State news

Compendium of state news from various sources relevant for State services exam both MCQs and Descriptive type. This section will be updated regularly from sources like Hindu, Deccan etc. and various govt websites

Proposed film policy fixes price ceiling on tickets

  • The new policy on Kannada films requires multiplexes to fix a uniform ticket price and compulsorily screen Kannada films at prime time, twice a day.
  • The 14-member committee, headed by filmmaker and chairman of the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy S V Rajendra Singh Babu, is giving final touches to the comprehensive policy that will be valid for five years
  • The report will be submitted to the State government by February-end.
  • The panel, which studied Tamil Nadu’s policy on uniform ticket prices in multiplexes, has suggested fixing an upper limit of Rs 120 per ticket
  • Currently, multiplexes charge arbitrarily depending on the response to a particular film
  • Tickets are particularly expensive on weekends.
  • Similarly, the panel has also recommended two shows of Kannada films every day in all the multiplexes or 124 shows a year. Neighbouring Maharashtra introduced a similar policy in 2015.

Subsidy

  • To encourage people to build at least 300 single-screen cinemas across the State to exclusively exhibit Kannada films, the panel suggested a government subsidy of Rs 50 lakh a cinema.
  • These cinemas will have to screen just Kannada films for at least three years. They could be used for screening award-winning Kannada films too

Revamping of norms

  • Besides, the committee has recommended revamping subsidy norms for films to prevent misuse and corruption, welfare measures for film labourers, to hire a professional of international repute to create a comprehensive film city at Mysuru in addition to looking into all aspects of improving the Kannada film industry to make it competitive and provide a level playing field with other language films in the State.
  • The committee was set up by the State government on the recommendation of Babu during the previous edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival.
  • Actors Jayamala Ramachandra, Raghavendra Rajkumar, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, producers ‘Rockline’ Venkatesh and Muniratna, exhibitor K V Chandrashekhar and director Girish Kasaravalli were also on the panel besides the presidents of the Karnataka Film Chamber and Commerce and the exhibitors’ association.
  • The previous committee, headed by V N Subba Rao, had submitted its report in 1994.

Key recommendations

  1. To fix a uniform upper ticket price at Rs 120 in all multiplexes.
  2. To make it compulsory for multiplexes to screen two Kannada films every day.
  3. To encourage building 300 exclusive single-screen cinemas by extending a subsidy to exclusively exhibit Kannada films.
  4. To revamp subsidy norms for films to prevent misuse and corruption.

Multiplex complex

The government is in the process of finalising a multiplex complex at the proposed Bangalore International Convention Centre near Kempegowda International Airport. There will be at least six multiplex screens at the proposed centre.

Govt to make, sell cloth bags as an alternative to plastic

  • The Department of Handlooms and Textiles is planning to manufacture a large number of cloth bags as an alternative to plastic which is set to be completely banned in Karnataka in the days to come.
  • Since 2013, it has manufactured and sold one lakh cloth bags at its Priyadarshini outlets.
  • Now, it plans to ask the government for funds to manufacture more cloth bags. Before that, it will conduct a survey to assess the demand
  • On March 21, 2013, the government had issued guidelines to all religious institutions to discourage plastic and encourage cloth bags.
  • On April 30, 2014, the Commerce and Industries Department had issued guidelines and circulars to avoid use of plastic and
  • encourage the sale of cloth bags at government-run handloom stores. Following this, the textiles department manufactured over a lakh cloth bags and sold them.
  • The government had directed the Karnataka State Khadi and Village Industries Board (KSKVIB), the Karnataka Handlooms Development Corporation, the Cauvery Handlooms and the Handlooms and Textiles Department to manufacture, promote and sell cloth bags at subsidised rates.
  • The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on May 23, 2014, issued a notification stating that cloth bags manufactured by the Karnataka Handlooms Development Corporation are an alternative to plastic carry bags. Its then chairman Vaman Acharya even issued an appeal to eliminate plastic bags, especially those below 40 microns.

Trade licence fee hiked

  • The cash strapped Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has increased the trade licence fee for several business establishments, a move that is bound to trickle down to the citizens eventually.29bg_bgvsn_trad_31_2717847f
  • The civic body has not revised trade licence fees for eight years. According to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, trade licence rates can be revised every five years. BBMP has decided to revise the rates now because of the negligible revenue coming from this source.
  • At present, it earns around Rs. 18 crore a year by renewing and issuing trade licences.
  • Trade licence fee has been nearly doubled for hotels with three stars and above, wedding halls, bars and even grocery stores located in malls. In fact, seven-star hotels will have to pay four times the fee earlier prescribed.

Mahadayi row: Centre says no to out-of-tribunal settlement

  • the Union Water Resources Ministry has turned down the request by Karnataka seeking an out-of-tribunal settlement for the inter-State row over sharing the Mahadayi river waters.
  • Farmers have been up in arms in north Karnataka demanding a settlement of the issue, so that canal work can be undertaken
  • Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar too, meanwhile, has turned down the request by Karnataka for holding negotiations and preferred to go with the tribunal proceedings.
  • Responding to a request made by Karnataka seeking her intervention on it, Ms. Bharti has pointed out that the Centre set up the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal on November 16, 2010 for adjudicating the dispute between Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka
  • During pendency of the issue before the tribunal, the process of negotiation could be initiated only if all the parties concerned showed willingness for negotiation
  • At present, there is no such proposal from Maharashtra and Goa.

70 p.c. of out-of-school children are from SC, ST, minorities in Karnataka

  • About 70 per cent of out-of-school-children (OOSC) in Karnataka belong to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other minority communities, reveals the latest Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) survey, indicating that even primary education continues to elude marginalised communities.30Bg_Missing_eps_2718103e
  • The survey showed that 6,633 of the 9,468 out-of-school children belonged to SC, ST and minority communities. This includes children who have never enrolled in schools and those who are dropouts, and aged between 7 and 14.
  • Before the 2015-2016 academic year, the department had identified 12,878 children who were out of school. As per the Education Department’s claim, 81 per cent of these children are back in schools.
  • The first comprehensive survey conducted by the State government in February 2015, after the High Court had taken up a suo motu case, revealed that there were 1.7 lakh children out of school and the court had ordered to ensure that there were no dropouts.

Govt. launches app for Invest Karnataka-2016

  • With the aim of providing a digitally enhanced user platform for all participants, the State government has launched an Invest Karnataka 2016 mobile application.
  • The app has provided a fillip to the efforts of the government to mobilise delegates’ registration for the upcoming event scheduled for three days from February 3 in Bengaluru.
  • The app is loaded with useful information for investors looking at Karnataka as an investment opportunity
  • It gives Karnataka’s overview about its advantages, sectors for investment, speaker sessions, and also keeps investors updated on the latest news about the State.
  • The app will provide them information about the happenings at Invest Karnataka-2016. It will include event details, event schedule and venue details, amongst others.

Belagavi, Davangere among top 20 smart cities

  • The border city of Belagavi and Davangere in central Karnataka have made it to the list of top 20 smart cities.
  • Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu released the list of the first 20 out of the 98 shortlisted cities for the Smart City Plan (SCP)
  • Implementation of SCP will showcase integrated planning.
  • Under the five-year project (2015-2019), each smart city will be given a Rs. 500-crore grant from the Centre, besides an additional Rs. 500 crore from the State government.
  • The officials at Belagavi City Corporation (BCC) said the comprehensive proposal of Rs. 3,866 crores and involvement of over 1 lakh individuals and institutions in coming out with innovative suggestions seem to have helped the municipal corporation in getting it to the top 20 smart cities in the country.
  • SCP would be essentially Area Based Development (10.78 sq km) and Pan City solutions

IISc scientists work on tool for 3D sketching

  • Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) are working on a high-tech 3D sketching tool that will allow designers to sketch on a 3D canvas with better precision and control.
  • This, scientists say, will not only eliminate the need to convert 2D sketches into 3D format but also help save time while providing designers creative freedom.
  • The tool will also be equipped with stereoscopic vision to control the inability to touch and feel a 3D sketch and haptic feedback, a technology used in touch screens of smart phones.
  • Although such technologies already exist, they are do not provide users precision and control while creating strokes in 3D and lack a certain ‘feel of control’ during the sketching process
  • IISc scientists are now working on an interactive 3D sketching tool that could provide visual feedback, a feel of the object while sketching and enhance a designers abilities to make efficient product sketches while designing a new productFYWLX0NH6MF3FU3.RECT2100
  • The tool could also provide the designer the creative freedom to explore the new design.
  • Researchers have also used algorithms such as curve fitting, where the jagged freehand sketches could be made into smooth and orderly curves.
  • These algorithms provide a platform which leverages the advantages of both sketch and computer aided design, thus allowing for clear images while maintaining the creative freedom of sketching.

Govt. moves to regulate cab aggregators              

  • If the State government has its way, all cabs in Bengaluru, including the ones with cab aggregators, will soon have to fix digital meters and operate within a maximum fare limit
  • They will no longer be able to dictate fares via surge pricing.
  • The Transport Department will publish a set of rules to regulate private taxi aggregators. The notification has been cleared by the Law Department and is expected to be released next week.
  • The rules also state that digital meters will have to be installed in all cabs. While fares less than the set fare can be considered, the total fare cannot cross the upper limit set by the department
  • The Transport Department’s move to regulate taxi fares and introduce digital meters instead of GPS-enabled phones will bring order to an arbitrary pricing system.
  • Currently, the maximum fare for air-conditioned taxis is Rs. 19.50 per km after a minimum charge of Rs. 80 for four km. While aggregators charge anywhere between Rs. 7 and Rs. 10 per km, commuter end up paying more — as much as four times higher during peak hours — because of ‘surge pricing’.
  • A fixed fare will mean easier commuting, according to users, as they will know exactly what fare they will be paying at all times of the day.
  • The rules are based on a set of guidelines issued by the Union Ministry last year, which empowered State governments to form their own rules governing aggregators.
  • The State Transport Department will have much-needed powers to catch and fine cab operators who charge ‘surge prices’ based on demand for cabs

Will commuters benefit?

  • Not all the time. If the notification is enforced, taxi aggregators may choose to charge the full fare instead of the current discounted rates during non-peak hours.
  • As of now, aggregators use cabs with tourist taxi or luxury cab permits, which allows them to use the ‘surge pricing’ model. Under the new rules, aggregators will have to register under Section 93 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act. They will have to pay a licence fee and security deposit to the government.

Highlights

  • Aggregators to register under Section 93 of Motor Vehicle Act
  • Compulsory verification of drivers
  • Aggregator has to set up and operate a control room
  • Pay licence fee and security deposit to the government

A new chilli variety that saves labour cost

  • A Dharwad-based private research centre has come out with a chilli variety which can be harvested without stalk/stem from the plant.
  • When the fruit is plucked after ripening, the stem/stalk remains on the plant in the new variety called ‘Dandicut’ (without stem) unlike the normal varieties where even the stem/stalk comes attached with the fruit on plucking.

Problem with the stem:

  • The stem, is one of the major contaminants during the value addition process as it adds fungi, mites and fibre materials into chilli products.
  • However, de-stemming is a massive process as it requires 106 lakh labour days to handle the country’s total chilli production of 16 lakh metric tonnes. The cost of labour comes to Rs. 15 to 20 for de-stemming a kilogram of chillies
  • Apart from costing huge money and taking a long time, the present method of manual de-stemming is causing health problems such as asthma and TB to labourers
  • The detached stems also will amount to 5,000 truck loads of garbage.

AIR launches 24-hour classical music channel

  • All India Radio has launched a 24-hour satellite classical music channel, ‘Raagam’, which will be available via DTH (with no transmitter support as with its other channels) and mobile app (All India Radio Live), and will also be streamed at www.airbengaluru.com.
  • For the first time in its history, the public broadcasting corporation will have a 24-hour channel with classical Carnatic and Hindustani programmes
  • It can be accessed not just in India but the world over.
  • About 42 per cent of the music will be Hindustani and 58 per cent, Carnatic.
  • Bengaluru will be involved in the technical broadcast and content management of the national channel even as 14 other stations will be officially contributing to its programming
  • The one-minute signature tune of ‘Raagam’ is composed by Bengaluru-based mridangist Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma.

Operation on to drive elephant herd back into Nagarahole park

  • The Department of Forests has launched an operation to drive a herd of around seven elephants into the Nagarahole National Park after they strayed into human habitation in Hunsur taluk
  • The herd comprises two tuskers and two calves besides three female elephants and was first sighted at Katte Malalavadi, which is about 4 km from Hunsur town and nearly 20 km from the national park boundaries.

Tyagaraja Aradhana

  • Fondly called Bangalore Nagarathnamma, the classical singer and music prodigy, who was then in her 70s, built a mantapa around the Samadhi, led women singers to perform for the first time ever in the then male-dominated choral tribute, and most importantly brought in a formatted Pancharatna Kriti (the five gems of Tyagaraja) rendering25bg_bgrag_naga_26_2710921g
  • She passed away in 1952, but to this day Ms. Nagarathnamma remains a beacon of female power
  • women participating in the aradhana is five times the number of men now. “There are 500 women performing against 100 male performers,”
  • This is a far cry from the first time women performed at the aradhana.
  • According to the book Mysore Stalwarts by K. Srinivasa Iyengar (Rajashree), Ms. Nagarathnamma collected money from philanthropists in Madras, and sold her home and jewels to fashion a social revolution of sorts in January 1941
  • The Pancharatna Kritis where selected by seniors, including Muthiah Bhagavathar, to help an organised collective rendering
  • Nagarathnammal’s approach, which marked a new chapter in gender equality, is an achievement, given the fact that none of the nearly 30 immediate male shishyas of Tyagaraja had earlier managed to do this
  • Nagarathnamma was also responsible for introducing well-known Kannada musicians to the public.
  • Nagarathnamma was born into the Devadasi clan to Puttalakshmma in 1872 at Nanjangud, near Mysuru. Because of her lineage, many scholars initially refused to teach her the high arts of Sanskrit, Kannada, music and dance
  • Eventually, her perseverance brought her to scholars such as Bangalore Kittanna in dance, Giribhattara Thammayya in literature, and violinist Muniswamappa, who was a student of Walajapet Krishnaswamy Bhagavatar of Tyagaraja lineage

HC stays retrospective hike in minimum wages in automobile industry

  • In a temporary relief to the automobile engineering industry, including automobile servicing and repairing works, the High Court of Karnataka on Monday stayed the State’s notification of increasing minimum wages by more than 100 per cent for labourers in this sector with retrospective from April 1, 2015.
  • The court, however, said that the petitioner industries should increase wages prospectively to labourers at the rate of 75 per cent of the revised wages proposed in the July 30, 2015 notification issued by the State government.
  • The July notification had revised wages for labourers in automobile engineering (including serving and repair works).

Panel to popularise works of K.S. Narasimhaswamy

  • To mark completion of the birth centenary of K.S. Narasimhaswamy, whose name is synonymous with lyrical poetry in Kannada, the Karnataka government has drawn up a plan to popularise his writings and set up a seven-member committee to take the idea forward.
  • The centenary celebrations committee is headed by writer and critic Narahalli Balasubrahmanya and Mekhala Venkatesh, granddaughter of the poet
  •  Its primary task will be taking his poetry to the younger generation, with a critical review of his works
  • Born in Kikkeri of Mandya district on January 26, 1915, K.S.Na. carved a niche for himself in Kannada literature in the Navodaya (Romantic) phase
  • He is still known for his simple poetry of love and the joys and sorrows of every day living.
  • His first collection Mysoora Mallige , published in 1942, has gone into multiple editions.
  • Inspired by Robert Burns, his poems were unique to the language at a time when most Kannada poets dealt with nature and natural world.

About K S Narasimhaswamy:

  • January 26, 1915: Born in Kikkeri, Mandya district
  • 1977: Conferred Sahitya Akademi Award for Tereda Bagilu
  • 1995: Awarded Pampa Prashasti
  • 1991: Presided over the 60th Kannada Sahitya Sammelan, Mysuru
  • 1996: Named Fellow of Sahitya Akademi
  • December 27, 2003: Passed away in Bengaluru

Braille-embedded train to chug out of Mysuru

  • The Mysuru-Varanasi Express will become the country’s first Braille-embedded train.
  • It has been provided with metallic Braille signage indicating berth numbers, location of alarm chains, toilets, and emergency windows. There are also instructions on how to operate the emergency exit windows. The initiative has been financed by Mysuru MP Pratap Simha from the MPLAD fund.
  • Though the Puri-Delhi Purushottam Express was the first train in the country to have a Braille-embedded coach, the Mysuru-Varanasi Express will be the first in the country where all reserved coaches have been embedded with Braille signage
  • Braille signage has been introduced on one rake of the express and it will soon be introduced in the second rake as well. The Chamundi Express and the Mysuru-Talguppa Express are the other two trains that will be provided with Braille displays after this

Padma awardees from state

  • Eleven eminent citizens were chosen from Karnataka for the Padma awards announced on Monday, including two Padma Vibhushans.
  • Dr.Vasudev Kalkunte Aatre (under Science and Engineering) and Shri Shri Ravishankar (under Others – Spiritualism) were chosen for the Padma Vibhushan. Bengaluru-born Dr. Aatre was DRDO’s Director-General; Secretary, Dept of Defence R&D, & Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister during the period 1999–2005. Shri Shri Ravi Shankar is a spiritual leader who founded the Art of Living Foundation.

PADMA VIBHUSHAN

Name Field State
Dr. Vasudev Kalkunte Aatre Science & Engineering Karnataka
Shri Shri Ravi Shankar Others – Spiritualism Karnataka

Nine personalities were chosen for the Padma Shri awards:

PADMA SHRI

Name Field State
Shri S.S. Rajamouli Art-Film Direction and Production Karnataka
Prof. M. Venkatesh Kumar Art-Folk Artist Karnataka
Dr. Santeshivara Bhyrappa Literature & Education Karnataka
Dr. M.M. Joshi Medicine – Ophthalmology Karnataka
Prof. (Dr) John Ebnezar Medicine – Orthopaedic Surgery Karnataka
Dr. Mylswamy Annadurai Science & Engineering Karnataka
Prof. Dipankar Chatterji Science & Engineering Karnataka
Dr. H.R. Nagendra Others-Yoga Karnataka
Shri M. Pandit Dasa Social Work Karnataka

Malpe becomes first beach in India with wi-fi facility

  • Malpe beach in Udupi district, one of the main tourist attractions in southern Karnataka, has become the first beach in India to have wi-fi connectivity.
  • The facility will be available to tourists free of cost for 30 minutes at any time of the day during their visit
  • The service is being provided by BSNL, supported by the Centre’s Digital Drive Initiative.

Campaign to trace missing children

  • The Operation Smile-2 campaign – which seeks to trace missing children, prevent trafficking of children, besides protect and rehabilitate trafficked children – has taken off in the State.
  • The operation is on since January 18 and will continue till February 18.
  • It is being undertaken with participation from 12 departments, including police, health, social welfare, labour and women and child development.
  • A similar exercise undertaken in 2015 had not been very successful
  • The police department has taken up the second phase of the campaign in all the districts as per court directions.
  • This is because it had not been possible to trace children (those below 18 years of age) who went missing between 2011 and 2015.
  • Teams have been set up at the level of local police stations to find children who may have been employed in hotels, factories, garages, bus stands or found begging on roadsides.
  • The police stations have been told to inform the teams in case they come across such children
  • The children so found will be produced before the children’s welfare committee for counselling. Their families will be identified and the children will be handed over to the families.

Database soon of medicinal plants, traditional healthcare

  • The State could soon have a modern database of local medicinal plants and knowledge pertaining to traditional healthcare practices created using Geographical Information System (GIS).
  • The Health department has evinced keen interest in a project recommended by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) that proposes to develop a local medicinal plant herbal pharmacopeia on an Information Communication Technology (ICT) platform.
  • In its recommendation – the latest to be submitted to the State government by the commission headed by renowned scientist K Kasturirangan – the panel has suggested the creation of an inventory of herbal medicines and traditional procedure-based therapies using satellite images and GIS.
  • By using the latest technology to create a database, we will be integrating traditional community health knowledge and practices with modern science
  • While there are hundreds of local herbal remedies, some commonly used include: Drinking fresh juice from Giloya shoot with honey, said to provide relief from acidity; Having decoction of dry ginger, pippali and amla twice a day, said to provide relief from cold and cough.
  • The proposal is to create taluk-level database and documentation.
  • To start with, medicinal plant pharmacopeia for Heggadadevana Kote (HD Kote) taluk in Mysuru district, has been proposed.
  • Later, it will be extended to other taluks. HD Kote is estimated to be home to 500 medicinal plants in the forest areas of Nagarahole National Park, Bandipur National Park, Karigala, Kalbetta, Kakanakote forest range, among others.

Nutrition support for kids affected by cancer now in B’luru

  • Identifying adequate nutrition as one of the primary aspects in the fight against cancer, Mumbai-based Cuddles Foundation, which provides nutrition support to underprivileged, cancer-afflicted children, is extending its services to Bengaluru.
  • The Foundation has tied up with Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Centre and St Johns Hospital in Bengaluru.
  • As part of their intervention, the foundation provides food to not just the children but to their parents as well

Study group to chart out roadmap for tapping potential of drones

  • The Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) is coming out with a strategy to utilise Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) technology in the sectors of town planning, crop and forest survey, pollution monitoring, civic operations among others, specific to the State.524399_thump
  • UAS - commonly known as drones – are remotely operated small flying machines without a pilot aboard.
  • The KKC has constituted a study group to prepare a roadmap for tapping the applications of UAS in various sectors.
  • The panel has also been given the task of coming out with demonstrative projects in association with various departments of the government for end-to-end governance.
  • This is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country. Bengaluru – being the hub for aerospace technology development – is the best place to launch the venture
  • The panel will come out with recommendations on the policy measures that the governments need to take to encourage UAS research in institutions and universities and also a roadmap for adopting the technology into the higher education system.
  • The study group will come out with a document on legal issues pertaining to UAS and measures to be taken to prevent its misuse

In brief:

*It is a first-of-its-kind initiative to come out with a well-defined policy on drones

*21-member study group with experts, academia and top-ranking officials to hold first meeting next month

*Panel to come out “UAS Technology, Applications and Policy: Karnataka Vision” in six months

*UAS demonstration case studies to be taken up with user government departments

Demand for Kumki land by farmers of coastal districts

  • The district unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangha has urged the State government to provide ‘Kumki’ land to farmers of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts.
  • ‘Kumki’ land refers to those plots situated adjacent to the agricultural land or fields of the farmers. It is used for cattle grazing and to grow grass for cattle. The shrubs grown on ‘Kumki’ land is also used as fertilizer in the fields.
  • The ‘Kumki’ rights were a basic right enjoyed by the farmers in the two coastal districts.
  • In fact, the ‘Kumki’ rights were recognised and granted by the then British government to farmers in the district of South Canara (later renamed as Dakshina Kannada, from which Udupi district was carved out in 1997), which was then part of the Madras Presidency.
  • This was made clear in the Madras Board Standing Order, 1896
  • The farmers also had the right to use of leaves, wood, agriculture and forest products grown or available in this land.
  • Till 1973, the farmers could give an application and get the ‘Kumki’ land converted into agricultural land. But to due some problem arising out of a land dispute, the government gave the power to grant ‘Kumki’ land to the Deputy Commissioner in 1971.
  • However, the government issued another circular in May, 1973, which prohibited the grant of ‘Kumki’ land. This situation was continuing for the last 43 years.
  • Over six lakh farmers from coastal and Malnad districts were fighting for the rights for ‘Kumki’ land. As per government figures, nearly 1.97 lakh farmers in Udupi district and 2.13 lakh farmers in Dakshina Kannada, had rights over ‘Kumki’ land.
  • The farmers had built houses and plantations on ‘Kumki’ land. In many cases, they had also developed dry ‘Kumki’ land and made them cultivable. Hence, the government should provide Kumki’ lands to the farmers, who had been waiting for it for over four decades.

Railways flags down a colonial tradition

  • The Indian Railways will confine to history a colonial tradition of physically carrying its collection of cash, cash acknowledgement, and ticket earnings from all stations and shift to cash transfer via Net banking.
  • For, South Western Railway has signed an MoU with the State Bank of India (SBI) for “doorstep banking,” under which the bank’s agents will collect the earnings of the day from each of the stations and credit it to the Railway account online in 24 hours
  • The move marks turning the page as the hoary practice of depositing the day’s collection in a leather bag, sealing it and dumping it in a giant steel trunk, and loading it to the guard’s compartment of the designated “cash train”, transporting it to the head office where an official with a master key would open it in the presence of higher officials, will be abandoned.
  • Though major stations with banking facilities have switched to depositing the amount at the nearest branch, the practice is in vogue in remote stations without banking facilities. But the acknowledgement for cash deposit in banks from all stations continues to be transported through cash chest.
  • The archaic system of transporting hard currency and other negotiable instruments, such as like DD (demand draft), cash voucher, cheques etc. by passenger trains was not only fraught with risk but also time consuming.
  • The Railways in Karnataka would be able to save at least Rs. 70 lakh per annum on switching to the new system, besides ensuring safety
  • The earnings from 84 stations in the Mysuru division alone were reckoned to be around Rs. 3 crore per day.
  • Besides Mysuru, Hubballi and Bengaluru divisions have also signed the MoU and would revert to the new system of depositing cash

State reaches 8-lakh mark in LED bulb sales

  • As the number of LED bulbs sold in the country under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) touched the 5-crore mark, Karnataka stood in the second spot among the south Indian States with over eight lakh bulbs having been sold.
  • Within the State, over five lakh bulbs were sold in Mysuru, where the ‘Hosa Belaku’ scheme was launched, beating capital city Bengaluru.ctPibQ0f9ahRww8dFG54TDl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVvK0kTmF0xjctABnaLJIm9
  • Overall in India, Andhra Pradesh, with over 1.49 crore LED bulbs, stood unbeaten. LED bulbs are being sold for Rs. 10 in the State.
  • The other States with big sales as on Thursday were Maharashtra (79.4 lakh) and Rajasthan (69.77 lakh).
  • The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), which caters to eight districts, started distributing the bulbs this month. While the number of outlets at which consumers can buy the bulbs has increased, the power utility has also started selling the bulbs across 17 BangaloreOne centres.
  • Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL), which is distributing the LED bulbs, plans to sell close to 10 crore bulbs by March.
  • The DELP scheme is expected to save energy, avoid peak load, as well as reduce emission of carbon dioxide.
  • The DELP target is to replace all 77 crore incandescent bulbs in India with LEDs.

About Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP)

Objectives: The main objective is to promote efficient lighting, enhance awareness on using efficient equipment which reduce electricity bills and help preserve environment.

Overall targets

  • Overall target of number of incandescent bulbs to be replaced – 200 million
  • Expected overall annual energy savings – 10.5 billion KWh
  • Expected reduction of load – 5000 MW
  • Expected annual cost reduction of consumer bills – 40,000 crore
  • Annual estimated greenhouse gas emission reductions – 79 million tonnes of CO2

Implementation agencies: The Electricity Distribution Company and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) a public sector body of Government of India are implementing the programme.

Eligibility of acquiring LED bulbs: Every grid-connected consumer having a metered connection from their respective Electricity Distribution Company can get the LED bulbs at about 40% of the market price under the DELP Scheme. Consumers also have the option of paying for the LEDs in equated monthly instalments.

States implemented: The DELP is under implementation in 18 states

Significance

An ordinary bulb is an extremely energy inefficient form of lighting with just 5% of the electricity input converted to light.  Efficient light bulbs like Light-emitting Diode(LEDs) consumes only one-tenth of energy used by ordinary bulb to provide the same or better light output. However, high cost of LEDs has been a barrier in adoption of such efficient lighting systems. The DELP on-bill financing scheme proposes to overcome this cost barrier.

Through the DELP scheme consumers can avail from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 10 LED bulbs, depending on the region

About Hosa Belaku scheme

  • Karnataka Government’s LED Scheme
  • Its energy conservation initiative of replacing conventional electricity bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs.
  • Launched on December 11
  • Each household will get five to 10 LED bulbs for about Rs 100 each as against the market price of Rs 400 apiece.

Karnataka govt withdraws luxury tax on ICUs

  • Faced with criticism from various quarters, the state government decided to withdraw luxury tax being imposed on Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in private hospitals.
  • The Commercial Taxes department had on July 2, 2015 issued an order stating that accommodation provided in ICUs charging more than Rs 1,000 per day per room in private hospitals attract eight per cent luxury tax under Karnataka Tax on Luxuries Act, 1979.
  • The department initially had not insisted on the tax. However, with financial year ending in two months and its budgetary target to be met, the department  recently issued a directive to all private hospitals that the tax needs to be imposed.

KSPCB to grant online approval for ‘red’ industries soon

  • In a move that could improve the State’s ranking of ease of doing business, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) will launch an online approval for ‘Red’ category industries that would ensure transparency and speedy disposal of application seeking environmental clearances.
  • Karnataka now ranks ninth in the ease of doing business report prepared by the World Bank – just above Uttar Pradesh.
  • Even States like Jharkhand and Odisha are ranked above the state with Gujaratat the top.
  • The initiative will be launched by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during the Invest Karnataka in the first week of February
  • The board will issue both Consent for Establishment (CFE) and Consent for Operations (CFO) industries.
  • The board has sought the help of National Informatics Centre (NIC) to build a software application enabling the online issuance of CFE and CFO to industries at the click of a mouse instead of making visits to officials to get them.
  • Over 800 investment proposals cleared by the State government and falling under the Red category are pending approvals from the board for more than a year now. According to the rules, the KSPCB should issue or reject CFE within 120 days from the date industries applied for it.
  • Online clearance will help better monitoring, speedy disposal and bring in transparency
  • The KSPCB is also in the process of re-categorising industries into Red, Orange, Green and White based on composite scoring of pollution index instead of the current practice of size of the investment. The pollution index include discharge of emissions and effluents and its impact on health.
  • Currently heavy industries fall in the Red, small industries in Green and the medium industries in Orange category. Consent fee payable to pollution control board is revised by excluding the investment on land and building from the total project cost.

Machine intelligence set to revolutionise data analytics

  • Using machine intelligence it is possible to analyse the data on a real-time basis.
  • To tap the potential of data analytics – an emerging technology – for various eco-systems in the State, the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) has constituted a special task group on machine intelligence.
  • Machine intelligence uses technology to enable machines to perform tasks traditionally conducted by humans with speed and efficiency
  • The 18-member task group is co-chaired by Chiranjib Bhattacharya, professor, Department of Computer Science and Automation, Indian Institute of Science and Venkatesh Valluri, chairman and president of Ingersoll Rand (India Region).
  • The task group, which comprises representatives from software companies, industry and academia, held its first meeting on December 22 and will be coming out with a “Karnataka – Machine Intelligence Plan” in six months.
  • The panel will look at developing a business model for machine intelligence and recommend steps that the government could take to encourage commercial development of the technology.
  • Data analytics is a new science and it can be used to address issues in the field of transportation, compilation of census and survey data, healthcare, education, rural and urban development, governance, citizen services specific to Karnataka

State likely to get country’s first exclusive university for management education

  • Karnataka could be the first state to have a university catering specifically to management education on the lines of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) for engineering and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) for medical courses.
  • This university would be called the ‘Karnataka International Management University’.
  • Besides addressing the issue of quality in management education in the state, the proposal also lays strong emphasis on sustainable development education.
  • Some of the objectives of the university include improving the quality of management education in the state through globally benchmarked curriculum, smoothening the coordination of management education through affiliated institutions by focusing on profession-specific needs, attracting international researchers and management degree aspirants to the state and establishing a unique low-cost and high-quality management education system in the country for weaker and under-privileged sections of society.
  • The university will aim to integrate management colleges and undergraduate as well as postgraduate courses in other colleges.
  • While there are as many as 261 All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)-approved management institutions with an annual intake of 22,000 in the state, hundreds of seats are left vacant each year. The proposal also aims to address this concern.
  • The situation calls for immediate measures to streamline the management development process through innovative interventions in management education. Creation of a separate management university is greatly needed for aligning the management education quality to the best of the global benchmarks and making it affordable for larger sections of the society

National Family Health Survey: Karnataka Related Data

Drop in married women using modern family planning methods

  • Karnataka has recorded a decline in use of modern family planning methods by married women, with just over 50 per cent of them using them, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015–16 has revealed.20bg_bgbag_Insi_21_2704167e
  • The survey shows that 51.8 per cent of married women in the 15 to 49 age group are using “any method” of family planning, with the decline in terms of percentage during the last one decade at 11.8 per cent. It stood at 63.6 per cent in NFHS survey (2005–06).
  • There has been a decline in all categories. While women using “modern method” stood at 51.3 per cent in 2015–16, it was 62.5 per cent in 2005–06, a decline of 11.2 per cent. The percentage of women undergoing sterilisation saw a decline of 8.8.
  • While the percentage of men undergoing sterilisation is always low compared to women, there has been a further decline since the previous National Family and Health Survey (NFHS).
  • The percentage of male sterilisation has declined from 0.2 per cent in 2005-06 to 0.1 per cent in 2015-16.
  • In the overall family planning scenario, the unmet need for family planning — currently married women in the age group of 15 to 49 — was 10.4 per cent against 10.1 per cent in 2005-06 NFHS. Unmet need for spacing was 6 per cent in 2015-16 against 5.7 per cent in the last decade.

Infant mortality improves

  • The NFHS has some good news on the infant mortality front.
  • There has been a decline from 43 per 1,000 live births to 28 in the last decade.
  • Under-five mortality rate has also declined from 54 per 1,000 live births in 2005-06 to 32 in 2015-16.

Anaemia

  • It said anaemia remains widespread in the country as more than half of the children in 10 out of 15 States are still anaemic.
  • In Karnataka, 60.9 per cent of children in the age group of 6 to 59 months are anaemic compared to 70.3 per cent in 2005-06.
  • A total of 44.8 per cent of non-pregnant women in the age group of 15 to 49 are anaemic.

Child Sex RatioMysore_1_Front__21_2704059e

  • Karnataka’s preference for male children appears to be only getting worse. While child sex ratio (females per 1,000 males) stood at 922 in the last NFHS survey, it has declined to 910 now.
  • What is even more shocking is the divide between the urban and rural areas, with rural areas clearly less biased against girl children.
  • While child sex ratio stood at 875 in urban areas, it was 935 in urban areas. In the overall population too, there is a decline in the number of females, down from 1,028 to 979.

Women Literacy

  • The data shows a sharp increase in the percentage of women who are literate from 59.7 in 2005-06 to 71.7.
  • The bigger strides have been made by urban women, at 81.8 per cent when compared to their rural counterparts who are at 63.8 per cent. The percentage of those with 10 years of education has also jumped from 27.8 a decade ago to 45.5.

Child Marriage:

  • Percentage of girls getting married below the age of 18 has come down dramatically, from 41.2 to 23.2.
  • This drop appears particularly significant when compared to the earlier rounds of the NFHS. For instance, the drop from NFHS-2 to NFHS-3 was by just 4.5 percentage points.

Decision making

  • The NFHS-4 data for Karnataka indicates that women have a greater role in decision making in the household and in money transactions.
  • As opposed to 68.6 per cent who participated in decision making as revealed by the earlier survey, the current one pegs the numbers at 80.4 per cent

Savings account

  • Percentage of women with savings accounts they use themselves has gone up from 22.1 to 59.4.

Violence

  • More number of women being empowered, they face no less violence within their households
  • The latest survey had 20.5 per cent of women reporting spousal violence, as opposed to 20 per cent in the earlier round.

Maternal care

  • While quality of antenatal care continues to be poor, the proportion of women registering within the first trimester has actually decreased from 70.9 per cent to 66 per cent.
  • Although only 32.9 per cent of pregnant women received all components of antenatal care, this figure is higher than 24.8 per cent that was reported in NFHS-3 (2005–06).
  • The proportion of pregnant women who consumed iron folic acid tablets (critical for tackling anaemia) for 100 days or more during pregnancy has increased from 28.2 per cent to 45.3 per cent.

Child health

  • Compared to the NFHS-3, there has been improvement in terms of infant and under five mortality rates. While the infant mortality rate has reduced from 43 per 1,000 live births to 28 per 1,000 live births, mortality rate among children under five years of age has reduced from 54 to 32 in a decade.

Increase in C-sections

  • The data shows that private hospitals have reported a higher number of C-section and institutional deliveries.
  • Births delivered by caesarean section have seen a rise from 15.5 per cent to 23.6 per cent in a decade. While a drastic increase has been recorded in C-section births in the private sector (from 31.9 per cent to 40.3 per cent), C-section deliveries in government hospitals has come down marginally from 17.2 per cent in 2005–06 to 16.9 per cent in 2015–16.
  • While institutional deliveries have increased from 64.7 per cent to 94.3 per cent, a point to be noted is that only 61.4 per cent of this was reported in government hospitals.

Stark rise in obesity levels

  • A stark rise in obesity levels among both men and women. The proportion of men who are obese has 10.9 per cent to 22.1 per cent when compared to the last round of NFHS (2005–06), and among women it has gone up from 15.3 per cent to 23.3 per cent.
  • Equally stark is the difference in urban and rural population on this front. While 17.1 per cent of rural men are obese when compared to 28.6 per cent rural men, the difference between rural and urban women is 16.6 per cent and 31.8 per cent, as revealed by this NFHS

The NFHS-4 was conducted from February 25 to June 20, 2015 in Karnataka and information was gathered from 23,842 households, and 26,291 women and 3,743 men.

Regulation of pre primary sector in karnataka

  • New pre-primary centres can no longer operate from places such as garages without adequate ventilation and without putting in place safety measures.
  • The highly unregulated pre-primary education sector has finally come on the radar of the Department of Primary and Secondary Education, issued a notification specifying the norms and guidelines for opening new centres.
  • As per the criteria listed, a new pre-primary centre has to have one square metre space for every child.
  • It has to employ a minimum of two staff members, and at least one of them has to be a woman.
  • Other requirements include proper bathroom facilities, safe drinking water, and a first-aid kit.
  • In 2014, the government issued norms and criteria for opening new schools, but at that time, it was not clear if these criteria applied to pre-schools too. “There was lack of clarity on whether we should treat pre-primary sections on a par with schools.

Escoms seek tariff hike of Rs. 1.02 a unit

  • The five electricity supply companies (Escoms) in the State have sought a hike of Rs. 1.02 a unit across all categories for the upcoming revision of electricity tariff.20bg_bgkcd_Esco_21_2704160g
  • In their petitions seeking revision in tariff to Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), the power utilities have sought a uniform hike for the financial year 2016–17 citing a deficit in revenue.
  • The hike sought this time by far exceeds the tariff revision proposals in recent years by the Escoms. Last year, they had asked for a hike of 80 paise a unit, but the KERC allowed the tariff to be hiked by 13 paise a unit. Prior to that, the tariff was hiked by 32 paise a unit in May 2014. This was the seventh hike in five-and-a-half years since November 2009.

Around 30 p.c. drop likely in State’s sugar production this year

  • Despite sugarcane crushing operations starting early this season (in November), the State’s total crushing and sugar production is expected to be affected by 20 to 30 per cent this year, thanks to drought and other conditions.20bgBEVKPHI_sug_21_2704166g
  • The total sugarcane crushed this season till December-end was around 149.05 lakh tonnes from which 14.87 lakh tonnes of sugar has been produced.
  • The average sugar recovery being 10 per cent, as per the data provided by 65 working sugar mills to the office of the Commissioner for Cane Development and Director of Sugar.
  • Though crushing will continue till February, the factories may soon start facing shortage of raw material.
  • Poor rainfall and inadequate electricity supply to irrigation pump sets have adversely affected the State’s sugar production. Though there is water in some of the rivers and reservoirs, shortage of power supply has affected pumping of water
  • Ironically, many sugar mills will fall short of sugarcane in the next two to three years as they had enhanced crushing capacities without making efforts to expand sugarcane area in their operational areas.
  • They had not assessed the ground realities before increasing crushing capacities. Also, a few more sugar mills are coming up in Belagavi district and other parts of the State, and the shortage of raw material could lead to unhealthy competition in the days to come

Photonics to drive terabit chips

  • Scientists from the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru are working on two projects in the area of photonic integrated circuits.
  • In the first, researchers and scientists at CeNSE are building a next-generation processor.
  • It’s hard to imagine a world without microprocessors. These ubiquitous little chips drive our technology and are embedded everywhere, from phones to laptops to DVDs and rockets. But at its very core, each unit is still electrical; it has millions of transistors connected with copper lines.
  • What if you replaced the copper lines with photonic components? It would exponentially improve the power of microprocessors. Now, scientists from CeNSE, in a project supported by the Defence of Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), are trying to develop indigenous technology for high-speed optical interconnect technology
  • CeNSe has received a Rs. 5-crore grant from the DRDO for the three-year project.
  • The copper wires/interconnect create a bottleneck for data transfer, but the project, will exploit high-speed Silicon photonics to improve data transfer between the core and the memory exponentially
  • In the second project, a CeNSE team is working towards improving the existing optical communication technology.
  • The aim is to build integrated photonic transceivers that will allow for communication speeds beyond 1 terabits per second per channel in a scalable fashion

Model code of conduct in place

  • Clearing of files and contractors’ bills, filling vacancies in various departments, and transfers of officials will come to a halt for the next 35 days as the model code of conduct has been enforced by the State Election Commission (SEC) ahead of the zilla and taluk panchayat polls on February 13 and 20.
  • The last two weeks have seen a series of bureaucratic reshuffles, with officials being asked to take charge immediately.Polls_2701602a
  • Ministers and other authorities have been barred from sanctioning grants and payments out of discretionary funds
  • The State Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday too has been postponed. File clearance will slow down as many officials have been posted as observers and on poll-related duties to various districts.
  • The impact on expenditure will be particularly felt since two elections — to three Legislative Assembly constituencies, besides ZP/TP — have come in the last financial quarter.
  • Incurring expenditure from the State Budget would be affected as the administrative machinery is engaged in holding elections
  • In fact, spending has already been poor under the Scheduled Caste Special Plan and Tribal Special Plan — just 40 per cent — during the first nine months of 2015-16.
  • The government will not announce new tenders for projects unless specifically cleared by the SEC. In fact, there was manifold increase in file movements at the secretariat since last week.
  • The code of conduct will not come in the way of holding Invest-Karnataka meet from February 3 to 5 as the State government announced the event a few months ago.

e-Tourist Visa: Goa airport elbows out Bengaluru

  • Fewer foreign tourists appear to be travelling to Bengaluru using the e-Tourist Visa facility. In December 2015, the city saw a dip in Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) availing e-Tourist Visa compared to previous months despite having the fourth highest percentage in e-Tourist Visa as well as FTAs in the recently released figures by the Ministry of Tourism.
  • In November and December 2015, Goa dislodged Bengaluru from the number three slot in terms of e-Tourist Visas.
  • Bengaluru airport saw a decline in the share of arrivals using the facility from 7.44 per cent in September 2015 to 5.57 per cent in November and 5.54 per cent in December.
  • Launched in November 2014, the e-Tourist Visa facility is presently available for citizens of 113 countries at 16 airports in India.
  • As far as FTAs are concerned, however, compared to the 6.26 per cent share in November 2015, KIA had 6.33 per cent of the arrivals in December. Those in the industry say there is no cause for concern where the number of e-Tourist Visas is concerned
  • The world over, international travel has come down. There has been a slowdown in the industry, recession and the Paris attack

Government survey of lakes be fake

  • B. Koliwad-led Joint Legislature Committee on Lake Encroachments examined the report of the survey conducted by revenue officials on the lake spread across 6 acres 32 guntas in Uttrahalli hobli, Bengaluru South taluk.
  • The report shows empty land in place of developed buildings. If the surveyors on the ground collude with developers and encroachers, our entire work will be on shaky ground
  • The committee on Monday recommended a departmental inquiry and disciplinary action against all the officials involved in the survey.
  • The finding has cast a shadow of doubt on all the other survey reports as well
  • The committee has now formed a secret team that will pick up survey reports at random and visit the spot for on-ground verification
  • The team will submit its report in a month’s time
  • The K.B. Koliwad-led joint legislature committee on lake encroachments came down heavily on revenue officials for not conducting a survey of Storm Water Drains (SWD) in the core city. It set a deadline of two months for completion of the survey.
  • “SWD survey in the city is crucial as these channels are also crucial for the restoration of lakes. While SWD survey in outer zones has achieved significant progress, it is almost a non-starter in the core city
  • Encroachment: 10,472 acres
  • Market value: Rs. 1.5 lakh crore
  • Encroachers: 11,595 firms and individuals

* Source: Status report of Joint Legislature Committee on Lake Encroachments released on January 9, 2016

Kannada Wikipedia

  • Bengaluru being the IT capital of the country has made little difference to Kannada’s presence in the cyber world. Compare any major Indian language on Wikipedia with the 13-year-old Kannada language pages, and you are in for a surprise: Kannada occupies the 10th place among Indian languages, while Urdu occupies the first slot in terms of number of articles.
  • As on January 2016, the number of articles in Kannada Wikipedia is just 19,070, while Tamil (83,432), Telugu (64,451), and Malayalam (41,334) are way ahead. Urdu version occupies the first place with 1,10,367 articles and Hindi version follows with 1,00,912 articles.
  • As far as the world ranking of languages is concerned, Kannada stands 107th.
  • It is interesting to note that Cebuano spoken by 21 million people and second most spoken language in the Philippines stands fourth in the list of global languages with 18,65,033 articles after English, Swedish, and German.
  • It has been 13 years since a small group of tech-savvy Kannadigas got together to create the first few article stubs on Kannada. This resulted in starting the Kannada language edition of Wikipedia in 2003.
  • Though the articles in Wikipedia pages drew flak for their lack of depth and quality initially, the site showed signs of improvement only to fall back again.
  • Initially, it was the issue of fonts that came in the way of developing Kannada pages and interestingly very few people knew that Wikipedia could be written in a regional language.
  • Awareness of Kannada Wikipedia, lack of awareness about Kannada typing tools, Internet accessibility issues, and lack of self-motivated volunteers who can drive the Wiki learning activities are reasons for the slowdown, he says.
  • Admitting that Kannada Wikipedia is lagging behind in terms of quantity (number of articles), U.B. Pavanaja, another administrator, argued that it was however good in terms of quality.

List of RTE quota students to be made available online

  • The names of students admitted to schools under the RTE quota, along with information on parents and their address, will go online in the coming academic year and made accessible to the public.
  • This will ensure transparency and streamline the admission process.
  • Parents can now apply using only Aadhaar or voter’s identity card. This would ensure that the address is authentic and duplicates are weeded out. Last year, over 1.31 lakh applications were found to be duplicate.
  • This year, students are eligible to apply for seats for their children only if the school falls in their ward. Last year, the department during admissions had “tweaked” the process and allowed parents to file applications in neighbouring wards as well.
  • Of 3.89 lakh applications received, 1.31 lakh were rejected as parents had filed multiple applications

Issues:

  • Some children were allotted seats twice
  • Children were allotted seats in schools that were closed or already filled
  • Many schools claimed self-styled minority status after students were allotted seats. They refused to admit children
  • While the first three rounds were conducted online, fourth round was conducted offline at the block level

HC allows admissions to KG classes under RTE, for now

  • The Karnataka High Court allowed the State government to insist, for now, on private unaided schools to admit children to pre-schools — such as lower and upper kindergarten — under the Right to Education Act for the academic year 2016-17.
  • Justice A.S. Bopanna observed that since the issue — the admissions to KGs under RTE Act, which was being followed from past three years — required a detailed hearing, it can’t be stopped at present as it would have an impact on the admissions to the first standard under the RTE Act.
  • Earlier, the government counsel contended that Article 45 of the Constitution of India compels the States to endeavour to provide free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14, and Section 38 of the RTE Act empowers the State to make rules for implementing the scheme of free and compulsory education.
  • However, the petitioners, the Associated Managements of Government Recognised English-Medium Schools in Karnataka and others, had contended that Section 2(f) of the RTE Act stipulates elementary education means from Class I to 8 as the Article 21A of the Constitution prescribes free education to all children “only in the age group of six and 14 years.”
  • Since the LKG an UGG are meant for children below the age group of six, the RTE can’t be made applicable as it would be a violation of Article 21A of the Constitution, it was claimed in the petition.

Karanja reservoir in Bidar district

  • Thousands of migratory birds have arrived to spend winter on the serene backwaters of the Karanja reservoir in Bidar district.18bg_BIRBDHI-W0_19_2701337g
  • But what has surprised birdwatchers here is the presence of innumerable demoiselle cranes, which have descended on the marshy lands.
  • The demoiselle cranes fly around 20,000 feet above the Himalayas and traverse 4,000 km to reach south India from Eurasia
  • These cranes undertake a highly risky migration.
  • They have to avoid being hunted by eagles and other predators. They stay till March and return home by April.
  • The backwaters spread across five villages in Bidar taluk play host to many birds. Some varieties like the demoiselle cranes stay for 100 to 140 days between seasons. Flamingos, great cormorant, kentish plover, red crested pochard, northern pintail, black-tailed godwit, glossy ibis and other birds were spotted in and around the reservoir this year.

NOTA option for ZP, TP polls

  • When elections to 26 zilla panchayats and 175 taluk panchayats will be held on February 13 and February 20, voters will have the option of NOTA (None of the Above) for the first time in rural local body polls.
  • Although the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Act 2015 had made provision for NOTA in rural local body elections, the option could not be introduced in the gram panchayat elections held in May.
  • The model code of conduct will come into immediate effect in the areas of the State, and will be in force till Feb. 24.
  • The code of conduct will also be applicable to rural areas of the upgraded urban local bodies for which elections have not been held
  • While Rs. 1 lakh has been fixed as the expenditure limit for ZP candidates, Rs. 50,000 is the limit for TP candidates.
  • The ballot paper colour for ZP constituency (the paper that is inside the EVM) will be pink, and for TP constituencies it will be white, he explained.

Bengaluru is a ‘high-yield business traffic market’

  • The airports in New Delhi, Mumbai and Goa have pipped Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) with a larger share of foreign tourists using the e-Tourist Visa facility in December 2015 at a time when the facility has seen a tremendous growth (of 1040.4 per cent between January-December 2015 as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year).
  • Available to citizens of 113 countries (including the U.K., the U.S. and Australia) at 16 airports in India, the e-Tourist Visa facility is open to international travellers with the ‘sole objective of visiting India for recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit’.
  • KIA officials have termed Bengaluru as a ‘high-yield business traffic market’ with an ‘inherent value proposition in catering to business travellers, tourists and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market’ with 50 per cent of the passengers being business travellers.

Film-maker Geetapriya dead

  • Renowned Kannada lyricist and film-maker Geetapriya (84), who penned lyrics for over 250 immortal songs and directed 40 films (including one in Hindi) died here on Sunday at the K.C. General Hospital.
  • Born Lakshman Rao Mohite, he stuck to his penname Geetapriya throughout his film career. Geetapriya wrote his first song for Sri Rama Pooja film in 1954 and became director through Mannina Maga, starring Rajkumar in 1968. Besides bagging national and State awards, this film was screened for 100 days at Kapali theatre in Bengaluru.
  • Recognising his contribution to the Kannada film industry, the Karnataka government honoured him with the Puttanna Kanagal Award in 1986. He was also a recipient of the Dr. B. Saroja Devi National Award.

New construction and demolition debris policy

  • As part of the new policy, the building owner will also be required to intimate the BBMP of the estimated debris that will be generated from the demolition or renovation and submit a plan to dispose it, based on which the civic body will give its nod for the work.
  • The benefit for the owner will be in the fact that the BBMP will dispose the debris, of course for a fee.
  • Based on the estimated debris to be generated, the owner will have to deposit a particular amount upfront, which will be used as fee for clearing the debris by one of the empanelled contractors
  • A toll-free number for the purpose will drive the process
  • The new policy will ensure that the agency will have data of production of all construction and demolition debris, which will make it easier for monitoring
  • The debris will be dumped in unused stone quarries around the city. These quarry pits were identified in 2013. Of the 20 notified then, Lakshmipura and S. Bingipura were turned into garbage landfills and later shut down following massive protests by people living in the surrounding villages. The other stone quarries are in Chikkajala, Mallasandra, Jigani, Kada Agrahara, and abutting NICE Road and Bannerghatta Road. The BBMP is looking for new quarries to decentralise the debris disposal.
  • Though a recent study estimated that around 1,000 tonnes of construction and demolition debris was being disposed of every day, BBMP and SWM experts differ on this point.
  • There is a historical backlog of debris in the city, which needs to be estimated and cleared in one special drive, only after which any estimation of the debris production in the city can be made
  • Debris leads to large black spots
  • Debris dumps by the roadside gradually turn into large black spots with people dumping garbage at the spot, which becomes unmanageable
  • In fact, this was the trigger for the new stringent policy on construction and demolition debris

New construction and demolition debris policy: In brief

  • If you want to demolish or renovate a building:
  • Submit an estimate of debris to be generated to the BBMP
  • The BBMP decides the deposit amount based on the estimate
  • The deposit money will be used by the BBMP to clear and dispose of debris
  • Large bulk generators, such as the Public Works Department and developers, need to take permission but can dispose of debris using their own mechanism. It will be monitored by the BBMP
  • There is no proper quantification of production of construction and demolition debris in the city
  • Debris to be dumped in 20 stone quarries identified around the city
  • At Chikkajala, Mallasandra, Jigani, Kada Agrahara, and those abutting NICE Road and Bannerghatta Road

17/1/2016

NID students give local flavour to four rail stations

  • Students from the National Institute of Design (NID) have conceptualised and designed logos and signage for four railway stations between Bengaluru and Mysuru: Srirangapatna, Channapatna, Pandavapura, and Ramanagaram
  • This was the outcome of one of the 28 workshops that were part of the 2016 Annual International Open Elective, conducted by NID across its campuses in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
  • The theme of the two-week series, was ‘Design for Railways’.
  • For the four Karnataka stations, students gave their work a local flavour, and travelled to various cities and towns and spoke to locals about the history, culture and workforce.
  • The feel of the Channapatna station has been designed keeping in mind the wooden toys that the town is famous for.
  • Ramanagaram has been linked to silk and Sholay hills; Srirangapatna derives inspiration from Tipu Sultan and Ranganathaswamy Temple, while Pandavapura’s design draws inspiration from the Pandavas, Melkote Temple and KRS Dam.
  • This exercise is the result of a memorandum of understanding between NID and Indian Railways
  • Students travelled to various cities and spoke to locals about the history, culture and workforce

Bengaluru police personnel may get their own hospital

  • If everything goes to plan, the city’s police personnel will soon get their own hospital.
  • The Karnataka State Police Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited is planning to take up construction of this super-specialty hospital.
  • It will provide specialised treatment for police personnel who are injured or susceptible to injuries in the line of duty
  • The hospital will function along the lines of the Command Hospital run by the Armed forces
  • With a slew of proposed construction projects, it appears as if the corporation is set to give some stiff competition to the Public Works Department.
  • It is also planning to construct a guesthouse for police personnel visiting the city on official business. It will be a multi-storey complex comprising 33 rooms and will come up at Anand Rao Circle

The other proposed work includes:

  • Public school at Koramangala
  • Modernize Police officers mess
  • Senior police officers Quarters
  • Command centre

Sheik Ali gets first Kalburgi award

  • The Kannada Book Authority (KBA) has instituted the Dr. M.M. Kalburgi Award, which carries a cash prize of Rs. 75,000 and citation, for writers in humanities
  • This year’s award, in memory of the renowned scholar, has been conferred on historian B. Sheik Ali.
  • A major share of his research work relates to the period of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan

State panel clears four IT projects

  • The State Level Single Window Clearance Committee chaired by Information Technology Minister S R Patil cleared four IT projects, including the expansion plans submitted by Uber and Reliance.
  • The panel cleared an expansion plan by Uber India pertaining to its mobile application to connect riders with transport providers.
  • The project is estimated to cost Rs 99 crore and would provide employment to 200 persons.
  • Another project submitted by Reliance Communication Infrastructure to expand its existing data centre at Sadaramangala Industrial Area with an investment of Rs 67 crore was cleared by the panel.
  • The expansion is anticipated to create an additional 800 jobs.
  • Two more expansion projects – one by Aris Global Software (with an investment of Rs 21.9 crore) and another by Srichid Technologies (financial service, healthcare and IT service) - was cleared by the panel

Karnataka, Maharashtra agree on ‘feasible’ water projects

  • Karnataka and Maharashtra have agreed in principle to ink a pact to implement feasible inter-state water projects and help farmers in both the states.
  • A meeting of elected representatives of the two states was organised at Kanakavli in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district, which acts as a border to the Mahadayai riparian states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.
  • In the meet representative stressed co-operation and co-ordination from both the governments to protect farmers’ interests. They said both the governments would implement water projects that were environmentally feasible and economically viable. They would have talks in this regard and take a final decision.

Plastic ban in Karnataka likely by month-end

  • The State government is planning to enforce ban on plastic by the end of this month, though the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is yet to put in place a concrete plan to ensure the restriction is well-implemented.
  • The draft notification is before the Cabinet for approval
  • It has been vetted by the Department of Forest, Environment and Ecology and there has been no dilution in it.
  • Once the government issues the order, the ban will be enforced with immediate effect
  • The most difficult challenge is to prohibit the import or entry of plastic from other states and cities, something impossible without vigilant checkposts and trained staff
  • The government had issued a draft notification on October 28, 2015, to ban plastic. People were given 30 days to give feedback and suggestions about the ban. Most of the public responses asked how the ban will be enforced in Bengaluru and across Karnataka, when various departments have been unable to restrict the entry of plastic into Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Cubbon Park and Bannerghatta Biological Park.
  • The draft notification proposed that no one shall use plastic carry bags, banners, buntings, flex boards, plastic flags, plastic plates, plastic cups and plastic sheets — irrespective of their thickness — to serve food at functions.
  • No industry or person shall manufacture, supply, store, transport, sell and distribute plastic in Karnataka.
  • The export of plastic carry bags and their use in nurseries, dairy industry, health sector and any other sector for non-consumption are, however, exempted.
  • KSPCB official conceded that enforcing the ban would be a challenge. Since the KSPCB is only a regulatory authority, it has been unable to strictly enforce the Air and Water Acts, because of which many of Bengaluru’s lakes and air are highly polluted.
  • Enforcing a complete ban on plastic in the entire State without government backing and co-operation from all departments will be difficult

Two universities from State to host U.K. students over the next 5 years

  • Two universities from the State will be among nine in the country to play host to as many as 25,000 students from the United Kingdom over the next five years.
  • This is as part of the ‘Generation U.K.’ programme of the British government.
  • The universities shortlisted from the State are Bangalore University, University of Mysore, Gulbarga University, Manipal University, Christ University, and Jain University.
  • This announcement comes in the wake of the State being invited to the ‘Education World Forum,’ a ministerial education seminar held annually in London, United Kingdom.

Studying Kannada To Be Made Mandatory For All Professional Courses

  • A committee headed by Hi. Chi. Boralingaiah has recommended making Kannada mandatory in professional courses, including medical and engineering, in Karnataka from the next academic year of 2016-17 for at least two semesters.
  • The panel, submitted a 24-page report to Higher Education Minister T.B. Jayachandra and recommended separate Kannada textbooks for Kannada and non-Kannada students pursuing professional courses such as medical, engineering, agriculture, and law.
  • For the benefit of non-Kannadigas, the panel said lecturers having expertise both in Kannada and English should be appointed
  • While 50 per cent of the syllabus should be uniform in all universities, the rest should be in accordance with the regional dialects, (for example, Dharwad Kannada, coastal Kannada, Kalaburagi Kannada, and so on).
  • The panel suggested that universities earmark a fixed amount from their annual grants for teaching Kannada, drafting textbooks and promotion of the language.
  • It told colleges and universities to give up their liberal policy of permitting students to study any one of the Indian languages instead of Kannada.

15/1/2016

Farm suicides in the state crosses 1000 mark

  • Karnataka is grappling with the problem of farmer suicides at an unprecedented scale since the last some months
  • It has accounted for 1,002 farmer deaths during the last ten months.
  • Suicide by farmers, who are frustrated by the lopsided economics of agriculture and non-realization of economically viable prices for the crops grown, has been continuing even though the government has initiated several steps to stop these suicides.
  • It is being claimed that never in the history of Karnataka has farmer suicides crossed a thousand mark. Sources in the department of agriculture, however say that out of the farmer suicides reported, 360 alone have been admitted so far, and compensation at the rate of Rs 5 lac per family stands disbursed in 354 such cases. 275 cases were rejected for different reasons, while the balance 367 cases are being processed
  • Mandya with 96 farmer suicides, tops the list, while Haveri, Belagavi, Mysuru and Tumakuru districts have been listed from No 2 to 5, accounting for 84, 76, 64, and 59 deaths respectively.
  • Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts form the tail end of the list with five suicides each.
  • 280 of these farmers had heavy borrowings from nationalized banks, 197 had raised loans from regional Grameena banks, and 141 from cooperative societies. Mounting liabilities towards private financial firms and personal borrowings compelled 48 and 129 farmers respectively to kill themselves.
  • Cotton and sugarcane growers account for most of the deaths, with figures of 114 and 110 deaths respectively, followed by paddy and maize which accounted for 91 and 90 deaths in that order.
  • Highest farmer suicides occurred between August and October, it is learnt.
  • The government claims that steps like distribution of pamphlets against ending lives, and requests made over public address systems in villages appealing them against committing suicides worked to bring down the average deaths after October.
  • There was sharp increase in the number of suicides this year because of crop failure in both khariff and Rabi seasons.

12 state highways will be upgraded

  • The Centre, in principle, has agreed to declare 12 State highways as national highways to ensure smooth and swift movement of vehicles, and to boost connectivity.
  • A total of 1,556 km State highways will be upgraded as national highways, from the existing two/four lanes to six lanes.
  • It involve total investment by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Toll will be collected after upgrading is complete
  • Two other roads — Mysuru-Bannur-Malavalli (50 km), and Khanapura-Yellapura (50 km) State highways — are under the process of approval, he said.

Operation Smile 2

  • In view of the Union government’s direction, the Mysuru City Police has launched ‘Operation Smile 2’ to trace missing children from the city.
  • Operation Smile and Operation Muskan are two programmes launched by the Union government to trace missing children across the country.
  • Six missing children from Mysuru were traced during Operation Smile 1, a month-long programme carried out in January 2015.
  • Similarly, 20 missing children from Mysuru were traced during Operation Muskan in July 2015.
  • The Mysuru City Police has launched the programme in coordination with Non Governmental Organisations, Labour, Women and Child Welfare and Revenue departments and the district child protection unit
  • This operation will continue till February 18.

Women reservation during recruitment

  • The Legislature Committee on Women and Child Welfare has said that many departments were not following the reservation norms fixed for recruitment of women and has decided to take up the issue with the government.
  • Karnataka was the second State after West Bengal to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in recruitments to government departments. Earlier the reservation percentage was 30 and it was recently increased to 33.
  • Many departments were providing 33 per cent reservation to women at the time of recruitment.

Sannati excavation shows buddhist artefacts

  • A Buddhist site excavated in and around Sannati, on the banks of the Bhima in Chittapur taluk of Kalaburagi district, should be preserved as an important Buddhist world heritage site, on a par with Sanchi, eminent scholar Monika Zin has said.
  • Prof. Zin is an associate professor in Indian Art History in the Department of Asian Studies at the Institute of Indology and Tibetology of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany. Prof. Zin visited Kanaganalli (adjoining Sannati) and inspected the reliefs and artefacts recovered during the excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
  • The Sannati site had many similarities with the Buddhist site at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, and the paintings in cave nos. 9 and 10 in Ajanta, Maharashtra.
  • Both Kanaganalli and Sanchi settlements existed almost during the same period, in the early 12th century B.C.
  • She said the site should also be developed on the Sanchi model by rebuilding the stupa and protecting all the artefacts and reliefs in a museum.
  • Sixty huge reliefs have been recovered during the excavation, beautiful artefacts of Buddha, and the only image of Emperor Ashoka carved on sandstone have been recovered at the Kanaganalli site
  • There was also a need for further excavation at the site as there would have been a big human settlement in Sannati at that time with the Buddhist stupa on the outskirts at Kanaganalli. The evidences also suggest the Satavahana kings should have visited Sannati during that time.
  • Prof. Zin said the Buddhist site may have a Roman connection. It is an established fact that the Satavahanas had Roman connections. One of the reliefs recovered at Kanaganalli shows the head of the lion in the middle of a wheel of a chariot; Romans had used the replica of the head of the lion in the wheels of their chariots

Chairman of the Karnataka Border Protection Commission

  • The State government on Thursday appointed S. Rajendra Babu, former Chief Justice of India, as chairman of the Karnataka Border Protection Commission.
  • The post was vacant following the death of V.S. Malimath, former Chief Justice of the High Courts of Karnataka and Kerala.
  • A few days ago, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H.K. Patil was appointed as in-charge Minister for the Karnataka–Maharashtra border dispute.
  • In December 2015, the BJP government in Maharashtra appointed Minister for Public Works Chandrakant Patil as nodal Minister for the Maharashtra–Karnataka border dispute.

Karnataka Border Protection Commission

  • The state government constituted Karnataka Border Protection Commission on June 22, 2015 and appointed Justice Malimath as its chairman. K N Jinadat Desai and S M Kulkarni were appointed members.
  • This commission replaced the earlier Special Legal Advisory Committee, which was limited to deal with only Belagavi border dispute with Maharashtra.
  • Justice Malimath took charge as the chairman on June 22. He insisted the government to give a wider mandate to the commission to protect all the border areas of the state and also interests of Kannadigas both in the state and outside.Hence the government asked him to furnish comprehensive terms and reference.
  • The Commission headed by Justice V S Malimath submitted its comprehensive terms of reference to the state government.

The terms suggested were:

  1. to tender advice on effective conduct of cases pending before the Supreme Court and to advise the government on protecting the borders of Karnataka;
  2. to advise the government on protecting the interests of Kannada-speaking people residing not only in border areas but also elsewhere in India and abroad;
  3. to advise the government on protecting the interests of linguistic minorities;
  4. and, to advise the government on taking adequate measures to protect and promote the interests of Kannada-speaking people in Kasargod and other border states in the light of the Mahajan Commission report.

12/1/2016

HC on appointment of parliamentary seceretaries

  • The High Court of Karnataka on Monday ordered issue of notice to the State government on a PIL questioning the appointing of 10 MLAs and one MLC as Parliamentary Secretaries and giving them benefits of Ministers of State.
  • A Division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath, passed the order on the petition filed by P. Prasanna Kumar of Karnataka Janata Party.
  • The petitioner contended that the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries in the rank of Ministers of State is a violation of Article 164 of Constitution as it restricts total number of Ministers, including Chief Minister, Cabinet and Ministers of State rank, to 15 per cent of total members of the respective Legislative Assembly.
  • Also, counsel pointed out that a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court in June last year had struck down the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries by the West Bengal government because it violated Article 164.
  • The Bench adjourned further hearing and asked government counsel to take instruction from the State on the Calcutta High Court’s verdict.

Invest Karnataka 2016

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of Invest Karnataka 2016, which begins on February 3.
  • As part of the event, the government has listed around 145 projects from various sectors like infrastructure, renewable energy, aviation and defence, biotechnology, and pharma for the investors, of which 48 are listed in Bengaluru and will be showcased at the event.
  • Industry leaders Ratan Tata, Anil Ambani, Anand Mahindra, Sajjan Jindal, Kumar Mangalam Birla, among others, have confirmed participation.
  • The event will also have seven countries as partners — France, Japan, Sweden, South Korea, the U.K., Italy and Germany.

Colleges with Potential for Excellence’ (CPE) scheme

  • As many as 32 colleges have been shortlisted by the University Grants Commission to have a shot at earning grants under the ‘Colleges with Potential for Excellence’ (CPE) scheme from Karnataka. The State has the second-highest number of shortlisted colleges after Maharashtra.
  • Among the colleges that have been shortlisted are Maharani’s Arts, Commerce and Management College for Women; and Maharani’s Science College for Women, both from Bengaluru; University College – Mangaluru; Government College – Mandya; and Government Arts College – Hassan.
  • Colleges applying for the CPE tag, among other requirements, must be at least 10 years old, and must be accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, with a minimum ‘B’ grade.
  • Having been chosen by the UGC’s Standing Committee on CPE, principals of these colleges will now have to make presentations before the Expert Committee about their proposed action plan, along with their budget requirement.
  • Financial grants of up to Rs. 1.5 crore will be provided for each college during the 12th Plan. Financial assistance will be for upgrading and updating of departments and cannot be utilised for construction of buildings.

HC orders BBMP to maintain roads

  • The High Court directed the BBMP to repair the roads in the city and maintain them in good condition for smooth movement of vehicles.
  • A division bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath, passed the order while hearing a PIL

Mandatory helmets for pillions from today

  • The rule making helmets mandatory for pillion riders too comes into force from Tuesday, but the Traffic Police won’t crack down on violators till January 20.
  • Now, it is time for education. After January 20, police will start implementing the rule and penalise violators
  • All pillion riders will be expected to wear ISI certified helmets, failing which, they will be fined Rs. 100 the first time.
  • Sources in the government admitted to a delay in implementing the rule, but officials expect the police to go easy for the first few days.
  • The directions from the Supreme Court came in March. We got six reminders after that. Non-implementation will be treated as contempt of court.

11/1/2016

Drought relief for Karnataka

  • The Centre released the much-awaited financial assistance to tackle drought in Karnataka. It released Rs. 1,540.20 crore against the Rs. 2,278.17 crore sought by the State Government.
  • The farmers suffering crop loss would receive compensation by January 25.
  • He said at a press conference here on Tuesday that the Centre had released
  • While the farmers will be compensated for 68 per cent of the crop loss they had suffered, the other drought relief activities including providing drinking water and fodder will also receive a further push
  • In addition to the amount released by the Centre, the State Government had released Rs. 300 crore. Hence, the total drought relief works in the State will amount to Rs. 1,850 crore
  • As many as 28 lakh hectares across 136 taluks of the State had suffered drought last year. The Cabinet sub-committee headed by Mr. Prasad, which had been constituted by the State Government, had held nine meetings across all the four divisions of the State before submitting a memorandum to the Centre.
  • Karnataka had sought relief under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) norms.
  • Belagavi district had been allocated the highest amount of Rs. 220 crore followed by Kalaburagi and Vijayapura districts, which had been sanctioned Rs. 202 crore and Rs. 113 crore respectively.

Rooftop solar panels can be financed now

  • In bid to boost power generation from solar energy by roping in more of its consumers to install rooftop solar plants, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has introduced a provision to have an interested third party fund the installation.
  • This will involve three parties – the rooftop owner, the developer/financer and the power utility sign a tripartite agreement between themselves.
  • The score card for solar generation under Bescom stands at around 3.4 MW at present, with miles to go to achieve the targets set by the State and Central governments.

This is how it works:

  • the rooftop owner (anyone with a valid consumer number) will first enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Bescom like it is done under the normal scheme.
  • The basic requirement for a solar rooftop plant that generates 1 kW is a rooftop measuring 10 sq ft.
  • Under the new provision, the rooftop owner will also enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the developer/project financers.
  • Similar to the regular scheme, Bescom will pay for the excess power pumped into the grid from the solar plant.
  • However, in this case, the developer or financer will have the first lien on cash flows generated and received.
  • Bescom will route the payment for excess solar energy exported to a consumer-defined ‘Escrow’ account, with the developer having first right over the payments received.
  • Facilitators will be set up who will be able to guide rooftop owners willing to set up solar plants to interested developer
  • The tripartite agreement will be a long-term one, which will automatically be terminated at the end of completion of 25 years of operations. But the agreement can also be terminated with the mutual consent of both the developer and rooftop owner.

Criticism

  •  With the slow success rate of the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company’s (Bescom) solar rooftop project, questions are being raised over who will be the takers for the new scheme. Those who have already installed solar plants are not optimistic about having to share the marginal profits that they make.
  • If you are an ordinary tax payer with a grid-connected solar rooftop plant, you hardly get back around seven to eight per cent on your investment in the long run. In fact, even with a loan, they can break even on the ROI (return on investment) in six or seven years
  • Talk of a possible reduction in solar power tariffs hinted by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission during the upcoming revision could also prove to be a dampener.
  • Those with “dead terraces” (rooftops with no scope for further construction) and those installing plants with bigger capacities such as 500 kW to 1 MW will opt for the scheme

Engineers define the employment scenario in Bangalore

  • With 4.5 lakh professionals, the city also has more engineers than New Delhi and Mumbai put together
  • The boom in engineering services, particularly the information technology (IT) services, is seeing more women take up engineering in Bengaluru, shows the recently released Census 2011 data.
  • With over 1.41 lakh women engineers — the highest in the country by a long margin — Bengaluru has more woman engineers than municipalities in New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
  • A closer look at the data shows an increasing number of women joining the workforce. For instance, among engineers below the age of 35, the ratio of women goes up to 40 per cent, while, at an older age group (above 35 years), the ratio dips to just 18 per cent.
  • Compared to other engineering sectors, the IT sector hired more women. This seems to correlate with the experience of educationists who said that compared to traditional engineering streams like mechanical and civil, a large number of women prefer to join IT and allied subjects.

Why Bengaluru?

  • The scale of the IT sector is an advantage. Currently, over 1.5 lakh people, many of them engineers, are hired yearly in industries here.
  • It was more cosmopolitan than Kolkata and Chennai, and was cheaper than Mumbai for the younger generation.
  • Unlike in many cities, language is not an issue. Locals form the minority in the IT sector
  • The continuing expansion of the city from IT and biotechnology to aerospace and defence, will spur the arrival of engineers here.
  • Yearly, around 4 lakh engineering students are produced from the State and neighbouring areas. For any one setting up industries, there is manpower and skilled labour base already present
  • Historical trend towards engineering – The glut of engineering students in the city traces its roots to the decision by the erstwhile Mysuru Maharaja to turn Bengaluru into a science city. Science institutes and engineering colleges were set up nearly a century ago. This was the making of engineering manpower here, which eventually attracted public sector units in the 60s. When this stagnated and migration out of the city increased, the information technology revolution brought back the engineering focus

Impact

  • Accompanying an explosion of engineering college is the decline in non-engineering colleges.
  • Unlike the national capital, where IT parks came with an accompanying residential infrastructure, or Mumbai, where rising costs see many techies living outside the city, Bengaluru continues to develop largely within its folds.

9/1/2016

4G rolled out in state by vodafone

  • Private telecom service provider Vodafone announced the rollout of its 4G network in Karnataka with a launch in the City of Palaces, Mysuru
  • They would soon expand their 4G coverage across the State in a phased manner to cover important business and tourism centres including Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Hubbali.
  • Testing of 4G services had already commenced in Bengaluru and other important metros
  • Vodafone rolled out its 4G services in India with a launch in Trivandrum in Kerala in December 2015.
  • After launching 4G services in Mysuru, where Airtel and Idea are already offering the same, Vodafone has offered its customers free upgrade to 4G along with a high-speed SIM. The company is offering 100 per cent extra data for recharges of 1 GB and above (4G), for prepaid and post paid customers for one month, and 100 per cent extra data for all 4G RED customers for three months.

SC on Road safety

  • The Dakshina Kannada police will act tough on those caught driving vehicles under the influence of alcohol or jumping traffic signals. They will not just impose fine but also recommend suspension of driving licence henceforth.
  • The Dakshina Kannada police will be enforcing the guidelines prescribed by the Supreme Court’s committee on road safety.
  • The Supreme Court committee on road safety, headed by K.S. Radhakrishnan, has found no change in the fatalities and injuries in road accidents despite though fines are being imposed for drunken driving, use of mobile phones and signal jumping. On an average, 130 persons died while 1,300 get injured per year in road accidents in the district.08mn_mnrmm1_Dru_09_2689538e

Directions of the committee to prevent fatalities in road accidents

  • Keeping under suspension driving licence for a period three months for drunken driving and otherviolators also. So far, only cases of fatal accidents were recommended to the Regional Transport Officer for temporary suspension of the driving licence of drivers involved. The period of suspension of driving license can go beyond three months.

 

Panel for new Ad policy in BBMP

  • The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has constituted a task force to draft a new advertisement policy.
  • The BBMP Advertisement Byelaws 2006 are a decade old and need a thorough revision to keep up with the city’s growth. There is a need for changes to the byelaws to keep pace with the changes in the world of advertisement, interface of information technology and the work environment.
  • The task force includes representation from polity, administration and domain experts.
  • The task force has been asked to submit its findings and suggestions within 90 days of its constitution

Eco tourism in Kuduremukh

  • The High Court of Karnataka ordered issue of notice to the State government and KIOCL Ltd. on a public interest litigation petition
  • The petitioner complained that a luxury commercial health resort is being allowed in the limits of Kudremukh National Park area in violation of the law.
  • A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath passed the order while hearing the petition filed by Wildlife First, a conservation advocacy organisation.
  • Complaining that KIOCL Ltd. has subleased land with buildings to Alvas Kudremukh Nisargadhama for operating a commercial health resort, the petitioner claimed that the land in question should have been handed over to the State government after the Supreme Court passed orders stopping all mining activities in Kudremukh region nearly 10 years ago.
  • Pointing out that the apex court had even refused to allow a plea of KIOCL Ltd. to use existing buildings and infrastructure for promoting ecotourism, the petitioner said the Wildlife (Protection) Act prohibits such commercial activities in national park zones.

Coorg to be showcased at Republic day parade

  • The State’s tableau this year is on the theme: Kodagu: the coffee heaven of Karnataka.
  • It will depict various stages in the making of coffee, starting from women plucking the beans to processing them and the processed powder being finally turned into the aromatic brew. The tableau depicts Kodava women, wearing their distinctive dress, performing their traditional dance.
  • French President Francois Hollande, who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, will witness the various stages of coffee making in Karnataka’s tableau.
  • Folklorist H.L. Nage Gowda’s book Bettadinda Battalige (From the hills to the cup), on the coffee’s origin, is the basis for the tableau.
  • Shashidhara Adapa, who designed the tableau, said the work on it has commenced both in Bengaluru and New Delhi. Two sets of artists are working on creating sculptures and fabricating the tableau. The signature music will be by Praveen D. Rao.
  • It is for the sixth consecutive time that Karnataka is participating in the parade. Back in 2005, its tableau on the theme of Gomateshwara had bagged the first prize. In the subsequent years, the State showcased Mysuru Dasara, followed by Hoysala and Pattadkal architecture.

8/1/2016

43 services by GP online – Panchatantra

  • To take administration to the doorsteps of the people, gram pancahyats in the State have started offering 43 services online.
  • Services such as getting approval for building plans, water connection, paying property tax, trade licences and obtaining birth and death certificates have now been made available online using the specially developed ‘Panchatantra’ software.
  • As for the issues related to power supply and other technical hitches, action was being taken to ensure efficient rendering of services.

Clubs under RTI?

The Legislature Committee formed to look into clubs is mulling on a proposal to bring elite clubs under the RTI Act.

Reason

  • The panel feels it was necessary to check whether the clubs were following the norms pertaining to audit and maintenance of accounts. All clubs in Karnataka have to register under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960, and submit audit reports to the government every year after holding annual general body meetings. However, the panel believes that a majority of the clubs have not registered under the Act and are functioning in contravention to the rules.
  • It was also important to monitor payments of taxes by clubs, considering memberships come at a heavy price.
  • The proposal would give transparency in monitoring violations of excise rules by clubs – something that had grabbed the headlines recently.

Pre-marital counselling cell

  • The Vanitha Sahaya Vani, launched a pre-marital counselling cell to help single women who are being pressured by their family to tie the knot or being forced into an arranged marriage.
  • Women can either call the helpline or visit the cell located at the Police Commissioner’s Office on Infantry Road
  • Over the last three years, the number of unmarried women, who have approached us for counselling, has doubled
  • A majority of the cases that the helpline has dealt with are young girls seeking help following pressure from their family to get married.
  • Several families are unable to comprehend that their daughters would rather focus on academics and career instead of getting married. The counsellors hope to address this generational gap between parents and their children
  • With an increase in divorce rate, it is imperative that people marry for the right reasons. If the reason for getting married is parental pressure, then chances are that the marriage will fail. The counsellors try to explain this to the parents.
  • It is important that the youngster is able to stand on his/her own feet before being asked to marry. Often, youngsters are unable to explain this to their parents and parents are unable to explain their concerns to their wards.
  • The newly-inaugurated cell will hold pre-marital counselling sessions on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Chairman of High Power Committee on Redressing Regional Imbalance

  • Venkatarao Ghorpade,  assumed charge as the Chairman of High Power Committee on Redressing Regional Imbalance
  • He said that he was awaiting a report of a study on the impact of spending around Rs. 15,000 crore in eight years as part of implementing the Special Development Plan.
  • The erstwhile High Power Committee on Redressing Regional Imbalance, had decided to spend around Rs. 16,000 crore, over and above the budgetary allocation, for the purpose. Accordingly, Rs. 15,600 crore were released by the State government from 2007-08 to 2014-15 under the Special Development Plan, of which Rs. 15,000 crore had been spent through 22 departments to redress backwardness.
  • To know the impact of the huge spending, the work of doing an analysis has been entrusted to the Centre for Multi-Disciplinary Development and Research (CMDR), Dharwad, and the work is under way. The report is expected to be submitted shortly.
  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had promised that the implementation of Special Development Plan would be extended for five more years by allocating Rs. 3,000 per year, beginning from 2016-17. For this year (2015-16), Mr. Siddaramaiah has earmarked Rs. 2,300 crore
  • Mr. Ghorpade said that 48 backward taluks, including 12 in the Hyderabad Karnataka region, were part of the project under which 60 solar parks had been proposed to be set up.
  • Tenders have been invited by Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL).
  • The committee was keen on taking up the projects, each with a capacity to generate up to 20 megawatts, under private-public partnership. The committee will try to get suitable land if investors showed any interest.
  • Based on its success, it would be replicated in other backward taluks

5/1/2016

Sea food outlets in North Karnataka

  • To expand market for seafood from Mangaluru and Udupi, the State government has proposed to open hygienic retail outlet-cum-restaurants in the North Karnataka region during 2016-17
  • The government through the Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation (KFDC) has opened retail outlet-cum-canteens in district headquarters in the central and the southern districts of the State. But North Karnataka districts have not been covered. Such outlet-cum-canteens would serve hygiene seafood.
  • At present, the KFDC has 17 outlets in central and southern districts of the State. Once all districts are covered, people could get hygienic seafood, and fishermen in the coastal belt could increase their income..
  • These markets would be set up in Bidar, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Dharwad, Hubballi, Bellari, Belagavi and Gadag, among others.

Dantabhagya

  • To help the poor with below poverty line cards, the State government has introduced Danta Bhagya scheme under which those aged over 60 can get free treatment

New projects in HK region

  • Minister for Power has announced new projects to improve the power supply and modernisation of existing projects undertaken by Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. and Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (Gescom) in six districts of Hyderabad Karnataka region.
  • The projects included modernisation of existing stations and feeders. The funds would also be used for drawing new lines, adding new power stations, and replacing iron poles with reinforced concrete poles and upgrading feeders.

Space Park near Whitefield

  • A space park is coming up on a 100-acre plot near Whitefield in Bengaluru for the manufacture of space-related components.
  • It is necessary to ensure speedy delivery of various components to ISRO which has a tight schedule.

Jail sentence for derving alcohol to minors

  • It’s no more just a suspension of licence, but seven years behind bars that will be handed down to those who serve alcohol to minors.
  • The recently passed Juvenile Justice Bill also contains provisions under Section 78 to award seven years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh to those serving alcohol to minors.
  • Enforcement can be undertaken by the police as well as excise officials, for whom, currently, only suspension of licence is legislated.
  • The provisions were incorporated based on a plea by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP, who believed that numerous city bars and pubs continued to serve liquor to underage patrons.

Confusion in state over legal age for drinking

  • There is a lot of confusion in the drinking age in the State. The amendment has been reflected in the (Karnataka Excise Department 1967) rules, but it is not there in the Act. A proposal  will be moved to amend the Act
  • The proposal, in the conceptual stage, will take a long time to traverse the bureaucratic maze of legal experts and the legislature.
  • The department is also following up a Central government proposal to introduce a uniform policy for legal drinking age in the country.
  • Though seeing those below the age of 21 or even 18 in pubs is not uncommon, the Excise Department has not netted even one pub or bar owner for flouting the rule. Even boards specifying drinking age remain absent in most local bars.

A new HAL factory at Tumkur

  • A new factory of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, was set up at Tumkur
  • It was expected to produce 600 helicopters over the next 15 years for the armed forces.
  • HAL plans to manufacture its Light Utility Helicopter for reconnaissance and surveillance; the Light Combat Helicopter for battlefield offence; and subsequently add a range of heavier and advanced rotary products.

Significance

  • It would be a big leap towards achieving self-reliance in the defence sector.
  • The Rs. 5,000-crore copter complex is the biggest investment in this backward region
  • It would boost the government’s ‘Make in India’ agenda. It would also provide 4,000 jobs.

Other support measures for the sector in the state

  • Karnataka had introduced an Aerospace Policy and conceived an Aerospace and Defence Park at Devanahalli.
  • The government was setting up a Special Process Facility and Aerospace Technology Centre in partnership with National Aeronautical Agency and HAL. They were also encouraging industry to tie up with Industrial Training Institutes for manpower.
  • Karnataka was hosting a three-day mega investor summit, ‘Invest Karnataka – 2016’, from February 3. Aerospace is one of the focus sectors in the Investors’ Meet

CSIR-CFTRI initiatives in processed food sector

  • Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harshavardhan unveiled a sequence of research outcome initiatives at CSIR – Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysuru.

Integrated Sugarcane Juice Processing and bottling unit

  • The Minister launched the project for establishing an integrated Sugarcane Juice Processing and bottling unit in the campus.
  • The two tons per day plant will be ‘Drive-in Plant’ for sugarcane farmers of the nearby region.
  • CSIR-CFTRI has developed and patented a technology for bottling sugarcane juice with 4-months of shelf-life which has been commercialized by over 20 odd entrepreneurs.  The beverage which is natural with multitude of health benefits has the potential to dominate the emerging wellness market.
  • The unit has taken shape under the rural development programs of CSIR and soon such a unit will be replicated in association with farmers’ cooperatives and SHGs in other sugarcane growing regions.

Carbonated fruit juice products

  • He also released carbonated fruit juice products based on grape, apple and pomegranate with 20% fruit juices. Earlier the Prime Minister had asked multi-nationals to mix their carbonated drinks with fruit juices to help fruit farmers of the country.  Now the laboratory has come forward with a viable process which can help the country towards ‘Yellow Revolution’( revolution in fruit production).

Nutraceutical incubation centre

  • The ‘Nutra-Phyto Incubation Centre & Common Instrumentation Facility (NPIC-CIF), established in the campus in collaboration with Government of Karnataka would facilitate discovery and development of new products/innovative technologies by providing world-class laboratories, Pilot Plant facilities, analytical testing and safety studies for promoting entrepreneurs, SHGs and SMEs.

4/1/2016

Bumper millet crop in Chitradurga- Sucess of govt support

  • Growers in Chitradurga district have successfully cultivated millets on 48,266 hectares (ha) of land in this season and have got a bumper crop.
  • This is significant in view of the heavy losses they incurred in the last four years due to adverse climatic conditions. They have got 10 to 12 quintals as yield per acre this year.
  • Most farmers in the district had switched over to commercial crops such as pomegranate and onion in the last five years and had incurred losses owing to adverse climatic conditions as well as the steep fall in their prices. This year, they decided to grow millets as the requirement of water will be minimum and the investment will be less too.
  • This year, however, the Union government has announced a support price of Rs. 1,650 a quintal and the State government has decided to pay Rs. 450. The government has taken steps to open procurement centres at the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee yard in Chitradurga taluk, Chikjajur in Holalkere and Hosaurga. They will function till March 31 this year.
  • These centres would purchase 50 quintals of millets from a person and it is mandatory to bring documents of farm land while selling millets. In order to avoid exploitation by middlemen, the authorities have made arrangements for online payment of bills.
  • The farmers will receive the amount through their bank accounts within a week after selling the crop.

White-topping can free roads of potholes

  • Ever wondered why the one km stretch of Hosur Road between Ayyappa Temple and Madiwala has no potholes? The stretch was white-topped (concrete) in 2010 and has a life span of around 30 years.
  • White-topping is covering the existing bitumen layer with a concrete slab. The technology has been adopted on a section of NICE Road.
  • The project to white-top major radial roads never took off even though the pilot was successful.
  • The project is getting a fresh look following Hyderabad, Chennai and the new city of Amaravathi opting for white-topped roads.
  • The only roads that remained motorable and were least damaged during the recent floods in Chennai were the white-topped ones in Velachery and Alwarpet. The new city of Amaravathi has gone the full hog and opted for white-top technology for all its roads
  • BBMP had also proposed white-topping major radial roads, including Ballari Road, Hosur Road, Bannerghatta Road, Sarjapur Road, Old Airport Road. Though the cost of white-topping is almost double that of asphalting a road with bitumen, we need to evaluate the cost over the whole lifecycle
  • Experts argue that white-topped roads will eliminate the annual cycle of redoing roads and filling potholes.

Christians record the highest sex ratio in State

  • Christians continued to record the highest sex ratio with the figure increasing from 1,030 in the 2001 Census to 1,049 in the 2011 Census. Although the child sex ratio was also high among Christians in the State, the growth was very marginal and it rose from 961 in 2001 census to 962 in 2011.
  • Economist Sangeeta Kattimani compiled these data from the two Census reports and the Religion Data of the Census 2011
  • The lowest sex ratio of 739 was reported among Buddhists. In fact, the sex ratio among Buddhists had seen a steep fall from 907 in the 2001 Census to 739 in the 2011 Census. The child sex ratio among Buddhists decreased from 953 in 2001 to 949 in 2011.
  • The sex ratio of other major religious groups, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains, showed a marginal improvement when compared to the 2001 and 2011 census and same was the case under the child sex ratio head.
  • Prof. Kattimani said that the latest figures released by the Registrar General of Census provided some interesting data of literacy levels of different religious groups. While the literacy rate of Christians and Jains, who always placed education as a priority in their life, was high, the literacy level of Muslims was higher than Hindus in the State.

CADA to construct approach roads

  • The Command Area Development Authority (CADA) of the Cauvery basin will take up the construction of approach roads in districts such as Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Mandya, Kodagu, Hassan, Ramnagar and Bangalore Rural, at a total cost of Rs.17 crore.
  • Issues like the construction of check dams, formation of social forestry and management of water users’ co-operative societies were discussed with the Chief Minister.
  • The societies set up for the purpose of sustainable use of water for irrigation purposes were not functioning properly owing to the lack of funds
  • Check dams would help prevent water loss and raise the water table

Command area development programme

  • In 1974-75, the Government of India launched the Command Area Development programme to bridge / narrow the gap between irrigation potential created and actually utilized in major and medium irrigation schemes. This scheme was supposed to develop adequate delivery of the irrigation water up to the fields.
  • A Command Area Development Authority was established to maximize the productivity in the irrigation command areas through an integrated approach with the following components:
  1. Construction of field channels and field drains
  2. Land shaping wherever necessary
  3. Introduction of rotational supply of water to ensure equitable and assured distribution to individual farm holdings.
  • But the CAD Programme was not particularly successful because of three constraints:
  1. The water supply at the outlet was unreliable
  2. The available technology was could not be adopted properly
  3. Farmers particularly did not participate in the scheme.
  • This programme was restructured and renamed as Command Area Development and Water Management Programme (CADWMP) since April 1, 2004. The scheme was further restructured and was thrown to states to implement in 2008-09.
  • Currently, Command Area Development Programme has also been amalgamated with the AIBP to reduce the gap between irrigation potential that has been created and that is utilized.

Outlets planned to sell sheep products

  • Karnataka Sheep and Wool Development Corporation chairmansaid that there are plans to open outlets to sell meat, skin and other products of sheep in the State.
  • Steps had been taken to set up a federation on the lines of the Karnataka Milk Federation and a proposal had been submitted to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
  • There are 1.5 crore sheep and goats in the State and more than 15 lakh families are depending on them for their livelihood.
  • The proposed federation will help them get direct marketing facilities and ensure competitive prices.
  • The government had extended facilities including ambulance, vaccine, compensation and loan facilities.

Promoting exotic vegetables among farmers

  • With an objective of promoting production of exotic vegetables in the North Karnataka region, the University of Horticulture Sciences, Bagalkot, has launched an initiative to introduce exotic vegetables among farmers.
  • The university, which is, on a pilot basis, cultivating these vegetables under controlled atmosphere (a poly-house), has been holding events to educate farmers about the economic importance of growing these vegetables.
  • The university has been cultivating foreign vegetables such as broccoli, parsley, English cucumber, Chinese cabbage, red cabbage and colour capsicum.
  • For preparing various cuisines, star hotels use these foreign vegetables. Thus, considering the demand, farmers could cultivate these vegetable
  • As cultivation requires higher investment and better marketing facility, it is difficult to convince farmers to take up cultivation of these vegetables in their farms. However, interested farmers can make some efforts which would eventually give them higher returns if they could find buyers
  • The university would help them collect required information about the cultivating methods and availability of market for these exotic vegetables

BMTC’s ITS close to the finishing line

  • After years of being in the cold storage Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s (BMTC) ambitious Intelligent Transport Solution (ITS) is in sights of the finish line.
  • For the passenger the project offers a real-time interaction with public transport.
  • For instance, currently, a wait at the bus-stop is mired with uncertainty over when the next bus will come or even if it comes, will there be a jostle for space. The ITS, however, envisions electronic boards that display estimated time of the arrival of the next bus; while, mobile apps will be calibrated to even show whether the oncoming bus is crowded or not.
  • In the first phase of the project — which is expected to be completed by January 15, and then will be tested for a month or so before being available for the passenger — conductors have been trained to use GPRS-enabled electronic ticketing system
  • A majority of the buses had already been fitted with GPS units.

Intelligent transport systems (ITS)

  • Intelligent transport systems vary in technologies applied, from basic management systems such as car navigation; traffic signal control systems; container management systems; variable message signs; automatic number plate recognition or speed cameras to monitor applications, such as security CCTV systems; and to more advanced applications that integrate live data and feedback from a number of other sources, such as parking guidance and information systems; weather information

Challenges

The project that has taken more than a decade to transition from proposal to implementation.

  • Training the conductors to use the devices took time as it is a new system.
  •  Finding out real-time traffic conditions for the system was difficult and we had to buy licences from Google
  • Cumulatively, the information will first be fed into the basic mobile app of the BMTC which is scheduled for a revamp to make it “more useful” in a couple of weeks. Currently, the app doesn’t have real-time data, and displays bus schedules, irrespective of traffic or availability.