What's New :

10th September 2022

States want PMGK Anna Yojana to continue for benefitting Poor

Context

Since the Scheme’s sixth-phase ending in September 2022, States including Gujarat and Rajasthan argued to further extend PMGK Anna Yojana to curb the post-pandemic Consequences and ensure food security to poor.

Background
  • The PMGK Anna Yojana was initially announced for a three-month period (April-June 2020).
  • It was extended several times, with its sixth phase ending September.

What factors would influence the final decision for extension?

  • financial burden
  • position of buffer stock

Food Security

Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

About PMGK Anna Yojana

  • The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is a free food grain scheme introduced in March 2020
  • Objective: To alleviate Covid distress.
  • The scheme as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat to supply free food grains to migrants and poor
  • Different Phases:
  • Phase-I and Phase-II of this scheme was operational from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively.
  • Phase-III of the scheme was operational from May to June, 2021.
  • Phase-IV of the scheme during July-November, 2021 and
  • Phase V from December 2021 till March, 2022.
  • The PMGKAY scheme for Phase VI from April-September, 2022 would entail an estimated additional food subsidy of Rs. 80,000 Crore.
  • Benefits allocated:
  • PMGKAY beneficiaries get 5kg free ration per person per month in addition to their normal quota of food grains under the National Food Security Act.
    • Under NFSA, highly subsidised food grains are provided to about 75% rural and 50% urban population of the country.
  • Eligibility:
  • Families belonging to the Below Poverty Line - Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme.
  • AAY families are to be identified by States/UTs as per the criteria prescribed by the Central Government.
  • Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
  • All primitive tribal
  • Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector are included under the scheme.

Other related Schemes

  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013: legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
  • State food security scheme (SFSC) in Odhisa.
  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

Regulatory Bodies involved

  • Public Food Distribution System in States
  • Ministry of health and Family welfare

Ministry of finance

India, China to complete disengagement at PP15 in Gogra-Hot Springs

Context

Indian and Chinese troops have now declared to complete the disengagement process from patrolling point-15 (PP15) at the Gogra-Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh near LAC by this month.

About
  • The sixteenth round of talks between the Commanders of India and China was held at Chushul Moldo Meeting Point on 17 July, 2022.
  • Since then, the two sides had maintained regular contact to build on the progress to resolve the relevant issues along the LAC.
  • Both sides have now agreed on disengagement in the area of Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15) and the disengagement process in this area has been started.

India-China Conflict near LAC

  • China claims about 90,000 sq. km of India’s territory in the northeast, including Arunachal, while India says 38,000 sq km of land in China-occupied Aksai Chin should be a part of Ladakh.
  • There are several disputed areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), including in Himachal, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
  • Patrolling Point 15 (PP15) in Hot Springs and PP17A near Gogra Post were among the four friction points between India and China.
  • The other two being PP14 in Galwan Valley and the north bank of Pangong Tso.

  • In Ladakh, the disputed areas include:
  • Pangong Tso lake
  • Galwan Valley, where Shyok and Galwan rivers meet
  • Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO), a key northern region close to the Karakoram Pass.
  • The Hot Springs-Gogra area of the LAC
  • Demchok which is close to the southernmost part of the LAC in Ladakh.
  • Chushul, located on the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake, has an airstrip and is near Rezang La pass on the LAC.
  • Spanggur Gap along the LAC has roads leading to it from either side. India’s Chushul-Demchok road in the area is a critical communication link.
  • Samar Lungpa
  • Trig Heights
  • Chumar
  • Dumchele
  • Kongka La

Other Regional conflicts with China


Significance of the Disengagement

  • The regions, PP15 and PP17A, are located in an area where India and China largely agree on the LAC alignment.
  • The disengagement in the Hotsprings-Gogra region will de-escalate the border tension.

Sand mining deteriorating River health

Context

Recently, sand mining has attracted attention in Haryana’s part of Yamuna stretch.

  • Sand Mining and Human activities near River has deteriorated its health and is threat to the river’s Biodiversity.
Background
  • Sand mining is a pan-India problem.
  • It is prevalent in the Garo Hills in Meghalaya, the Sutlej in Punjab, Yamuna in Delhi, the Ganga in Haridwar, Urmil and Betwa in Bundelkhand, Kosi in Bihar, the Chambal and Narmada in Madhya Pradesh, Ojat in Gujarat, the Subarnarekha in Odisha, Musi in Telangana, Netravati and Phalguni rivers in Karnataka, Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, and Cauvery in Tamil Nadu.

UNEP in its report ‘Sand and Sustainability’ highlighted that the demand for sand has increased three-fold over the last decades, driven by shifting consumption patterns, growing populations, increasing urbanisation and rapid infrastructure development.

Sand and its Geology

  • Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral.
  • Composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings is silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of
  • Sand is classified as a “minor mineral”, as per The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act).
  • Sand mining is the extraction of sand, mainly through an open pit (or sand pit) but sometimes mined from beaches and inland dunes or dredged from ocean and river beds.

Provisions for regulating Sand Mining in India

  • State Governments have made different rules for awarding, regulating and administering the sand concessions.
  • To curb Illegal mining, there have been various judicial interventions by the Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT).
  • The National Green Tribunal in August 2013 passed an order banning sand mining without proper environment clearance.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released “Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2016” to promote scientific mining of sand and encourage environmental friendly management practices.
  • Ministry of Mines has also developed a Mining Surveillance System (MSS) to use space technology for facilitating State governments in curbing illegal mining activities in the country.
  • Under Sections 120B read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, extraction of sand without a legal permit is a ‘punishable offence’.

Why it should be regulated?

  • Alteration of Rivers: Excessive sand mining can alter the river bed, force the river to change course, erode banks and lead to flooding.
  • Damage River Biodiversity: In stream mining can have other costly effects beyond the immediate mine sites. Many hectares of fertile streamside land are lost annually, as well as valuable timber resources and wildlife habitats in the riparian areas.
  • Degraded stream habitats result in loss of fisheries productivity, biodiversity, and recreational potential.
  • Alter Sediment Budget: As the amount of sand reaching Oceans changes, rivers are not able to replenish the sand on beaches and in deltas.

Chhattisgarh adds two more districts

Context

The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh inaugurated the newly formed districts ‘Sakti ‘and ‘Manendragarh-Chirmiri-Bharatpur’ which now counted the No. of districts in the State to 33.

About

The State Profile

  • According to the 2011 Census, there were 593 districts in the country.
  • The Census results showed that between 2001-2011, as many as 46 districts were created by States.
  • There are currently there are 718 districts in the country.

Chhattisgarh as a State:

  • Chhattisgarh, formed on 1 November 2000, by partitioning 16 Chhattisgarhi-speaking south-eastern districts of Madhya Pradesh, is the 10th largest state in the country.
  • It is the 17th most-populated state in India.

Capital

Raipur

State Boundaries

Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh

Number of Districts

33

How are new districts carved?

  • The power to create new districts or alter or abolish existing districts rests with the State governments. This can either be done through an executive order or by passing a law in the State Assembly.
  • Many States prefer the executive route by simply issuing a notification in the official gazette.

Does the Central government have a role to play here?

  • The Centre has no role to play in the alteration of districts or creation of new ones.
  • States are free to decide. The Home Ministry comes into the picture when a State wants to change the name of a district or a railway station.
  • The State government’s request is sent to other departments and agencies such as the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Geographical Survey of India Sciences and the Railway Ministry seeking clearance.
  • A no-objection certificate may be issued after examining their replies.

China’s first solar-powered, semi-satellite drone

Context

China’s first near-space solar-powered large unmanned aerial vehicle completed its maiden flight. It is seen as a step towards green development.

About
  • China has built its first solar-powered large unmanned aerial vehicle called ‘Qimingxing-50 ‘(Morning Star).
  • It can be used for time-sensitive operations and during war and one of its kinds of technology where drone will use solar energy for its operations.
  • Details:
  • It has a wingspan of 164 feet.
  • It is also the first high-altitude, low-speed drone with an ultrahigh aspect ratio produced by the Chinese aviation sector.

What are unmanned arerial vehicles or Drones?

  • Unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV), military aircraft that is guided autonomously, by remote control, or both and that carries sensors, target designators, offensive ordnance, or electronic transmitters designed to interfere with or destroy enemy targets.

How drones will use solar energy?

  • The drone is designed to fly at altitudes of more than 20 km above the Earth’s surface where there is stable airflow with no clouds.
  • It will use solar energy to fly and get energy. As a result, it can make the maximum use of solar equipment to stay functional for longer durations.
  • However, the UAV can keep flying even during periods of overnight darkness.

How will it give an edge to the Chinese army?

  • The successful flight of the Qimingxing-50 will encourage China to develop more large solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, thus increasing its ability to perform tasks in near space and over far oceans and seas.

Potential Benefits

 It can be used fort purposes like;

  • high-altitude surveillance,
  • forest fire monitoring,
  • atmospheric environmental inspection,
  • aerial mapping, and
  • communication signal relay

Other Similar Technologies

  • Airbus Zephyr S drone- built by US
  • US Helios

Editorial

A TB (tuberculosis) Mukt India

Context:

Ni-kshay portal is an initiative by the government of India to realize the potential of the masses in eliminating TB by 2025, thereby giving a push to “Pradhan Mantri TB-Mukt Bharat Abhiyan” by people’s participation.

Data on Prevalence of TB:

  • According to National TB, Prevalence Survey Report India experienced a 19% increase in 2021 from the previous year in TB patients. Every year some 0.20-0.25 billion TB incidences and 0.04 billion deaths are recorded in India.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has undone several efforts made to eradicate the disease.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 10th September 2022

Mains Question:

Q1. “The demand for construction-grade sand is growing at a tremendous rate. However, the practice of extracting the sand from the riverbed impacts the environment”. In the light of this statement, discuss the cascading nature of the effects of river sand mining and the urgency of the problem. (150 words)

Approach 

  • Introduction- brief about increasing ‘unscientific and unsustainable’ mining of riverbeds
  • Mention important states (Uttarakhand, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh)
  • Impact: Threatened ecosystem
    • River ecosystem (flow, water level, soil erosion)
    • aquatic eco-system
    • precious surface and groundwater resources
    • local lives
  • Challenges 
    • Monetary benefits and heavy reliance on resources promotes minings
    • illegal sand mining mafia 
    • Corruption
    • Lack of awareness
  • Required measures 
    • Changes in laws, technologies and attitudes
    • Effective monitoring and enforcement of environmental standards
  • Conclude accordingly 

Verifying, please be patient.

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