Sewage Treatment Plant in Kolar District
Why in News: The first Sewage Treatment Plant using latest technology called the Sequential Batch Reactor Technology has been commissioned by the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board at Malur Town in Kolar District.
- The project has completed laying of manholes and sewer lines in the town of Malur and has the capacity to produce 4 MLD of water.
- The technology not only uses less land but also makes the water reusable for other non- potable purposes.
- To produce 4 MLD of water, the Board earlier needed at least 8 acres of land and the process of land acquisition has been difficult and time consuming.
- With surface water reserves being at an all-time low, water conservation and waste water treatment are essential for urban areas where consumption of water is high. By commissioning more water treatment plants, we will not only conserve water, but also be able to redistribute them effectively for industrial and domestic use.
About Karnataka Urban Water Supply & Drainage Board
- The Karnataka Urban Water Supply & Drainage Board has been supplying safe drinking water and managing underground drainage facilities in 270 urban areas of Karnataka for a population of over 160 lakhs.
- The Board is responsible for design formulation and implementation of Water Supply & Underground Drainage projects.
- The completed schemes are handed over to the concerned urban local bodies for further operation and maintenance. Currently there are 87 ongoing schemes, of which 34 are water supply schemes & 53 UGD schemes. 42 additional schemes will be commissioned to benefit over 30 lakh people of the state in the next 2 years.
About Sequencing batch reactors (SBR):
- Sequencing batch reactors(SBR) or sequential batch reactors are a type of activate sludge process for the treatment of wastewater.
- SBR reactors treat wastewater such as sewage or output from anaerobic digesters or mechanical biological treatment facilities in batches.
- Oxygen is bubbled through the mixture of wastewater and activated sludge to reduce the organic matter (measured as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD)).
- The treated effluent may be suitable for discharge to surface waters or possibly for use on land.
Karnataka govt declares 68 taluks in 22 districts as drought-affected
- After months of deficient rainfall, the Karnataka government has declared 68 taluks in 22 districts of the state as drought-affected.
- The declaration of a second successive drought comes at a time when the state is staring at an acute shortage of drinking water and has issued advisories to farmers against the sowing of water-intensive crops such as paddy and sugarcane.
- The regions that were declared drought affected had received at least 20% deficient rainfall, 50% less moisture, experienced at least four weeks of dry spell and a minimum of 33% crop loss.
- The state is yet to decide on crop loss compensation.
- In August, the state recorded 126 mm of rainfall as against normal rainfall of 206 mm, almost 40% less, and classified as “deficit”, according to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Center
- Though ‘normal’ rainfall was recorded until mid-July, the dry spell that continued later saw a sharp decline in the total area of cultivated land. The total area of cultivation in Karnataka has come down from 96,200 hectares (for major crops including paddy, sugarcane, ragi, maize and pulses) to 61,600 hectares, according to the state agriculture department.
- Agriculture production in the state is likely to come down to 11 million tonnes this year from last year’s 12.6 million tonnes, as per the state’s latest budget.
- Earlier this year, the state lost 70% of its winter harvest as its kharif output collapsed after a drought gripped 27 districts in 2015. Karnataka is also the only state to have declared widespread damage to both the rabi crop this year and the kharif crop last year. It has sought total central assistance of Rs.2,263 crore.
- The announcement means there have been three years of below-normal monsoon in a state where the rural economy predominantly subsists on agriculture or allied jobs.
- An estimated 1,300 farmers killed themselves in Karnataka last year because of rural distress, Mint reported on 6 August 2015
Karnataka farmer suicide rate hits highest in a decade
- The farmer suicide rate in Karnataka has hit the highest level in a decade, highlighting agrarian distress in the state.
- A total of 158 farmers killed themselves in July alone in the state, government data showed, bringing this year’s toll of farmer suicides to 197, the most since 2003.
- The alarming rise in death toll is worrying experts as it has happened in a year when the state received sufficient rains. Also, unlike in 2003, this year’s suicide cases have nothing to do with drought or crop failure. In fact, more suicide cases were reported this year from Mandya district, a well-irrigated region.
- This is a new type of situation in the state-Unlike the suicide wave in the last decade, this one cannot be linked to crop failure or drought. It could be only because farmer income has collapsed for reasons such as price crash or delayed payments
- Sugarcane growers top the list of suicide data, followed by cotton and paddy cultivators.
- The compensation issue may become a problem as many farmers who committed suicide cultivated crops on leased land or on land that was not in their names. This may become an impediment as the state considers landless farmers ineligible for compensation.
- Moreover, the distribution of compensation of Rs.1 lakh per deceased farmer is happening at a slow pace, according to government data. For instance, the government has approved compensation for only 60 out of the 197 affected families so far this year, shows the data.
- The state government collects data from district commissioners who monitor farm suicides throughout the year. While there was a decline in the number of suicide cases in the last five years.
- However, the actual number of farmers killing themselves could be far more as many agricultural experts say the government data on farmer suicides is hopelessly conservative.
- The state government has released Rs.450 crore towards the first instalment of Rs.100 a tonne as incentive to each farmer. It has been cracking down on moneylenders and has asked banks to not serve repayment notices to farmers for now
- But it still remains unclear how the government plans to rescue agricultural households that have fallen into a debt trap.
- As per the data, farmers who have committed suicide together owed close to Rs.150 crore to various institutional lenders, a burden which now shifts on their kin.
Bengaluru to get longest steel flyover
- The Karnataka cabinet has approved the construction of a 6.72-kilometre-long steel flyover—touted to be the longest in the country—from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal, to connect Kempegowda International Airport and other areas of the city.
- The Rs.1,791 crore project, which is expected to be completed within 24 months, will be executed by Mumbai-based engineering and construction company Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) in a joint venture with Nagarjuna Ltd (formerly Nagarjuna Construction Co. Ltd), Hyderabad.
- The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will supervise the project.
- Though the project will ease traffic in one of the city’s busiest roads, which sees over 2.68 lakh vehicles per day, it will cost the city 812 trees.
- Construction of steel flyover work can be completed faster than the conventional method of using cement concrete, as steel is monolithic and is available in standard size
Tourist destinations in state to be made disabled friendly
Why in News:Tourism department is going the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) way to make heritage tourist destinations in the state disabled friendly.
- The department is planning to make 20 destinations disabled friendly by installing ramps and audio panels
- The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day (observed on September 27) is “Tourism for All- Promoting Universal Accessibility.”
- The department wants to replicate what the ASI did at the Tipu Summer Palace in Chamarajpet in Bengaluru in 2015. The ASI made the one-acre palace area disabled friendly with ramps and introduced audio panels for the blind, by spending Rs 7 lakh.
- No one is allowed to touch the palace walls. But the visually-impaired have been permitted and they will be helped by trained guides. When they touch the walls, an audio is played, explaining the history of the palace and Tipu Sultan
- The response has been overwhelming and, this year the ASI will replicate it in eight more sites in Karnataka such as Daria Daulat Bagh in Srirangapatna and palaces in Hampi and Pattadakal
- Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said that in another six months, the department will start working on making prime sites and destinations disabled friendly.
The heritage bicycle ride in Bengaluru
- An audio guide can be accessed by downloading an app on the smart phone, which will explain each destination of the circuit.
- Kharge said that a pilot project will soon be launched with one of the start-ups selected from the “Pitch to the Government” Hackathon competition that was conducted by Karnataka Startup Cell, IT-BT and Tourism departments.
- The hackathon was organised to crowd source innovative solutions and products to improve tourism.
Prathama (Pravasi Thana Mahiti)
- An online tourism platform for collecting and disseminating key information on tourism sector. The website will run parallel to the existing one of the Tourism department.
- Though most information on Prathama is for inter-departmental communication, people will be given access to some key aspects.
- Feedback, complaints and suggestions from tourists will be immediately forwarded to officials concerned and the ground staff for action
- Prathama will include data on tourists, status of projects and accommodation availability in hotels and homestays.
World Tourism Day events
- Heritage cycle rides of 10-12 km in two circuits, Basavanagudi Heritage Circuit and Bengaluru History Circuit.
- Tipu Sultan Summer Palace, Town Hall, Freedom Park, Mayo Hall and Bangalore Museum to be illuminated from Sept 27-29
- Special tour for BBMP school students to Bal Bhavan, science museum and Bengaluru museum.
Apex court questions Centre for not including SPV in law
- The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the Union government why it did not create District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in addition to special purpose vehicle (SPV), set up for reclamation and regeneration of the environment that suffered damage due to excessive mining in mineral-rich areas in Karnataka.
- The court had then directed for creation of the SPV utilising 10% of the total receipt of the sale of iron ores, while favouring resumption of mining operations in ‘B’ category mines in Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumkuru districts.
Honorary awards for writers
- Litterateurs Krishnamurthy Hanur, H S Shivaprakash, L Hanumanthaiah, Nemichandra and H Nagaveni have bagged Karnataka Sahitya Academy’s honorary award for the year 2015.
- The academy has also announced awards for 17 best books under various categories for the year 2014.
- The honorary award carries a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each, while the 17 authors will be presented with a cash prize of Rs 25,000 each for their respective work.
Panel recommends 35% pay hike for police in Karnataka
- The committee constituted to examine the pay scale of policemen in Karnataka has recommended a hike of 35% in the salary of constables, head constables, assistant sub-inspectors, sub-inspectors, police inspectors, deputy superintendents of police and superintendents of police (non IPS).
- ADGP (recruitment) Raghavendra Auradkar, who is the chairperson of the Committee to Examine Disparities in Pay and Allowance of Police, met Home Minister G Parameshwara and submitted the report.
- The government had constituted the committee on June 28, 2016.
- The committee comprised Kamal Pant, ADGP (KSRP), Pratap Reddy, ADGP (CID) and Hemanth Nimbalkar, IGP (CID), as members and Umesh Kumar, IGP (headquarters), as member secretary.
- The officers made a comparative analysis of the pay scale of the policemen in Karnataka and in Punjab, Kerala, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal and made the recommendations.
- The Karnataka police are in the 8th slot at present in terms of salary, compared to their counterparts in other states. They will move up to the 5th slot if the recommendations are implemented in toto
Hydel units at Almatti work at full throttle, generate 290 MW
- With the Almatti reservoir filling to the brim following copious rains in the catchment areas of the River Krishna, the power production at the hydel units of the dam too has reached its peak.
- According to the sources in the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited, the six hydel units at the Almatti dam have been together generating 290 MW per day.
- Last year, the inflow of water into the dam had stopped in August itself whereas the reservoir had been getting water even by the end of September this time. Given the present situation, it is estimated the command areas of the Krishna river could get water till March next year.
Project to make Jog all-season waterfall
Why in News:Engineers, green activists and local residents have strongly opposed the state government’s proposed project to make Jog Falls, Shivamogga district, a perennial waterfall.
- 17 million units of energy was needed to pump 400 cusecs of water for eight hours per day for 244 days to a height of 330 metres. This means that all the power generated at the plant will be used to pump water, leaving less or no power for the grid.
- To recycle water from the 330-metre-deep gorge, a kilometre-long underground tunnel needs to be dug to carry water. The blasting and drilling for the tunnel will disturb the fragile rocky terrain of the Western Ghats
- The whole area is an eco- sensitive zone, which will be effected
- 10 tmcft of water is required to show Jog Falls in full flow for eight hours every day. Incidentally, more water than this is being generated as renewable resource in the vicinity of Jog Falls every year, which has been ignored. With a proper conservative management planning, the same project can be executed at a cost of Rs 30 crore
About the project:
- The State Cabinet gave its approval to entrust the work of turning the famous Jog Falls into an all season spectacle to a firm owned by Abu Dhabi-based Indian businessman B R Shetty.
- A proposal for retaining the Jog Falls in Sagar taluk in Shivamogga district in its full glory throughout the year, including the dry months, has been on the cards for nine years now.
- BRS Ventures has proposed to invest Rs 450 crore in the project. The company will have to get clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and other agencies concerned before executing the project.
- The entire project will be monitored by the Jog Management Authority (JMA), a government body.
- The investor can collect fees from tourists and visitors only after the rates are ratified by the JMA
The project was first mooted 10 years ago by Prof H R Vishwanath, a former principal of the BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru. Prof Vishwanath said around 200 cusecs of water per second is required to create artificial falls throughout the year. This can be done using reversible pumping technology and power can also be generated.
‘Cleanest City’ Mysuru bans plastic use during Dasara
- The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) will strictly implement the ban on plastic carry bags and other disposal items during Dasara celebrations, in order to retain the ‘Cleanest City’ tag it earned for the third time recently.
- The civic body is taking the mission very seriously and is sensitising people, stakeholders and manufacturers to the blanket ban on plastic. Besides keeping the city clean, the initiative is aimed at safeguarding the ‘clean city tag’ of the heritage city.
- Repeated raids are being carried out on shops and manufacturing units in the city while creating awareness among hotels, lodges and restaurants not to use or provide banned plastic covers to their customers.
Panel demands effective ban on e-drugs
- The Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has written to the Drugs Controller, Karnataka, calling for an effective ban on e-drugs.
- the rise in cases of drug abuse as indicated by the Narcotics Control Bureau was worrisome and that it was an indication of rampant drug abuse in the state.
- teenagers had developed techniques to modify e-cigarettes to inhale drugs such as marijuana, wax and cannabis.
- Even though Karnataka banned e-cigarettes in June, several e-commerce sites continue to sell the product
Neera sale by select organisations to be allowed
- The state Cabinet decided to allow select organisations to harvest and sell neera, a sweet sap tapped from coconut trees, in the state
- permission will be given to around 10 to 12 organisations, including Coconut Growers’ Federation, to sell neera under controlled conditions
- Neera is a health drink on account of its high nutritive and medicinal value. The decision to allow sale of neera will lead to increase in income for the coconut farmers
- The minister said the Karnataka Excise Act will soon be amended to take neera out of its ambit. The amendment will pave the way for selling neera as an unfermented drink
- Neera has to be consumed within a few hours of harvesting it. Otherwise, it turns into toddy with about 4% of alcohol due to fermentation. And the sale of toddy comes within the ambit of the Excise laws
- The neighbouring Kerala government has successfully implemented a neera policy. The coconut growers in Karnataka have said that they will adopt the Kerala model for selling neera
Govt to return 13,788 acres acquired for industrial corridor to owners
- The state Cabinet decided to drop the acquisition of 13,788 acres of land meant for the proposed Suvarna Karnataka Industrial Corridor project. The land will be returned to the original owners.
- The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) had identified 1,21,386 acres for the corridor project in 2009 and initiated the acquisition process for 80,182 acres. But the board has failed to acquire 39,258 acres even nine years after issuing the preliminary notification. Hence, the Cabinet dropped acquisition of 13,788 acres of these lands in the first phase.
- The KIADB is supposed to complete the acquisition process within two years. Delay in the acquisition had resulted in a lot of inconvenience to the original landowners who are mostly farmers. They were neither able to grow anything on the lands nor were they able to raise loans on them
- The then BJP government headed by B S Yeddyurappa had proposed the corridor in order to fuel industrial growth in the backward regions of the state. The corridor was planned to extend from Mysuru to Vijayapura, covering 11 districts and 20 major towns
Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana to be implemented in State
- The Cabinet gave its nod for implementing Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana in 271 urban local body limits in the state
- The scheme aims to reduce poverty by imparting self-employment training to the poor, especially women and members of self-help groups.
- The cost of the scheme will be shared between the Centre and the state in the ratio of 60:40
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana
- It is an overarching scheme for uplift of urban and rural poor through enhancement of livelihood opportunities through skill development and other means.
Under the urban component of DAY, focus will be on:
- Imparting skills with an expenditure of Rs.15,000 – Rs.18,000 on each urban poor;
- Promotion of self-employment through setting up individual micro-enterprises and group enterprises with interest subsidy for individual projects costing Rs.2.00 lakhs and Rs.10.00 lakhs for group enterprises. Subsidized interest rate will be 7%;
- Training urban poor to meet the huge demand from urban citizens by imparting market oriented skills through City Livelihood Centres. Each Centre would be given a capital grant of Rs.10.00 lakhs.
- Enabling urban poor form Self-Help Groups for meeting financial and social needs with a support of Rs.10,000/- per each group who would in turn would be helped with bank linkages;
- Development of vendor markets besides promotion of skills of vendors;
- Construction of permanent shelters for urban homeless and provision of other essential services.
NGT directs state to get clearance to chop trees for Yettinahole
- The National Green Tribunal’s principal bench directed Karnataka to take permission from the environment authority before felling any tree in the Yettinahole Irrigation Project area.
- The bench, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, also asked the Karnataka government to submit proof of planting of saplings for cutting of trees at the rate of 10 saplings for each tree felled for the project.
About Yettinahole project:
- The Yettinahole project envisages to pump about 24 tmc ft of water from Yettinahole, a tributary of River Netravathi.
- It involves construction of dams and reservoir, pumping of water, flowing of water with gravitational force and finally filling of lakes.
- As per the project, 24 tmc ft of water from Ettinahole and a couple of other tributaries of Netravathi River will be drawn by constructing minor dams.
- The project envisages diverting the water to drought prone Chikkaballapur, Kolur, Tumkur and Bangalore rural districts.
- The total cost of the project is Rs 8,323 crore.
- The Yettinahole Project has come in for very strong opposition from environmental groups, who argue that the diversion of river basins from their natural course of opposite direction is fundamentally unscientific and would greatly disturb the very pattern of landscape ecology. This will result in problems like uneven percolation pattern, seepage problems, opening up of ground water sources in higher altitudes etc.
Karnataka Rajya Akkamahadevi Women’s University
- Akkamahadevi Women’s University Karnataka, Vijayapura also known as AWUK Vijayapura was established in August 2003 and is the first university exclusively for women in Karnataka.
- It is situated in Bijapur. Dr Meena Chandavarakar from Bagalkote is incumbent Vice-Chancellor of the University
- It is recognized under 2(f) and 12(B) of the UGC Act. Seventy women’s colleges spread in twelve districts of North-Karnataka are affiliated to this University.
- To ensure holistic education treasuring cultural heritage, core values of personal integrity, professional skills, awareness about the socio-economic, scientific and cultural developments at all levels in order to enable women lead personally and professionally fulfilling lives
- To equip women with necessary qualities to play an equal role in decision making in matters of importance to herself, family and society
- To promote advanced research in science social sciences, arts and humanities’ especially on topics of regional importance
- To contribute towards socio-economic transformation of women in need through formal and non-formal education and training, out reach programs and facilitate strengthening of mass education and primary education programs.
- Bridge gender gap
- Help communities and women from rural and backward areas join main stream
- To enable and motivate communities and women to play an effective and constructive role in the society at all levels.
Dasara ‘Aahara Mela’
- Aahara Mela is a Foot exhibition held during the Dasara festival in Mysore
- Bamboo biryani, cooked in bamboo stems, which was a hit during Dasara-2014, will be among the attractions. Tea made of ‘makali beru’ (a root), variety of tubers grown in forests, dishes made of green leaves, a delicacy made of bamboo shoots, will be available
- The mela is a good platform for tribals to promote their culture and food among urban people. Bamboo juices enhance the nutritional value and taste of the biryani.
- The committee will set up 95 stalls that offer a wide range of food items, including, Mysuru style and costal style food. As many as 18 types of food items will be served at the mela.
- The theme of the mela is ‘Clean food is everyone’s right’
‘Royal Routes’ tour
- Visitors to the heritage city during Dasara this year can explore the palaces in a royal way. The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) will offer a royal tour of seven palaces in Mysuru to showcase the city’s rich history and culture.
- Besides the famous Mysuru Palace, the city has Lalitha Mahal Palace, Cheluvamba Palace (CFTRI), Karanji Mansion (Postal Training Institute), Jaganmohan Palace, Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, KRS Palace Hotel at Brindavan Gardens among others.
- The package tour to palaces, on luxury buses, includes a royal lunch at Lalitha Mahal Palace and high tea at KRS Palace Hotel. The one-day trip, which will begin at the KSTDC Mayura Hoysala on JLB Road at 9 am, will end at the KRS Palace Hotel. Tourists will be dropped back at the pickup point at 9 pm.
- The tariff for the whole-day package, inclusive of food, tea, entry fee and guide fee, will be Rs 4,900 per head. The ‘Royal Routes’ will begin on October 1 and go on till October 10.
- Expert curators from the Mysore Royal Walks will conduct ‘Heritage Walks’ to enhance the tourists’ experience.
Palace on Wheels
- A special and exclusive bus tour that takes people to all famous palaces in and around Mysuru at low cost.
- The tariff is Rs 999 and visitors can explore Mysuru Palace, Jaganmohan Palace, Lalitha Mahal Palace, Vasanth Mahal Palace, Karanji Vilas, Cheluvamba Mansion, Jayalakshmi Vilas and Aloka Palace
City govt science college only one in state to get NAAC A+ grade
- The Government Science College in Bengaluru is the only college in the state that has received an A+ grade under a new grading system introduced by the National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) in July.
- St Joseph’s College in Kerala with a grade of A++ on the other hand, was the only institution to get the highest grade from the 332 which were part of the first batch to be graded under this new system.
- The Government Science College received a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) score of 3.54 in its third cycle of accreditation. St Joseph’s College, on the other hand, got a CGPA score of 3.76 also in the third cycle.
- the improvement was due to better results, placement and research. The college had received a CGPA score of 11 in the last cycle of accreditation.
- In the earlier system, universities and colleges were judged based on a four-point grading system namely – A (very good), B (good), C (satisfactory) and D (unsatisfactory) grades.
- This was based on their CGPA scores dependent on various parameters. For example, colleges with a CGPA score between 3.01 to 4 will get grade A and so on.
- In the new system, colleges will be graded based on a seven-point scale namely – A++ (3.76 to 4.00 CGPA), A+ (3.51 – 3.75 CGPA), A (3.01 – 3.50), B++(2.76 – 3.00 CGPA), B+(2.51 – 2.75 CGPA), B (2.51 – 2.75 CGPA), C(1.51 – 2.00 CGPA). Any institute getting a CGPA score equal to or below 1.50 will be marked as ‘not accredited’. The new system will also not include any descriptors.
National Assessment and Accreditation Council
- The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an organisation that assesses and accredits institutions of higher education in India
- It is an autonomous body funded by University Grants Commission of Government of India headquartered in Bangalore.
- NAAC was established in 1994 in response to recommendations of National Policy in Education (1986). This policy was to “address the issues of deterioration in quality of education”, and the Plan of Action (POA-1992) laid out strategic plans for the policies including the establishment of an independent national accreditation body.
A European climate change solution for Karnataka
- Engaged in a low-carbon transition to collectively take on the climate challenge, Europe is now ready for a partnership with the state to share its resources, experiences and knowledge.
- A european climate action day on september 21, jointly organised by the bengaluru-based diplomatic missions of the uk, germany, switzerland and france besides the fraunhofer institute.
- Sectoral technology experts, researchers and decision makers will converge for the event to shed light on ‘climate control’ linked to both global and local scenarios.
- The event is a follow-up of the paris agreement on climate change that aims at capping the rise of temperature below 2 degrees celsius by the turn of this century.
- To reduce carbon emissions to 40% by 2030, european union member-states had committed to providing assistance in finance, technology and capacity-building to developing countries.
- India has a target of generating 100 gw of solar energy before 2022 and sourcing 40% of its electricity mix from non-fossil fuels by 2030.
IISc develops model to predict headcount in crowds
- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a model that can help gauge the crowd density simply through a picture of a gathering of people.
- The technology could lead to better crowd management and avert disasters like the ones that take place during the Kumbh Melas in North India.
- Neural networks are the core blocks of the machine -learning paradigm — deep learning.
- Deep learning involves algorithms that attempt to model high-level abstractions in data by using a deep graph with multiple processing layers and the ability to handle unknown inputs and learn from observational data.
- The research team applied these techniques to estimate the headcount in a set of images with dense crowds. While there are methods that use videos and images to estimate the crowd count, the one used by IISc scientists can estimate a crowd ranging from 100 to 2,000 people using simple static images, rather than videos, with better accuracy.
- They used about 50 grey scale images from a wide range of scenarios such as concerts, political rallies, religious gatherings, stadia among others, with the number of people per image varying between 94 and 4,543. In most of the cases, the predicted count was close to the actual count. To quantify the performance of the model, the scientists compared their method with other existing models and found that their method was more accurate
- This analysis can aid civic planners and event organisers to predict anomalous crowd patterns leading to scenarios such as stampedes
Bengaluru leads among cities with best IT & ITeS workplaces
- Bengaluru has been ranked as the most popular location for IT companies in the second annual list of ‘India’s Best Companies To Work For in IT & ITeS, 2016’
- The list was compiled by The Great Place To Work Institute, which assessed 145 top IT firms based on employee perceptions and an audit of company practices.
- The study found that the city accounts for the headquarters of nearly one-quarter (24%) of the best workplaces this year
- Bengaluru is also the base for 21% of the companies assessed by the study. Bengaluru, Noida, Chennai, Mumbai, and Gurgaon together account for more than three-fourths (76%) of the best companies in IT & ITeS, according to the study.
- Overall, unique benefits, work-life balance and fair pay were found to be the foundations for a superior employee experience.
- Among startups, firms with less than five years of operation, it was found that they offered a far superior experience in all areas covered in the survey compared to more established organisations. Top three areas were celebrations at work, tolerance to mistakes and accessibility of managers.
- Employee engagement in the study is measured through a Trust Index and Culture Audit. Employees at the participating companies anonymously complete the Trust Index measuring their levels of trust in terms of 5 dimensions: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.
- Feedback captured through this Index carries a 2/3rd weight. The remaining 1/3rd of the score is derived from the Culture Audit, a questionnaire seeking to understand the company’s policies, processes and overall values.
Tur dal to be distributed through PDS
- Tur dal will soon be sold through the public distribution system at subsidised rates across the state.
- The Department of Food and Civil Supplies to provide one kg of tur dal to BPL families through PDS
- The government intends to introduce a protein component by introducing tur dal for the first time
Cauvery basin to get real-time water flow monitoring system
- The Union Ministry of Water Resources is working to instal modern technology to monitor water data in the Cauvery basin areas within one year to end the dispute on the availability of water in the states.
- All the four basin states — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala — will share the cost of installing the equipment proportionally.
- The equipment, which will be installed at different points in Cauvery basin areas of all the four states, will collect the data including rainfall in basin states, inflow into reservoirs, outflow from reservoirs, release of water to irrigation canals and drawing of water for drinking purposes.
- The data centre will be under the direct control of the Central Water Commission which will in turn report to the Cauvery Supervisory Committee. However, all data collected will be shared among all the states on a real-time basis.
- The network will help establish the inflow to reservoirs. The final order of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal is based on inflow
- Once the installation of new technology is completed, the Supervisory Committee will take a decision on release of water by upper riparian states to lower riparian states as well as irrigation canals.
- The Supervisory Committee will regulate the release of water till the Cauvery Management Board or any other equivalent authority set up as per the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal
- The new mechanism will also help check whether any states illegally withdrew water from reservoirs
Work launched for biodiversity park at Madiwala lake
- Madiwala Lake will turn into a biodiversity park, comprising several native tree species and home to migratory birds.
- Chief minister laid the foundation stone for the biodiversity park at madiwala lake and a project to rejuvenate the agara lake.
- Prof c r babu, professor emeritus cemde, school of environment studies, university of delhi and member of the knowledge commission, has prepared the blueprint for the development of these lakes.
- Around 2,000 trees of different native species will be planted. At least 50% of the silt removed from madiwala lake will be used as manure for plantation and increasing the surface level to avoid flooding.
- Madiwala lake has less sewage and some life, compared to agara.
- After the project, madiwala lake area will increase by four acres from the existing 40 acres and around 34,000 cubic metres of silt will be removed.
- The water storing capacity of agara lake will also improve after 75,000 cubic metres of silt is removed from the 149.24-acre lake
Children’s safety app ‘Surakshith’ launched
- An app for children’s personal safety called the Surakshith App was launched
- The app has been collaboratively developed by Enfold, an NGO, UNICEF, CDAC Hyderabad and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
- In light of the rise in cases of abuse and assaults on children, Surakshith is an initiative towards enabling children to understand aspects of personal body safety.
- The app is aimed at six to 18-year-olds and has various features such as body safety rules, tips on safe and unsafe touch, how to identify safe adults, child safety laws, internet safety and personal safety stories.
- It is available in 11 different languages — Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya — and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Tar sheets to make flyover road durable
- For the first time, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike will use tar sheets on the Richmond Circle flyover, which are said to make the surface more durable.
- The sheets is weatherproof and would last long.
- Tiki Tar rolls are water bound bituminous emulsions where 25% to 35% water is mixed with the emulsion. These sheets come in rolls, packed in drums. Each drum carries about 20 tar sheets, which cover 120 square metres.
- These brown sheets become black after six hours of laying them. Once the colour changes, we lay a primer and bitumen concrete on them. It gives the bitumen a grip to withstand weather for quite a long time
- BBMP will use these sheets on seven other flyovers, which will be overhauled in the next one year.
Govt firm launches cheaper pill for low platelet count
- The Karnataka State Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Limited has launched a papaya leaf extract pill to treat patients with low platelet count.
- The POP-e, a pill manufactured by the government-run establishment, has carica papaya leaf extract. In the past, private companies have extracted the molecules and the derivatives have been used to make the pills.
- According to a study conducted by the company, the pill could be used by anyone aged above five years and suspected to have dengue. Patients with a platelet count of less than 1.3 lakh can use the pill.
Arogya expo: A three-day exhibition and sale of Ayush-related materials
B’luru International Art fest
- The ninth edition of the Bengaluru International Arts Festival
- The annual nine-day fest will have music and dance performances from over 150 artists from countries like Mexico, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh besides artists from different parts of India.
- The annual fest is organised by Artistes’ Introspective Movement (AIM) headed by Dr Veena Murthy Vijay and Dr. Suma, renowned Kuchipudi artist and Veena maestro themselves.
- They conceived the fest with the idea of creating a platform, similar to fests in other countries, for international artists to showcase their talent. Besides stage performances, festival-goers can take part in a yoga session in Cubbon Park facilitated by Nikaya Yoga and Yoga Matters.
BRICS Wellness workshop in B’luru
- The Union government is organised a two-day BRICS Wellness workshop in Bengaluru starting September 10
- The workshop is being organised jointly by the Ministry of Ayush, Ministry of External Affairs and the Karnataka government.
- The workshop is a run-up to the BRICS summit to be held in Goa from October 15-16. Heads of state of the member nations of BRICS will attend the summit.
- Centre for Advocacy Research (CFAR) will open ‘Sahaya,’ a single-window system in Vijayanagar, to help slum dwellers avail government schemes.
- CFAR conducted a study in eight settlements in the city, with support from Azim Premji Foundation, to determine the extent of access that women in slums had to welfare schemes
- The study concluded that many had not received their Aadhaar cards as a result of which their ration cards were cancelled.
- Sahaya will benefit construction workers, domestic workers, garment workers and other marginalised communities to avail 23 schemes focusing on health issues. Assistance will be provided to apply for these schemes and avail benefits.
Govt moots 7 mantras to fund transport projects
- The state government proposed seven revenue- generation modules, including the contentious betterment fee on owners of properties located within a kilometre radius of the new projects, to mobilise resources for transport infrastructure projects.
- government hopes to mobilise resources for the fund-starved transport infrastructure projects, including the proposed Light Rail Transit System and Metro Phase I and II projects, Peripheral Ring Road and the suburban rail.
- Armed with the approval from the Cabinet, the UDD would be able to raise funds in seven different ways.
- These include:
- Exchange of developed land for the land required for the project as compensation
- Premium on floor space index
- cess on approval of layouts
- Construction and exploitation of commercial spaces near important projects
- Revenue generation through sources like premium for road development
- Betterment tax
Internet of Things India Congress
Why in News: The first edition of ‘IoT India Congress, 2016’ has begun in Bengaluru.
- The congress aims to bring together key stakeholders across the value chain and verticals to collaborate, ideate and share a common roadmap for Internet of Things (IoT) implementation.
- Besides tech start-ups, the congress brings top executives from multinational companies such as Philips, GE, and IBM on one platform.
- IoT is likely to generate economic benefits of almost $2 trillion to India.
About Internet of Things:
- The internet of things (IoT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
- The Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as “the infrastructure of the information society.”
- The IoT allows objects to be sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure,creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit
- When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities.
- Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure.
- The interconnection of these embedded devices (including smart objects), is expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields, while also enabling advanced applications like a smart grid, and expanding to the areas such as smart cities
Bangaluru tops in Cases filed under wildlife Act
- Bengaluru tops the country in the number of cases filed under the Indian Forest Act and the Wildlife Protection Act, according to the ‘Crime in India 2015’ report released recently by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
- As many as 48 cases were registered under the Forest Act — mainly filed against sandalwood and red sander smugglers — and 20 under the Wildlife Protection Act.
- These constitute nearly one-third of all such cases filed in metros across the country
Community kitchens planned to ensure quality meals
- With concerns being raised over the quality of midday meals served in schools, the Department of Primary and Secondary Education is looking at the feasibility of establishing community kitchens at the cluster level, and also setting up more food labs to test and improve the quality of the food.
- There are around 59.49 lakh children in 55,464 government and aided schools across the State. At present, there are 79 centralised kitchens — all run by NGOs — that serve midday meals to 9.8 lakh children. A majority of the meals are cooked in kitchens that are housed in schools.
- having centralised kitchens will help the department keep tabs on the quality of food served in the schools
- However, the system will mean that instead of food being prepared fresh at schools, it will have to be transported from a centralised kitchen to students.
- The move has also received opposition from midday meal cooks and workers, as around 1.18 lakh depend on the scheme for employment and are paid honorarium.
Rare exhibits give a glimpse of Karnataka’s history
- A walk through the corridor of Mahalakshmi College of Arts gave a glimpse of Karnataka’s history.
- Hundreds of official documents and letters on display at the college spoke volumes for the administration of the state and its history.
Not many takers in state for free LPG connections for poor
- The Centre’s flagship scheme to distribute free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, has received a lacklustre response in the state.
- In the last one month, only about 50,000 BPL households have submitted applications to the three state-owned oil marketing companies — Indian Oil Corporation Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, seeking free LPG connections.
- Free connections will be given in the name of woman member of the BPL families under the scheme, which was launched by the Centre in May this year.
- The Centre is using money saved by it under the Give-It-Up scheme (giving up LPG subsidy on refill cylinder) to fund the scheme.
- The beneficiaries under the scheme need not pay the deposit amount of Rs 1,600 for getting new connection. But the cost of refill cylinder and gas stove has to be borne by the beneficiary.
- The oil companies, which are tasked with the responsibility of achieving 100% LPG coverage, are now in a fix as they are finding it tough to identify the beneficiaries.
- As per the 2011 socio-economic caste census report, which is being used as the basis by the Centre to identify the beneficiaries under the scheme, Karnataka has 1.31 crore households.
- Of these, about 42 lakh come under the BPL bracket. The report also says that the LPG coverage is 74.8 % in the state. The Centre has set a target for itself to achieve 100% LPG coverage in three years.
- Discrepancy in the BPL data o
- The census report has become outdated.
- There is a possibility of large number of BPL families having obtained LPG connections much before the announcement of the scheme.
- As per the data collected by the oil companies, Yadgir, Koppal and Bidar districts are at the bottom of the list of poor coverage of LPG in the state.
- The oil companies have listed 13 districts where the coverage is low and, priority will be given families in these districts while issuing free connections. Kalaburagi, Raichur, Bagalkot, Gadag, Vijayapura, Haveri, Chikkaballapura, Tumakuru, Chitradurga and Chamarajnagar are the other districts in the list
Final hearing of Krishna water pleas in apex court on Nov 9
- The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted to November 9 the final hearing on multiple petitions filed by arnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, challenging the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal award.
- A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan clarified that no adjournment would be granted in the matter, pending since 2014, from the next date of hearing.
The pending pleas
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have filed special leave petitions against the final award of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II. Telangana has filed a special leave petition and a writ petition against the decision.
Expert group lists steps to bail out power sector
- Taking note of the vast accumulated losses by the power sector in India, an expert group has recommended several measures, including adequate investment in transmission and distribution capacity infrastructure.
- The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) has set up the ‘Bangalore Sustainable Development Group’ comprising subject experts from varied field, to come up with all-India based solutions for sustainable development.
- With Teri organising the World Sustainable Development Summit in Delhi in October, it was decided to form the group in Bengaluru to highlight linkages among key areas of sustainable development by like-minded organisations
- In its second meeting held on August 27, experts felt that despite reforms from 1991 and the path breaking Electricity Act, 2003, the power sector had accumulated heavy losses, was short of funds to buy power and diverting state government funds from other activities. As a result, 30% of Indian households are without electricity even today.
- Power distribution utilities in the country have accumulated losses of around Rs 3.8 lakh crore and their outstanding liabilities is around Rs 5.4 lakh crore.
Measures to address the losses:
- Approach a Constitutional body like the National Green Tribunal to reduce the gross depletion of groundwater as many states are giving free power to agriculture.
- Career professional managers are required to manage power distribution companies.
- Raise penalties for power theft.
- Setting up of selection committees to select independent state electricity regulators;
- changing the culture of appointing retired officers as directors of discoms;
- setting standards for IP sets
- development of smart grid technologies.
The group headed by Teri’s fellow emeritus Prof S L Rao meets on last Saturdays of every month. It will submit its recommendations to the government early next year
Special court for land-grab cases
- After a long wait and several delays, a special court for speedy trial of cases pertaining to land encroachments has been finally inaugurated in Bengaluru
- The special court will be headed by retired High Court judge Justice H N Narayana. Retired district judges Rayappa Hanumanthappa Reddy and B Balakrishna will be judicial members
- A premises for the court has been provided on the third floor of Kandaya Bhavan on KG Road.
- Chairman and members of the special court have a three-year term.
- The court is set up as per the provisions of Karnataka Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2011 which provides for putting a curb on grabbing of government lands, including properties coming under Wakf or religious institutions, charitable endowments, local authorities or other statutory or non-statutory bodies owned, controlled or managed by government.
- The Act which provides for setting up of the special court was passed by the state legislature in 2011. However, the bill was returned by the President, seeking clarifications. Then, there was a delay in finalising the location and staff for the court.
- The special court has state-wide civil and criminal jurisdiction to complete trials within six months. Under the Act, punishment for land grabbing, is imprisonment not less than one year and up to three years and fine up to Rs 25,000.
- A report being prepared by a legislature committee constituted to study lake encroachments in and around Bengaluru will be encyclopediac in nature and comprehensive
- Panel chairman: K B Koliwad
- Koliwad, who is also the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
- The report which will be submitted by October end is likely to run into around 8,000 pages. Details of the quantum of encroachment of each of the 1,545 lakes surveyed in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts will be included in the report.
IISc to rope in students for biodiversity map project
- The Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) at the Indian Institute of Science (iisc) has invited students to participate in its project to prepare a biodiversity map of ecologically sensitive regions in the Western Ghats and other parts of the state.
- In 2012-13, they had undertaken the biodiversity mapping in Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada districts, involving students.
- The first project involving students was successful. The second mapping will coincide with the lake symposium scheduled in Moodabidri in December this year
- The Karnataka Biodiversity Board and the Western Ghats Task Force have entrusted the CES with the task to undertake the biodiversity mapping of Uttara Kannada.
- Under the programme ‘My Village Biodiversity,’ the CES has also launched the Young Sahayadri Ecologist- 2016 competition for students.
- The aim of biodiversity mapping is to know the terrain, biodiversity and conservation methods.
- The training programme started in January and so far, around 200 students have been trained and many students from Bengaluru are showing keen interest in this exercise.
- The involvement of students will cover traditional crop varieties and their special qualities, traditional livestock varieties, plant and animal biodiversity on land and water, wild plants consumed as food in villages, medicinal plants and their use, village-wise list of nati vaidyas (traditional medical practitioners) who treat humans and domestic animals, local methods of crop cultivation, information on sacred groves, perennial water bodies in villages and details about artisans.
New scholarship scheme for IIT students to promote innovation
- Under the new programme, the Centre would invite innovative ideas from students and the best among the selected students would be given a scholarship of Rs 60,000 per month for five years.
- The scheme would encourage students to come out with innovative ideas to help the growth of industries and related fields. Students can turn entrepreneurs while staying in hostels.
Act on forest development fee stayed
- The High court granted stay to the Karnataka Forest (Amendment) Act, 2016 which was notified by the state government on July 27, 2016 directing mining companies to pay ‘forest development fee’ (FDF).
- A division bench comprising Chief Justice S K Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath, however, directed the mining companies to pay 25% of the total amount that has to be paid as FDF as bank guarantee.
- Vedanta Ltd and other mining companies filed a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Karnataka Forest (Amendment) Act, 2016.
- The petitioners have contended that the legislature cannot interpret the law and change of nomenclature of the words, ‘Tax’ to ‘Fee’ and collect charges. They sought directions to strike down the Act.
- The amendment gave power to collect forest development fee of 12% on iron ore in Karnataka e-auctions.
- Such levy and collection by government/body, notified by the State government or otherwise, of forest produce to be deposited in the Forest Development Fund, constituted under Section 98 (B) of the Act
Kuvempu University to shut down 74 study centres
- Kuvempu University will close down 74 distance education centres in districts outside its jurisdiction
- It has taken the decision on the state government’s instruction.
- The moved is aimed at weeding out malpractice at distance education centres. In their place, the university will open study centres at government and aided first-grade colleges in Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru districts.
- At present, only two study centres function under the purview of the university.
- Those wishing to pursue higher studies through distance education should come to the university to attend contact programme or take laboratory examinations.
- The university was in the news following incidents of mass copying and other examination-related malpractices.
SC allows NMDC to continue dual pricing of iron ore in Karnataka
- The Supreme Court allowed public sector company National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to continue with the differential pricing mechanism for the iron ore sold through e-auction in Karnataka.
- A three-judge bench presided over by Justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected the contention of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) that since NMDC worked under a special dispensation granted by the apex court and until such dispensation continued, it should not be allowed to resort to dual pricing.
- The apex court passed the order on an application filed by the Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturers Association, which, among others, also sought direction to fix floor price of iron ore on realistic grounds to ensure that NMDC does not take undue advantage of the acute shortage of minerals in the state.
- The court, meanwhile, rejected a plea by Vedanta Limited for export of iron ore, saying its inability to sell the output on account of higher prices could not be ground for such permission.
Cabinet approves changes to state aerospace policy
- The state Cabinet has approved certain amendments to the Karnataka Aerospace Policy 2013-23 for relaxation of certain restrictions in a bid to attract more investments in the aerospace sector.
- As per the existing policy, aerospace projects could be taken up only on around 200 acres of land (aerospace park) in the IT Park in Devanahalli. Now, this restriction will be relaxed.
- The Commerce and Industries department, which has sought the amendments, said that there was scope to increase concessions and incentives to the companies evincing interest to set shop in the state.
- The proposal for relaxation of the restrictions had been approved with a view to position Karnataka as a leading aerospace hub in Asia and top defense production destination in India
- While a helicopter hub is coming up at Gubbi in Tumakuru, the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) of the Defence Research and Development Organiasation (DRDO), is coming up near Challakere in Chitradurga district. Also, Mysuru and Belagavi had emerged as leading aerospace spare parts manufacturing hubs.
- The Karnataka Aerospace Policy 2013-23 was announced in February 2013, the Industrial Policy 2009-14 was in force, but not any more. As several aspects of Karnataka Industrial policy 2009-14 and 2014-19 were overlapping with the Aviation Policy, amendments were suggested for the latter to bring about a clear distinction.
- The Commerce and Industries department has proposed special incentives for development of Maintenance, Repair and Operation (MRO) segment in a bid to create a world-class MRO facility in Bengaluru, Mysuru and other viable locations on a PPP model.
- The department has also proposed to attract global tier-1 suppliers to the state. It has also argued that the amendments were pertinent as an exclusive Defence Park – a fully integrated defence and aerospace infrastructure facility – was in the process of being established.
Ankasamudra Lake to be state’s 3rd bird conservation reserve
- The State Wildlife Board gave its approval for declaring Ankasamudra Lake in Hagaribommanahalli taluk, Ballari district, a bird conservation reserve.
- This will be the third bird sanctuary in the state after Puttenahalli and Ranganathittu.
- The 244-acre lake was frequented by 136 bird species, including many migratory species. This will be the first bird reserve in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
- The Board also gave its clearance to declare Ummathur and Balgi villages in Chamarajanagar district as Ummathur Black Buck conservation reserve
- Spread across 1,500 acres. This will help in conservation of the species, on the lines of Jayamangala Black Buck reserve in Tumakuru district.
- The Board had agreed to declare the Southern Bird Wing as the state butterfly.
- The butterfly was chosen because of its colour – red and yellow, same as the state flag. It is also easy to sight and found in abundance in Karnataka.
- It is also the largest butterfly.
The Board has approved the long-pending proposal of the Railways for doubling the track on the Hosapete-Ballari-Goa stretch via Castle Rock, passing through the Western Ghats. Clearance has been given on the condition that the train speed limit is not over 30 kmph. A detailed study will be undertaken, after which more precautionary measures will be listed.
Special session on GST
- The state Cabinet decided to convene a special one-day session of the state legislature on September 14 to discuss about the Goods and Service Tax (GST) bill.
- GST stands for ‘Goods and Services Tax’ and is proposed to be a comprehensive indirect tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods as well as services at the national level.
- It will replace all indirect taxes levied on goods and services by the Union and the state governments
- Parliament recently passed the GST Bill.
Suvidha special train service for festival
- The South Western Railways will run Suvidha special train between Belagavi and Yeshwantpur to clear extra rush of passengers during Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
- The Suvidha special Express will have 14 coaches comprising four AC 3-tier sleeper coaches, eight second class sleeper coaches and two luggage and break-van-cum-disabled coach.
Register homestays on tourism portal or face action
- The Tourism department has made it mandatory for all homestays to register or be ready to face legal action.
- The number of complaints from domestic and foreign tourists has been increasing.
- Shoddy premises,
- security issues
- lack of basic facilities.
- cases where flesh trade is reported in the name of homestays,
- liquor being served
- illegal activities taking place there.
- Many resorts are claiming to be homestays
- The objective of homestays is to give a homely, traditional environment with quality service
- The department has not done any survey on the number of homestays in Karnataka. But according to its estimates, there are over 4,000 in Kodagu alone, of which only 400 are registered. There are over 2,000 in Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Ballari and on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Earlier also, the department had made it mandatory for homestays to register and get a rating. But not many showed interest. Now, it has reduced the registration charges and made rating optional. The rating and promotion, if required, will be done by the department for a fee.
N-K flooding caused by loss of forest cover in Krishna basin
- The loss of forest cover in the Krishna basin is the reason for perennial flooding in Karnataka during the monsoon, a recent study by the World Resource Institute (WRI) shows.
- Forest cover in the Krishna basin has reduced drastically over the last decade.
- The study, ‘Watersheds lost up to 22% of the forests in 14 years.
- Global Forest Watch (GFW) Water, a global mapping tool and database, points that the watersheds were lost from 2004-14 with a global average of 6%.
- Sumatra in Indonesia was the hardest hit globally, while the Krishna basin in India is left with just 3% of its forest cover.
- The researchers termed the loss of forest cover in the Krishna basin a historic loss. They explained that the forest loss took place prior to 2000, which also led to change in water flow, higher sedimentation level and the impact was uncertain compared to the recent forest loss.
- According to the Global Water Forest, the watershed on Krishna was covered with forests, but now less than 3% of the trees remain as a result of urbanisation and crop land expansion.
- Communities in the area are suffering from frequent droughts, floods and high levels of water pollution from agricultural run-off.
- Sedimentation is a recurring challenge to reservoirs and dams. Thus, there is a need for massive afforestation in deforested areas which will enhance the natural forest generation, and integrating trees with crops and ranchlands could also help.
- The team is planning for a detailed study on the extent and area dynamics for the future.
Rs 133-crore tax demand notice slapped on Pan Parag India
- The Commercial Taxes Department has slapped a tax demand notice for Rs 133 crore on Pan Parag India, manufacturers of pan masala and zarda, stating that the company had suppressed its sales turnover between 2012 and 2015.
- he department will initiate the process of recovery if the company fails to pay the dues, which include additional tax, penalty and interest
- The Sarathi-4 software allows applicants of Learner’s Licences (LLs) and Driving Licences (DLs) to manage the entire process online such as filing of application, paying the prescribed fee, uploading photographs, and even book slots for the driving skill test without visiting the RTO.
- The Transport Department will also include other facilities in Sarathi-4, such as change of address, applying for duplicate driving licence, adding an additional class of vehicles, renewing licence and the driving licence extract
- The LL and the DL facility will be fully operational on Sarathi-4 by the end of October. Thereafter, the department will start adding other facilities in the software
Certificates for wildlife trophies
- The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) has received more than 500 applications seeking ownership certificates for wildlife trophies.
- The provision is regulated under the Wildlife Protection Act.
- Those willing to possess wildlife trophies, however, must get the necessary permission from the Chief Conservator of Forests under the Wildlife Protection Act.
- At present, only persons having the ownership certificate in respect of Schedule I and Part II animals can sell or gift such articles, as per law.
- According to the authorities, the Union government had allowed individuals and organisations to possess trophies through a gazette notification issued on April 18, 2003.
- The notification had fixed a deadline of 180 days to apply from the date of notification and all the applications received across the country were cleared within the given time.
- The Centre, which reviewed the proposal submitted by the state on June 18, 2016, discussed the issue at a recent meeting of the National Board for Wildlife in Bengaluru and approved it
- The Forest Department has now geared up to submit a report to the Ministry of Forests and Environment seeking extension of the same duly certified by it.
Helicopter ride planned during Mysuru Dasara
- people can enjoy the aerial view of the heritage city by helicopters at affordable price during the upcoming Dasara.
- The authorities have plans to introduce two helicopters and have approached two private aviation companies.
- The district administration will make all the necessary arrangements for rides.
- The government will organise rides at reduced fare for the benefit of visitors to the city during Dasara to promote tourism. According to authorities concerned, the rides will be organised similar to those offered during Hampi Utsav.
- As per the plan, the 10-minute ride will commence from Lalith Mahal helipad in the city and the copter will fly over major spots of tourist interest in the city before landing.
- It may be mentioned that aerial joyrides involving Cessna flights were introduced for the first time in 2012, and they were a great hit with Mysureans. However, the flights were operated from Mysuru Airport in Mandakalli.
- But this year, the helicopter ride may be operated from Lalith Mahal helipad