STATE ISSUES – OCTOBER 2016

Mysuru Dasara began under shadow of Cauvery protests

inaugration

  •  Amid threats of protests over the Cauvery River water sharing issue, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will fly in from Bengaluru with writer Chennaveera Kanavi, inaugurated the 406th Dasara atop the Chamundi Hill at 11.45 am on 1st Oct
  • The two took the Akash Airavat, a private eight-seater aircraft, launched by the Karnataka State Tourism development Corporation.
  • Preparations started at the Chamundeshwari temple from early morning with special pujas.
  • In the evening, at the main venue of the cultural programmes, in front of the Mysuru Palace, Hindustani vocalist Somanath Maradura was honoured as Asthana Vidwan.
  • Most heritage buildings and the main roads and the Raja Patha (royal route) of the Jamboo Savari had been illuminated.
  • Elephant Arjuna will carry the golden howdah this year too. Last year, due to drought, just Rs 4 crore was spent on the festivities. Though the situation is worse this year, the government has released Rs 14.25 crore. The theme for the Dasara this year is ‘Water Conservation’.Private Durbar
    mysore-durbar
    Scion of the erstwhile royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, for whom this was the second Dasara, launched his ‘Khasagi Durbar’ (private) according to traditions of the 600-year-old Yadu dynasty, at 11.45 am at the Mysuru Palace, on 1st Oct. This was his first Dasara after his wedding with Trishika Kumari Singh.He conducted the durbar during the Navaratri and also conducted Ayudha Puja on October 10. On Vijayadashami, he offered Banni puja.Security tightenedWith Dasara celebrations set to begin on Saturday; the Mysuru police have tightened security by deploying 4,212 personnel. Home Guards, Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel, Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) battalions and City Armed Reserve (CAR) personnel, dog and anti-sabotage check teams and bomb detection and disposal squads have been deployed.

Mysuru gets 15-day air service for Dasara

aksash-ambari

  • In order to provide air connectivity to Mysuru ahead of the Dasara festival, the Department of Tourism has launched ‘Akasha Ambari’, a special flight from Bengaluru’s HAL airport.
  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the air service on 1st October by flying to Mysuru in the charter.
  • The Beechcraft B-300, twin-engine, nine-seater aircraft will fly to Mysuru twice a day until October 15.
  • The one-way fare was Rs 4,000 (all inclusive). The air service is aimed at attracting foreign tourists who find it time-consuming to travel between Bengaluru and Mysuru by road, a government official said. Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge, who had travelled on the inaugural flight, said he expected good response in the next two weeks.
  • The department had also introduced a special Dasara package on ‘Golden Chariot’ and ‘Royal Routes’ offerings to draw tourists to Mysuru.
  • ‘Golden Chariot’ offers a regal five-star treatment and a wholesome experience of witnessing Mysuru and Dasara at a tariff of Rs 30,000 per person for two nights and a day.
  • The ‘Royal Routes: Mysuru Palaces–Like Never Before’ initiative is aimed at showcasing the rich history and culture of the city and popularising its lesser-known places. The trip starts in Mysuru and tourists can explore the royalty in a day at Rs 4,900 excluding taxes.

Air-show set to light up Mysuru skies

Air show rehearsal attracts the people at the Bannimantap Torchlight Parade grounds in Mysore on Tuesday as part of Dasara. For the first time, a group of 3 Surya Kiran aircrafts performed fly past under the leadership of Wing Commander K.T. Kurien. -KPN

  • Mysureans, and also tourists got a chance to enjoy colourful metal birds fly in the skies above the Bannimantap Grounds, in the city, on October 7, from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm.
  • The Mysuru Dasara Committee, in association with the Mysore Flying Association (MFA), has organised the Mysuru Dasara Airshow-2016 as part of the festivities.
  • The show is expected to thrill the spectators and introduce them to the experience of radio-controlled flying, which will be near to real aircraft manoeuvres.
  • The airshow includes the display of static aircraft models, followed by aerobatic flying of various radio-controlled aircraft, helicopters and multi-copters.
  • The radio-controlled aircraft are powered by electric motors, nitro methane and also petrol engines. They can be flown up to a height of 1,800 metres.
  • However, for visibility, during airshows were flown up to a height of 600 metres only.
  • Professional radio-controlled aircraft pilots from various parts of the state will showcase their skills during the show.
  • The youngest pilots of the show were in between 10-12 years of age, said MFA president Arun Kumar.
  • The highlights of the airshow were: planes, multirotors and helicopters among the flying models. Among planes, there are electric sky-surfers, high-wing, mid-wing and low-wing trainers, Raven 35, Tucano-90 and scanner airplanes. Among multirotors, there are hexa-copters, octa-copters and quad-copters. Helicopters include electric and nitro-powered fliers.
  • The airshow also displayed an array of static models like Boeing A 747-8 Intercontinental, which is 18-foot long, a J10 jet electric turbine and various other electric models.

About Mysore Flying Association (MFA)

  • MFA is a non-profitable organisation run by a group of professionals from various fields, who are into flying radio-controlled aircraft, aero-modelling, aerial photography, aerial pollution monitoring and conducting of air shows at various institutions and social events across the country.
  • The objective of MFA is to promote and popularise the flair for flying among youngsters, students and others.
  • Its activities include providing theoretical and practical guidelines. MFA’s members have been participating in the Mysuru Dasara, Madikeri Dasara and also at various educational institutions since 2011.

Helicopter joyride proved a big hit in Mysuru this Dasara

  • The helicopter joyride that had been launched as part of Dasara celebrations had turned out to be a huge hit among the people, especially youth.
  • The 10-minute ride gives them an opportunity to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the city, including Mysuru Palace, Lalitha Mahal Palace, Rajendra Vilas Palace, Chamundi Hill and Karanji Lake.

Mammoth task of mounting howdah

arjuna

  •  A team of mahouts and kaavadis mounted the golden howdah weighting 750 kg on the back of Arjuna, who carried the howdah from the Mysuru Palace premises to Bannimantap as part of Jamboo Savari.
  • According to sources, the process of mounting the howdah started at 3.45 pm and ended at 4.30pm. Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Ganesh Bhat supervised the whole process.
  • The golden howdah belongs to the Wodeyar family, the erstwhile rulers of the princely Mysuru state.

Golden howdah insured for Rs 27 crore

goldenthrone

  • United India Insurance Company, Mysuru, has issued a policy, covering the golden howdah  for Rs 27 crore.
  • The golden howdah, which belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Mysuru, weighs around 750 kg.
  • The policy has be-en issued in the name of Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, wife of late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.
  • The period of coverage for the howdah is from October 10 to 16.
  • The insurance covers the golden howdah against accidental damage  during the procession, according to a press release.

Colourful end to Dusehra festivities

mysoredasara685

  • Curtains came down on the traditional 11-day Dussehra on 11th Oct, with an impressive “jumbo savari” (procession of caparisoned elephants) witnessed by tens of thousands amidst rain, marking the grand finale.
  • Celebrated as “naada habba” (state festival), the event showcased Karnataka’s cultural heritage resplendent with folk art forms, as ‘Arjuna’ led the other richly embellished elephants through the more than 5-km route from Mysuru Palace to Bannimantapa.
  • Thousands of people from the city and tourists from outside the state lined up the streets as ‘Arjuna’, carrying the idol of goddess Chamundeshwari in a 750-kg golden howdah, found its way majestically from the grand Mysuru Palace to the terminating point.
  • The “Jumbo savari” observed in the royal style since the days of the erstwhile Mysuru Maharajas, began with Siddaramaiah showering petals on goddess Chamundeshwari, the presiding deity of the historical city, amidst the gun salute.
  • Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar, the scion of the erstwhile Mysuru Royal family, was conspicuous by his absence at the event to shower petals on the goddess.
  • It has been a practice for the Royal family scions to accompany the Chief Minister at the event.
  • During the eleven-day long festivities at the Palace, Yaduveer, the 27th King of Wodeyar dynasty, ascended the golden throne during the ‘khasa (private) durbar’, which is reminiscent of the bygone era.
  • Though the recent raging Cauvery water sharing issue with neighbouring Tamil Nadu had affected tourist flow to Mysuru, officials said it has picked up in the last couple of days.

Panel for rebuilding Devaraja Market in Mysuru

devraja

  • The Task Force for Quality Assurance in Public Works (TQAPW) has recommended the reconstruction of Devaraja Market, a portion of which collapsed in August.
  • The task force will also submit a report to the state government, which will take a decision whether to renovate or reconstruct the building
  • Members of the taskforce, including chairman B R Srinivasamurthy, C N Babu, L Basavaraju and Syed Shakeeb-Ur-Rahman have prepared the report.
  • According to the report, the building should not be renovated as the roof and foundation of the building have become weak.
  • The renovation of the Lansdowne Building was stopped after a portion of Devaraja Market caved in last month.
  • Mumbai-based Savani Construction Company is doing the restoration work of both the 120-year-old Lansdowne Building and Devaraja Market. The authorities have earmarked Rs 12.5 crore — Rs 9 crore for Devaraja Market and Rs 3.5 crore for Lansdowne Building.

42 more taluks declared drought-hit in Karnataka

draught-karnataka

  • The Karnataka government today declared an additional 42 taluks in 13 districts as drought affected, taking the total number of affected taluks in the state to 110.
  • Although there have also been incidents of excess rains and floods in Kalaburagi, Bidar and Raichur, Jayachandra said there are both incidents of floods and drought in the state and those officials had been directed to prepare memorandum to the Centre, seeking assistance.
  •  50 more taluks may get added to the list. Other than Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, the situation was bad in most of the districts

Central team to visit state soon to study drought situation

  • With several parts of Karnataka facing severe drought, the Centre on 27th Oct informed the state that it will soon send a high-level team to assess the situation in the calamity-hit areas.
  • After receiving a memorandum from Karnataka Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa and Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda here, seeking Central assistance, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh informed them that a team headed by Union Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary A Niraja will tour the state soon.
  • After getting the report from the team, the Centre will take a decision on releasing grant to state,
  • Karnataka has declared 110 taluks drought-hit and sought Rs 3,375.77-crore assistance from the Centre to tackle the situation.
  • Besides, the state has sought Rs 120.13 crore to help those farmers who have not sown paddy in the Cauvery command area, Thimmappa stated.
  • In the memorandum, the state government said that prolonged continuous dry spell in the drought-declared taluks has destroyed crops on 25.57 lakh hectares and the loss is estimated at Rs 11,051.33 crore.
  • Besides, Rs.1094.46 crore worth of horticulture crops grown on 1.89 lakh hectares have also been damaged due to failure of rains.
  • With Karnataka facing drought for the sixth consecutive year, the state government may have to declare another 25 taluks as drought-hit if it does not rain in the next few weeks

Belagavi, Davangere get Rs 388 crore each for Smart City mission

smart-city

  • The cities of Belagavi and Davangere have received Rs 388 crore each, 10 months after being selected for the Smart City initiative, to execute their planned projects.
  • The Centre and state governments have chipped in with Rs 194 crore each (two annual instalments for the five-year Smart City Mission).
  • Belagavi Smart City Limited and Davangere Smart City Limited, two special purpose vehicles (SPVs), for programme implementation have been registered with the Registrar of Companies.
  • The SPVs are companies with a board of directors from the state government, Union ministry of urban development and independent directors. The SPVs have been put in place to ensure autonomy in decision-making and mission implementation of smart cities.
  • Official sources in Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), the nodal agency for the Smart City initiative, said the process of public consultation for deciding on the vision statement and objective of the smart city programme has been completed.
  • At present, both in Belagavi and Davangere, the process of shortlisting the project management consultant is on.
  • Belagavi has plans to boost its basic infrastructure by improving roads, utilities and amenities like water supply and transportation facilities.
  • It is also keen on development of neighbourhood parks and improvement of employment opportunities through development of factories and skill development centres at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore over the next five years.
  • In Davangere, besides taking up improvement in basic infrastructure, there are plans for taking up development of Mandakki Bhatti, a major hub of puffed rice manufacture units.
  • The plan is to provide environmental-friendly modern machines and develop civic infrastructure in the locality under public private partnership model.
  • Other projects planned include redevelopment of Mandipet wholesale market and improvement of the 200-year-old Durgamba temple, located in the heart of the city. The Durgamba temple can be taken up for revitalisation under the heritage and cultural precinct head of the Smart City initiative.

What is smart city project?

smart-city-project

  • Currently, 31% of India’s population lives in cities; these cities also generate 63% of the nation’s economic activity.
  • These numbers are rapidly increasing, with almost half of India’s population projected to live in its cities by 2030. Smart Cities focus on the most pressing needs and on the greatest opportunities to improve quality of life for residents today and in the future.
  • The Smart Cities Mission is a bold new initiative by the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.
  • Smart cities are projected to be equipped with basic infrastructure will offer a good quality of life through smart solutions.
  • Assured water and power supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation along with safety of its citizens are some of the likely attributes of these smart cities.

R K Laxman’s unpublished doodles on show at Cartoon Gallery

rk-laxman

  • Public will get a peek into the mind of legendary cartoonist R K Laxman at the Indian Cartoon Gallery, where his 97 unpublished doodles will be exhibited from October 15.
  • Seeing Doodu, as Laxman was known at home, doodling constantly whenever he visited his family in Mysuru, his older brother R K Srinivasan gave him a scrapbook to sketch.
  • Sketched over a period of 16 years from 1975 to 1991, these drawings are a mix of full-fledged political cartoons and things around Laxman that aroused his curiosity.
  • His classic humour is seen in others like the sketch of a man crushed under a large one rupee coin and a beggar with a bowl, full of jewellery and money, whom Laxman calls “victim of inflation”.
  • Scenes from hearings of the Shah Commission, which inquired into excesses committed during the Emergency and Indira Gandhi, walking on a barbed wire with a halo around her head are among the unpublished cartoons.
  • Former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, whose prohibition policy Laxman disagreed with, is shown playing cards and drinking alcohol, things the leader regarded ‘social evils.’
  • Laxman’s family members including ‘Malgudi Days’ fame author R K Narayan are also featured in the book. Dated December 1, 1983, the cartoon shows Narayan with a ghost hovering above him, both looking scared of each other.
  • On most of the sketches, Laxman has scribbled his humorous comments.
  • V G Narendra, managing trustee of Indian Institute of Cartoonists, became aware of book’s existence after he met Laxman’s nephew R S Krisnaswamy
  • After Krisnaswamy’s father passed away in 1991, Laxman stopped drawing in the book. He does not intend to publish the collection as the sketches are the private thoughts of the artist.

New cell soon in Delhi to aid people from Karnataka

  • Union Fertiliser Minister Ananth said an exclusive cell will be opened in Delhi to provide assistance from the Union government to people of Karnataka.
  • Inaugurating a two-day Horanada Kannadigara Sammelana (meeting of Kannadigas residing outside Karnataka) organised by Kannada Sahitya Parishat, the minister said the Centre will provide all help to people of Karnataka and this cell will work as a nodal office between Kannadigas and the Centre.
  • It will be opened and managed by union ministers hailing from Karnataka.
  • Efforts are also being made to settle the Mahadayi water dispute between Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa out of court at the earliest.

IISc scientists cheap device uses parthenium to detect melamine in milk

iias-scientist

  • Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a low-cost handheld device that uses the extracts of the parthenium weed to detect melamine in milk and milk products.
  • Melamine is a compound commonly used in making adhesives and plastic.
  • A survey on milk adulteration conducted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2011 reported that about 70% of the collected samples were adulterated.
  • While adulterants like detergent, urea, caustic soda, skimmed milk powder and glucose and water can be easily detected, it is not the case with melamine.
  • Advanced analytical techniques that require experts are used for melamine detection in milk.
  • In 2008, around 54,000 babies were hospitalised in China due to consumption of milk and milk products adulterated with melamine. It resulted in the death of six infants.
  • Parthenium poses a major problem for farmers as it is an invasive weed that hinders farming, causes asthma in human beings and various illnesses in cattle.
  • The IISc scientists, however, discovered that if leaf extracts of this weed are used as a reducing agent in the synthesis of silver nanoparticles (creation of nanoparticles of silver) the melamine interferes with the synthesis and results in a colour change in milk.
  • This visible change depends on the extent of this interference, and one can estimate the quantity of melamine present. This colour change can be directly observed with the naked eye.
  • Dr Sai Siva Gorthi, assistant professor, Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics, IISc, one of the authors of the study said that the problem of detection of melamine can be overcome by utilising a simple way of integration of micro fluidics with nanotechnology leading to a low-cost device of around Rs 5,000 that people can use at home instead of sophisticated equipment costing lakhs of rupees
  • The team has filed a national and international patent for this technological innovation. The study was conducted under the Social Innovation Programme for Products: Affordable and Relevant to Societal Health (SPARSH) project that is funded by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council.

 

IISc, Japanese firm join hands to study agriculture sector

  • An IoT (internet of things) development centre has been established at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in collaboration with Japanese business consulting firm alfa TKG.
  • The alfa TKG has been working with the Inter-disciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) at IISc as part of a MoU signed with the centre last year.
  • A faculty from the centre said that in Japan, farmers are small (in terms of area) just like India and grow a lot of paddy.
  • The firm is looking at tech methods for improving water efficiency through the use of sensors.
  •  One of the first areas of collaboration will be in the field of water and agriculture.
  • It will be futile to use more water for farming as only the right amount can ensure productivity.
  • Agriculture needs the efficient use of water. Many farmers do not know about the sensors; which sensors to apply and for what purposes — to detect water levels, crop growth,”
  • Such information can be compiled by the use of simple and cheaper sensors available, such as in mobiles, technology that converts details in a photograph into information.
  • Dhanapandi Periaswamy, South Asian head of alfa TKG, spoke about developing systems and applications which can help farmers get exact information on aspects like crop status, irrigation and resource distribution.
  • The firm will also be looking at solutions for manufacturing sector and will focus on small and medium-scale industries

 

Minaret of protected tomb crumbles

  • A right-side minaret of the mosque adjacent to Ain-ul-Mulk’s Tomb, a centrally protected monument in Vijayapura, has crumbled.
  • Other minarets and the decorative parapet of the mosque are also in a state of dilapidation and may collapse anytime.
  • Located on a sprawling 40-acre land at Ainapur tanda on Sindagi Road, Ain-ul-Mulk’s Tomb and the mosque adjacent to it are heritage sites of national importance maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Though these are important structures from the medieval period, the ASI has not cared to maintain them properly.
  • The tomb, with a gracefully shaped dome, is the burial place of Ain-ul-Mulk, one of the officers of Ibrahim Adil Shah I, who rebelled against the king and was killed near the city in 1556.
  • The king ordered the construction of a tomb and mosque for the rebel officer as he was once his most trusted servant.
  • Watching this giant tomb and the elegantly shaped mosque is a scene to behold. On the walls of the mosque and the tomb inside is some delightful stucco work in the shape of great pendants. The ASI undertook some conservation work at the site in 2008, but appears to have forgotten it ever since.
  • As a result, the plaster on the dome and the outer wall of the tomb has been peeling off. Delicately sculpted minarets and the parapet are in a precarious condition and may crumble anytime.
  • Bushes have grown at several places on the dome as well as on the mosque.
  • Water seeps through the walls during the rains, and the dome has developed cracks.
  • Not only Ain-ul-Mulk’s Tomb, there are several other centrally protected monuments in Vijayapura which are in a pathetic condition.
  • The ASI has washed its hands of by deputing an attendant to some of the monuments

‘Sudha Murthy’ chair launched at IISc

sudha-murthy

  • The “Mrs. Sudha Murthy Distinguished Chair”, one of the three distinguished chairs instituted by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan and his wife Sudha Gopalakrishnan at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), was launched here on Wednesday.
  • The first of these three chairs,  the ‘K Vaidyanathan Distinguished Chair’, was launched in June and Prof Shihab Shamma from the Institute of Systems Research, the University of Maryland, College Park, USA, was its first recipient.
  •  The second chair of professorships launched on Wednesday has been named after Sudha Murthy, chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and an alumnus of IISc.
  • Professor Vasant Honavar, the Edward Frymoyer Endowed Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University, is the first recipient of the chair. Each chair has been set up with a corpus of Rs 10 crore.
  • Honavar is also the Director of the Center for Big Data Analytics and Discovery Informatics and the Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University.
  •  A release from the IISc has described Honavar’s expertise in the field of artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, data science, health informatics,
    neural computing and neuroinformatics.
  • In June 2015, Pratiksha Trust, Bengaluru, founded by Kris and Sudha Gopalakrishnan, set up the three distinguished chair professorships so as to bring top researchers in the areas of neuromorphic computing, computational neuroscience, machine learning and data science to IISc and to help strengthen research and international collaboration.

Copters likely to be produced in HAL’s Tumakuru plant

copters-tumkuru

  • Decks have been cleared for the manufacturing of Russian-origin Kamov-226T helicopters in India as the two countries are set to ink a batch of agreements in Goa on 8th October
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited would sign three documents — a share holder’s agreement, a memorandum of understanding and an article of association for the joint venture — with Rostec Corporation and Russian Helicopters, paving the way for local production of one of the world’s most well known helicopters in India.
  • HAL is likely to set up the production line in its new helicopter unit in Tumakuru, whose foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2016.
  • The public sector aviation major plans to start production at Tumakuru from 2018 onward.
  • The agreement may be signed in the presence of Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who would arrive in Goa on Friday night.
  • Last December, New Delhi and Moscow signed a preliminary agreement on the manufacture of Ka-226T military helicopters in India under the Make in India scheme.
    State-owned HAL piped Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as the principal partner in the deal, which is estimated to cost $1 billion.
  • New Delhi is looking for new light-weight helicopters as HAL has stopped production of ageing Cheetah and Chetak which are of 1960s vintage. Previous attempts to purchase military choppers to replace the ageing fleet did not yield results.
  • Besides the Russian choppers, HAL also plans to use the Tumakuru facility for the production of lighter, three-tonne machines light utility helicopters needed for reconnaissance and surveillance and the attack helicopter.

World Sight Day observed in Kolar

  • G.E.F. Nethradeep Eye Hospital organised a programme at T. Chennaiah Rangamandira here on Thursday to mark the World Sight Day.
  • District Blind Control Officer Dr. Kalavathi inaugurated the programme. She underlined the need for protecting the eyes.
  • Dr. Kalavathi explained the schemes and programmes undertaken by the government.
  •  Nethradeep Hospital chairman and trustee Dr. Sundarram Shetty spoke among others.
  • ASHA workers, nursing students and those involved in eye care initiatives participated in the programme.

What is World Sight Day

World Sight Day, observed annually on the second Thursday of October, is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment. It was originally initiated by the SightFirstCampaign of Lions Club International Foundation in 2000.

It has since been integrated into VISION 2020 and is coordinated by IAPB in cooperation with the World Health Organization.

State suffers Rs 6K-cr crop loss

  • The crop loss due to drought in 110 taluks is around Rs 6,000 crore, according to a state government estimate.
  • Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa said that the Centre would be requested to send an official team to assess the loss and release funds to take up relief works.
  • The minister said crop loss due to floods and drought would be estimated separately. The revenue department has begun the assessment process and later a memorandum requesting the Centre’s assistance would be submitted.
  • Kagodu said that drilling borewells has been restricted due depletion of ground water. But the restriction would be relaxed wherever there is severe shortage of drinking water.
  • The minister said Bidar and Kalaburagi have been granted Rs 50 crore and Rs 25 crore for relief works following unprecedented rains last month.

Mysuru to get cinema school

  • The University of Mysore (UoM) has added another feather in its cap. It has tied up with Franco-Indian Film Society to set up a film school at the foot of Chamundi Hills.
  • The foundation stone for the Franco­-Indian School of Cinema and Television, Mysuru, was laid here on Friday.
  • The new school will be housed on a 20-acre campus with state-of-the-art technology with an ambience of a mini-film city.
  • The cinema school will introduce 31 courses in cinematography, scri-ptwriting, editing, direction, sound engineering, costume designing, dance, choreography, lighting and many more.
  • It will offer certificate, diploma, undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programmes. The degrees will be accredited by the UoM.

Rs 511 crore for infrastructure development of govt colleges

  • Minister for Higher Education Basavaraj Rayaraddi said  that the chief minister had agreed to provide Rs 511 crore for the infrastructure development of government first grade and technical colleges. Rayaraddi said there are as many as 412 first grades colleges and 81 technical colleges in the state.
  • In order to increase the proportion of enrolment of students to pursue higher education, the government had decided to provide the necessary infrastructure.
  • For this, there was a need of Rs 511 crore to which Siddaramaiah had agreed.
  • The chief minister had promised to earmark the set amount in the supplementary budget, he said. The money will be utilised to improve buildings. Also, incomplete building works will be completed. Toilets and library facilties will also be provided using the funds.
  • Among the 412 first grade colleges, only 44 colleges have permanent principals.
  • Appointments will be made in colleges with acting principals. The recruitment process of at least 2,160 posts of assistant professors will be completed by December.
  • Meanwhile, the Government First Grade College in Mandya had been upgraded as an autonomous college status.

HC notice on sand mining in Tunga river

  • The Karnataka high court ordered notice to the state government and the Ballari district administration in PIL complaining of illegal sand mining in the Tungabhadra river.
  •  A vacation division bench headed by Justice B V Nagarathna issued notice to three contractors allegedly involved in illegal sand quarrying.
  •  Many have claimed that illegal quarrying of sand from the Tungabhadra riverbed at Hachcolli village and its transportation by trucks was seriously weakening the bridge across the river, the only transport link from Siruguppa to Ballari, Haveri and Dharwad districts.
  • According to the petitioners, the contractors are using mechanized equipment as against manual quarrying operation permitted under the agreement and also undertaking quarrying at will.

What is Sand Mining

Sand mining is a practice that is used to extract sand, mainly through an open pit. However, sand is also mined from beaches, inland dunes and dredged from ocean beds and river beds. It is often used in manufacturing as an abrasive, for example, and it is used to make concrete. It is also used in cold regions to put on the roads by municipal plow trucks to help icy and snowy driving conditions, usually mixed with salt or another mixture to lower the freezing temperature of the road surface (have the precipitations freeze at a lower temperature). Sand dredged from the mouths of rivers can also be used to replace eroded coastline.

Another reason for sand mining is the extraction of minerals such as rutile, ilmenite and zircon, which contain the industrially useful elements titanium and zirconium. These minerals typically occur combined with ordinary sand, which is dug up, the valuable minerals being separated in water by virtue of their different densities, and the remaining ordinary sand re-deposited.

Sand mining is a direct cause of erosion, and also impacts the local wildlife.For example, sea turtles depend on sandy beaches for their nesting, and sand mining has led to the near extinction of gharials (a species of crocodiles) in India. Disturbance of underwater and coastal sand causes turbidity in the water, which is harmful for such organisms as corals that need sunlight. It also destroys fisheries, causing problems for people who rely on fishing for their livelihoods.

Removal of physical coastal barriers such as dunes leads to flooding of beach side communities, and the destruction of picturesque beaches causes tourism to dissipate. Sand mining is regulated by law in many places, but is still often done illegally.

Impact of Sand Mining

  • Excessive in-stream sand-and-gravel mining causes the degradation of rivers.
  • In-stream mining lowers the stream bottom, which may lead to bank erosion.
  • Depletion of sand in the stream-bed and along coastal areas causes the deepening of rivers and estuaries, and the enlargement of river mouths and coastal inlets.
  • It may also lead to saline-water intrusion from the nearby sea. The effect of mining is compounded by the effect of sea level rise. Any volume of sand exported from stream-beds and coastal areas is a loss to the system.
  • Excessive in-stream sand mining is a threat to bridges, river banks and nearby structures. Sand mining also affects the adjoining groundwater system and the uses that local people make of the river.
  • In-stream sand mining results in the destruction of aquatic and riparian habitat through large changes in the channel morphology.
  • Impacts include bed degradation, bed coarsening, lowered water tables near the stream-bed, and channel instability. These physical impacts cause degradation of riparian and aquatic biota and may lead to the undermining of bridges and other structures. Continued extraction may also cause the entire stream-bed to degrade to the depth of excavation.
  • Sand mining generates extra vehicle traffic, which negatively impairs the environment. Where access roads cross riparian areas, the local environment may be impacted.

Germany to study high speed Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore route

  • Germany will begin a study of a high-speed southern corridor linking Mysuru-Bengaluru-Chennai-Vijayawada in January 2017
  • The calendar was finalised at a meeting between Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and visiting Transport minister of Germany Alexander Dobrindt at Rail Bhavan.
  • An earlier proposal had limited the corridor to Mysuru-Bengaluru-Chennai. It is now proposed to extend it to Vijayawada.
  • The study will be funded by the German government.
  • The 906-km long proposed corridor will support trains running at speeds of more than 300 km an hour.
  • The extension of the route was made at the request of Prabhu, who also represents Andhra Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha. The earlier route was only 475 km.
  • The two countries had signed an MoU in April last when the Indian Railway Minister visited Germany.
  • Railways also requested Germany to undertake a study of one station for renovation/redevelopment.
  • Railways has earmarked 400 stations to be redeveloped as smart stations with added passenger amenities involving private players.
  • The German expertise in the field of high speed rail, increasing speed of existing routes, station development, multi modal logistics terminal and automobile logistics are of interest to India.

Women With No Caste Apply For PDO Post

  • Mohanakumari and Mani, who are being looked after since their childhood at Odanadi Seva Samsthe, an NGO working for the welfare of orphans and poor children in Mysuru..
  • They could not submit their online applications as they could not fill up the mandatory caste column as they were not aware of their castes.
  • They got relief from Karnataka High Court as the court permitted them to apply for the posts of Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) by mentioning “NIL” in the mandatory column for mentioning the caste of the applicants in the online application system.
  • Justice B.V. Nagarathna, in an interim order, also permitted the girls to submit applications in physical form in case the online applications are not accepted due to not mentioning of caste while directing the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA), which is conducting examination to select eligible candidates for the posts, to accept such applications for the purpose of scrutiny.
  • The KEA’s instructions to the applicants had said that caste column should consist of a minimum of three letters.
  •  Pointing out that the petitioner girls wanted to apply under the General Category (GM) quota, the petitioners’ counsel had pointed out that denial of an opportunity for applying for a job sans mentioning caste while applying under GM amounts to discrimination amongst the job-seekers.
  • The Court adjourned further hearing while ordering issuance of notices to the State government and the KEA.

Govt sought for Greater regulation of pvt. Universities

  • The State government has decided to amend the law for greater regulation of and control over private universities established in Karnataka.
  • Expert committee headed by former Goa University Vice-Chancellor B.S. Sonde has been told to examine the laws pertaining to the establishment and running of these private universities and suggest suitable amendments.
  • The State has 11 private universities, however, permission has been given to 22 through separate private university Acts; 11 are yet to be established.
  • Many of these were approved by the Assembly without deliberation.
  • Regulation is required to ensure that clauses are introduced to improve the efficiency, transparency and functioning of the universities.
  • The committee would suggest amendments to each Act, which would have to be approved by the legislature in the winter session.
  •  The regulation will include detailed criteria for appointing a Vice Chancellor for private varsities on the lines of those for State-run varsities.
  • Efforts will be made to enhance admission for domicile students in Karnataka from 25 per cent to 40 per cent in all private varsities.
  • One of the amendment aims to ensure that a private university takes approval from the State government before starting new courses or enhancing intake. Other measures include disclosing the curriculum followed by the varsity and an inspection by the Karnataka State Higher Education Council.

GST to subsume over a dozen Central, State taxes

  • The Goods and Services Tax Act will amalgamate over a dozen of Central and State taxes into a single tax (GST) in States like Karnataka.
  • The Centre has targeted the implementation of GST from April 1 2017.
  • The GST would subsume State taxes such as State Value Added Tax (VAT), Central sales tax, luxury tax, entry tax (all forms), entertainment and amusement tax (except when levied by the local bodies), taxes on advertisements, purchase tax, taxes on lotteries, betting, and gambling, State surcharges and cess so far, as they relate to supply of goods and services, according to a booklet ‘GST Overview’ prepared by the State Finance Department.
  • GST will apply to all goods other than alcohol and five petroleum products like petroleum crude, motor spirit (petrol), high speed diesel, natural gas and aviation turbine fuel.
  • Taxes on entertainments and amusements to the extent levied and collected by a panchayat or municipality or a regional council will not be subsumed under GST.
  • The local bodies of States could continue to levy such taxes.
  •  The GST to be levied by the Centre on intra-State supply of goods and/or services would be called Central GST (CGST) and that to be levied by States would be called State GST (SGST). CGST and SGST will be levied at rates recommended by the GST Council.
  • Parliament will have power to make laws with respect to GST imposed by the Centre and the State legislatures will make laws with respect to GST imposed by States.
  • Parliament will have exclusive power to make laws with respect to GST where the supply of goods/and or services takes place in the course of inter-State trade and commerce (IGST).
  • The list of exempted goods and services will be common for the Centre and States, and will be finalised by the GST Council.

Five-day Ksheera Bhagya scheme yet to take off

What is Ksheera Bhagya Scheme?.

  • The Ksheera Bhagya Scheme was launched on 1st Aug 2013 by GOK in co-ordination with KMF to provide nutritious food with protein and fat which is essential for healthy growth and all-round development of School Children as well as Anganwadi in the State.
  • Ksheera Bhagya Scheme was a dream project conceived by KMF based on the suggestion of honourable CM of Karnataka to help the poor children of the State and also the Milk producers to dispose their surplus milk.

What did the Govt promise

The State government’s promised a year ago to provide milk to students five days a week under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme remain unfulfilled. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in principle, had also given the nod to extend distribution of milk from three to five days for children in anganwadis, government and aided schools.

Challenges as per the Government

  • Currently Rs. 510 crore is being spent annually to provide milk thrice a week to 39 lakh anganwadi children and 62 lakh students in government and aided schools.
  • If the milk has to be provided five times a week, they will require an additional Rs. 300 crore which is a huge financial commitment, the government hence delaying its implementation,
  • Under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme, launched in August 2013, hot water is added to 18 gram of full-cream milk powder to make 150 ml of milk, which is a child’s daily quota.
  • Children in anganwadis who were given skimmed milk initially, have been getting full cream milk since July 1 this year.

Other challenges

  • The Karnataka Milk Federation distributed milk in flexi packets on a trial basis for two weeks to 1,100 government and aided schools in Bengaluru last month,
  • KMF authorities and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) are not considering switching to these packs owing to logistical issues.
  • Although students were thrilled to consume milk from flexi packets as its consistency is good, serving it on a long-term basis is expensive & the other challenge would be disposing the milk packets.
Why is this scheme important?
The scheme has benefited students as a majority of them come from lower economic backgrounds and do not consume milk at home. Extending the scheme to all working days will have benefit students health-wise,”said the headmaster of a government school in east Bengaluru.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has decided to dedicate four stations to the art of story-telling.

  • BMRCL has decided to add an extra feature for the metro passenger, from November, four Namma Metro stations will tell passengers a story about Bengaluru through art.
  • As part of a tie-up with several art institutions around the city, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has decided to dedicate four stations to the art of story-telling.
  • ‘Festival of Stories’, the artwork will include murals and paintings and tracking the evolution of the city into a major metropolis over the years. Work on the murals has already begun.
  • In October, students, faculty and well-known artists from around the country started work at the MG Road Metro Station, the Kempegowda Majestic Metro station, the Cubbon Park metro station and the Sampige Road metro station.
  •  Very soon, there will be several events around the Cubbon Park metro station which will have performances by various artistes, talks, art installations and guided tours of the neighbourhood. This will be followed up by a street art festival
  • The project will include muralist Harsh Vardhan Kadam, Curator Orijit Sen, graphic storyteller George Mathan, visual artist Sameer Kulavoor and street artists Collin van der Sluijs and Okuda.
  • It will include stories of Bengaluru that will bring out a sense of nostalgia in Metro users.

 Crops on 1.88L acres have wilted in State’s Cauvery basin: expert panel

  • Highlighting the severity of water crises in the Cauvery basin areas, a high-level panel has said that crop sown on 1.88 lakh acres in Karnataka have withered away due to shortage of water. 
  • The panel headed by Central Water Commission chairman (CWC) G S Jha in its report submitted to the Supreme Court on Monday said Karnataka has sown 6.15 lakh acres under the command areas of the Kabini, Hemavathy, Harangi and KRS and about 1.88 lakh acres have withered away.
  • The team which toured Karnataka and Tamil Nadu following the direction of the Supreme Court said that in Karnataka it is a mix of paddy, maize, sugarcane and ragi whereas in Tamil Nadu it is Samba paddy, turmeric and sugarcane.
  • In Karnataka, the survived crops are of mid growth stage, requiring limited period of watering and may require only three to four waterings/ irrigation to survive the crops which are in pre-wilting stage.
  • In the current year, Tamil Nadu had only single Samba crop in the command area of the Mettur reservoir to be cultivated on 12 lakh acres for which the government is expected to provide water.
  • The report observed that the allocation of assessed 740 tmcft of water has been made by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal among all the riparian states considering the flows at 50% dependability. This implies that on an average, every two years out of four years are likely to be low flow years.
  • Water requirement: The total water requirements of Karnataka up to the end of May 2017 including irrigation, drinking water and evaporation (6 tmcft) are 65.48 tmcft while the availability up to the end of May 2017 is 89.16 tmcft. The total water requirement of Tamil Nadu will be 163 tmcft (irrigation of 12 lakh acres, drinking, evaporation and releasing three tmcft to Puducherry) against the expected availability of 143.18 tmcft up to the end of May 2017.
  • Inflow into Karnataka reservoirs are 49.76% of the normal flows as on October 13 after taking into consideration the average inflow in the last 29 years. Flow at Biligundlu (water release point from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu) is 40.75% of the normal flows as on October 12. (This means the flow at Biligundlu was 58.37 tmcft as on October 13 against the scheduled flows of 143.23 tmcft in a normal year).

In a secret move, state govt decides to toll steel flyover

  • The Siddaramaiah government’s has silently accorded approval to collect toll from the users of the flyover that will connect Basaveshwara  Circle to Hebbal.
  • Right in the middle of the controversy, the government has in an order dated October 13 given approval to the Bangalore Development Authority to collect toll after completing the Rs 1,791-crore steel flyover.
  • Though the BDA is yet to finalise the rate of toll for different kinds of vehicles, it is bound to be on the higher side, going by the high cost of the project.
  • People are already paying a hefty toll in order to reach Kempegowda International Airport by using the elevated road.
  • The government, which has been resisting disclosing information on the project that has attracted widespread criticism in the state capital, has kept everyone in the dark about its decision to impose toll.
  • While briefing the media on the state Cabinet’s decision on the project on September 28, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra had said the government was yet to take a decision in this regard.
  • But, ironically, the government order authorising the BDA to collect toll has been issued based on the Cabinet decision.
  • It has now emerged that L&T, which has bagged the project, has entered into a joint venture with NCC Ltd, which is not a listed company. The government had kept the joint venture agreement between the two companies under wraps.

Contradictions 

  • Bengaluru Development Minister K J George and Additional Chief Secretary to Urban Development Department Mahendra Jain had been claiming that the Cabinet had on September 28 approved extending the steel flyover till the elevated road to the airport (near Esteem Mall). On the contrary, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on Monday, admitted that the decision to extend the flyover by 1.6 km (from Hebbal flyover till Esteem Mall near Kodigehalli) was taken after the Cabinet meeting.
  • The October 13 order of the government states the project connects the Hebbal flyover. The order neither mentions the National Highways Authority of India’s elevated road nor Esteem Mall. Interestingly, the order does not mention the total length of the flyover. The distance of the steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Hebbal flyover approved by the Cabinet was 6.7 km.
  • Sources in the government said the cost of the project was likely to shoot up by about Rs 450 crore once the Cabinet officially approves the decision to extend the flyover by 1.6 km. The cost per km of the steel flyover is estimated at Rs 260 crore

University of Mysore Registrar suspended

  • University of Mysore Registrar C Basavaraju has been suspended for violating various rules in the recruitment of assistant professors on contract to Yuvaraja’s College, a constituent and autonomous college of the university.
  • In the suspension order issued by N Veerabhadrachari, under secretary to the state government, Higher Education (Universities), it has been mentioned that the rules of the University Grants Commission, guidelines of the reservation policy and directions of the government have been violated in the process.
  • Additional Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru T Venkatesh has been directed to take additional charge as Registrar of the university till further orders.
  • Deputy Secretary to Higher Education Department, R Somasekhar, had directed the university, in separate letters to both the registrar and the vice-chancellor, to immediately stop the process of recruiting assistant professors on contract on October 14.

State may invite President to address the legislature to celebrate 60th year of Vidhana Soudha

  • The Karnataka legislature secretariat, which is preparing to celebrate the 60th year of the Vidhana Soudha, is considering ti invite the President of India to address a special joint session of the legislature.
  • Speaker K B Koliwad has formed a committee of officials headed by IAS officer Lakshminarayana for preparing a blueprint. The departments of Public Works, Finance and Personnel and Administrative Reforms are involved in the planning.
  • The late chief minister Kengal Hanumanthaiah is acknowledged as the architect of Vidhana Soudha, whose foundation was laid on July 13, 1951, by Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • The construction was completed in 1956 and it was formally inaugurated on October 10, coinciding with Vijayadashami. K C Reddy was the chief minister during the inauguration.
  • When the building project was conceived, Kengal Hanumanthaiah was the Congress party head in the state. The building was constructed at a cost of Rs 1.84 crore.
  • Koliwad said that they were planning to request President Pranab Mukherjee to address a special session of the legislature & a lot of discussions and planning has to be done. They will try to trace engineers and officials who had contributed significantly towards the project’s completion and felicitate them.
  • The plan is to conduct the session before December-end. The winter session of the legislature in Belagavi will not be cancelled. There are suggestions to combine the celebration of the diamond jubilee of the Soudha with the reorganisation of the state.
  • Officials are planning to come out with a book highlighting the uniqueness of Vidhana Soudha and hold an exhibition to depict its history. Cultural events would be part of the celebrations and hence, the event may extend for two days
  • After the media reported that the government had no plans to mark the Vidhana Soudha’s diamond jubilee, BJP leader Jagadish Shettar demanded that the government take pride in the building and organise an event. Later the secretariat began working towards it.
  • In November 2005, Abdul Kalam, as President of India, had addressed a joint session of the legislature as part of Suvarna Karnataka, the year-long golden jubilee celebrations of Karnataka’s formation.

Students protest against VTU’s new rules

  • Fourteen engineering colleges in the city remained shut on 18th Oct as students of the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), supported by the NSUI, staged a protest demanding that the choice-based credit system and the critical year-back system be repealed.
  • The protesting students said  the CBCS was not in the interest of students
  • As per the new system, if a student fails one subject in the first year, he/she will not be allowed into the third year of the course, even if he/she has cleared all subjects in the second year. Similarly, if a student has failed in one subject in the second year, but has cleared all subjects in the third year, he/she is not allowed into the fourth year.
  • Students also expressed their anger over the confusion in the 2016-17 examination results. They said that out of the four lakh students who wrote the examinations, two lakh had applied for revaluation.

Bangalore Football Club wins semifinal, creates history

  • Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) created history at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on 19th Oct, by becoming the first Indian club to enter the final of the AFC Cup. Cheered on by a crowd of over 21,000, amid a raucous, electric atmosphere, the home side took down Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim, the defending champion, to venture into brave, new territory.
  • Having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Johor last month, BFC won 3-1 here, on what was the greatest night of the club’s history.
  • The visitor took an early lead, but Chhetri’s equalizer just before half-time brought the crowd to its feet.
  • Albert Roca, whose first game in charge last month was played behind closed doors owing to the unrest in the city over the Cauvery water sharing issue.
  • For the dozen or so Johor fans who had made the trip to Bengaluru from Malaysia, the result was a huge disappointment.
  • BFC will meet Iraq’s Air Force Club in the final, on November 5, in Doha.

About Bangalore Football Club

  • Bengaluru Football Club is an Indian professional football club based in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • The club participates in the I-League, India’s top-tier football league. It is the first ever club to have won the I-League in its debut season.
  • The team is currently owned by Mumbai-based company, JSW Group and its managing director is Sajjan Jindal.The club’s home ground is the 24,000 seater Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
  • Formed in July 2013, the club has established itself as a premier footballing establishment in the country with a strong community focus, modeled on the lines of the football club structure in England and other European countries.
  • The club has launched various programs for the football loving youth of the city. In April 2014, the club launched the first BFC Soccer School in the city with an aim to capture budding young football talent. Other initiatives include the BFC in the Community program which is mainly a social responsibility program for the club support around the city. The program is currently headed by John Killa.

Fire and Emergency Services Department: Audit of all hospitals in Karnataka

  • Close on the heels of the fire tragedy that claimed 20 lives in a hospital in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, the Fire and Emergency Services Department has ordered a fire audit of all hospitals in Karnataka.
  • Over the next one week, fire officers will inspect all in-patient hospitals in the State, irrespective of the height of the building. All hospitals will be checked for compliance with fire safety measures.
  • M.N. Reddi, Director General of Police, Fire and Emergency Services said fire officers in the nearly 200 fire stations in the State have been instructed to submit audit reports by next week.
  • Hospital managements have been asked to check for compliance with the National Building Code norms for fire preparedness.
  • Several hospital staff admitted that while fire safety infrastructure, such as extinguishers, exists, there is a question mark over maintenance and upgrading equipment.
  • In government hospitals, especially due to the large number of patients which is usually not proportionate with the manpower available, maintaining equipment is a tough ask, let alone conducting mock drills or training the staff in fire safety
  • Officials hope to identify such problems through the fire audit as there is always a large number of people in hospitals, many of them incapacitated and would be unable to take care of themselves. The intensive care units have a lot of electric equipment making them predisposed to accidents

What happend in Bhubaneshwar hospital?

At least 22 patients were killed and more than 20 injured in a fire that broke out at SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday evening, in one of the worst such incidents involving a medical facility in Odisha.

This was the second such incident in the state in six months. On May 31, a fire broke out at the state-run SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack. More than 100 patients had a providential escape when the cardiology department got engulfed.

New zebra enclosure at Bannerghatta Biological Park

  • Dr Sudha N. Murthy inaugurated the new enclosure of zebras at the The Bannerghatta Biological Park, which was recently built by the Infosys Foundation.
  • The enclosure is spread over 3,600 square metres and was built at an approximate cost of Rs 63 lakh.
  • Two pairs of zebra were procured from Zoological Center, Tel Aviv, in Israel and were released to the new enclosure for public view. Sudha Murthy also named the zebras as Bharat, Pruthvi, Kaveri and Hemavathi
  • The full-fledged enclosure at BBP will provide basic amenities for the animals like holding house, feeding trough, along with a visitor’s path at the view point.
  • This addition of ‘stripes’ to the existing variety of over 1,900 animals of 95 species will augment the attraction quotient of the park, thereby encouraging more visitors to BBP.
  • Last year, Infosys Foundation supported BBP through the development of a Tiger Enclosure, construction of two lakh liter capacity water tank and five borewells, and a monetary token of appreciation to the contract employees.

Kittur gets ready for cultural fest –  ‘Kittur Utsav-2016’

  • The historical Kittur Fort, the seat of the erstwhile princely state of Kittur ruled by Rani Chennamma in the early 19th century, is being readied for ‘Kittur Utsav-2016’, the annual cultural extravaganza organised by the district administration and the Department of Kannada and Culture.
  • The three-day event will begin on 23rd Oct.
  • The State-sponsored festival is organised to celebrate ‘Vijayothsava’, the heroic battle the queen of Kittur fought against the British army in 1824. Since then, her historic deeds have celebrated in songs and stories.
  • This time of year is festive for the residents Kittur town of Bailhongal taluk, situated along the Pune-Bengaluru NH-4, and for the large number people from adjoining villages and towns who converge at Kittur to watch the cultural programmes depicting various art forms and sports native to north Karnataka and other parts of the State.
  • The festivities were symbolically set off last Sunday with Small Scale Industries and district in-charge Minister Ramesh L. Jarkiholi offering ceremonial puja at the memorial of Rani Chennamma in Bailhongal town before flagging off the ‘Vijay Jyoti’.
  • The main events will commence with the arrival of the Vijay Jyoti, after travelling through all the 10 taluks of the district, in Kuttur town on the morning of October 23. After according a ceremonial reception to the Vijay Jyoti, a grand cultural rally will be flagged off at 10 a.m.
  •  Later in the evening, Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa will inaugurate the cultural festivities at 7 p.m. at the huge pandal erected on the fort premises.
  • The State government has sanctioned Rs. 30 lakh for the festivities

State Cabinet orders inquiry into civil works taken up under RMSA

  • The State Cabinet on Wednesday ordered a probe into the alleged misappropriation of Rs. 1,909.07 crore sanctioned for civil works under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA).
  • A team of officials of Law, Public Works, and Primary and Secondary Education departments would conduct the probe into the execution of 2,010 works taken up under the scheme during the Bharatiya Janata Party government.
  • The panel had been asked to submit the report in two months.
  • The Centre has stopped releasing funds for the RMSA in the State following allegations that officials and contractors had claimed money by producing fake bills.
  • The State’s share in the project was Rs. 1,119.53 crore, of which Rs. 641.17 crore had been released.
  • Poor quality of work, payments for incomplete works, and other irregularities had been noticed in the project which is funded jointly by Union and State governments.
  • Earlier, a complaint was filed with the Karnataka Lokayukta seeking a probe. However, the government has decided to continue the implementation of the RMSA which would benefit students in rural schools.
 About RMSA
  • This scheme was launched in March, 2009 with the objective to enhance access to secondary education and to improve its quality.
  • The implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10.
  • It is envisaged to achieve an enrolment rate of 75% from 52.26% in 2005-06 at secondary stage of implementation of the scheme by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation.
  • The other objectives include improving quality of education imparted at secondary level through making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers, providing universal access to secondary level education by 2017, i.e., by the end of 12th Five Year Plan and achieving universal retention by 2020.

RMSA Objectives

  1. To improve quality of education imparted at secondary level through making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms.
  2. To remove gender, socio-economic and disability barriers.
  3. Universal access to secondary level education by 2017, i.e., by the end of the XII Five Year Plan.
  4. Universal retention by 2020.

Action plans

  1. Additional class rooms
  2. Laboratories
  3. Libraries
  4. Art and crafts room
  5. Toilet blocks
  6. Drinking water provisions
  7. Residential hostels for teachers in remote areas

 State showcases investment opportunities at Jaipur textile fair

  • Karnataka showcased investment opportunities in the state on Day One of the international textile and apparel fair Vastra 2016.
  • Representatives from the state gave presentations at the fair held at Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Centre in Sitapura.
  • The team from Karnataka comprised Rudrappa Manappa Lamani, Minister for Textiles, Girish R, Commissioner for Textiles Development, G P Srinivasamurthy, Managing Director, Karnataka State Textile Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, and Prakash H, Joint Director, Handlooms and Textiles.
  • In his presentation, Girish elaborated on the investment opportunities in the textiles sector in Karnataka.
  • He said Karnataka accounts for 20% of the national garments production and 8% of the national garments export.
  • He also said that the state provides infrastructure support for textile parks. Land, with infrastructure support, is provided by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board.

Govt to go ahead with Tipu Jayanthi

  • The state government has decided to go ahead with Tipu Jayanthi celebrations on November 10 despite opposition from the Sangh Parivar.
  • Home Minister G Parameshwara held a review meeting on 20th Oct to discuss security arrangements across the state in the run-up to the celebrations.
  • The main event will be organised at Vidhana Soudha by the Department of Kannada and Culture. Tipu Jayanthi programmes will also be held at all taluk and district headquarters.

Why in controversy?

  • Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore and ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1783 to 1799.
  • Tipu died at a young age of 48 and was succeeded by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. Tipu’s legacy has often been a matter of debate for historians as there is a huge population in present-day Karnataka who despise the ruler for his atrocities towards Hindus, including the conversion of Hindus to Islam.
  • The controversy was sparked off when the Karnataka government decided to celebrate November 10 as Tipu Jayanti as was announced a year ago.
  • Tipu is considered a “treacherous tyrant” by the people from Coorg, Mangaluru, and certain parts of Kerala.

Fortified rice for govt schoolkids in 3 districts

  • In an effort to tackle hidden hunger or micro-nutrient malnutrition, fortified rice will be introduced through the Midday Meal Scheme in government schools in Bengaluru Urban, Dharwad and Ballari districts.
  • The meals will be distributed for a year by the non-profit, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which is already providing hot-cooked meals in about 3,000 schools in the state.
  • A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Karnataka government and the non-profit to implement the project from October 24 onwards in 2,600 government schools to cater to more than 4.5 lakh students.
  • Under the provision, rice, fortified with micronutrients and vitamins, will be cooked along with normal rice in the proportion of 1:99. Fortified rice can improve learning skills in Mathematics for students of classes 4 and 5.
  • Another MoU signed between the government and Akshara Foundation will extend an existing programme to six more districts.
  • In the first stage, the foundation distributed kits consisting of abacus, decimal sets and number beads to schools in six districts in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
  • This year, the programme will be extended to Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapur, Chamarajanagar, Chitradurga, Gadag and Dharwad districts, benefiting 1.29 lakh students in 4,149 schools.
  • The foundation will also provide training to teachers on the use of the Mathematics kit.

Panel to submit interim report on lake encroachments soon

  • Legislative assembly Speaker K B Koliwad on 20th Oct said the legislature committee on lake encroachments would submit its interim report in about a month and a half.
  • The committee will make recommendations to the government on action to be taken against the encroachers of lakes in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts. About 15,000 acres of lake land is encroached.
  • The committee will also recommend steps to be taken to protect the lakes.
  • Koliwad, who is also the committee chairman, said that he will be inspecting eight places in Bengaluru on October 24 and 25.
  • These places are Puravankara, J P Nagar; Symbiosis, Bengaluru east; Bagamane Tech Park, Byrasandra lake; V R Bangalore Mall, Krishnarajapuram; first grade college, Old Airport Road; Karle company near Manyata Tech Park; Brigade, Dasarahalli survey number 61; lakes adopted by Embassy Group.

Lake Encroachment

  • Bengaluru, once called the “City of Lakes” is fast losing its water bodies due to encroachment, a report released recently by the state government has revealed.
  • Most of the lakes have vanished due to encroachment and construction activity for urban infrastructure expansion.
  • The city once had 280-285 lakes of which 7 cannot be traced, 7 are reduced to small pools of water, 18 have been unauthorisedly encroached by slums and private parties, 14 have dried up and are leased out by the Government.
  • 28 lakes have been used by the Bangalore Development Authority to distribute sites and build extensions for residential areas
  • The remaining lakes are in fairly advanced state of deterioration.

Initiatives taken by Government

  •  Restoring lakes and facilitating restoration of ground water table.
  • EIA studies.
  • Take remedial measures to restore & revitalise dying lakes & co-ordinate efforts of various organisations.
  • Conserve lakes, facilitate restoration of depleting ground water table, improve environs.
  • Protection, conservation, reclamation, restoration, regeneration & integrated development of lakes.
  • Environmental planning & GIS mapping of lakes and surrounding areas.
  • Monitoring and management of water quality and lake ecology.
  • Utilising lakes for the purpose of education and tourism.

Hasanamba temple decked up for annual public viewing

  • The Hasanamba temple is all decked up and illuminated for its annual festival, Hasanamba jatra, scheduled to be held this year from October 20 to November 1.
  • The road leading to the temple from Dairy Circle has been illuminated.
  • The temple  opens only once in a year during Deepavali. The temple authorities have made elaborate arrangements and sought the assistance of ex-servicemen to man the crowds. The temple authorities have taken up development works at a cost of Rs 82 lakh.
  • The temple is opened once in a year during Ashwayuja Masa, on the Thursday after ‘poornima’ (full moon day). The doors of the temple would be opened at 12.30 pm on October 20 and closed by 7.30 pm. The public will be allowed entry into the temple from October 21 to November 1 from 6 am to 2 am, with an interval of four hours.
  • More than 13 lakh people from several parts of the state and beyond are expected to visit the temple. Barricades have been erected to streamline the crowd and shelters set up to protect devotees from scorching sun and rain. A drinking water unit has also been set up at a cost of Rs 6 lakh.
  • Hassan Milk Union Limited (Hamul) will distribute water packets for free while the Muzrai department has made arrangements to distribute food for 50,000 devotees everyday.
  • Eight varieties of prasada, including rice pulav, chitranna, bisi bele bath, uppittu and avalakki will be served to devotees.
  • Philanthropists have donated 110 quintals of rice as there is a need for 400 quintal of rice for 13 days. A special ticket would cost devotees Rs 300.

Parents oppose new norms governing fees in unaided schools

  • A group of parents from Karnataka Students Parents’ Association met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday to express their dissatisfaction with the draft rules to amend the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Regulation of Certain fees and Donations) Rules, 1999.
  • The rules will regulate fee collected in private unaided schools following the state syllabus.
  • The draft rules fix the total fee collected from students on the basis of expenditure on salary of teaching and non-teaching staff plus a percentage of the same towards maintenance and operation costs of the school.
  • This percentage has been revised from the earlier 30% to 50% for schools in gram panchayats and town panchayats, 60% for those in city municipal councils, 75% for those in municipal corporations other than BBMP and 100% for schools in BBMP limits.
  • The association opposed this new formula for calculating the fee.
  • The chief minister assured them that he would discuss the matter with the principal secretary for primary and secondary education.
  • The association also submitted a memorandum, which includes a demand to make the draft rules available in Kannada as the document is presently available only in English and hence would be inaccessible to several parents.
  • They have also demanded that the government give wide publicity to the draft rules by publishing it in print and electronic media.
  • Public has time till 30 days from the date of notification of the draft rules (October 5) to send in their suggestions to the principal secretary. The association has demanded that the period be extended to 90 days and suggestions received also be made public on the website of the Department of Public Instruction.

KAT sets aside government order quashing 362 KPSC appointments

  •  The Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) on 19th Oct set aside a government order which had quashed the appointment of Group A and Group B gazetted probationers who were selected through the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) for the year 2011.
  • The tribunal, comprising judicial member G Shanthappa and administrative member AP Joshi, passed an order directing the state government to issue orders of appointment to applicants in keeping with the provisions of KPSC rules within two months.
  • The tribunal said the state government must not make appointments if any individual candidate is not found suitable for such appointment.
  • The order has come as a big relief for 362 candidates whose appointment was cancelled by the state government in its order dated, August 14, 2014.
  • The petitioners had questioned the act of the government which had quashed the notification at a time when the entire selection process was completed.
  • One of the candidates, Mythreyi, had made allegations of corruption in the selection process following which a CID enquiry was ordered. Based on the CID report, the selection list was quashed by the state government.
  • The tribunal, in the order, said that as the applicants were not examined by the CID, the report of the CID was one-sided.

CM-led panel to select Rajyotsava awardees, HC told

  • The state government on Wednesday informed the High Court that the candidates for the Rajyotsava award for 2016 would be selected by a panel headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
  • However, for 2017, the guidelines framed by the Justice Nagmohan Das committee to select candidates for the award will be followed.
  • Additional Advocate General A G Shivanna said that due to shortage of time, the newly framed guidelines could not be followed for this year.
  • Justice S Abdul Nazeer, while asking the government to follow the existing rules in selecting candidates for the award this year, directed the government to submit the list of selected candidates to the court in a sealed envelope.
  • The petitioner, B V Satyanarayana Rao, has approached the High Court, seeking directions to the government to consider his application for the award.
  • He has contended that the government does not have guidelines in place for selecting the awardees.

About Rajyotsava award

  • The Rajyotsava Awards, the second highest civilian honour of the Karnataka state are conferred annually by the Karnataka Government on the occasion of the birth of Karnataka State on November 1 celebrated as Kannada Rajyotsava.
  • The awards celebrate achievements by persons of eminence in their chosen fields. The awardees are from the fields of literature, music, dance, theatre, journalism, sports, medicine, education, agriculture, Information Technology and Science.
  • The awards are presented in Bangalore by the Chief minister of Karnataka. Each award carries an amount of Rs. 100,000, a shawl, a citation and a memento. In addition to that, the government allots commercial land for eligible awardees

Panel unhappy with functioning of anganwadis in Kalaburagi district

  • Members of the Legislature Committee on Women and Child Welfare have expressed discontent over the functioning of anganwadis, especially in implementing schemes and programmes meant for addressing malnourishment in children, in Kalaburagi district.
  • They were redressing public grievances at a review meeting here on Wednesday. The meeting was chaired by panel’s chairman N.A. Haris and attended by Minister of State for Information Technology and Bio-Technology Priyank Kharge.
  • The matter was taken up for discussion when Basavaraj Ravoor, a social activist, raised the issue of under-utilisation of funds released in 2015-16 for fighting malnourishment in children in the district.
  • The “unacceptable replies” from Srikanth Kulkarni, Deputy Director for Women and Child Development, who tried to pass the buck stating that he took charge only a few months ago, further enraged the committee members and the Minister.
  • Mr. Haris registered his resentment over the overall functioning of anganwadis  right from maintaining timings and registers to distribution of nutritious food among beneficiaries.
  •  Mr Haris who was taken by officers to an anganwadi that they thought was one of the best but there was no proper register, no progress reports and nothing of the sort. The milk that was supposed to be served by 10 a.m. was not given even by 11 a.m.
  • Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Anirudh Sravan intervened and accepted that there was “failure at the supervisory level”, both Mr. Kharge and Mr. Haris told the officer to put a mechanism in place for effective monitoring.
  • Deputy Commissioner Ujjwal Kumar Ghosh told the panel that the district administration would work on developing software for ensuring effective utilisation of human resources and proper implementation of various welfare schemes.

Mysore: Corporation to set up plant to recycle construction debris

  • The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) has come up with a solution to end the menace of construction and demolition debris being indiscriminately dumped along the roads and vacant/unused lands.
  • The civic body has joined hands with a private company to recycle the debris into usable bricks and interlocking tiles.
  • The corporation will not be investing on setting up the recycling plant but will be giving the land measuring six acres at the sewage farm in Vidyaranyapuram for the plant.
  •  A Hyderabad-based company, which has been recycling solid waste at the sewage farm here since many years, is setting up the plant for recycling the building debris.
  • The same firm has set up a similar plant at New Delhi, the Mysuru plant is being set up at a cost of Rs. 9 crore.
  • District in-charge Minister H.C. Mahadevappa will be laying the foundation stone for the plant on October 28.
  • More than 100 tonnes of debris was generated in the city which is chaotically dumped across the city, especially along the isolated stretches of the Outer Ring Road (ORR).
  • Five sites in MCC limits will be identified for dumping of debris by those in the construction industry.
  • The company will be lifting the debris from these sites for recycling at its plant.
  •  After the city was judged the country’s cleanest city under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the corporation was under “pressure” to address the problem of illegal and indiscriminate dumping of construction debris.
  • The scale of debris had increased over the years with the rise in constructions owing to the rapid expansion of the city.

Varsity launches Mahabharata e-text annotation project

  • The Dvaita Philosophy Resource Centre of Manipal University launched a 40-month research project on Mahabharata e-text annotation project.
  • Srinivasa Kumar N. Acharya, assistant professor and centre coordinator said that the project was titled ‘Grammatical analysis and XML tagging of Mahabharata’.
  • This project will help to take this knowledge to international audiences.
  •  One research coordinator and five research associates had been appointed for this purpose.
  • The six Sanskrit scholars are traditionally trained and also have knowledge of computers
  • These six scholars will work under the guidance of subject experts and an advisory committee.
  • “Amba Kulkarni from University of Hyderabad, Shrinivasa Varakhedi from Karnataka Sanskrit University, Bengaluru, and Gerard Huet from Paris, will be guiding this project.

Kannada Sahitya Parishat to launch new website

  • Manu Baligar, president of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, has announced that the new website of the parishat will be launched at the 82nd Akhila Bharat Kannada Sahitya Sammelan.
  • The new website will be Unicode based and viewer-friendly.
  • The parishat has plans to digitise all major Kannada works including dictionaries and making them available on the parishat website.
  • A portal for the Kannada Vijnana Tantrajnana Samiti will also be launched in the same literary event.
  •  Writer Kum. Veerabhadrappa will be its head, will be set up to study the of Kannadigas in the border areas of neighbouring States.
  •  The parishat is also planning to have Kannada activities in various countries.
  • After Kannada got classical language tag, the State received Rs. 11 crore from the Union government for studying and developing the language.
  • Efforts are on to have Kannada Study Seats in Jawaharalal Nehru University and elsewhere. The State has granted Rs. 30 crore for organising Vishwa Kannada Sammelan.

Government to act tough against bogus ration card creators

  • The state government has decided to crack the whip against those who are involved in creating bogus ration cards by linking fictitious Aadhaar card numbers.
  • Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader said that action will taken against owners of 950 fair price shops where the bogus
  • Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards have been seized & Licences to run the shops would be withdrawn and criminal cases would be booked against them.
  • Besides, a departmental enquiry has been ordered to ascertain the involvement of the officials.
  • Food coupons have been generated illegally by linking fictitious; Aadhaar card numbers with bogus ration cards.
  • Involvement of local food inspectors is suspected as seeding of Aadhaar card numbers is done at their level.
  • About 1.6 lakh such bogus ration cards have been seized in the past few days. Most of the cases are reported in Bengaluru.
  • Cases will be booked under the Essential Commodities Act and the Indian Penal Code against the culprits. Two persons have been already arrested in this connection.
  • Khader said the government is seriously considering doing away with the system of private individuals running fair price shops following the large-scale irregularities. Instead of extending their cooperation in implementing the public distribution system, many shop owners are misusing it.
  • Hence, the department is exploring the possibility of running all 20,000 shops with the help of Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporations and the Gram Panchayats.
  • The state government has decided to give either a five kg LPG cylinder or a cooking stove to the beneficiaries of Ujjwala scheme of the Centre in urban areas.
  • Those in rural areas would be given three options: a cooking stove, a refill cylinder or solar lights. Under Ujjwala scheme, the Centre gives free LPG connections to the BPL families.

DA hike for state govt staff

  • The state government on 21st Oct increased the dearness allowance (DA) of government employees by 4.25 percentage points.
  • The DA is now 40.25% from the earlier 36% of the basic pay with retrospective effect from July 1, 2016.
  • This will apply to all the permanent government employees and other employees drawing salaries from the government.
  • The revision will also apply to retired state government employees and pensioners coming under UGC/AICTE and ICAR, according to an official release.

State gets Central funds for irrigation projects

  • Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on 21st Oct announced that the Centre has released the first instalment of Rs 1,500 crore to 18 states, including Karnataka, as central assistance for taking up a total of 99 irrigation projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP).
  • In Karnataka, the fund has been released for the Upper Tunga Irrigation Project (Haveri, Shivamogga and Davangere districts) and Sri Rameshwara Irrigation project (Belagavi), Karanja (Bidar), Bhima (Kalaburagi) and Narayanpur Left Bank Canal System (New Kalaburagi and Vijayapura).
  • These funds were sanctioned for the completion of the on-going irrigation projects and funds will be released through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
  • With the sanction of funds to complete the pending irrigation projects in drought-hit areas, the minister hoped that their completion will address major water crises.
  • Following an increase in farmers’ suicides in the past two years due to failure of rainfall, the Centre has decided to release more funds to states to take up irrigation projects in drought-prone districts.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget speech in 2016, had announced the plan to create a dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund in NABARD with an initial corpus of about Rs 20,000 crore and an amount of Rs 12,517 crore was provided as budgetary resources and market borrowings during the 2016-17 fiscal year.

CM directs Finance Dept to consider hike for cops

  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the Finance Department has been directed to positively consider the Home Department’s recommendation to hike the salaries of constables, head constables, assistant sub-inspectors, sub-inspectors, inspectors, deputy superintendents of police and superintendents of police (non IPS) by 35%.
  • The Committee to Examine Disparities in Pay and Allowance of Police headed by Additional Director General of Police (Recruitment)
  • Referring to the recent incidents of suicides by a few policemen, the chief minister said that the Policemen should think about their families before committing suicide.
  • The government has decided to appoint counsellors in every district to prevent policemen from committing suicide.
  • As many as 473 policemen across the country, including 22 in the state laid down their lives while serving the country in the last one year.

Rs 15,742-cr plan to revive ecology in mine-ravaged dists

  • Karnataka has submitted a Rs 15,742-crore plan to the Supreme Court, spelling out the measures it intends to take to reclaim and rehabilitate areas destroyed by illegal mining of iron ore in the three mineral-rich districts of Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru.
  • In a proposal submitted to the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government stated that its Comprehensive Environment Plan for the Mining Impact Zone (CEPMIZ) would revive the forest and the environment in these districts.
  • The CEPMIZ, which was prepared in consultation with the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), will be implemented over 10 years, the written submission states.  Of the estimated cost of Rs 15,742 crore, Rs 11,842 crore will come from the special purpose vehicle, Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation (KMERC).
  • The railways will contribute Rs 1,000 crore and iron ore lessees and steel plants of these districts Rs 2,900 crore.
  • Seeking the court’s approval for the CEPMIZ, Karnataka said it was committed to establishing a robust monitoring and supervision framework for implementation of the project.
  • The KMERC’s task is to mitigate the impact of mining, repair the damage caused by mining, take up afforestation and address issues in education, health, nutrition, water supply, employment and minor irrigation

Nominations to Karnataka boards, LC finalised

  • The long pending nominations to 70-odd boards and corporations in Karnataka as also to the Legislative Council were finalised by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after discussions with the Congress central leadership.
  • Siddaramaiah had two rounds of talks with AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh after which he met party Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
  • The move was aimed at accommodating the legislators who were unhappy with the party for not making them ministers in the recent Cabinet reshuffle.
  • There are three vacancies under the nomination category in the Upper House of the legislature, while the ruling party can nominate heads to 70-odd state-run boards and corporations.
  • The ruling party can nominate members who have served in the field of literature, art and culture, education and social service to the Council.

Bill in Belagavi session to check varsity irregularities

  • The government will introduce a comprehensive bill in the winter session of the legislature at Belagavi to bring state universities in Karnataka under a uniform legislation.
  • The bill, whose draft is under preparation, will seek to check irregularities in the universities.
  • All universities have to submit the details on their finance, infrastructure, faculty and future plan in a month.
  • The government is preparing a master plan to improve higher education in the state by way of infrastructure development and faculty recruitment.
  • The government is considering taking a loan from the World Bank for the purpose.
  • Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayaraddi also spoke about the 2,900 vacancies of assistant professors in degree colleges in Karnataka and said the process to recruit 2,160 candidates was almost over.
  • The list of successful candidates will be announced in a month.
  • He, however, made it clear that regularising the jobs of guest lecturers was “next to impossible” as that would put a huge financial burden on the exchequer.
  • The vacancies for principals of government degree colleges will be filled by promoting the eligible professors this academic year.

Rs 11,000-cr crop loss in kharif season

  • Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said  that the state had incurred crop losses to the tune of Rs 11,000 crore during the kharif season as per the primary report submitted by the department officials.
  • 110 taluks had been declared drought-hit and relief works were being taken up.
  • The government has directed the revenue and agriculture officials to conduct a joint survey on crop loss and based on the report by the officials, the state would seek Rs 3,000 crore compensation from the Centre.
  • The rains had failed in October and there was a possibility of the government declaring drought in rabi season also.
  • However, the government will wait for the next 15 days to see whether the state receives good rains and later declare all taluks as drought affected.
  • To discourage cultivation of water-intensive crops like sugar cane and paddy, the government has planned to give importance to millets.
  • At present, a support price of Rs 1,600 has been announced for ragi and jowar and they have been included under the PDS.
  • To encourage farmers to opt for millets, the government has submitted a proposal to the Union government, asking it to enhance the support price to Rs 2,100 for millet.
  • This was the only solution to discourage cultivation of water-intensive crops.

Hard times for Bhimgad sanctuary villagers as govt delays rehab process

  •  With the government declaring Bhimgad forest in Khanapur taluk of Belagavi district a wildlife sanctuary in 2011, the problems of villagers living in its ambit have compounded.
  • Villagers living in the core area have been put to hardship as the Forest Department is not allowing any development work apart from forest-related activities in the reserve forest.
  • While people are willing to relocate, for the past one year the state government is delaying formation of a five-member District Rehabilitation Committee headed by assistant commissioner to determine the rehabilitation package.
  • There has been no response to a letter by the Belagavi deputy conservator of forest (DCF) on rehabilitation, which was forwarded by deputy commissioner to state government in 2015.
  • Of the 13 villages with a total population of 4,000 that lie in the wildlife sanctuary, eight are in the core forest area.
  • Residents of six of these villages are voluntarily willing to relocate outside the forest area, but within Khanapur taluk, if they are given fair compensation.
  • Experts say that as per National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines, at least Rs 10 crore is required to rehabilitate villagers living in the core area.
  • Jayaram said that they would first try accommodating the villagers on government lands within Khanapur taluk and go in for land acquisition in case of land shortage. DCF B V Patil said that once the committee is formed and compensation fixed, the government will initiate rehabilitation process in a phased manner.
  • However, the villagers say that the compensation of Rs 10 lakh per ‘family’, (to be read as all individuals aged above 18 and not dependent on others) as per the NTCA rules, is too less.
  • As per the villagers they were losing fertile land and ancestral houses & have been demanding fair compensation, rehabilitation within Khanapur taluk and scientific evaluation of our immovable properties.
  • In the last four years, they have hardly received compensation from the government for crop or cattle losses caused by wild animals.
  • Belagavi District Wildlife Warden Sachin Patil said, “Relocation is a win-win situation for wildlife conservation and villagers.”
  • Bhimgad and surrounding forest is a catchment area, which meets 90% water requirement of the region.

Karnataka: Sale of all forms of chewing tobacco banned

  • As per the Supreme Court, the State government  banned the sale of flavoured chewing tobacco that is being sold in sachets as an alternative to the now banned gutka.
  •  After the State banned manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of ghutka in May 2013, flavoured chewing tobacco (in the form of ‘zarda’, ‘khaini’, ‘mawa’, ‘masheri’ among others) and pan masala were being sold in separate sachets.
  • Often these sachets are clipped and sold together by the same vendors from the same shop premises so that consumers can mix the two.
  • The apex court in its order dated Sept. 23, directed Principal Secretaries (Health and Family Welfare) of all States to take steps to ban all forms of the product and submit a compliance report by Nov. 9,
  • In an order issued by the State Health Department on 26th Oct, all deputy commissioners, designated officers and food safety officers have been directed to ensure that the manufacture, storage, distribution or sale of tobacco and pan masala in separate sachets or in un-packaged form is prohibited.

Scientific division of police station limits to begin in Bengaluru

  • The city police, which struggled to ensure law and order during the recent Cauvery-related violence and the garment workers’ strike a few months ago, is gearing up to restructure and reorganise the existing police stations in the city more scientifically.
  • This exercise will begin from next week, said Home Minister G. Parameshwara said, adding that the city will also get an additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP).
  • Aimed at making policing more effective, the move is to ensure that the jurisdictional limits of police stations are scientifically divided.
  • As of now, some stations have too many areas/wards and some with very few. which makes it difficult, especially in times of disturbances and law and order situations.
  • With Madiwala being the largest police station, the government is also set to split it into two or three stations.
  • Following the restructuring the 105 existing number of police stations are likely to go up by five more.
  • Clarifying that there was no proposal to have two commissionerates for the city

To fill 19,000 vacancies

  • The Home Department is hoping to fill about 19,000 vacancies in the State by next year.
  • With at least 3,000 police vacancies created every year due to retirement and promotions, the Home Ministry has sought clearance from the Finance Department to fill up these vacancies.
  • The vacancies have piled up because no recruitments were done during the previous BJP rule.

State Govt allots 2,224 acres of farmland for industrial projects

  • The State government has decided to allot 2,224 acres of agricultural land for industrial, health and wellness projects in different districts of the State.
  • A meeting of the State Cabinet decided to grant land under Section 109 (1a) of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961. Farmlands would be acquired and converted for industrial projects.
  • It was decided that 1,179 acres of agricultural land in villages of Kalaburagi district would be granted to Shree Cement, based in Rajasthan, for setting up a cement factory.
  • As much as 40.2 acres has been allotted to Mookambika Inc. Pvt. Ltd. for setting up a health resort near Kanakapura in Ramangaram district
  • 262 acres in Sedam taluk in Kalaburagi taluk for Dalmiya Cements; 673.13 acres in villages of Koppal district for Xindia Steels Ltd.; and 70.18 acres in Bidar for Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli multi-speciality Hospital,
  • It was decided to introduce a Bill in the Belagavi session of the legislature to provide legal backup for change in names of cities such as Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Tumakuru, Belagavi, Vijayapura, and Mangaluru.
  • The Centre has already approved the change of names of these cities.
  • Once the Bill obtains legislature approval, there would be an automatic change in names of institutions such as Bangalore University as Bengaluru University, Tumkur Univeristy as Tumakuru University, Bangalore Water Supply Sewerage Board as Bengaluru Water Supply Sewerage Board etc.
  • As per the National Disaster Response Fund, the Cabinet has sought Rs. 3,760.29 crore compensation from the Centre for relief to farmers who have lost crops owing to drought in 110 taluks and recent heavy rain in Bidar, Kalaburagi and Yadgir districts.
  • The Cabinet discussed the crash in prices of onion in the State and decided to seek Central aid for procurement of the commodity at Rs. 11 per kg from growers. Onion crop was cultivated on 3.5 lakh acres in seven districts.

Govt will soon sack 804 doctors on unauthorised leave

  • The Karnataka government will soon terminate as many as 804 doctors for unauthorised absence from work. A decision in this regard was taken after the doctors failed to report to work even after being served notices.
  • Minister for Health and Family Welfare K R Ramesh Kumar said these doctors, who were appointed by the health department, have been suspended after they failed to report to duty, citing reasons like transfers.
  • Further, 1,304 nurses, paramedics, lab technicians and other staff members will also be suspended.
  • In all, there are 2,733 staffers working in the health department.
  • About the vacancies that would be created following the suspension, the minister said appropriate measures have been initiated to tackle the situation
  • Meanwhile, Kumar said that even though the government promised a salary of Rs 1.25 lakh and additional incentives for specialists, nobody expressed interest to serve in rural areas.
  • Recently, the Karnataka Public Service Commission called for applications for 1,401 posts of doctors, but appointment orders were issued for only 1,222.
  • Of this, 590 reported for work. For the existing 1,183 vacancies for specialists, 700 responded, 400 took the interview, but only 44 reported for work.
  • To address this issue, the government is planning to introduce postgraduate diploma courses organised by the National Board of Examination for doctors who would serve in rural areas.
  • Priority would be given to fill up the vacancies of pediatricians, anesthetists and gynecologists across government hospitals. He added that if the course is introduced soon, the shortage of doctors could be addressed in a span of three years.

Why do most of the doctors do not prefer to work in rural areas?

  • Attractive salaries offered by private hospitals and an opportunity to work in urban areas are one set of reasons keeping away doctors from joining government hospitals, senior government doctors say there were many more factors at play.
  •  Absence of a conducive atmosphere that includes assault by patients’ relatives and harassment by followers of local politicians have also created a sense of fear and phobia among doctors, who are ready to work for even lower salaries in a small hospital in urban areas rather than a taluk hospital or primary health centre.
  • With many rural hospitals being under the control of zilla panchayats, doctors are worried that they have to depend on panchayats for almost everything, including release of salaries.
  • To add inadequate infrastructure in rural hospitals and specialists having to also function as casualty medical officers are the main reasons for the dismally poor response to the department’s recruitment drive.
  • Also, a specialist does not have scope for brushing up his/her speciality as most of the times a complicated case is referred to a higher facility due to lack of infrastructure in the local hospital.

Minister lists new measures to strengthen public health system

  • Minister for Health and Family Welfare K R Ramesh Kumar on 27th Oct announced a series of new programmes to strengthen the public health care system.
  • Soon all the 146 taluk hospitals would have a dialysis centre run on the public-private partnership model.
  • While the government would provide infrastructure, private players would appoint staff, put equipment in place and maintain them.
  • Three-bed ICU would be set up in all taluk hospitals at a cost of Rs 27 lakh each.
  • All taluk hospitals will have blood storage units and district hospitals blood banks as this is to ensure that no patient in cases such as dengue suffers due to non-availability of blood.
  • ‘Upaharagruhas’ would be started in all taluk and district hospitals where food would be made available for patients, their attendants and group ‘D’ staff of the hospital at a subsidised price.
  • With consumables from the Food and Civil Supplies department, idlis would be priced ar Rs 4, chapati and sabzi or rice at Rs 8 per plate. Drinking water would be supplied by the MSIL.
  • Committee has been formed to amend the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act to address grievances of patients in private hospitals.

Ecotourism board’s new chief for more trek routes in forests

  • Six months after he retired as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, former Indian Forest Service officer Vinay Luthra has been appointed Chairman of Karnataka Ecotourism Development Board.
  • Luthra will be the chairman of the Board, while head of the state Forest department will be the member secretary. Luthra’s role will be limited to taking forward the Board’s policy decisions and come out with better plans to balance conservation and tourism.
  • The first thing on his agenda is to open trekking routes in reserve forest patches of non-Western Ghats areas such as Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Dakshina Kannada and around Bengaluru.
  • The aim is to restrict jeep safari and attract more youth to regulated trekking.
  • Soon, 30 short eco-trail routes of 5-10 kms will be introduced in the state.
  • These trails will be independent of the proposed 270-km long Great Canara Trails from Jog Falls to Castle Rock (Dudhsagar). Work on starting the Great Canara trails will be hastened.
  • Training for two batches of guides has been started
  • The Board wants more youngsters to appreciate nature and, the aim was to introduce more walking, educational trekking routes and adventure sports, including water sports and rock climbing.
  • As many as 25 under-utilised forest camps will be used to accommodate trekkers.
  • The Board is open to taking the help of experts, including those from  armed forces, for adventure sports.
  • Since adventure sports will be outsourced, the search is on for the best and highly trained experts.