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Newspaper Bits 08-03-2018

A compilation of Prelims and Mains related Current Affairs from various Newspapers and PIB.

PM flays vandalism on statues
In an official statement Prime Minister Modi was said to have strongly condemned such incidents of vandalism and assured stern action would be taken against those found guilty.
Context :
  • Following the BJP’s victory in the Assembly polls in Tripura, a statue of late Soviet leader V.I. Lenin in Belonia town in the State had been vandalised.
  • a statue of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was defaced in West Bengal.
  • What added fuel to the fire was a Facebook post (now deleted and denied) from the account of BJP’s national secretary H. Raja that statues of Dravidian ideologue Periyar in Tamil Nadu be defaced too. Later A statue of Periyar in Vellore in Tamil Nadu was found vandalised
  • Mr. Rajnath Singh appealed to political parties to ensure that those found desecrating statues are dealt with strictly. Law and order state subject 
  • Source The Hindu 
Who is Periyar ?  
  • Periyar is remembered for the Self Respect Movement to redeem the identity and self-respect of Tamils.
  •  He envisaged a Dravida homeland of Dravida Nadu, and launched a political party, Dravidar Kazhagam (DK).
  • Periyar started his political career as a Congress worker After failing to bend the Congress to his view, Periyar resigned from the party in 1925, and associated himself with the Justice Party and the Self Respect Movement, which opposed the dominance of Brahmins in social life, especially the bureaucracy.
  • The Justice Party had a decade earlier advocated reservation for non-Brahmins in the bureaucracy and, after coming to power in the Madras Presidency, issued an order to implement it.
  • Periyar’s fame spread beyond the Tamil region during the Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924, a mass movement to demand that lower caste persons be given the right to use a public path in front of the famous Vaikom temple. Periyar took part in the agitation with his wife, and was arrested twice. He would later be referred to as Vaikom Veerar (Hero of Vaikom).
  • He reconstructed the Tamil identity as an egalitarian ideal that was originally unpolluted by the caste system, and counterposed it against the Indian identity championed by the Congress
  • In the 1940s, Periyar launched Dravidar Kazhagam, which espoused an independent Dravida Nadu comprising Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada speakers. The Dravidian linguistic family was the foundation on which he based his idea of a Dravida national identity.
  • For the average Tamil, Periyar today is an ideology. He stands for a politics that foregrounded social equality, self-respect, and linguistic pride. As a social reformer, he focused on social, cultural and gender inequalities, and his reform agenda questioned matters of faith, gender and tradition. He asked people to be rational in their life choices. He argued that women needed to be independent, not mere child-bearers, and insisted that they be allowed a equal share in employment. The Self Respect Movement he led promoted weddings without rituals, and sanctioned property as well as divorce rights for women. He appealed to people to give up the caste suffix in their names, and to not mention caste. He instituted inter-dining with food cooked by Dalits in public conferences in the 1930s
  • Periyar is seen as an icon of OBC political assertion. Any attempt to deride him will be seen as an attempt to undermine the gains made by OBCs even beyond Tamil Nadu. Source :  IE
death of animals in road accidents
The Assam government on Wednesday informed the National Green Tribunal that the State government had sanctioned a sum of Rs. 11 crore for the installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers to check the death of animals in road accidents close to the Kaziranga National Park.
Topics to read are highlighted in bold . Kaziranga National Park  is a World Heritage Site. Via The Hindu .
Operation Dhakka 
Context : statue of Vladimir Ilyich Ulanov, known internationally as Lenin,was destroyed in Tripura after the election results.
The list of demolitions Collectively can be called as  ‘Operation Dhakka’.
And the chronology  The Babri Masjid, Ayodhya, December 6, 1992. The Wali Dakhani Mazaar, just outside the office of the Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, March 1, 2002. An estimated 272 minority shrines in Gujarat over six days thereafter. St. Sebastian’s Church, Dilshad Bagh, Delhi, Christmas eve, 2014. Ek dhakka zor se (one more shove, and make it strong)” was an inflammatory cry that was heard at the time of the Babri Masjid demolition.
democracy does not tell the public to not let the anti-social, the anti-democracy bully take the law into his hands and hold peace to ransom, peaceful change to ransom, the democratic process itself to ransom. Democracy does not tell us that but governance can, administrations should. And that, through the medium of the laws, the dicta of ‘law and order’.
Operation Dhakka has therefore happened right under democracy’s nose and above governments’ heads. It has happened, I said. But that is surely an under-statement and, in fact, a mis-statement. It has been allowed to happen, it has been enabled to happen. ‘No flout without clout.’ Certainly no flout of the scale that Operation Dhakka represents. via The Hindu.
The ecologically subsidised city
  • Dhrubajyoti Ghosh discovered serendipitously, as a public sanitation engineer in the early 1980s, was that Kolkata’s wastewater is introduced into and detained in shallow waterbodies ( bheris in Bengali) which serve as oxidation ponds because of the presence of algae. Under the open tropical sun, the water undergoes change, getting comprehensively treated and cleaned as the bacteria disintegrate and the algae proliferate, serving as food for fish. The treated water is used by villagers in the area to grow vegetables and paddy.
  •  villagers have been following such sane ecological practices for many decades without any help from the State. It suggests remarkable ecological wisdom on the part of largely illiterate villagers, based on knowledge of local conditions and wetland hydrology.
  • Thanks to his dedicated work, the 125 sq km area of the wetlands were recognised internationally in 2002 as a ‘Ramsar site’, or a wetland of international significance, which made it incumbent by both the State and the Central governments to protect them from invasive encroachments.
  • These wetlands are also home to a wide variety of aquatic life, vegetation, and hundreds of species of birds. In effect, the wastewater works as a costless fertilizer to produce cheap food for what Ghosh called an “ecologically subsidised” city.In effect, the wastewater works as a costless fertilizer to produce cheap food for what Ghosh called an “ecologically subsidised” city. The Hindu
Roof top energy
  • Bengaluru’s aerial mission to produce a three dimensional map of rooftop solar power potential using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data can give this key source of power a big boost.
  • A survey helps determine usable rooftops, separating them from green spaces, and analyses the quality of the solar resource.
  • With steady urbanisation, solar maps of this kind will help electricity utilities come up with good business cases and investment vehicles and give residents an opportunity to become partners in the effort.
  • The target of creating 40 GW of capacity connected to the grid by 2022 is to be realised.
  • Major solar projects that connect to the grid often face the challenge of land acquisition and transmission connectivity
  • this underscores is the importance of exploiting rooftop solar, which represents only about 11% of the country’s 19,516 MW total installed capacity at the start of 2018.
Value Addition
LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.
The power of numbers
  • Time magazine dedicated its person of the year (2017) cover to women who broke the silence surrounding the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and violence, especially in the workplace.
  • The #MeToo movement, inspired by these public allegations, has revealed anything, it is the power of numbers.
  • when it comes to our knowledge about how many women experience sexual harassment and violence, we are at a loss.
  • It is difficult to define sexual harassment; it is even more difficult to collect information about painful and stigmatising experiences.
  • NFHS asked questions about women’s experiences of sexual violence. About 5.5% of the women surveyed say they have experienced sexual violence; over 80% of these instances of violence are perpetrated by husbands.
  • Importance of phraseology the questions are framed in such a bald manner and asked in semi public setting elicits largely negative responses.
  • it does not account for sexual coercion tactics ,Such acts are forbidden under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition And Redressal) Act, 2013 which defines harassment as unwelcome physical advances, remarks and demands for sexual favours.
  • In Delhi, the city where perhaps fear is most prevalent, almost no household worries that a male member is outside at 7 p.m., but about 20% of the households start worrying about a female member. By 9 p.m., the proportion of households worrying increases to 40% for men and a whopping 90% for women.
Crux of the article
  • there is minimal data on workplace harassment in India. Here, silence speaks louder than statistics. The challenges associated with collecting data on sexual harassment are multiple. Not only must we find the right words to ask about these difficult experiences; we must find privacy and safety and guard against further stigmatising survivors of sexual harassment and violence.
Way forward
  • collecting and disseminating data about sexual violence is the first step towards breaking the culture of silence and finding ways of combating violence against women. Via The Hindu
Internet of Things” (IoT)
  • Tthe “Internet of Things” (IoT), the term coined by Peter T. Lewis in 1985, is threatening to take control of the planet and turn the world around us into a real Toyland.
  • IoT has its role in every bit of life today; we withdraw money from ATMs; business organisations track consumer behaviour, which makes way for ‘smarter’ products and services,
  • Few sensors can “optimise” our lives by monitoring a person’s heart rate, respiration, sleep cycle on a 24×7 basis.
  • We might know the location of buses we wait for while waiting at bus stops.
  • An unsecured webcam overlooks the storeroom of a store.
  • A few thousand sensors, systematically placed all around a city, might accurately track traffic rule violations, mob violence, or other irregularities.
  • This might be the immediate style of functioning of today’s “Smart Cities”.
  • According to Cisco, 50 billion connected “things” will be used globally in 2020, also it’s estimated that by 2020 90% of cars will be connected to the Internet, compared to 10% in 2012.
  • IoT would generate loads of data, ‘Big Data’ and ‘IoT’ being two sides of the same coin.
  • A lot of our personal and lifestyle data are shared through ‘smart’ objects, these pieces of information sure to get exposed through the IoT, posing a serious security and privacy threat.Via The Hindu
Understanding delirium
  • Delirium, or an acute state of confusion, occurs commonly in the elderly, usually due to underlying physical illnesses or disorders, and is linked to caregiver distress and hospitalisation.
  • It occurs in 20-40% of patients in the hospital intensive care unit and is much more common in mechanically ventilated patients
  • The person can experience lowering of consciousness towards evening and night times, with their behaviour becoming more unresponsive and unmanageable with the setting sun, a phenomenon known as the “sun downing” effect.
  • Common causes include urinary tract (UTI) or chest infections, which can be detected and treated early. Delirium could be linked to abnormally low levels of sodium.
  • Research on the causes of delirium is ongoing, with no conclusion yet.
  • Management of delirium could be through avoiding bright light or darkness, noise, excessive stimulation, ensuring adequate food and fluid intake, ensuring regular bowel and bladder habits and the sleep-wake cycle. Repeated reorientation is needed, making the caregiver’s role important.
Cabinet approves easing spectrum cap
  • The Union Cabinet approved relaxing the cap on spectrum holding by telcos, a move that is expected to aid mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
  • The Cabinet has also given telcos the option to extend the time period for payment of spectrum bought in auction to 16 years from the present 10 years.
  • The cap on overall spectrum that can be held by an operator in a circle has been raised to 35% from the current 25%.
  • the current cap of 50% on intra-band spectrum holding has also been removed.
  • there will be a cap of 50% on the combined spectrum holding in the sub-1 GHz bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands).
  • There will be no cap on individual or combined spectrum holding in the above 1 GHz band.
  • director general, COAI said that  The new spectrum caps will facilitate consolidation in the industry.
India and China
  • The India-China bilateral trade has reached $84.44 billion last yearThe India-China bilateral trade has reached $84.44 billion last year.
  • There is a 40% increase of Indian exports to China in 2017 totalling to $16.34 billion.
  • Trade touched a historic high despite bilateral tensions over a number of issues including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China blocking India’s efforts to bring about a UN ban on J-e-M leader Masood Azhar, Beijing blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well as the Doklam standoff.
Balkrishna Doshi wins Pritzker Prize
  • Architect Balkrishna Doshi, a pioneer of low-cost housing design, won the prestigious Pritzker Prize on Wednesday, considered architecture’s Nobel equivalent.
  • He distinguished his work by committing to sustainable architecture and inexpensive housing, bringing modernist design to a country rooted in traditionalism.
  • He is the 45th Pritzker laureate and the first from India.
The international prize, which is awarded each year to a living architect/s for significant achievement, was established by the Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979. It is granted annually and is often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor.”
The award consists of $100,000 (US) and a bronze medallion.
policy initiatives in last three years
  • that have led to record food grain production this year, total food grain production in the country stood at 275.68 million tonnes in 2017-18
  • the production of foodgrain this year is 19 million tonnes more than the average production between 2011-12 and 2015-16.
  • Horticulture, which contributes significantly to nutrition, also witnessed record production at 305 million tonnes in 2016-17
  • State Agriculture Universities and ICAR have been working to make agriculture sustainable and beneficial for our farmers“Strategy Document on Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022 for different States.
  • that there are about 138 million landholders in the country, out of which about 85% of the farmers are marginal (67%) or small (18%).
  • vulnerable class of farmers is in an urgent need of farming techniques and information. ICAR has developed 45 Integrated Farming System (IFS) models to help small and marginal farmers to tide over the problems associated with climate change
  • In order to assist the Government’s “Soil Health Card” initiative, minilabs were developed for soil testing
  • ICAR has also developed 42 organic farming techniques, which were tested and are being further improved.
  • The government, for the benefit of farmers, has initiated several programs like agriculture extension, Sankalp Se Siddhi, ‘Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav, infrastructure development, agriculture education, agricultural research, international cooperation, technology transfer etc. via PIB
  • Government announces launch of ‘SUVIDHA’ –  100% Oxo-biodegradable Sanitary Napkin – under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)
  • The affordable sanitary napkin will be available for Rs. 2.50 per padat over 3200 Janaushadhi Kendras across India and would ensure ‘Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidha’for the underprivileged Women of India
  • this unique product would ensure Affordability, Hygiene aa well as Ease of use and disposal for them.This is one of the most important requirement in ensuring the Health Security to that section of Women in India who still use unhygienic aids during menstrualperiod due to non-affordability
  • According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 percent of women aged between 15 to 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons.
  • Further, about 78 percent women in urban areas use hygienic methods of protection during menstrual period;
  • only 48 percent women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.  unhygienic aids cause fungal infections, Reproductive Tract Infection, Urinary TractInfection, Cervical cancer and also make women vulnerable to infertility.
  • the disposal of non-biodegradable sanitary napkins available today creates a huge environmental problem
Making quality medicines available at affordable prices for all, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, through exclusive outlets “Jan Aushadhi Medical Store”, so as to reduce out of pocket expenses in healthcare. Via PIB
“I-METROS”, an association of all Indian Metro Rail companies
  • “I-Metros” is proposed to be a platform to provide a forum for exchange of ideas, pooling of knowledge and sharing of experience, best practices, innovations etc. among the Indian Metro rail companies to nurture excellence in performance.
  • This society will be registered under Society Registration Act-1860.
  • The objective of forming this association is to provide a common platform for all Metro rail companies for sharing experience, information, best practices, innovations etc.
  • This association will also undertake and promote techno-economic studies and research. It will safeguard the interest and rights of metro rail companies and will be resource tank of information for decision making.
Digital education and literacy
Ministry of Human Resource Development has some major key initiatives to promote Digital Education, which are as follow:
1. SWAYAM:  SWAYAM will provide one integrated platform and portal for online courses, using information and communication technology (ICT) and covering all higher education subjects and skill sector courses. As on date, more than 28 Lakhs learners have been enrolled in 1000+ MOOCs courses that have been run through SWAYAM.
2. SWAYAM Prabha: SWAYAM Prabha is an initiative to provide 32 high quality educational channels through DTH (Direct to Home) across the length and breadth of the country on 24X7 basis.
3. National Digital Library (NDL): The National Digital Library of India (NDL India) project is to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility. As on date about 1.5 Crore e-books and documents are available on NDL contributed by 160 Content contributor and 30 lakh users from 9 thousand educational institutions were registered on NDL
4. e-Shodh Sindhu: The main objective of the e-Shodh Sindu: Consortia for Higher Education E-Resources is to provide access to quality electronic resources including full-text, bibliographic and factual databases to academic institutions at a lower rates of subscription.
5. The Free and Open Source Software for Education (FOSSEE): FOSSEE project has been promoting use of open source software in educational institutions.
6. Virtual Lab: The project aims to provide remote-access to virtual laboratories in various disciplines of science and engineering for students at all levels from under-graduate to research.
Foreign Universities are welcome to offer their courses on SWAYAM Platform and the examinations shall be done through SWAYAM following SWAYAM Guidelines.
Udyam Sakhi Portal Portal Launched for Women Entrepreneurs
  • the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME) launched a portal for women entrepreneursof India: www.udyamsakhi.org.
  • India has around 8 million women who have started and are running their own businesses and the Ministry of MSME believes that the women in India can play a vital role in the growth of the Indian economy.
  • The portal is a network for nurturing entrepreneurship and creating business models for low cost products and services in order to empower women and make them self-reliant and self-sufficient.
  • The portal provides assistance through its platform for entrepreneurship learning tools, incubation facility,training programs for fund raising, providing mentors, one-on-one investor meet, provide market survey facility and technical assistance.

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