Asia and SAARC region. This first international Center in the eastern India is expected to harness and sustain rice production in the region.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international agricultural research and training organization known for its work in developing rice varieties that contributed to the Green Revolution in the 1960s.
Aim: The Institute, established in 1960 aims to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability of rice farming.
IRRI is one of 15 agricultural research centers in the world that form the CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research centres, a global partnership of organizations engaged in research on food security. It is also the largest non-profit agricultural research centres in Asia.
India and the IRRI:
IRRI has successfully collaborated with Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) to introduce drought- tolerant, flood-tolerant and salt-tolerant varieties of rice in India. The Varanasi Centre would help increase farmers’ income by enhancing and supporting rice productivity, reducing cost of production, value addition, diversification and enhancement of farmers’ skills.
Source: The Hindu
Minimum Support Prices (MSPs)
The Union government has declared inclusion of 17 new minor forest produce (MFP) under the government’s minimum support price scheme.
The new MFP under the scheme includes Mahua flowers (dried), Tejpatta (dried) and Kokum (dry).
The Pricing Cell, constituted by the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd (TRIFED), recommended inclusion of new MFPs under the scheme, given their importance to the economy of local communities.
A Planning Commission report had noted that MFP contributes to 20 to 40 per cent of the income of forest-dependent communities, especially the landless with a dominant population of tribals, and “provides critical subsistence during lean seasons.”
The MFP economy, however, is also known to suffer from unorganised and uncertain market demands, affecting economic returns to these communities.
In theory, an MSP is the minimum price set by the Government at which farmers can expect to sell their produce for the season. When market prices fall below the announced MSPs, procurement agencies step in to procure the crop and ‘support’ the prices.
The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs announces MSP for various crops at the beginning of each sowing season based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP takes into account demand and supply, the cost of production and price trends in the market among other things when fixing MSPs.
Why is it important?
Price volatility makes life difficult for farmers. Though prices of agri commodities may soar while in short supply, during years of bumper production, prices of the very same commodities plummet. MSPs ensure that farmers get a minimum price for their produce in adverse markets. MSPs have also been used as a tool by the Government to incentivise farmers to grow crops that are in short supply.
Source: Down to Earth
Chinese probe, the Chang’e-4, has entered a planned orbit “to prepare for the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon”. China launched the Chang’e-4 probe earlier this month, carried by a Long March-3B rocket.
The Moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, so the far side is never visible from Earth. The probe, the Chang’e-4, is expected to make the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon. Previous spacecraft have seen the far side of the Moon, but none has landed on it.
The far side of the moon known as ‘South Pole-Aitken Basin’ still remains a mystery among space scientists and by sending a probe there, China will outdo the historical achievements of the US and USSR.
About the mission:
Chang’e 4 is the fourth mission in the country’s lunar mission series which is being named after the Chinese moon goddess.
The tasks of the Chang’e-4 probe include low-frequency radio astronomical observation, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment on the far side of the moon.
Significance of the mission:
According to experts, landing on the far side of the moon is undoubtedly one of the most challenging missions ever launched by any of the world’s superpowers.
History of China’s lunar exploration programmes:
China began their lunar exploration program in 2007 by launching a simple lunar orbiter named ‘Chang’e 1’. The second mission in the program named ‘Chang’e 2’ was launched in 2010, and it was later followed by the third mission ‘Chang’e 3’. ‘Chang’e 3’ made headlines all around the world as it marked the first soft moon landing since 1976.
A new study by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has revealed that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), the programme initiated by the United Nations in 2005 to mitigate climate change through enhanced forest management in developing countries, has largely failed to achieve its objectives.
Highlights of the study:
Large-scale finance for REDD+ has been a major issue as carbon markets have not materialised and international funding commitments for REDD+ have been much lower than expected.
“REDD+ implementation costs have been high and benefits for local communities from REDD+ projects have been minimal.
There is need to rethink the REDD+ mechanism based on these experiences and the findings emerging from new research on the potential of forests to mitigate climate change.
India’s REDD+ strategy:
Complying with the UNFCCC decisions on REDD+, India has prepared its National REDD+ Strategy. The Strategy builds upon existing national circumstances which have been updated in line with India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, Green India Mission and India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC.
The strategy report has been prepared by Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE), Dehradun.
Since its formalisation in 2006, REDD+ had emerged as the most prominent global mechanism to integrate the role of forests in climate change. It was touted as a win-win situation for biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and local livelihoods.
More than 300 REDD+ initiatives have taken off since 2006. The mechanism has been enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015, and its implementation is transitioning from smaller, isolated projects to larger, jurisdictional programmes with support from bilateral and multilateral agencies.
In simple terms, REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
REDD+ is a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
It creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
Developing countries would receive results-based payments for results-based actions. REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
Source: Down to Earth
Indian Science Congress (ISC)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate 106th Indian Science Congress (ISC)-2019 on 3rd January in Jalandhar, Punjab.
World’s largest science meet ‘Indian Science Congress (ISC)-2019’ will be held from 3rd to 7th January 2019, in Jalandhar, Punjab.
Theme of ISC – Future India: Science and Technology
“Government’s aim is to deliver the benefits of Science & Technology to the last man in the society and scientists being a pivot should put their heart and soul into finding new solutions to the problems facing the nation and improve the quality of life of common man”.
It is the only second time for a University of Punjab to organize their herculean science spectacle.
The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British Chemists, namely, Professor J.L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMohan.
Madhya Pradesh to get ‘spiritual department’
Madhya Pradesh Government is going to create an Adhyatmik Vibhag (spiritual department) by merging several existing departments.
The proposed Adhyatmik Vibhag (Spiritual Department) going to be formed by merging Dharmik Nyas Evam Dharmasv Department (Religious Trust and Endowment Department), Anand Vibhag (Happiness Department) in addition to the Directorate of Religious Trust and Endowment, Madhya Pradesh Teerth Evam Mela Pradhikaran and Rajya Anand Sansthan.
Postal Stamp dedicated to Nabin Chandra Das, inventor of Rosogolla launched in West Bengal
A postal stamp dedicated to Nabin Chandra Das, inventor of Rosogolla was launched recently on Bagbazar-O-Rosogolla Utsob marking the 150th year of its invention.
Bagbazar O Rosogolla Utsob, a three-day Rosogolla Utsav is being held at Bagbazar, Kolkata as a tribute to Nabin Chandra Das, inventor of Rosogolla. The statue of Nabin Chandra Das was also unveiled during the inaugural programme.
3 Andaman & Nicobar islands renamed as tribute to Netaji
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December30th, announced renaming of three islands of Andaman and Nicobar archipelago as a tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, the Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
Significance of December 30th: On this day in 1943, Bose had suggested that Andaman and Nicobar Islands be renamed as Shahid and Swaraj Dweep respectively. During the World War II, the Japanese had captured the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Netaji came here as the Azad Hind Fauz led by him was an ally of the Japanese force. This year marks 75 years of the event.