Delimitation of Seats
Paper: General Studies 2
Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Why in the news?
The electoral system and process in the new Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir will get rolling with fresh delimitation of its parliamentary and assembly constituencies. The Centre has indicated that it would soon set up a commission for the purpose.
What is delimitation?
- Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
- The job of delimitation is assigned to a high power body. Such a body is known as Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission.
- In India, such Delimitation Commissions have been constituted 4 times – in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952, in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962, in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002.
- The Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court. These orders come into force on a date to be specified by the President of India in this behalf. The copies of its orders are laid before the House of the People and the State Legislative Assembly concerned, but no modifications are permissible therein by them.
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)
Paper: General Studies 2
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Why in the news?
- The NPPA notified the ceiling price of orthopaedic knee implants on 16th August, 2017 by invoking extraordinary powers, in the public interest, under Para 19 of Drugs Prices Control Order (DPCO) 2013, for a period of one year.
- Though the industry has requested for a 20% (10% for the year 2018 and 10% for the year 2019) increase in the price of knee implants, it was decided to further monitor the price increase of knee implants as per para 20 of the DPCO, 2013 that restricts price increase beyond 10% in a given year. This shall be subject to a review after one year.
About the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority
- National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was constituted vide Government of India Resolution dated 29th August, 1997 as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.
- It is an independent Regulator for pricing of drugs and to ensure the availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
It has been entrusted inter-alia, with the following functions
- To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO), 1995/2013 in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
- To undertake and/or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/formulations.
- To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
- To collect/maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc. for bulk drugs and formulations.
- To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
- To render advice to the Central Government on changes/revisions in the drug policy.
- To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.
Swachch Survekshan 2020
Paper: General Studies 2
Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Why in the news?
- Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing & Urban Affairs launched the Swachh Survekshan 2020 (SS 2020), the fifth edition of the annual cleanliness survey conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA)
- Alongside, the Swachh Survekshan 2020 Toolkit, SBM Water PLUS Protocol and Toolkit, Swachh Nagar – an integrated waste management app and AI enabled mSBM App were also launched.
- SS 2020 will be conducted in January 2020. A major thrust of Swachh Survekshan has always been on citizen engagement, be it through citizen feedback or indicators involving citizen participation. This year, the citizen-centric focus has been enhanced substantially through verification of the progress made by cities on Swachhata through direct responses from citizens. Continuing with its focus on providing integrated waste management solutions to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and citizens, MoHUA also launched the Swachh Nagar Mobile App. This app, with features such as tracking of waste collection by ULBs through route and vehicle monitoring, notification to citizens, online collection of user fee for waste collection and an effective grievance redressal mechanism, will be the answer to several issues that hinder effective waste management such as lack of monitoring, collection of segregated waste, and tracking the movement of waste vehicles and waste pickers, amongst others.
What is Swachh Survekshan?
- Swachh Survekshan is a ranking exercise taken up by the Government of India to assess rural and urban areas for their levels of cleanliness and active implementation of Swachhata mission initiatives in a timely and innovative manner.
- The objective of the survey is to encourage large scale citizen participation and create awareness amongst all sections of society about the importance of working together towards making towns and cities a better place to live in. Additionally, the survey also intends to foster a spirit of healthy competition among towns and cities to improve their service delivery to citizens, towards creating cleaner cities and towns.
- The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India takes up the Swachh Survekshan in urban areas and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in rural areas. The Quality Council of India (QCI) has been commissioned the responsibility of carrying out the assessment.
Paper: General Studies 3
Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Why in the news?
- Through the various efforts under the Central Sector Scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & NCT of Delhi’ the paddy residue burning events have reduced by 15% and 41% in 2018 as compared to that in 2017 and 2016, respectively in all these States as per the satellite data.
- More than 4500 villages in Punjab and Haryana was declared as Zero Stubble Burning Villages during 2018 as not a single crop burning incident was reported from these villages during the year.
- The Central Sector Scheme was launched with a total outgo of Rs.1151.80 Crores for the period from 2018-19 to 2019-20 by the Government of India to tackle air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi.
- Within one year of its implementation utilizing an amount of Rs. 500 crore, the happy seeder/zero tillage technology was adopted in 8 lakh hectares of land in the North- Western States of India. Under the scheme, financial assistance @50% of the cost is provided to the farmers for purchase of in-situ crop residue management machines on individual ownership basis. The financial assistance for establishment of Custom Hiring Centres of in-situ crop residue management machinery is @ 80% of the project cost.
- During 2018-19, the funds amounting to Rs. 269.38 crores, Rs.137.84 crores and Rs. 148.60 crores have been released to the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively, for distribution of in-situ crop residue management machinery to the farmers on subsidy, establishment of Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue management machinery and undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities for creating awareness among farmers. During 2019-20, funds amounting to Rs. 273.80 crores, Rs.192.06 crores and Rs. 105.29 crores have also been released so far to the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively.
- ICAR is implementing the scheme through 60 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs). In this scheme, awareness campaigns were conducted by organizing 1000s of demonstrations, putting up hoardings, banners and wall paintings all across the States.
- Almost 700 awareness programs at village levels, 200 Kisan Ghostis and Field days, 86 Kisan Melas and 250 schools and colleges were sensitized in collaboration with State departments and agricultural universities. More than 2 lakh stakeholders were sensitized during one year. More than 400 hands-on training were organized and 18,000 farmers, tractor owner and machine operators were trained.
- In addition to the above Scheme, separate funds are being allocated to the States for crop residue management under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization by the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. The State Governments have also been directed that Rs. 4000/ Hectare shall be used from the funds available for demonstration of machines under the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization for demonstration of straw management machinery at farmers’ fields.
What is stubble burning?
- Stubble burning is the practice of intentionally setting fire to the straw stubble that remains after grains, like paddy, wheat, etc.,have been harvested. . The farmers harvest their rice crop around October-November and then set fire to the remaining stalks (or stubble) in their fields, so that they can quickly plant their wheat crop there. Delay could mean lower wheat yields for the next seasonal crop.
- Burning the stubble not only clears the field quickly but is also a cheap way to do so. It kills weeds, slugs and other pests as well. In many countries, stubble burning was very common, but is now less used or banned because of the way it adds to air pollution.
- Delhi is surrounded by rural areas of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh where the main activity is farming. Farmers here most commonly burn their stubble which coincides with the dropping temperatures. The smoke laden air blows in and settles over Delhi; causing a serious smog problem for the city.
- Air pollution due to crop residue burning in northern India causes an estimated economic loss of USD 30 billion annually, and is a leading risk factor of acute respiratory infections, especially among children, according to a study.
- Researchers from the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and partner institutes found that living in districts with air pollution from intense crop residue burning (CRB) is a leading risk factor for acute respiratory infection (ARI), particularly in children less than five years of age.
- Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Indian Railways launched a Special Drive with a Code Name – Operation “Number Plate” to identify and verify all vehicles parked in Railway premises, circulating area, parking lots and even in the ‘No Parking’ areas for longer duration.