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PIB 19th October

Contents

  1. Malabar 2020 Naval Exercise.
  2. CSIR-IHBT makes history by introducing asafoetida (Heeng) cultivation in Indian Himalayan region.
  3. Grand ICT Challenge under Jal Jeevan Mission receives impressive response; Aims to harness vibrant ‘Internet of Things’ eco-systems for creating smart rural water supply system.
  4. ADB, India sign $177 million loan for state road improvements in Maharashtra
  5. Milestone of 1.5 crore KCC sanctions with credit limit of Rs.1.35 lakh crore achieved under Special KCC Saturation Drive for farmers.
  6. IFSCA introduces Framework for Regulatory Sandboxto tap into innovative FinTech solutions.
  7. Centre Wants Education to attain not only a National or International Standard but also Wants to Make it a holistic One, Asserts Education Minister.
  8. Indian Army Apprehends a Chinese Soldier in Demchok Sector of Eastern Ladakh.
  9. NTPC Dadri strives to become the cleanest coal fired plant of India.

MALABAR 2020 NAVAL EXERCISE

Focus:  GS 2 ; Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

Why in News?

The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain. They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order.

About Malabar Exercise;-

  • It is an annual trilateral naval exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and the USA which is held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  • It began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the USA in 1992 and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
  • This annual exercise has been conducted off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea in 2018, off the coast the Japan in 2019 and is expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea later this year.
  • As India Seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.
  • As India is aggreged on the Vision of Hon’ble PM’s  ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR) Diplomacy’ in Indo-Pacific Region.
Exercise MALABAR The 23rd edition of the Trilateral Maritime Exercise
  • India is prepared to expand the Malabar exercise to also include Australia.
  • India and Australia are soon to be holding a virtual summit for better cooperation and strengthening bilateral ties.
  • Other exercises between India and Australia are Pitch Black and AUSINDEX.
  • Despite regular requests from Australia, India resisted issuing the invitation due to its concerns that the move would give the appearance of a ‘quadrilateral military alliance’ aimed at China.
  • However, the recent India-China tensions over the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) may have brought more flexibility to the decision making process.
  • India is already a member of the Quad and attended the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue held in November 2019.
  • This year, the exercise has been planned on a ‘non-contact – at sea’ format. The exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries.

          Why Indo-Pacific region?

  • Maintaining regional stability.
  • Strong ties with the USA are seen as a vital tool for enhancing India’s strategic posture.
  • The renaming of the U.S. Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command as well as the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act in December 2018 showcase Washington’s more serious engagement with the Indo-Pacific.
  •           For the long-term vision of national interest.
    • China’s increasingly active presence in the Indian Ocean region as well as its efforts to expand geopolitical reach in Asia and beyond by the use of trade and military.
  • In the present time, the control of sea lanes and ports would be the game, China seems to have taken the lead with its geopolitical project—the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI).
  • For adhering to freedom of navigation, adherence to rules-based order and stable trade environment.
  • For free sea and air lanes, connectivity and upholding international rules and norms.

Way Forward:-

  • Economically and strategically, the global centre of gravity is shifting to the Indo-Pacific. If the region’s stakeholders don’t act now to fortify an open, rules-based order, the security situation will continue to deteriorate with consequences that are likely to reverberate worldwide.
  • The maintenance of peace, stability and security in, upon and over the seas, unimpeded lawful commerce,  freedom of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the oceanic and air space, and the protection and preservation of marine resources, as well as a sustainable and responsible fishery framework, are all critical towards building a regional consensus on maritime security and cooperation in Indo-Pacific.
  • ASEAN must form the geographic core to any Indo-Pacific architecture.
  • Build-up of India’s naval capabilities, if India has to emerge as one of the main players in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Maintain a balance between the interests of all stakeholders.
  • Commerce and connectivity in particular will have to be prioritized if India is to take advantage of a new opening for its regional engagement.

Extra Info;-

About QUAD;-

Quad is the informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.

AUSTRALIA-INDIA-JAPAN ECONOMIC MINISTERS' MEETING -

The idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.

In December 2012, Shinzo Abe again floated the concept of Asia’s “Democratic Security Diamond” involving Australia, India, Japan and the US to safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.

In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending “Quad” Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).


CSIR-IHBT MAKES HISTORY BY INTRODUCING ASAFOETIDA (HEENG) CULTIVATION IN INDIAN HIMALAYAN REGION

Focus:  GS 3 ; Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers. 

Why in News?

The first seedling of asafoetida was planted by Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT at farmer’s field in village Kwaring of Lahaul valley to mark initiation of cultivation of asafoetida in India.

Due to efforts of CSIR constituent laboratory, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur, a historical shift in farming practices is in the offing with farmers of the remote Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh taking up cultivation of asafoetida (Heeng) to utilize vast expanses of waste land in the cold desert conditions of the region. CSIR-IHBT brought in seeds of asafoetida and developed its agro-technology.

Background related to Heeng Cultivation in India;-

  • Asafoetida is one of the top condiments and is a high value spice crop in India.
  • Even though India consumes 40%  of the world’s heeng, no attempt had been made to start its cultivation locally.
  • Heeng is an indispensable ingredient in cultures that discourage the use of garlic and onions in their foods. It has a strong, pungent odour, but a pinch of the spice can bring out the savoury flavour, especially in vegetarian dishes.
  • Since asafoetida is a major condiment in Indian cuisines, team CSIR-IHBT made relentless efforts for introduction of this important crop in the country.
  • India imports about 1200 tonnes of raw asafoetida annually from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan and spends approximately 130 million USD per year.
  • Lack of planting material of Ferula assa-foetida plants in India was a major bottleneck in cultivation of this crop.

About Heeng;-

  • Ferula asafoetida is a herbaceous plant of the umbelliferae family.
  • It is a perennial plant whose oleo gum resin is extracted from its thick roots and rhizome. 
  • The plant stores most of its nutrients inside its deep fleshy roots.
  • It can be grown in unutilized sloppy land of cold desert regions.
  • The plant prefers cold and dry conditions for its growth and takes approximately five years for the production of oleo-gum resin in its roots, therefore cold desert areas of Indian Himalayan region are suitable for cultivation of asafoetida.
  • The plant can withstand a maximum temperature between 35 and 40 degree, whereas during winters, it can survive in temperatures up to minus 4 degree. During extreme weather, the plant can get dormant.
  • Regions with sandy soil, very little moisture and annual rainfall of not more than 200mm are considered conducive for heeng cultivation in India.
Compounded Asafoetida Lumps at Rs 13000/kilogram | Raw Hing, Asafoetida  Powder, Asafoetida, हींग - Kapoor Traders, Hathras | ID: 15071806791
  • Raw asafoetida is extracted from the fleshy roots of Ferula assa-foetida as an oleo-gum resin.
  • Although, there are about 130 species of Ferula found in the world, but only Ferula assa-foetidais the economically important species used for the production of asafoetida.
  • In India, we do not have Ferula assa-foetida, but other species Ferula jaeschkeana is reported from the western Himalaya (Chamba, HP), and Ferula narthex from Kashmir and Ladakh, which are not the species that yield asafoetida.
  • The challenge for the scientists here was that heeng seeds remain under a prolonged dormant phase and the rate of seed germination is just one per cent.

Advantages and Potential Side Effects of Eating Heeng;-

Advantages;-

Good source of antioxidants and helps Reduce Bloating And Other Stomach Problems

Helps Relieve Asthma

May Lower Blood Pressure Levels

May Relieve Menstrual Pain

Reduces Headaches

Can Heal Insect Bites And Stings

It May Help Reduce Acne

May Help Bring A Glow On Your Face

Acts As A Good Hair Conditioner

Antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial effects and Anti Cancer effects.

Potential Side Effects of Eating Heeng;-

  • While research on the safety of asafoetida in humans is limited, amounts of asafoetida that are typically used in cooking are thought to be generally safe for most individuals.
  • One study in humans found 250 mg twice per day for 30 days was well tolerated.
  • However, animal studies suggest large doses of asafoetida may cause swelling of the mouth, gas, diarrhea, anxiety, and headaches. Furthermore, a study in mice suggests possible toxicity at doses greater than 455 mg per pound (1,000 mg per kg) of body weight .
  • Additionally, due to a lack of research, asafoetida isn’t recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or young children.
  • Because it may lower blood pressure or thin the blood, people on blood pressure medications or blood thinning drugs should avoid asafoetida supplements.
  • When used as a spice, asafoetida is often mixed with either wheat or rice flour. As a result, asafoetida (or heeng) products may not be gluten-free. This can be a particular concern when dining out at a restaurant that uses heeng powder in their dishes.

Way Forward;-

In Future if Heeng Cultivation is successful in India then , India will not depend on other countries for import of Heeng and can save crores .

Extra Info;-

About CSIR;-

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is the largest research and development (R&D) organization in India. CSIR has a pan-India presence and has a dynamic network of 38 national laboratories, 39 outreach centers, 3 Innovation Complexes and 5 units.
  • PM is the Ex-Officio.
  • Established: September 1942
  • Located: New Delhi
  • CSIR is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • CSIR covers a wide spectrum of streams – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.
  • It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include the environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, farm and non-farm sectors.

GRAND ICT CHALLENGE UNDER JAL JEEVAN MISSION RECEIVES IMPRESSIVE RESPONSE; AIMS TO HARNESS VIBRANT ‘INTERNET OF THINGS’ ECO-SYSTEMS FOR CREATING SMART RURAL WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM

Focus:  GS 2 ;  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Why in News?

National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) had launched an ICT Grand Challenge to create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level.

About Jal Jeevan Mission;-

  • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
  • JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
  • Creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, would be undertaken in convergence with other government programmes/schemes.
  • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
  • JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
  • Funding Pattern: The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.

The Central government has recently released the Operational guidelines for JJM.

For the implementation of JJM, following institutional arrangement has been proposed:

  1. National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) at the Central level
  2. State Water and Sanitation Mission (SWSM) at the State level
  3. District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) at the District level
  4. Village Water Sanitation Committee (VWSC) at Village level

Every village will prepare a Village Action Plan (VAP) which will have three components:

  • Water source & its maintenance
  • Water supply and
  • Greywater (domestic wastewater) management.

Why Fresh Water is Important and urgent need to save it?

Although approximately 70% of the earth is covered in water, a very small percentage is drinkable.

http://www.ck12.org/book/CK-12-Biology/r44/section/2.3/

The 97% of earth’s water is salt-water. The remaining 3% is fresh water. However, large percentages of the earth’s fresh water is locked in glaciers.

Although most is not readily drinkable, in actuality 100% of the water on Earth is drinkable. Water evaporates from oceans and falls as fresh water, and we know how to desalinate water. Ice can melt and that produces drinkable water. Ground water is what we drill for if you have a well.


ADB, INDIA SIGN $177 MILLION LOAN FOR STATE ROAD IMPROVEMENTS IN MAHARASHTRA

Focus:  GS 2 ;  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Why in News?

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a $177 million loan to upgrade 450 kilometers (km) of state highways and major district roads in the state of Maharashtra.

About Asian Development Bank (ADB);-

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
  • ADB aims to promote social and economic development in Asia. 
  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and non-regional developed countries.
  • The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system.
  • From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 68 members.
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer.
  • India was a founding member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 1966 and is now the bank’s fourth largest shareholder and top borrower.
  • As of 31 December 2019, ADB’s five largest shareholders are Japan and the United States (each with 15.6% of total shares), the People’s Republic of China (6.4%), India (6.3%), and Australia (5.8%).

MILESTONE OF 1.5 CRORE KCC SANCTIONS WITH CREDIT LIMIT OF RS.1.35 LAKH CRORE ACHIEVED UNDER SPECIAL KCC SATURATION DRIVE FOR FARMERS

Focus:  GS 2 ;  Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Why in News?

As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package, the Government has announced to cover 2.5 crore farmers under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme with a credit boost of Rs. 2 lakh crore through a special saturation drive. As a result of concerted and sustained efforts by the banks and other stakeholders in the direction of providing access to concessional credit by the farmers, including Fishermen and Dairy farmers, a major milestone target of covering more than 1.5 crore farmers under KCC, with sanctioned credit limit of Rs.1.35 lakh crore has been achieved.

About Kisan Credit Card Scheme;-

  • The Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme was introduced in 1998 for providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system under a single window with flexible and simplified procedure to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs like purchase of agriculture inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. and draw cash for their production needs.
  • The scheme was further extended for the investment credit requirement of farmers viz. allied and non-farm activities in the year 2004.
  • KCC covers post-harvest expenses, produce marketing loan, consumption requirements of farmer household, working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture, investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities.
  • The Kisan Credit Card Scheme is implemented by Commercial Banks, RRBs, Small Finance Banks and Cooperatives.

About  Kisan Credit Card (KCC) Saturation Campaign;-

  • Kisan Credit Card (KCC) saturation campaign, for giving Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans to farmers who have not been given such loans.
  • According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, currently there are 6.92 crore live KCCs, against 14.5 crore operational landholdings.
  • The scheme comes with an ATM-enabled RuPay debit card with facilities for one-time documentation, built-in cost escalation in the limit, and any number of draws within the limit.
  • Besides ensuring saturation, banks will also be taking steps to link Aadhaar immediately as no interest subvention will be given if the Aadhaar numbers are not seeded to KCC accounts.
  • Also, the government has taken several initiatives for KCC saturation which include adding farmers engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries, no processing fee of loan under KCC and raising limit of collateral free agriculture loan from ₹ 1 lakh to ₹1.6 lakh.

About Interest Subvention Scheme;-

  • It aims to provide short-term crop loans up to ₹3 lakh to farmers at an interest rate of 7 per cent per annum.
  • Lending institutions – PSBs and private sector commercial banks offer interest subvention of 2 per cent by the government.
  • The policy came into force with effect from 2006-07
  • The Interest Subvention Scheme is being implemented by NABARD and RBI.

IFSCA INTRODUCES FRAMEWORK FOR REGULATORY SANDBOXTO TAP INTO INNOVATIVE FINTECH SOLUTIONS

Focus:  GS 3 ;  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

Why in News?

The International Financial Services Centers Authority (IFSCA), with an objective to develop a world class FinTech hub at the IFSC located at GIFT City in Gandhinagar (Gujarat, India), endeavors to encourage the promotion of financial technologies (‘FinTech’) initiatives in financial products and financial services across the spectrum of banking, insurance, securities and fund management.

About Regulatory Sandbox;-

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has released a discussion paper on a framework for a ‘regulatory sandbox’ for fintech testing.

A regulatory sandbox (RS) usually refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled/test regulatory environment for which regulators may (or may not) permit certain regulatory relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing.

It allows the regulator, the innovators, the financial service providers (as potential deployers of the technology) and the customers (as final users) to conduct field tests to collect evidence on the benefits and risks of new financial innovations, while carefully monitoring and containing their risks.

It can provide a structured avenue for the regulator to engage with the ecosystem and to develop innovation-enabling or innovation-responsive regulations that facilitate delivery of relevant, low-cost financial products.

Innovators 
Fintech Technology 
Licensingand 
regulatory sandbox 
Regulators and 
Institutions 
Research Centers

CENTRE WANTS EDUCATION TO ATTAIN NOT ONLY A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BUT ALSO WANTS TO MAKE IT A HOLISTIC ONE, ASSERTS EDUCATION MINISTER

Focus:  GS 2 ;Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Why in News?

Union Government has Evolved NEP 2020 which Gives Importance to Learning through Experience & Living: Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, NEP 2020 Seeks to make Mother Language more Powerful.

About National Education Policy (NEP)  2020;-

  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was released on July 30, 2020.  The Ministry of Education had constituted a Committee for drafting the National Education Policy (Chair: Dr. K. Kasturirangan) in June 2017. 
  • The Committee submitted a draft NEP for public consultation in May 2019, the NEP will replace the National Policy on Education, 1986.
  • The last NEP was that of 1986 and modified in 1992. 
  • The current policy is based on the report filed by the committee headed by eminent space scientist K. Kasturirangan.
  • NEP 2020 policy envisages 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030
  • NEP 2020 has set the target to increase the public investment in the education sector to reach 6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the earliest.

Key Takeaways from NEP 2020;-

1. School Education:

Universalization of education from preschool to secondary level: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, will be extended to cover children between 3 and 18 years

Structure: The current 10+2 system will be divided into (3 to 8 years) +3 (8to 11 years) + 3 (11 to 14 years) + 4 (14 to 18 years) format.

MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCES IS NOW MINISTRY OF EDUCATION 
FOR SCHOOLS 
From 10+2 to 5+3+3+4: Current 10+2 structure 
in which policy covered schooling from 
Class 1 to 10 (age 6-16) and then Class 
11-12 (age 16-18) gives way to 5 years 
of foundational education, 3 of 
preparatory, 3 of middle & 4 years 
of secondary schooling 
Multi-Stream: Flexibility to choose 
subjects across streams; all subjects to be 
offered at two levels of proficiency 
Diluted Board: Board exams to test only core 
competencies; could become modular (object and 
subjective) and will be offered twice a year 
Multilingual: 3-1anguage policy to continue 
with preference for local language 
medium of instruction till class 8 
•13b 
Bag-Less Days: School students 
to have 10 bag-less days in a year 
during which they are exposed to a vocation 
of choice (i.e. informal internship) 
FOR COLLEGES 
SAT-Like College Test: National Testing 
Agency to conduct common college 
entrance exam twice a year 
4-Year Bachelor: 4-year multi-disciplinary 
bachelor's programme to be 
preferred; mid-term dropouts 
to be given credit with option to 
complete degree after a break 
No Affiliation: Over next 15 years colleges will 
be given graded autonomy to give degrees, 
affiliation with universities to end, so would 
deemed university status 
Fee Cap: Proposal to cap fee 
charged by private institutions 
of higher learning 
Going Glocal: Top-rated global 
universities to be facilitated to 
come to India, top Indian institutions 
to be encouraged to go global

Co-curriculum and vocational subjects like sports, arts, commerce, science will be treated at the same level.

Computer Skills: Students will be allowed to take up coding from class 6 onward.

Vocational Education to start from Class 6 with Internships.

Additional Meal: Provision of an energy-filled breakfast, in addition to the nutritious mid-day meal, to help children achieve better learning outcomes.

Regular Exams: To track progress, all students will take school examinations in grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.

Class 10 and 12 board examinations to be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorized facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice

Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, and will make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning

Teacher Capabilities: A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021, will be formulated by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with NCERT

2. Medium of Instruction:

The policy says that wherever possible, the medium of instruction in schools until at least Class 5, but preferably until Class 8 and beyond, will be the home language or mother tongue or regional language

The three languages learned by children will be the choices of states, regions, and of the students, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India

3. Higher Education

Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035 (presently it is at 26.3%)

Flexibility in Higher Education: NEP 2020 proposes a multi-disciplinary higher education framework with portable credits, and multiple exits with certificates, diplomas and degrees

The common entrance exam for all higher education institutes to be held by NTA. The exam will be optional and not mandatory

Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.

The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education

M.Phil courses will be discontinued and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary.

4. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)

It will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.

It will be a single, lean body with four verticals for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation so as to provide “light but tight” oversight

Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.

5. Technology & Foreign Institutes

An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.

National Assessment Centre- ‘PARAKH’ has been created to assess the students.

It also paves the way for foreign universities to set up campuses in India.

Advantages of new NEP 2020;-

Comprehensive: NEP seeks to address the entire gamut of education from preschool to doctoral studies, and from professional degrees to vocational training. 

Early Childhood Education: In adopting a 5+3+3+4 model for school education starting at age 3, NEP recognizes the primacy of the formative years from ages 3 to 8 in shaping the child’s future

Easy on Regulations: NEP 2020 makes a bold prescription to free our schools, colleges and universities from periodic “inspections” and place them on the path of self-assessment and voluntary declaration

Holistic: The policy, inter alia, aims to eliminate problems of pedagogy, structural inequities, access asymmetries and rampant commercialization. 

Promote Inclusion: The Policy proposes creation of ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education

What are the Challenges ahead w.r.t implementing NEP 2020?

Cooperation from States

Any educational reform can be implemented only with support from the States, and the Centre has the giant task of building a consensus on the many ambitious plans

The idea of a National Higher Education Regulatory Council as an apex control organization is bound to be resented by States

Inadequate check on donations: Fee regulations exist in some States even now, but the regulatory process is unable to rein in profiteering in the form of unaccounted donations. 

Funding: Progress on these crucially depends on the will to spend the promised 6% of GDP as public expenditure on education.

Way Forward;-

The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, is a good policy as it aims at making the education system holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, aligned to the needs of the 21st century and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The intent of policy seems to be ideal in many ways but it is the implementation where lies the key to success.

Extra Info;-

Education In India;-

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Part IV of Indian Constitution, Article 45 and Article 39 (f) of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), has a provision for state-funded as well as equitable and accessible education.
  • The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976 moved education from the State to the Concurrent List.
  • The education policies by the Central government provides a broad direction and state governments are expected to follow it. But it is not mandatory, for instance Tamil Nadu does not follow the three-language formula prescribed by the first education policy in 1968.
  • The 86th Amendment in 2002 made education an enforceable right under Article 21-A.
  • Related Laws:
  • Right to Education(RTE) Act 2009, aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years and enforces education as a Fundamental Right.
  • It also mandates 25% reservation for disadvantaged sections of the society where disadvantaged groups

Government Initiatives:

Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal Scheme, Navodaya Vidyalayas (NVS schools), Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV schools) and use of IT in education are a result of the NEP of 1986.


INDIAN ARMY APPREHENDS A CHINESE SOLDIER IN DEMCHOK SECTOR OF EASTERN LADAKH

Focus:  GS 2 ; India and its neighborhood- relations.

Why in News?

A PLA soldier identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long was apprehended in the Demchok sector of Eastern Ladakh on 19 October 2020 after he had strayed across the LAC.

About Line Of Actual Control;-

  • Demarcation Line: The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
  • LAC is different from the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan:
  • The LoC emerged from the 1948 ceasefire line negotiated by the United Nation (UN) after the Kashmir War.
  • It was designated as the LoC in 1972, following the Shimla Agreement between the two countries. It is delineated on a map signed by the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of both armies and has the international sanctity of a legal agreement.
  • The LAC, in contrast, is only a concept – it is not agreed upon by the two countries, neither delineated on a map or demarcated on the ground.
  • Length of the LAC: India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km.
WHY LAC 
OFTEN 
FLARES UP 
FLASHPOINTS 
INCLUDE: 
Imachal: 
Ka 
Shipki La 
INDIA 
23 "disputed and sensitive" areas along 
the unresolved 3,488-km-long LAC 
witness aggressive patrolling & face-offs 
between troops from the two sides 
CHINA 
Ladakh: Demchok, Trig 
Heights, Dumchele, 
L Pangong Tso, Chumar 
& Spanggur Gap 
NEPAL 
HI-ITA 
Arunachal: 
Namkha Chu, 
Sumdorong Chu, 
Asaphila, Longju, 
Dichu, 
Yangtse, 
Fi h Tail-I & 
2 in Di ang Valley 
Uttarakhand: Barahoti & Pulan Sunda

NTPC DADRI STRIVES TO BECOME THE CLEANEST COAL FIRED PLANT OF INDIA

Focus:  GS 3 ; Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Why in News?

NTPC Dadri is striving to become the cleanest coal fired plant in the country and is complying with all the CPCB guidelines on emissions. All the emission parameters are being monitored online and transmitted to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on real time basis. As per a statement issued by NTPC Ltd, the PSU under Ministry of Power, the Flue gas emissions and Particulate matter are well within the CPCB norms with high efficiency ESP ( Electrostatic Precipitators) in service.

Dry Sorbent Injection(DSI) system, SOFA (Separated Overfire Air) system have been installed for Sox and NOx reduction respectively.

About Dry Sorbent Injection(DSI) system;-

Dry sorbent Injection(DSI) technology is a practice of injecting a dry alkaline mineral into a flue gas stream to reduce acid gas emission.

DSI offers advantages in comparison to traditional acid gas scrubber technology:-

  • The lower capital cost.
  • The wide range of favorable operation conditions. Ex:- It also reduces emissions of other acidic gases and heavy metals like mercury.
  • The much lesser time for completing installation and commissioning.

  • While conventional wet limestone flue gas desulphurization (WLFGD) takes over two years, DSI takes only 12-14 months to be up and running.

Advantage of India using DSI:-

  • As India has abundance of sorbent alkali mineral compounds like Sodium bicarbonate or Sodium sesquicarbonate (or Trona), It is cost affective solution to meet GHG norms i.e Green House Gas Emission.
  • As DSI is cost effective, less time consuming and easy managing systems and viable solution for tackling climate change related problems, it is one of the good solution to meet environmental norms.
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October 2022
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