The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to impose President’s Rule in Puducherry. This proposal was approved days after the Congress-led government in the union territory lost power after a vote of confidence.
This decision was taken because no party had claimed to form a government in Puducherry after the chief minister resigned.
Following the resignation, Lieutenant General recommended President’s Rule in Puducherry which was approved by the Union Cabinet.
The model code of conduct will also come into effect after the Election Commission announced the dates for elections.
The President’s Rule in India is the suspension of state government and imposition of Union government rule. The President’s rule is imposed in accordance with the Article 356 of the Constitution. It is imposed when a state government is unable to function as per the Constitutional provisions. Following this, the executive authority is exercised by the centrally appointed governor. The governor can also appoint other administrators to assist them. Under the President’s rule, the council of minister is dissolved and the office of chief minister is vacated. Also, the Vidhan Sabha is either prorogued or dissolved and it is reconstituted only after the election. As of now, Chhattisgarh and Telangana are the only states where President’s rule has not been imposed.
Vote of no confidence
It is a statement or vote regarding a person in a position of responsibility when that person is no longer deemed fit to hold that position. The person is declared unfit for the position when they are inadequate in some aspect and are failing to carry out any obligations.
The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) Symposium on Sustainable Development of Dams & River Basins was inaugurated by the Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, on February 24, 2021.
The Symposium on Sustainable Development of Dams & River Basins is being organised by the International Commission on Large Dams (INCOLD) in association with the Dam Rehabilitation Improvement Project (DRIP), Central Water Commission (CWC) and National Hydrology Project (NHP).
The event will be organised at New Delhi as Hybrid event starting from24thFebruary to 27th February 2021.
The event will be participated by more than 300 delegates from India and abroad.
The symposium is being organised with the objective of providing an opportunity to Indian Dam Engineering Professionals and Agencies to share their experiences, ideas and latest developments.
With the help of this platform, they will be sharing new materials and construction technologies, best engineering practices, advancement in investigation techniques, dam safety issues etc.
The event will also provide opportunity to network with the world-renowned dam experts from across the world who are involved in Dam Construction, management, operation and maintenance.
Dam Rehabilitation Improvement Project (DRIP)
Under the event, the achievement of the Dam Rehabilitation Improvement Project (DRIP), that was launched to improve the safety and operational performance of large dams and its appurtenances structures, will be presented to the Global Dam Community who are looking forward to India’s development. Further, the Dam Safety Bill which was approved by Lok Sabha, to put the regulatory mechanism and proper surveillance, operation, inspection and maintenance of all dams in India will also be publicised.
The Indian Army is in process of acquiring niche technology by procuring quantity 556 Augmented Reality Head Mounted Display (ARHMD) System. The army will procure it under Make-II Category.
The ARHMD System is seen as a capability enhancement for the Land Based Air Defence Weapon Systems.
The land-based air defence weapon systems include ZU 23mm 2B AD Gun System and the IGLA shoulder fired Infra-Red Homing Air Defence Missile System. These systems will provide operator with radar and Thermal Imaging (TI) sight outputs.
The proposed system seeks to enhance engagement capability during night.
It will also enhance the conditions of inclement weather.
The system will also be enhancing the day-time engagements through the increased reaction times, integration of output of TI sight and data computation for decision support.
The vendor responses were evaluated after which Project Sanction Order (PSO) was issued on February 22, 2021 to six vendors to develop the prototype.
The contract will finally be placed with one of the firms after they successfully develop the prototype in accordance with the provisions of Buy (Indian-IDDM) category of DAP 2020.
In the Defence procurement procedure, the provision of ‘Make’ category of capital acquisition is the key pillar of realising the visions of ‘Make in India’ initiative. This category fosters the indigenous capabilities by design & development of required defence equipment, product or systems by public as well as the private sector industry. ‘Make’ Procedure is divided into two sub-categories:
Make-I– Projects under this sub-category involves the Government funding of 90%. The funding from the government is released in a phased manner. It is released as per the terms agreed between MoD and the vendor.
Make-II– Projects under this sub-category involves the prototype development of equipment, system or platform. It also involves the upgradation of the equipment or system. For the development of prototype, no Government funding is provided.
The Union Cabinet has approved the production-linked Incentive scheme for IT Hardware on February 24, 2021.
The PLI scheme proposes an incentive to boost the domestic manufacturing.
It also proposes to attract large investments in value chain of IT Hardware.
The proposed scheme includes the target segments like tablets, laptops, all-in-one PCs and servers.
Total cost of the proposed scheme is around Rs.7,350 crore for 4 years.
The budget includes an incentive outlay of Rs.7,325 crore besides the administrative charges of Rs 25 crore.
Under the scheme, a total production of worth Rs 3,26,00 crore will be achieved out of which 75 per cent will be achieved through the exports.
This scheme has a potential to generate direct and indirect employment of over 1,80,000 in over 4 years.
It will provide also provide impetus to Domestic Value Addition for IT Hardware for which there is an expectation that it will rise to 20% – 25% by 2025.
Why this scheme was launched?
Currently in India, laptops of worth Rs 30,000 crore and tablets worth Rs 3,000 crore are sold in India. Out of them, 80 per cent of are imported. Thus, this new PLI scheme was launched with which, government hopes to pull the top 5 global companies to India which controls 50 per cent of the international market.
PLI in Pharma sector
Government has also extended the PLI scheme of worth Rs 15,000 crore for pharmaceuticals. This move was taken in order to reduce the imports and boost the domestic production. Currently, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is $40 billion and it contributes around 3.5 per cent to the global market. But the high-end patented drugs are still imported. The extension of PLI Scheme to pharmaceuticals will make it globally competitive.
About PLI Scheme
This scheme is an outcome oriented as well as output-oriented scheme in which the incentives are paid only if the manufacturers make the goods. It provides cash incentives for five to seven years. Under this scheme all the important sectors are covered ranging from automobiles, food processing, advanced chemistry, Pharma, Solar PV manufacturing etc.
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, has inaugurated the world’s largest Stadium at Motera, in Gujarat on February 24, 2021.
The Motera stadium was later renamed as the Narendra Modi Stadium.
This stadium has surpassed the Melbourne Cricket Ground and became the largest stadium in the world.
This stadium is going to make history by hosting the second home pink-ball test match on February 24 between India and England.
Facilities at the Stadium
The newly built stadium was built by equipping all the modern facilities and technologies which is required for present-day cricket.
It comprises of four dressing rooms which is required nowadays for hosting twenty-twenty matches back-to-back.
The stadium was built in over 63 acres.
It has a seating capacity of 1.10 lakh people surpassing the seating capacity of 90,000 people by the Melbourne stadium.
It was built at an estimated cost of Rs. 800 crores.
It was constructed by Larsen & Toubro.
The stadium also comprises of 76 corporate boxes with a seating capacity of 25 each.
Apart from that, it has an indoor academy, an Olympic level swimming pool, four dressing rooms for athletes, GCA clubhouse and food courts.
At the cricket stadium, 11 clay pitches of five black soil and six red soil have been prepared.
This is the first stadium that uses both coloured clay for the practice and main pitches.
One of its key features is that, in rain the pitch can be dried in only 30 minutes.
The old Motera Stadium was demolished in the year 2016 which had the sitting capacity of 54,000 spectators. So, the foundation stone for the new cricket stadium was laid down in January 2018. The foundation stone was laid by the Gujarat Cricket Association. Its construction has been completed in two years.
Recently, a kangaroo painting was identified in Australia with the help of some ancient wasps. The kangaroo painting was created over 17,000 years ago by Aboriginal community artists. The painting was identified as Australia’s oldest intact rock art.
The painting is a two-metre-long artwork.
It was discovered on the sloped ceiling of rock shelter in Kimberley region of Western Australia.
This artwork was painted in an early naturalistic style.
The naturalistic style often features the life-sized renderings of animals.
The kangaroo painting is somewhat 17,500 and 17,100 years old.
The team discovered around 27 mud wasp nests along 16 different paintings from across the eight rock shelters.
Indigenous Australian art
This art includes the art made by Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This art form comprises of the works in a wide range of media such as paintings on leaves, wood carving, bark painting, watercolour painting, rock carving, ceremonial clothing, sculpting and sand painting. This is the art by Indigenous Australians that dates back to pre-European colonisation by thousands of years.
They are the Indigenous peoples of Australian mainland and its islands like Fraser Island, Tasmania, Tiwi Island, Hinchinbrook Island and Groote Eylandt. This term refers to the Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders jointly.
The rock art includes the painting and carving which can be found at sites throughout Australia. The oldest rock art is found in Pilbara region of the Western Australia and Olary district of South Australia. These arts are estimated to be around 40,000 years old.
It is the northernmost region among the nine regions of Western Australia. The region is bordered by Indian Ocean to the west, Timor Sea to the North, Great Sandy to the south. It was named after Secretary of State for the Colonies John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley by the government surveyor Alexander Forrest in 1879.
A group of scientists of three institutes have discovered a new species of alpine plant in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The details were published in Biodiversitas: Journal of Biological Diversity.
About the New Alpine Plant Species
The new species of plant belongs to the family of Himalayan sunflower.
It has been named as Cremanthodium indicum.
This species of plant generally flowers from July to August.
It is endemic to the Penga-Teng Tso Lake of Tawang district.
As per the IUCN Guideline, this alpine plant species has been listed as critically endangered.
The plants that grow in the alpine climate. Many of the plant species and taxon grow as a plant community in such alpine tundra including perennial grasses, forbs, sedges, mosses, cushion plants and lichens. These plants are adapted to harsh alpine climatic of environmental conditions such as dryness, low temperatures, wind, drought, ultraviolet radiation, poor nutritional soil and a short growing season.
Typical weather for the regions that occurs above the tree line. It is also called as the mountain climate or highland climate.
It is the edge of habitat at which trees are capable to grow. Tree line is found at high elevations and high latitudes. It the line beyond which the trees cannot tolerate environmental conditions like extreme snowpack, cold temperatures, or associated lack of moisture.
It is the smallest districts out of the 16 administrative districts of Arunachal Pradesh. It has a population of 49,977 which makes the state as eighth least populous district in India. This district is inhabited by the Monpa people.
The Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, led Congress government presented its third state budget and the first paperless budget on February 24, 2021 in the state assembly. The Chief minister holds the finance portfolio and he finalised the budget on February 23, 2021.
Rajasthan Legislative Assembly
The state legislative assembly of Rajasthan is the unicameral legislature. This assembly meets at the Vidhan Bhavan in Jaipur. The members of the state Legislative assembly are directly elected by the people. They are elected for a term of 5 years. Currently, the legislative assembly is comprising of 200 members.
First Rajasthan Legislative Assembly was inaugurated in March 1952. Its tenure was from 1952 to 1957. The assembly then had the strength of 160 members. In the year 1956, the strength of the assembly was increased to 190 by merging the Ajmer State with Rajasthan. The second legislative assembly was inaugurated in 1957 with 176 members. Following this, third legislative assembly was inaugurated in 1962 with 176. The fourth and the fifth assembly had 184 members. The strength of the assembly was increased to 200 with the sixth legislative assembly that ran from 1977 to 1980. The Fourteenth Legislative Assembly was started in January 2013. Umed Singh of Barmer became the youngest member of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly in 1962.
Unicameral Legislature means the legislature which comprises of a single legislative or parliamentary chamber or house. Almost half of the world’s sovereign states are unicameral. However, the People’s Republic of China lies in between having a legislature and a formal advisory body.
The state budget is laid down before the house of houses of legislatures in the state in accordance with Article 202 of the Constitution. The budget comprises of the estimated statement of receipt and expenditure for a financial year.
The flagship scheme of the central government, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN) has completed its two years on February 24, 2021.
The PM-KISAN Scheme was formally launched by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on February 24, 2019.
The scheme was launched at Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
About PM KISAN Scheme
The scheme was launched with the objective of PM of augmenting the income of the farmers by giving all the landholding farmer’s family an income support all across the country.
Under this scheme, an amount of 6000 rupees per year is transferred to the bank accounts of farmers directly.
This amount is transferred to them in three instalments of 2000 rupees.
This scheme was initially launched to provide income support to all Small and Marginal Farmers’ families who are holding the cultivable land up to 2 hectares.
Later, the scheme was expanded to cover all farmers’ families irrespective of the size of their land holdings.
However, Affluent farmers have been excluded from this scheme.
Till date, more than 1 lakh 10 thousand crore rupees have been transferred to the farmers’ income.
The scheme was announced by Piyush Goyal during the Interim Union Budget of 2019 and was formally announced on February 24, 2019. It has cost ₹75,000 crore per annum. The scheme came into effect from December 2019.
This scheme was first conceived and implemented by the Telangana government as “Rythu Bandhu scheme”. Under this scheme, certain amount is given directly to eligible farmers.
The scheme also received support from various organisations including the World Bank for its implementation.
Rythu Bandhu scheme
This scheme is also called as Farmer’s Investment Support Scheme (FISS). It is a welfare scheme that provides direct support to farmers investment for two crops in a year. Under this scheme, the Telangana government is providing 58.33 lakh farmers a support of ₹5000 per acre per season twice in a year.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the acquisition of 118 Arjun Mark 1A tanks on February 23, 2021.
The approval was given for the Indian Army at a cost of ₹6,000 crores.
This move will be a boost for the indigenisation in defence sector.
The approval was given for 58-tonne weight DRDO-developed tanks.
These tanks will be ready for delivery within the 30 months of signing the contract.
Tanks have been fully designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with the Indian Army.
118 tanks would join the fleet of first batch of 124 Arjun tanks.
Arjun tanks have already been inducted into Indian Army and are deployed along the Pakistan Border in the western desert.
118 tanks will also form two regiments in Armoured Corps of the Indian Army on the line of 124 tanks.
Apart from that, the Defence Ministry also approved for the acquisition of indigenously-developed Nag anti-tank guided missile and Arudhra medium power radar.
The DAC also accorded three Acceptance of Necessities (AoNs) at an overall cost of ₹13,700 crore.
All these AoNs are in the highest priority category of acquisition- “Buy Indian-IDDM” where IDDM stands for Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured.
It is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile. The missile has the capability of top attack because of which it can effectively engage and destroy all the known enemy tanks in the day as well as night time. Final trial of the Nag anti-tank guided missile was conducted in October 2020 and now the missile is ready to be inducted into Indian Army.
It is a third-generation main battle tank which has been developed by DRDO. It was developed for Indian Army. It has been after Arjun from the Indian epic Mahabharata. It comprises of 120 mm main rifled gun.
An Indian social activist, Anjali Bhardwaj, who works on issues of transparency and accountability has been selected for the “United State International Anti-Corruption Champions Award” along with the other 11 anti-corruption champions. These names were announced by Joe Biden administration.
Biden administration is of the view that, these issues can be tackled only by working in coordination with the committed partners.
These partners could be:
Courageous individuals, who champion the anti-corruption efforts and
Countries, which are working to fulfil their commitments with respect to the international anti-corruption standards.
Thus, this new International Anti-Corruption Champions Award was announced that recognised individuals who have worked tirelessly against transparency & corruption in order to ensure the accountability in their own countries.
About Anjali Bhardwaj
She is a 48-year-old activist who is also the founder of ‘Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS)’.
SNS is a citizens’ group that promote transparency and accountability in government and also encourage the active participation of citizens.
She has also served as an active member in the “Right to Information Movement” in India.
She is a convener of National Campaign for People’s’ Right to Information. This campaign resulted into establishment of an anti-corruption ombudsman and Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.
Other Champions include- Diana Salazar of Ecuador, Sophia Pretrick of Micronesia, Ardian Dvorani of Albania, Francis Ben Kaifala of Sierra Leone, Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea, Dhuha A Mohammed of Iraq, Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala, Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla of Libya, Bolot Temirov of Kyrgyz Republic, Victor Sotto of The Philippines and Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine.
Whistleblower Protection Act, 2014
The act comprises of the provision to receive the complaints related to corruption or wilful misuse of power or discretion against any public servant. It also provides for the mechanism to inquire or cause inquiry into such complaints. Further, this act provides provisions of safeguards for the person who makes complaints against victimization.
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) recently published its draft national policy on migrant labours.
The policy was prepared in association with the working subgroup of officials and members of civil society.
This draft policy is inspired by the rights-based approach which gain momentum during the return migration of around 10 million migrant workers from cities to their respective village during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Facts regarding draft national migrant labour policy
The draft migrant workers policy describes two approaches regarding the policy design.
The first approach focusses on cash transfers, special quotas, and reservations for the labours.
The other approach seeks to enhance the agency and capability of community. Thus, in turn removes any of the aspects coming in the way of natural ability of the individual to prosper.
The policy further rejects the handout approach and opts for a rights-based framework.
Policy also seeks to remove the restrictions on true agency and potential of the migrant workers.
The policy was formulated with the goal of “not providing any temporary or permanent economic aids as well as the social aids”.
The policy further maintains that, “Internal Migration should be considered as an integral part of the development and government’s policies should be formulated in such a way that it facilitates the migration”.
What was the need of new policy?
This draft policy was formulated in the light of flaws in the existing laws. A report of 2017 also stated that the migrant workers should be integrated with all other workers so as to overarch the exploitation of workers by contractors. Further, in India the size of the unorganised sector is huge so a comprehensive policy was required to provide them a social protection.
Japan has appointed the first ever Minister for Loneliness amid the increasing suicide rates in Japan.
Suicide rates in Japan has increased for the first time in 11 years in the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Japan has appointed the loneliness minister on the line of United Kingdom which became the first country in world to create a similar position in the country in 2018.
Tetsushi Sakamoto, who is in charge of combating Japan’s falling birth rate and revitalising regional economies, was also appointed as the Loneliness minister.
Japanese government has also created an “isolation or loneliness countermeasures office on February 19, 2021 within its cabinet.
This office will look after the issues like suicide and child poverty which have increased amid the ongoing pandemic.
Suicide in Japan
Suicide is considered a major social issue in Japan. In the year 2017, the country had witnessed seventh highest suicide rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The suicide rates had increased by 34.7% during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The rates were at peak in 2003 after that, the rates have been decreasing.
The rates were at its lowest in the year 2019. However, the monthly suicide rates in Japan increased by 16% in between July and October 2020 because of COVID-19.
Among the total cases, seventy percent of suicides are male. Suicide has become the leading cause of death for man in the age group of 2- years to 44 years.
He is a Japanese politician who was appointed as the Minister of Loneliness on February 12, 2021. He is also a member of the House of Representatives in national legislature of Japan called Diet. He represents the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan.
The Central government has launched the ‘National Urban Digital Mission’ on February 23, 2021.
The National Urban Digital Mission was launched by the Union Housing & Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister of Electronics & IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad.
While launching the mission, the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry (MoHUA) stated that, this mission will institutionalise the citizen-centric and ecosystem-driven approach for the urban governance and service delivery in cities by the year 2022. It will also be providing these service deliveries in all cities and towns by 2024.
Initiatives like Smart-Code, India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX), Smart Cities 2.0 website, and Geospatial Management Information System (GMIS) were also launched at this virtual event.
”India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX)” initiative has been developed by the Smart Cities Mission in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
National Urban Digital Mission
This mission was launched in order to create a digital infrastructure for all the cities in country.
This mission will help in creating a shared digital infrastructure which in turn can be used to consolidate and cross-leverage the several digital initiatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
The mission will also enable the cities and towns to benefit from holistic and diverse forms of support with respect to the needs and local challenges of the towns and cities.
India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX)
It is an open-source software platform facilitating a secure and authenticated exchange of data across several data platforms, data producers, 3rd party applications and consumers. IUDX will provide full control to the data owners regarding the sharing of data. They could control as to what data needs to be exposed and to whom.
Smart Cities Mission
It is an urban renewal and retrofitting program that seeks to develop smart cities across India so as to make cities citizen friendly and sustainable. This mission is being implemented by Union Ministry of Urban Development in association with the respective state governments. It initially included 100 cities that will be completed in between 2019 and 2023.