- BRO builds permanent bridge connecting Kasowal
- Promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act
- Anthurium, a flower with high market value
- Skill India provides list of certified plumbers for essential services
- Proactive Initiatives of TRIFED due to Covid-19
BRO BUILDS PERMANENT BRIDGE CONNECTING KASOWAL
Focus: GS-II Industry and Infrastructure, GS-I History, Prelims
Why in news?
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed and opened a new permanent bridge on the river Ravi connecting Kasowal enclave in Punjab to the rest of the country much ahead of its schedule.
The enclave of around 35 square kilometres had hither to been connected via pontoon bridge of limited load capacity.
Why was this bridge necessary?
- The pontoon bridge used to be dismantled every year prior to the Monsoon or else it would have got washed away in the strong currents of the river.
- This meant thousands of acres of fertile land across the river could not be tilled by farmers during the Monsoon.
- The local population and the Army (by virtue of the sensitivity of the enclave) required a Class 70 permanent bridge to give all weather connectivity to the enclave.
- Border Roads Organisation conceived and planned for a permanent bridge.
Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
- The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighboring countries.
- BRO is under the control of the Ministry of Defence since 2015.
- BRO is engaged in road construction to provide connectivity to difficult and inaccessible regions in the border areas of the country.
- Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation. It is also staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers on extra regimental employment (on Deputation).
- BRO has played a very important role in both maintenance of security and in the development of border areas. Most of the development in the North Eastern states of India can be attributed to the relentless work done by the BRO. Socio economic development in the most inaccessible nooks and corners of our country are a result of the infrastructural work undertaken by the BRO.
- BRO works in close association with the Indian Army in cases of natural disasters.
- BRO also undertakes work in neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Hence, it helps greatly in maintenance of friendly and diplomatic relations.
Kasowal enclave in History: 1971 War – Battle of Dera Baba Nanak
- Dera Baba Nanak (DBN) is a small town about 30 miles north of Amritsar and south of the Ravi. Near it are two strategically important enclaves, north and south of the Ravi, belonging to India and Pakistan respectively. The Indian enclave is called Kasowal and the Pakistani Jassar or DBN.
- The Pakistani enclave includes the Ravi road-rail bridge, over which the Pakistani communications network in the Passur-Narowal area can be integrated easily with ours in Punjab.
- Kasowal enclave provides a sizable bridgehead across the Ravi from where operations can be developed against the defences of Jassar and Narowal fortress. DBN enclave can be outflanked from Kasowal with ease.
- Thus, both sides have readymade bridgeheads in each other’s territory which can be exploited both offensively and defensively, depending upon the requirements of overall strategic planning.
- The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military confrontation between India and Pakistan that occurred during the liberation war in East Pakistan.
PROMULGATION OF AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE EPIDEMIC DISEASES ACT
Focus: GS-II Governance
Why in news?
The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 22nd April 2020 has approved promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to protect healthcare service personnel and property including their living/working premises against violence during epidemics.
The President has given his assent for promulgation of the Ordinance.
What does the Ordinance Change?
- The Ordinance provides for making such acts of violence cognizable and non-bailable offences and for compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property in which healthcare service personnel may have a direct interest in relation to the epidemic.
- The current Ordinance is intended to ensure that during any situation akin to the current pandemic, there is zero tolerance to any form of violence against healthcare service personnel and damage to property.
What is defined in the Ordinance?
- Violence as defined in the Ordinance will include harassment and physical injury and damage to property.
- Healthcare service personnel include public and clinical healthcare service providers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical workers and community health workers; any other persons empowered under the Act to take measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease or spread thereof; and any persons declared as such by the State Government, by notification in the Official Gazette.
- The penal provisions can be invoked in instances of damage to property including a clinical establishment, any facility identified for quarantine and isolation of patients, mobile medical units and any other property in which the healthcare service personnel have direct interest in relation to the epidemic.
ANTHURIUM, A FLOWER WITH HIGH MARKET VALUE
Focus: GS-III Science and Technology, Prelims
Why in news?
Vasini Bai, A woman innovator from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, has developed ten varieties of Anthurium, a flower with high market value, by cross-pollination.
- Anthurium (Anthurium spp.) is a vast group of beautiful blooming plants available in a wide range of colors.
- The plants of the varieties are having high demands due to its use as indoor decorative plants.
- Anthurium helps in purifying the surrounding air and remove harmful airborne chemicals like formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene, xylene, and allergens.
- NASA has placed it in the list of air purifier plants.
Salient features of the Anthurium varieties are
- Large beautiful flowers
- Different colors of spathe and spadix
- Long stalks
- Better shelf life
- Good market value
SKILL INDIA PROVIDES LIST OF CERTIFIED PLUMBERS FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICES
Focus: GS-II Social Justice, Prelims
Why in news?
Taking cognisance of the need for essential services like plumbing during the on-going COVID 19 crisis, the Indian Plumbing Skills Council (IPSC) aligned to Skill India program, under the aegis of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), has prepared a database of over 900 plumbers who are ready to provide their services during the lockdown period, across the country.
Keeping in mind the need for stringent health and safety norms, the IPSC has also drafted Guidelines for the Plumbing Workforce to be observed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some key highlights of the advisory are:
- Follow social distancing
- Disinfect tools, equipment, touch points – quantity of solutions to be used
- Prefer cashless transaction
- Disposing used material
- Educating consumers for self-help in crisis
- Maintaining a log for backtracking in case needed
Indian Plumbing Skills Council (IPSC) enabling the Plumbing sector
- The plumbing sector in India is highly unorganized and dependent on contractual and migratory workforce and its various diversified sub-segments such as contractors, manufacturers and consultants were not represented by any organisation.
- IPSC was launched to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of skilled manpower and has been consistently offering excellence in vocational proficiency, backed by holistic skill development for the plumbing community to help reduce this skill deficit.
- IPSC has been working continuously to engage the industry towards the Skill India Mission amongst other important activities pertaining to formalizing the eco-system in the Indian Plumbing Sector.
Skill India or the National Skills Development Mission of India is a campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It is managed by the National Skills Development Corporation of India.
Various initiatives under this campaign are:
- National Skill Development Mission
- National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015
- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
- Skill Loan scheme
- Rural India Skill
PROACTIVE INITIATIVES OF TRIFED DUE TO COVID-19
Focus: GS-II Social Justice, Prelims
Why in news?
TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs is proactively responding to the situation by addressing the issues arising out of the long period of lock-down with a set of immediate, medium term and long-term initiatives, aimed at lending extra support to the tribal people in these unprecedented times.
Short Term measures: Social Distancing Awareness
- Launched Van Dhan Samajik Doori Jagrookta Abhiyaan, which is aimed at educating Tribals engaged in gathering NTFPs in forest areas.
- Initiated steps to provide the Van Dhan Self Help Groups (SHGs) with protective masks and hygiene products.
Medium- and Long-Term measures: Livelihoods
- On being approached by TRIFED, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued Revised guidelines on 16th aApril 2020 allowing Collection, harvesting and processing of non – timber Minor Forest Produce (MFP) by scheduled tribes and other forest dwellers.
- Ministry of Tribal Affairs have asked TRIFED to focus on revamping the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for MFP.
- TRIFED has initiated steps for operationalizing MSP operations in all states at primary markets called haat bazaars, setting up procurement centres with weighing facilities, transport and appropriate cold and dry storage.
More about: Van Dhan Samajik Doori Jagrookta Abhiyaan
- Educating Tribals through ~15,000 Self Help Groups under Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana spread across 28 States/UTs.
- TRIFED teamed up with UNICEF and WHO for launching a digital campaign spreading awareness about the importance of social distancing amid the coronavirus crisis in India.
- UNICEF is providing the necessary IEC materials ( posters, flyers, leaflets, brochures, booklets, messages for health education sessions, radio broadcast or TV spots etc) for the campaign christened as “ Van Dhan Samajik Doori Jagrookta Abhiyaan OR Van Dhan Social Distancing Awareness Movement”.