KARNATAKA ISSUES AUGUST 2016

Dasara special package train tour on the Golden Chariot

  • The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) will launch the Dasara special package train tour on the Golden Chariot from October 1, 2016.
  • This will be the first ever short domestic trip of the luxury train. The idea is to make travel on the Golden Chariot affordable to all agoldenchariottrain1-2nd ensure that train runs full house
  • Tickets for the Dasara special and domestic travel would be sold through various tourism portals soon.
  • The Dasara special will be a one-day, two-nights trip, where tourists will travel from Bengaluru to Mysuru, have breakfast onboard and then see the jamboo savari with gold pass.
  • The guests will also enjoy the cultural programmes organised as part of the festival.
  • There will be 86 berths, along with exclusive berths for the disabled.
  • Apart from enjoying the festival like a royal guest, passengers can also utilise the facilities of a five-star hotel on the Golden Chariot such as the five course meal, bar and spa.

Domestic circuits

  • After the Dasara special tour, the KSTDC will launch weekend domestic travels. Initially, two circuits are being launched, the Mysuru-Hampi circuit and the Hampi-Badami-Patadkal circuit.
  • These circuits will be only during weekends, so that the train does not stand idle
  • For the Mysuru-Hampi trip, the train will leave Bengaluru to Mysuru on Friday night. On Saturday, after visiting Mysuru for half-a-day, tourists will go to Kabini Jungle Lodges property for safari and will head for Hampi the same night.
  • Ten trips of Pride of South (from Bengaluru to Goa) and Southern Splendour (covering Bengaluru, Chennai and Puducherry) are already pre-fixed and will not be altered. The two new domestic circuits will run on the remaining 16 weeks
  • Based on their success, more trips will be introduced in Karnataka to run the train throught the year

CM announces new pay panel for state govt staff

  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced setting up a new pay commission for upward revision of their salaries.
  • The last pay commission was set up more than five years ago and was not implemented effectively.

State prepares ground to privatise Department of Legal Metrology

  • The State government is preparing ground for privatisation of the Department of Legal Metrology. If plans come through, Karnataka will be the first State to do so.16BG_Legal_Metrolo_2973486f
  • While the officials argue that the move will usher in higher accountability and transparency in verification and stamping of all weighing equipment, activists argue that a core activity like monitoring weights and measures should be retained with the government.

 Proposal

  • Aimed at “breaking the monopoly” of field staff responsible for stamping the weighing and measuring equipment and “checking corruption”, the proposal will enable the Food and Civil Supplies Department to create area-wise Government Approved Testing Centres (GATCs).
  • The manufacturers of weights and measures will also have representation in the GATC.
  • This will help in higher accountability and manufacturers will be liable for stringent punishment if any malpractices are found

The Food and Civil Supplies Minister  said the move was an administrative reform. The department is short-staffed and it is not possible for the 150 field inspectors to check, verify and stamp all weighing equipment in the State and hence the need for privitisation

Despite privatisation, field inspectors and other staff will continue to have the powers of cross verification and random inspection of equipment.

  • According to the department’s data, there are over five lakh establishments and over 20 lakh weighing equipment in the State. As of now, 150 field inspectors and 3,000 licensed repairers (called metric men) are verifying and stamping the equipment.
  • While electronic equipment are stamped annually, mechanical ones are done once in two years. Corruption is rampant in this exercise and most of the times the equipment are not even verified before stamping.
  • Opposition argue that certain tasks that involve the interests of a large number of citizens should be retained with the government. “Once you outsource it, you cannot hold them accountable,”
  • The move is also being opposed by the department’s staff and Karnataka Metric Men’s Association, whose contention is that privatisation of the department would unleash “a new reign of corruption.”

Karnataka gets 637 ‘hi-tech’ buses

  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah launched 637 “hi-tech” Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses
  • The non-AC low-floor buses, which will operate in 13 towns and cities across Karnataka, are equipped with rear-view cameras, security network systems, and ramps for persons with disabilities.
  • The buses have a panic button for the driver to contact the control room in case of any emergency, as well a buzzer fitted on a stanchion pole for passengers to request that the bus be stopped
  • The buses will move only when the doors are closed. A screen placed near the steering wheel will give drivers a view of vehicles behind the bus.
  • The buses, which had been funded under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation scheme (earlier JNNURM II), meet the Urban Bus Specifications – II norms specified by the government of India.
  • Under the AMRUT scheme, 487 buses have been sanctioned for 13 towns and cities — Mysuru, Tumakuru, Hassan, Mandya, Ramanagaram, Mangaluru, Udupi, KGF, Kolar, Davangere, Bhadravati, Shivamogga, and Chitradurga.

AMRUT Mission

  • AMRUT is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). But in a significant departure from the earlier mission, the Centre will not appraise individual projects.
  • AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.
  • Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  • AMRUT, which seeks to lay a foundation to enable cities and towns to eventually grow into smart cities, will be implemented in 500 locations with a population of one lakh and above.
  • It would cover some cities situated on stems of main rivers, a few state capitals and important cities located in hilly areas, islands and tourist areas.
  • Under this mission, states get the flexibility of designing schemes based on the needs of identified cities and in their execution and monitoring.
  • States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released. But, in a significant departure from JNNURM, the central government will not appraise individual projects.
  • Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.

Three-day wine fest

  • The Karnataka State Wine Board has organised a three-day wine fest at the premises of Horticulture Producers’ Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society(HOPCOMS) Limited in Vinobha Nagar locality in SHIVAMOGGA
  • Titled ‘Shivamogga wine fest-2016’, the event has been organised to provide platform for an interaction between grape growers, wine producers and consumers.
  • More than 150 brands of wine that include red, white and sparkling varieties will be put for sale. There will be technical sessions on wine grape cultivation, wine appreciation and tasting.
  • The food courts will come up at the venue to facilitate food pairing with the wine. In addition to this, cultural programmes will also be held as part of the fest.
  • At present, around 10 percent of the grapes grown in Karnataka is used for wine preparation. The annual per capita consumption of wine in India is 20 ml against the consumption of nearly 40 litre in some European countries. The grape growers will be benefited from enhancement in the sales of wine

4th State Finance Commission’s tour of State

Why in News: The three-member Fourth State Finance Commission (SFC), headed by C.G. Chinnaswamy, has begun consulting with experts and urban and rural local bodies on the distribution of net proceeds of taxes, duties, tolls and fees collected by the State government between the State and local bodies.

  • The commission, which has been mandated to review the financial position of urban and rural local bodies, has started a tour of districts to hold consultations with elected representatives and officials of the zilla, taluk and gram panchayats, municipal corporations, city municipal councils, town municipal councils and town panchayats.
  • It will then recommend to Governor Vajubhai Vala measures to strengthen their financial position.
  • The commission, with H.D. Amaranathan and H. Shashidhar as members and S.R. Umashankar as member-secretary, began its tour on July 27 by visiting Kolar and holding discussions with elected representatives and officials of the local bodies.
  • It will visit Kalaburagi and Yadgir districts on August 30 and 31, respectively. Its tour will be completed only in December, after which report compilation will begin.
  • Prior to the finalisation of the recommendations, the commission will interact with its counterparts in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and other States.
  • The Finance Department had made a presentation to the commission in February this year about the resources of the State government and demands thereon on account of expenditure of civil administration, debt servicing, development and other committed expenditure.
  • The details of the resources transferred to the local bodies based on the recommendations of the previous SFCs were also provided.
  • The 4th SFC would also hold discussions with the chairpersons and members of previous SFCs and would consider sponsoring studies on selected issues. The commission will also examine the suitability of using some form of index/indices as the basis for recommendations on tax devolution and grants in aid.
  • The SFC will make specific recommendation on the award of grants in aid to local bodies from the consolidated fund of the State and suggest measures to improve the financial position of the local bodies.

About Karnataka Finance Commission:

  • The 4th State Finance Commission: C G Chinnaswamy as the Chairman and H D Amaranathan and Dr H Shashidhar as its full time
  • Karnataka Finance Commission has been established in the state so that it can help in improving the economic condition of the various Panchayats in the state.
  • Karnataka Finance Commission has been established in the state according to the rules that have been laid down in the Constitution of India, Article 243 (I
  • The state government sets up the Finance Commission in Karnataka once after every five years. –

Karnataka Finance Commission functions are:

  1. To look over the financial situation of the various Panchayats that are there in the state
  2. To take such measures that help in improving the economic situation of the various Panchayats that are there in the state
  3. To grant funds to the various Panchayats that are there in the state from the Consolidated Fund of the State
  4. To distribute the total amount of taxes, tolls, duties, and fees that are charged by the state government among the various Panchayats in the state and the state government
  5. To function as an arbiter with regard to financial matters between the state and the central government
  6. To transfer the funds that are alloted by the central government to the state government
  7. To decide the amount of taxes, duties, tolls, and fees that may be levied by the various Panchayats that are there in the state

Skill development certificate course introduced in agriculture university

  • Skill development certificate course on production and protection aspects of major agricultural and horticultural crops for unemployed rural youths was launched in University of Agricultural University, Raichur (UAS-R)
  • The programme is introduced jointly by UAS-R, PI Foundation and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Raichur.

Bike ambulances gaining popularity05BG_Bike_ambulanc_2971397e

  • Since its launch on April 15, 2015, the bike ambulances have attended to 7,074 cases till July 28.
  • GVK EMRI that runs the 108 Arogya Kavacha free ambulance service in the State.
  • The demand was high in July mainly because of the traffic following rain that lashed the city.
  • It’s quicker and easier for two-wheelers to manoeuvre through traffic. They reach the spot first and provide first aid before the four-wheeler ambulance arrives
  • Each bike ambulance is equipped with a nebuliser, glucometer, and laryngoscope. The paramedics are trained to treat minor wounds, record vital parameters, including pulse and blood pressure, and even provide oxygen.

Arkavathy: A river that is about to disappear

  • Floods in the city prompted civic officials to launch a massive demolition drive. However, there seems to be little effort on the ground to save a river on its death bed.
  • Once the source of water to the city, the last vestiges of Arkavathy can now only be seen as floodwater.
  • Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited (CNNL), which is spearheading ambitious plans for its rejuvenation, said that encroachments had been identified over 70 km of the route taken by the river. However, there is no move to remove them considering that they include residential layouts and industries.
  • The major works involves linking the nearly 67 tanks on the path, which had been blocked either by encroachments or illegal sand-mining. These encroachments will be apart from the 146 unauthorised layouts, 482 non-residential structures and 3,506 residential units identified by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in 2013 within one kilometre of the Arkavathy and Kumudvathi.
  • While the department attempts to grapple with its own ambitious plans to ‘rejuvenate’ the river – previous attempts at attracting global bidders for treatment of effluents and other water recharging solutions had failed – the river continues its slow descent into oblivion.

Where’s the water going?

  1. Over-extraction of water through borewells
  2. Wastage
  3. Large-scale planting of Eucalyptus and other water-intensive crops. while the area under Eucalyptus plantations was just 11 sq. km. in 1973, by 2013, it had ballooned to over 273 sq. km
  4. Two decades ago, borewells formed just 38 per cent of the water supply to farmers. Now, they are the only source, as open wells and canals have disappeared along with the Arkavathy itself.

Impact: 

  • Resulting in large tracts of land either being left uncultivated or sold for non-agricultural purposes.
  • Nelamangala, Ramanagaram suffer as Arkavathy disappears
  • The booming quasi-industrial towns of Nelamangala and Ramanagaram seem to be in the midst of an impending water crisis as Arkavathy river and ground water disappear.
  • The two towns on the periphery of Bengaluru have seen a marked increase in population between the census of 2001 and 2011. Nelamangala has grown by 48 per cent, while Ramanagaram’s population has increased by 20 per cent. However, availability of drinking water, which is supplied largely through borewells, has plummeted.

ATREE researchers surveyed 900 households cumulatively in these towns. The study reveals that Nelamangala civic authorities supply just 42 litres per capita per day (LPCD), which is below the 70 LPCD benchmark laid down by the Karnataka Municipal Department for small towns. Ramanagaram receives 72 LPCD while the prescribed quantity is 130 LPCD.

Though both towns cumulatively have 270 public borewells, depleting groundwater is seeing many become defunct, observes Karthik Madhyastha, a researcher at ATREE.

The shortage results in 66 per cent of Nelamangala and 57 per cent of Ramanagaram depend on tankers for water supply during times of shortage – particularly summers.

Moreover, the ‘hard nature’ of the water supplied sees 57 per cent of the surveyed households in Nelamangala rely on purified water from other sources.

K’taka to brand its ragi

  • In the first- ever government initiative in the country, the Karnataka government is all set to brand its ragi (finger millet) by tackling the demand side anomalies so that small holder millet farmers of the state benefit from the increasing preference to smart foods.
  • Announcing the initiative at the headquarters of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
  • Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said the state government has roped in ICRISAT, Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR) and the National Institute of Nutrition for a brainstorming session with stakeholders on the topic, “Popularising Millets Through Product Development and Branding Karnataka Ragi.”
  • Around 70% of the total ragi grown in the country is from Karnataka

Rules to renew recognition of unaided high schools relaxed

  • The Department of Public Instruction has relaxed rules for renewing recognition for unaided high schools.
  • According to the present rules, recognition of schools will be renewed only if they have a minimum of 25 students in each classroom
  • However, in a circular the DPI has said that recognition will be renewed even if schools have less than 25 students, provided they have basic facilities.
  • The circular also said that the decision was taken based on requests by private unaided schools since they highlighted that schools with fewer students would not be able to conduct exams if they are derecognised.
  • It was also pointed out that most of these schools are self-supporting and do not receive any funds from the government.

Devaraj Urs Award for Mohideen

  • Former minister B A Mohideen has been chosen for the D Devaraj Urs Award for 2016.
  • The award will be conferred on Mohideen by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at a function at Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru on August 20, to mark the 101st birth anniversary of Urs.
  • Seventy-eight-year old Mohideen is from Dakshina Kannada and has served as higher education minister in the J H Patel government.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh and a citation.
  • The selection committee chose Mohideen in recognition of his contribution in the field of education

Special postal cover released

  • The Karnataka Postal Circle on Friday released a special cover on Olymphilex India to commemorate the late T.N. Prahlada Rao, former member of the Karnataka Philatelic Society and veteran Olympic philatelist.
  • Embedded with a QR code, the cover when scanned on smartphone or computer directs the user to the site where details about all stamps related to Olympics are available in HTML format

CM for formation of sub-groups for industrial growth

  • For removing infrastructure bottlenecks, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has suggested formation of five sub-groups of the Vision Group.
  • The first meeting of Vision Group for Industrial Development of Karnataka under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister was held
  • The meeting discussed measures to promote industrial growth in the State.
  • Siddaramaiah suggested the formation of sub-groups for infrastructure development at the state-level; infrastructure development in Bengaluru; manufacturing, including automobile and aerospace; textile and garments; and electronics and e-commerce.
  • These groups will comprise members within the Vision Group and will work out action plans for short-term measures required for further growth of industrial sectors.
  • These measures could be taken up within a period of five to six months.

Karnataka Draft film policy

Why in News: The committee, headed by Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy chairman S V  Rajendra Singh Babu, submitted its Kannada Film Policy report to Chief Ministerdc-Cover-p7hq0p9r4mbbj2j0qongptk0q2-20160824033751.Medi

  • Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce president Sa Ra Govindu, producers ‘Rockline’ Venkatesh, actor Jayamala are some of the members of the Kannada Film Policy panel.
  • It is mandated to draft the Kannada Film Policy26bg_bgkpm_film_28_2563787f

Recommendations:

  1. A cap on multiplex ticket rates at Rs 120.
  2. The multiplexes should compulsorily exhibit at least two Kannada films full time.
  3. The government should provide a subsidy of Rs 50 lakh to those who come forward to construct Janata theatres. However, only Kannada films will be allowed to be screened at these theatres. Janata theatre, created on the lines of ‘Amma theatre’ in Tamil Nadu to provide cinema-viewing at an affordable cost, was announced by Siddaramaiah in his budget two years back. The government proposes to construct 300 Janata theatres.
  4. The cash incentives provided to films winning national awards should be enhanced to Rs 25 lakh and those winning state-level awards to Rs 20 lakh.
  5. Cinema show tax on non-Kannada films should be increased from Re 1 per show to Rs 5 per show and the proceeds (estimated to be around Rs 20 crore per year) be channelised for development of the Kannada film industry.
  6. Introduction of online tickets in all theatres
  7. State should adopt the Telangana model to curb digital piracy and protect intellectual property by setting up ‘Intellectual Property Crime Unit’. The unit has representatives of cyber crime team of the state police, Film Chambers of Commerce, members of the film industry and officials of the state Information Technology department to crack down on piracy.

Researchers at IISC developing plastic-like material for bone grafts

  • Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) are focusing on developing a synthetic polymer (like plastic) that can be used as a substitute for bone grafting.
  • A wide variety of natural and synthetic polymers are used in biomedical applications today. But in the case of bone, these plastics may be too soft and lack other properties to help in regeneration.
  • The IISc researchers set out to find a method to enhance the biomedical properties of these polymers so that they could have orthopaedic applications.
  • They prepared polymer composites using a biodegradable polyester incorporating nanoparticles and found that the resultant material to be non-toxic and anti-bacterial.
  • The research is being carried out at the Biomaterial and Tissue Engineering Laboratory and is being headed by Dr Kaushik Chatterjee of the Department of Materials Engineering
  • Currently, bone grafts used in the clinic have several problems like high cost, occasional infections, the need for multiple surgeries
  • In addition to being suitable for bone grafts, the composite material has electrical conductivity, a property that could make it useful in designing biodegradable electronic components.

3D print of tongue to help treat cancer

  • To treat tongue cancers more effectively and help patients better understand their condition, a simple yet cost-effective 3D print of tongue is now being used in the city.
  • Surgical oncologist Dr Vishal Rao U S from HCG hospital with help from a Mumbai-based company, Anatomiz3D, has come out with the new utility for 3D printing in cancer surgery.
  • The 3D printing technology involves segmentation of tongue and tumour as two different parts, with the help of CT/MRI scans.
  • Another advantage of the technology, according to Rao, is patients understand their condition better.
  • With 3D print, it is easy for us to explain the tumour easily
  • Apart from benefitting patients and doctors, the 3D model also helps plastic surgeons reconstruct the damaged tongue by helping them know the extent of the decay, the type and amount of tissue they would need to reconstruct.

Irrigation projects in Karnataka poorly executed, says CWC

  • The Central Water Commission (CWC), which studied the drought situation in Karnataka, has taken a serious note of ‘poor execution’ of Centrally funded major and minor irrigation projects in the state.
  • It has said that the lacunae in the existing irrigation projects have compounded the already existing water crisis in the state.
  • With several parts of the country witnessing drought for the past two years, the Union Water Resources Ministry had asked the CWC to study the situation
  • The CWC, which sent teams to all the drought-hit states, has submitted its report to the Ministry on its findings and recommendations to mitigate the natural calamity.
  • In its report, “On the spot study of water situation in drought affected areas of the country (2015-16)”, the CWC said its team had visited many water resource projects implemented with financial assistance from the Union government in several districts including Mandya, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Davangere, Kalaburagi and Belagavi between December 2015 and March 2016.
  • The team also visited some of the minor and micro irrigation sites in the Gandorinala, the Ghataprabha, the Malaprabha and the Bhima areas.

What were the shortcomings

  1. Lack of progress in command area development,
  2. Dilapidated canal network due to lack of maintenance,
  3. Land acquisition problems,
  4. Lack of planning etc
  5. poor execution and management of irrigation projects
  • These problems accentuated the already existing water crisis due to drought in the state of Karnataka and compound water shortage due to already low water levels in reservoirs and depleting ground water table
  • Farmers in the command area of Gandorinala in Kalaburagi district were critical of the manner in which the scheme was executed. Farmers revealed that water barely reached half the stretch of the left bank canal instead of tail end, the report said.
  • Visit to micro irrigation sites in Tumakuru and Mandya districts revealed that farmers had to mandatorily own a borewell or a rainwater harvesting structure to avail themselves of subsidies to adopt micro irrigation in their farms.
  • All these lacunae in the existing irrigation projects create man-made water crisis for agriculture; the poor execution of canal network causes uneconomical use of water in the command area and lack of control over volume of water let out for farms, the report observed.
  • It suggested that institutional problems in Water Resources department such as inefficiency, lack of dedicated water managers and lack of capacity building should be rectified

Respose by Karnataka Government: State to modernise irrigation canals in N-K on priority

  • The Karnataka Government said it will take steps to maintain and modernise all irrigation canals under the Gandorinala, Bhima, Ghataprabha and Malaprabha projects.
  • Reacting to the Central Water Commission’s (CWC) latest report on the drought situation in Karnataka, the state government said some canals under irrigation projects in Kalaburagi and Belagavi districts were constructed several decades ago and the state government is taking steps to maintain and modernise those canals.
  • The state government’s reaction came to the CWC study report on drought-hit states in the country (2015-16) including Karnataka, in which the Central agency observed that Karnataka poorly executed Centrally funded major and minor irrigation projects in Belagavi and Kalaburagi districts and said lacunae in the existing irrigation projects compounded the already prevalent water crisis.

Students good in sports may get grace marks under new policy

  • Grace marks for students who excel in sports and provision to let sportspersons continue with sports as a career after they retire from competitive events, could be part of the state’s sports policy.
  • The state government will take a final decision on these issues and others once its sports policy is ready
  • The department is holding meetings of various stakeholders including sportspersons, sports federations and associations at Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Bengaluru, Mysuru and Udupi in September to get their views.
  • Sports policies of Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, besides a draft policy prepared by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission, will also be studied before finalising the state’s policy
  • A notification had been issued in 2002 making it mandatory for all Urban Local Bodies (ulbs) to earmark 2% of their total allocation for sports (It is 1% in panchayat institutions).
  • The department will also put in place a policy for charging a uniform fee for using facilities in stadia.
  • Exhibitions or non-sports events will not be allowed in stadia with synthetic tracks
  • It also recommended to do away with the previous system of the sports minister chairing committees for selecting candidates for various state sports awards. Prominent sportspersons will now head the committees. Former cricketer Syed Kirmani will head the committee to select candidates for Ekalayva Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award. Even members on the selection panel will be sportspersons.

Chikkaballapur to get centre to help mango farmers in post-harvest care, exports

  • A first-of-its kind Post-Harvest Centre has been set up by the Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd (KSMDMCL) at Madikere in Chikkaballapur district.
  • The centre, also called the Forward Linkages Centre, will help mango growers in post-harvest management and to improve export potential of mangoes.
  • The centre, spread across 10 acres, will soon get post-harvest and processing units which include sorting and grading, washing, hot water treatment, ripening, packing, palletisation and processing technologies. For this, the mango corporation has appointed CFTRI-Mysuru as the Technical Service Consultant
  • The export potential of state-grown mangoes has not be realised since scientific production technologies, including post-harvest aspects, have not be adopted. Hence, such a centre has been set up
  • The state has exported 5,000 tonnes of mangoes, this year and the board has set a target of 15,000-20,000 tonnes for next year.
  • Karnataka stands third among mango growing states in terms of the area and production.
  • The major varieties grown in the state are Alphonso, Banganapalle, Kesar, Sindhura and Dasheri.
  • The Mango Development Corporation is contemplating starting a mango pulping centre in the state and a proposal has already been sent to the state government.

Directorate General of Foreign Trade office in Belagavi

  • A branch of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade will open in Belagavi
  • The office will issue Generalised System of Preferences Certificates that allow developing countries to pay less or no duty on their exports to the European Union.
  • Though there was an online system for receiving applications, the office in Belagavi was being established to respond to local demands and to address problems of unpredictable infrastructure

Mysore Dasara: An insight into the Nadahabba

The famed Mysore Dasara also called the Nadahabba (state-festival) of the state is scheduled to be held from October 1 to 11, this year and here is what you should know.slider_4

Poet Kanavi to inaugurate Dasara on October 1chennaveera Kanavi

  • Writer Channaveera Kanavi has been selected by the state government to inaugurate the 11-day Dasara festivities in Mysuru on October 1.
  • The high-powered committee had shortlisted the names of writers Kanavi, S L Bhyrappa and Nissar Ahmed, freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Suttur seer Shivarathri Deshikendra Swami.

About Channaveera Kanavi

  • Born on June 28, 1928 at Hombal in Gadag district, Kanavi completed his high school and college education in Dharwad, and obtained MA from Karnatak University in 1952. He began his career as a secretary at Prasaranga in Karnatak University, Dharwad.
  • His important anthologies include Hombelaku, Akasha Butti, Madhuchandra, Mannina Meravanige, Nela Mugilu, Eradu Dada, Kaavyanusandhana, and Madhurachanna.
  • He received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1981 for Jeeva Dhwani, and awards including the Rajyostava, Pampa, Nadoja and Karnataka Kaviratna
  • He had chaired the Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana at Hassan in 1996.

Bengaluru-based artist’s logo finalised for Dasara

  • The Dasara executive committee had conducted a contest for the logo for this year, and 160 logos were received from 83 artists from across the staDasara-Logo1200x628-800x445te.
  • Out of the 10 shortlisted logos, the design of Lokesh Raudi of Bengaluru-based Adi Creatives has been chosen.
  • The colour blue is given prominence in the logo as the theme this year is water conservation.
  • The artist has bagged a cash prize of Rs 5,000.

Dasara website: www.mysoredasara.gov.in

  • The minister also launched www.mysoredasara.gov.in, the official website of Dasara in view of providing all relevant information — in both Kannada and English to tourists.
  • The website will furnish information on the programmes related to Dasara, the time and venue, route maps, guidelines, information on hotels, tourist places around Mysuru, and links to the KSRTC and Railway websites will be available.

Theme of Dasara: Promoting Water Conservation

  • District Administration will proactively engage itself in water conservation.
  • Under the jurisdiction of Mysuru City with the help of many C.S.R (Corporate social responsibility) projects, 27 tanks have been identified out of which Below tanks are being rejuvenated under CSR Schemes..
  • In order to Promote Sustainable water usage, Jalkranthi Abhiyan is being celebrated in association with all the departments. Low watershed areas are being identified under this project in order to increase water level at such places

What’s New

  1. Palace on Wheels: To make it convenient for people to visit all these major landmarks,darsara-palace-on-wheels the Govt Of Karnataka, in association with K.S.R.T.C & K.S.T.D.C is introducing Palace On Wheels – a special & exclusive bus tour that takes people to all the famous palaces of Mysore, along with other facilities.
  2. Torch Light Parade on Giant Screens: Torch Light Parade is the last major event of every year’s Mysore Dasara celebrations. Thousands of people watch the ceremony and enjoy the various performances. However, owing to the limited seating capacity of the Bannimantap Grounds, thousands more miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the electrifying stadium atmosphere. Thus, the Mysore District Administration has decided to showcase the much sought after Torch Light Parade event live on giant screens at Chamundi Vihar Stadium. Entry is free!
  3. Wi-Fi Hotspots spread across Mysuru
  4. Hot Air Balloon Rides / Helicopter Rides in mysore city

History Of Dasara

  • With founding of Mysuru dynasty in 1399 AD by Yaduraya, Mysuru has seen 25 rulers. Till emergence of Raja Wodeyar in 1578 AD, the Mysuru Kingdom was a small feudatory Kingdom under the Vijayanagar Empire.
  • With the fall of Vijayanagar Empire in 1565 AD, the Wodeyars inherited and perpetuated the traditions of Vijayanagar Empire. Raja Wodeyar ascended the throne in 1610 AD, in Srirangapatna, the erstwhile capital and inaugurated the Dasara Festivities which are still celebrated with all grandeur.Mysore-Dasara-Parade-Maharaja
  • Mysuru, or Mahishur as it was called in the past, traces its history back to the mythical past, when Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi Hill, killed the wicked buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura. This event that marked the victory of Good over Evil is the inspiration behind the Dasara festivities.
  • Mysuru’s most famous festival is the 10 day Dasara, in September or October, when the entire city gets itself up to celebrations that include a majestic procession, dance, music, varieties of cultural activities and a torch light parade.

Vijayadashami (Dasara)

  • Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit
  • During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The 10th day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami.
  • According to a legend, Vijayadashami denotes the victory of truth over evil and was the day when the Hindu Goddess Chamundeshwari killed the demon Mahishasura.
  • Mahishasura is the demon from whose name, the name Mysuru has been derived. The city of Mysuru has a long tradition of celebrating the Dasara festival and the festivities here are an elaborate affair and attract a large audience from all over the world.
  • Festivities were first started by the Wodeyar King, Raja Wodeyar I (1578-1617 CE) in the year 1610. The Mysuru Palace is lit up on all the 10 days of Dasara.
  • The festivities begin with the Wodeyar royal couple performing a special puja to Goddess Chamundeshwari in the Chamundi Temple located on the top of Chamundi Hill at Mysuru
  • This would be followed by a special durbar (royal assembly).
  • It was during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in the year 1805, when the king started the tradition of having a special durbar in the Mysuru Palace during Dasara, which was attended by members of the royal family, special invitees, officials and the masses.
  • The ninth day of Dasara called as Mahanavami is also an auspicious day on which the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession involving elephants, camels and horses.

Procession

  • On Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession (locally known as Jamboo Savari) is held on the streets of Mysuru city.
  • The main attraction of this procession is the idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari which is placed in a golden howdah on the top of a decorated elephant. This idol is worshipped by the royal couple and other invitees before it is taken around in the procession.
  • Colourful tableaux, dance groups, music bands, armed forces, folklores, the royal identities, decorated elephants, horses and camels form a part of the procession which starts from the Mysuru Palace and culminates at a place called Bannimantap, where the Banni tree (Prosopis spicigera) is worshipped.
  • According to a legend of the Mahabharata, Banni tree was used by the Pandavas to hide their arms during their one-year period of Agnatavasa (living life incognito).
  • Before undertaking any warfare, the kings traditionally worshipped this tree to help them emerge victorious in the war.
  • The Dasara festivities would culminate on the night of Vijayadashami with an event held in the grounds at Bannimantap called as Panjina Kavayithu (torch-light parade).

Exhibition

  • Another major attraction during Dasara is the Dasara exhibition which is held in the exhibition grounds opposite to the Mysuru Palace
  • This exhibition starts during Dasara and goes on till December

Bengaluru’s tomato varieties get researchers national award

  • Bengaluru’s very own high-yielding tomato varieties of Arka Rakshak and Arka Samrat have helped their researchers bag a prestigious national award.
  • A team of horticultural scientists from the Hessarghatta-based Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) who had developed these varieties after a five-year research has been honoured with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s award for “Outstanding Interdisciplinary Team Research in Agriculture and Allied Sciences.”
  • These varieties represent the city even in their names as ‘Arka’ stands for the Arkavati river on whose bank IIHR is located.
  • One of the main criteria for the award was the social and economic impact the research work had on society. These tomato varieties are not only high-yielding, but also show high resistance to three major diseases.ArkaRakshk3
  • This reduces the cost of cultivation by 10 to 15 per cent in terms of savings towards the cost of fungicides and pesticides
  • The fruits of these varieties are suitable for long-distance transportation as they are firm and have a shelf life of 15 to 20 days as against 10 to 12 days of other hybrids, and six to eight days of ordinary tomato varieties
  • Arka Rakshak, which gives a yield of up to 19 kg a plant, is already sought after by farmers and traders in eight countries.

Special package for polyhouse farming

  • Agriculture Minister C. Krishna Byregowda has said a special package will be formulated to provide loans at lower rate of interest to construct polyhouses in undivided Kolar district.
  • A plan to provide three per cent interest through the District Central Cooperative Bank

About Poly house Farming:

  • Much water is not necessary to take up farming activities based on polyhouses and farm ponds
  • They give more yield, improving farmers’ lives
  • Polyhouse farming/ shelter farming is an alternative new technique in agriculture gaining foothold in rural India.
  • In Karnataka Polyhouse farming a part of Krishi bhagya programme of GOK
  • It reduces dependency on rainfall and makes the optimum use of land and water resources.
  • Parameters such as moisture, soil nutrients and temperature in the polyhouse are controlled to ensure timely and abundant yields.

3

How
  • Polyhouse farming process requires expertise in three areas – construction of the structure, cultivation techniques and marketing.
  • Polyhouse farming entails construction of a metal structure covered by polythene.Typical polyhouses are from 500 square meters to 15,000 square meters, which makes them suitable for farmers with small land holding.
  • Within cultivation, the pre-harvest techniques include irrigation, providing fertilisers, pesticides and micro-nutrients, maintaining temperature, humidity and sunlight in the polyhouse, cutting,pruning and cleaning practices and controlling pH and electrical conductivity of the soil.
  • The post-harvest techniques include cutting, storage cooling chambers and transport by cooling vans.
Advantages
  • Due to controlled conditions there is better germination, plant growth and crops mature faster.
  • Crop is protected from cold, wind, rain, storm, frost and snow. Incidence of disease and pests is reduced.
  • Improved quality & quantity of produce.
  • Use of water is optimized and there is reduction in its consumption by 70 – 80%.
  • Potentially, polyhouse farming can help the farmer generate income round the year growing multiple crops. This also helps them spread their risks.
  • Polyhouse farming enables cultivation of crops that can give maximum yield on specific days (e.g. roses on Valentine’s day) and exotic crops that can’t be normally grown in Indian conditions.
  • Apart from this cut Flowers can be grown round the year.
  • Government of India and state governments gives 80% subsidy for low cost polyhouses, 70% to 50% for medium cost polyhouses and 10% for high cost polyhouses as an incentive .
PROSPECTS :
  • Controlled conditions & increased temperature in green house/low tunnel enables crop production in the cold climate, hot plains and during rains.
  • Greenhouses and Polyhouses have been extremely beneficial for growing vegetables – tomato, cukerbit, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, onion, spinach, brinjal, pepper, turnip, radish, capsicum ; for Flowers – roses, chrysanthemums, gerbera, carnations, Lillies etc. and raising nursery of fruits & vegetable.
  • Green House technology has been successfully used in the country – in the hilly states of J & K, Himachal, Uttaranchal for vegetables & flower production, plains like Maharashtra & Karnataka for Commercial floriculture and in North Eastern states and western areas .
  • It also enables cultivation of regular crops off-season, thus fetching the farmer a higher price (e.g. tomato, chilli,capsicum, brinjal, cucumber, cabbage,cauliflower).

School for ITI teachers in Ballari

  • The state cabinet gave its approval for establishing Advanced Training Institute (ATI) in Ballari in association with the Centre in public-private partnership.
  • This is the first ATI to come up in the state. Prospective ITI teachers had to enrol with ATI in other states

Abu Dhabi firm to turn Jog Falls into all season spectacle

  • 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

Artificial falls

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.

CM permits short-staffed ULBs to hire retired engineers, consultants

  • Chief Minister gave permission to short-staffed urban local bodies (ULBs), including city corporations, to hire the services of retired PWD engineers and programme management consultants.
  • The retired engineers and consultants will prepare project plans under various schemes of the government
  • The ULBs have not been able to implement many of the schemes due to staff shortage. Hence, the Chief Minister gave permission to hire retired PWD engineers and consultants
  • close to 60% of sanctioned posts in ULBs are vacant. Of the 11,342 sanctioned posts in 10 city corporations, excluding the BBMP, as many as 5,757 posts are vacant. Of the total 21,642 sanctioned posts in other ULBs, 11,495 are currently vacant.
  • Moreover, of the total 3,776 sanctioned posts identified as “critical staff”, as many as 2,164 posts are vacant.

 “Surya Raitha” – Harness Solar Energy to better Agriculture

  • It is a scheme by Government of Karnataka to harness Solar Energy for the benefit of the Farmer.
  • This scheme will ensure solar panels are placed to generate electricity for running irrigation pumpsets, and will also enable farmers to sell excess power generated to the governmentArkaRakshk3.
  • The Karnataka Government’s revolutionary Solar Policy, 2014-2021 has envisaged this scheme via which farmers can generate additional income from their lands, take part in the move towards green energy and also have no fear of electricity cuts.

What is Under the scheme?

A farmer can install a solar power-run pumpset on his farm with 90 per cent subsidy from the government. The government will purchase excess power generated by the farmer at Rs. 9.56 per unit (if the farmer has not taken subsidy); Rs. 7.20 per unit (if the farmer has taken subsidy). This programme is envisaged for the Irrigation Pump (IP) sets on the dedicated IP feeders.

  • Through this scheme the farmers having 10Kwp solar power can earn nearly Rs 50000/- per annum apart from his self consumption, for irrigation , which augments his revenue sources especially during drought or unseasonal rains.

Some Note on Solar Policy 2014-21

  • The revised solar policy 2014-21 promises solar power adoption in the industrial , commercial and residential segments for rooftop PV System. On the same line the benefit shall be extended to the farmers who are otherwise , denied of the benefits of government schemes.

Why is it Significant?

  • Solar powered irrigation system can be suitable alternative for farmers in present state energy crisis.
  • Solar energy is generated through the year, and since farmers do not need power all 365 days, they can transmit excess power generated to the power grid.

What and Why Kirishi Bhagya

  • In India, it is estimated that about 6, 000 million tons of top soil are lost annually along with valuable plant nutrients.
  • This along with inappropriate nutrient management practices has resulted in wide spread deficiencies (60-90% farmers’ fields) of major and micronutrients of Zn, B and S in dryland areas.
  • With changing climate, land degradation is expected to only increase due to high intensity storms, extensive dry spells, and denudation of forest cover. Thus there is an urgent need to rejuvenate the degraded lands to productive & profitable use.ArkaRakshk3
  • The urgent need to unlock the potential of rainfed agriculture has been initiated by the Government of Karnataka through its rain water harvesting programs that include construction of rain water harvesting structures and also simple indigineous methods such as construction of farm ponds.
  • Further with the climate change phenomenon becoming more visible in the recent years in the form of longer dry spells and more intense rainy days, Karnataka is experiencing more frequent droughts as well as more frequent floods. Therefore the Government of Karnataka has devised a clear scheme to make agriculture in the rain fed areas and in the low rainfall zones more sustainable.

About the scheme

The Krishi Bhagya scheme has been implemented phase wise and aims at dry-land regions where the average rainfall in the five agro-climatic zones of Karnataka varies from 450 to 850mm per year. The scheme also grants funds to the farmers to conserve rain water for utilization during dry spells. The water would help the farmers to save their withering crop due to insufficient rain. The main objective of the scheme is to help farmers adopt towards modern technologies that help increase water use efficiency and in the process obtain more crop for a drop of water.

A complete package:

  1. The scheme is being implemented in the form of package to the farmers. The components of the package include Insitu moisture conservation activities where 80% subsidy is allocated for General and 90% subsidy has been allocated for farmers belonging to SC/ST.
  2. The scheme also includes Water harvesting structures such as Farm ponds which are designed using a Polythene lining. Again, 80% subsidy is allocated for General and 90% subsidy has been allocated for farmers belonging to SC/ST.
  3. Apart from these benefits, farmers also get Diesel/Solar pump set to lift the water where subsidy for Diesel pump sets is 50%-General & 90%-SC/ST, Solar pump sets-  Subsidy 50%-General & 50%-SC/ST, Micro Irrigation unit to irrigate the crop (Drip/Sprinkler) where subsidy of 90%-General,90%-SC/ST and also for implementing cropping systems.
  4. The subsidy pattern for agriculture crops where a farmer gets a maximum of Rs.5000/ha has been set according to NFSM guidelines and for Horticulture Crops: a) with polyhouse has been set as per NHM guidelines and b) Without Polyhouse has also been set as per NHM guidelines.
  5. According to the scheme, the beneficiaries of the scheme have to take up first five components compulsorily while the last component which includes Animal Husbandry activities has been made optional.
  6. The package is divided into 2 categories which are: a) With Polyhouse and b) Without Polyhouse. In the year 2014-15, Rs. 500-00 crores has already been released towards the scheme.
  7. The target for made by the Government for each Taluk is to include 10 farmers under Polyhouse category and 200 farmers under Non polyhouse category. The selection of beneficiaries is done through lottery and joint field verification by the concerned line departments.
  8. So far as many as 8900 farm ponds work has been completed; polythene lining for the completed ponds is also under progress. The amount is being transferred to beneficiaries account through RTGS as per the progress.

Release of caste census report to be delayed further

  • The release of the much-awaited report of socio-economic survey (popularly known as caste census) has been delayed again.
  • The State Backward Classes Commission, under whose aegis the census was conducted
  • It is more than a year since the commission has been compiling the data. Taken up at a cost of Rs 170 crore, the enumeration was held in  April-May last year.
  • The survey was taken up in each of the 1.31 crore households in Karnataka. But there had been complaints that thousands of households, especially in the jurisdiction of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), were left out.
  • Caste-wise break-up of census data was collected under 54 heads including literacy, annual income, domestic expenditure, household data, occupation of household members, source of drinking water, lighting facility, immovable assets, among others
  • The last caste census in the state was held during the pre-Independence era in 1931.
  • In April this year, when some data pertaining to population details of some major castes was circulated in social media, there was an uproar with some community leaders staging protests claiming that the figures had been fudged to deny them reservation benefits.

One more kg of free rice for poor in state

  • The state government plans to distribute an additional one kilogram of free rice and one kilogram of tur dal at concessional rates to ‘below poverty line’ (BPL) cardholders.ArkaRakshk3
  • Presently, the government is providing five kg of food grains per person free of cost under the Anna Bhagya scheme. This includes three kg of rice and two kg of wheat/ ragi/jowar.
  • Karnataka is also bringing in a protein component under the public distribution system scheme for the first time by introducing tur dal.
  • Tur dal would be sold at a subsidised rate of Rs 30 a kg.
  • Supplying free rice would cost the exchequer around Rs 1,450 crore annually.
  • With the introduction of the coupon system and Aadhaar seeding, the government will save nearly 40,000 metric tonnes of rice per month.
  • By subsidising tur dal, the government will incur an expenditure of Rs 360 crore annually. The decision to distribute more rice and sell subsidised tur dal follows demands made by BPL families

Support price: state to wait for Centre’s decision

  • The state government will wait for the decision of the Union Cabinet on providing aid to growers of copra, coconut and arecanut, before deciding on its next step of action.
  • Copra, coconut and arecanut growers are in distress following a crash in prices.
  • The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and the Green Brigade have sought a minimum support price of Rs 45,000 per quintal for arecanut and Rs 15,000 per quintal for copra.
  • The Union Ministry of Agriculture is expected to take a call soon on what price the government agencies should procure arecanut under the market intervention scheme in Karnataka
  • A senior official from the ministry, who had visited Bengaluru recently to study the Karnataka government’s proposal for procurement of 40,000 tonnes, is of the view that the price of Rs 300 to Rs 400/kg proposed by the state government is too high.
  • However, Kerala-based directorate of arecanut and spices development board recommended purchasing the produce at Rs 172 per kg.

Amnesty’s unnamed reps booked for ‘sedition’ over Kashmir event

  • The Bengaluru police have booked unnamed representatives of Amnesty International India for sedition over an event on human rights abuses in Kashmir held at the United Theological College (UTC) here on August 13.
  • The FIR, registered invokes section 124 (A) of the IPC that deals with sedition which is punishable with up to life imprisonment. Police also invoked sections 142, 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 153A (stoking enmity) and 149 (common intent)
  • Complainant claimed that anti-India slogans were raised at ‘Broken Families’, an interaction with families of Kashmiri youths killed in fake encounters.
  • Meanwhile, the UTC management clarified that it was in no way connected with the event
  • The UTC is a 103-year-old institution and was never involved in activities that affect unity and integrity of the country.

About Amnesty International

  • Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty and AI) is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with over 7 million members and supporters around the world.
  • The stated objective of the organisation is “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.”
  • Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article “The Forgotten Prisoners” in The Observer on 28 May 1961, by the lawyer Peter Benenson.
  • Amnesty draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilise public opinion to put pressure on governments that let abuse take place
  • The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its “campaign against torture,” and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.
  • In the field of international human rights organisations, Amnesty has the longest history and broadest name recognition, and is believed by many to set standards for the movement as a whole.

Vehicle search option to be back on Transport dept portal

  • The Transport department will reintroduce the vehicle search option that allows users to search for vehicle registration details online.
  • The department had disabled this facility two months ago, following complaints regarding the misuse of the facility to forge vehicle documents.
  • The e-governance wing in the department was in the process of revamping the entire portal so that the search option cannot be misused.
  • The facility was being misused by a few persons who relied on it to get the details of vehicles before negotiating a purchase deal. Information such as the name of the owner and details pertaining to hypothecation could be easily accessed through this option.
  • Presently, people have been approaching regional transport offices (rtos) to fetch the registration details of the vehicle while purchasing second-hand vehicles.
  • The registration details available online are not an alternative to the extract certificate of the vehicle given by the concerned authority at the rto. However, it was being used as a primary source of information before purchasing second-hand vehicles.

Bhadra tiger project gets pat from Centre

  • The tiger conservation programme of Bhadra National Park has got a shot in the arm with the Central government giving its nod for a Rs 9-crore action plan to take the project forward.
  • While the fund is awaited, it has been planned to strengthen anti-poaching camps, modernise facilities for effective watch and ward, adopt fire prevention methods, among others, under the action plan submitted to the Centre
  • The Centre provides most of the funds for conservation of tigers in the country, following the recommendation of National Tiger Conservation Authority.
  • Last year, Bhadra project was sanctioned Rs 5 crore. The grant was spent on daily wages of forest watchers, maintenance and setting up of three new anti-poaching camps, drives to prevent forest fires and improvement of animal habitats.
  • The park spread across 500 sq km, has an estimated 30 tigers. Taking this into cognisance, 36 anti-poaching camps were set up in the first phase and three more camps were added last year, taking the total to 39 camps
  • Each camp comprises a team of four forest watchers and two permanent guards, equipped with arms, GPS device, smartphone and walkie-talkies. They are entrusted with the task of round the clock vigil.
  • Six such camps are set up near Bhadra backwaters to keep a vigil against timber smuggling and poachers sneaking into the forest using coracles.
  • To monitor the activities of anti-poaching camp personnel, a dedicated system called ‘monitory system for tiger intensive poaching and ecological systems (Mstrips) has been in place since 2012.
  • With this Bhadra has the credit of becoming one among seven national parks in the country to be equipped with such a system. The activities are monitored from a dedicated control room.
  • The successful rehabilitation of tribals living in the villages inside the forest is another reason that has come in handy in protecting the big cats. As many as 736 families had been identified during 2001-02, with 436 among them being rehabilitated under the tiger project.
  • It is also considered one of the successful rehabilitation programmes in the country.
  • Barring the death of a tiger in territorial fight, there are no reports of tiger deaths due to natural or unnatural reasons till date. Wild gaurs were on the verge of extinction 20 years ago, but now, their numbers are on the rise.

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuarycsr-bhadra-tiger-reserve-chikmagalur-1-638

  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area and a Project Tiger, tiger reserve located 38 km (24 mi). Northwest of Chikkamagaluru town in Karnataka
  • One of the most fascinating sanctuaries it is surrounded by Baba Budan Giri range of hills. The 493 square kilometers jungles shelter some exquisite flora and fauna.
  • In 1951, the Government of Mysore had declared this area as Jagara Valley Wildlife sanctuary. And in 1974, In 1974, it was reconstituted as the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and was brought under Project Tiger in 1998
  • The sanctuary gets its name from the Bhadra River, which flows through reserve. It’s tributaries also feed this reserve. A dam has been built on the Bhadra near Lakkavalli.
  • Water-based adventures, trekking, island camping, bird watching and rock climbing are the added attraction along with the wildlife viewing on jeeps.

Flora

  • The vegetation is predominantly of Tropical moist mixed deciduous forest, tropical dry deciduous forest, semi-evergreen forest.
  • The terrain is mostly covered with 120 species of flora. Main species are Teak, rosewood, mathi, honne, nandi, tadasalu and kinda.
  • Inside the sanctuary, a big teak tree aged about 300 years, known as the Jagara Giant, whose girth is a whopping 5.21m, is one of the attractions of the sanctuary.

Fauna

  • The ravines of this sanctuary are home to a large variety of fauna. The southern part of the sanctuary is rich in butterflies and reptiles. Besides 28-30 Tigesr, the great Indian Gaur,Wild Boar, Wild Dog, Barking Deer, Sloth Bear, Giant Indian Squirrel, Flying fox, Mongoose, Elephant, Panther, Babbler, Barbet all have made their home in the forests of the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Among 200 species birds, one can spot the Black winged kite, Malabar whistling thrush, Great horned owl, Great pied hornbill, Indian tree pie, Quaker babbler, Yellow bulbul, King vulture, Black-naped blue flycatcher and the open billed stork.
  • There are plenty of butterflies. Yam fly, Baronet, Crimson rose, Southern birdwing, Tailed jay, Great orange tip, Bamboo tree brown and Blue pansy have all made their home here.
  • The reptile species consists of Flying snake, Rock python, Marsh Crocodiles, Bronze backed tree snake, Common garden lizard and Monitor lizard, Atlas moth and the Indian pond turtle.

10k widows to get 3 goats each at subsidised rates

  • Minister for Animal Husbandry and Sericulture said the government has allocated Rs 7.5 crore for providing three goats each at a subsidised rate to 10,000 widows.
  • The minister also launched of a goat’s milk brand named ‘MyGoat’.
  • One unit each, consisting of a pair of female goats and a male goat, would be given to 10,000 widows in the first phase. The state would bear 75% of the unit cost and the remaining amount will be borne by the beneficiary. The scheme, which would be expanded later, is aimed at improving the living conditions of women, primarily in villages
  • Pointing out to a number of health benefits of goat milk
  • Minister promised to bring about an organised system on the lines of Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) to popularise production and supply of goat’s milk in the state.
  • Each litre of pasteurised goat milk costs Rs 250, which is sold under the name ‘MyGoat’. There is good demand and we are planning to increase the supply to up to 500 litres daily

Centre plans to revisit issues on Western Ghats eco-sensitive areas

  • New Union environment minister Anil Dave wants to have fresh rounds of consultations with all stakeholders before deciding on the ecologically sensitive areas in the Western Ghats that were identified by the Centre in March 2014.
  • The Centre had issued a draft gazette notification more than two-and-a-half years ago declaring almost 10,000 sq km of the Western Ghats as ESA barring development activities.
  • In the last two years, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala had submitted their own ground surveys with their objections, on the identification of villages falling inside the ESA. Tamil Nadu is the only state which is yet to submit its ground survey report.
  • The hamlets falling within the ESA were identified by a scientific panel, headed by space scientist K Kasturirangan, using satellite and ground data.
  • But most of the states disagree with the draft notification and want the ESA area reduced. The green lobby, on the other hand, is against any dilution of the draft notification based on the Kasturirangan panel’s report.
  • A section of environmentalists is even of the opinion that the Kasturirangan panel’s report was a watered down version of the recommendations given by an earlier committee headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil.
  • Reports from the state governments would be used as inputs for consultations on the Western Ghats. The ministry would engage with mps and mlas from the six Western Ghats states, besides scientists, green activists and locals before taking any decision.
  • After the first notification lapsed, a second draft notification was issued on September 4, 2015.
  • Dave’s predecessor Prakash Javadekar had stated that barring four types of polluting industrial works, other commercial activities would be permitted in the Western Ghats so that the eco-norms won’t create any problem for 50 lakh people living in the biodiversity zone. The activities,
  • Would not be permitted, were commercial mining, thermal power plants, any kind of polluting industries and big housing projects.

Madhav Gadgil Panel (WGEEP)

Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) headed by Madhav Gadgil was formed by MoEF in 2010 to study the impact of population pressure, climate change and development activities on the Western Ghats.

The Panel was asked to perform the following functions:

  1. To assess the current status of ecology of the Western Ghats region.
  2. To demarcate areas which need to be notified as ecologically sensitive and to recommend for notification of such areas as ecologically sensitive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. In doing so, the Panel shall review the existing reports such as the Mohan Ram Committee Report, Hon’ble Supreme Court’s decisions, recommendations of the National Board for Wildlife and consult all concerned State Governments.
  3. To make recommendations for the conservation, protection and rejuvenation of the Western Ghats Region.
  4. To suggest measures for effective implementation for declaring specific areas in the Western Ghats Region as eco-sensitive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Recommendations of Madhav Gadgil Panel

  1. The Madhav Gadgil Panel recommendations can be summarized in the following:
  2. Turn entire Western Ghats region into an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA); it should be called Western Ghats ESA. This area should be divided into two parts:
  3. Protected areas which would contain Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks
  4. Three Ecological Sensitive Zones (ESZ) viz. ESZ-1, ESZ-2 and ESZ-3, with varying degrees of protection. These are outside the existing protected areas.
  5. Divide the entire Western Ghats ESA into 2200 grids and each grid assigned ESZ on the basis of composite scores of ecological significance derived from the database generated by WGEEP.
  6. Since Western Ghats is spread in six states, treat Western Ghats regions of each state separately.
  7. Final demarcation of the ESZs and the final regulatory regime should be based on extensive inputs from local communities and local bodies viz. Gram Panchayats, Taluk Panchayats, Zill Parishats, and Nagar Palikas, under the overall supervision of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA), State level Ecology Authorities and the District Ecology Committees.
  8. A Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA) should be established as a statutory authority appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, GOI under Environment (Protection) Act 1986 to focus on promoting transparency, openness and participation in every way for development and sustainability of these areas.
  9. The panel recommended highest degree of protection in ESZ-1 and ESZ-2 categories.

Kasturirangan Panel (HLWG)

The next problem solving committee was K. Kasturirangan-led 10-member High-Level Working Group (HLWG). The panel was tasked with finding a “holistic” way of protecting the biodiversity of the Ghats and addressing the “rightful aspirations for inclusive growth and sustainable development” of the “indigenous residents”.

Recommendations of Kasturirangan Panel

  1. The panel concluded that: The Kasturirangan panel had the advantage of using a finer remote-sensing technology to make a distinction between the so called ‘cultural landscape’ and ‘natural landscape’.
  2. According to this distinction: 41 per cent of the Western Ghats is “natural landscape”, having low population impact and rich biodiversity. But the remaining 59 per cent is “cultural landscape” dominated by human settlements and agricultural fields
  3. Thus, instead of declaring entire Western Ghats as ESA, the panel said that 90 per cent of the “natural landscape” should be protected
  4. The identification of ESA was based on the fragmentation of the forests, population density of villages and the richness of the biodiversity in villages. This would be around 60,000 Km² ecologically sensitive area spread over six states. Thus, it diluted the protection of 137000 Km² areas as stipulated in the Gadgil report
  5. This implies that according to Kasturirangan committee, around 37.5 % of the total area of the Western Ghats is ecologically sensitive.
  6. This committee said that economic options (Businesses and Livelihood) should not be forbade (i.e. allowed to continue), but answer to protection of the Western Ghats lies in providing better incentives to move businesses / livelihoods towards greener and more sustainable practices”.
  7. Establish a Decision Support and Monitoring Centre for Geospatial Analysis and Policy Support in the Western Ghats, which will supervise changes and propose state government on policy reform and all such reports must be in the public domain.
  8. High-resolution map, delimiting ecologically sensitive areas, down to each village settlement, must be put in the public domain so that people can be involved in taking decisions about environment.
  9. A ban on all polluting industries (including mining) categorised as most hazardous in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  10. The Forest Rights Act, 2006, that recognises the rights of dwellers on forest resources, will be implemented in letter and spirit and the consent of Gram Sabhas concerned will be mandatory for any project.
  11. Strict regime for Hydro-power projects. These include cumulative impact assessment of such projects and ensuring minimum water flow in the rivers in the lean season.
  12. Set up a body to assess and report on the ecology of the region and to support the implementation of ESA to be set up.
  13. The Kasturirangan report recommended ban on mining, quarrying, thermal power plants and highly polluting industries within 60,000 sq km of the Ghats.
  14. Projects will be allowed only after the approval of the gram Sabhas concerned.

Specialists may be hired on contract to meet shortage at teaching hospitals

  • The Medical Education department is considering recruiting specialists on contract basis to meet the shortage in its teaching hospitals.
  • Teaching hospitals, especially Victoria, Vani Vilas, Bowring and Minto, face a heavy workload, requiring additional health professionals.
  • Doctors from the Department of Health and Family Welfare were being sent on deputation to these hospitals. But now the Department of Health and Family Welfare is pulling back its doctors, creating a shortage in the teaching hospitals.

Mahadayi tribunal gets 1 more year

  • The Ministry of Water Resources has granted a one-year extension to the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal to pronounce its order on the interstate water dispute.
  • The tenure of the tribunal, supposed to end on August 20, 2016, was extended till August 21, 2017 to enable it to complete its task.
  • The ministry constituted the tribunal on November 2010 asking it to allocate Mahadayi river water among three states — Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra — by 2013.
  • As the tribunal could not pronounce the final verdict in the stipulated time, its tenure was extended till August 2016.

IISc faculty get top science medal

  • Five faculty members at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, have been awarded the prestigious Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Medal for Young Scientists for the year 2016.
  • The five faculty members who won the award are — Dr Prabeer Barpanda assistant professor at the Materials Research Centre; Dr Sai Siva Gorthi assistant professor at the Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics; Dr Praveen Kumar assistant professor at the Department of Materials Engineering, Dr Anshu Pandey assistant professor at the Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit and Dr Chandan Saha assistant professor at the Department of Computer Science and Automation.
  • The INSA annually honors young scientists with the ‘INSA Young Scientist Award’ to encourage young scientists with creative abilities who have made notable research contributions in science and technology.
  • The award was instituted in 1974 and about 760 young scientists have been recognised so far.

‘Centre ready to invest Rs 6K cr on Belekeri port’

  • Transport and Shipping Minister said the Centre is ready to develop Belekeri port in Uttar Kannada district.
  • The Belekeri port has all qualities to be developed as a major port on the west coast.
  • If the port is developed on par with international standards, it would also help development of entire north Karnataka
  • If the Centre clears the long-pending Hubballi-Ankola railway line, it would be a major boost to the proposed port also

Did you know?

  • India has 13 major ports, 200 notified minor and intermediate ports. The total 200 non-major ports are in the following States:- Maharashtra (48); Gujarat (42); Tamil Nadu (15); Karnataka (10); Kerala (17); Andhra Pradesh (12); Odisha (13); Goa (5); West Bengal (1); Daman and Diu (2); Lakshadweep (10); Pondicherry (2); and Andaman & Nicobar (23)
  • Government of Indiaplans to modernise these ports and has approved a project called
  • The ports and shipping industry in India plays a vital role in sustaining growth in the country’s trade and commerce.
  • The Indian Government has allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of up to 100 per cent under the automatic route for port and harbour construction and maintenance projects.
  • The government has also initiated National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP), an initiative to develop the maritime sector with a planned outlay of US$ 11.8 billion.
  • Indian government has a federal structure, and according to its constitution, maritime transport is to be administered by both the Central and the State governments. While the central government’s shipping ministry administers the major ports, the minor and intermediate ports are administered by the relevant departments or ministries in the nine coastal states

Union govt sanctions 36,254 houses for urban poor in Karnataka

  • The Centre sanctioned 36,254 houses for Karnataka at an investment of Rs 1,468 crore under various sponsored schemes.
  • An inter-ministerial committee chaired by Secretary, Housing and Poverty Alleviation, approved construction of 12,371 houses for Karnataka under the Affordable Housing in Partnership component of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) for rehabilitating slum dwellers.
  • Another 23,883 houses will be built in 207 cities and towns for urban poor under the Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban).

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Urban Awas Yojana (Scheme) is also known as HFA which stands for Housing for All
  • According to the terms of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the government of India will undertake to construct about two crore houses by the year 2022.
  • Each house provided under the scheme will involve a central grant of about INR 1 lakh which may go up to INR 2.3 lakhs.
  • This will come as part of a 6.5 percent interest rate subsidy scheme (previous schemes had an interest rate subsidy of about 1 percent). T
  • This means that the applicants from lower income groups who avail of the housing scheme may apply for a housing loan with interest subsidy of 6.5 percent.
  • The tenure or term for these housing loans may go up to 15 years and the total benefit received by such loan subsidy will add up to INR 1 to 2.3 lakh each.
  • Currently housing loan interest rates are estimated at about 10.5 percent. The subsidy should, therefore be a major relief to applicants.
  • The ‘Housing for All’ scheme will replace all previous government housing schemes such as the Rajiv Awas Yojana.

The main beneficiaries of this latest housing for all scheme 2022 will be –

  1. Women
  2. People belonging to Scheduled Casts(SC)
  3. People belonging to Scheduled Tribes(ST)
  4. Economically weaker section(EWS)

Note – In order to verify that the applicant belongs to the EWS or LIG group, the applicant needs to submit self-certificate or Affidavit as proof of Income.

The income should not exceed –

  1. 3 Lakh p.a. for EWS applicants
  2. 6 Lakh p.a. for LIG applicants

AGE – Age of the applicants should be between 21 to 55 years.

Overview

  • Name of the Scheme – Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) or Housing for All Scheme 2022
  • Aim – Providing Quality Homes at affordable prices
  • Duration of the Scheme – 7 years ( from June 2015 to March 2016)
  • Which Cities/ Towns are covered – All under the Census 2011
  • Applicable for – EWS/LIG (Economically Weaker Section/ Lower Income Group)
  • Main Feature – Credit Linked Subsidy

Phases

  • Indian Government will focus on creating housing units under three different phases –
  • Phase 1 – The Phase 1 of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana will continue from April 2015 to March 2017 . In this phase 100 cities will be selected
  • Phase 2 – The Phase 2 of PMAY Housing for All 2022 will take place from April 2017 to March 2019 .This Scheme will cover 200 more cities
  • Phase 3 – Phase 3, the final phase of Pradhan Mantri Awas yojana Scheme will take place from April 2019 to March 2022. This final phase will cover all remaining cities.

Conditions

  • This Awas Yojana will be implemented during 2015 to 2022 i.e. 17/06/2015 to 31/03/2022
  • The house to be constructed or purchased should be in the name of the female head of the family OR it can be in the joint names of male head and female member in the family
  • Note – if there is no adult female in the family, then the male member becomes eligible to apply
  • To be eligible to receive the central assistance under the mission the Beneficiary family should not own a “pucca” house
  • The mission will support construction of houses upto 30 square meter carpet area with basic civic infrastructure.
  • The minimum size of houses constructed under the mission under each component should conform to the standards provided in National Building Code (NBC).
  • The houses under the mission should be designed and constructed to meet the requirements of structural safety against earthquake, flood, cyclone, landslides etc. conforming to the National Building Code and other relevant Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) codes
  • NRI’s are also eligible to apply for this scheme

Forest dept says no to highway widening inside Dandeli Sanctuary

  • The Forest Department has declined to allow widening of the National Highway-44 cutting through the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary fearing loss of wildlife and virgin moist deciduous forest.
  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has requested the Forest department to part with 6.423 hectares of pristine land between Castle Rock and Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary for widening the NH-44, a 84-km stretch from Belagavi to Goa.
  • This is three hectares less than the earlier proposal by the NHAI. The proposed road project is likely to uproot at least 37,000 trees.
  • The Forest department is contemplating to allow an underpass or an over-bridge with proper road signage so that wildlife and forests remain unaffected.
  • As in Nagarhole and Bandipur Tiger reserves, traffic is banned even in the KTR. But if the road through the KTR is widened, then there will be round-the-clock movement of heavy vehicles. This will have an adverse effect on the wildlife, particularly tigers.
  • The KTR is also home to the endangered Black Panther, Malabar Giant Squirrels and Hornbills, which will face threat of road kill.

About Kali Tiger Reserve

  • Kali Tiger Reserve is a protected area and a Project Tiger tiger reserve and is located in Uttara Kannada district  bordering the state of Goa.
  • The park is a habitat of Bengal tigers, black panthers and Indian elephants, amongst other distinctive fauna. The Kali River flows through the Tiger reserve and is the lifeline of the ecosystem and hence the name. The Tiger reserve is spread over an area of 1300 square kilometers
  • The forest in the area was declared the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary on 10 May 1956. The state proposed carving out a section of the sanctuary to form the Anshi national park, and the proposal was implemented on 2 September 1987
  • It was renamed to Kali Tiger Reserve in Dec 2015.
  • The park is in the ecoregions of North Western Ghats montane rain forests and North Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, both of which are deemed endangered by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

ACB’s new office inaugurated

  • The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has set up its units in all the district headquarters in the state.
  • About 70% of the staff have also been recruited
  • The ADGP said that the ACB has received 1,016 complaints since its inception. The ACB sleuths have registered 27 cases and arrested 21 persons

About Anti-Corruption Bureau

  • The Anti-Corruption Bureau is a specialized agency responsible for collection of intelligence with regard to corruption, maintaining liaison with the various Departments of Government through their Vigilance Officers, enquiries into complaints about bribery and corruption, investigation and prosecution of offences pertaining to bribery and corruption and tasks relating to preventive aspects of corruption.
  • The Bureau handles all cases registered under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • Besides this, the Bureau conducts enquiries based on the information/petitions received from various agencies like Government, Lokayukta, etc. And also on the information/petitions received from the public containing specific and verifiable allegations of corruption against Public Servants.
  • Functions directly under the administrative control of the DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL & ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS (DPAR) of Karnataka state Government.
  • The Bureau is headed by a senior IPS Officer of the rank of Addl. Director General of Police
  • The Karnataka Lokayukta Act 1984 (KLA) and the Anti Corruption Act 1988 (PC Act) are two different legislations.
  • The KLA empowers the Lokayukta to inquire into complaints against public servants, but does not provide for criminal investigations into cases corruption by public servants and others.
  • The PC Act provides for empowering police authorities with the powers to investigate crimes of corruption.
  • The powers of investigation into crimes of corruption have been entrusted by the state government to the Police wing of the Karnataka Lokayukta.
  • However, the Supreme Court in the C. Rangaswamaiah vs Karnataka Lokayukta, 1988, case has held that the police officers investigating cases under PC Act are autonomous and just because they are deputed to the Karnataka Lokayukta the master servant relationship between the police officers invested with the powers to investigate PC Act offences and the Government does not end.
  • Based on the Rangaswamaiah judgement the High Court of Karnataka in a number of cases has held that the Lokayukta does not have jurisdiction to supervise over criminal investigation in PC Act conducted by the Lokayukta police wing.
  • The decision of the Government taken in the past to give the Lokayukta police wing dual responsibility of assisting the Lokayukta under section 15(1) of the KLA and investigating PC Act offences under section 17 of the PC Act, on which the Police have to act independent of the Lokayukta, has resulted in the police investigation machinery coming under thesupervision of the Lokayukta thus giving rise to confusion about roles and responsibilities of the respective institutions.
  • The Government has therefore decided to separate these two roles by creating a new Anti Corruption Bureau on the same pattern as the central government. With the creation of this new institution, the ACB will be the statutory authority to investigate PC Act offences; the current Police wing of the Karnataka Lokayukta will exclusively assist the Lokayukta and the Upa Lokayuktas in carrying out the responsibilities under the KLA.
  • The High Court of Karnataka passes an order on 8.02.2016 in Writ Petition directing the State Government to create Vigilance wings in each of the departments of the Government. The government has accordingly decided to create vigilance wing in the government with vigilance officers in each of the departments and boards and corporations.
  • This is on the pattern of the Vigilance Commission in the central government and some state governments. The vigilance officers will be empowered to receive complaints / grievances against the officials of the respective departments and look into the same for providing speedy remedies.Detailed guidelines will be issued in due course.
  • The High Court of Karnataka has also directed the state government to prepare and issue a police manual for the Police Wing of the Lokayukta to lay down detailed processes and procedure for conducting investigations in to offences under the PC Act. A Police Manual for investigations in to PC Act offences has been prepared and will shortly be notified.
  • A Vigilance Advisory Board has been created to guide and supervise the vigilance mechanism of the government and to guide and administratively supervise the functioning the Vigilance officers and the ACB.

Why create a separate ACB when the Police Wing of the Lokayukta is already doing the job?

  • Investigation into the PC Act offences is a police job and it should be supervised by superior police officers
  • The Bureau of Investigation was earlier autonomous with the ADGP enjoying the powers of a head of the department.
  • However, through a series of Government Orders the ADGP and the police wing were brought under the administrative control of the Lokayukta.
  • While this served the purposes of the KLA, through a series of Writ Petitions the investigations conducted by the Lokayukta police wing into the PC Act offences were challenged.
  • The matter was agitated in the High Court and in the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court settled this issue in Rangaswamaiah’s case and upheld the investigations, but also upheld the autonomy of the investigation machinery.
  • However, when there is direct administrative and financial control in the hands of an authority which does not have supervisory powers of a superior police officer, then accountability mechanism becomes weak. This gives rise to a situation of authority without accountability.
  • There was a need to correct the situation and strengthen the entire grievance redressal and anti corruption mechanism by having two police wings: one for the Lokayukta and another for Anti-Corruption.
  • The two wings will be independent and autonomous of each other; yet the Karnataka Lokayukta will continue to enjoy the power given under section 15(3) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act to utilise the services of any agency of the government including the newly created ACB

Centre alone can accord linguistic minority status, rules High Court

  • The High Court said the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions does not have the jurisdiction to grant the linguistic minority status.
  • The court said that only the Union government can accord the linguistic minority status.
  • The Commission’s power to accord minority (linguistic) status does not come under the jurisdiction of Section 11(f) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act 2004.
  • Section 11(f) talks about the functions and powers of the Commission — to decide all questions relating to the status of any institution as a minority educational institution and declare its status.
  • The petitioner, the trustees belong to Marwari, Telugu and Marathi speaking linguistic minority had approached the High Court seeking quashing of the order passed by the Commission on June 6, 2016 dismissing the school’s application seeking linguistic minority status.
  • The Commission in its order had stated, “Linguistic minorities are outside the purview of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act.
  • Justice Chauhan upheld the order of the Commission and said that the power to grant minority status is held only by the Central government.
  • The committee does the spot inspection and verifies the documents of the institution to ensure 25% of the students in the institution are from the minority community. The state government only certifies the minority status for the institution, but it is only the Central government that declares the institution as the ‘minority’

Nine more districts to come under Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme

  • The Central government scheme to balance the child sex ratio in the country, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao is likely to be extended to nine districts in the state.
  • Vijayapura was the only district from Karnataka among the 100 districts in the country that were selected when the programme was launched in 2015.
  • The SSA department, Department of Women and Child, Department of Health and Family Welfare and the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights will jointly implement the scheme.
  • As a part of the preparations to introduce the programme, workshops have been conducted for 200 officials including principals, block education officials, block resource officers and deputy directors of public instruction.
  • The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme seeks to improve and balance the child sex ratio through various measures such as awareness camps, gender sensitisation and other capacity building programmes.
  • The child sex ratio in Vijayapura is one of the lowest in the state with 928 females per 1,000 males as per the 2001 census and 931 females to 1,000 males in 2011 census.
  • The other districts that have been selected also have a similar child sex ratio
  • According to official statistics, the national average child sex ratio is 918 females per 1,000 males. Compared to other districts in the country, Vijayapura has a comparatively better sex ratio.
  • In Haryana, for example, 12 districts are under the programme out of which Mahendragarh district has one of the lowest child sex ratios.
  • According to the 2001 census, this district had 818 females per 1,000 males and this further decreased to 775 females per 1,000 males by the 2011 census.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) initiative

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
  • The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.
  • The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.
  • It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
  • In the first phase, 100 districts with low Child Sex Ratio were selected for the Scheme implementation for creating awareness and advocacy about the issue.
  • During the last one year, the BBBP Scheme is being implemented under the overall guidance and supervision of concerned District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioners.

GPS to be used for next year’s elephant census

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) will be used for the first time to count and map elephants in the pachyderm census to be held in April-May 2017.
  • Forest officials and researchers will also use the first official line transect method as well as the dung decay rate assessment.
  • Existing census methods — direct and indirect sightings and water-hole study — will also be employed.
  • For the first time, a country-wide map of elephant distribution would be prepared.
  • Maps will be prepared by research institutions and forest departments of all states. Beat-wise maps showing low- and high-population density areas will be prepared using GIS to demarcate block boundaries
  • The decision to use GPS was taken at a recent meeting of Project Elephant attended by experts and forest officials in New Delhi

About Elephant census

  • The Southern region of the country has the largest concentration of elephants, especially across the Western Ghats that is spread across all Southern states except Andhra Pradesh.
  • Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have nearly 40 per cent of the country’s jumbo population with more than 12,000 elephants. The North-eastern region has more than 9,000 elephants, Eastern region has more than 3,500 elephants while the Northern region has around 1,700 elephants.
  • The population estimation of pachyderms happens every five years. As per the last study of 2012, the population of elephants is estimated to be between 29,000 and 30,711. Besides these wild elephants, around 3,500 elephants are in captivity.
  • The methodology used to estimate population of elephants is different from the one used to count tigers. While the forest departments and scientists use camera traps to capture images of individual tigers and extrapolate the population estimate, this is not possible in the case of elephants as they do not bear distinct individual physical features such as the stripes of a tiger.
  • Ministry officials, chief wildlife wardens of states and independent scientists have decided to use a combination of direct and indirect methods.
  • In the census officials will be using the dung decay rate method, line transect method and the waterhole count method. Elephants move in herds and their territorial range is vast as they move from one state to another. With the help of elephant dung and its size we are able to assess their path and the probable size of their herd
  • The other methods are direct methods wherein individual elephants are counted, while walking in a straight line, fixed block and while sitting at a vantage point,
  • Elephants defecate 14-17 times a day. The decay rate of elephant dung is calculated along with deposition rate and their density. This gives an idea about their density and these values are used in a formula to arrive at an estimated number,
  • Since the dung decay rate is an indrect method, it is does not give any idea of individuals and herds.

Biometric coupon system for PDS supplies to be extended

  • The Aaadhar-linked biometric coupon system for procuring food grains and kerosene under public distribution system (PDS) will be extended to all fair price shops in district headquarters from next month.
  • At present, the coupon system has been made mandatory in all fair price shops in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits, but is in place only at some select shops in other districts.
  • From September, ration card holders will be given coupons for entitlements for two months together.
  • The biometric coupons can be obtained from 57 BangaloreOne centres and 130 franchises (private cyber centres) in BBMP limits and Nemmadi Kendras and franchises in other districts.
  • The Union government has provided an incentive of Rs 70 crore for plugging leakage of PDS kerosene in the state
  • The subsidy on PDS kerosene is entirely borne by the Centre and hence the reward for Karnataka
  • The sale of PDS kerosene stood at 12 lakh litres in April and dropped to 3.2 lakh litres in July following the introduction of the coupon system.
  • The incentive provided by the Centre will be utilised for providing free LPG connections to the poor

Advantage:

  1. Deliver benefits directly to the poor, thereby eliminating unintended beneficiaries, while using the market mechanism
  2. Cut the costs of an inefficient public delivery system
  3. Allow the poor some choice by letting them shop around with their benefit payments.
  4. Someone with food vouchers should be able to sell some or all of them to buy what he likes

Challenges:

  1. Vouchers which can be sold should be extinguished as soon as possible — carry an early expiry date. Otherwise there will be an ocean of vouchers circulating as a parallel currency system.
  2. There is also the chance of counterfeiting of vouchers.
  3. To make that difficult they have to be designed with security features which will raise the cost of producing them

Quota in contracts: Guv refers bill to President

  • Governor Vajubhai Vala has referred a bill passed by the state legislature that sought to provide reservation for the SC/STs in government contracts to the President.
  • In his note to the government, Vala observed that treating the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as a “special class” for the purpose of awarding contracts by the government and its agencies was in violation of constitutional provisions.
  • Since legislation has to be examined with reference to the constitutional provisions, I reserve the matter for consideration of the President of India,” Vala has stated.
  • The Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements (Amendment) Bill, 2016 sought to provide 24% reservation for SC/STs while awarding contracts worth up to Rs 50 lakh.
  • In May this year, the government had come out with an ordinance to provide reservation for SC/STs in contracts. However, the ordinance was sent back by the Governor with an observation that such decisions must be approved by the legislature.
  • The amendment bill with the reservation provision was passed without any debate by both Houses of the state legislature in July.

Indo-German team to study man-wildlife conflict in state

  • India is in the process of bagging Rs 30 crore (four million Euro) grant from the German government to mitigate the human-wildlife conflict.
  • To ascertain the feasibility of future project elements, an Indo-German mission team, constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) will be visiting Karnataka.
  • The four-member team comprising three wildlife conservationists will visit Thithimathi in Kodagu on August 10 and parts of Nagarhole National Park and Bandipur National Park on August 11 to study the prevalent human-elephant conflict.
  • People in many parts of Uttarakhand are facing conflicts with monkeys, leopards and elephants, while Mumbaikars are facing leopard attacks. The team will also be traveling to Kolkata and Jaldapara National Park in northern West Bengal, to study the persisting human-elephant conflict.
  • Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun will give its expertise on population control of the wild animals.
  • Dr V B Mathur, Director, WII told Deccan Herald that the MoEFCC in partnership with the German Development Cooperation (through GIZ) has been implementing various Technical Cooperation (TC) projects in areas of biodiversity conservation, climate change and environmental management.
  • During the Indo-German consultations in May, the MoEFCC requested a new TC project titled ‘Human-wildlife conflict mitigation in India’.
  • The entire mission is being funded by the German government
  • Instead of sterilisation or culling, the MoEFCC is now looking at a new measure.

Hope for aspiring parents as state may get 10 new adoption agencies

  • To meet the demand to adopt children, the State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) is taking measures to add adoption agencies in 10 districts besides identifying children who can be adopted from other child care institutions.
  • At present, there are about 1,300 prospective adoptive parents registered in the state while only about 200 children are free for adoption.
  • To the existing 30 agencies in the state, SARA is attempting to add a Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAAs) each in Tumakuru, Shivamogga, Kolar, Raichur, Yadgir, Chikkaballapur, Chitradurga, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu and Mysuru districts.
  • Moreover, SARA has asked District Child Protection Units to identify children who are free for adoption in orphanages and care homes.
  • This is a lengthy process as all efforts to trace the parents or guardians of missing, abandoned and orphan children have to be made before a child can be declared free for adoption.
  • Most of the children in orphanages and child homes have a single parent or their parents have left them there because they don’t have the means to take care of them.
  • Only when children are surrendered by the parents or are abandoned, can they be given for adoption
  • Setting up these agencies would only result in a marginal increase in the number of children
  • The new Central Adoption Resource Authority guidelines which came into effect in August 2015 have moved the process online and made it more transparent.
  • Prospective parents can register online and adopt children from any state in the country. Earlier, they had to register at the individual agency.

Various Stakeholders in adoption process

  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) – CARA ensures smooth functioning of the adoption process from time to time, issues Adoption Guidelines laying down procedures and processes to be followed by different stakeholders of the adoption programme.
  2. State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) – State Adoption Resource Agency acts as a nodal body within the State to promote and monitor adoption and non-institutional care in coordination with Central Adoption Resource Authority.
  3. Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) – Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) is recognized by the State Government under sub-section 4 of section 41 of the Act for the purpose of placing children in adoption.
  4. Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA)- Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency is recognised as a foreign social or child welfare agency that is authorised by Central Adoption Resource Authority on the recommendation of the concerned Central Authority or Government Department of that country for coordinating all matters relating to adoption of an Indian child by a citizen of that country.
  5. District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) – District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) means a unit set up by the State Government at district level under Section 61A of the Act. It identifies orphan, abandoned and surrendered children in the district and gets them declared legally free for adoption by Child Welfare Committee.

About The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 has come into force from 15th January, 2016. The new Act repeals the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
  • The Act clearly defines and classifies offences as petty, serious and heinous, and defines differentiated processes for each category. Keeping in view the increasing number of serious offences being committed by persons in the age group of 16-18 years and recognizing the rights of the victims as being equally important as the rights of juveniles, special provisions are incorporated in the Act to tackle heinous offences committed by individuals in this age group.
  • It establishes a statutory status for the Child Adoption Resources Authority (CARA).
  • It also proposes several rehabilitation and social integration measures for institutional and non-institutional children. It provides for sponsorship and foster care as completely new measures.
  • Mandatory registration of all institutions engaged in providing child care is required according to the Act.
  • New offences including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, the use of children by militant groups, and offences against disabled children are also incorporated in the legislation.
  • The new law gives the Juvenile Justice Board the power to assess whether the perpetrator of a heinous crime aged between 16 and 18, had acted as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult.’ The board will be assisted in this process by psychologists and social experts.
  • It strikes a fine balance between the demands of the stakeholders asking for continued protection of rights of juveniles and the popular demand of citizens in the light of increasing incidence of heinous crimes by young boys.

Diphtheria now claiming lives of older kids

  • Diphtheria, which was once known to be common among children between the ages of two and six, has started claiming lives of older children in the state
  • In 2015, there was an outbreak of the disease in Kolar district.
  • Though the numbers are low, what concerns doctors is that people are not taking precautions though the disease is largely preventable.
  • The child is vaccinated against the disease in the routine immunisation programme.
  • The pentavalent vaccine gives protection against diphtheria besides pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B (HeP B) and haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) DPT (Diphtheria+Pertussis+Tetanus).
  • The child is given vaccination at six months, on the 10th and 14th weeks, which is later followed up by booster doses. Though the vaccine has been made available by the government free of cost under the immunisation schedule, 10 of the 17 children who died since 2015 were partially immunised and seven were not immunised.
  • Parents visit hospitals nearly two years after childbirth. However, after 18 months’ vaccination, many drop out. Some are ignorant about the schedule. The others are not motivated. According to WHO, parents also have certain obstacles like irregular work hours or unwillingness to stand in a hospital queue

What is Diphtheria

  • A serious infection of the nose and throat caused by bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
  • This is easily preventable by a vaccine.
  • However, there are a few communities that are not protected even with vaccines.
  • Symptoms include fever, sore throat, toxicity and multiple complications.

Govt plans ‘Kuteeras’ on major roads to boost tourism

  • The Tourism department is planning to provide wayside amenities along major roads connecting destinations of tourist importance in the state.
  • These wayside amenities to be named “Kuteera” will necessarily have a cafeteria, pharmacy, information kiosk and a souvenir shop.
  • The department is planning to set up such centres at various points along national highways, state highways and major district roads.
  • Usually, well-travelled stretches like Bengaluru-Mysuru highway have a good number of outlets offering wayside amenities.
  • However, it is found that there was a significant shortage of such organised wayside amenities along several major roads and it is on these stretches that the department plans to offer facilities for the travellers
  • The process of working out the modalities for the project and the places where the wayside facilities could be offered is being finalised.

Three types of “Kuteeras” are being planned.

  1. The basic type will have a coffee shop, a pharmacy, an information kiosk and a souvenir shop replete with handicraft items, sandalwood carvings, artefacts, incense sticks, metal lamps, Lambani jewellery, among others that reflect the culture and heritage of Karnataka
  2. The second type of “Kuteera” will also have rest rooms/dormitory, besides a retail store.
  3. The third type of “Kuteera” will have all the facilities available at a three star hotel

State to announce approved trekking routes soon

  • The Forest department and Tourism department will together release an official list of authorised and regulated trekking routes soon.
  • Since November 2015, the Forest Department has been organising regulated trekking as part of the 108-km Great Canara Trails from Ulvi to Castle Rock. But the Tourism Department has not endorsed it.
  • This has created confusion among adventure enthusiasts.
  • There are many websites offering exciting trekking trips to pristine forest locations and to lesser explored places. People, especially corporates, software professionals and youth, who have the money to splurge get attracted to such offers. They realise the treks are illegal only when they are caught by the Forest department or the local police.
  • There have also been cases where such trekkers have gone missing or suffered injuries. This happens as trekkers are not guided by trained and government recognised naturalists and guides.
  • Besides, organisers are not fully aware of the locations and probable risks. Thus, the government recognised routes will help people and also conservation
  • Keeping in mind the safety and security of trekkers as well as environment protection, the official list will be announced soon. Strict action will be taken against organisers and trekkers venturing into other places.

Ranadheera Kanteerava Park

  • Developed by the BBMP, the park is named after Kanteerava Narasaraja Wadiyar I.
  • It is aimed at educating visitors about Karnataka’s rich heritage and history
  • Spread over four acres and 10 guntas, the park has attractive sculptures of famous kings and replicas of the architectural marvels of the state.
  • The highlight of the park is benches that are creatively made in the shapes of watermelon, hibiscus and other flowers. A sum of Rs 3.85 crore has been spent on the park.
  • The place was earlier a property of the state government and later handed over to the BBMP. A few land-grabbers had tried to encroach it. It took one year to develop the park
  • The park gives information about the journey of the state and throws light on important personalities from 300 BC to 1900 AD through sculptures and information panels

PDS portability lets card holders avail rations from any outlet

  • The Food and Civil Supplies department has introduced a ‘PDS shop portability’ initiative for the convenience of the beneficiaries.
  • Under the initiative, the ration card holders, who were earlier restricted to only one public distribution system (PDS) outlet, can now get rations from any PDS outlet in their taluk.
  • The department has already introduced the coupon system for obtaining kerosene and food grains in around 1,500 PDS outlets in Bengaluru, and in 10 outlets in each district headquarters.
  • Beneficiaries can furnish these coupons at the outlets and obtain the entitled quantity of rations.

3-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas from January 7 next year

  • The 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, off Bengaluru-Tumakuru Highway, from January 7 to 9 next year.
  • The state government, in association with the Ministry of External Affairs, will organise the three-day event. Around 2,500 non-resident Indians (Nevis) from across the globe are expected to take part in the programme.
  • On Day One of the event, sessions will be held on the problems being faced by the NRI students and the impact of startups on society. On the second day, the main session of the nris will be held
  • The prime minister, the external affairs minister and the chief ministers of many states will participate.
  • A session on the contribution of nris to the development of the country will also be held
  • Award ceremony is scheduled for the third day. Individuals with exceptional achievements will be honoured with the prestigious “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman” award to appreciate their role in the country’s growth.
  • The Karnataka government will make use of the opportunity to showcase investment opportunities in the state. An exhibition showcasing investment potential in Karnataka will be organised during the event
  • The government has recently registered a separate non-profit company by name Invest Karnataka Company to woo investments in the state.

About Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, is celebrated in India on 9 January each year to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.
  • The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa in Bombay on 9 January 1915.
  • Established in 2003, it is sponsored by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs of the government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) and the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region of India.
  • A celebratory event is held on 7–9 January each year in an Indian city: a forum for issues concerning the Indian Diaspora is organised and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are given.
  • The 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held during 7–9 January 2014 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The Theme for this year was Engaging Diaspora: Connecting Across Generations.
  • The 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held during 7–9 January 2015 at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, Gujarat . The Theme for this year was “Apna Bharat, Apna Gaurav”.

NITK Surathkal to have one MW rooftop solar plant by September

  • The National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal, will soon have a one MW rooftop solar plant on its campus, said to be the largest in a government academic institute.
  • The one MW grid plant will be set up on 12 academic, administrative and hostel buildings that will cater to the 15% power requirement of the campus.
  • With the focus on maximising power generation, the project has been designed keeping in mind the high wind load due to the institute’s proximity to the beach. The project will also generate useful data for future implementation of such projects in the region
  • The proposed plant is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to implement green technologies on NIT and IIT campuses.
  • It is implemented through Solar Energy Corporation Of India.
  • As per the agreement, the company will instal, operate and maintain the plant for 25 years and sell the power to NITK at a low tariff. “This is a unique ‘install and operate’ model to be implemented in any academic institute campus in India,”

SIT chargesheets Justice Rao in Lokayukta extortion scam

  • The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing extortion and corruption cases within the Lokayukta institution, filed the chargesheet against former Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao who is also a retired Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.
  • This is the first time a former Lokayukta has been chargesheeted for offences committed while in office.
  • The SIT has filed a 560-page additional charge sheet in the case (56/2015) pertaining to extortion and demand for bribe from M N Krishnamurthy, former Executive Engineer, Zilla Panchayat (Bengaluru Urban) on May 4, 2015 at the office of Joint Commissioner Lokayukta (PRO) Syed Riyaz in the Lokayukta office.
  • Justice Rao’s son Yerabati Ashwin and Riyaz are the prime accused in the case. Justice Rao has been named accused number seven in the case.
  • The SIT has pressed charges of abetment, destroying of evidence and attempting to save his son Ashwin, who ran an extortion racket from both the office and the residence of the Lokayukta.
  • The charge sheet mentions that Justice Rao not only delayed enquiry when the incident was brought his notice through a report by the then Lokayukta SP (City) Sonia Narang, but also made attempts to save his son.
  • The charge sheet also stated that Justice Rao provided all documents from the office of the Lokayukta to Ashwin, within 24 hours, only to allow him to move the High Court challenging investigation ordered by Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi.
  • Ashwin had filed the application on June 29, 2015 and received the documents on June 30, 2015, the day he filed the writ petition. The SIT report also quotes the statement of Pramod, a City Armed Reserve (CAR) constable who was working at the Lokayukta PRO office.

PM Awas Yojana: 6 crore houses planned

  • The Karnataka chapter of National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) announced that it will be constructing five lakh affordable houses in Karnataka as a contribution to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
  • Under the scheme, the government aims to provide six crore affordable houses in the country — four crore houses in rural areas and two crore houses in urban areas – by the year 2022.
  • The members of NAREDCO, which include builders, realtors, architects and others involved in various aspects of real estate, aim to build five lakh homes in Karnataka in five years.
  • Members of NAREDCO, who participate in the project, will invest in the construction of affordable homes in return for cuts in income tax and service tax.
  • Homes with carpet area of up to 30 square metres in tier-I cities and 60 square metres NAREDCO will decide the location for implementing this project on the basis of demand and feasibility.

Panel to amend rules to ensure smooth House proceedings

  • A decision has been taken to constitute a Rules Amending Committee by presiding officers of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
  • The main objective of the committee will be to amend rules of procedures to ensure that there is minimal disruption or obstruction when both Houses are in business.
  • The committee will be headed by Koliwad and Shankaramurthy. It will comprise nine MLAs (one MLA from BJP and JD-S; one Independent; and six MLAs from Congress) and three MLCs (one each from BJP, JD-S and Congress).

Southern Bird Wing may be state butterfly of Karnataka

  • The Forest department has sent a proposal to the state government to declare Southern Bird Wing butterfly as the state butterfly.
  • If all goes well, Karnataka will be the second state in the country after Maharashtra to have a state butterfly.
  • Karnataka already has Indian Roller as the state bird and elephant as state animal.
  • The proposal was to be tabled at the State Wildlife Board meeting that was scheduled to be held on August 1, 2016, for its approval.
  • The decision to have a state butterfly is to attract people to nature, educate them, create awareness about the species and increase conservation for this flagship species, as in the case of tigers.
  • This particular butterfly was chosen because of its colour- red and yellow, which is same as the colours of the state flag. It is also easy to sight this butterfly which is found in abundance in the state. It is not endemic and is also the largest butterfly found in India.
  • The idea to have a state butterfly cropped up at the previous With Nature (OWN) workshops. The workshops are held in the forest department head office to explain fundamentals to nature lovers. The workshops comprise various elements such as awareness about antlers, beehives, tiger scats and flora and fauna

Singapore docs to train state health pros to curb infant, maternal mortality rate

  • In an bid to bring down the maternal and infant mortality rate, healthcare professionals in the state would be trained by practitioners from Singapore
  • The State Institute of Health and Family Welfare will collaborate with the Singapore International Foundation and Singapore Health Services for the project – ‘Enhancing Maternal and Child Health Services Programme’.
  • Around 200 people will be trained in the next three years.
  • Doctors and nurses from high risk zones like Bidar, Raichur and Kalaburagi would be trained in batches of 50.
  • Of the 200 who would undergo training, 40 who have best picked up the skills would be deployed by the state to train the remaining staff.