1. Agriculture Export Policy finalized by Punjab
Context: As per Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), an action plan for Agriculture Export Policy (AEP) to enhance exports has been finalized by eight states namely Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Karnataka.
More about news:
- Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) ensures the involvement for states in AEP.
- A MoU was signed with the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) to include co-operatives for active role in AEP. Over 800 farmers producer organizations were signed the agreement.
- The product clusters selected are Jalandhar, Punjab (Potato), Sangli, Maharashtra (Grapes), Salem, Tamil Nadu (Poultry products), Theni, Tamil Nadu (Banana), Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh (Mango), Indore, Madhya Pradesh (Onion), Jodhpur, Rajasthan (Isabgol) and Chikkaballapur, Karnataka (Rose Onion).
- APEDA: APEDA was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December 1985.
About Agriculture Export Policy:
- Agriculture Export Policy was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2018.
- It aims to increase the potential of Indian agriculture to make India a global power in agriculture.
- This policy also helps the government in achieving the target of doubling the farmer’s income from 30 billion USD to 60 billion USD by 2022.
2. Chandigarh railway station inaugurate Navigation facilities for visually impaired
Context: Chandigarh railway station became fifth in the country and first in North India to inaugurate Navigation facilities for visually impaired.
More about news:
- Navigation facilities for visually impaired was inaugurated in Chandigarh railway station in Mohali, Punjab by Shri Gurinder Mohan Singh, Divisional Railway Manager- Ambala Division.
- It is fifth in the country and first in North India to have this facility for visually impaired.
- Developed by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) and Makemytrip Foundation through NGO (Non-government organization) ‘Anuprayaas’.
- Braille Tactile Map, signages are also installed which helps the visually impaired passengers to find their needs in the railway station.
- Mysuru Railway Station, Karnataka was India’s first visually impaired-friendly railway station inaugurated in Nov 2015.
3. Punjab’s wetland among Indian wetlands declared as Ramsar sites
Context: Ramsar Convention declared Punjab’s 3 wetlands (among 10 wetland sites from India) as sites of national importance.
New Ramsar sites
- Punjab (3): Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve, Nangal. Earlier, Punjab had three wetlands designated as Ramsar sites — Harike (notified in 1990), Ropar (2002) and Kanjli (2002).
- Maharashtra (1): Nandur Madhameshwar (This is the 1st Ramsar site of Maharashtra).
- Uttar Pradesh (6): Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar. UP now has 7 Ramsar sites.
- India now has a total of 37 Ramsar sites covering an area of 1,067,939 hectares.
- Ramsar sites are those which are declared under the Ramsar Convention signed in 1971 to preserve wetlands of national importance.
- It is the convention on wetlands formed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in February 2, 1971 and came into force in 1975. The convention is named after Ramsar city of Iran where it was signed.
- This convention is one of the oldest inter-governmental accords signed by members’ countries to preserve the ecology of the wetlands. Those wetlands which are declared as Ramsar sites are protected by the strict guidelines as per the convention.
- Through the convention it is aimed to maintain an international network of wetlands for conserving the biological diversity.
- A wetland is a distinct ecosystem flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally. Oxygen-free processes prevail in wetlands.
- They provide a wide range of resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation.
- Wetlands play a number of functions, including water purification, water storage, processing of carbon.
|The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has prepared a 4 pronged strategy to restore wetlands.|
The ministry work closely with State Wetland Authorities to ensure wise use of Ramsar sites.
Recently ministry launched ‘Nal se Jal‘ scheme in 2019 which aims to provide piped water connection to every household by 2024.
4. Folk singer Idu Sharif passed away
Context: Sangeet-Natak Akademi awardee Dhadi folk singer Idu Sharif passed away at 80
More about news:
- On January 8,2020 Dhadi folk singer Idu Sharif 80 years old died at Manji Majra, Chandigarh on January 8, 2020.
- He was suffering from paralysis.
- Idu Sharif was born in the village Lalodi of Nabha in Patiala,Punjab.
- He received an award from Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi and Tamra Patra award in 2006.
- He also received Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Professor Mohan Singh award, Shiromani Dhadi Puraskar award in 2008.
- Dhadi folk singer Idu Sharif sings ballads and uses folk instrument ‘Dhadd’.
About Sangeet Natak Akademi
- The Sangeet Natak Akademi is India’s national academy for music, dance and drama.
- It was created by a resolution of the (then) Ministry of Education, Government of India, in 1952 with Dr P.V. Rajamannar as its first Chairman.
- It is presently an Autonomous Body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and is fully funded by the Government for implementation of its schemes and programmes.
5. Punjab 3 districts to get hand-held devices for cotton picking
Context: The agricultural department rolled out battery-operated handheld machines for picking up the cotton in 3 districts.
More about news:
- The machinery would be rolled out in Muktsar, Bathinda and Mansa districts.
- The benefits of the machine are: The machine would cut labour costs and human drudgery.
- The input costs incurred on cotton picking would also get cut.
- The speed of cotton picking increases.
- The quantity of trash generated during cotton harvesting also reduced from 3 to 5 per cent to only 1 percent.
- The machine costs ₹ 7000, which can be made available to the prospective farmers through the Cooperative system.
- Renting of machinery could also be done.
- Businesses through corporate social responsibility can also contribute in this regard.
6. Cow cess on a few items
Context: Urban Local Bodies would impose cow cess on a few items.
More about news
- 52 out of 167 ULBs in Punjab are in the process of imposing cow cess on different items.
- Cow cess is used for the welfare of the stray cattle in cattle pounds.
- Out of ₹ 34 crores collected by the Local Bodies since 2016, only ₹ 30 crores have been used.
- The 510 privately run Gaushalas in the state are having 3.84 lakhs cattle.
- Whereas the state ones have slightly less than 10000.
- Cess on some items
- ₹ 10 – Indian made foreign liquor bottle.
- ₹5 – Punjab made liquor and beer.
- ₹ 1000 per function at AC marriage palace.
- ₹ 500 for non AC marriage palace.
- ₹ 100 on oil tanker per round.
- ₹ 1 per cement bag.
- ₹ 1000 and ₹ 200 on sale of 4 – wheeler and 2 – wheelers, respectively.
- 2 paise per unit of Electricity.
- Article 48 of Indian Constitution: The state shall endeavour to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving improving the breed, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.
7. Aadhaar verification policy for post-matric scholarship
Context: Punjab Government has framed a policy for Aadhaar authentication on the Dr Ambedkar Scholarship Portal for speedy disbursal of fee to intended 3 lakh beneficiaries under the Scheduled Caste (SC) Post-Matric Scholarship scheme.
More about news
- Adhaar authentication would be required on Dr Ambedkar Scholarship Portal.
- The step has been taken to do the speedy disbursal of a fee to the 3 lakh beneficiaries under the Scheduled Caste Post Matric Scholarship scheme.
- The scholarship is to be directly transferred to the Aadhaar linked bank accounts of the beneficiaries.
- Under the Aadhaar Act, the authentication of Aadhaar is required for the purpose of availing any benefit regarding the scholarships.
- The move is aimed at improving the attendance of the eligible candidates and remove fake applications.
About the Scheme
- Under this Centrally Sponsored Scheme, the beneficiaries are provided with the financial help in post-matric classes such as 10+1, 10+2, Degree course, Master’s degree, Medical and technical professional courses.
- The scheme is valid for those whose parents’ annual income does not exceed ₹ 1.50 lakh per annum.
8. Status of Punjab’s revenue system
- Punjab has got only 43% of its target revenue receipts for 2019 – 2020.
- Punjab state’s income through GST has increased.
- Union government has failed to release the state’s share of GST compensation for October – November. (₹ 2000 crore).
- Punjab’s tax revenue has shown a decline of almost ₹ 3000 crores, whereas the tax on non – tax revenue (road tax and tax on services offered by the government) as shown a 50% decline over last year.
- The state’s share of central taxes is less as compared with last year.
- On the other hand, the grants – in – aid received from the Centre is double than the last year.
- Such issues pertaining to finance of the state brings problems such as:
- Unpaid salary bills of ₹ 3000 crores.
- Arrears to employees and pensioners to the tune of ₹2500 crore.
- The power subsidy of ₹4500 crores.
9. Habeas Corpus
Context: Punjab and Haryana High court ordered the police authorities to act swiftly in the Habeas Corpus cases because these cases involve the life and liberty of the detainees.
About Habeas Corpus
- A writ of habeas corpus (which literally means to ‘produce the body’) is a court order demanding that a public official (such as a warden) deliver an imprisoned individual to the court and show a valid reason for that person’s detention.
- The procedure provides a means for prison inmates, or others acting on their behalf, to dispute the legal basis for confinement. Habeas corpus has deep roots in English common law.
10. State-level protest due to farm fires
Context: Area farmers’ protest under the banner of the BKU Ugrahan in front of the Bhawanigarh police station for cancellation of FIRs registered against farmers for stubble-burning continued for the fifth day today.
More about news
- The farmers announced to organise a state-level protest as they alleged that the authorities concerned were not serious to look into their demands.
- Farmers burn their fields to remove plants that are already growing and to help the plants that are about to come up.
- These burns are often called ‘prescribed burns’ because they are used to improve the health of the field.
- The short window between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat along with the high cost of manual or mechanical management of straw forces farmers to set fire to their fields.
- Reasons for protest: Farmers do not want to burn stubble and they don’t have any alternative. However, the Punjab Government is taking legal action without providing any alternative
- The researchers collected data about farm practices, the costs involved and the yields of crops, from previous studies, field trials and surveys. They then calculated the net profit generated by burning and no-burning practices like baling, straw incorporation into the fields, and mulching, where the straw is spread on the field. Their analysis was based on the market prices, yields, labour and other costs incurred for land preparation and crop production.
- The researchers found that using the Happy Seeder led to a nearly 10-20% increase in farmer profits on average. Thus, farmers can, on average, reap a benefit of INR 11498 per hectare by switching from the most common burning practices to the use of a Happy Seeder for mulching. The machine can be mounted on a tractor, and it cuts and lifts rice straw, sow’s wheat into the bare soil, and deposits the straw over the planted area as mulch.
- The researchers also found that the use of Happy Seeder reduced agricultural greenhouse emissions per hectare by 78% or more relative to burn options. For each hectare, all the farming options considered that does not include burning showed a lower contribution to particulate air pollution. Such practices can reduce agriculture’s contributions to India’s greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to better health by reducing air pollution, say the researchers.
- However, not all farmers currently have access to equipment like Happy Seeder. The Happy Seeder is not affordable for everyone, and there need to be more available options for renting these machines.
11. HC direct state to set up the dilution water tank
Context: Just about three months after the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the shutting down of all tanneries in Jalandhar’s Leather Complex.
More about news:
- Jalandhar’s Leather Complex is a Division Bench today ordered the construction of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) dilution water tank. For the purpose, Punjab will provide Rs 1.53 crore within seven days.
- A dilution water tank is designed to collect waste that is discharged.
- Tannery is a place where animal hides are tanned; the workshop of a tanner.
12. Sir Yadavinder Singh
Context: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh remember his late father Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Ji on his birth anniversary.
About Yadavindra Singh:
- Sir Yadavinder Singh (7 January 1914 – 17 June 1974) was the 9th and last Maharaja of Patiala from 1938 to 1971.
- He served as Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes (Narendra Mandal) and played an important role in nation-building by getting the Princely States to accede to the Indian Union.
- He was also an Indian cricketer who played in one Test in 1934.
- He served in the Patiala State Police, became its Inspector General and served in Malaya, Italy and Burma during the Second World War.
- He agreed to the incorporation of the princely state into India on 5 May 1948.
- He was Rajpramukh of the new Indian state of Patiala and East Punjab States Union until it was merged with Punjab in 1956.
13. Punjab Municipal Building Bylaws
Context: Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today unveiled amended people-friendly Punjab Municipal Building Bye-Laws.
More about News:
- It plugs the deficiencies in the earlier provisions and seeking to give a boost to the sluggish construction and infrastructure development activity in the state.
- Under the amended bylaws, parking norms have been relaxed and mixed land use has been allowed.
- The aim was to ensure hassle-free and seamless construction activity, whether of residential or commercial and industrial buildings, including hotels and mini plex cinemas.
- As per the amended bylaws, Cinemas would now be considered as miniplexes, with their capacity enhanced to four from the earlier two, and the seats increased to 999 without any bar of minimum seats per cinema fixed at 250 earlier.
- For inviting investments in small ULBs, the frontage of the plot for miniplex has been reduced to accommodate the small plot sizes in Class I and II towns.
- Further, the owner or builder can now convert his existing Cinema to Miniplex with the commercial component on 50 feet wide road too. Ground coverage of mini plex has also been increased
14. High Uranium content in Punjab’s Groundwater
Context: As per a study by Scientists there is high content of Uranium present in the Punjab’s Groundwater.
More about news
- Experts from Punjabi University & Desh Bhagat University, Fatehgarh Sahib examined the levels of Uranium and other heavy metals in Sirhind water Canal and groundwater in the Malwa region of Punjab.
- A great portion of Punjab groundwater has been affected by Uranium.
- The report has categorically criticised the proposal of Punjab’ s department of water supply and sanitation of digging deep submersible tubewells ( more than 200 feet) to supply Uranium free water to Malwa belt.
- Back in 2009, a UK based specialist had raised the concern about the Uranium content in Punjab groundwater.
- The reasons for the prevalence of Uranium in the groundwater are not clear.
- Due to geological factors or geogenic causes, Uranium could be found in Punjab’s groundwater.
- Punjab’s Canal water seems to be the only plausible solution to tackle this issue for the time being.
- The concentration limits of Uranium have been found between 30 to 366 parts per billion ( ppb).
|Districts having most number of affected habitations ( Uranium pollution in groundwater):|
Fazilka- 217 habitations.
Moga – 2013 habitations.
Ferozepur – 139 habitations.
Barnala – 115 habitations.
Patiala, Sangrur and Bathinda are also adversely affected by the Uranium pollution in Groundwater.
- The government should bring a cohesive Groundwater conservation and management plan for the state so that its solution could be thought of in totality.
- Scientists from CSIR and other globally acknowledged institutions should conduct more research on this and come up with some credible solutions.
15. Migratory and Native Birds in Ropar Wetland
Context: More than 3800 exotic Migratory and Native Birds throng the Ropar wetland.
More about news
- Around 57 species of migratory birds have been spotted.
- A wildlife Census was conducted at the Ropar wetland by Wildlife department, Chandigarh Bird club and Nangal based NGO – Jagriti Sanstha among others.
- Birds spotted in the Ropar Wetalnd
- Common Shelducks
- Ruddy Shelducks- 795.
- Red Crested Pochard – 631.
- Bar-headed Geese – 598.
16. Captain Smart Connect Scheme
About Captain Smart Connect Scheme
- The scheme would be undertaken and monitored by the Department of Sports and Youth affairs.
- The scheme has been notified for the girl students of government schools studying in classes 11th and 12th.
- In the first phase of the scheme, 1.6 lakh smartphones would be distributed to the girls who do not possess the device free of cost.
- The students in the final year of government Industrial Training Institutes and colleges can also be a part of the scheme.
- Smartphones would be distributed to the needy students. (The company was decided through an open bidding process).
- The government is spending around ₹ 5000 on every phone.
- Two apps named CM Connect and CMs Dashboard would be uploaded on that so that the students can read about various schemes of the government.
17. Statue of Baba Sohan Bhakna
Context: Punjab government decide to install a statue in the memory of Baba Sohan Bhakna, to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the legendary freedom fighter.
About Baba Sohan Bhakna:
- He was born (in January 1870) in his maternal village, Khotre Khurd, not far from his ancestral home, Bhakna, District Amritsar.
- Baba Sohan Singh was elected first President of ‘Indian Association of the Pacific Coast’ with Headquarters at Yugantar Ashram.
- He was the founding president of the Ghadar Party, and a leading member of the party involved in the Ghadar Conspiracy of 1915.
- Tried at the Lahore Conspiracy trial, Sohan Singh served sixteen years of a life sentence for his part in the conspiracy before he was released in 1930.
- He later worked closely with the Indian labour movement, devoting considerable time to the Kisan Sabha and the Communist Party of India.
- He spent more than 20 years in jails, including Cellular Jail in Andaman.
- Kartar Singh Sarabha was younger to Baba Bhakna, still the latter always took former’s advice and called Sarabha his leader.
18. Swachhata Darpan Rural Ranking-2019
Context: Rural area of Moga district has bagged the first rank at the national level in Swachhata Darpan Rural Ranking-2019 under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
More about News
- Moga scores 100 points out of 100 on three parameters.
- 3 Parametres used in the ranking:
- ODF (open defecation-free).
- IEC (information, education, communication and capacity building).
- SLWM (solid and liquid waste management).
- Moga shared the first position with seven other districts in the country.
- With 99.83 score, the rural area of Mohali district got second rank at national level, followed by Fatehgarh Sahib (48th), Barnala (145), Tarn Taran (199) and Ludhiana (210).
- With 45.82 score out of total 100, Faridkot district’s rural area was placed 231st and Patiala at 238th national rank.
- Poorest performer in the state was Pathankot, ending at 576th rank with 25.41 score. Muktsar district was slightly better at 547, Gurdaspur (529), Sangrur (518), Ferozepur (510), Amritsar (471), Bathinda (437) and Hoshiarpur (433) at the national level.
- The rural dominating districts of Mansa and Fazilka stood at 399th and 418th rank, respectively. The performance was calculated on the basis of three parameters: ODF declaration (60% weightage), IEC and capacity building (20%) and SLWM (20%).
- Swachh Survekshan Grameen-2019 is a national survey that reviews the progress of the cleanliness drive in rural areas.
19. Ghadar activists to be remembered in the Sikh museum through portraits
Context: Central Sikh Museum at Golden Temple, Amritsar would house the portrait of the Ghadar Revolutionaries.
More about news
- Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) had not given much recognition to the Ghadar Revolutionaries.
- Sikh Diaspora from countries such as Canada has also demanded recognition of Ghadar Revolutionaries by SGPC.
- A special program dedicated to the Ghadar Revolutionaries – Ghadri Yodhe, would also be scheduled at Bhai Gurdas Hall.
- January 11 would be acknowledged as Shahidi Diwas as a revolutionary named Baba Mewa Singh Lopoke waw hanged on this day in 1915.
- Also, other prominent Ghadarites such as Baba Sohan Singh Bhakta & Bhai Jawand Singh would also be featuring among the portraits.
About Central Sikh Museum
- It was set up in 1958 in Amritsar.
- It shows the paintings of prominent Sikhs such as Gurus, warriors, Revolutionaries, etc who have contributed towards the development of Sikh religion.
- It has a rich collection of coins, old arms and ancient manuscripts.
- The Museum contains paintings by great Sikh artists, rare pencil sketches, musical instruments, rarest stringed instrument and guns of Sikh Raj.
- The museum has been divided according to the Sikh History. In the very first hall, the life and style of Sikh Gurus, Hindu and Muslim Saints have been described through portraits.
- The second room shows the travels (Udasis) of Guru Nanak and some photos of rare artwork on the walls of Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai.
20. Mahavir Chakra Recipient Brigadier Manjit Singh
Context: Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh condoled the sad demise of Mahavir Chakra Recipient Brigadier Manjit Singh (78) who passed away.
More about news
- Former Punjab Chief Minister, Brigadier Manjit Singh was awarded Mahavir Chakra (Country’s Second Highest Gallantry Award) on October 19, 1987, for his extraordinary valour at Sri Lanka with Indian Peace Keeping Force.
- He has entrusted the task to establish a link up with Jaffna Fort, along Western Pincer in the face of all-out efforts by the militants to thwart their nefarious designs.
- Brigadier Manjit Singh with just two companies of Rajput Rifles broke through the desperate cordon of the militants and successfully established a link-up with para commandos operating from Jaffna Fort.
- Due to his leadership and demonstration of personal valour in the face of grave danger, the whole brigade was suddenly filled with elan and moved purposefully forward.
About Mahavir Chakra
- The Maha Vir Chakra is the second-highest military decoration in India, after the Param Vir Chakra.
- It is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air.
- It replaced the British Distinguished Service Order.
21. Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
Context: Punjab CM greeted the entire Indian Diaspora on Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
About Pravasi Bhartiya Divas
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is a celebratory day observed on 9 January by the Republic of India to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community towards the development of India.
- The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Ahmedabad on 9 January 1915.
- PBD 2020 was held in New Delhi on 9th January 2020 in which EAM interacted with Diaspora in eight countries through Video Conference. The event was webcast live to all Indian Missions and Posts abroad.
22. Onion imports slip due to incessant rain at Attari.
- Post-Pulwama attack, though there had been negligible import directly from Pakistan, onions and dry fruits.
- It was still being imported from Afghanistan.
- 70-80 trucks of onions from Afghanistan used to come regularly from the wholesale market of Kabul. The onion import played a vital role in tackling the scarcity due to heavy rain in MP, Maharashtra and southern states.
- Reason for shortfall
- Another reason was the shortage of labour as most of the workers were unable to join duty due to inclement weather conditions. The unloading pace too was sluggish.
- In the absence of an automated truck scanner, the checking of goods is done manually, which is a time- consuming exercise and trucks remain stranded.
23. District Early Entertainment Centre
Context: Punjab health and family welfare department have approved the setting up of three district early entertainment centre for children at Patiala, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur.
About District Early Entertainment Centre
- Its purpose is of providing treatment for 4 D-effects such as the delay of diseases, loss and development, as well as the delay of diseases, loss and development.
- They also include 31 disability diseases.
24. Punjab mSewa
About the App:
- Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today launched Punjab mSewa – a Unified Mobile Application.
- It offers access to various services on Smart Phones.
- It will bring citizen-centric services to the fingertips of the people.
25. Revenue Expenditure
Context: Punjab Govt. decided to cut revenue expenditure by 20%.
About revenue expenditure
- Revenue Expenditure is that part of government expenditure that does not result in the creation of assets.
- Payment of salaries, wages, pensions, subsidies and interest fall in this category as revenue expenditure examples.
- Revenue expenses are incurred by the government for its operational needs.
What is included in revenue expenditure?
- The Union government’s revenue expenditure comprises money spent on revenue account — the amount spent on running its elaborate machinery.
- All grants given to state governments and Union territories are also treated as revenue expenditure, even if some of these grants may be used for the creation of capital assets.
- In India, the payment of subsidies is also included in revenue expenditure.
- The central government pays subsidy under three major heads – food subsidy, fertiliser subsidy and fuel subsidy.
- Giving and taking loans also have become an integral part of the functions of a modern government.
- Borrowing of money and repayment of debt and interest are also divided into two categories – revenue account and capital account.
What is the difference between revenue and capital expenditure?
- In India, both the Union government and state governments are criticised for incurring very high revenue expenditures that leave little money for developmental spending.
- In the case of Union budgets, 85-90% of the money spent goes into revenue expenditure. Note that high revenue expenditure impedes developmental efforts.
- High revenue expenditure means that the government machinery is spending too much money on sustaining itself, rather than creating assets required to achieve high economic growth.
- In India, up to a fourth of the Union budget goes into interest payment. It means that the government borrows Rs 6-7 lakh crore every year just to meet its interest payment liabilities, leaving very little for creation of assets.
26. NGT on Sutlej
Context: The state monitoring committee of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed officials to ensure that no untreated water was allowed to flow into the Sutlej and drains.
More about news
- The NGT has fixed a deadline of March 31, 2021, to overcome the problem of polluted water in Fazilka district.
- An NGT monitoring committee commands the state to release only treated water into Sutlej and drains.
- The Monitoring panel of The National Green Tribunal includes Justice Jasbir Singh (Retired) and Environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal.
- The panel has been tasked with the job of assessing the wastewater management in 5 districts of Malwa region of Punjab.
- The departments were also warned that a fine of up to ₹ 5 lakh could be imposed in case of non-compliance of the orders.
- 14 Sewage Treatment Plants were functioning in the studied districts and 11 are yet to be set up.
- The panel also stipulated that the untreated water of Ferozepur, Moga, Faridkot and Muktsar districts flows into the drains leading to Fazilka.
- Fazilka is carrying the burden of wastewater of other districts. (This process occurs due to natural gradient or slope of the region).
- Lack of accountability and poor functioning of STPs has led to the pollution of the area.
- More Sewage Treatment Plants should be set up.
- Efficient and empathic bureaucracy along with active involvement of the local governments.
- Corporate social responsibility for the development of sustainable infrastructure.
About National Green Tribunal:
- National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables the creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
- It draws inspiration from India’s constitutional provision of Article 48A which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment. Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) is a department to control pollution in Delhi.
27. Leprosy cases in Punjab
Context: About 7,000 leprosy cases reported in the last decade in Punjab.
More about news
- In 2018, the state’s average child leprosy rate was more than the national average of 9 percent.
- Even after four decades of the launch of the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, the disease has refused to die down in the state.
- About 7,000 cases were reported in the state in the past 10 years.
- On the national level, Punjab falls in the category of a ‘low endemic’ state in terms of the prevalence of leprosy. Nevertheless, the disease has not been eradicated.
- In all, 6,897 cases were reported between 2009 and 2019 in the state. Out of these, 1,054 were of Punjabi population.
- Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis.
- Affected Organs: Skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages.
- Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities. But if left untreated, leprosy can cause progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.
- Transmission: The exact mechanism is not known. It is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth.
- India was officially declared to have eliminated leprosy in 2005 when new cases fell to less than 1 per 10,000 (as per WHO criteria), yet India still accounts for the largest number of leprosy affected people in the world (60 per cent).
- India, Indonesia, Brazil are among the main countries where leprosy is prevalent.
Key Challenges in Tackling Leprosy in India
- Undetected new cases: As per the report published in Down to Earth magazine, the reporting of new cases of Leprosy has been made voluntary after 2005.
- Government’s negligence in monitoring the spread: Post-2005, the Indian government became lax in terms of policies and funding once the leprosy free status was achieved. It led to re-emergence of leprosy in India.
- State National Leprosy Eradication Programme units have become diluted with the inclusion of leprosy into the public health programme.
- Use of the term “elimination” also leads to confusion with “eradication” among general public and even among the medical practitioners.
- Social and Psychological: Early detection and early cure can help in eradication but cases are unreported due to fear and stigma associated with Leprosy. Thus, it is also a human rights issue.
- Economic: Discrimination due to myths and misunderstanding that the disease is highly contagious. E.g. employment.
- Medical: Lack of awareness about its cure and since 1982, same 3 drugs used in therapy for leprosy which increase the chances of emerge of resistance against the disease.
- Legal challenges: Existence of more than 250 obsolete health related laws in central and state level. E.g. The 1898 Lepers Act that was recently repealed. Many States in India prohibit leprosy patients from running in local elections and deny them employment privileges and benefits.
28. Captain Smart Connect Scheme
The Punjab government has deferred its plan to start distribution of free smart phones on the Republic Day as the government is awaiting certification of mobile apps, including Punjab mSewa, a unified mobile application, that are to be uploaded on the smartphones before distribution
About the scheme:
- Distribution of free smartphones, including Punjab mSewa, a unified mobile application, that are to be uploaded on the smartphones.
- In the first phase of ‘Captain Smart Connect Scheme,’ the government will distribute 1.6 lakh free smartphones among girls, studying in senior secondary classes in government schools.
Features of the scheme:
- Better communication facilities– Till date, many people don’t have smartphones. With the implementation of this scheme, eligible applicants will attain free smartphones from the Punjab government.
- Implementation in phases – The scheme was originally announced in 2016. It took the state around two years to finally implement the scheme. To ensure that eligible applicants get the benefits, the scheme will be rolled out in separate phases.
- Talk time – The free smartphone also comes with free talk time. Any beneficiary will be able to talk on any other local number for 600 minutes. Once they finish this talk time, they must recharge to get more talk time.
- Internet package – All selected applicants will be able to attain an internet data pack of 12 GB. This will come in handy when they desire to search the internet to attain any information.
- The validity of the connection – As per the details, highlighted in the draft, all the connection, offered under this project, will remain active for one year. After this, applicants will have to pay a certain sum to keep the connection active.
- Targeted towards the youngsters – The main aspect of this project is that it targets the needs and betterment of the youngsters. If the state government succeeds in offer better facilities to the youngsters, then they will play an important role in the development of the overall society.
- The total number of beneficiaries– It has been estimated that with this project, the Punjab government will be able to offer free smartphones to as many as 50 lakh young people of the area.
- Inviting tenders – The state authority, with the assistance of the Punjab Information & Communication Technology Corporation, has also released tender invitations. The officials are hopeful that competent telecom companies will associate themselves with this project within two months.
Eligibility for registration:
- For residents of Punjab only: It is only open for the legal residents of the state. If an applicant does not possess his/her residential certificate, his/her registration form will be dismissed.
- Educational qualification: The scheme is for school and college students. Apart from this, pupils, studying in technical academies will also get this free smartphone. School and college admission papers and final examination mark sheets will be required for checking the authenticity.
- Personal ID proof: Applicants will also have to submit their personal identification papers. Copies of Aadhar or voter card will be considered by the registration offices.
- Punjab CM announced the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji would be celebrated in 2021. The 399th birth anniversary mega event associated with Guruji would be held at the Historic town of Baba Bakala.
29. No Drone Zone
Context: Recently, Border area declared as ‘no drone zone’.
More about News
- The state police have banned the use of remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, in areas adjoining the India-Pakistan border across the state.
- The radius of 25-km near the border has been declared “no drone zone” and notice boards have been installed outside all police stations in these areas.
- The police have warned that if anyone is caught violating the order, strict legal action will be taken. The police have made it clear that no one is allowed to use drone even for shooting films.
- If anyone wants to shoot any occasion, prior permission is mandatory.
30. Locust attack
Context: Amid reports of locust attack on crops over 1,600 hectares in some parts of the adjoining Sriganganagar district, the Agriculture Department have constituted surveillance teams to keep a vigil in the villages of Fazilka and other districts sharing a border with Rajasthan.
- The locusts, known as tiddis locally, have wreaked havoc on standing crops of castor, cumin, jatropha, cotton, and potato, and fodder grass in around 20 talukas.
- There was an alert from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of a massive locust attack in South Asia covering Pakistan and India.
- The insects fly in during the day and settle on the farms at night making it difficult to ward off the swarms.
- According to the Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), locusts are flying in from Pakistan’s Sindh province and spreading in villages in Rajasthan and Gujarat where south western monsoon had prolonged this time.
- The locusts emerged from Sudan and Eritrea on Africa’s Red Sea Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the Sindh province and from there they moved into Rajasthan and Gujarat.
- The farmers under seige are hiring workers and using age old techniques like beating drums and vessels to scare the locusts away.
Locust Warning Organisation (LWO)
- LWO works under the Ministry of Agriculture.
- It has field headquarter at Jodhpur and Central headquarter at Faridabad with 10 other locus circle offices.
- In India, the scheme Locust Control and Research (LC&R) is responsible for control of Desert Locust and is being implemented through Organisation known as “Locust Warning Organisation (LWO)” established in 1939.
- Locust Warning organization (LWO) is responsible to monitor and control the locust situation in Scheduled Desert Area (SDA) mainly in the States of Rajasthan and Gujarat while partly in the States of Punjab and Haryana.
- LWO keeps itself abreast with the prevailing locust situation at National and International level through monthly Desert Locust Bulletins of FAO issued by the Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS), AGP Division Rome, Italy.
31. Punjab Govt to seek consensus on CAA in House
Context: Punjab government declared it would go by the will of the House on the way forward with respect to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).
About Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA)
- It seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship by amending the Citizenship Act of 1955.
- It seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities —Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians —after 6 years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.
- The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
National Register of Citizens (NRC)
- The NRC is the list of Indian citizens and was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951.
- The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013.
- In order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas, NRC updation was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.
- The agreement between the Centre and the protesters is called the Assam Accord. It was signed on the Independence Day in 1985. In the 15 clauses of the Assam Accord, the key focus areas were Foreigners, issue, Economic development, restricting the acquisition of immovable property by foreigners, Prevention encroachment of government lands and Registration of births and deaths.
- This was done to ensure the protection of the political, social, economic and cultural identity of the local people.
National Population Register (NPR)
- It is a Register of usual residents of the country.
- It is being prepared at the ground level (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- It is compulsory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
32. Rotational Programme of canals
Context: New Program from Agriculture in Punjab has been announced.
More about news:
- The Water Resources Department, Punjab has announced the Rotational Programme of canals for irrigation in the Rabi Season from 15th to 22nd January 2020.
- The channels and branches off-taking from Ropar Head Works would run on the priority basis from Sidhwan Branch, Bathinda Branch, Bist Doab Canal, Patiala Feeder and Abohar Branch respectively.
33. Robots to clean the manholes
Context: Muktsar adopts Robots to clean the manholes.
More about news
- Muktsar has become the first district in the state to adopt the Robotic Technology for sanitation.
- It would be utilised for cleaning manhole and septic tanks.
- The water supply and sanitation department of the state has purchased the robot from a Kerala based company for ₹ 90 lakh.
- The company would also provide 5-year maintenance and training to the local staff for 6 months.
- Big machines cannot enter the narrow streets and lanes to clean the manholes.
- Also, due to poisonous gases and unhygienic conditions, many persons have lost lives while cleaning the sewers.
- The Robot has Cameras and has Robotic arm with 360° mobility. It has a small bucket to collect the waste.
34. Strawberries Farming
Context: Ropar farmers are cultivating strawberries and earning a good income out of them. Farmers are getting more than ₹3 lakhs of profit from one acre of crop.
About Strawberry Crop:
- The Strawberry crop is sown in October.
- Its plucking starts in mid – January and goes till mid-may.
- Strawberries are rich in Niacin, Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin C etc.( They are a rich source of micronutrients).
Conditions for farming
- These are temperate crops, even though they can be grown in subtropical conditions.
- They need 8 to 12 hours of sunlight for around 10 days.
- Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani in Maharashtra account for a great chunk of Strawberry production.
- In big cities such as Jalandhar and Chandigarh, they are in high demand and also in high-end hotels, they are supplied.
- Other exotic fruits such as Dragonfruit and Avocado also have a great scope as far as Agricultural diversification in Punjab is concerned.
35. Price cutting of semen straws to bolster artificial cattle breeding program
Context: Punjab Government cuts the prices of semen straws to bolster artificial cattle breeding program.
More about news
- Artificial insemination is a part of Punjab’s breed improvement program.
- The prices have been slashed up to 80%.
- Due to inflated prices, the cattle breeding program had taken backseat last year.
- As per the statistics, 8 to 10% drop could be seen in the artificial insemination cases both in cows and buffaloes.
- The Punjab Livestock Development department Board sells the semen straws to the farmers.
- The semen straw is sold for ₹150 to the Punjab farmers even though it’s cost outside the state is ₹15.
- Also, the state quacks are making a huge amount of money by selling cheap semen straws.
- So, this is a welcome step. An integrated livestock mission could be started where the semen, health, disease control, vaccination of bovine, fodder etc activities are managed in an integrated way.
Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme (N.A.I.P)
- The NAIP is a campaign mode genetic up-gradation program covering all breeds of bovines to enhance milk production using low-cost breeding technology for improving the genetic merit of milch animals with high-quality seed.
- The gestation period for getting the benefits from the AI bovine is approximately 3 years.
- Under this, every cow and buffalo under AI will be tagged and can be tracked through the Information Network on Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH) Database.
36. Decline in migratory birds’ numbers in Harike wetland
Context: A wildlife survey reveals a decline in migratory birds’ numbers in Harike wetland.
- More about News
- The survey was undertaken by the World wildlife fund (WWF) with the help of various Bird Clubs.
- The survey notes that there is a massive decline of around 32000 birds in comparison to last year.
- The 2-day survey was held with the help of bird clubs from cities such as Chandigarh, Amritsar, Faridkot, Jalandhar, etc. along with an association named Jagriti Samiti of Nangal.
- As per this the total count of birds was 91025, comprising of 94 species. In 2018-19, the WWF had recorded more than 1,23,000 birds at the Harike wetland.
- The birds arrive from the colder parts of Eurasia such as Siberian region of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia etc. Where the temperature goes below 0° due to extreme cold conditions and high pressure.
- The lakes in this region also freeze due to extreme cold and the migratory birds start arriving from mid-October and stay till March.
- The prevalence of smog in Punjab region could be a reason for the late arrival of the birds.
- Delayed winters, in general, could also be a reason for such dwindling numbers.
- Besides, Common Merganser was spotted here for the first time.
- Other species found here are Greylag geese, peregrine falcon, bar-headed Geese, Osprey, Greater Spotted Eagle, Common Shelduck, etc were some of the amazing species which have arrived here.
About Wetland: A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail.
- The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other landforms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil.
- Wetland types based on their location, water salinity, and dominant vegetation.
About Harike Wetland:
- Harike Wetland also known as “Hari-Ke-Pattan”, with the Harike Lake in the deeper part of it, is the largest wetland in northern India in the border of Tarn Taran Sahib district and Ferozepur district of the Punjab state in India.
About World Wide Fund:
- The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961, working in the field of wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment.
- It was formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States.
37. Digilocker scheme in Punjab
Context: The state government has decided to implement the DigiLocker scheme to provide citizens a cloud platform for storage, issuance and verification of various important documents and certificates.
- In the first phase, the Punjab School Education Board, Transport and Labour Departments are putting their digitally signed documents related to citizen services in DigiLocker.
About Digital governance
- It is a framework for establishing accountability, roles, and decision-making authority for an organization’s digital presence—which means its websites, mobile sites, social channels, and any other Internet and Web-enabled products and services.
- The Digilocker scheme seeks to reduce the distress and harassment occurring to the individuals while storing their documents.
- The scheme would provide the citizens with a cloud platform for storage, issuance and verification of some vital documents and certificates.
- The scheme is a massive step towards paper governance.
- All the government departments, state Public Sector undertakings, statutory Authorities, autonomous bodies etc will be implementing this scheme.
- Online documents verification by any Organisation could be done through this initiative, after taking the consent from the individual.
38. Writer Inder Singh Khamosh, passes away
Context: Recently, Punjabi writer Inder Singh Khamosh, passes away.
About Inder Singh Khamosh
- He was born in Harike village of Barnala.
- He was a school teacher before he took to full-time teaching.
- He opened a new chapter in Punjabi literature by writing the biographical accounts on famous literary personalities.
Famous writings of Inder Singh Khamosh
- Kafir Masiha based on Keo Tolstoy’s life.
- ADarshan da banjara based on the life of Nikolai Gogol.
- Samundri Kabootari on Anton Chekhov.
- Kuthali Peya Sona on Fyodor Dostoevsky.
- Husan Prasat on Pushkin.
- Lat Lat Laat Bale on Victor Hugo.
39. Patiala heritage fest
Context: Patiala heritage fest is set to begin in February.
More about news
- This would be a week-long event to be held at Quila Mubarak, Patiala.
- The festival is aimed at raising funds for the renewal and refurbishment of Quila Mubarak.
- A crafts Mela at Sheesh Mahal would also be conducted.
- Stalls at Jang e Saragarhi would also be placed for the mela.
About Quila Mubarak
- The Quila was built by Baba Ala Singh.
- The fortress was the capital of the Phulkian Sikh principality.
- The Quila has been built using the Mughal and Rajasthani schools of architecture.
- The Quila is like the heart of Patiala city, from where the Patiala city started expanding.
- The Sheesh Mahal is also notable for its decorations.
- Its walls are beautifully laid with mirror and gilt, and covered with exquisite frescoes that depict traditional Hindu themes and scenes from celebrated Punjabi folklore.
40. Problem for Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL)
Context: Shut thermal plants are creating a problem for Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
More about news
- The demand for power in the winters gets reduced nationwide.
- In this scenario, PSPCL has to shut all the units of its thermal power plants.
- Rather, it seeks to buy power from the private entities to meet the power demand.
- The power demand is laying between 5500 MW and 6000 MW; but during the night time, the demand may drop to 3000 MW.
- The per-unit production cost of power in state-owned thermal power plants is ₹ 3.80.
- Whereas the cost of power from private players is around ₹ 3. 14 to ₹ 3.66 per unit.
- The per-unit cost which could be getting by selling the state thermal plants’ power would be around ₹ 3.10, which cannot cover the costs.
- The purchase power agreements with the private players, due to which they are getting undue profits.
- Also, as per the directive of the Supreme Court, washing charges of ₹2800 crore are to be paid to Talwandi sabo and Rajpura Thermal power plants.
- So, these costs are big trouble for the state government.
- In the case of non-purchase of the committed amount of power, the fixed cost has to be paid.
Thermal power plants in Punjab
- Lehra Mohabbat
- Goindwal Sahib.
- Talwandi sabo
41. Maternal Mortality Rates in Punjab
Context: Maternal Mortality Rates in Punjab fail to show any improvement.
More about news
- As per the Sample Registration Survey (SRS) for the years (2015 – 2017), MMR ( Maternal Mortality Rates) of Punjab is 122.
- But, Punjab has not shown any improvement in this regard.
- Between 2014 and 2016, a 6.9% drop in MMR rates could be observed in Punjab.
- SRS survey was started by the government of India, back in the 1960s.
- It is compiled by the Registrar General of India (RGI).
- (SRS) gives reliable annual data on fertility and mortality at the state and national levels for rural and urban areas separately.
- As per SRS, a decline of 22.6% could be observed across the nation between 2015 and 2017.
- Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu are top three states best in MMR stats.
- Rajasthan witnessed the highest decrease in MMR.
- The MMR rates in the migratory population are considerably high, especially in a city like Ludhiana; migrant population is experiencing relatively high levels of MMR.
- The Maternal deaths are prominent in the migrant community because they didn’t show up for antenatal checkups and care. (Lack of awareness and enthusiasm in availing services).
- Despite the improvement in the quality of labour rooms and other infrastructure, MMR issues Persist.
- Even in referral cases, the progress would be checked.
About maternal mortality
- Maternal death or maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.
42. Ratings necessary for Food Biz
Context: Punjab government has decided to prohibit online food supply aggregators (OFSA) to make purchases from food business operators (FBO).
More about news
- Punjab government has decided to prohibit online food supply aggregators (OFSA) like Uber Eats, Swiggy, Zomato, Food Panda etc, to make purchases from food business operators (FBO) who don’t have the required hygiene ratings.
- Before buying food items for consumers, the OFSAs will have to make sure that the respective FBOs have a minimum hygiene rating of three out of five.
- The objective is to ensure that the consumer got only good quality hygienic food items.
43. Sikh Kuka Martyrs
Context: Under the aegis of Sri Satguru Udhay Singh Ji, a state-level function is being organised to pay glowing tributes to 66 Sikh Kuka Martyrs.
- Sikh Kuka Martyrs were blown by the canons in 1872 for revolting against the British rule, on Namdhari Kuka Martyrdom day.
About Kuka Movement
- The Kuka Movement marked the first major reaction of the people in Punjab to the new political order initiated by the British after 1849.
- The Namdhari Movement, of which the Kuka Movement was the most important phase, aimed at overthrowing the British rule.
44. Yellow Rust
Context: Monitor crop regularly to prevent yellow rust, scientists tell Punjab farmers.
- During the current Rabi season, scientists of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, are surveying wheat crop as per the past practice for the early detection of yellow rust in the sub- mountainous districts of the state.
About Yellow rust:
- It is a fungal disease which attacks the leaves of wheat crop by forming yellow stripes and affects their photosynthesis that causes shrivelling of grain size.
- Yellow rust is a disease of cool weather in the northern hills and north-western plains zone.
- Rains in the parts of Punjab and Haryana coupled with a slight increase in the temperature and humid conditions are favorable for yellow rust.
- Wheat yellow rust (Puccinia striiformis) is currently the most damaging disease of wheat on the global scale. Under suitable conditions, yield losses of 60% or more are possible.
- The disease is airborne and favourable weather conditions for the infection, development and spread of the disease were prevailing.
Conditions for wheat cultivation:
- Well-drained fertile loamy and clayey loamy (Ganga-Satluj plains and black soil region of the Deccan) soil is ideal.
- The ideal temperature would be Between 10-15°C (Sowing time) and 21-26°C (Ripening & Harvesting) with bright sunlight.
- Top Wheat Producing States are Uttar Pradesh > Punjab > Madhya Pradesh > Haryana > Rajasthan.
- It is a rabi crop, is sown between late October till December while the harvesting of the crop starts from April onwards.
- India is the second-largest producer after China.
- The disease appears in the fields; spray the infected areas with recommended fungicides, such as Nativo 120g or Caviet 200g or Tilt/Shine/Bumper/Stilt/Compass/Markzole 200 ml in 200 litres of water will prevent the spread of disease in other areas.
45. Right to health
Context: HC directs Punjab to fill vacant posts as Right to health is fundamental.
More about news:
Punjab and Haryana High Court declared that right to health is a fundamental right before directing Punjab to fill the vacancies in the Hoshiarpur district hospital.
The Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu also made it clear that it was a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The assertion comes at a time when a high-level panel, set up by the 15th Finance Commission, on reforms in the health sector recently suggested declaring the right to health as a fundamental right.
- A petition filed in public interest by Shivam Sharma against the Union of India and other respondents on medical facilities available in Hoshiarpur district.
- The Bench also set a two-month deadline for the purpose of filling the vacant posts in the Hoshiarpur district hospital.
- The Bench also directed the Union of India to take a final decision on upgrading Hoshiarpur district hospital into a medical hospital. The direction came after the Bench was told that the matter had been taken up by the state with the Centre.
46. First Sikh football cup
Context: First Sikh football cup kicks off in Amritsar.
More about news:
- Christened as first Sikh Football Cup, the event is dedicated to the 550th ‘Parkash Purb’ of Guru Nanak.
- The opening match between the teams of Amritsar and Faridkot will be held at the Khalsa College ground.
- The event is being organised jointly by the Global Sikh Sports Federation and Khalsa Football Club.
- The objective is to bring back the lost glory of ‘keshdhari’ players that once used to be a prominent part of Team India in every discipline. A general perception is that ‘keshdharis’ find it difficult to practice, which is not correct.
47. Private Mandis in Punjab
Context: The Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets (General) has been amended by the department of Agriculture and farmers welfare of Punjab to allow the setting up of such private mandis.
More about news
- A special market yard can also be set up, in a small enclosure or building, for a particular commodity such as fish, milk etc.
- Private market yards can also be set up on a minimum of 10 acres, and a producer and consumer market yard on a minimum one acre.
- The Kisan mandis and E-trading platforms for spot marketing have also been allowed to be set up.
About setting up of private mandis:
- The owner of the mandi would provide the entire infrastructure, including the basic Sanitation facilities.
- The private entities have to be owners of the land where they would b setting up the mandi or they can even take it on a lease for a minimum of 30 years.
- The ‘Arhtiya Association of Punjab’ has opposed this move as they fear that the move would reduce their influence in the Agricultural mandis. They fear that the government is moving towards the MSP free regime.
48. Wetlands in Punjab witness reduction in migratory birds
Context: As per a survey conducted by the forest and wildlife department of Punjab, World Wildlife Fund and some bird watchers the numbers of migratory birds arriving in 4 of the state’s wetlands have decreased.
More about news
- The change in climate pattern has affected the number of winged visitors in the state.
- Due to delayed winters and other factors, the birds’ movement from Russia and other cold areas of Asia has got disturbed.
- The birds mainly arrive from Kazakhstan, Russia and other cold areas between mid-October and December.
- Nangal, Ranjit Sagar, Keshopur, and Harike witnessed decline.
- Harike has witnessed a massive decline of around 25 % i.e. around 32000.
- Ropar and Kanjli have experienced a slight increase in the numbers of the migratory birds.
49. Agriculture Produce Market Rules 2020
Context: State government amended the Agriculture Produce Market Rules 2020.
More about news:
- Now, the payment for the products procured from the farmers would be directly credited to the farmers’ account.
- The Arhtiyas or the informal moneylenders used to receive this payment earlier.
- This is a good mode of e-governance, where the government is seeking to ease the lives of its citizens.
- The Arhtiyas will continue receiving the payment of the 2.5% Commission.
- Free the farmers from the trap of the moneylenders.
- Make the farmers dependence of the informal money providers less.
- The debt trap cycle of the farmers could be done away with.
- Many farmer unions and even the World Bank were clamouring for such a step.
50. Langar Baba Jagdish Lal Ahuja
Context: Langar Baba’ Jagdish Lal Ahuja conferred with Padma Shri for his selfless mission for more than 30 years.
About Padma Shri
- Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan.
- It is awarded by the Government of India, every year on India’s Republic Day.
- It was first awarded in 1954.
- The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
- The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
- The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made.
- The award is given in three categories, namely:
- Padma Vibhushan for exceptional and distinguished service;
- Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order; and
- Padma Shri for distinguished service.
History and Relevance
- The Government of India instituted two civilian awards-Bharat Ratna & Padma Vibhushan in 1954.
- The latter had three classes namely Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg.
- These were subsequently renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri vide Presidential Notification issued on January 8, 1955.
- Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the country. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.
- It is treated on a different footing from Padma Award. The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President of India.
- No formal recommendations for Bharat Ratna are necessary. The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year. Government has conferred Bharat Ratna Award on 45 persons till date.
Other News (One liners)
Thermal Sensors have been installed at Raja Sansi Airport of Amritsar to detect the emerging threat of Corona Virus where screening of the passengers has been started today. No positive case of the virus has come to light so far in the State. International Airport Mohali will also start screening of the passengers from tomorrow onwards.
National Award ‘Best CEO for Accessible Elections’: President of India Sh. Ram Nath Kovind conferred coveted National Award ‘Best CEO for Accessible Elections’ upon the Chief Electoral Officer Punjab Dr S Karuna Raju today during National Voter’s Day function held at Zoravar Auditorium, Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi.
Punjab Government led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has covered 422 Police Stations and 18 Higher Offices of Police in the State under the Crime Control Tracking Network System (CCTNS). All the FIRs are now being registered digitally on this network. This enables downloading of FIR copy free of cost.
Punjab is now an official leopard habitat with the Wildlife Department frequently sighting this natural predator in and around the Takhni Rehmapur Wildlife Sanctuary, Hoshiarpur. Wildlife officials have over the last few years sighted wild cats at different locations in the lower Shivaliks while pug marks have also been noticed in the Kandi belt.
A delegation from ‘Invest Punjab’ led by Finance Minister of Punjab took part in two sessions at the World Economic Forum. Finance Minister (Punjab) joined the discussions with the heads of multinational companies in the session on “The 50L Home Coalition: Joining Forces to Reinvent Urban Living” to address the global water crisis.
Capt Tania: On Army Day, Hoshiarpur girl and a fourth-generation Army officer in her family, Capt Tania Shergill has made the district proud by being the first-ever woman officer to be the Parade Adjutant for the Army Day parade, leading all men contingent of the Army Day Parade today.
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