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4th July Current Affairs

Panel calls for boosting protein, and nutrients in government meal programmes

(GS-II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

In News:

An inter-ministerial committee has recommended that protein-rich food items e.g., Eggs be legally mandated in meals given through food safety programmes in schools and anganwadis under National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

Why the need?

Acute undernutrition: The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have “aggravated the silent crisis” of undernutrition in India.

National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) has documented a rise in the “rates of child undernutrition, stunting and wasting in most of the states”, along with an increase in the prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women and those of reproductive age

Currently, states bear the cost of supplementary provisions: E.g. eggs are served in mid-day meals in 13 states and three UTs as part of “additional food items”.

What does the panel say?

Protein-rich food: It recommended including protein-rich food items like eggs, nuts and legumes, as well as micronutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, folate and vitamin A be legally mandated in meals.

The report states that those who do not consume eggs may be provided “double the proposed quantity of nuts and seeds”.

Call for change in NFSA to include ‘micro-nutrients’: Schedule II of the National Food Security Act lays down nutritional standards for government food safety programmes like mid-day meals, PM Poshan and ICDS. Currently, it quantifies nutrition per meal in terms of calories and protein only, but the inter-ministerial panel has called for micronutrients to also be taken into account.

Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) covers children aged six months to six years and pregnant/lactating mothers;

PM Poshan scheme covers: students in lower primary classes, upper primary classes in government and government-aided schools.

The functioning of the National Investigation Agency

(GS-II: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies)

In News:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the probe into the killing of tailor Kanhaiyya Lal (48) in Rajasthan’s Udaipur over a social media post supporting suspended leader Nupur Sharma.

Now, the Union Home Ministry has handed over to the agency the investigation of a similarly executed murder of pharmacist Umesh Kolhe in Maharashtra.

What is the NIA?

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was constituted under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008.

It is a central agency to investigates and prosecutes offences:

Affects the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of the State, and friendly relations with foreign States.

Against atomic and nuclear facilities.

Smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency.

It implements international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organizations.

Its objective is also to combat terror in India.

It acts as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.

Headquarters: New Delhi

Branches: Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur and Jammu.

Scheduled offences: The schedule of the NIA Act specifies a list of offences which are to be investigated and prosecuted by the NIA.  These include offences under Acts such as the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.

NIA’s jurisdiction:

The law under which the agency operates extends to the whole of India and also applies to Indian citizens outside the country.

Persons in the service of the government wherever they are posted

Persons on ships and aircraft registered in India wherever they may be

Persons who commit a scheduled offence beyond India against the Indian citizen or affect the interest of India.

How does the NIA take up a probe?

State government refers case: As provided under Section 6 of the Act, State governments can refer the case pertaining to the scheduled offences registered at any police station to the Central government (Union Home Ministry) for NIA investigation.

Central government directs the agency: After Assessing the details made available, the Centre can then direct the agency to take over the case.

State governments are required to extend all assistance to the NIA.

Outside India: Where the Central government finds that a scheduled offence has been committed at any place outside India to which this Act extends, it can also direct the NIA to register the case and take up an investigation.

Can investigate allied offences: While investigating a scheduled offence, the agency can also investigate any other offence that the accused is alleged to have committed if the offence is connected to the scheduled offence.

UN Ocean Conference (UNOC): Lisbon Declaration

(GS-III: Environment Conservation)

In News:

2nd UNOC ended with Lisbon Declaration titled ‘Our Ocean, Our Future: call for action’. It was co-hosted by Kenya and Portugal in Lisbon.

1st UNOC was in UN HQ (New York) in 2017.

Lisbon Declaration:

Protecting at least 30% of national maritime zones by 2030

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2040

Allocating funds to research on ocean acidification, climate resilience and surveillance

Scale-up Science-based and innovative actions to address ocean emergency

Support implementation of SDG14 (life below water) by empowering women and girls- recognising their participation is crucial to building a sustainable ocean-based economy

Protect biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, which lie outside the 200-mile (322-kilometre) exclusive economic zones of countries.

India:

Will take up the Coastal clean sea campaign (‘Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar’.)

Ban on single-use plastics

Controlling Marine Pollution:

  • Nutrient pollution
  • Untreated wastewater
  • Solid waste discharges
  • Hazardous substance
  • Emissions from the maritime sector, including shipping, shipwrecks
  • Anthropogenic underwater noise

UNESCO launched: the State of the Ocean Report during the event.

Alluri Sitarama Raju

(GS-I: Modern India History)

In News:

PM Modi to launch the year-long celebrations on the 125th birth anniversary of Alluri Sitarama Raju, enabling a new generation to be aware of the heroics of Alluri and the sacrifices he made for the tribal community.

About:

Alluri Sitarama Raju (1897 – 1924) was an Indian revolutionary who waged an armed campaign against British colonial rule in India. He was nicknamed “Manyam Veerudu” (Hero of the Jungle) by local villagers for his heroic exploits.

Activities:

Born in present-day Andhra Pradesh, he became involved in anti-British activities in response to the 1882 Madras Forest Act

The act restricted the free movement of Adivasis (tribal communities) in their forest habitats and prevented them from practising a traditional form of agriculture known as podu (shifting cultivation).

Initially, Sitarama Raju, under the influence of Gandhi’s Non-cooperation movement, inspired thetribals to seek justice in the local panchayat courts and boycott the colonial courts.

Led the Rampa Rebellion/Manyam Rebellion of 1922.

Death: In 1924, Raju was taken into police custody, tied to a tree, and shot by public execution, effectively ending the armed rebellion.