Daily Current Affairs
Gram Swaraj Abhiyan
- On the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti, Prime Minister of India announced that a “Gram Swaraj Abhiyan” would be organised starting from 14th April to 05th May, 2018.
- As a special endeavour, saturation of eligible households or persons would be made under the seven flagship pro-poor programs in identified villages.
- To promote social harmony, spread awareness about pro-poor initiatives of government, and reach out to poor households to enroll them as also to obtain their feedback on various welfare programs.
- IMPORTANT Seven schemes are Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya, Ujala scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indradhanush
Diu Smart City
- Diu become the first city in India that runs on 100% renewable energy during daytime
- It has achieved this by pronged approach
- Developing solar park
- Installing solar panels on the roof tops on government buildings
- Diu offers its residents a subsidy of Rs 10, 000-50,000 for installing 1-5KW roof top solar panels.
- Due to low-cost solar energy, power tariffs have been cut in residential category by 10% last year and 15% this year.
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
- Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid will be awarded UNESCO’s Guillermo Cano Press Freedom prize-2018.The prize honors a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.
- The population of Cambodia’s river dolphin, Irrawaddy Dolphin, is growing for the first time in decades.
- The Irrawaddy dolphin lives in both salt- and freshwater, and is found in a few locations in South and Southeast Asia.
- Cambodia is home to the largest population of Irrawaddy dolphins, which can also be found in,
- The Irrawaddy dolphins are known for their bulging foreheads and short beaks once swam through much of the Mekong River.
- However, in recent decades have been limited to a narrow stretch from central Cambodia to its northern border with Laos. The population was in steady decline since the first census was taken in 1997, dropping from 200 that year to 80 in 2015 due to habitat loss and destructive fishing practices. Now, the number of dolphins in the Mekong has increased from 80 to 92 in the past two years. It is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as well as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
Novel device to rescue humans trapped in rubble
- Scientists have developed a light and portable sensor that can detect even the faintest signs of life.
- It could be used to rescue people trapped in rubble after an earthquake or bombing.
- The device is light and portable enough for first responders to hold in their hands or for drones to carry on a search for survivors.
- Current approaches include the use of human-sniffing dogs and acoustic probes that can detect cries for help.
- Drawbacks in these methods such as the limited availability of canines and the silence of unconscious victims.
- The researchers built the palm-sized sensor array from three existing gas sensors, each tailored to detect a specific chemical emitted by breath or skin: acetone, ammonia or isoprene.
AFSPA lifted in Meghalaya
- The Centre has removed the AFSPA from Meghalaya, from April 1 onwards. Earlier, the Act was effective in the State in the 20 km area along its border with Assam. In Arunachal Pradesh, the AFSPA has been restricted to eight police stations, instead of 16 earlier.
- AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law. If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search a premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
- Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.
- A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA. An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
- The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area. A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette. As per Section 3, it can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
Protected Area Permit regime
- Union Home Ministry has decided to relax the six-decade-old Protected Area Permit regime from Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur for five years with effect from April 1.
- Foreign tourists, except those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, would now be allowed to visit some of the most pristine locations of the country which, so far, were out of bounds for them without a special permit.
- Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states have been declared as protected areas.
- The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of Sikkim fall under the protected area regime while others under the restricted area.
How are these regions different?
- As per the guidelines, a foreign national is not normally allowed to visit a protected or restricted area unless the government is satisfied that there are extra-ordinary reasons to justify his or her visit.
- Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a protected or restricted area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority having the power to issue such permits to a foreigner, seeking it.
- In cases, where the power to issue such permits has not been delegated to a subordinate authority by the Union government, the application for the special permit has to be referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs for prior approval, at least eight weeks before the date of the expected visit.
Who can issue such permits?
- Necessary powers have been delegated to various authorities to issue such special permits without the prior approval of the Union home ministry to facilitate foreign tourists subject to the certain exceptions.
- In cases of foreign diplomats, including the members of the United Nations and international organisations holding diplomatic or official passports, the special permits to visit such protected or restricted areas are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.
- In cases of the citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin, no permit, however, can be issued without the prior approval of the Union home ministry.
Adilabad Dokra and Warangal Durries get GI tag
Two craft forms that are unique to Telangana were recently granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the GI registry in Chennai.
- It is an ancient metal craft that is popular in the state’s tribal regions.
- The uniqueness of this art form is that no two sculptures are the same, as they are not made out of a pre-designed cast.
- The craftsmen of this art form belong to the Woj community, commonly referred to as Wojaris or Ohjas in the rural areas of Telangana.
- They use brass as their main material and an ancient casting technique called ‘cire perdue’. As part of this technique, the craftsmen use clay and design a model of the sculpture that they want to create. They wrap the clay with wax threads before baking the mould, so that the wax melts away and the molten metal is poured into the mould.
- The common items made by the craftsmen include small idols and statues of tribal deities, jewellery, bells, small-scale animal sculptures and others.
- In this style of durries, weavers create beautiful patterns and dye them using vegetable colours, which are washed in flowing water after the printing process.
- Warangal district became a renowned hub for weaving these rugs due to the availability of cotton, which is grown by farmers in the area.
Inter-country removal & retention of children
Committee headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal has submitted its report on legal issues related to Inter-country removal & retention of children to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
‘Inter Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority’:
The Committee has recommended that the Government may establish an ‘Inter Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority’.
The Authority may be chaired by a retired High Court Judge, with Members from Legal and Social sector background along with representatives from key Ministries.
Functions of the authority:
- The authority has been envisaged to provide a one window solution in cases of inter country removal and retention of Children.
- The Authority may examine the inter country cases of removal and retention of children vis-a-vis the cultural context, merit of the case, and the best interest of the Child.