ART AND CULTURE
1. 150 YEARS OF ICONIC ARTIST ABANINDRANATH TAGORE
THE CONTEXT: Year-long celebrations marking 150 years of Abanindranath Tagore started with a host of online workshops and talks paying tributes to the leading light of the Bengal School of Art.
- Abanindranath, a nephew of Rabindranath Tagore and a decade younger to the poet, helped shape modern Indian art and was the creator of the iconic ‘Bharat Mata’ painting.
CONTRIBUTION DURING SWADESHI MOVMENT
- Abanindranath Tagore was arguably first major exponent of an artistic idiom that sought to modernise the
- Mughal and Rajput styles in order to counter the influence of Western models of art under colonial regime.
- His unique interpretation of swadeshi themes created a new awakening and heralded a revival of Indian art.
- Tagore advocated in favour of a nationalistic Indian art derived from Indian art history, drawing inspiration from the Ajanta Caves.
- The Indian Society of Oriental Art was founded in Calcutta in 1907 with his initiative.
Source: The Hindu
INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
2. POSHAN TRACKER APPLICATION
THE CONTEXT: Poshan Tracker management application provides a 360-degree view of the activities of the Anganwadi Centre (AWC), service deliveries of Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) and complete beneficiary management for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children. Simultaneously, the mobile application also digitizes and automates physical registers used by AWWs that helps improving their quality of work.
- The AWWs are being provided Smart phones procured through Government e-Market (GeM) for efficient service delivery.
- A total of 8.66 lakhs Smart phones have been procured by 32 States/UTs. Further, AWW and Lady Supervisor (LS) are being provided ₹200/- per month for recharging of smart phones.
- Government has organised training of AWWs to facilitate use of Poshan Tracker by them and till date, more than 6.5 lakhs AWWs have been trained.
- POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to reduce malnutrition in the country in a phased manner, through a life cycle approach, by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach.
- The Programme strives to induce behavioural change through nutrition centric Jan Andolans in the form of Poshan Pakhwadas and Poshan Maahs.
The target for reducing the prevalence of stunting among children under 5 years is by 2% per annum and anemia among children under 5 years is by 3% per annum.
3. SANKALP PROGRAMME
THE CONTEXT: The Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has provided information on Sankalp Programme to parliament.
- The implementation period of SANKALP is till March, 2023, and the positive outcome so far is seen in the following areas:
- Strengthening of the District Skill Committees leading to demand-driven approach for the implementation of the PradhanMantriKaushalVikasYojana (PMKVY).
- District-level skill planning through District Skill Development Plans.
- Focus on improving access to skill training for Women, SC/ST and other marginalized weaker sections of the society.
The institutions strengthened so far under SANKALP are as under:
- State Skill Development Missions through State Incentive Grants.
- District Skill Committees through Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) program and capacity building training.
- Gram Panchayats by bringing skill training and certification within their ambit.
- Sector Skill Councils by linking them up with opportunities for industry-skilled manpower connection indistricts.
- National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) being an important implementing partner of pilot projects.
- National Instructional Media Institute (NIMI) by augmenting resources through their management of the MGNF Program.
- SANKALP is a supporting programme to skill training schemes which focuses inter-alia on improvement of quality, strengthening of institutions and inclusion of weaker sections in skill training.
- SANKALP has undertaken several initiatives to contribute to improvement in employability, some of which are asunder:
- Strengthening of District Skill Committees for improved access to and demand driven skill trainings foremployment.
- Emphasis on skill certification in Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) at Gram Panchayat level for improving employmentqualitatively.
- Funded development of an IT system namely “Skill India Portal” to capture the data for skilling related activities across thecountry.
- Global Skill Gap study was conducted to identify the global gaps in demand and supply of skilled manpower as well as overseas employment opportunities for skilled workers from India. The Report helped in identifying important countries of interest as destination and job roles ofinterest.
- Released Rs. 273.49 Crore as State Incentive Grants to 30 States/ UTs and Rs. 13.91 Crore to aspirational districts for implementation of SANKALP Scheme in the States/UTs.
- Improving quality of trainers in Auto sector in collaboration with Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Maharashtra State Skill Development Society (MSSDS) at Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
- A Gender Action Plan (GAP) has been prepared for promoting inclusion of women in Short term skilling and livelihood opportunities.
ABOUT SANKALP PROGRAM
- Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP) Scheme is a World Bank loan assisted programme of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) with three key Result Areas (RA), namely (i) Institutional Strengthening at Central,State, and District level; (ii) Quality Assurance of skill development programmes; and (iii) Inclusion of marginalized population in skill development programmes.
4. IMPLEMENTATION OF SVAMITVA AND E-PANCHAYAT PROGRAMMES
THE CONTEXT: Drone flying has been completed in 52,970 villages and Property Cards distributed in 7440 villages to property owners.
ABOUT SVAMITVA SCHEME
- SVAMITVA Scheme aims to provide the ‘Record of Rights’ to village household owners possessing houses in inhabited areas in villages with issuance of legal ownership rights (Property cards/Title deeds).
- The pilot phase of the Scheme was launched on 24th April 2020 for implementation during 2020-21 in 6 states namely Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Later on, villages of one border district of Punjab and Rajasthan and few villages of Andhra Pradesh were also added in the pilot phase of implementation.
- During 2021-2025, the Scheme is to be implemented across the country in phased manner and would eventually cover all the villages of the country.
- States/Union Territories need to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Survey of India (SoI) for implementation of the scheme. In addition to 9 pilot phase States, 17 more States have signed MoU with SoI since national roll out of scheme on 24thApril 2021.
ABOUT E-PANCHAYAT PROGRAMMES
- With the aim to transform functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), Ministry is implementing e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) under Digital India Programme.
- This is expected to make them more transparent, accountable and effective organs of local self-governing institutions.
- eGramSwaraj (egramswaraj.gov.in), a Simplified Work Based Accounting Application for Panchayati Raj has been developed amalgamating functionalities of planning, monitoring, accounting and online payments.
- The Panchayats have been encouraged to adopt the e-GramSwaraj-PFMS (Public Finance Management System) interface to make payments to vendors through PFMS and not through cheques.
5. INDIA’S ELDERLY POPULATION TO RISE 41% OVER NEXT DECADE TO TOUCH 194 MN IN 2031: GOVT REPORT
THE CONTEXT: India’s elderly population (aged 60 and above) is projected to touch 194 million in 2031 from 138 million in 2021, a 41 per cent increase over a decade, according to the National Statistical Office (NSO)’s Elderly in India 2021 report.
- The report said there will be 93 million males and 101 million females in 2031 — up from 67 million males and 71 million females in 2021.
- The NSO, which falls under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), sought to provide insights about the problems and status of elderly persons in the country, and help in policymaking.
- The report stressed the 2017 United Nations Report on World Population Ageing, which claimed that by 2030 the people aged 60 years or above are expected to outnumber children under age 10.
- According to the report, Kerala currently has the highest elderly population (16.5 per cent), followed by Tamil Nadu (13.6 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (13.1 per cent), Punjab (12.6 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (12.4 per cent) in 2021. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam have the least proportion with 7.7 per cent, 8.1 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively.
Source: The Print
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
6. ARABIAN SEA CYCLONES MORE FREQUENT IN RECENT YEARS
THE CONTEXT: Studies using a 50-year (1970-2019) extreme weather events dataset of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) have shown that in recent decades, there has been increased occurrences of extreme weather events, including extremely severe cyclonic storms.
- An analysis of past data of cyclones over the North Indian Ocean (Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea) during the period 1891–2020 indicates that the frequency of extremely severe cyclonic storms has increased in recent few years over the Arabian Sea since 1990, and remained the same over the Bay of Bengal.
- These events had significant impacts over various regions of the Indian subcontinent leading to loss of lives and property as well as adversely affecting the livelihood of the vulnerable community, he said.
- The highest loss of lives occurred during Cyclones Tautkae, 2021, 118 deaths), Amphan(2020, 98 deaths), Titli (2018, 78 deaths) and Nilam (2012, 75 deaths), the data showed.
Source: The Indian Express
7. IN BHUTAN, THE WORLD’S RAREST HERON IS ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION
THE CONTEXT: In March, the annual white-bellied heron population survey by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Bhutan, a civil society organisation, recorded 22 herons. This was a decline by five compared to 27 birds in 2020.
- According to the conservation NGO Birdlife International, the white-bellied heron is already extinct in Nepal and possibly in Bangladesh too, with the entire global population now restricted to northern Myanmar, northeast India and Bhutan. But a recent study gives cause for concern for the species in Bhutan too.
- Locally known as Chubja, Bhutan is home to around 45%-50% of the total global population of white-bellied heron, and the largest known number of breeding pairs.
- The white-bellied heron, found in the freshwater ecosystems of the Himalayas, is the most endangered heron species in the world.
- Listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List since 2007, its total global population is estimated to be only 50 adult birds-249 adult birds, and numbers are declining even further.
8. NO PROVISION TO DECLARE ANY NATURAL DISASTER AS A ‘NATIONAL CALAMITY’: PANEL REPORT
THE CONTEXT: Standing Committee report to the Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (DoWR, RD & GR) confirmed that there is no provision to declare any natural calamity as a ‘National Calamity’.
- Under the existing Scheme of State Disaster Response Fund / National Response Fund of the Ministry of Home Affairs, there is no provision to declare any disaster including flood as a National Calamity.The answer was in response to a query by the committee as to when and under what circumstances, can floods in an area be declared as a national calamity.
- the department added that whenever a calamity of ‘severe nature’ occurred, financial assistance was provided. It is not practical and economically feasible to provide complete protection to all flood-affected areas. Therefore, reasonable economic security is given to reduce the damage caused by floods.
- The committee also observed that in view of the existing constitutional and administrative classification, it appeared that the responsibility of flood management lay with everyone and hence no one paid attention to it.
- This administrative approach needed to be changed. Hence, the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti should take up this important responsibility of flood control.
- It also recommended the central government should take the responsibility of flood control and coordination, keeping in view the loss of life and property due to floods.
- To this end, it suggested setting up a permanent National Integrated Flood Management Group under the chairmanship of the Minister of Jal Shakti, with respective state ministers to be part of the group. The committee suggested meeting once a year.
Source: Down to Earth
9. FLOODS, HEAVY RAINS KILLED A LAKH PEOPLE IN 65 YEARS, CAUSED LOSS OF RS 4 LAKH CRORE
THE CONTEXT: Flooding has affected approximately 40 million hectares of India’s land area. From 1953-2018, 109,374 people died as a result of floods and heavy rains in the country, while 6,109,628 animals died. During these 65 years, the country is estimated to have lost Rs 400,097 crore. This information is contained in the report of the Standing Committee of Parliament (Water Resources).
- According to the Standing Committee, the frequency of floods was increasing annually. As a result of this, the central and state governments could no longer blame each other, as the committee had discovered.
- All stakeholders needed to understand that managing floods was their collective responsibility. The committee stated that the attitude of blaming each other had to be abandoned. The committee recommended that the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti (Water Resources) be in charge of flood management throughout the country.
- The Standing Committee also requested the Centre to form a permanent National Integrated Flood Management Group chaired by the Minister of Jal Shakti, with participation from the concerned ministers of each state and at least one meeting be held each year. The committee recommended that the first meeting of this group be held within three months of the report being tabled in Parliament.
- The committee proposed developing an Integrated River Basin Management Plan involving all flood-affected states as well as neighbouring countries, in order to manage the water of neighbouring countries.
- The Standing Committee also requested that the Dam Safety Bill and the River Basin Management Bill be passed as soon as possible and that the existing Disaster Management Act of 2005 be properly implemented.
- The report noted that flood plain zoning was yet to be implemented in many states. The central government had sent the Model Bill of Flood Plain Zoning Act to the states, but work had only been done in Manipur, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir so far.
- However, the work of marking the flood plain had not been completed completely here. No progress had been made in making this law in the flood-affected states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Odisha.
Source: Down to Earth
10. RBI HOLDS RATES STEADY, INFLATION FORECAST NOW CLOSE TO 6% LIMIT
THE CONTEXT: The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the key policy rate unchanged at four per cent for the seventh time in a row, and reverse repo rate at 3.35 per cent. The panel has also raised the inflation target for fiscal 2001-22 but maintained the growth forecast at 9.5 per cent.
- The six-member MPC panel, headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, voted in favour keeping key policy rates unchanged and decided to continue with an accommodative stance as long as necessary to revive and sustain growth on a durable basis and continue to mitigate the impact of Covid-19on the economy, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target going forward.
- The RBI panel says the nascent and hesitant recovery in the economy needs to be nurtured through fiscal, monetary and sectoral policy levers.
- Elevated inflation level and delayed recovery in the economy would have prompted the panel to keep rates steady. Interest rates in the banking system are expected to remain stable in the next couple of months.
- The RBI panel has hiked the inflation target for fiscal 2021-22 to 5.7 per cent from 5.1 per cent projected earlier. Although the target is below the RBI’s upper band of inflation target of six per cent, input prices are rising across manufacturing and services sectors and weak demand and efforts towards cost cutting are tempering the pass-through to output prices.
- With crude oil prices at elevated levels, a calibrated reduction of the indirect tax component of pump prices by the Centre and states can help to substantially lessen cost pressures.
Source: The Indian Express
11. INDIA & CHINA FINALLY DISENGAGE IN GOGRA, TEMPORARY STRUCTURES REMOVED, ‘BUFFER ZONE MADE’
THE CONTEXT: India and China have completed troop disengagement from the Gogra area of eastern Ladakh, after 15 months of a “sensitive face-off”.
- The disengagement process, which includes removal of all temporary structures and other allied infrastructure by both sides, and restoration of landform to “pre-stand-off period”, was carried out over two days that is 4 and 5 August.
- The development comes days after the 12th round of corps-commander-level talks between India and China, which were held on 31 July at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- India and China had been locked in a stand-off at the LAC since April-May last year.Efforts have been underway at multiple levels since last year to resolve the tensions.
- While Gogra disengagement has been finalised now, disengagement has also been completed at two other points of friction, Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley.
- The next focus of India-China talks will be the Hot Springs area, which is Patrolling Point 17A.The remaining friction points — like Depsang Plains and Demchok — will take time.
Source: The Print
12. KHEL RATNA NAMED AFTER DHYAN CHAND
THE CONTEXT: The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna stands renamed as the “Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna”.
- The announcement came a day after the men’s hockey team ended a 41-year wait for an Olympic medal by taking the third spot, and on a day when the women’s team finished fourth after some heart-winning performances, including a stunning victory over Australia.
- Dhyan Chand, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, is considered India’s greatest hockey player.
- His birthday, on August 29, marks the National Sports Day, when the National Sports Awards are presented each year.
Source: The Hindu
August 07, 2021 Prelim Practice Questions
Q 1. Consider the following statements:
- UN Security Council has total 15 members.
- India is a member of UNSC at present.
- Coffee club is group of countries which advocate for UNSC expansion.
Which of the above given statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q2. Consider the following statements regarding targets under POSHAN Abhiyaan.
- Reducing stunting among children under 5 years is by 2% per annum
- Reducing anaemia among children under 5 years is by 4% per annum.
Which of the above given statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only