National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 4th December 2019

Crime Against Women

Topic: Social Issues

In News: Recent brutal rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad has led to an outpouring of anger across the country and in Parliament.

More on the Topic:

  • After the 2012 Nirbhaya outrage in Delhi, and on the recommendations of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was passed, by bringing in changes to the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
  • Key amendments were brought in to provide for death penalty for rape that led to death of the victim or reduced the survivor to a persistent vegetative state and anyone found guilty of rape more than once.
  • In 2018, further changes introduced death as the maximum punishment for every perpetrator in a gang-rape when the victim is less than 12, and life-long imprisonment if the victim is less than 16.

Statistics:

  • The National Crime Records Bureau which released its 2017 data this October said a total of 3.59 lakh cases of crimes against women were reported, a 6% rise compared to 2016. Of this, assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty comprised 21.7%, and rape 7%. For every rape reported, there are many which go unrecorded as patriarchal mindsets remain unchanged.

Way Ahead:

  • Better policing, fast-track courts, quick sentencing are the need of the hour as each can serve as a deterrent.
  • What should be included in every curriculum is gender sensitisation, right from school.
  • Public places must be made safer for all. Boys and girls should be raised right in an atmosphere of freedom and a culture of mutual respect. The cycle of rapes, outrage and amnesia must end.

Source: Hindu

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group

Topic: Social Justice

In News: Recently there was mentioning about the funds released under the PVTGs scheme in the Parliament.

More on the Topic:

  • Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness.
  • Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy. These groups are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.

The need for identification:

  • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development.
  • In this context, in 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory (UT), in the country (2011 census).

Scheme for development of PVTGs:

  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them.
  • Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment, which are then appraised and approved by the Project Appraisal Committee of the Ministry.
  • Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme(TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for the welfare of Schedule Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.

Source: PIB, Vikaspedia

Blue Flag Certification

Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: The MoEFCC has began a programme for ‘Blue Flag’ Certification for seleced beaches in the country.

More on the Topic:

  • 13 pilot beaches have been identified for the certification.
  • These include Ghoghala Beach (Diu), Shivrajpur beach (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Padubidri and Kasarkod (Karnagaka), Kappad beach (Kerala) etc.

About Blue Flag Certification:

  • The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education).
  • The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.
  • In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
  • There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meets certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled-friendly, have first aid equipment etc.

Source: Hindu

New Technology to Reduce Stubble Burning

Topic: Science and Technology

In News: The government has funded a pilot project at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in Mohali (Punjab) with a Swedish company to evaluate the feasibility of Swedish technology — torrefaction that can convert rice stubble into ‘bio-coal’.

More on the topic:

  • Torrefaction is a thermal process to convert biomass into a coal-like material, which has better fuel characteristics than the original biomass.
  • The process involves heating up straw, grass, sawmill residue and wood biomass to 250 degrees celsius – 350 degrees celsius.
  • This changes the elements of the biomass into ‘coal-like’ pellets. These pellets can be used for combustion along with coal for industrial applications like steel and cement production.
  • The project has a capacity of converting 150-200 kilograms of paddy straw to bio-coal every hour and reduce CO2 emissions by 95%.
  • The torrefied pellets are ideal for coal replacement because it has lower shipping and transport costs, lower sulfur and ash content (compared with coal), etc.

Source: Hindu

Aerial seeding

Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: The Delhi High Court asked forest authorities the possibility of planting of seeds by throwing dart shots containing them from helicopters into forest areas.

More on the Topic:

  • Aerial seeding is a technique of sowing seeds by spraying them through aerial mechanical means such as a drone, plane or helicopter.
  • It is often used to spread different grasses and legumes to large areas of land that are in need of vegetative cover after fires. Large wildfires can destroy large areas of plant life resulting in erosion hazards.
  • Aerial seeding may quickly and effectively reduce erosion hazards and suppress growth of invasive plant species. It is also an alternative to other seeding methods where terrain is extremely rocky or at high elevations or otherwise inaccessible.

Dart seeding:

  • Dart seeding is used with the same broad objective as aerial seeding: a plantation in inaccessible areas. The process involves throwing darts containing seeds onto open ground.
  • In aerial seeding, many seeds fail to germinate. If dart plantation is done from a low-flying helicopter, seeds have a relatively better chance of survival as they reach deeper into the ground.
  • Plantation with both aerial and dart plantations is carried out close to the onset of monsoon as watering the seeds is often challenging in inaccessible areas.

Source: Hindu

Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System” (PPRTMS)

Topic: e- Governance

In News: Election Commission of India (ECI) will be implementing “Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System” (PPRTMS).

More on the Topic:

  • The salient feature in PPRTMS is that the applicant (who is applying for party registration from 1st January, 2020 onwards) will be able to track the progress of his / her application and will get status update through SMS and email.
  • It will be implemented through an online portal, to facilitate tracking of status of application by applicants.
  • The applicant is required to provide contact mobile number and email address of the party / applicant in his application if he/she wishes to track the progress of the application.

Registration of Party:

  • The Registration of Political Parties is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • A party seeking registration under the said section with the Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation.
  • The application must be in prescribed format with basic particulars about the party such as name, address, membership details of various units, names of office bearers etc.

Source: PIB

Kulasekarapattinam

Topic: Science and Technology

In News: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has commenced land acquisition for its second launchpad in Kulasekarapattinam, a town in the Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) district of Tamil Nadu.

More on the Topic:

  • ISRO’s first and only spaceport, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), is located in Sriharikota, about 100 km north of Chennai, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The organisation launches its PSLV and GSLV rockets from here.
  • The second spaceport at Kulasekarapattinam is expected to provide an important advantage to ISRO’s upcoming Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), a smaller counterpart of the PSLV.

Why Second Launch Pad:

  • The PSLV is designed to launch satellites into pole-to-pole, or polar, orbits around Earth.
  • However, it can’t enter into such an orbit straightaway after launch because its trajectory needs to avoid flying over Sri Lanka, protecting its popular centres from any debris from the rocket.
  • So once the rocket lifts off from Sriharikota, it flies further east to avoid Sri Lanka and then steers itself back towards the South Pole.
  • This manoeuvre requires more fuel, and for a smaller rocket like the SSLV, the addition could eat into its already limited payload capacity and reduce the rocket’s value for Antrix, ISRO’s commercial operator.
  • By setting up a spaceport in Kulasekarapattinam the SSLV will lift off over the Lakshadweep Sea and won’t have to swerve around Sri Lanka as it climbs to higher altitudes.

Why Thoothukudi?

  • Nearness to the equator: Like the Sriharikota spaceport in the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Thoothukudi was selected as a spaceport due to its nearness to the equator. A rocket launch site should be on the east coast and near the equator.
  • Logistical ease: ISRO has its Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district, where it assembles the second and fourth stage engines for the PSLV. Instead of transporting the second and fourth stages to Sriharikota from Mahendragiri, it would be easier to shift them to the launch pad if it is built in Kulasekarapattinam, which is around 100 km away.

Model mains Question: Discuss the contribution of space technology in socio economic development of the country.

Source: Hindu

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