INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. IREDA LAUNCHES ‘WHISTLE BLOWER’ PORTAL
THE CONTEXT: Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA), a PSU under the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched a ‘Whistle-blower Portal’, as a part of ‘Vigilance Awareness Week 2021’.
- Through this portal, IREDA employees can raise concerns related to fraud, corruption, abuse of power etc. The portal has been developed by the IT Team of the company.
- The whistle-blower portal is a part of an IREDA’s “zero tolerance” of corruption.
- The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) was founded in 1987 and is a Government of India Mini Ratna (Category – I) Enterprise under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
- It is a Non-Banking Financial Institution that was created as a Public Limited Government Company with the motto “Energy for Ever.”
2. E-CHHAWANI PORTAL
THE CONTEXT: Incentives announced for Cashless Transaction on eChhawani Portal of Cantonment Board to promote digital economy. Cashless transaction to get up to 2% rebate.
- eChhawani is a citizen-centric project of Directorate General of Defence Estates, Ministry of Defence.
- Under this initiative, Cantonment Boards provide online citizen services to more than 20 lakh residents across 62 Cantonments in the country through the unified eChhawani Portal.
- The unified portal (https://echhawani.gov.in) provides centralised access to civic services to residents of all Cantonment along with all relevant information in a simple, easy to understand and effective manner.
- The services are being provided in the paperless, faceless and cashless environment on eChhawani Portal.
3. NHRC: SET UP POLICE COMPLAINTS BODIES
THE CONTEXT: Fifteen years after the Supreme Court issued directions for police reforms, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union Home Ministry and the State Governments to set up police complaints authorities as per the judgment in the Prakash Singh vs Union of India, 2006, case.
- The NHRC’s core advisory group on criminal justice system reforms has said there is an “immediate need to set up police complaints authorities at the State/UT and district level” as per the Supreme Court’s directives.
- It said the MHA and the Law Ministry should consider implementing the recommendations of the 113th report of the Law Commission to add Section 114 B to the Indian Evidence Act.
- This would ensure that if a person sustains injuries in custody, it is presumed that the injuries were inflicted by the police.
- It is a statutory body (Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993).
- Composition: A multi-member body consisting of a chairman and five members.
- Qualification: The chairman should be retired chief justice of India or judge of Supreme Court, and members should be serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court, a serving or retired chief justice of a high court and three persons (out of which at least one should be a woman) having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights.
- In addition, the commission also has seven ex-officio members.
- Appointment: Appointed by the president on recommendations of a six-member committee.
- Term: The chairman and members hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- Removal: The president can remove the chairman or any member from the office
- The salaries, allowances and other conditions of service of the chairman or a member are determined by the Central government.
- It has all the powers of a civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character.
- The commission is not empowered to inquire into any matter after the expiry of one year from the date on which the act constituting a violation of human rights is alleged to have been committed.
- The commission is mainly recommendatory in nature. It has no power to punish the violators of human rights, nor to award any relief including monetary relief to the victim. But, it should be informed about the action taken on its recommendations within one month.
- The commission submits its annual or special reports to the Central government and to the state government concerned.
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
4. INFRASTRUCTURE FOR RESILIENT ISLAND STATE
THE CONTEXT: PM launched the Initiative for the Resilient Island States (IRIS) for developing infrastructure of small island nations, saying that it gives new hope, new confidence and satisfaction of doing something for the most vulnerable countries.
- The IRIS initiative is a part of the CDRI that would focus on building capacity, having pilot projects, especially in small island developing states.
- The new initiative is the result of cooperation between India, the U.K. and Australia and included the participation of leaders of small island nations such as Fiji, Jamaica and Mauritius.
5. GLOBAL SOLAR GRID INITIATIVE
THE CONTEXT: At COP26, an initiative by India and the United Kingdom to tap solar energy and have it travel seamlessly across borders was announced.
- It includes a group of governments called the Green Grids Initiative — One Sun One World One Grid group.
- It is endorsed by more than 80 countries.
- Research support for the Green Grids Initiative is being provided by the Climate Compatible Growth consortium of universities, which includes Cambridge, Imperial College, Oxford and University College London.
- The Green Grids Initiative Working Groups made up of national and international agencies have already been established for Africa and for the Asia-Pacific region. Their membership includes most major multilateral development banks, such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank.
6. GLOBAL METHANE PLEDGE
THE CONTEXT: Leaders at the CoP26 global climate conference in Glasgow pledged to make a 30 per cent cut in global methane emissions by 2030, and another to arrest and reverse deforestation by the same year.
- Nearly 90 countries have joined a U.S.-and EU-led effort to slash emissions of methane by 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels.
- Among the signatories is Brazil — one of the five biggest emitters of methane
- Over 100 national leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.
- It expands a commitment by 40 countries as part of the 2014 New York Declaration of Forests.
- India has not signed up to either of the two pledges.
7. MoRD SIGNS MOU WITH FLIPKART
THE CONTEXT: Flipkart has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Rural Development of the Government of India (MoRD), for their ambitious Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) program, to help empower local businesses and self-help groups (SHGs) by bringing them into the e-commerce fold.
- The partnership is aligned with the DAY-NRLM’s goal of strengthening the capabilities of rural communities for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
- This MoU is a part of the Flipkart Samarth program and aims to provide skilled yet under-served communities of craftsmen, weavers and artisans with national market access through the Flipkart marketplace, as well as dedicated support for knowledge and training.
ABOUT FLIPKART SAMARTH
- Flipkart Samarth seeks to break entry barriers for local communities by providing time-bound incubation and support with onboarding, cataloguing, marketing, account management, business insights, and warehousing. This will create more avenues for increasing business and trade inclusion and help in creating and sustaining better livelihood opportunities.
- The Flipkart Samarth program was launched in 2019 as a sustainable and inclusive platform to empower underserved domestic communities and businesses with better opportunities and livelihoods. Flipkart Samarth is currently supporting the livelihoods of over 9,50,000 artisans, weavers and craftsmen across India, and is continuously working towards bringing even more sellers onto the platform.
- The MoRD’s DAY-NRLM programme with its outreach in 6768 blocks of 706 districts across all 28 States and 6 UTs has 7.84 crore women mobilized into more than 71 lakh SHGs is proving as the game-changing initiative to empower poor rural women.
- Under the mission, poor women from different cross-sections of class and caste form into SHGs and their federations, providing financial, economic and social development services to their members for enhancing their income and quality of life.
- As part of the efforts to promote livelihoods activities, continuous efforts have been made by NRLM at the state and national level for promoting rural products manufactured by these SHGs by providing platforms like Saras Fairs, Saras Gallery and retail outlets, state-owned online e-commerce platforms and other commercial e-commerce platforms.
8. DAC APPROVED PROPOSALS WORTH RS 7,965 CRORE
THE CONTEXT: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition proposals for modernisation and operational needs of the Armed Forces amounting to Rs 7,965 crore. All of these proposals (100%) are under ‘Make in India’ with a focus on design, development and manufacturing in India.
- Approval for procurement of 12 Light Utility Helicopters from HAL.
- Lynx U2 Fire Control System from BEL to enhance detection tracking and engagement capabilities of Naval warships.
- Approval for Mid Life Upgradation of Dornier Aircraft from HAL to increase Naval capacity of coastal surveillance.
- Global procurement case of Naval guns foreclosed; Guns’ quantity added to upgraded Short Range Gun Mount being manufactured by BHEL.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
9. AI PE CHARCHA
THE CONTEXT: The National eGovernance Division (NeGD) under the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) recently organised an AI Pe Charcha (AI Dialogue) wherein the panellists discussed the importance of data-driven and AI-enabled governance along with the global best practices.
- The session had speakers from diverse backgrounds leading to an engaging session for Government officials, AI enthusiasts, AI practitioners, youth, and those who want to understand the implementation aspects of AI. The eminent panellists spoke about the importance of using the right data and how different governments around the world have employed AI to standalone departments and processes for devising prudent policies.
- The AI Pe Charcha series has been initiated as a part of Responsible AI for Social Empowerment (RAISE), India’s first global AI summit, which was organised by MeitY in 2020.
- Such initiatives by the Government of India have commenced a much-needed discourse on AI and would lead to certain positive, tangible meaningful changes in the overall economic and the social sphere.
10. POLARISATION OF LIGHT
THE CONTEXT: Indian Astronomers have found a new method to understand the atmosphere of extrasolar planets. They have shown that planets going around stars other than the Sun can be studied by observing the polarization of light and studying polarisation signatures.
- These polarisation signatures or variations in scattering intensity of light can be observed with existing instruments and expanding the study of planets beyond the solar system using existing instruments.
- About a couple of decades ago, Sujan Sengupta, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, suggested that the thermal radiation of hot young planets and the reflected light of planets orbiting other stars, known as extra-solar planets or exoplanets would also be polarized and the measure of the polarization might unveil the chemical composition and other properties of the exoplanetary atmosphere.
- Subsequent confirmation of the prediction by the detection of polarization of many Brown Dwarfs motivated researchers all over the world to build highly sensitive polarimeters and use polarimetric methods to probe the exoplanetary environments.
- Polarimetric techniques in the near future will open up a new window for the study of the exoplanets and enable us to overcome many of the limitations of the traditional techniques.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1 Which of the following are sources of methane gas released into the atmosphere?
- Cow’s digestive system
- Paddy farms
- Natural gas production
Select the correct answer from the code given below:
a) 1 and 3 only
b) 1, 2 and 3 only
c) 2, 3 and 4 only
d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
ANSWER FOR NOVEMBER 2nd, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Answer: C
- India’s commitment made at COP26, Glasgow:
- India will achieve net-zero emissions latest by 2070.
- By 2030, India will ensure 50% of its energy will be sourced from renewable sources.
- India also committed to reducing its carbon emissions until 2030 by a billion tonnes.
- India will also reduce its emissions intensity per unit of GDP by less than 45%.
- India would also install systems to generate 500 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030, a 50 GW increase from its existing target.