- BRO opens strategic Srinagar-Leh highway
- NRLM Self Help Group women emerge as community warriors
- About 85 lakh PMUY beneficiaries have got the LPG cylinder in April, 2020
BRO OPENS STRATEGIC SRINAGAR-LEH HIGHWAY
Focus: GS-I Geography
Why in news?
- Border Roads Organisation (BRO) opened strategic Srinagar-Leh highway that connects Ladakh with the rest of the world on 11th April 2020.
- About 18 oil tankers and other essential commodities were initially allowed to move towards Leh/Ladakh from Zojilla pass. This was managed despite fresh snowfall in the Zojila pass.
- Snowfall of this year had broken records of the last six decades.
- The snow clearance operations were undertaken by project Beacon of BRO from Gagangir to zero point and the same was done by project Vijayak from Drass towards zero point.
- The 425 kilometre Srinagar-Leh highway was closed since December 2019 due to heavy snowfall at Zojila pass.
Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
- The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighboring countries.
- Currently, the organisation maintains operations in twenty-one states, one UT (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
- Presently, BRO is also involved in the construction of a tunnel at the Rohtang pass which is estimated to be ready by 2019.
- The BRO operates in 18 Projects namely: Arunank, Beacon, Brahmank, Chetak, Deepak, Dantak, Himank, Hirak, Pushpak, Sampark, Setuk, Sewak, Shivalik, Swastik, Udayak, Vartak, Vijayak and sela tunnel.
- The organisation’s operations are spread across India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
- The BRO was formed on 7 May 1960 to secure India’s borders and develop infrastructure in remote areas of the north and north-east states of the country.
- The BRO consists of Border Roads Wing under the Ministry of Defense and the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF). Officers are selected through the Indian Engineering Services (IES) Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Some of the Important Mountain Passes in North India (Himalayas) are:
- It is in the Zaskar range of Jammu & Kashmir.
- It connects Srinagar with Kargil and Leh.
- Beacon Force of Border Road Organization is responsible for clearing and maintaining the road, especially during the winter.
- It has been created by the Indus River.
Bara- Lacha Pass
- It is situated on the National Highway in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It connects Manali and Leh.
- It is located in the Greater Himalayas and connects Tibet with Uttarakhand.
- It remains under snow for six months during winter.
- The land route to the Kailash and the Manasarovar passes through it.
- The road from Shimla to Tibet goes through this pass.
- The Satluj River flows through this pass.
- It is India’s third border post for trade with China after Lipu Lekh and Nathula Pass.
- It connects Uttarakhand with Tibet.
- This pass is an important border post for trade with China.
- The pilgrims for Manasarovar travel through this pass.
Nathu La Pass
- It is located in the state of Sikkim.
- This famous pass is located in the India- China border was reopened in 2006.
- It forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient silk route.
- It is one of the trading border posts between India and China.
- It gives way to Tibet from Darjeeling and Chumbi valley.
Qara Tagh Pass
- It is located in the Karakoram Mountains.
- It was a subsidiary of the ancient silk route.
- It is the highest motorable pass in the country.
- It connects Leh and Siachen glaciers.
- This pass remains closed during the winter.
- It is situated to the North of Mount Godwin-Austen in the Karakoram.
- It connects Ladakh with Xinjiang province of China.
- It remains closed during the winter season from November to May.
- This is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- This pass connects Kullu, Spiti, and Lahul.
- It cuts through the Pir Panjal range.
- It links Manali and Leh by road.
- This pass passes through the Chumbi valley.
- It connects Sikkim with Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
- The Tista River has created this pass.
- It is located in Uttarakhand.
- It is situated at the end of the Pindari glacier and connects the Pindari valley to Milam valley.
- This pass is very steep and rugged.
- The Bomdi-La pass connects Arunachal Pradesh with Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.
- It is located in the east of Bhutan.
- This pass connects Arunachal Pradesh with Myanmar (Mandalay).
- It amazingly provides passage at an elevation of more than 4000 m.
- Banihal pass is a popular pass in Jammu and Kashmir.
- It is situated in the Pir- Panjal Range.
- It connects Banihal with Qazigund.
NRLM SELF HELP GROUP WOMEN EMERGE AS COMMUNITY WARRIORS
Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
SHG members have emerged as community warriors by contributing in every possible way to contain the spread of COVID-19. As the masks were the first line of defence against COVID-19, SHGs immediately took up the task of production of masks.
- Approximately 690 lakh women members of around 63 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the country formed under the DAY-NRLM, Ministry of Rural Development, are engaged in livelihoods activities, bringing social change through awareness generation, leading movements and responding during natural calamities.
- The SHG network across the country was made aware of the various aspects of the disease including the need to maintain personal hygiene, social distancing etc.
- SHGs members are creating awareness in the local communities by various means like telephone calls, wall writings, pamphlets/fliers etc. Social media is also being used extensively.
- SHG volunteers are playing their role in ensuring that people maintain social distancing in markets, PDS shops etc.
Some noteworthy steps taken by some State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) re:
- JEEViKA, Bihar stepped in and started working on IEC materials that would help in awareness and preparedness for the outbreak. JEEViKA is trying to systematically reach out to a maximum number of households through its 1.4 Lakh SHGs and spread the awareness on topics such as handwash, sanitation, quarantine and isolation and social-distancing.
- The Didi helpline, a telephonic helpline initiated by Jharkhand SRLM, is open 24 hours to help migrant labourers by providing them verified information.
- Notable efforts have been made by women of Kudumbashree in Kerala, to help dispel the widespread fake news that causes panic.
- National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) is a poverty alleviation project implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
- This scheme is focused on promoting self-employment and organization of rural poor.
- The basic idea behind this programme is to organize the poor into SHG (Self Help Groups) groups and make them capable for self-employment.
- Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) is a new name given to Aajeevika – NRLM in November 2015.
- The initiative to move towards a demand-driven strategy enabling the states to formulate their own livelihoods-based poverty reduction action plan is at the core of the mission.
- The strength of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development, are the approximately 690 lakh women members of around 63 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the country.
What are SHGs?
- Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions.
- It can be defined as self governed, peer controlled information group of people with similar socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purpose.
- Villages face numerous problems related to poverty, illiteracy, lack of skills, lack of formal credit etc. These problems cannot be tackled at an individual level and need collective efforts.
- It looks to build the functional capacity of the poor and the marginalized in the field of employment and income generating activities, and resolves conflicts through collective leadership and mutual discussion.
- It provides collateral free loan with terms decided by the group at the market driven rates.
- Such groups work as a collective guarantee system for members who propose to borrow from organised sources. Consequently, Self-Help Groups have emerged as the most effective mechanism for delivery of microfinance services to the poor.
ABOUT 85 LAKH PMUY BENEFICIARIES HAVE GOT THE LPG CYLINDER IN APRIL, 2020
Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
- Free LPG Refills are to be provided to Ujjwala beneficiaries over the period of 3 months, from April to June 2020, aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by poor due to economic disruption by Coronavirus.
- All Customers, holding an installed LPG connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana as of 31.03.2020, are eligible to get the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
- The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a government scheme launched in 2016 which envisages the distribution of 50 million LPG connections to women below the poverty line.
- PMUY is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
- There are 27.87 Crore active LPG consumers in the country, with the PMUY beneficiaries accounting for over 8 crore.
Why was PMUY Necessary?
- As per the estimates of the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 5 lakh deaths in India occurred due to unclean cooking fuel.
- These deaths were caused mostly due to non-communicable diseases including heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
- Providing LPG connections to families below the poverty line will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas in the country.
- The scheme can be a tool for women empowerment in that LPG connections and clean cooking fuel can reduce cooking time and effort, and in most of India, cooking is a responsibility shouldered solely by women.
- The scheme also provides employment to the rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY) is an amnesty scheme launched by the Narendra Modi led Government of India in December 2016 on the lines of the Income declaration scheme, 2016 (IDS) launched earlier.
During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India, Finance Minister announced a ₹1.70 Lakh Crore($24 billion) relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor.
- ₹500 each to 19.86 crore women Jan Dhan account holders
- LPG cylinders to be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months free of cost.
- ₹1,000 for senior citizens to tide over difficulties during next three months.