Q.1 Consider the following statements about biofencing:
1. It is planting of trees or shrubs on farm or
field boundaries that provide protection
against cattle and wildlife.
2. This method is environment-friendly and
harvesting of such plants can also be
economical for farmers.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2 Sagittarius A* recently seen in news is:
(a) A black hole at the center of the Milky
(b) An exoplanet revolving around star
(c) A newly discovered asteroid in the Kupier
(d) None of the above.
Q.3 Consider the following pairs:
1. Khadakwasla Mutha river
2. Tilaiya Sone river
3. Bansagar Barakar river
Which of the pair(s) given above is/are correctly
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
LAWS ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORK PLACE
The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, which was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, has finalised its recommendations, a senior official said.
The recommendations, which include addition of new provisions to the Indian Penal Code, will be put up for comments from the public, the official said.
The GoM was constituted first in October 2018 in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement after many women shared their ordeal on social media. It was reconstituted in July 2019 under Mr. Shah.
The other members are Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Human Resource Development (HRD)Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani.
Another official said changes to the existing laws on sexual harassment at the workplace would be incorporated when the overhaul of the IPC was complete.
The Women and Child Development Ministry had steered the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013, which was applicable to government offices, the private sector, NGOs and the unorganised sector.
The official said the proposed amendments would be largely based on the Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997, on which the 2013 Act was based.
It made the employer responsible to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment at the workplace.
K 4 BALLISTIC MISSILE
India on Sunday successfully test-fired a 3,500-km range submarine-launched ballistic missile, K-4, official sources said. The test was carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from a submerged pontoon off the Visakhapatnam coast around noon.
The missile has been tested several times earlier as part of developmental trials to validate different parameters, the source said. “The missile ejecting from a submerged platform to the surface [sea] is the toughest part.”
Once inducted, these missiles will be the mainstay of the Arihant class of indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarines and will give India the stand-off capability to launch nuclear weapons submerged in Indian waters.
INS Arihant, the first and only operational SSBN, is armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km.
The Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday launched “Kejriwal Ka Guarantee Card”, a 10-point shorter version of the election manifesto of the party ahead of the State Assembly polls, scheduled on February 8.
“This is not a manifesto. It is much more than that. This guarantee card and the 10 promises listed in it will touch the lives of all the people of Delhi. A detailed manifesto will be released in the coming 7-10 days,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
Mumbai will get a mounted police unit for traffic and crowd control after 88 years, said Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. The unit will be taking part in this year’s Republic Day parade at Shivaji Park and if needed, similar units will be brought in for Pune and Nagpur.
The mounted unit was disbanded in 1932 due to growing vehicular traffic.
Mr. Deshmukh said that it can be used for crowd control during festivals and marches, at beaches and the rider can keep watch from a good height. “A policeman on horseback is equal to 30 personnel on the ground. The average speed of a patrolling rider will be more than 7 to 10 km than the one on feet,” he said.
The officers part of this unit will also be trained in show-jumping, tent-pegging and polo.
Apart from walkie-talkies, riders would also be supplied with body-mounted cameras for video recording.
The Mumbai police head-quarter will also be hoisting a regimental flag which was given to it in 1954 by the then Chief Minister of Bombay state Morarji Desai.
Odisha Forest Department officials, wildlife experts and researchers on Sunday sighted 146 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake, which boasts of the highest single lagoon population of the aquatic mammal in the world.
The dolphin census was simultaneously taken up in Chilika and off Odisha coast.
According to hydrophone monitoring carried out round the year in Chilika, the highest number of Irrawaddy dolphins (20-25) was moving around Rajhans, followed by the Magarmukh and Malatikuda areas.
ABOUT CHILIKA LAKE :-
CHILIKA LAKE is largest coastal lagoon of India.
Second largest coastal lagoon of world after New Caledonian Barrier Reef in New Caledonia.
It was the first wetland site to be designated under Ramsar Convention from India in 1981.
FIRST EDITORIAL: TUSSLE BETWEEN CM AND GOVERNOR
WHY IN NEWS?
The endless squabbles between the Governors and respective State governments in Kerala and West Bengal
Arif Mohammad Khan and Jagdeep Dhankhar, Governors of Kerala and West Bengal, respectively, have arrogated to themselves an activist role, which is at the heart of the tensions.
Mr. Khan has made repeated public statements on controversial questions such as the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019; he has even said that it was his duty to defend the laws made by the Centre. I
Mr. Dhankhar has placed himself at the centre of several controversies, and often appears eager for the next spectacular showdown with the State government.
ROLE OF GOVERNOR
The Constitution seeks to bolster centripetal forces in this vast and diverse country, and the Centre’s power to appoint Governors is one such.
Sagacious occupants have used the Governor’s office to promote national integration. Many others have merely acted as agents of the ruling party at the Centre.
The Governor’s role as a link between the State and the Centre shall not be an imperial one. The office of the Governor must be a dialogic and consultative one.
The combative posturing in Kerala and West Bengal will bring more disarray, no unity.
The Centre must treat State governments with the respect that democratically elected governments deserve.
LEAD ARTICLE: JUDGEMENT ON COMMUNICTIONS BLOCKADE IN KASHMIR
Author highlights that the judgment, in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, reads like a majestic charter of liberties. Its interpretation of the fundamental rights governing the freedom of speech, assembly, and movement is well-nigh perfect.
Author’s central argument is that the Court found that a ceaseless shutdown of the web would be unconstitutional, but it still failed to issue any directions quashing the blockade.
The Court has read the limitations on these rights narrowly and has made it clear that any restrictions placed on the Internet, among other things, must meet a test of proportionality.
In its opinion, written by Justice N.V. Ramana, the Supreme Court has unequivocally rejected the suggestions made by the state that it could keep the orders imposing the restrictions secret.
The right to freedom of speech and expression, contained in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, the Bench held, implicitly also includes a mandate to a right to information.
What is more, invoking Lon L. Fuller’s famous quip — that “there can be no greater legal monstrosity than a secret statute” — the Court concluded that, in a democracy, there exists both a normative and a natural expectation that orders such as these will be made public.
For, in the judges’ belief, the right to freedom of speech and expression includes within its ambit the freedom to disseminate and receive information through any means possible, including through the Internet. Additionally, the Court also recognised that the Internet today is critical to the conduct of commerce. Therefore, any restriction on the web will necessarily impinge on the right under Article 19(1)(g), “to carry on any occupation, trade or business”.
DOCTRINE OF PROPORTIONALITY
In its present form in India, as held in Anuradha Bhasin, the doctrine demands scrutiny at various levels.
First, it requires the state to show the Court that the basic aim that the restriction seeks to achieve is legitimate; second, the state must demonstrate that it has chosen the “least restrictive” measure possible to achieve its purported objective; and third the state must establish that there exists a rational nexus between the limitation imposed and its purported aim.
Therefore, the basic nub of the test is to confirm that the government in pursuit of a legitimate aim has treated people’s fundamental rights with the greatest care and attention possible.
A belief in the rule of law stems, at least partly, from a juridical culture that holds the state responsible when it trenches on its constitutional limits. In Anuradha Bhasin, howsoever genuine and sonorous those legal principles it upholds might be, the Court’s ultimate conclusion is gravid with meaning: the law demands respect, but just not in this case; at least not just yet.
SECOND ARTICLE: SITUATION OF HEALTHCARE SECTOR IN INDIA
Author highlights that Indian state has adopted two approaches towards healthcare sector from the colonial masters:
- That the spending on health shall be smooth to come under the knife at the slightest whiff of an economic downturn.
- Laissez-faire will be the unannounced, yet predominant, approach towards health care, and the majority of doctors (and patients) shall be left to fend for themselves in an unregulated market.
As early as in 1938, only 23% of doctors were in the public sector with the rest working in the private sector, predominantly in single practices.
Post-Independence, perpetual sub-optimal investments in public health allowed the private sector to capitalise, flourish, and increasingly gain the confidence of the masses. The private sector went from having about 1,400 enterprises in 1950 to more than 10 lakh in 2010-11. To doctors, this promised greater professional liberty, lesser restrictions, and higher incomes.
After liberalisation, the greater focus shifted to the lucrative tertiary-care sector and led to an onslaught of sophisticated private health care in cities.
The dominance of the market, bespoken by the simple fact that the private sector has over 70% of the health-care workforce and 80% of allopathic doctors, has meant that it is scarcely possible for a health-care provider to function in defiance of its norms.
Author highlights that medical profession attracts more of those with an ambition to earn riches than ones with an aptitude for medical service, thus leading to a generation of doctors who become the apologists of a profiteering system.
Author highlights that we need to develop a system founded on the concept of equity which, while remunerating doctors well, is able to separate incomes from patient care decisions by and large.
SECOND EDITORIAL: JALLIKATTU
Jallikattu is celebrated in Tamil Nadu as a display of valour, and is considered as an inevitable part of the Pongal season in the State.
It is promoted as a tourist attraction by the government and its appeal as a symbol of Tamil culture remains the same year after year.
Editorial highlights that it is an event that cries for maximum regulation.
CRUELTY ON ANIMALS
Even conceding that every sport has an element of the danger of injury, especially contact sports, the distinguishing feature of events involving animals is that they are driven by the instinct of self-preservation and anxiety, and are not bound by rules and reason the way human participants are.
Popular sentiment, political patronage and the cultural instinct to preserve practices that hark back to a hoary past contribute collectively to the continuance of the sport. Other virtues attributed to it include giving native breeds a good shot at survival and an opportunity to youth to develop a robust outlook even while earning rewards.
Any activity that endangers participant and onlooker alike should be held under rigorously monitored regulations and restrictions. It is also time that appropriate protective gear is devised and made mandatory for participants.
FIRST ARTICLE: WHY MAKE IN INDIA HAS FAILED?
WHAT IS MAKE IN INDIA?
On September 25, 2014, the Indian government announced the ‘Make in India’ initiative to encourage manufacturing in India and galvanise the economy with dedicated investments in manufacturing and services.
Make in India set an ambitious goal of making India a global manufacturing hub. To achieve this goal, targets were identified and policies outlined. The three major objectives were: (a) to increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum in order to increase the sector’s share in the economy; (b) to create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022; and (c) to ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (revised to 2025) from the current 16%.
HOW HAS MAKE IN INDIA PERFORMED?
The last five years witnessed slow growth of investment in the economy. This is more so when we consider capital investments in the manufacturing sector. Gross fixed capital formation of the private sector, a measure of aggregate investment, declined to 28.6% of GDP in 2017-18 from 31.3% in 2013-14 (Economic Survey 2018-19). Interestingly, though the public sector’s share remained more or less the same during this period, the private sector’s share declined from 24.2% to 21.5%.
With regard to output growth, we find that the monthly index of industrial production pertaining to manufacturing has registered double-digit growth rates only on two occasions during the period April 2012 to November 2019. In fact, data show that for a majority of the months, it was 3% or below and even negative for some months. Needless to say, negative growth implies contraction of the sector. Thus, we are clearly waiting for growth to arrive.
Regarding employment growth, we have witnessed questions being raised over the government’s delay in releasing data as well as its attempts to revise existing data collection mechanisms. The crux of the debate has been that employment, especially industrial employment, has not grown to keep pace with the rate of new entries into the labour market.
Thus on all three counts, ‘Make in India’ has failed.
WHY IT HAS FAILED?
First, it relied too much on foreign capital for investments and global markets for produce. This created an inbuilt uncertainty, as domestic production had to be planned according to the demand and supply conditions elsewhere.
Second, policymakers neglected the third deficit in the economy, which is implementation. While economists worry mostly about budget and fiscal deficit, policy implementers need to take into account the implications of implementation deficit in their decisions.
Thirdly it set out too ambitious growth rates for the manufacturing sector to achieve. An annual growth rate of 12-14% is well beyond the capacity of the industrial sector. Historically India has not achieved it and to expect to build capabilities for such a quantum jump is perhaps an enormous overestimation of the implementation capacity of the government.
Fourthly the initiative brought in too many sectors into its fold. This led to a loss of policy focus. Further, it was seen as a policy devoid of any understanding of the comparative advantages of the domestic economy.
Fifthly, given the uncertainties of the global economy and ever-rising trade protectionism, the initiative was spectacularly ill-timed.
The government must realise that industrialisation cannot be kick-started by a series of bills in Parliament and hosting investors’ meets.
ISSUE: BRU’S CRISIS
WHY IN NEWS?
A quadripartite agreement (between Centre, State governments of Tripura and Mizoram, and representatives of Bru organisations) in New Delhi on January 16 allowed some 35,000 Bru tribal people, who were displaced from Mizoram and are living in Tripura as refugees since 1997, to settle permanently in Tripura.
Who are the Brus and how did they become internally displaced?
The Brus, aka Reangs, are spread across Tripura, Mizoram and southern Assam.
In Mizoram, they are scattered in Kolasib, Lunglei and Mamit districts.
While many Brus of Assam and Tripura are Hindu, the Brus of Mizoram converted to Christianity over the years.
Clashes in 1995 with the majority Mizos led to the demand for the removal of the Brus, perceived to be non-indigenous, from Mizoram’s electoral rolls. This led to an armed movement by a Bru outfit, which killed a Mizo forest official in October 1997.
The retaliatory ethnic violence saw more than 40,000 Brus fleeing to adjoining Tripura where they took shelter in six relief camps.
Have there been efforts to repatriate them?
The Centre and the two State governments involved made nine attempts to resettle the Brus in Mizoram. The first was in November 2010 when 1,622 Bru families with 8,573 members went back. Protests by Mizo NGOs, primarily the Young Mizo Association, stalled the process in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Meanwhile, the Brus began demanding relief on a par with the relief given to Kashmiri Pandits and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. The Centre spent close to ₹500 crore for relief and rehabilitation until the last peace deal was brokered over three years since 2015. A final package of ₹435 crore was arrived at in July 2018 and it involved Mizo NGOs besides the governments concerned.
Why did the Mizoram rehabilitation package not work out?
The package covered 32,876 members of 5,407 Bru families, entailing a one-time assistance of ₹4 lakh as fixed deposit within a month of repatriation, monthly cash assistance of ₹5,000 through DBT, free rations for two years, and ₹1.5 lakh in three instalments as house-building assistance.
The package also included Eklavya residential schools, permanent residential and ST certificates besides funds to the Mizoram government for improving security in Bru resettlement areas. The refugees were given a deadline, September 30, to move or face harder times at the relief camps. But most stayed back, demanding resettlement in close-knit clusters and an autonomous council for Brus in Mizoram.
What are the implications of the Tripura resettlement?
The demand to rehabilitate the Brus in Tripura was first raised by Pradyot Manikya, the scion of the Tripura royal family. The BJP-led Tripura government agreed.
Chief Minister Biplab Deb called the “solution” within Tripura historic, as did his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga.
Guwahati-based researcher on social issues and conflicts, Walter Fernandes, said the decision was humanitarian from the point of view of the Brus, who were apprehensive about returning to Mizoram, but felt it could lead to conflicts with the locals of Tripura.
The displaced Brus who returned to Mizoram have already begun demanding a package equivalent to the one those who stayed behind in the Tripura relief camps would be getting. And conflicts between the Brus and the local Bengali non-tribal people have started taking place in Tripura.
RETIREMENT OF HARRY AND MEGAN
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle will no longer be working members of Britain’s monarchy and they will pay their own way in life as they embark on an independent future, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday.
They will also no longer use their “Royal Highness” titles, the palace said in an announcement.
Prince Harry’s late mother Princess Diana lost the title as the Princess of Wales after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.
Harry will remain a Prince and the couple will keep their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they begin a new life split between North America and Britain, but they will not take part in any future ceremonial events or royal tours.
A palace spokeswoman said the couple would no longer receive public money and that they would repay the cost of refurbishing their cottage in Windsor, officially worth £2.4 million ($3.1 million). It remained unclear what public funds would be spent on their security. Buckingham Palace declined to comment but said there was an independent process to determine public funding for security.
The change means Prince Harry, who served a decade in the British Army, will give up his military patronages and his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
While they will no longer receive public funding, Prince Charles will continue to offer private financial support, a royal source said.