IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 27 May 2019

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 ‘Kalyana Lakshmi and Shadi Mubarak seen as poverty alleviation schemes’

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice  

The School of Gender Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad, undertook a study, in collaboration with government departments and non-government agencies, to explore the impact of the Kalyana Lakshmi and Shadi Mubarak schemes in Telangana and Chandranna Pelli Kanuka in Andhra Pradesh.

More in news:

  • A report of the exploratory study, titled ‘Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Schemes and Child Marriages in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana’ was released during the recent convocation at TISS, Hyderabad campus.
  • The study focused on three districts — Jogulamba Gadwal in Telangana, and Krishna and Anantapur districts in Andhra Pradesh, to explore if the CCTs had the potential to delay the age of marriage and, through it, address the discrimination and gender inequality inherent in the practice.

Popular schemes

  • The CCT schemes became popular as cash is transferred to the accounts of beneficiaries only when the girl is married after attaining the legally valid age of 18 years.
  • The features of the schemes in the two States encompass added benefits of legal protection of the marriage as well as ensuring education of girls.
  • The report, however, points out that it is too early to say whether the schemes have had the desired impact.
  • In Telangana, the scheme was launched only five years go, and it is a few months old in A.P. “These schemes penetrated well into the communities. But the widely prevalent perception is that the scheme is for extending financial assistance to poor families to meet marriage expenditure rather than driving the message that child marriage should be viewed as a social problem

Central varsities asked to notify vacancies within 100 days

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice, Education  

All Central universities must notify their faculty vacancies within the next 100 days. Currently, over 5,000 posts remain vacant in the 40 Central universities.

More in news:

  • This is one of the key thrusts of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s agenda for the first 100 days of the NDA government’s second term. Also on the agenda is a proposal to get Cabinet approval for 10 more Institutes of Eminence, at an additional cost of ₹7,000 crore.
  • The vacancy situation was exacerbated by legal battles over how to implement reservations in faculty hiring. In a controversial ruling in April 2017, the Allahabad High Court struck down the existing system, which mandated that the unit for determining reservations was the university as a whole, not separate departments.

Ordinance issued

  • Accordingly, in March 2018, the University Grants Commission (UGC) directed institutions to start treating each department as a separate unit in their recruitment process. In many smaller departments, this translated to few or no faculty reservations and led to outrage, especially among Dalit and Adivasi communities.
  • After the Supreme Court dismissed the Centre’s appeal against the High Court order, the government issued an ordinance in March 2019 to revert to the older system.
  • Other items on the 100-day action plan include the long-delayed National Education Policy, which the Ministry hopes to release by May 31, and an ambitious ₹1.5 lakh crore five-year implementation plan.
  • Another focus area is the proposed expansion of the Institutes of Eminence (IoE) project. The scheme was initially meant to bestow the tag on 20 potentially world-class institutions, which would be given higher autonomy and freedom to decide fees, course durations and structures.
  • Ten public institutions would also be given a ₹1,000 crore grant, while the ten chosen private institutions would not receive financial assistance.
  • The empowered expert committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami, had initially recommended 11 institutions for the scheme in July 2018 and the Centre finally bestowed the tag on six institutions.

 Institutions of Eminence (IoE):

 ·         It was rolled out by University Grants Commission (UGC).

·         It aims to help 20 higher education (10 public and 10 private) institutions from country break into top 500 global rankings in 10 years, and then eventually break into top 100 over time.

 Features:

·         They will have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions.

·         They will be free to decide their fee for domestic and foreign students and have flexible course duration and structure.

·         They will be exempted from approvals of government or UGC for academic collaborations with foreign institutions, except institutions in MEA and MHA’s list of negative countries.

·         10 government institutions selected will also get Rs 1,000 crore each from HRD Ministry to achieve world-class status.

·         There will be no financial assistance to the private institutions.

·         Once identified, IoE are targeted must target break into top 100 bracket in one internationally reputed ranking framework in 10 years.

Eligibility:

·         Only higher education institutions, currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), are eligible to apply for eminence tag.

·         The private IoE can also come up as greenfield ventures provided sponsoring organisation submits convincing perspective plan for 15 years.

NGT asks CPCB to exercise power, take action against private developer

Topic: GS-III: Environment

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to “exercise its statutory power for prosecution” and take action against a private developer in Gurugram for allegedly encroaching green areas and extracting groundwater illegally.

More in news:

  • In the report, the apex pollution monitoring body also suggested that the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) “should determine compensation for illegal extraction of groundwater.”
  • However, the green panel held, “We are of the view that such powers can be exercised by the CPCB itself by giving directions under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.”
  • The NGT had earlier constituted a joint committee comprising of representatives from the CPCB, CGWA, Town and Country Planning Department, Haryana, Delhi School of Planning and Architecture and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Haryana.
The National Green Tribunal:

·         It has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

·         It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.

·         The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.

·         The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.

·         The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

·         Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible.

·         New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other 4 place of sitting of the Tribunal.

 

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB):

·         It was constituted in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, it was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Its functions are:

·         To promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the states by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.

·         To improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

·         To co-ordinate the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards and resolve disputes among them.

·         To lay down, modify or annul, in consultation with the state governments concerned, the standards for stream or well, and lay down standards for the quality of air.

Centre likely to retain J&K stance

Topic: GS -III: Security

During its previous stint, the BJP-led Union government wanted to involve the separatists in the Kashmir Valley in a dialogue process but on the condition that the latter acknowledged it publicly.

More in news:

  • The official said that carrying out a dialogue behind the curtains was not going to bear any result. The talks could not fructify.With the return of the BJP to power, the Centre’s policy in Kashmir is unlikely to see any major shift, security operations being its major component. J&K is currently under President’s Rule.
  • As many as 91 terrorists have been killed in 67 encounters this year.

Lowest recruitment

  • The recruitment by terrorist groups had been the lowest since 2016, the year Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter.
  • There was a spike in Kashmiri youth joining the militant ranks post-Wani’s encounter.
  • Five months into 2019, the recruitment is not more than 33. Last year, only in the month of April were there 30 recruitments and in the whole of last year, around 200 had joined.

Collateral damage

  • The official said the number of civilians killed in encounters had also come down. There were 67 encounters in south Kashmir this year in which three civilians were killed. Last year, 24 civilians were killed during various encounters.

Seawater from Ice Age tucked in rocks discovered in Indian Ocean

 Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

  In a first, scientists have discovered the remnants of seawater dating back to the Ice Age, tucked inside rock formations in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

More in news:

  • Researchers from the University of Chicago in the U.S. made the discovery during a months-long scientific mission exploring the limestone deposits that form the Maldives.
  • The ship, the JOIDES Resolution, is specifically built for ocean science and is equipped with a drill that can extract cores of rock over a mile long from up to three miles beneath the seafloor.
  • When they extracted the water, they noticed their preliminary tests were coming back salty — much saltier than normal seawater.
  • Further studies showed that the water was not from today’s ocean, but from the last remnants of a previous era that had migrated slowly through the rock.
  • Scientists are interested in reconstructing the last Ice Age because the patterns that drove its circulation, climate and weather were very different from today’s.
  • Understanding these patterns could shed light on how the planet’s climate will react in the future.

Editorial section:

The making of the 2019 verdict – The Hindu

Facing the debacle – The Hindu

Fire and laissez-faire – The Hindu

 

 

 

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