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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

10 June 2022 – Current Affairs

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Election of the President of India, 2022

(Paper 2 Constitution of India)

Why in the discussion?

Recently, the Election Commission has announced the presidential election schedule.

The main point is:-

  • The Election Commission of India has announced the election schedule for the 16th President of india. Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that polling will be held on 18th july.
  • The notification for the same will be issued on June 15 and nominations can be  filed till the 29th of this month. The scrutiny of the slips will take place on June 30. Counting of votes will take place on July 21.
  • It may be mentioned that the term of office of the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, is ending on July 24, 2022. According to Article 62 of the Constitution of India,  it is necessary to complete the election of a new President before the expiry of the term of the outgoing President.

How is the President elected?

  • The President of India, being the first citizen of the country, is also the head of the three services. 
  • Articles 52 to 58 of Part V of the Indian Constitution describe the Executive of the Union. The Executive of the Union consists of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General.

Qualifications for the post of President

1. Be a citizen of India

2. Have completed the age of 35 years

3. Have the ability to be elected as a member of the Lok Sabha

4. Do not be in any position of profit

  • In addition, at least 50 people have proposed his name for the nomination of the election and the same number of people have approved.
  • The term of office of the President is up to 5 years from the date of holding office. However, he may tender his resignation to the Vice President anytime before.
  • The President is elected by a single transitional vote and secret ballot according to proportional representation.
  • A candidate has to get a certain portion of the total votes to be elected in this election.
  • The President is not elected by the public by direct voting but by the members of an electoral college.

In this election, it is also taken care that all the states have equal representation. The following people vote in this election:

1. Elected members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (not members nominated by the President)

2. Elected members of the State Legislative Assembly

3. Elected members of Delhi and Puducherry Legislative Assemblies (only these two Union Territories are attended by members)

The process of election –

The number of votes of each member of the State Legislatures and Parliament is determined as under :

  • The number of votes of an elected member of each Legislative Assembly is divided by the population of that State, the number of elected members of the Legislative Assembly of that State and the number obtained from the product of 1000.

Value of a MLA’s vote =   (total population of the state)/(elected members of the legislative assembly × 1000)

  • The number of votes of the elected members of each House of Parliament is obtained by dividing the value of the votes of the legislators of all the States by the total number of members of Parliament.

Value of votes of a Member of Parliament =(elected members of the legislative assembly)/(Total number of elected members of parliament)

  • After the election, the first preference votes are counted in the first phase of counting. If a candidate secures the prescribed number of votes, he is declared elected, otherwise the process of transfer of votes is followed and this process continues until a candidate obtains the prescribed number of votes.
  • It is noteworthy that all disputes related to Presidential election are investigated and decided in the Supreme Court and its decision is final.

Vacancy of Posts –

The office of the President may be vacant for the following reasons:

1. At the end of the term

2. On his resignation

3. On removal by impeachment

4. On his death

5. If his election is declared invalid

Constitutional provisions:

  • Article 52 – President of India
  • Article 53 – Executive power of the Union
  • Article 54 – Election of the President
  • Article 55 – Manner of election of the President
  • Article 56 – Term of office of the President
  • Article 57 – Eligibility for re-election
  • Article 58 – Qualifications to be elected president
  • Article 59 – Conditions for the post of President of the Nation
  • Article 60 – Oath or affirmation by the President
  • Article 61 – Procedure for impeachment of the President
  • Article 62 – The time to hold elections to fill up the vacancy in the office of the President and the term of office of the person elected to fill up the contingent vacancy

 Source – PIB

12th BRICS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting

(Paper 2 Governance)

Why in the discussion?

Recently, The Minister of State for Agriculture Ms. Shobha Karandlaje represented India at the 12th meeting of BRICS Agriculture Ministers

The main point is:-

  • The 12th meeting of the BRICS Agriculture Ministers concluded through virtual medium on 8 June 2022. The meeting was attended by ministers from China, South Africa, Brazil, Russia and India.
  • The Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ms. Shobha Karandlaje, attended the meeting.
  • The Union Minister mentioned the initiatives and steps initiated by the Government of India in the field of agriculture and farmers’ welfare such as PM Kisan, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil Health Card, Natural Agriculture, Formation and Promotion of FPOs etc.
  • The BRICS Agriculture Ministers also adopted the Joint Declaration of the 12th Meeting with the theme of “Strengthening BRICS Cooperation for Coordinated Agriculture and Rural Development” as well as the BRICS Strategy on Food Security Cooperation between BRICS Member States.

What is the BRICS Group?

  • The BRICS is an organization of five countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa,  with the aim of enhancing economic and other forms of cooperation in these countries.
  • It was formed in 2006 and is headquartered in Shanghai.
  • Earlier, only Brazil, Russia, India and China were involved and South Africa was included in it in 2010.
  • The top leaders of the BRICS countries and other ministerial conferences are held annually.

Importance –

  • How important the BRICS group is can be gauged from the fact that nearly half of the world’s population (47 per cent) lives in these countries and its combined GDP is $6 trillion,  which is 24  per cent of the global GDP.
  • Apart from this, brics countries  also have a 17% share in global trade, while they also have a 50% share in global economic growth.
  • China accounts for the group’s largest share of 68  percent of its total GDP.

Source – PIB

Increase in repo rate

(Paper 3 Economics)

Why in the discussion?

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India increased the repo rate by 50 basis points.

The main point is:-

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its Monetary Policy Meeting in June 2022 raised repo rates or interest rates  by 50 basis points to 4.90%.
  • As a result, the permanent deposit facilitation rate was adjusted to 4.65 per cent and the marginal deposit facilitation rate and the bank rate to 5.15 per cent.
  • The Monetary Policy Committee also decided to maintain the focus on adjustment withdrawal to ensure that inflation remains within the target while supporting growth.
  • It may be mentioned that at present, apart from Governor Shri Sanktikant Dad, Dr. Shashank Bhide, Dr. Aseema Goel, Prof. Jayant R. Verma, Dr. Rajiv Ranjan and Dr. Michael Devvrat are eligible in the Monetary Policy Committee.
  • The next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee will be held on  August 2-4, 2022.

Inflation –

Assuming a normal monsoon in 2022 and the average price of crude oil in the Indian basket  at $105 per dollar, inflation  in 2022-23  is projected to be 6.7 per cent.

Growth Estimates –

  • The Monetary Policy Committee has noted that the global economy is facing multi-decadal high inflation and slow growth, sustained geopolitical tensions and restrictions, increased prices of crude oil and other commodities and supply constraints related to COVID-19.
  • According to economic indicators for April-May, economic activity in India is improving. The situation in urban demand is improving and rural demand is gradually improving. During May, merchandise exports strengthened for the 15th consecutive month to register double-digit growth while imports of non-oil, non-gold strengthened at a healthy pace and improved domestic demand.
  • The real GDP growth rate  for the year 2022-23  is estimated at 7.2.
  • India’s GDP growth  in 2021-22 is projected to be 8.7 per cent,  higher than the pre-pandemic level, according to NSO’s provisional estimates released on May  31  .

Measures to benefit cooperative banks –

  • Since the last revision of the limits, it has been decided to increase the existing limits on individual residential loans by the cooperative banks keeping in view the increase in residential prices and the needs of the consumer.
  • Accordingly, tier I/ Limit  of Tier II Urban Co-operative Banks from Rs.30 lakh/Rs.70 lakh to Rs.60 lakh/- respectively  . 140 lakhs will be deemed to be revised. As far as rural co-operative banks are concerned, the limit for assessed grameen co-operative banks  will be  increased from Rs.20 lakhs to Rs.50 lakhs.
  • total assets of less than Rs 100 crore;  and  from Rs.30 lakh to Rs.75 lakh for other rural co-operative banks.
  • Now Urban Co-operative Bank customers can provide door to door banking services. With this, banks can better meet the needs of consumers, especially senior citizens and differently-abled.
  • Now rural cooperative banks can expand finance for commercial real estate (loans for residential projects) within the current total housing finance limit of 5 per cent of total assets.

Increase in the limit of transactions through electronic means –

  • In order to further strengthen customer convenience and facilitate recurring payments such as subscription, insurance premium and higher value education fee, the limit per transaction for electronic medium based recurring payment   has been  increased from Rs.5000 to Rs.15000.

 Increase in scope of UPI payment system –

  • Now the credit card will also be linked to UPI. It will start with a RuPay card. This will provide additional convenience to the users and increase the scope of digital payments.
  • UPI has become an inclusive mode of payment in India. Currently, more than 26 crore unique users and five crore merchants  are connected to the UPI platform.

 About the Monetary Policy Committee –

  • The Monetary Policy Committee is a Committee constituted by the Government of India on 27th June, 2016 to make interest rate fixation more useful and transparent.
  • The Governor of the Reserve Bank is the ex-officio Chairman of this Committee.
  • As per the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, out of the six members of the Monetary Policy Committee, three are  members from the RBI and the other three members are appointed by the central bank.
  • In this Committee, decisions are taken on the basis of majority and in the event of equal votes, the Governor of the Reserve Bank gives his decisive vote.

What is repo rate:

  • When we need money and our bank account is empty, we take a loan from the bank. In return, we pay interest to the bank. Similarly, the bank also needs a lot of money for its needs or day-to-day operations. For this, banks take a loan from the Reserve Bank of India. The rate of interest that the banks pay to the Reserve Bank on  this loan is called the repo rate.

Impact of repo rate –

  • When the bank gets a loan from the Reserve Bank of India at a lower rate of interest, the cost of raising their funds will be less. Because of this, they can give cheap loans to their customers. This means that the interest rates on home, car or personal loans may come down for us if the repo rate is lower.

reverse repo rate

  • When the banks operating in the country are left with the money after a day’s work, they keep that amount in the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI gives them interest on this amount. The rate at which the Reserve Bank of India pays interest to banks on this amount is called reverse repo rate.

Impact of reverse repo rate change

  • Whenever the availability of cash increases in the market, there is a danger of inflation going up. The RBI increases the reverse repo rate in this situation, so that banks deposit their money with it to earn more interest. In this way, there is less money left to be distributed in the market in the possession of the banks.

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)

  • Some guidelines have been framed for banks operating in India. These rules have been framed by the Reserve Bank. Under banking rules, every bank has to keep a certain portion of its total cash reserve with the Reserve Bank. This is called cash reserve ratio or cash reserve ratio (CRR). 
  • The RBI has made these rules so that if a large number of customers in any bank need to withdraw money, the bank cannot refuse to give money.

The effect of CRR –

  • If the CRR increases, banks will have to keep the bulk of their capital with the Reserve Bank of India. After this, banks operating in the country will be left with less money to lend to customers. Banks will have less money to lend to the common man and businessmen.
  • If the Reserve Bank reduces the CRR, the flow of cash to the market increases. The RBI  changes the CRR only if the liquidity of cash in the market is not to be immediately impacted.
  • In fact, the change in CRR  compared to the change in repo rate and reverse repo rate has a longer impact on the availability of cash in the market.

Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) –

  • SLR is an important measure of the measures that the Reserve Bank resorts to to control the liquidity situation in the economy. The statutory liquidity ratio or statutory liquidity ratio is the part of the deposit available with banks, which they are required to keep before issuing a loan on their deposit.
  • SLR can be in any form like cash, gold reserves, government securities.
  • Only after banks secure this ratio are they allowed to issue loans on their deposits.
  • What will be this ratio of  SLR is decided by the Reserve Bank of India. The maximum limit of SLR  in India has been up to 40 per cent.
  • The Reserve Bank is also empowered   to keep the SLR limit  for banks at 40 per cent and a minimum of zero per cent.

Effect of SLR –

  • SLR controls the ability of banks to lend. If a bank is stuck in a difficult situation, the Reserve Bank can compensate the customers’ money to some extent with the help of SLR.

Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) –

  • The RBI had first mentioned the MSF in the annual monetary policy review in the financial year 2011-12. This concept   came into force on May  9, 2011. In this, all scheduled commercial banks can take loans up to 1% of their total deposits for one night. Banks get this facility on all working days except Saturdays.

Source – PIB

National Awards Portal

(Paper 2 Health, Education, Human Resources)

Why in the discussion?

Recently, the Central Government launched the National Awards Portal.

The main point is :-

  • A number of Citizen Awards have been instituted by various Ministries/Departments/Agencies of the Government of India to honour those who have made outstanding and exceptional contributions in their fields.
  • The Central Government has launched the National Awards Portal to make the nomination process of various awards of various ministries, departments and agencies transparent and to ensure public participation.
  • It is worth mentioning that this portal has been developed to bring all the awards together under one digital platform  .
  • The portal aims to facilitate citizens to nominate individuals and organisations for various awards instituted by the government.
  • In a statement, the Home Ministry said that the portal for nominations and submission of Padma awards will remain open till September 15 this year  . Nominations for the Sardar Patel Rashtriya Ekta Awards  are likely to be made by the 31st of next month  . Nominations for tenzing norgay national adventure award and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Telecom Skill Excellence Award are likely to be filed till June 16.

About the Padma Awards –

  • Padma awards are one of the highest civilian awards in India. These awards are given in respect of various fields such as art, social service, folk work, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil services, etc.
  • The awards are announced every year on the occasion of Republic Day and are usually presented by the President of India at felicitation ceremonies held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the month of March/April.

The Padma awards are presented in three categories-

  1. “Padma Vibhushan” exceptional and distinguished service;
  2. “Padma Bhushan” distinguished service of excellent quality and
  3. “Padma Shri” is provided as a result of distinguished service in any field.

Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award –

  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India,  confers the National Adventure Award for Adventure, called “Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award” (TNNAA) for Adventure.
  • The award is given to recognize the achievements of those associated with the field of adventure and to encourage them to develop a spirit of endurance, risk-taking, working together in a group and taking quick,  prompt and effective steps in challenging situations.
  • The winners are presented with the Arjuna Awards by the Government of India. The award consists of a bronze statuette, a certificate, a blazer with a silk tie/sari and a prize money of Rs.15 lakh.

The award is awarded in the following four categories:

  1. Land Adventure (adventure on land),
  2. Water (Sea) Adventure (Adventure in water),
  3. Air Adventure (Adventure in the Air) and
  4. Life time achievement for adventure activities on land, C. and air (land, water and air).

Source – PIB

QS World University Rankings

(Paper 2 Education, Human Resources Subjects )

Why in the discussion?

Recently, the QS World University Rankings were released.

The main point is:-

  • The latest edition of QS World University Rankings features 41 Indian universities, of which 12 improved their positions, 12 remained stable, 10 declined and seven are new entries.
  • The Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (IISc) is the new national leader in the QS World University Rankings, 2023 released, which also shows that all Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) improved their standing.
  • The IISc ranks 155th globally, and is the global leader in the citations per faculty (CpF) indicator, which QS uses to evaluate the impact of the research produced by universities.
  • The IISc is the fastest rising South Asian university among the top-200 universities in the QS rankings, having climbed 31 places year on year. The IISc is the world’s top research university, achieving a perfect score of 100/100 for CpF.
  • The IIT Bombay, which was the top Indian university in QS World University Rankings of the previous edition, is the second best Indian institution this time and climbed five places globally to reach the 172 rank. The third best Indian university is the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD), followed by IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur.
  • P. Jindal Global University is the top-ranked private institute in India, and moved up from the 701-750 ranking band to 651-700, followed by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Amity University.

About QS World University Rankings –

  • QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
  • It was formerly known as Times Higher Education-Q. s. Known as the World University Rankings.

The QS system comprises three parts:

  1. the global overall ranking,
  2. the subject rankings (which name the world’s top universities for the study of 51 different subjects and five composite faculty areas), and
  3. five independent regional tables—namely Asia, Latin America, Emerging Europe and Central Asia, the Arab Region, and BRICS.

Source – The Hindu

Directions for removal of coal in Delhi-NCR in a phased manner

(Paper 3 : Environment, Pollution)

Why in the discussion?

Recently, the Air Quality Management Commission directed for removal of coal in a phased manner in Delhi-NCR.

The main point is:-

  • The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has ordered phased withdrawal of coal in the entire Delhi and ncr region from January 1, 2023.
  • The Air Quality Management Commission, an independent statutory body, has banned extensive coal from October 1 this year in energy-intensive industries across the NCR for areas where piped natural gas (PNG) infrastructure and supply is already available.
  • The Commission in its order said that in areas where PNG supplies are not yet available, the ban will come into force from January 1, 2023.
  • The Commission said that: Coal is a very polluting fuel, which is used in all industries, domestic and other purposes. Emissions from it play an important role in deteriorating the air quality in ncr and surrounding areas. That is why the need for less polluted clean fuel is being felt in this area.
  • According to the latest estimates, 17 lakh tonnes of coal is used annually by industries in ncr. This fuel plays an effective role in increasing the level of air pollution in this area.
  • It is worth mentioning that the use of coal in power plants practically cannot be stopped overnight, so the use of low sulphur coal has been excluded from this ban. Coal with low sulphur emits less sulphur dioxide than conventional coal.
  • It is worth mentioning that the Air Quality Management Commission was set up in August 2021. It had replaced the environmental pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority. At present, the Commission is the country’s highest governing body on air pollution.
  • Last year, the Supreme Court in its ‘Aditya Dubey vs Union of India’ judgment had listed construction activities, means of transport, coal-fired power plants and non-essential industries as major partners causing air pollution in the NCR.
  • The court found that the commission had not indicated to take comprehensive steps to improve air quality, so it had constituted an expert group. Suggestions were invited for this from the general public and experts, most of whom had suggested phased out coal in NCR

Source – Down to Earth

Extinct cheetahs

(Paper 3 Biodiversity)

Why in the discussion?

India is set to bring cheetahs from South Africa to Madhya Pradesh.

The main point is:-

  • Recently The Union Environment Ministry said that India is set to bring cheetahs from South Africa to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno-Palpur National Park by August this year.
  • A 10 sq km enclosure has reportedly been readied in the national park and would soon house at least 6 cheetahs. A senior official from the ministry said that a plan is underway to introduce 8-10 cheetahs every year.
  • It is noteworthy that the cheetah is the only large carnivore to have gone extinct in India, primarily due to hunting and habitat loss.
  • Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Korea, Madhya Pradesh, is widely believed to have killed the last three recorded cheetahs in India in 1947.
  • In 1952, the Indian government officially declared the Cheetah extinct in the country.

Hunting with the cheetahs

  • For centuries, hunting was a favoured activity for royalty in India. The cheetah, which was relatively easy to tame and less dangerous than tigers, was frequently used by Indian nobility for sport-hunting.
  • The earliest available record for cheetahs being used for hunts in India, comes from the 12th century Sanskrit text Manasollasa, which was produced by the Kalyani Chalukya ruler, Someshvara III (reigned from 1127-1138 CE).
  • Cheetah coursing, or the use of trained cheetahs for hunting had become a highly specialized activity in the medieval period and was carried out on a large scale during the Mughal empire. Emperor Akbar, who reigned from 1556-1605, was particularly fond of the activity and is recorded to have collected 9,000 cheetahs in total.
  • Abul Fazl, Akbar’s chief courtier, noted that the emperor had devised a new method to capture cheetahs. In earlier times, people would dig deep pits for the animals to fall into, however they would at times break their legs in the process. Akbar is said to have solved the problems by digging shallow pits with an automatic trap door which would close after they fell inside.
  • The cheetahs were then trained so that they could participate in royal hunts and according to Abu1 Fazl, the process took 3-4 months.
  • Emperor Jahangir (ruled from 1605-1627) took after his father and is said to have caught more than 400 antelopes by cheetah coursing in the pargana of Palam – the site near New Delhi’s international airport today.
  • the demand for cheetahs for hunting purposes was so high that specific areas, which had a high population, were designated for their capture, such as Rajasthan’s Jodhpur and Jhunjhunu, Punjab’s Bathinda and Haryana’s Hisar.
  • The capture of wild cheetahs for hunting and the difficulty to breed them in captivity was leading to a decline in the cheetah population, even before the entry of the British.

In British Raj –

  • Unlike the Mughals, the British were not very interested in coursing with the cheetahs. Rather, they preferred to hunt big game, such as tigers, bison and elephants.
  • Under the British Raj, forests were extensively cleared, so as to develop settlements and to set up indigo, tea and coffee plantations. This further resulted in the loss of habitat for big cats, contributing to their decline.
  • While tigers were the choice animals for the British shikar, Indian and British “sport” hunters also targeted cheetahs. There is evidence to suggest that British officials considered the animal as “vermin” and also distributed monetary rewards for the killing of cheetahs from at least 1871 onwards.
  • In Sindh, the reward for killing a cheetah cub was Rs 6, and it was Rs 12 for an adult.
  • Environmental historian Mahesh Rangarajan argues that the administrative policy of the British Raj played a “major role in its (cheetah) extermination in India”. The rewards for bounty hunting likely caused the decline of cheetahs, as even the removal of a small number would have negatively affected the ability of wild cheetahs to reproduce even at the lowest level required for survival. As a result, wild cheetahs became very rare in India by the 20th century.

International trade of cheetahs

  • Unlike the British, Indian elites and rulers of princely states continued the old practice of hunting with cheetahs in the 1920s. The leading figures among them were the Maharaja of Kolhapur and the Maharaja of Bhavnagar. However, by this time it had become increasingly difficult to find cheetahs in the wild.
  • While it had been suggested that this would be the first trans-continental shifting of a large carnivorous animal to India, Divyabhanusinh has argued that purchases of cheetahs from Africa took place in the 20th century. He says that the princely states of Bhavnagar and Kolhapur were the leading importers of cheetahs between 1918-1939.
  • Just before the start of World War I, Maharaja Bhavsinhji II, who ruled Bhavnagar state from 1896-1919, sent his Superintendent of Police, Krishna Chandra Sinh to Kenya to buy a cheetah. By the 1930s, the Bhavnagar state was said to own 32 imported cheetahs.
  • Cheetahs continued to be imported to independent India in small numbers, especially for exhibitions in zoos.
  • Between 1949-1989, around 7 zoos owned 25 cheetahs, all of which originally came from foreign countries. Divyabhanusinh notes that almost all would have been most likely obtained from Africa.

The demand for reintroduction

  • If the re-introduction of cheetahs into the wild is successful, it would mark the culmination of a decades-long process.
  • The State Wildlife Board of Andhra Pradesh was the first to suggest the policy in 1955, on an experimental basis in two districts of the state.
  • In the 1970s, the Department of Environment formally requested Iran, which had 300 Asiatic cheetahs at the time, for some cheetahs. The Shah of Iran was deposed before any deal could be reached.
  • There are two sub-species of cheetahs recognized today, the Asiatic (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and the African (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). However, the ecologist Ghazala Shahabuddin argues that it is still debatable if there is a biological basis for their differentiation, as cheetahs across continents have been seen to be genetically comparable.
  • This had led Divyabhanisinh to argue that the introduction of the African cheetah would not pose a threat to the Indian ecology.
  • Attempts to bring cheetahs to India were revived once more in 2009, when the Ministry of Environment and Forests, headed then by Congress’s Jairam Ramesh, and the Wildlife Trust of India conducted a meeting to discuss the feasibility of cheetah reintroduction. Several sites were chosen, of which Kuno-Palpur National Park was seen as the most suitable.
  • According to the ecologist Ghazala Shahabuddin, this was because the area had a large habitat area available and significant investments had already been made to displace the villagers inhabiting the site.
  • The Supreme Court in 2010 stayed the order to reintroduce cheetah to Kuno- Palpur because the National Board for Wildlife had not been privy to the matter. The court said that priority should be given to the reintroduction of the Asiatic lion, which is only found in Gir National Park, Gujarat.
  • In 2020, while responding to a plea by the government, the Supreme Court announced that African cheetahs could be introduced in a “carefully chosen location” on an experimental basis.

Source – Indian Express

Ancovax vaccine

(Paper 2 Health)

Why in the discussion?

Recently, the Union Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar released the animal vaccine and kit developed by ICAR-NRC on horses.

The main point is:-

  • The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar released the animal vaccine and other diagnostic kits developed by ICAR-National Research Centre on Equins (NRC), Hisar, Haryana.
  • This Ancovac vaccine developed on horses is an inactivated SARS-COVID-2 (SARS-CoV-2) delta (COVID-19) vaccine for animals. The immunity, induced by Ancovax, neutralises both the SARS COVID-2 Delta and omicron variants.
  • The CAN-CoV-2 ELISA kit is a sensitive and specific nucleocapsid protein based indirect ELISA kit for detecting antibodies against SARS COVID-2 in canines.
  • The Surra ELISA kit is a suitable clinical assay for Trypanosoma evansi infection in many animal species. The Equine DNA Parentage Testing Kit is a powerful genomic technique for parentage analysis.
  • The diagnostic kits launched include the CAN-CoV-2 ELISA kit. It is a sensitive and specific nucleocapsid protein based indirect ELISA kit for the detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in canines.
  • It is worth mentioning that animals are not required in the laboratory for the preparation of antigens. The kit is made in India and a patent has been filed for it. There are currently no other comparable kits available in the market for detecting antibodies in canines.
  • The Surra ELISA kit is a suitable clinical investigation for Trypanosoma evansi infection in many animal species. Surra is one of the most important hemoprotozoan diseases occurring in various livestock species due to Trypanosoma evansi. The disease is prevalent in all the agro-climatic parts of India. The loss of livestock productivity due to surra in India is estimated at Rs 44.740 billion per annum.

Source – PIB

PMMSY Dashboard

(Paper 3 Science Technology)

Why in the discussion?

Recently Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Launched the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojna(PMMSY) Dashboard.

The main point is:-

  • Digital India is a flagship programme of the Government of India with the vision to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • The programme covers multiple Government Ministries and Departments with the aim of building a culture of ‘good governance’ that functions on evidence-based decision making.
  • Shri Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying launched the PMMSY MIS dashboard on 7th June 2022.
  • It is noteworthy that PMMSY scheme was launched in May 2020 with the highest ever investment of Rs. 20,050 crores for focussed and holistic development of the fisheries sector while ensuring socio-economic wellbeing of fishermen, fish farmers and other stakeholders.
  • Till date a total project investment of Rs 7242.90 Crores (FY 2020-22) has been done under PMMSY.
  • Keeping in view the vast scope of the PMMSY scheme with multitude locations and components and move towards digitalisation, it is imperative to put a Management Information System (MIS) in place for aggregating information on one platform.

Aim of dashboard –

The PMMSY MIS dashboard aims at

  1. effective monitoring of the PMMSY scheme activities and their progress in all participating States/UTs
  2. strategically utilising the information for informed decision making.
  3. PMMSY MIS application aggregates the data from all participating states/UTs, analyses the data and projects the data in form of a dashboard for sectoral insights. Key performance parameters are used for projecting overall performance at national and State/UT levels, thus highlighting specific achievements and gaps.
  4. As the data is fed into the MIS system at district level by each participating States/UT, the platform is a true indicator of the PMMSY scheme progress. The information is further used for coordination, gap analysis and requirement to take corrective actions.
  5. With many other technological development activities in pipeline for MIS dashboard improvement, the Department of Fisheries and PMC team has been simultaneously making efforts for on boarding of all the states/UTs through hands-on training on the platform and creating awareness.

Source – PIB

District Skill Development Planning (DSDP) Awards

(Paper 2 Human Resources)

Why in the discussion?

Recently, the second District Skill Development Planning (DSDP) Awards were awarded.

The main point is:-

  • The 2nd edition of the Awards for Excellence in District Skill Development Planning was organized at Dr Ambedkar International Centre. Top 30 districts were awarded with District Skill Development Planning Awards 2022 for their innovative best practices in skill development in the region.
  • Rajkot in Gujarat, Cachar in Assam, and Satara in Maharashtra, respectively have been ranked among the top three districts.
  • District Skill Development Planning Award Ceremony was attended by the District Collectors, District Magistrates, and other representatives from across 30 states. They also shared their ideas and experiences and presented the skill development work done at the grassroot level in their districts.

DSDP Awards categories

30 districts were selected and awarded the District Skill Development Planning Awards under the following three categories:

Category 1: 8 Awards for Excellence in District Skill Development Planning

Category 2: 13 Certificate for Excellence in District Skill Development Planning

Category 3: 9 Letter of Appreciation for District Skill Development Planning

DSDP Awards Objective

  • DSDP awards aim at encouraging all the District Skill Committees (DSCs) and promoting a better understanding of District Skill Development Planning by using capabilities for implementing the targeted projects at the district level in India.
  • DSDP awards aim at maximizing the impact of SANKALP’s primary initiative, which is to strengthen the institutional mechanisms for skill development at the state and district level.

About District Skill Development Planning Awards

  • DSDP awards were instituted under the Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) Scheme in June 2018 for promoting decentralized planning, acknowledging and rewarding the extraordinary and innovative work done by the districts in the field of skill development.
  • The first edition of DSDP awards was held in 2018-19, with 228 districts from 19 states participating in the initiative.

About SANKALP –

  • Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (“SANKALP”) is a programme under Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship with loan assistance from the World Bank.
  • It aims to improve short-term skill training qualitatively and quantitatively through strengthening institutions, bringing in better market connectivity and inclusion of marginalised sections of the society.

Source – PIB


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