KARNATAKA ISSUES JULY 2016

‘Haaro Hakki’ depicts problems faced by schoolchildren

  • A movie carrying a social message has been made by city-based Brain Center and Educational Research Center, in association with Blossom School, to draw the attention of children, parents and schools to common psychological problems faced by schoolchildren.
  • The Kannada film titled ‘Haaro Hakki’ (flying bird) is based on true events.
  • The highlight of the movie is that all characters are played by students of Blossom School in Bagalkunte near Hesaraghatta, their parents and teachers.
  • Established in 1995, the Brain Center and Educational Research Center conducts research, diagnosis and conducts awareness programmes on dyslexia, autism and slow learning.

Jungle lodges-Karnataka

  • Kabini River Lodge, which has been rated as one of the world’s best wildlife resorts, has recorded profits of Rs 10.62 crore in 2015-16 — the highest since its inception.
  • The resort’s earnings make up a major part of the revenue earned by the state-owned Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd (JLR).
  • JLR recorded a turnover of Rs 54.23 crore (provisional) in 2015-16.
  • Little wonder that JLR has been promoting its ‘flagship’ property aggressively, which has tariffs ranging between Rs 12,000 and Rs 16,000 per person per day.
  • The property had recorded profits of Rs 4.66 crore in 2013-14, and Rs 8.03 crore in 2014-15. The footfall too has dramatically increased over the years.
  • Besides Kabini, Bandipur Safari Lodge (Rs 3.81 cr), Bheemeshwari Adventure Camp (Rs 2.23 cr) and River Tern Lodge (Rs 1.69 cr) too have recorded high profits among the 18 properties run by JLR in 2015-16.
  • JLR however hasn’t been as lucky with some of its other properties. While the Om Beach Resort has recorded losses of Rs 13.43 lakh, the Bheemghad Adventure Camp has recorded losses of Rs 10.95 lakh in 2015-16.
  • JLR Managing Director Vijay Sharma said that the Kabini property was most sought after, despite its high pricing, because of the opportunity it offers for spotting varied wildlife in their pristine, natural habitat.
  • The 54-acre property is located on the fringes of Nagarhole National Park and on the banks of River Kabini.
  • this year, JLR’s focus has been on setting up budget-class accommodation in the name of Jungle Camps and Trails. As many as six affordable properties are being developed under this concept. While JLR has begun operations in the Sakrebailu Elephant Camp, it hopes to start operations at Anejhari, Bhagavathi, Jogimatti, Seethanadi and Hemmagada in the next two months.

About Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd

Spread over Karnataka, Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd., operates 16 resorts. Accommodations here vary from tents to rooms to independent cottages. Besides, there are 3 resorts operated on management contract.

Properties:

  1. Kabini River Lodge, Karapur, H.D.Kote Taluk, Mysore District.
  2. Gudi Wilderness Camp, B.R.Hills, Chamarajnagar.
  3. Bheemeshwar Nature & Adventure Camp, Malavalli Taluk, Mandya District.
  4. Galibore Fishing Camp, Kanakapura Taluk, Bangalore Rural District.
  5. Kali River Lodge, Kogil Ban, Dandeli, Uttara Kannada District.
  6. Devbagh Beach Resort, Karwar, Uttara Kannada District.
  7. Bannerghatta Nature Camp, Bannerghatta, Bangalore.
  8. Bandipur Safari Lodge, Melkamanahalli, Bandipur.
  9. River Tern Lodge, Lakavalli, Chickmagalur District.
  10. Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi, Uttara Kannada District
  11. Dubare Elephant Camp, Kushalnagar, Kodagu District
  12. Pilikula Nisarghadhama, Mangalore
  13. Sloth Bear Resort, Hampi, Hospet
  14. Blackbuck Resort, Bidar

The Company promotes Eco-tourism, wildlife tourism, adventure tourism and various outdoor activities like trekking, camping, white water rafting, fishing etc., that are non consumptive components of eco-tourism and in general help in environment conservation.

Scholarship programme for girls

  • Wipro Consumer Care, in association with “Wipro Cares,” has announced the Santoor Scholarship programme to financially support underprivileged girls for their higher education.
  • The programme that will be rolled out in 2016-17, will offer 300 scholarships in Karnataka.
  • This will be a recurring annual programme.
  • The grant given to each of the beneficiaries could be utilized for tuition fees or other expenses related to education.
  • Santoor scholarships are open to girls from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds who wish to pursue their diploma or degree of a minimum two-year duration.
  • To qualify, the student must have passed her grade 10 and 12 from a government school or college.
  • Sixty per cent of the scholarships is earmarked for students who wish to pursue higher education in the fields of humanities, liberal arts and sciences. The remaining forty per cent can be availed by students pursuing professional courses. Priority would be given to girls from the backward districts.

Govt looks for unique identity to promote Brand Bengaluru

  • The newly formed Bengaluru Tourism Advisory Committee (BTAC) will search for a Unique Selling Identity to promote Brand Bengaluru.
  • The committee would submit a report on what could be the identity of the 480-year-old city and how Brand Bengaluru should be promoted.
  • The BTAC will also prepare an annual calendar of events for things tourists can do in the city which welcomes 11 crore domestic and 6.4 lakh visitors annually. There will be film festivals, open streets besides art and local festivals.
  • The BTAC will also make a souvenir of Bengaluru keeping tourists in mind. Miniatures of Bangalore Palace, Vidhana Soudha and Nandi Hills are being considered for the souvenir.
  • The Tourism Department and the BTAC are rushing to give Bengaluru its identity ahead of a series of events lined up for 2017-18 such as Aero India, Mahamastakabhisheka in Shravanabelagola, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, IT-Whiz and Make in India summits.

Kempegowda Samrajya

The BTAC is working with historians to create and find the history of Kempegowda’s Samrajya and create a 5.5-km tourism circuit around it. Work on restoration at places like Nandi Hills and Begur has also started

International Trans Arts Festival

  • The three-day ‘International Trans Arts Festival’ began in Bangalore with members of the marginalised transgender community, Jogappa, singing traditional folk songs and performing a ritual dance.
  • Mangamma Jogithi and troupe from the community performed ‘Choudike Pada’ (sangeetha), a form of traditional folk singing.
  • They also performed ‘Jogithi Nritya’, a ritual dance in which their heads are adorned with idols of their goddess Yellamma.
  • The first-of-its-kind festival has been organised by International Arts and Cultural Foundation to showcase the talent of transgenders. Around 15 artistes are taking part in the event. Two of them flew to India especially for the purpose.

K’taka to get Rs 900 cr more for afforestation, conservation of forests

  • With Parliament passing the Compensatory Afforestation Bill, Karnataka is set to receive more than Rs 900 crore from the Union government to create and conserve forests and ecology.
  • Karnataka’s share (Rs 917 crore) is more than Tamil Nadu’s (106 crore) and Kerala’s (Rs 76 crore), but less than that of Andhra Pradesh (Rs 2,223 crore) and Maharashtra (Rs 2,435 crore) which had diverted large tracts of forest land over the years for infrastructure and industrial projects.
  • The biggest beneficiaries of the new green fund would be Odisha, Chhattishgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, all of whom would receive more than Rs 3,000 crore. Odisha would be the biggest gainer with close to Rs 6,000 crore flowing into its kitty.
  • The bill would pave the way for creating a Compensatory Afforestation Fund and a Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority at the national and state levels.
  • The fund would receive money from project proponents, who would use forest land for their projects. The coffers already have Rs 42,000 crore under the supervision of the Supreme Court and may receive Rs 6,000 crore every year.

SWR 2nd cleanest railway zone

  • The South Western Railway (SWR) has been rated the second-most clean zone among the 17 zones in a recent survey conducted to measure cleanliness under ‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharath Abhiyan.’
  • “In terms of percentage of clean stations, SWR has bagged second place with 47% of stations being in top levels of cleanliness
  • The survey was conducted by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation along with other government organisations.
  • The aim was to evaluate various indices in the passenger interface areas of the railway station, as well as the mechanism in use and also to identify satisfaction levels among customers and the railways’ shortcomings.
  • The survey covered 407 major railway stations across the country — 75 A1 category stations and 332 A category stations
  • A few stations such as Bengaluru, Yeshwantpur, Bangarpet and the divisional headquarters at Mysuru have also managed to figure in the clean stations category.
  • Vasco da Gama railway junction was rated as the third cleanest railway station in the entire country.

Yesteryear actor Harini gets Rajkumar award

  • The state government has announced Dr Rajkumar Award, Puttanna Kanagal Award and Dr Vishnuvardhan Award for the year 2015.
  • The prestigious Rajkumar Award has been conferred on noted Kannada actress of yesteryear Harini.
  • The Puttanna Kanagal Award has been conferred on noted director Nagatihalli Chandrashekar.
  • Noted music director Rajan (of Rajan-Nagendra fame) has been selected for Dr Vishnuvardhan Award.
  • Each of these awards carries a cash price of Rs 2 lakh and 50 gram gold, according to an official press release.

House panel to revisit rules to make Assembly session ‘disruption-free’

  • Legislative Assembly Speaker K B Koliwad was exploring the possibility of making suitable changes in the rules and procedures to ensure a “disruption-free” morning session of the House.
  • The committee, among other things, will explore whether amendments can be brought to the rules to “punish” members who disrupt the proceedings.
  • Koliwad’s decision to form the committee comes after almost the entire monsoon session of the legislature was disrupted over the deadlock between the government and the Opposition over the suicide of DySP, M K Ganapathi.
  • The committee will study the rules related to legislative proceedings in other states and Parliament. The Speaker said he was keen on replicating the e-Vidhan project implemented in the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
  • Under the project, the Assembly will be fully web-based and automated with no requirement for manually laying papers.

New online system to make TDR transactions transparent

  • The state government has decided to introduce an online system for implementing the revised transferable development rights (TDR) scheme to prevent its misuse.
  • The Urban Development Department (UDD) is currently working on designing a software to implement the scheme, for which draft rules was issued recently
  • It will prevent misuse of the scheme
  • The revised TDR has proposed to increase the value of development rights from 1.5 times to 2 times of the total area to be acquired. The new TDR is linked to the guidance value of land (also called the government value).
  • Besides, the powers to issue TDRs have been given to the urban development authorities like the BDA, instead of the urban local bodies. The revised scheme applies to all urban local bodies, including the BBMP
  • In Bengaluru, the BBMP’s task is only to identify properties to be acquired. The BDA will acquire those properties, applying either the TDR or the 2013 land acquisition Act – the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (Central Act). Land losers will have options to either accept the TDR or the monitory compensation.
  • the online system will bring in transparency. People will be able to access information about properties acquired under the scheme and subsequent transactions done on the TDRs.
  • The earlier TDR scheme implemented by the BBMP became unpopular because of lack of transparency.
  • The old TDR was misused by big builders with the help of corrupt BBMP officials, especially at the time of transferring the development rights. TDRs issued on the outskirts of Bengaluru, where land value was less, were used in prime localities where the value of land was very high.
  • As a result, there were no takers for the TDRs obtained by gullible land losers inside the city. Hence, the old scheme faced stiff resistance from property owners
  • The government, is also planning to set up a separate authority to monitor and facilitate smooth transaction of TDRs.

At a glance

  • Govt to make new TDR scheme online.
  • The online system will bring in transparency and prevent misuse.
  • Lack of transparency led to misuse of old TDR scheme.
  • Govt likely to set up a separate authority to monitor TDR transactions.

Kerala imposes tit-for-tat tax on vehicles from Karnataka

  • A Transport Commissionerate circular dated July 18, 2016, incorporating the new Finance Bill provisions, has brought basic entry tax for vehicles from other states operating on special permits and all-India permits on par with tax for inter-state vehicles registered in Kerala
  • Karnataka, however, comes as an exception in the all-India permit category; contract carriage vehicles registered in Karnataka entering Kerala on all-India permits can ply only after paying entry tax for the entire year, irrespective of the number of trips made.
  • Karnataka, however, comes as an exception in the all-India permit category; contract carriage vehicles registered in Karnataka entering Kerala on all-India permits can ply only after paying entry tax for the entire year, irrespective of the number of trips made.

The reason?

According to MV Department officials, it’s because Karnataka collects on Kerala-registered vehicles a fixed fee spanning an “authorisation period” of about a year.

  • Tax for three months should be collected on vehicles entering with all-India permits under Section 88(9) of the Motor Vehicles Act. However, if any state is collecting annual entry taxes on vehicles registered in Kerala (for instance, Karnataka), the Finance Bill offers provisions to collect annual taxes on vehicles registered in that state
  • Sources in the department said parity was brought in the tax structure after a Kerala High Court stay on the earlier structure which was “unfavourable” to other states.
  • The Finance Bill provisions, in fact, bring down the entry tax for other-state vehicles and increase it for inter-state vehicles registered in Kerala. But all-India permit vehicles from Karnataka had to be an exception because of the existing entry tax structure there
  • For other-state vehicles entering Kerala with special permits (for a maximum three months) under MV Act Section 88(8), a three-month entry tax or less based on the duration of stay will have to be paid.

Anganwadi children to get full cream milk

  • The State Cabinet decided to provide full cream milk to children in anganwadis under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme instead of the present practice of providing them skimmed milk.
  • 39 lakh anganwadi children will benefit and will help them to counter malnutrition at an estimated cost of Rs 42.5 crore.
  • To ensure better nutrition, kids in the age group of six months to six years will be given whole milk, which contains fat
  • The cabinet also approved a Rs 8.23-crore proposal to provide sanitary kits to students un der the Karnataka Residential Educational Institutions Society. The kits will include products like soap, toothpaste and toothbrush for students in 506 residential schools. They will be acquired from Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited (KSDL), which will get the contract to avoiddelays.
  • KSDL, bein g a government undertaking, has got an exception under the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act and hence, it can provide the products immediately

Warehousing corporation buildings to have roof-top solar plants

  • The roofs of the buildings of the State-held Karnataka State Warehousing Corporation are set to tap solar energy as the State Cabinet cleared a proposal to install roof-top solar units with a total capacity of 68 MW on these buildings.
  • The solar units would be installed under the public-private-partnership model. The main intention was to put the roofs of these buildings to good use.
  • Though the corporation had proposed to install solar units with a total capacity of 162 MW, the Cabinet gave its nod for only 68-MW capacity as it did not consider the buildings which were being constructed
  • The green energy tapped by these units would be procured by the Escoms concerned at a rate of Rs. 9.56 a unit.
  • The Cabinet also decided to fortify iodised salt being supplied under the public distribution system with iron contents.
  • A total of 1.8 crore sqft warehouse space will be available for installing photo-voltaic solar panels. Spread across 193 places across the state, while 1crore sqft is readily available to start rooftop projects, the remaining 80 lakh sqft is under construction and will be readied shortly
  • The cost of the warehouse solar projects is around Rs 1,200 crore.
  • The warehouse rooftops provide a perfect platform to power-boost generation and to meet the 2018 deadline of solar generation

The Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal’s interim order

  • Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, in its oral interim order rejected Karnataka’s plea to divert 7.56 tmc water from Mahadayi basin to Malaprabha river.
  • Karnataka government had petitioned the tribunal seeking the release of 7.56 tmc of water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.Glimpse3
  • Protests have erupted in several parts of North Karnataka on reports that the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal’s interim order is adverse to the interests of the state
  • The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project, which will utilise 7.56 tmcft of water from the inter-state Mahadayi River, is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking  water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the  districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
  • It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi MahadayiRiver, to divert 7.56 tmc to Malaprabha river which supplies drinking water needs of the  twin cities.
  • Goa government had rejected Karnataka’s attempt for out-of court settlement of the dispute stating that the people of the state felt it was more prudent to settle the dispute through the Tribunal.FullSizeRender

Motley group to study air pollution impact on traffic cops in Bengaluru

  • Four professionals from different fields have come together to study the impact of air pollution on the health of traffic police personnel in Bengaluru
  • The Anti- Pollution Drive Foundation (APDF) will undertake a detailed study in August.
  • The group conducted a similar study in Mangaluru in May and found that 26% traffic police officials there have twisted lungs because of vehicular emission
  • The study will assess the lung capacity of traffic police personnel. Thereafter, the group will provide them face masks especially designed by a doctor who is part of the APDF.
  • In May, the team also conducted a study on air pollution in Bengaluru and found that ambient air quality had increased by 57% in particulate matter in the last four years and 23% in the last one year. Another test to screen preliminary lung health of children aged 9-15 years showed that 36% of school-going kids suffer from poor lungs.
  • The group also conducted a health camp on 3,000 traffic police personnel in Bengaluru and found that 37.57% of the respondents had lead content in their blood. Most of them also reported watery eyes, coughing or wheezing.

After two years of drought, good monsoon revives farm activity; record sowing

  • After severe drought over the last two years, Karnataka is witnessing a revival in agricultural activities
  • Karnataka witnessed its most extensive sowing in the last five years, owing to good rainfall in June and July.
  • Till July 25 this year, sowing had taken place in 49.39 lakh hectares, which is 150% more than the average sowing trend. Last year, sowing had taken place in just 34.59 lakh hectares
  • The government hopes to achieve the targeted 100.72 lakh tonnes of food grain production during the period.
  • Karnataka also recorded an increase in sowing of pulses, soya, jowar and groundnut.
  • The government was giving thrust to mechanisation of the farming sector to increase agricultural production. The department has opened 275 centres for renting farm equipment to farmers. Fifty more centres will be opened this year. The department will also introduce an app for farmers to rent farm equipment/machinery

Govt considering cloud seeding

  • The state government is contemplating cloud seeding in the Cauvery and Tungabhadra catchment areas to make up for the below-average rainfall in these regions.
  • The government will wait for two more weeks and if the rainfall continues to be deficient, it will approach a private company for taking up cloud seeding, sources in a state secretariat said.

Power woes to ease as 2 new units will open soon

  • Two new thermal power units with a capacity to generate 1,500 megawatt (MW) electricity will be commissioned in the state shortly.
  • While a unit in Yeramarus Thermal Power Station in Raichur district will be opened in 20 days, another in Bellary Thermal Power Station will be commissioned by October.
  • At present, 120 power units at 31 centres are operating. Besides the new units, work on three more units is in the pipeline
  • Karnataka has an installed capacity of 17,413.90 MW and the KPCL has an installed capacity of 6,523.905 MW
  • The state government has approved six more units and a proposal for 10 new projects is  pending before it. The new projects are: Bidadi Combined Cycle Power Plant, Godhna and Edlapur Thermal Power Stations and Ghataprabha Dam Power House. With the new projects, which are planned at a cost of Rs 16,574 crore, the KPCL will be able to generate 3,120 MW electricity

Dial 1614 for PDS coupons

  • The state government has decided to supply monthly rations of food grains and kerosene through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) under the public distribution system.
  • The new system will be introduced in a phased manner.
  • The beneficiaries will have to register themselves dialling a toll free number 1614. A coupon number will be generated and sent to them every month. The food grains will be supplied on furnishing the coupon number at fair price shops. The owners of the shops will also be given an incentive for using IVRS
  • Starting August 1, printed coupons will be made mandatory for PDS beneficiaries in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits. The coupon system for the supply of kerosene which has been already introduced, has been successful in preventing misuse of highly-subsidised kerosene meant for the poor
  • With this, close to 2.60 lakh ineligible households have been removed from the list of beneficiaries. Now the coupon system will be soon replaced with the IVRS
  • A shop owner will get Rs 100 as commission for supplying a quintal of food grains to the beneficiaries.

Karnataka unveils booster kit for startups

  • In a bid to boost the startup ecosystem, the state government unveiled the Startup Karnataka Booster Kit to provide easy access to necessary software tools and services.InvestKarnataka-RV-Deshpande
  • Startups can get software tools and services such as cloud credits, debugging and testing tools, legal and accounting consultants and mentor service by registering with the Startup Cell set up under the Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS).
  • The registered startups will also be assisted in getting various benefits, offered as per the Karnataka Startup Policy 2015-20
  • The Startup Cell is a one-stop shop for startups across all sectors. The government has tied up with several big companies like IBM, Amazon, Microsoft BizSpark, Keonics, BSNL, Vodafone and Citrus to extend the services to startups
  • The government have set a target to stimulate the growth of about 20,000 technology-based startups by 2020
  • A startup can register with the cell by logging on to www.startup.karnataka.gov.in
  • The government has planned to fund about Rs 400 crore in the next four years to assist sector-specific startups.
  • Besides, the department has set up a Fund-of-Funds with an allocation of Rs 200 crore for investing in venture funds that finance technology-based startups
  • Fund-of-Funds will be utilised for the angel-stage funding. An investment committee comprising officials and representatives from the industry will be set up to clear applications seeking financial assistance.
  • The government has decided to make use of the startup environment to find solutions to various challenges being faced by it in the social sector.
  • The government will fund five technology-based startups (also called grand challenges) a year and give opportunity to implement them on pilot basis. A sum of Rs 15 crore has been set aside for this purpose
  • This apart, the department has decided to hold an open house meeting with representatives of registered startups every month to get feedback on various government initiatives. Agenda for the meeting will be set up by the startups. A total of 45 startups will be allowed to take part in the meeting to be chaired by the IT & BT Minister. The first meeting is scheduled for August 16 at GoK-Nasscom 10,000 startups warehouse in Diamond District, off Old Airport road, Bengaluru.

Signboard at Almatti enters Limca Book

  • India’s biggest 3D metal sign at Almatti Dam in Karnataka, conceived and executed by Pune-based Bucket Design, has been featured in Limca Book Records 2016.
  • Bucket Design, an industrial design studio from Pune, has designed and installed India’s biggest 3D metal sign at Almatti dam for the Karnataka government.560250
  • Almatti dam is the biggest dam under Krishna Bhagya Jal Nigam Ltd and is named after Lal Bahadur Shastri as he laid the foundation stone for the irrigation project
  • The sign reads “Lal Bahadur Shastry Sagar” in Kannada.
  • This project has become a landmark in north Karnataka region and got featured in the Limca Book of Records recently.
  • The sign is designed in such a way that no support structure is visible from front and all the letters are installed at a height of 70 feet from ground. Complete sign is finished in aluminium to prevent it from damage in different weather conditions. The project got completed in six months.

Talgo tilting train

  • Travel time between Bengaluru and Mysuru could be reduced to 90 minutes in the near future if trials with a high speed, tilting train manufactured by Spanish manufacturer Talgo conducted between Delhi and Mumbai in the next few days are successful.DC283_hokuto_001
  • Larger orders for the trains will be placed based upon the success of the trial run, which will likely begin from August 1
  • The train recently clocked 180 kmph this week between Mathura and Palwal during a trial run.
  • This technology will be cheaper as it can run on existing tracks. Since there are a lot of curves on the Bengaluru-Mysuru line, it will be better
  • The state government had proposed the use of these trains on the route to reduce the travel time without having to create new infrastructure.
  • Track doubling and electrification work on the line is almost completed. A major hurdle of shifting Tipu Sultan’s armoury taken up by US based company Wolfe Private Limited will also be completed soon.
  • In all probability, the project will be completed by year-end and tilting train coaches will be an added attraction on the track

About Talgo tilting train

  • Tilting train coaches are product of Talgo-the Spanish manufacturer of intercity, standard, and high speed trains.
  • These coaches are light in weight and designed in a way that it can run on curves without decelerating.
  • The Indian Railway recently conducted the first trial run in the stretch between Bareilly and Moradabad, as part of strategy to increase the speed of the trains
  • A tilting train is a train that has a mechanism enabling increased speed on regular rail tracks. As a train (or other vehicle) rounds a curve at speed, objects inside the train experience inertia. This can cause packages to slide about or seated passengers to feel squashed by the outboard armrest due to its centripetal force, and standing passengers to lose their balance. Tilting trains are designed to counteract this discomfort. In a curve to the left, the train tilts to the left to compensate for the g-force push to the right, and vice versa. The train may be constructed such that inertial forces cause the tilting (passive tilt), or it may have a computer-controlled power mechanism (active tilt).
  • Besides making travel faster, the technology also makes train movement on curves smoother, making journeys more comfortable for passengers.
  • At present, trains turn with a jerk at curves. Moreover, drivers reduce speed at curves and bends for smooth and safe operation. The new technology prevents derailment at curves even at high speeds. This reduces travel time and improves punctuality. During the trial, RDSO will use test speeds as low as 80kmph to as high as 180kmph.
  • Talgo rakes have a make-up markedly different from Indian rakes. Indian railways has individual coaches mounted on separate bogies (portion with axles and wheels). Every bogey has eight wheels which are connected through an axle but coaches are not inter-connected. This makes a train tilt outwards at curves and often with a jerk. The new technology, on the contrary, is based on ‘natural’ tilting system and has coaches connected at the vestibule.
  • At every coach-junction, there are two sets of wheels and bogies are shared between coaches. This inter-connects coaches and the train tilts inwards while turning at the curve.
  • It is projected to cut running time by 25% which will also reduce railways energy bills.

Govt for primacy to Apex Bank

  • The government will deposit grants meant for its various schemes in Karnataka State Cooperative Apex Bank (KSCAB) and its units till its utilisation
  • Chief minister said a circular to give primacy to Apex Bank while depositing government grants will be issued soon.
  • He said the government was providing short term agricultural loans up to Rs 3 lakh at zero per cent interest and medium-term and long-term agricultural loans up to Rs 10 lakh at 3% interest through cooperative institutions.
  • Siddaramaiah said Primary Agricultural Credit Co-operative Societies in the state will be computerised in a phased manner during the next three years. A special grant of Rs 1 crore will be provided to rejuvenate and strengthen the country’s first Agricultural Co-operative Society at Kanaginahal in Gadag district, he said.

App to eradicate illiteracy bags award

  • Five girls from the city have done the country proud at the Technovation Challenge 2016 held in San Francisco on July 14
  • They secured the runners-up position in the middle school category by developing an app to eradicate illiteracy among the underprivileged
  • The girls belong to the New Horizon Public School, Indira Nagar.
  • They also bagged the People’s Choice Award across all categories at the event.
  • The mobile app developed by the students has been named as ChangEd. It was chosen as one of the four top-notch technology innovation finalists, from over 400 teams across the world.

The Technovation Challenge is one of the world’s largest and longest technology competitions in the world. It is organised by a number of tech giants along with UNESCO.

Financial offences top list of cyber crimes in Karnataka

  • Karnataka continues to be among the top five states in the country witnessing large number of cyber crims, with Bengaluru contributing in a big way to such crimes.
  • The police say increasing use of technology across the state, migration of youngsters to Bengaluru from other states and countries and online initiatives offered by public and private sectors have led to an increase in cyber crimes.
  • Barring the cases that are registered, a large number of cyber crimes go unreported as victims don’t approach the police
  • The top three cyber crimes reported from the state are financial offences, defamation and personal abuse – circulating defamatory content about a person- and use of stolen electronic devices
  • Crimes committed using credit card, debit cards, mobile phones and internet account for nearly 90% of the total crimes, followed by defamation and personal abuse with 8% and stolen electronic devices about 2%
  • The police admit that the number of arrests made is less, while conviction rate is not even two per cent. Most criminals operate from Nigeria and east European countries.
  • The police detect IP addresses of the computers used to commit the crimes, but are unable to arrest the suspects as India has no extradition agreement with these countries
  • There is no provision for the police to employ private expert advocates to handle the case. Cyber criminals employ expert advocates and win their cases.
  • Most police inspectors fail to investigate cases properly as they lack cyber law knowledge. Lack of awareness of cyber law among judicial officers and judges of lower courts has affected conviction.

Measures suggested to check cyber crimes

  1. Create separate force for cyber crime investigations
  2. Create awareness among people on cyber crimes and IT Act
  3. Ensure proper protection of digital data and personal data
  4. Fix accountability on banks for financial crimes

New vigilance cell to check quality of civic works

  • The municipal administration department will soon open a vigilance cell to monitor the quality of civic amenity works.
  • The cell will comprise senior officials and will receive and attend to complaints from the public regarding poor quality works
  • After receiving complaints, members of the cell will do a reality check. The cell will also have power to initiate action against erring officials and contractors
  • The department is also contemplating coming out with a bill to prevent mushrooming of illegal layouts in municipal areas

Process of applying for ration cards to be simplified

  • Minister for Food and Civil Supplies UT Khader said the government will consider simplifying the process of getting below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) ration cards.
  • The minister said the development of the software by the department for this purpose is in its final stage.
  • The technology would help applicants apply for a ration card from anywhere. Similarly, the process to apply for BPL cards would be further simplified keeping in mind rural and illiterate citizens
  • The department would make the biometric coupon-based system compulsory for card holders to collect rations under the public distribution system (PDS) in the next three months.

‘Coupon-based distribution’

  • Beneficiaries will have to furnish their ration card and Aadhaar numbers at the kiosks. Then the cardholders will have to dial 1614 from their registered mobile number that will generate a coupon number
  • in the first phase, coupon-based kerosene distribution would be introduced in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike limits and 10 selected fair price shops in the state, which will then be extended across the state.

Big saplings for afforestation programme

  • The Forest, Ecology and Environment Department has decided to use big saplings under the government’s afforestation programme from next year
  • Only those saplings that are more than one year old will be planted. Chances of big saplings surviving and growing into trees are more compared to small ones
  • Besides, the afforestation programme in urban areas will be taken up under Nagorathana scheme.
  • The Forest Department and the Urban Development Department will jointly draw up a detailed action plan for this purpose.
  • The Forest Department has set a target to plant eight crore saplings under the afforestation programme this year
  • The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has tied up with some corporate firms to develop 12 lakes using corporate social responsibility fund.
  • Farmers who grow trees on their lands will get the incentive. A sum of Rs 10 will be paid if a sapling survives for more than a year. In the second year, Rs 15 will be paid and Rs 30 in the third year.

Nagarothana programme for improving infrastructure facilities in urban local bodies

  • While the city municipal councils in district headquarters would be provided with Rs. 30 crore each for development schemes, those located outside district headquarters would receive Rs. 15 crore for the purpose. The TMCs, TPs and notified areas would be given Rs. 5 crore each for such projects
  • Mainly, roads and drainage system would be taken up with the Nagarothana funds.
  • The city corporations, which were covered under the Chief Minister’s package for tier-II cities, had not been included under Nagarothana programme

LPG initiative saves 4,500 kg wood a month in Nagarahole

  • The forest staff living in the anti-poaching camps (APCs) deep inside the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve (NTR) no longer have to spend time and energy to fetch firewood for cooking.
  • For the first time, all 27 APCs in a tiger reserve in Karnataka have been provided with LPG cylinders and stoves by the Conservation Awareness Team Trust (CATT), an NGO, in July second week
  • There are four to five forest staffers in each of the poaching camps.
  • “A cylinder will last for at least three months. They will be refilled by the department,”
  • On an average everyday, the forest staff in each APC were using four to five kg of firewood. After switching to LPG, the department is saving 140 kg of firewood a day from all 27 APCs and 4,500 kg per month.
  • The CATT team and forest officials are planning to implement the same in Kali Tiger Reserve, which is an evergreen forest patch.

AI’s ‘connect India’ flight makes maiden landing in Hubballi

  • The Bengaluru-Hubballi Air India flight (AI 9509), with 39 passengers on board, made its first landing
  • The flight was given a customary two-water cannon salute on its arrival. While some passengers felt like being treated as kings, others complained that for a new route, Air India has allotted an old 48-seater aircraft.
  • Air India has been linking the remotest corners of the country, under the Centre’s ‘Connect India’ programme. The flight will make three trips a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday).
  • The flight, piloted by Captain Jorge Cano, landed at the Hubballi airport at 4.57 pm.

Govt bans Chinese Manja for kite flying

  • The state government, in an order, has banned ‘Chinese Manja’ — the nylon thread coated with ground glass and other harmful substances, used for kite flying — with immediate effect, in view of the threat it poses to birds, animals and human beings.
  • The order stated that no person, including shopkeepers, vendors, wholesalers, retailers, traders, hawkers or salesmen should procure, stock, sell and use Chinese Manja or Chinese Dor in the state.
  • All forest officers, officers working in the Forest and Horticulture wing of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, officers of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board have been entrusted with enforcing the ban
  • People violating the ban can be booked under the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963, Wildlife Protection Act,1972 and Environment Protection Act,1986.
  • Unlike cotton strings, Chinese threads are non-biodegradable and have the strength to entangle birds.

Cabinet nod for new norms for early release of convicts

  • The guidelines conform to a Supreme Court order of last year that state governments have no powers to remit sentences of persons who are convicted under a central law and cases are investigated by a central agency like the CBI.
  • The court had issued directions to all states that they come up with proper guidelines for premature release of convicted prisoners.
  • As per the court order, the state has included in its guidelines that convicts cannot be released prematurely in cases where the investigation was conducted by central investigation agencies like CBI and NIA.
  • It also applies for prisoners convicted for two or more murder cases, gangsters, contract killings, smuggling, drug trafficking, rape, robbery with murder and prisoners who committed murder of prison staff.
  • Other provisions of the earlier guidelines issued in 2014 have been retained and these include – prisoners covered under Section 433A of crpc  (where the imprisonment cannot be reduced) will have to serve 14 years of actual imprisonment, before they are considered for release.
  • Prisoners not covered under Section 433A will have to serve 10 years (seven years in case of women prisoners) of actual imprisonment without remission, before they are considered for release.
  • Prisoners who have attained the age of 65 years (60 years in case of women prisoners) and undergoing life sentence can be considered for release if they have served 14 years of imprisonment (12 years in case of women prisoners) with remission.
  • The guidelines state that the list of eligible convicts to be released will have to prepared by the Additional Director General of Police, Prisons, in consultation with the district advisory boards
  • The list will be scrutinised on a case-by-case basis by a committee headed by the Principal Secretary, Home department. The list has to be sent to the governor after being vetted by the Cabinet, the guidelines state.

Rural utility service centres at 2,000 more panchayats

  • ‘Panchayat-100 Bapuji Seva Kendras’ wherein 100 different services provided by various departments can be obtained by the rural population, will be extended to 2,000 more panchayats in the state from August 14.
  • The services provided by revenue, rural development and panchayat raj and other utility departments can be obtained at these centres.
  • Citizens can apply for income certificates, caste certificates, Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (rtcs), land holding certificates among others by paying a nominal fee. Besides, they can pay their electricity bills and property taxes at these centres.
  • As many as 2,000 such centres have begun functioning since July 1 this year and 2,000 more will be opened on August 14
  • All the centres will be linked by a optical fibre cable network to a centralised server. Existing gram panchayat officials will run and maintain the centres
  • The officials will be provided incentives for taking up the additional work. The RDPR department is also contemplating appointing a full-time data entry operator at each of the centres
  • The second phase of the World Bank-assisted Gram Swaraj scheme will be implemented in 1,466 gram panchayats across 39 taluks from this year. The scheme provides for strengthening the panchayat raj institution by improving infrastructure in villages, implementing drinking water schemes, all-weather concrete roads and drains.
  • The total cost of the scheme is estimated at Rs 2,000 crore. The World Bank will grant a loan of Rs 1,400 crore and the state government will contribute its share of Rs 600 crore

SC notice to Centre, Mysore varsity for illegal centres outside state

  • The Supreme Court on Monday ordered issuance of notices to the Union government, the UGC and the University of Mysore on a petition by 12 students for penal action against varsity authorities for illegally allowing its centres outside Karnataka.
  • The students’ advocate Sravan Kumar submitted to the court that the university, in “blatant violation of the law”, had granted affiliation to about 134 colleges and outreach centers outside Karnataka since 2008.
  • opening such centres outside the territorial jurisdiction of state universities was in gross violation of the Supreme Court judgement in Prof Yashpal vs State of Chhattisgarh (2005).
  • The court had held that state universities created under the statute enacted by the state legislature had no jurisdiction to accord affiliations to colleges and institutions located beyond such state.
  • Thousands of students had enrolled into courses like BBM, BBA, BCA, BCom, MCA and MBA for academic years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16.
  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) later issued a public notice as well as a letter, clarifying that the University of M
  • The petitioners have spent lakhs of rupees by way of college fees and accommodation for studying professional courses in outreach centres of the University of Mysore in different parts of country and places like Dubai and Kuwait,” the petition said and sought a CBI probe against other universities that had violated their jurisdiction.
  • The students said they lost precious academic years and resources by falling prey to the illegal outreach centres and institutions because of the university.
  • They urged the court to order validation of their degrees saying it was not their fault to enrol in such centres.

Consult panel before starting Cauvery basin projects, Karnataka told

  • The Ministry of Water Resources has informed the Karnataka government that before taking up any projects in the Cauvery basin area, it has to get them examined by the Cauvery Supervisory Committee headed by Union Water Resources Secretary.
  • The Cauvery Supervisory Committee has been set up on the orders of the Supreme Court to implement the award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) on the water shares allocated to Cauvery basin states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
  • The Central Water Commission (CWC) has received a DPR for Shivanasamudram run of the river power project from Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd in 2014.
  • The same has been returned to Karnataka asking it to obtain views/comments of basin states in view of the final award of CWDT to facilitate its examination from inter-state angle, Balyan said.
  • However, the minister said that the CWC has not received any proposal from Karnataka on Mekedatu project.
  • But, the Karnataka Government had informed the CWC that Tamil Nadu has filed an interim application in the Supreme Court objecting this project.
  • The Karnataka government also clarified that it has no plans to proceed with the construction of the above projects without informing the Supreme Court as the interim application is pending before it

Allow sand mining by pvt parties, panel tells govt

  • Criticising the Public Works Department (PWD) for failing to ensure adequate mining and distribution of sand, a Legislature committee has recommended the government to hand over sand blocks to private parties.
  • The study team of the House Committee on Illegal Sand Mining, headed by Congress MLA Rafeeq Ahmed, has submitted its report to the government, which was tabled in the Assembly
  • The panel has opined that the failure of PWD in ensuring adequate sand to the public has made it necessary to amend the existing rules.
  • Of the 829 sand blocks identified, environment clearance has been obtained for only 592 blocks. Mining activities are being undertaken in 219 blocks by the PWD. As the PWD has failed to utilise the remaining blocks, it has been recommended that sand mining activities be given to private agencies by floating e-tenders.
  • The Mines and Geology department should frame draft rules for tender-cum-auction (in not more than 25 hectares) and also amend the existing laws to ensure immediate availability of sand for public consumption, it said.
  • The government should introduce a single window system to grant no-objection certificates from various departments.
  • It has recommended setting up of more number of checkposts to prevent sand smuggling to other states.
  • Subsidies should be given to entrepreneurs who want to set up M-Sand units, it added.
  • Those found indulging in illegal sand mining should be imprisoned for a minimum of two years and/or levied a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

MRPL plans Rs 15K crore raw coke gasification complex

  • The Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), a Mini Ratna PSU, is planning to set up a raw petroleum coke gasification complex at an estimated cost of Rs 12,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore in the coming years.
  • The company wants to explore hydro carbon molecule and convert petrol into synthetic gas.
  • It may take 48 to 50 months to set up the plant of 1,000 degree room temperature. “It is intended to produce ‘Syngas’ (synthetic gas) with subsequent potential to produce value-added chemicals such as urea (fertiliser), acetic acid, acryilate in addition to linear alkyl benzene (LAB), a feed stock to produce detergents.”
  • Accordingly, the company will upgrade its existing facilities to produce BS-VI grade petrol and diesel by 2020. The company will reduce sulphur content in petrol and diesel to 10 pars per million (PPM) level and bring down environment pollution caused by fuel emissions. Plans are on to enhance the refining capacity to 18/21 million metric tonnes per annum with low cost revamp

WHAT IS SYNGAS OR SYNTHESIS GAS?

  • Syngas, or synthesis gas, is a fuel gas mixture consisting primarily of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and very often some carbon dioxide. The name comes from its use as intermediates in creating synthetic natural gas (SNG) and for producing ammonia or methanol.
  • Syngas is usually a product of gasification and the main application is electricity generation.
  • Syngas is combustible and often used as a fuel of internal combustion engines.
  • It has less than half the energy density of natural gas
  • Syngas can be produced from many sources, including natural gas, coal, biomass, or virtually any hydrocarbon feedstock, by reaction with steam (steam reforming), carbon dioxide (dry reforming) or oxygen (partial oxidation).
  • Syngas is a crucial intermediate resource for production of hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, and synthetic hydrocarbon fuels.
  • Syngas is also used as an intermediate in producing synthetic petroleum for use as a fuel or lubricant via the Fischer–Tropsch process and previously the Mobil methanol to gasoline process.
  • Production methods include steam reforming of natural gas or liquid hydrocarbons to produce hydrogen, the gasification of coal, biomass, and in some types of waste-to-energy gasification facilities.

‘Thithi village’ debuts on tourism map

  • The film’s success has brought Node Koppalu, a nondescript village with unpaved roads, open drains and stray cattle, to the tourism map in Mandya.
  • Most of them visit Node Koppalu to trace the footprints of the main characters of Thithi — Century Gowda, his son Gadappa, Gadappa’s son Thamanna, and his son Abhi
  • They take pictures where Thithi frames were shot.
  • Local residents volunteer as guides, but never expect anything in return. They take pride in welcoming visitors and taking them around the ‘Thithi spots’.
  • With the stupendous success of Thithi , people of the village who became “actors” are getting offers from other movie makers.
  • Now the Thithi team is making another movie Tharle Village and most of the actors of Thithi are performing in it.

Pied cuckoo or Jacobin cuckoo

  • Pied cuckoo or Jacobin cuckoo that migrates to India all the way from Africa, and described as the harbinger of monsoon in Indian mythology, was spotted in the jungles near Bidar recently16bg_bgbag_Bida_17_2935619f
  • The bird figures in ‘puranas’ and ancient Indian literature. “Legendary Sanskrit poet Kalidasa has used the bird, called Jataka bird, as a metaphor for patience and purity,”
  • In Indian mythology, it is a bird that waits through summer for the seasons to change, only to open its mouth to the skies to drink rain water directly.
  • It braves rough winds and changes in temperature before settling in flat areas like the Deccan plateau
  • It stays here for months before starting its journey back
  • These birds can travel up to 5,500 km, from Africa to India. They come here for mating and nesting and they begin their journey months before monsoon arrives in India

Arch discovered in well in Bidar

  • Workers cleaning the historical Jahaj Ki Bawdi open well in the backyard of Multani Pasha Dargah found a door with an arch at the bottom of the well
  • The 10-ft tall structure has a big corner stone in the middle and two supporting beams on two sides. It has a set of stairs on its left and right sides.
  • It is either a new channel of the ‘surang bavi’ or ‘karez’ underground drinking water system built in the Bahmani period or an additional set of stairs to reach the top.
  • Jahaj Ki Bawdi (The ship-shaped well) is a huge step well built in the medieval era behind the burial ground adjacent to the dargah.
  • It was filled to the brim with garbage after it dried up three decades ago. It is bigger than a football field, says Vinay Malge, coordinator of Team YUVA that is overseeing the cleaning and dredging of open wells and tanks taken up by the district administration.
  • Workers have removed 85 ft of garbage and silt from the bawdi and dug at least 20 ft. below the ground before discovering multiple springs at the bottom.

Cab drivers don’t mind installing safety devices

  • The installation of safety devices — made mandatory under the Karnataka taxi aggregator rules — is being resisted by major operators.
  • They say that options such as panic buttons and GPS trackers are not only outdated models of technology, but also put a financial burden on drivers. They argue that panic button apps that many customers have are just as effective.
  • According to shopkeepers and radio cab operators, a good quality GPS tracker will cost around Rs. 1,000. This ensures that the car can be tracked regardless of the location of the phone. A good quality panic button again will cost between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500.
  • Passengers too are in favour of such devices. The mere presence of such devices is comforting to the riders, and serves as a warning to drivers who tend to be rude or misbehave with customers.

Karnataka to give more powers to police

  • The police are set to get more powers to regulate activities of staff and management of schools in the interest of safety and security of children.
  • In the wake of recent incidents of sexual harassment, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly adopted the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which gives additional powers to the police.
  • There was negligence despite booking cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by the police, who investigate and file the final reports before the courts.
  • The Bill also provides for the appointment of the Deputy Commissioner of the district concerned as chairperson of the District Police Complaints Authority instead of the present practice of appointing regional commissioners.
  • This step has been taken in the wake of the Karnataka High Court’s observation that regional commissioners were unable to serve the purpose as heads of these panels owing to their busy schedule.
  • A provision has also been made to appoint retired civil servants, not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner, as members of these panels instead of the present practice of appointing retired civil servants not below the rank of joint secretary.
  • The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2016 also seeks to remove certain Sections that are being viewed as discriminatory against transgenders. It proposes to replace the word ‘eunuch’ with ‘person’ in some Sections. This follows a court case in which the transgender community argued that some Sections of the Act were “discriminatory”.

‘Navikotsava 2016’

  • It is a two-day cultural festival of Kannadigas worldwide titled “Navikotsava”
  • Organised by the North America Vishwa Kannada Agara (NAVIKA) in association with the Department of Kannada and Culture, the festival will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
  • Kannadigas residing outside India will take part in a variety of cultural and literary programmes.
  • The second day of the programme includes an “Entrepreneurs Meet”
  • Achievers from various fields will be honoured at the valedictory function. Over 150 Kannadiga families are expected to participate in the cultural events.

Karnataka 5th in country in land degradation, says ISRO study

  • In a span of less than a decade, Karnataka has seen over 100 sq. km of its area becoming irreversibly degraded, says a report by the ISRO06bg_bgmmr_Karn_07_2922863e
  • Using satellite imagery to study the extent of desertification between 2011 and 2013, the report shows that Karnataka remains the fifth largest State in terms of degraded land.
  • The State follows the arid Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir in terms of degraded area
  • Over 36.24 per cent of the geographical area (or a staggering 69,810 sq. km) is desertified or degraded.
  • This represents a 0.05 per cent increase since the last report in 2003-05
  • Degradation has set inKarnataka and continues to grow as there is no integrated approach to improve soil health
  • The primary cause of degradation is water erosion and vegetation degradation, which accounts for deforestation and over-grazed land

Land Degradation

Degraded land is classified on the basis of productive capacity of the land.

  1. Slight degradation refers to the condition where crop yield potential is reduced by 10%.
  2. Moderate degradation refers to 10-50% reduction in yield potential and
  3. Severe degradation means that the land has lost more than 50% of its yield potential yield.

Nagarahole safari may shift base to park periphery

  • The Department of Forests plans to freeze tourism infrastructure at Nagarahole and shift the safari to the park periphery to reduce disturbance to wildlife.
  • There is adequate land on the periphery of the national park to create dormitories, cottages and parking facilities for the safari. Once the new facilities are in place, the safari vehicles will operate from Veeranahosahalli Gate. This will reduce human disturbance in the existing tourism zone at Nagarahole
  • At present, tourists visiting Nagarahole drive all the way through the core forests for 31 km from Veeranahosahalli Gate to reach the tourism zone.
  • Incidentally, there is no defined buffer zone for Nagarahole, which is spread over 639 sq. km and the entire landscape is deemed to be core, unlike in Bandipur.
  • The growing popularity of the park and the increase in tourist flow have led to a rise in vehicle movement inside the national park. Once the safari is shifted to the periphery, it will obviate the need for tourists to drive through the core forest and it will reduce the number of vehicles plying inside
  • The national park supports a rich density of tigers, elephants, dholes and leopards, besides harbouring a high density of prey animals such as spotted deer and gaur.

Plan at Bandipur

  • A similar project for Bandipur was proposed a few years ago. Even the blueprint for shifting the tourism zone to the periphery at Melkamanahally was ready. But the proposal was disbanded because of lack of funds to create new infrastructure. But, now with greater focus on conservation and a National Tiger Conservation Authority directive to this effect, the proposal may be revived.

Nagarhole National Park

  • Nagarhole National Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), is a national park located in Kodagu district and Mysore district in Karnataka state in South India.
  • This park was declared the thirty seventh Project Tiger tiger reserve in 1999. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats Nilgiri Sub-Cluster of 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi), including all of Nagarhole National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site
  • The park has rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. The park has a healthy predator-prey ratio, with many tigers, Indian bison and elephants.
  • The park derives its name from naga, meaning snake and hole, referring to streams. The park was an exclusive hunting reserve of the kings of the Wodeyar dynasty, the former rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore
  • It was set up in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary and later its area increased to 643.39 km (399.78 mi). It was upgraded into a national park in 1988
  • The park was declared a tiger reserve in 1999

State to get fertiliser plant at Rs 6k crore

  • Union Minister Ananth Kumar said the state will soon get a fertiliser plant at an investment of Rs 6,000 crore.
  • Kumar, who holds the Chemicals and Fertilisers portfolio, was in Vidhana Soudha to address the foundation-laying ceremony for the Advanced Polymer Design and Development Research Laboratory (APDDRL) at a defence and aerospace park in Devanahalli
  • The laboratory will be a research and development centre of the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) with an investment of Rs 87 crore.
  • The plant will be jointly developed by the state and union governments, and based on a PPP model.
  • The plant, with an annual production capacity of 13 lakh tonne, is proposed to come up in Davangere, Dharwad or Vijayapura
  • A preliminary survey is being conducted. The feasibility report and location for this fertiliser plant will be decided by the end of this month
  • The proposed site for the plant had to be identified based on the availability of natural gas.

Karnataka Cabinet defers decision on anti-superstition bill

  • The State Cabinet deferred its approval for a modified version of the anti-superstition bill as some ministers failed to see any merit in enacting such a legislation.
  • Those ministers who expressed their resentment were of the view that such a legislation would only make the government unpopulareyes
  • The draft Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2016 proposes to ban 23 practices considered inhuman.
  • Some ministers, it is learnt, expressed their apprehension about including social evils such as human sacrifice and practices like made snana in the same bill. Human sacrifice amounts to murder and should not be brought under an anti-superstition bill, they pointed out
  • Made snana, the practice of people rolling over leftovers after Brahmins have partaken their food in temples, was only a belief of the people and not a criminal offence.
  • With no consensus emerging, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who chaired the meeting decided against taking any decision. It has been three years since the state government first proposed an anti-superstition bill. It has been repeatedly facing opposition from various quarters since then.
  • New anti-superstition Bill proposes to ban 23 practices
  • The new version of an anti-superstition Bill proposes to ban 23 practices, including human torture in the name of rituals and display of ‘miracles’ to earn money.
  • The draft Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill-2016 is a modified version of the Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill-2013.
  • According to sources, it lists out practices which are proposed to be banned and those which will not apply under the provisions of the Bill.
  • Besides social evils like human sacrifice and Aghori, the Bill proposes to ban ‘made snana’, the practice of people rolling over leftovers after Brahmins have partaken food in temples; and fire-walking, the act of walking barefoot on redhot embers, which is a common practice in Karnataka.

Unhealthy rituals

  • Human sacrifice; propagation of human sacrifice
  • Practices like ‘made snana’, fire-walking, ‘banamati’, ‘bettale seve’
  • Torture in the name of exorcism
  • Display of miracles to earn money or terrorise people
  • Inhuman, evil and Aghori practices which endanger life
  • Practice of black magic in search of precious things
  • Creating fear in others by claiming to have supernatural powers
  • Creating panic by threatening to invoke ghosts

It won’t apply to...

  • Worship
  • Teaching of ancient and traditional learning
  • Performance of prayers
  • All religious celebrations
  • Piercing of ears, nose in accordance with religious rituals
  • Advice of ‘vastu shastra’, astrology and advice with regard to source of groundwater

Further Development: The Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah referred the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and other Inhuman Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2016 to a sub-committee headed by Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa.

About THE KARNATAKA PREVENTION OF SUPERSTITIOUS PRACTICES BILL, 2013

A Bill to make special provision for the prevention of superstitious practices that are harmful, exploitative and offensive to human dignity with a view to eradicate them; to establish the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Authority at the state level and Vigilance Committees on Superstitious Practices at the district level to ensure such prevention, extend protection to those who expose the ill-effects of superstitious practices create awareness regarding such effects; and other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto

Offence of committing a superstitious practice

  1. Any person who promotes, propagates or performs a superstitious practice shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years or with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or both.
  2. Consent of the victim shall not be a defence under this section.
  3. Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, a victim of a superstitious practice shall not be guilty of committing or abetting that practice.
  • No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of a First Class shall try any offence punishable under this Act

 The State Government shall establish the Prevention of Superstitious Practices Fund to

  1. provide relief, compensation and rehabilitation to the victims of superstitious practices;
  2. promote awareness and education on development of scientific temper and the need to prevent superstitious practices;
  3. undertake such other activities consistent with the provisions of this Act

 There shall be an authority known as the Karnataka AntiSuperstition Authority. The Governor shall appoint the Chairperson and Members of the Authority. The Authority shall consist of:

  1. A retired judge of the High Court of Karnataka, to be appointed on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, Chaiperson;
  2. Two eminent persons, who shall be academicians, social workers or legal experts who have special knowledge, experience or expertise in relation to superstitious practices and ill-effects thereof, Members;
  3. The Secretary to the Department of Social Welfare shall be the Member-Secretary of the Authority.

There shall be a Vigilance Committee on Superstitious Practices in each district, to be constituted by the State government by notification in the Official Gazette, for a term of three years.

Karnataka to host scouts, guides Jamboree after 30 years

  • Around 30,000 students from across the state are expected to participate in the seven-day 17th National Bharat Scouts and Guides Jamboree to be held at Adakanahalli near Mysuru from December 29, 2016.
  • The government has earmarked Rs 10 crore for the event which is being held in the state after a gap of 30 years.
  • The event will be held at Adakanahalli Industrial Area located between Mysuru and Nanjangud

Centre plans Kisan Suvidha Kendras in Karnataka

  • The Union government will set up Kisan Suvidha Kendras in all the taluks of Karnataka
  • The minister said that sowing seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and farm equipment will be available to agriculturists under one roof at these Kendras.

Karnataka worried over Kerala’s plan for rail line through Bandipur

  • The Kerala government’s request to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limted (DMRCL) to undertake a survey for the 236- km railway line passing through Nanjangud- Sultan Batheri- Nilambur, has not gone well with the Karnataka’s forest department.
  • After strongly resisting the earlier move by the Kerala government to allow night traffic in Bandipur National Park, the Karnataka forest department has now said the proposed rail line cutting through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) can’t be permitted.
  • The Kerala government has claimed that the rail line would boost tourism in the region, especially pilgrimage as it will link Wayanad,Nilgiris, Guruvayur and Sabarimala with Mysuru and Bengaluru.
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the last railway budget had listed the 236- km railway line. The Kerala government has now placed it on priority list to implement it under joint venture with railways.
  • Rail connectivity between north Kerala to Mangaluru, Mysuru and to Bangaluru has already been established by fragmenting pristine forests in the Western Ghats. This line is completely under-utilized and all that is required is more fast trains on this section. Therefore, the demand for yet another rail link through Bandipur which has some of the highest densities of both tigers and elephants must be rejected.

Cap on stocking food grains likely

  • Food and Civil Supplies Department Minister U T Khader said the Food and Civil Supplies Department is all set to introduce a new set of guidelines from July 8.
  • The guidelines are intended to rein in the hoarding of essential food items for ulterior motives by traders, causing surge in prices, he added.
  • According to the guidelines, there will be a cap on stocking of food items by both retailers and wholesalers, who have to sell commodities complying with the price fixed by the government.
  • It has been decided to restrict retailers to stock not more than 50 quintals for now, to maintain the market price of essential commodities like tur dal, edible oil and sugar. For wholesalers, it will be 1,000 quintals in rural areas and 2,000 quintals in urban areas. If the traders are found stocking the commodities in excess, fine will be imposed on them
  • Besides, wholesalers have to sell the tur dal at Rs 130 a kg while retailers can sell the same for a marginal profit. At the APMC yard at Yeshwanthpur, Bengaluru, alone, there are 50 wholesalers – besides the 200 across the state

Governor clears the way for former Lokayukta Rao’s prosecution

  • Governor Vajubhai Vala has given his nod to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to prosecute former Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao in the extortion and corruption case.
  • The SIT has charged Justice Rao with abetting his son Yerabati Ashwin, who is accused of running an extortion and corruption racket in the Lokayukta office.
  • The SIT had written to the state government in February 2016 seeking prosecution sanction against Justice Rao. Though DPAR had given its clearance after channelling the file through the office of the chief minister, the Raj Bhavan had sought status of the chargesheets and trial in the court.
  • The Governor, as the appointing authority of the Lokayukta, had to accord sanction to prosecute Justice Rao.
  • In its 500-page report to the government, the SIT had stated that Justice Rao did not stop his son Ashwin from using his official residence and office to summon public servants to carry out the extortion racket. The report said Justice Rao deliberately delayed acting on the report submitted by former Lokayukta (city) Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang about the demand for bribe in the office of former Joint Commissioner (PRO) Syed Riyaz.

Centre wants quicker land acquisition to kick-start power projects in Karnataka

  • Union minister Piyush Goyal has urged Karnataka to expedite land acquisition under Right of Way (ROW) to implement long-pending power projects related to inter- and intra-state transmission lines, which can bring surplus power from the central grid to the state.
  • The problem of inadequate power supply and outages in karnataka, more particularly in bengaluru, could be fully solved with the completion of all these projects
  • Taking note of slow progress on these projects as property losers demand higher compensation, goyal asked the government to act expeditiously through early resolution under the row.
  • He mentioned four delayed projects of transmission lines that are aimed at drawing power to the state from the central grid. These are: 400kv yelahanka lilo project (approved in october 2011), 400 kv dharmapuri-somanahalli d/c line (approved in december 2011), 400 kv madhugiri-yelahanka d/c line (approved in october 2011) and 765 kv madhugiri-dharmapuri (salem new) s/c line).
  • The centre had approved a renewable energy management centre in bengaluru to support large-scale grid integration.
  • An electric transmission line right-of-way (row) is a strip of land used by electrical utilities to construct, operate, maintain and repair the transmission line facilities.
  • The width of a right-of-way depends on the voltage of the line and the height of the structures. The right-of-way generally must be clear of unauthorized structures that could interfere with a power line.

Karnataka, Goa ink pact to join UDAY scheme: Piyush Goyal

  • KARNATAKA and Goa have signed an agreement to join the UDAY scheme meant for the revival of discoms that may result in a total gain of about Rs 4,570 crore to both the states over next 3 years.
  • “Karnataka signed UDAY MoU resulting in gains of around Rs 4,300 crore over the next 3 years

State may sterilise ‘pretty’ female elephants to cut jumbo numbers

  • It’s a problem of plenty for the Karnataka Forest Department. With the state’s large elephant population becoming difficult to manage, the department is considering sterilising some females pachyderms, albeit on a temporary basis.
  • The department is contemplating sterilising some “attractive” captive females at the Dubare elephant camp in Kodagu on a temporary basis. If needed, elephants at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) will also be sterilised
  • Both the BBP and the Dubare elephant camp have healthy breeding populations. The BBP has 19 female pachyderms and Dubare 29. At any time of the year, at least one female is pregnant while an offspring is born every two to three years. Most females are attracted to wandering and rogue wild males.
  • “If some females are sterilised on a temporary basis, it could help in controlling the population and reducing the man-elephant conflict,”
  • The department proposes to use the Immunocontraception mechanism where females are put on medication for a short duration
  • Only captive animals can be put on medication as the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, prohibits such an experiment on animals in the wild.
  • Surendra Verma, senior scientist, Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, IISc, said elephants were being sterilised in Africa as well as in Northeast India. The challenge, he said, is identifying the right females, understanding their oestrous cycles and regular monitoring.
  • BBP elephants are quite in demand, with zoo authorities from Kolkata, Hyderabad as well as South Africa, Kenya and Germany showing interest in taking them under the animal exchange programme

Bengaluru Traffic Improvement Project (B-TRAC) 2.0.

  • Road users in the relatively newer areas of the city are likely to see interventions similar to the ones implemented in the central areas under the first part of the scheme06bg_bgkcd_Btra_13_2933065g
  • As the blueprint for B-TRAC 2.0 points out, the initial plan of the scheme was to divide the city into operational areas, moving from the city centre to the periphery
  • “But subsequently, it was noticed that the situation was bad not just in central areas, but also at many other points where traffic demand overwhelmed transport supply.
  • Thus, the current plan is to tackle the critical points, irrespective of where they are located,” it says.
  • What it will entail is identifying 100 locations across Bengaluru for ‘junction improvements’.
  • “We will be looking at the expanded areas under the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. The police stations concerned in these areas have given us their inputs. We have received as many as 150 recommendations, out of which we will shortlist 100. We will be undertaking small structural changes without altering any civic utilities to ease traffic flow,” said a traffic police officer.
  • These would include the creation of ‘islands’, pedestrian walkways, raised pedestrian crossings, railings, medians and barricades, among others.
  • The Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) will take up the work after tenders are called
  • Though a Rs. 175 crore budget was announced last January, approvals came this January. B-TRAC 2.0 will be operational for a three-year period, ending in 2018.

Features of B-TRAC

  • The Bengaluru Traffic Improvement Project scheme officially began in 2008-09, though the government released funds from 2006-07. Until 2015, the city saw the traffic police install surveillance cameras, provide cops with Blackberry phones with Bluetooth printer and establish a state-of-the-art Traffic Management Centre.
  • The Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) of the Indian Institute of Science had given a positive evaluation of the scheme
  • The aim and the objectives of the scheme are the same: smooth traffic and prevention of accidents. But the technology used will be the latest ones

Mahadayi tribunal pulls up Goa govt

  • The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal headed by Justice J M Panchal pulled up the Goa government for making contradictory statement before it on the quantum of water flow in River Mahadayi.
  • During cross-examination, Prof Jyothi Prakash, hydrology expert, who was produced by the Goa government as witness, said a total of 102 tmc feet of water flows in Mahadayi per annum. Panchal reminded him that his claim was contrary to the Goa government’s original petition, which put the water flow at 108 tmc feet
  • The Central Water Commission, in its report prepared in 2003, claimed that total 199 tmc water flows in Mahadayi River and Karnataka also endorsed the report.
  • K’taka seeks 7 tmcft of Mahadayi water from tribunal to address the drinking water shortage in Hubballi-Dharwad and the surrounding towns and villages.
  • Referring to the Goa government’s earlier submission that 108 tmcft of water was flowing into the Arabian Sea, instead of allowing for wasting the precious resource, it would be would be better to permit Karnataka to utilise it for drinking purposes in the perennial drought-hit areas.
  • While the Central Water Commission has said in a report that the total water flow in the Mahadayi River was 199 tmcft per year, Goa said that it aimed to utilise 37 tmcft. Even after Goa utilises its share, 71 tmcft of water will flow into the sea without any proper utilisation

K’taka created artificial drought, Goa tells Mahadayi tribunal

  • The Goa government told the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal that Karnataka created an artificial drought in Belagavi and Hubballi-Dharwad region by allowing farmers to grow water-guzzling crops like sugar cane.
  • The advocate representing the Goa government, Atmanram Nadakarni, said despite Karnataka claiming that only cotton, maize and wheat are being grown in that region, maximum number of farmers were growing sugar cane.
  • Nadakarni said poor water management strategy by Karnataka has resulted in severe drinking water crisis in the region. Of the total 47 tmcft of storage capacity in the Mahadayi reservoir, only 27 tmcft of water was being stored, he added
  • The Goa government’s counsel said construction of over 10 lift irrigation projects and mini-dams along the Malaprabha river is the primary reason behind the poor flow of water to the Malaprabha reservoir.
  • Besides, flow of water to the reservoir has also reduced over the years due to large number of farmers diverting water from the river for irrigation using pumpsets, he argued.
  • Though the original command area for the Malaprabha reservoir was 1.61 lakh hectares, it has now gone up to 2.36 lakh hectares and sugar cane alone is being grown in 24,000 hectares
  • The counsel said diverting the Mahadayi to the Malaprabha reservoir would require construction of huge pump houses, which will lead to large-scale destruction of forests in the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats and will also hit the natural flow of the river.
  • As Mahadayi gets water only during the monsoon, diversion of water from June to October, as suggested by Karnataka, would lead to water crisis in Goa.
  • Besides, any diversion of water would hit the industries in Goa which draw around 9.37 tmcft of water, he added.
  • Rejecting the Central Water Commission report, which said the total flow of water in Mahadayi is 199 tmcft a year, Nadakarni said the report was not prepared after a scientific study.

Agitation completes a year today

  • The protest by farmers demanding implementation of Mahadayi project completes a year
  • Protesters say that neither the state government nor the Centre had taken the issue seriously. They said that the project, if implemented would provide water to nine taluks spread over four districts.

Crop damage due to excessive rain covered under insurance

  • All perils, including fruit rot disease (Kole Roga) in arecanut, resulting from excessive rainfall, will be covered under the new Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme
  • Even the district-specific weather parameters have been worked out by the district level committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner.- Among these parameters include rainfall of more than 50 mm every day for more than four days or rainfall of over 20 mm every day for a period of eight or more days in the monsoon season between July and September.
  • This insurance amount will be in addition to the compensation that he would receive because of damage caused due to gusty winds and lightning during the monsoon.
  • Arecanut and black pepper have been notified as horticulture crops in Dakshina Kannada under the insurance scheme.
  • All those who have taken crop loan are bound to enrol under the insurance scheme.
  • Joining this insurance scheme is optional for those who have not taken crop loan.
  • The bank or the cooperative society that has given the loan has to enrol the farmers who have taken crop loans from them.
  • Eg- For an insurance of Rs. 1.25 lakh per hectare of arecanut per season, the premium amount will be Rs. 12,500, of which the farmer has to pay Rs. 6,250. The remaining amount will be contributed by the Union and State governments

You can soon walk in the pristine forests of Bhimgad National Park

  • By the end of October or first week of November, one can trek in the pristine forests of Bhimgad National Park. And the lucky ones can also chance upon a tiger or a black panther.
  • The forest department will throw open untouched forests of Bhimgad National Park in Khanapur taluk of Belagavi district to nature lovers, who can trek for almost 10.5 kilometres in dense forest with trained guides.
  • Setting up tents and other facilities for visitors has been taken up on a war footing at Hemmadaga camp (Bhimgad Nature’s Camp), the base camp of the national park.
  • The forest department will set up four deluxe tents and one dormitory. A maximum of 50 people can be accommodated at the camp.
  • Unlike in any other national parks, where the safari is in jeeps, here at Hemmadaga, visitors will be taken into the forest by foot. This will reduce the carbon foot print on the forest and also help people watch the forest up and close
  • At present, the forest department has identified four trekking routes in the forest. The registration for trekking is online (www.ecotrails.in) and is said to cost anywhere between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,600 per person including accommodation, food and guide fee
  • Soon, a phone based app —ecotrip — is also being launched by the forest department giving details of eco-tourism in the state
  • Bhimgad is a rich bio-diversity spot and is a catchment area of several rivers including the Mahadayi. Visitors have the privilege of watching rare giant trees, rare orchids, medicinal plants and can also chance upon endangered frogs, king cobras, barking deer and big cats like black panthers, tigers or leopards.
  • However, trekkers will not be allowed to visit the caves where endangered Wroughton’s free-tailed bats survive.

Wroughton’s free-tailed bat

  • Wroughton’s free-tailed bat (Otomops wroughtoni) is a free-tailed bat formerly considered to be confined to the Western Ghats area of India, though it has also recently been discovered in northeast India and in a remote part of Cambodia.
  • It was listed as a critically endangered species due to habitat loss and a restricted range
  • In India, the species is found in two locations in the southern Indian state of Karnataka and in Meghalaya in northeast India.
  • In Karnataka, it is found in the Barapede Caves, located between Krishnapur and Talewadi, in Belgaum district, adjacent to the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary near the state of Goa and was the only known location of this species for years
  • Members of the family Molossidae roost in caves, hollow trees and human-made structures. Populations of this bat have been found in large natural caves, situated near forested areas
  • This species was considered to be one of the 15 most critically endangered bat species until the two new colonies were discovered. The new discoveries have given researchers cause to hope that the species could be distributed much more widely than is known today. However, the species is extremely vulnerable to habitat destruction and roost disturbance, and the Western Ghats population may be suffering as a result of encroachment from mining, timber and hydroelectric companies.Their habitat is threatened by limestone miners and timber contractors, and the Barapede cave could be submerged if a nearby Mahadeyi river were dammed for a hydroelectric plant as proposed by the Karnataka Government.
  • The species is listed on Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, affording it the highest degree of protection.

Govt comes out with draft rules to regulate street vending

  • The urban development department has finally come out with draft rules that proposes to regulate street vending through demarcation of vending zones and at the same time protect the right of hawkers.
  • Once the rules are finalised, the government will constitute Town Vending Committees (TVCs) in every urban local body including Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike that will look into allotment of space to street vendors, look after their social security and also facilitate various benefits provided by the government.
  • Implementation of the rules is expected to curb complaints of harassment of street vendors by the police and local authorities besides checking illegal hawking.
  • The Centre had passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act in 2014. However, Karnataka had not notified the rules to give effect to the law.
  • The TVC will comprise officials including the municipal commissioner. Non-official members will comprise representatives of street vendors, market and trade organisations and NGOs. Elections are to be held to select the non-official members.
  • Any person intending to undertake street vending needs to register with the TVC and apply for a vending certificate. The duration of the TVC will be for three years.
  • According to the draft rules, the panel can also suggest changes in vending zones taking into consideration road dimension, vehicular and pedestrian movement. Based on the recommendation of the local authority, the TVC can also declare market regions including festive market, night bazaar and season market.

German model of policing for Bengaluru

  • Bengaluru and other cities in Karnataka will get a German model of policing and traffic management
  • The German state of Bavaria uses latest technology for effective management of traffic. The same model will be adopted in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru and other major cities where traffic management has become a challenge
  • Parameshwara and a team of senior police officers from Karnataka recently toured Germany to study the policing system in Bavaria whose capital is Munich. The minister signed a memorandum of understanding with Bavarian officials for mutual co-operation in traffic management and policing.

Bavarian model

  • In Bavaria, top priority is given to the safety of women, children and senior citizens
  • They have successfully implemented a people-friendly policing system.
  • Over 82% of the population in Bavaria is happy with the system.
  • As per the MoU, police personnel from Bengaluru will be sent to Bavaria for training. Bavarian officials will also visit Bengaluru for this purpose. Awareness will be raised among schoolchildren on traffic and law and order with the help of Bavarian officials
  • The Home Minister said a coastal police training academy would be set up on 25 acres of land in Udupi with a financial assistance of Rs 100 crore from the Centre. Automatic identification system, distress roaming system, boat collar coding system, etc will be used for patrolling the entire coastline in the state

Coconut procurement centres in six districts

  • Coconut procurement centres have been set up in six districts across the state
  • The centres under Karnataka State Co-operative Marketing Federation will procure coconuts at Rs 1,600 per quintal from the farmers in Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Tumakuru, Shivamogga, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts
  • The government decided to bail coconut growers from crisis following the price crash

15 monuments across 11 districts in State to be restored this year

  • The State government’s scheme of conservation of heritage structures under the PPP (Public Private Partnership) model will see the restoration of 15 monuments spread over 11 districts across Karnataka this year.
  • Though the PPP model for heritage conservation is unique to Karnataka, and has been in vogue since the last few years, only one organisation — Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust (SDMDT) — has been taking up restoration works on a regular basis
  • The list of the monuments was before an expert committee, which was in the process of finalising them
  • SDMDT has so far taken up 212 restoration works of ancient monuments covering 25 districts in Karnataka, since its inception in 1991. Of these, 145 are under the PPP model with the Department of Archaeology, Government of Karnataka, most of which have been completed, while a few are in the advanced stage. In addition, one temple has been restored in Penugonda in Andhra Pradesh
  • Under the PPP model, the SDMDT will bear 40 per cent of the project cost and the State government chips in with matching grants, while the local community has to contribute 20 per cent of the cost.
  • The restoration work follows the norms stipulated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • With 778 protected monuments and about 25,000 unprotected monuments strewn across the State, there is tremendous opportunity for conservation under CSR activities for the corporate sector

Paddy cultivation declining drastically in Malnad region

  • According to an estimate, the area covered by paddy has come down by 1.59 lakh hectares since 2005-06 in the State04bg_bgbag_Padd_05_2920567e
  • A sizeable majority of farmers who gave up paddy cultivations are in the Malnad region
  • This was revealed by a study done by the State Agriculture Prices Commission, which looked into data from 2005-06 to 2014-15
  • The decline is primarily in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu, Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts
  • The Agriculture Department, for the present kharif season, had set a target of paddy cultivation in 10.56 lakh hectares. However, by the end of June this year, paddy cultivation had touched 1.38 lakh hectares, while in the same period last year it was 1.42 lakh ha.
  • The department had set a target of 21,700 ha of paddy cultivation in Hassan district. So far, the area covered is only 200 ha, whereas in the corresponding period last year, paddy covered 865 ha. Similarly, in Chikkamagaluru district, the target set for paddy is 41,000 ha for this year. Comparing the coverage achieved by the end of June last year, the progress this year is less by 10 per cent.

Reasons for decline

  • The yield in rain-fed areas is roughly seven to eight quintals per acre. But the cost of production is Rs. 28,000 per acre. The prevailing rate for paddy is not a match to the cost of production
  • Considering the present support price for paddy i.e., Rs. 1,510, even if a farmer gets an yield of 10 quintals per acre, he or she will get a little over Rs.15,000, while the cost of production is over Rs. 28,000
  • The price commission has estimated that the major component of the production cost is spent on labour
  • These factors have forced the growers to shift to other crops, particularly commercial crops such as coffee, pepper, areca and others, where they get more income.

England’s historic school plans foray into Bengaluru

  • Repton School, one of England’s historic schools announced its expansion plans by opening satellite schools in Bengaluru. The first facility offering nursery courses will be opened at Whitefield in August 2016.
  • The school initially plans to launch four such pre-schools and day care centres in various locations around the city
  • Repton Bangalore will offer the IGCSE curriculum and the IB Diploma. Overall, the school has targeted 2,500 pupils to begin with.
  • The main campus will be located on 34 acres in the southeast part of the city. The school would have faculty from the United Kingdom as well.
  • The campus will also have a dedicated sports academy powered by Tenvic, founded by Anil Kumble. Students would be trained in sports based on their age groups. To begin with, the students would be taught Indian games such as gilli danda and lagori and later offered nine of the 22 games accepted by the Indian Olympic Association such as tennis and hockey

Green tunnel at Shiradi Ghat

  • The proposed 23-km tunnel road at Shiradi Ghat will be constructed without cutting a single tree
  • The proposal has been submitted to the Union Finance Ministry, which has apparoached the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding.
  • The tunnel road will be first of its kind in the country, and it is estimated to cost about Rs 10,000 crore, he added.
  • Shiradi is a village on NH 48 (NH 75 at present) which runs from Mangalore to Bangalore. The Shiradi Ghat starts from a small temple “Garadi Chamundeshwari temple” near Gundya at the border of Dakshina kannada and Hassan districts.
  • The stretch of the National Highway passing through the Shiradi Ghat is poorly maintained according to sources.
  • It was upgraded by the National Highways Authority of India at a cost of ₹ 26 crore.
  • In 2012, the Government of Karnataka sought help from the Japanese government to bore a tunnel through the ghat.
  • Later, the State Government released money to keep the road motorable during rains.
  • Shiradi Ghat will have a tunnel bypass road, the construction project will begin before December 2016. The proposed tunnel bypass road is expected to be 29 km and provides seamless travel through the ghat stretch with 6 tunnels and 10 bridges. The new project costing Rs. 12,000 crore would be executed with financial assistance from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA)

There are three important passes or ghatis in the Western Ghats which provide excellent location for transport and communication between the coastal plain and the maidan region traversing the Western Ghats. These are;

  • Charmudi ghat- between Chikkamagaluru and Magnalkuru. It passes through Mudigere, Charmudi Belthangadi and Bantwal.
  • Agumbe ghat-between Shivamogga and Udupi. It passes through Thrithahalli, Agumbe and Someswara.
  • Kollur ghat- between Shirur and Bindur in Udupi district.

Koliwad takes over as Assembly Speaker

  • Koliwad became the Speaker unopposed as he was the lone contestant. Soon after assuming the chair, he said he has resigned from his membership of the Congress Legislature Party as well as the Congress party
  • Koliwad, a native and MLA of Ranebennur of Haveri district, is a five-time Congressmen MLA, being elected to the Assembly for the first time in 1972.
  • He was aspiring to become minister but had to settle for the Speaker’s post.

Stray cattle from Tamil Nadu a threat to MM Hills forest’s green cover, wildlife

  • Hundreds of cattle from Tamil Nadu that stray into the Male Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamarajanagar district are leaving bald patches in the forests.
  • With more than 2,000 cattle entering the sanctuary for grazing everyday, wild animals are also in danger of contracting foot and mouth disease, anthrax and related ailments.
  • About 77 km of the sanctuary shares the border with Tamil Nadu border. Of this, 21 km adjoins Salem, Erode and Dharmapuri territorial forests. The remaining is surrounded by the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.
  • With rains failing in parts of Tamil Nadu, the Palar river has gone dry, forcing herds of cattle to enter the forests through this route. The short-staffed forest department is unable to check this menace.
  • Illegal cattle sheds (doddis) have sprung up on the Tamil Nadu border from where the cattle are let into the forests during the day. The cattle are not reared for milk, but their dung is sent to coffee estates in Kerala as manure and the healthy ones to slaughter houses there.
  • The network is said to be operating from Tamil Nadu. The green pastures in the forest are ideal feeding ground for elephants, which could face food shortage with cattle grazing on plants and bamboo bushes and leading to man-animal conflicts
  • Moreover, the sanctuary is also frequented by tigers coming out in search of prey. There is a proposal before the government to declare it a tiger reserve. With cattle from the surrounding villages entering the forests, the wild animals’ food chain could be affected.
  • The menace can be controlled if the territorial forests are declared wildlife sanctuaries

Restoration of palaces begins at Hampi

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has undertaken the work to restore the ruins of the residential areas of Vijayanagar kings and ministers in this heritage town
  • The palaces of Krishnadevaraya and Veera Harihara, the residential quarters of ministers, the royal treasury, the Hajara Rama temple and the exclusive temple meant for the royal family are among the structures set to be restored.
  • The ruins of these structures had been unearthed during excavation work undertaken here 15 years ago under the Hampi project.
  • None of the structures are visible now, except the hillock meant for climbing atop and alighting from elephants.
  • The objective behind the efforts to restore the ruins is to provide an opportunity for historians to undertake research.
  • The new structures, in place of those of yore, will come up on a two-metre deep foundation and they will be built using stones, limestone and mortar that are characteristic of the structures of the Vijayanagar era. The palace of Veera Harihara was spread over an area of 25×15 metres.
  • Researchers point out that had these structures of the past been in good condition, this portion of the heritage town would have been the most attractive. Carvings unearthed here are a testimony to what the place would have looked like, they aver.

First phase of Great Canara trails to take off in August

  • For, the first phase of the much awaited Great Canara trails will be thrown open for trekking from August, post monsoons.
  • The Forest and Tourism departments along with Jungle Lodges and Resorts will open the 108-km trekking route from Ulvi to Castle Rock (near Dudhsagar waterfalls).
  • The first league is being opened from August and the second one will be launched later. KTR and other forest patches already have small trek routes. All these will be made a part of the Great Canara trails.
  • The route lists 24 places, which includes Ulvi temple, Anshi Green Camp, Samanth Mathkarni anti-poaching camp, Madhumale village, Munne cross, Karwar-Joida road, Siddeshwara temple, Shridi village, Panasgali anti-poaching camp, Kali river bank, Kindala anti-poaching camp, Tadki anti-poaching camp, Vajra falls and Kungini anti-poaching camp.
  • The trekking terrains are mixed: easy, mid segment and difficult. It covers water holes, rocky terrains and plain lands. Trained guides will be accompanying trekkers all through the routes.
  • Based on the carrying capacity study conducted by the Forest department, the number of people per segment per day is restricted to 30.
  • This is being done to restrict crowding. The 108 kms can be covered in 10-12 days and on an average a person could cover 12-14 kms a day. The whole 270-km trek will be of 20-24 days duration.

e-Vidhan plan yet to take off in Karnataka

  • The ambitious plan to digitise legislature sessions under e-Vidhan, though proposed six months ago, is yet to take off.
  • Himachal Pradesh remains the only State in the country to run paperless legislature sessions.
  • Kagodu Thimmappa, Revenue Minister and former Speaker, and D.H. Shankaramurthy, Chairperson of Legislative Council, had jointly envisaged a plan to usher in paperless legislative session halls with audio and video archival systems, automatic vote recorder, digital microphone systems, and connectivity arrangements for e-legislative activities.
  • This was to be done at an estimated cost of Rs. 63 crore, for the Assembly and Council in both Bengaluru and Belagavi.
  • The project was meant to do away with tonnes of print material that is used to provide computer-typed answers to over 300 legislators, bureaucrats and mediapersons in both the Houses.
  • Under the project, there would be no manual-laying of papers, providing written replies, reports, bills and copies of documents to legislators.
  • Everyone would use touch-screen devices at their tables in the Assembly.
  • Under the project, all the 300 tables of legislators and their personal assistants in both the Houses will be fitted with tablets.

Last date for enrolment under crop insurance scheme extended

  • The State government has extended the last date for enrolment under the Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme for horticulture crops for the current monsoon season from June 30 to July 10, following the approval given by the Union government for time extension.
  • The government had sought extension of time to enable more farmers to join the scheme.
  • Areca and black pepper have been notified as horticulture crops covered under the insurance scheme.
  • Enrolment under the scheme is compulsory for farmers who have availed themselves of crop loans from banks, while it is optional for those who have not taken crop loans.
  • Those having availed of loans have to pay premium through the bank from which the advance has been disbursed and others may pay the premium through the bank in which they have a savings bank account.
  • The farmer has to pay half of the premium and the two governments would share the balance.
  • Crop loss insurance would be settled on the basis of weather records maintained by rain gauges established at gram panchayats by the India Meteorological Department and agricultural universities.
  • Farmers who have not taken crop loans have to submit RTC, savings bank account pass book, Aadhaar number or any other identity proof and a self-declared crop letter of the land along with the application to pay the premium. Crop loss insurance would be settled through Aadhaar Card-enabled RTGS/ NEFT