2017 to be ‘Year of the Wild’ in Karnataka
- The state tourism department has declared 2017 the ‘Year of the Wild’ and will cater to tourists keen on exploring the wilderness and wildlife of Karnataka.
- The campaign ‘Year of the Wild’ was launched by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Minister of State for Tourism Priyank Kharge.
- Kharge said the Tourism department, in association with the Forest department, had identified nine eco-trekking routes in the Western Ghats which will be opened to tourists and trekkers soon.
- Trained nature guides will accompany and educate tourists about nature conservation on these trekking routes
- There are some sanctuaries dedicated to conserving specific species exist, such as Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary, Kokkrebellur Pelicanry, and Adichunchanagiri Peacock Sanctuary. Ornithologists from world over flock at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, located just outside Srirangapatna where the Cauvery River meanders around a string of tiny islets, forming a popular nesting site for birds.
- The state boasts of five national parks — Anshi, Kudremukh, Rajiv Gandhi, Bannerghatta, and Bandipur; 18 wildlife sanctuaries including the famous Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary; and several reserve forests.
- By declaring 2017 to be the Year of the Wild, the state government hopes to promote conservation of many animal species. Mammals as diverse as the Bengal tiger, Asiatic elephant and Golden jackal have long called this part of the world home, along with exotic bird species such as the Yellow Wattled Lapwing and the Great Indian Bustard.
- Local species local that have been declared endangered include the Lion Tailed Macau, the Sloth bear and the Leatherback Turtle and the move could help boost efforts for their conservation as well.
- Even when the forest department has reportedly denied being part of the campaign that goes contrary to the minister’s claim, environmentalists worry that opening up the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats is nothing but a disastrous move.
- Many naturalist and environmentalist believe that it is essential to open up new places in order to make people aware that they need to conserve the nature, but the government must not, in the process, do more harm to the environment.
- The international-level surfing festival will be held in Mangaluru in mid-2017 to promote Karnataka’s beaches as a water sports destination.
- The Govt has launched a mobile app that provides app-based reservation system for Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation hotels.
- The app provides access to a database of all trained and certified tourist guides in the state and tourists can directly call these guides and fix appointments with them.
- A department official said KSTDC will provide 5% discount on tariffs for its hotels and tours, if booked through the app.
Bengaluru Hosts 14th Edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
- The 14th edition of the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, billed as the largest convergence of Indian diaspora, began in the country’s IT hub on Saturday with the spotlight on the role of youth in transforming the society and India’s potential to play the role of a ‘Vishwa Guru’ again.
- The ‘Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas’ was inaugurated as part of the PBD 2017 with an aim to connect with the youth, the new generation of Pravasis growing up all over the world.
- About 300-400 overseas Indian youth are participating in the Youth PBD, including nearly 150 PIOs who are visiting India for the Know India programme.
- The Youth PBD in 2017 includes plenary sessions on problems faced by Indian students abroad, problems faced by NRI students in India, and startups and innovation which have a social impact in India.
- The Youth PBD 2017, with focus on ‘Redefining engagement with the Indian Diaspora’, is being attended by delegates from 72 countries and registration has crossed 7,200 as of on Friday, officials said.
- The event being held on the city outskirts aims to provide a platform to overseas Indians to engage with the Government on issues of concern to the diaspora and to explore opportunities for investment in India and contribution to the country of their origin.
- The convention, being held biennially for the first time instead of earlier annual versions, will aim at redefining India’s engagement with its 3.12 crore strong diaspora in diverse spheres, including innovation, start-ups, tourism and education.
- According to organisers, a total of 6,346 registrations have been confirmed for PBD 2017 and more than 1,500 NRIs and 400 floating NRIs will be a part of the event.
Prime Minister Modi attends Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017
- Addressing 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, 2017 – the largest gathering so far of Indians living abroad – Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged the diaspora community to switch from their PIO cards to OCI cards.
- Non-Resident Indians (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) are the three major categories in which the people from India go and live abroad can be categorised.
- While NRIs is essentially a term used for Indians that live in another country, PIOs and OCIs are people who want to stay connected and involved with India more closely.
- To serve the same purpose, the government of India issues PIO cards and OCI cards to them according to their needs. Check out what all you need to know about PIO card and OCI card benefits
Advantages to a PIO card holder
- If a person holds a PIO card, then he/she doesn’t need a visa to visit India. Along with this, he/she is exempted from a student or employment visa to acquire employment or academic opportunities in India.
- A PIO card holder during the duration of stay in India, is not required to register at the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
- The holder also enjoys parity with NRIs in concern to economic, financial and educational matters. These may include matters related to property transfer or acquisition, holding, disposal, investment, admission of children in educational institutions under general category quota for NRIs.
- A separate immigration counters are provided at all International airports in India for PIO card holders.
The drawbacks for PIO card holder are
- The PIO card holders do not have any voting rights.
- A prior permission is needed to undertake mountaineering expeditions or any such related research work in protected areas.
PM Modi also promoted the idea of converting their PIO cards with OCI cards.
The OCI card has its own several benefits.
- OCI is essentially a lifetime visa status offered by India to an Indian person who has given up his citizenship.
- It doesn’t matter how long does the OCI holder stays in the country, he/she is exempted from registering with the FRRO.
- Another advantage is that if a person remains an OCI for 5 years, he/she can attain Indian citizenship and then live in India for a period of one year including short breaks.
- Special immigration counters are provided at all international airports in India for OCI card holders.
- The card holder can open special bank accounts in India just like NRIs and make investments.
- OCI holders can also buy non-farm property and exercise ownership rights and is alos allowed to apply for a driver’s license, PAN card or open a bank account in India.
- The holder enjoys the same economic, financial and educational benefits like NRIs and he/she can also adopt children.
Restrictions for OCI card holders
- An OCI card holder cannot vote.
- He/she cannot hold a government job or purchase agricultural or farm land.
- Also, the person without permission cannot run for public office or travel to restricted areas.
MoEF team assesses eco damage due to Yettinahole project
- A team of officials from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) visited several villages in the taluk to assess the environmental damage caused by the Yettinahole drinking water project in the Western Ghats.
- The team, comprising Conservator of Forests N Avinash, DCF R Padmavathi and environment scientist Thirunavukkarasu, visited the taluk as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal and inspected Aluvalli, Kadagaravalli, Kerihole, Bagudahalli, Kadumane, Yettinahole and Kesaganahalli. They inspected the check dams at Aluvalli and Kadagaravalli and gathered information from the authorities concerned.
- Farmers Subbegowda, Vishwanath and others explained that they were cultivating arecanut, coconut and cardamom in the region.
- Their lands have now been taken over by the government for the project, but they are yet to receive compensation, they said.
- Local officials explained that over 6,000 trees were axed for the project.
- This irked the environmentalists, who claimed that more than 15,000 trees had been axed so far.
- This led to heated arguments. The team expressed disappointment over the documents related to the project that were submitted by the officials.
- DCF Manjunath, ACF Ramesh Babu, Malenadu Janapara Horata Samiti president H A Kishore Kumar, the complainant, and others accompanied the team. The members refused to disclose anything to the media and said a report would be submitted to the Green Tribunal before January 16.
What is Yettinahole project?
- Yettinahole River Project is River Netravathi Diversion project initiated by Karantaka.
- Karnataka Govt is planning to divert waters from west-flowing river Netravathi to some districts i.e Kolar, Bangalore, Ramanagara, Chikkaballapur, etc
- But this project affects the people of Mangalore District who solely depends upon this River for Everything.
- Apart from this there is danger for Western Ghats and might Change the Monsoon pattern . Deforestation, Problem to Wildlife , Problems to Marine and aquatic animals.
Background of River Netravathi
- Nethravathi is Lifeline of Mangalore and Dakshina kannnada District .
- The river starts at Bangrabalige valley, Yelaneeru in Kudermukh in Chikkamangalru District of Karnataka, India flows West and reaches Arabian Sea.
- It is used for agriculture and cultivation by the farmers of Hassan, Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada Districts to cultivate 3.5 lakh Hectares of Land.
- Also used to provide Drinking Water for the people of Mangalore and Daskina Kannada District.
- Apart from above two things it is also used for Fish cultivation and for fishing which is another prime occupation of people of Mangalore.
Why the project may fail
- Dr. Madhyastha was delivering a special talk on ‘Ecology of Yettinahole: The story of a controversial river diversion project’, organised by the Centre for Gandhian and Peace Studies, Manipal University, in association with Adelphi, Berlin.
- He said the way the project was envisaged presently, no water would reach Kolar. The only way the government can get some water to Kolar is by pumping more from Netravati river. “This project is based on false statistics and assumptions,” Dr. Madhyastha opined.
- He added that the project will even impact the water flow in Kumaradhara river. The construction would affect the elephant corridor in the region, which should not be disturbed. Already, there have been instances of man-elephant conflict at Alur in Sakleshpur. Change in the quality of habitat would push lesser-known animals to extinction.
- Since there will be less water in the Netravati because of the project, wells and ponds are bound to dry up in Dakshina Kannada region. It will bring down agricultural production, and stagnation of water could lead to a spurt in mosquito-borne diseases in the region.
- Instead of spending Rs. 13,000 crore on the project, whose success is doubtful, the government should decide to not disturb Yettinahole, he said. “Yettinahole, in its present splendid form, is invaluable. It is better to go in for small eco-friendly projects,” Dr. Madhyastha said.
Karnataka lost 18 tigers in 2016, highest in the last seven years
- The year 2016 was one of the worst for tigers in Karnataka as the state lost 18 of them to poaching, poisoning and natural causes. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which records deaths and seizure of tiger parts in the country, has reported on the website (http://www.tigernet.nic.in/) that India lost at least 97 tigers in the wild in 2016— the worst in the last seven years. Madhya Pradesh (30) saw the most tiger deaths this year, followed by Karnataka (18) and Maharashtra (15).
- Karnataka has lost 75 tigers since 2010, with 2016 being the worst followed by 2013 (15 deaths), 2012 (12) and 2015 (11). Out of the 18 tiger deaths, the actual cause of mortality is yet to be determined in eight cases.
- While a tiger was “poached” (none of its parts was removed) in Bandipur’s Maddur region on August 13, 2016, two tigers were poisoned near Umdlebylu village in Bhadravathi on December 8.
- Four tigers died a natural death while three big cats died in territorial fights. On August 3, 2016, three tigers died in the Nagarahole National Park; the cause of death is still unclear.
- According to the 2015 census, Karnataka has more than 406 tigers in the wild — 221 of them in Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks. The two national parks also lost the most number of tigers in 2016. While Nagarahole saw 12 tiger deaths, Bandipur lost four of them.
Forest Department’s statement
- Forest Department officials contend that most of the tiger deaths in 2016 were natural. “There is no need to press the panic button about tiger deaths as most of the fatalities were natural,” Assistant Chief Conservator of Forests C Jayaram said.
- Except for a poaching case in Bandipur and the poisoning of two tigers in Bhadravathi, all other tigers died either of old age or from injuries sustained in territorial fights, which is a common phenomenon in the jungle, he said. But that doesn’t mean that the department is doing nothing to protect the tigers, he added.
‘Farmers poisoned tigers’
- The Forest Department suspects that farmers poisoned two tigers at Umdlebylu to protect their cattle from being devoured by the big cats. “We are creating awareness among people on tiger conservation and asking them not to harm them,” Jayaram said.
- The government has increased the compensation from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for each cattle death caused by wild animals, he said.
Karnataka: Citizens can generate their your own ration card from Jan 9
- Beginning January 9, citizens can generate their own ration cards (Above Poverty Line) anywhere in Karnataka.
- Under the new system, people can take a printout of their APL ration cards on the spot by submitting necessary information. The facility can be accessed by logging on to the Food and Civil Supplies department’s website – ahara.kar.nic.in
How does it works?
- One has to fill up an online application by submitting information such as Aadhaar number and residential address.
- The department will send the original copy of the ration cards through post to the applicants within 15 days of submitting the application.
- The department will charge Rs 100 for providing a copy of the original ration card.
- Those who already have APL ration cards can also take a printout of new ration cards.
- The department had stopped issuing ration cards, both APL and BPL, to citizens about six months ago. People have to apply for ration cards afresh.
- However, citizens can only submit the application online for BPL cards under the new system. Applications can also be submitted manually. Besides submitting Aadhaar number, all members of a family should submit their bio-metric details.
Palm scripts of Kumaravyasa’s magnum opus in tatters
- The original manuscript of ‘Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari,’ a Kannada version of the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ penned by 15th-century poet Kumaravyasa, is vanishing gradually at a house in Koliwad village in the taluk.
- However, 350 such ‘talegaris’ are in a pathetic state.
- At present, they have been placed in a small wooden box in the house belonging to the descendants of the great poet at Koliwad. As some of them are already damaged, they will disappear forever if immediate measures are not taken to protect them.
- Expressing unhappiness over the delay in protecting the poet’s work, Dattatreya Patil, a 15th generation descendant of Kumaravyasa, said repeated pleas for preserving the original work of the great poet had fallen on deaf ears of the officials and the elected representatives.
- He said a memorial constructed in the village a year ago for the poet was yet to be inaugurated. Kumaravyasa’s birth anniversary should be celebrated every year in a grand manner, Patil said.
- Kumara Vyasa is the pen name of Naranappa, an influential and classical poet of the Kannada language in the early 15th century.
- The poet, who was considered the king of metaphors was born in Koliwad, 35 km from the city. He was one of the greatest poets in Kannada literature.
- His literary work explores a wide range of human emotions and showcases his extensive mastery over vocabulary.
- Kumara Vyasa’s most famous work, the Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari (the Mahabharata of Karnataka) is popularly known as Gadugina Bharata and Kumaravyasa Bharata.
- It is a sublime adaptation of the first ten Parvas (chapters) of the Mahabharata. A devotee of Krishna, Kumara Vyasa ends his epic with the coronation of Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas.
- The work is easily the most celebrated in Kannada literature. Its fame arises due to its universal appeal.
- Gadugina Bharata is composed in the Bhamini Shatpadi meter, a form of six lined stanza. Kumara Vyasa explores a wide range of human emotions, examines values, and displays extensive mastery over vocabulary.
- The work is particularly known for its use of sophisticated metaphors. Kumara Vyasa is also renowned for his characterization. Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari is also known as Dasha Parva Bharata because it originally had only 10 parvas as opposed to the 18 in the original Mahabharata.
As per the Government:
- Kiran Singh, officer on special duty to Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree, said that measures will be initiated for the preservation of the palm scripts if the village elders or successors of the poet submit a proposal addressed to her.
- They should submit a photograph of the palm scripts along with the proposal. Steps will be taken to inaugurate the memorial.
- Only the government can take a decision on celebrating Kumaravyasa’s birth anniversary, the officer said.
Centre rejects Karnataka’s demand for 25% quota in IIT Dharwad
- The Karnataka government on August 9 demanded the Centre to amend the IIT Act to reserve 25 per cent seats for local students at IIT Dharwad.
- The state government also sought an IIIT for a backward district of Raichur, recognition of courses offered by the Karnataka Open University, support for starting railway engineering courses and flying schools in the state.
- IIT Dharwad was made functional from August 1, the local students did not get benefit as only seven students have been selected from Karnataka.
As per the Karnataka Govt
- The state government has given 500 acres of land free of cost for construction of IIT Dharwad.
- A few courses are being offered at present, he said after making a representation to Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.
- The state minister also requested the Centre to formally inaugurate IIT Dharwad later this month.
- This apart, Basavarajrayareddy said the University Grants Commission (UGC) has derecognised Karnataka Open University and the state government has amended the laws in line withe UGC.
- The state minister also discussed about possibility of establishing an IIT or IIIT at Raichur in order to develop the backward district. He said the state is ready to provide land at free of cost.
- Basavarajrayareddy also made representation to Union Civil Aviation and Railways ministers and sought support for setting up of flying schools in the state and for offering railway engineering courses.
- The flying club school, which set up way back in 1960, by the state government has now become a defunct entity. The state government has now suggested the Centre to utilise either HIL airport or Mysuru airport to restart the school.
Solar policy amended to ensure power to locals
- The state Cabinet approved the implementation of solar power projects under distributed-generation approach wherein electricity generated will be supplied to the local community.
- The move will help cope with the problem of peak-hour demand. Besides, generation of only up to 200 Mega Watt of solar power will be allowed in each taluk, excluding projects implemented on solar rooftops. These are some of the amendments brought into the Solar Policy 2014-21.
- The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, gave its approval to amendments proposed to the policy.
- Permission will be accorded on first-come-first-served basis. This has been done to ensure that solar power is generated across all taluks of the state.
- Solar power projects are now concentrated in only the few districts of Tumakuru, Kolar and Chitradurga in the absence of any restriction.
- Currently generation units are located in one corner of the state and power is transmitted all over from those units. But under the solar policy, units will be set up wherever the land is available and the generated power will also be consumed locally.
- This will not only help redeem transmission loss but also saves money that should have been spent on infrastructure
- Be it the roof-top or ground mounted generation units, they will be connected with the grid system of local Escoms and come in handy while catering to the peak load.
- The government wants the projects to come up in all taluks. Hence, the restriction has been imposed. The amended policy has also enhanced the target to generate solar power by 2021 to 6,000 MW from 2,000 MW.
Land bank dropped
- Karnataka’s initiative of obtaining land from farmers on lease basis to set up solar parks was lauded by the union and directed all states to adopt the same method rather than going in for acquisition.
- Karnataka had previously contemplated to create private land banks owned by individual farmers and farmer groups. But under the new policy, the government has done away with the land bank system.
- Instead, the government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D.
- Further the policy proposes to generate solar power in every taluk not more than 200 Mw so as to ensure enough power supply all through the taluk.
- While a high level project approval committee used to approve projects with capacity more than 1 MW, now Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Corporation Limited (KREDL) has been given more teeth and based on KREDL’s recommendation, the state government will approve the projects.
What are the new policies
- The state government has decided to pursue solar energy aggressively and proposed a slew of amendments to its Solar Policy 2014-21.
- While the earlier policy had envisaged including at least 3 per cent of solar energy in its total energy usage, the latest amendment has increased the cap to 8 per cent. Initially Karnataka had aimed to generate 2,000 MW by 2021 and now the same target has been increased to 6,000 Mw.
- The government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D
- The new policy has proposed to motivate people to set up a hybrid generation unit which involves both solar and wind mill.
Justice Shetty unanimous choice for Lokayukta post
- Former judge of the Karnataka High Court justice P Vishwanath Shetty finally emerged as a unanimous candidate for the post of Karnataka Lokayukta.
- Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who chaired a high-level meeting, told that he will soon recommend Justice Shetty’s name to Governor Vajubhai Vala to appoint him as the Lokayukta.
- The post has been vacant since December 2015 when justice Y Bhaskar Rao resigned over charges of corruption and extortion in his office.
- Who all supported Justice ShettyChief Justice of Karnataka High Court Justice S K Mukherjee, presiding officers of both Houses of the legislature, K B Koliwad and D H Shankarmurthy, and Opposition leaders Jagadish Shettar and K S Eshwarappa, are members of the consultative committee.
- All the members supported Justice Shetty for the post. Justice Shetty is 71 years old.
- Though it is the discretion of the chief minister to recommend any name, the governor will have the final say in the appointment.
- The chief minister will also have to send the proceedings of the meeting to the governor.
- Vala had refused to appoint Justice S R Nayak as the Lokayukta despite the chief minister recommending his name twice.
Why was his name rejected earlier?
- One of the reasons why his name was rejected was that Justice Nayak faced charges of obtaining a residential plot in Judicial Layout in Bengaluru by submitting a false affidavit. The Opposition leaders, too, had opposed Justice Nayak for the post.
- Interestingly, Justice Shetty also faces similar charges: he had reportedly obtained a prime plot in the Judicial Layout by submitting a false affidavit. He had reportedly declared that neither he nor any of his family members owned any plot in Bengaluru. But he is said to have owned a plot in RT Nagar.
- The Lokayukta (also Lok Ayukta) is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states.
- The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by Morarji Desai submitted a special interim report on “Problems of Redressal of Citizen’s Grievances” in 1966.
- In this report, the ARC recommended the setting up of two special authorities designated as ‘Lokpal’ and ‘Lokayukta’ for the redressal of citizens’ grievances.
- The LokAyukta, along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti Corruption Bureau, mainly helps people publicise corruption among the Politicians and Government
- Many acts of the LokAyukta have resulted in criminal or other consequences for those charged.
- Maharashtra was the first state to introduce the institution of Lokayukta through The Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act in 1971.
- This was followed by similar acts being enacted by states of Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Delhi.
- Maharashtra Lokayukta is considered as weak due to lack of powers, staff, funds and no independent investigating agency.
- Karnataka Lokayukta is considered as the most powerful Lokayukta in the country
- There are no Lokayuktas in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.
- The latest Lokayukta was established in Goa.On May 20, 2014 Arunachal assembly passed lokayukta bill.
Kannada inscription at Talagunda may replace Halmidi as oldest
- The stone inscription (dated 370 CE) found at Talagunda near Shiralakoppa in the taluk during excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 2013-14 is now said to be the earliest Kannada inscription.
- This is indeed something to cheer about for people of the district in general and of Shikaripur taluk in particular.
- The Halmidi inscription – dated between 450 CE and 500 CE – was earlier believed to be the oldest-known Kannada inscription.
- A review of Indian Archaeology-2013-14, published by the Director General of ASI in 2016, said the inscription found in the North side balustrade of the Pranaveshwara temple, in all probability, dates back to 370 CE.
- It is a seven-line slanted Brahmi script written left to right. The use of Kannada script along with Sanskrit makes it a dual-language inscription.
- The inscription records gifts of land to a boatman namely Vaji Naga, who belonged to the Boygara family, by a certain Halami of Pulindage.
- M Navin Kumar, president of the Shiralakoppa-based Kannada Research and Development Foundation, said there was a need to rewrite history books and mention that the Talagunda inscription was the oldest-known Kannada inscription and not Halmidi.
- “Keshava Sharma, an official who was part of the excavation team, had predicted that it could be older than Halmidi inscription. But there was no official communication then. Now, I am told that it has been officially declared as the earliest Kannada inscription.”
- The trial excavation was carried out in 2013 under the direction of M Nambirajan of the ASI at the temple complex.
- Two sets of copper plates of the Kakatiya period and 13 gold coins of Ganga period were also found during the trial excavation.
- An undated, fragmented and worn-out inscription was found on the left side balustrade (Simhakatanjana) of the temple during the second excavation.
- The Archaeological Survey of India has reportedly directed Bengaluru circle officials to carry on excavation at Talagunda Shikaripur taluk for another five years.