15th December 2019 : Prelims Sure Shot: UPSC IAS Current Affairs
1.Meghalaya CM for entry permit
Why in News
- The ordinance passed by the Meghalaya government for mandatory registration of outsiders entering the State.
- The Amended Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Bill (MRRSA) 2019, similar to the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system, was passed by the Meghalaya Cabinet in the form of an ordinance in November 2019 and is still awaiting the Governor’s assent.
- In the backdrop of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Northeastern states of India, Meghalaya has demanded that some “protection” on the lines of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) be also implemented in the State.
- Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram are under the ILP system and have been exempted from the Citizenship legislation.
- The government has stated that the proposed law does not bar outsiders from visiting the State. It is envisaged as an information collection mechanism and anyone who wants to visit Meghalaya has to register beforehand online or on arriving. This would ensure not only the security of the State and but also of the visiting person.
Inner Line Permit (ILP) system:
- Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government to allow inward travel of an Indiancitizen into a protected area for a limited period.
- It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state.
- There are different kinds of ILP’s, one for tourists and others for people who intend to stay for long-term periods, often for employment purposes.
- The ILP is issued by the concerned state government and can be availed both by applying online and in person.
- The document states the dates of travel and specifies the particular areas in which the ILP holder can travel. It’s illegal for the visitor to overstay the time granted in the permit.
- The main objective of the ILP system is to prevent the settlement of other Indian nationals in these states to protect the indigenous population. The document also tries to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.
Evolution of the system:
- This is an offshoot of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which protected Crown’s interest in the tea, oil and elephant trade by prohibiting “British subjects” from entering into these “Protected Areas” (to prevent them from establishing any commercial venture that could rival the Crown’s agents).
- The word “British subjects” was replaced by “Citizen of India” in 1950. Despite the fact that the ILP was originally created by the British to safeguard their commercial interests, it continues to be used in India, officially to protect tribal cultures in northeastern India.
- Originally the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram had the ILP system. Recently Manipur too has come under the ILP system.
- An ILP is required for certain parts of the Leh district in Jammu and Kashmir like Nubra valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, etc. The foreign nationals are required to get Protected Area Permit for this region.
Protected Area Permit (PAP):
- The Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958 states that a Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required for non-Indian citizens to visit certain areas in India.
- Areas under PAP include All of Sikkim, Parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
- Certain requirements have to be fulfilled in order to get this permit. Tourists have to travel in groups of at least 2 and have to travel with a registered travel agent only. In some areas, only certain entry/exit points are allowed. In certain areas, non-Indians cannot enter at all. Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar can get the PAP only with the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs
- Indian citizens who are not resident in these areas need an Inner Line Permit(ILP) to enter these places. The Inner Line Permit is significantly easier to get.
Restricted Area Permit (PAP):
- The Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order 1963 states that a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required for non-Indians to visit certain areas in India.
- RAP is required for all visits to the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islandsand parts of the state of Sikkim.
- Unlike PAP, RAP is generally available for individual travellers and can be issued by overseas embassies. Indian citizens do not need special permission to visit Restricted Areas.
2.Three lakh rural habitations lack quality drinking water supply
Why in News
- The data presented by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in the Lok Sabha.
- To meet the domestic needs of every rural household, the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has been launched in August 2019 which aims at providing potable water through Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) at a service level of 55 lpcd by 2024. This involves coordination between the center and the states.
- The aim and objective of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is to provide every rural person with adequate safe water for drinking, cooking and other basic domestic needs on a sustainable basis, with a minimum water quality standard, which should be conveniently accessible at all times and in all situations. Achieving this aim and objective is a continuous process.
- The fund-sharing pattern between the Centre and the States/UTs for the National Rural Drinking Water Programme, a centrally sponsored programme, was 100% for the Union Territories, 90:10 for the Himalayan & the northeastern States and 50:50 for other States. It involves assistance from the World Bank.
- To provide safe drinking water to 27,544 identified arsenic and fluoride affected rural habitations, the National Water Quality Sub-Mission was launched.
Details and Concerns:
- Over three lakh rural habitations across the country continue to be deprived of the government’s minimum prescribed provision of 40 litre per capita per day (lpcd) of potable drinking water with assured quality.
- As reported by States/UTs till Dec. 2019, 81.27% rural habitations having 76.61% population have provision of minimum 40 lpcd of potable drinking water and 15.56% rural habitations having 19.69% population have service level of less than 40 lpcd, whereas 3.17% rural habitations having 3.69% population are with water sources having quality issues.
- The Ministry noted that the coverage was monitored in terms of habitations having the provision of a minimum 40 lpcd with sources at a reasonable distance. This is not in line with the concept of Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) as envisaged in the Jal Jeevan mission.
- Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam top the list in deprivation where the coverage is facing quality issues or seeing diminished supply. Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand are the other States which are battling the problem.
3.Samples from Bennu
- OSIRIS Rex mission will be NASA’s first to collect samples from an asteroid and return to Earth. It has been orbiting asteroid Bennu since December 2018.
4.NPPA hikes ceiling price of 12 essential medicines
- The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has hiked the ceiling price of 12 essential first-line treatment drugs, crucial in the public health programme, by 50% to ensure the availability of these drugs.
- The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. The NPPA regularly publishes lists of medicines and their maximum ceiling prices
- The NPPA invoked extraordinary powers under para 19 of Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) 2013 for upward revision of the low-priced drugs.
- Drug Price Control Orders (DPCO) are issued by the Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, for enabling the Government to declare a ceiling price for essential and lifesaving medicines (as per a prescribed formula) so as to ensure that these medicines are available at a reasonable price to the general public.
5.Sustainable Development Cell for Environmental Mitigation Measures
Why in News
- The Ministry of Coal has decided to establish a ‘Sustainable Development Cell’ for environmental mitigation measures.
- This is being done in order to address environmental concerns during the decommissioning or closure of mines.
- This move gains significance as new private entities are now going to form a significant part of the future and a set of guidelines for proper rehabilitation of mines need to be evolved in tune with the global best practices.
Role of Sustainable Development Cell (SDC):
- The SDC will advise, mentor, plan and monitor the mitigation measures taken by the coal companies for maximising the utilisation of available resources in a sustainable way, minimising the adverse impact of mining and mitigating it for further ecosystem services.
- It will act as a nodal point at the Ministry of Coal level in this matter.
- This cell will also formulate the future policy framework for the environmental mitigation measures including the Mine Closure Fund.
- Tasks of the SDC:
- Land amelioration and afforestation: In India, approximately 2,550 sq. km of area is under different coal mines and there are also plans to bring more areas under it. These land masses require both extensive and intensive amelioration measures.
- Air quality, emission and noise management:
- To advice coal companies for effective implementation of environmental mitigation measures (water sprinkling, dust suppression methods, noise barriers, etc.) related to air and noise pollution generated due to mine activities, heavy earth moving machines (HEMMs), transport of coal, etc.
- It will also work towards energy efficiency in the mining operation, noise and emission reduction in the case of HEMMs.
- Analysis of Environment Management Plans (EMP) of different companies and advising coal companies to make them more effective.
- Mine water management: The plan will suggest ways and also have innovative planning for storage, treatment and re-use of such water for drinking, irrigation, fisheries, tourism, industrial or any other sustainable purpose.
- Sustainable overburden management:
- The cell will also check feasibility and suggest measures for the reuse, recycling and rehabilitation of over-burdened dumps in a sustainable manner.
- The SDC will also examine and plan out use of overburdened material for use in different infrastructure projects, earthen bunds, etc.
- Sustainable mine tourism: To explore and conceptualise a plan for the beautification & creation of eco-parks in the reclaimed areas (which will also include water bodies) for recreation activities and tourism purposes. It will also explore tourism potential and plan it out in a few underground mines.
- Planning and monitoring: To conduct analysis of mine closure activities, help coal companies finalise a time-frame for mine closure and formulate guidelines for the same.
- Policy, research, education, and dissemination:
- Hiring experts/institutions/organisations to conduct specific studies for establishing a robust knowledge base.
- Organising consultative meetings, workshops, field visits, exposure study tours, etc. to enrich the knowledge base, identify the best global ideas for environmental mitigation planning and monitoring.
- Conducting regular workshops and seminars for company level officials to educate them in new methods, technologies, approaches and also global practices.