- Tabletop airports
Why in news
Recently, an Air India Express flight on a special ‘Vande Bharat’ repatriation flight from Dubai to Kozhikode overshot the runway and fell into a valley resulting in fatalities.
- Tabletop airport is an airport located and built on top of a plateau or hilly surface, with one or both ends of the runway overlooking a drop. Tabletop airports in India:
- Lengpui (Mizoram)
- Shimla and Kullu (Himachal Pradesh)
- Pakyong (Sikkim)
- Mangaluru (Karnataka)
- Kozhikode and Kannur (Kerala).
Steps for improving the safety of tabletop airports:
- Safety assessment:
- Proper safety assessment is to be carried out to assess the risk associated with the operation in such airports.
- Runways will have to meet the required Navigation Performance approach.
- Safety features:
- Safety features like the RESA, or Runway End Safety Area are mandatory. This helps to limit the consequences when there is an aircraft overrun during landing, a rejected take-off, or even undershoots the landing area.
- Engineered Materials Arrestor/Arresting System, made of engineered lightweight and crushable cellular cement/concrete can be used at the runway ends where it can act as a safety barrier and successfully stop an aircraft overrun.
- Ground arresting systems for aircraft like the one used in the airfields of the Indian Air Force’ can be used.
- Aids to the pilot:
- Technical upgrades like making the runways of such airports Instrument Landing System (ILS) enabled. This removes the possibility of human errors.
- Appropriate visual aids have to be provided to the pilots. This could involve a visual reference system to alert the pilot (while landing) of the remaining distance to be covered.
- Rigorous training:
- Appropriate Crew Resource Management training for all pilots should be strictly enforced.
- This could include classroom and simulator training. The training done on the simulator for landing in low visibility, heavy rain and winds should be emphasized on.
- Stand by rescue facilities:
- The role of the Rescue and Fire Fighting service should not be neglected despite all the precautions taken.
- Scientists find 77 new butterfly species in Matheran
Why in news
- Scientists have found 140 rare species of butterflies, including 77 new ones, in Matheran.
- The research paper titled ‘Finding the forgotten gems: Revisiting the butterflies of Matheran after 125 years’, provides a glimpse of the rare butterflies in the hill station.
- Biostatistical techniques were used by the team. The team used a barcode system to denote seasons and the activities of the butterflies.
- The last time butterflies were codified in this region was in 1894, when a researcher identified 78 species.
- Matheran is a hill station in the Raigad district, Maharashtra.
- It is declared as an eco-sensitive region by the Union Ministry of Environment.
- Negative Imports List for Defence
Why in News
Recently, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a negative list of 101 defence items that the MoD will stop importing.
Indigenisation of Defence Production:
- This will boost indigenisation of defence production and is in line with the government’s target to reach a turnover of USD 25 billion by 2025 through indigenously manufactured defence products.
- Government also targets to export these indigenously manufactured defence products worth USD 5 billion by 2025.
- The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). This will reduce the government’s defence import bill.
List of Items:
- The list comprises simple parts to high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, radars, and many other items.
- The imports on these 101 defence items is planned to be progressively implemented between 2020 to 2024.
- MoD has also bifurcated the capital procurement budget for 2020-21 between domestic and foreign capital procurement routes.
- A separate budget head has been created with an outlay of nearly Rs. 52,000 crore for domestic capital procurement in the current financial year.
- In any government contract over Rs. 200 crore, no foreign company can participate in the tendering process.
- It will offer an opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture the items in the negative list by using their own design and development capabilities or adopting the technologies designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces.
- It is a big step towards self-reliance in defence under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
- Some items in the list are under development by domestic industry, and are not produced by any other country. E.g. the Light Combat Helicopter and the light transport aircraft.
- Items like the AK-203 rifle, to be produced by the Ordnance Factory Board in Amethi with Russian collaboration are stuck over pricing issues.
- The items in the list are of proven technologies, and do not involve any critical or cutting-edge technology for a next-generation weapon system or platform.
- Challenge for the government and the armed forces will be to keep this commitment to domestic producers in the event of an operational
- g. Make in India scheme announced in 2014 aimed to develop the indigenous defence industry, but has failed to achieve its targets.
- Electric Vehicles Policy 2020: Delhi
Why in News
Recently, the Delhi government has notified the Electric Vehicles (EV) Policy 2020. It lays the maximum emphasis on replacement of two-wheelers, public transport and shared vehicles and goods-carriers instead of private four-wheelers, with Electric Vehicles (EVs).
- It envisions the replacement of the existing auto rickshaws and State-run buses with e-autos and e-buses It will also ensure that delivery based services operating in the city are powered by e-mobility.
- It talks about increasing road tax for fuel-based vehicles, at least in the luxury segment and imposing in certain parts of the city a congestion fee that EVs will be exempt from.
- It has a ‘scrapping incentive’ for those people who want to make the switch, allowing them to exchange an old fuel-based vehicle while purchasing a new EV, further reducing its cost.
- The government will also offer low-interest rate loans to people interested in buying commercial EVs.
- The policy also offers subsidies and road tax and registration fee waivers, for EVs bought in the capital.
- These grants will be in addition to the subsidies offered by the Union government under its FAME India Phase 2 scheme, which offers similar incentives, especially on the purchase of electric two-wheelers and electric heavy passenger and goods vehicles.
- A State EV fund will be set up, encompassing all the expenditure of the EV Policy. A State Electric Vehicle Board will be constituted for effective implementation of the policy and managing the fund. Besides, a dedicated EV Cell will also be constituted.
- To reduce air pollution and to kick-start the economy by spurring demand.
- Delhi experiences a public health emergency every winter due to the rise in air pollution, which has become a recurrent annual crisis.
- During the Covid-19 induced lockdowns, the capital witnessed a drastic reduction in the PM10 and PM2.5 levels.
- To address both problems of the high cost of purchase and the lack of sufficient charging infrastructure.
- To register at least 5,00,000 EVs in Delhi in the next five years. Delivery-based and Ride-hailing Services:
- Ride-hailing service providers will be allowed to operate electric two-wheeler taxis subject to operating within the guidelines to be issued by the Transport
- It is expected that the incentives provided by the policy would encourage delivery service providers related to food delivery, e-commerce logistics providers and couriers to switch to using electric two-wheelers.
- All delivery service providers shall be expected to convert 50% of their fleet operating in Delhi to electric by 31 March 2023 and 100% by 31 March 2025.
- Delivery service providers who commit to achieving these targets will be eligible for financing support from the Delhi Finance Corporation.
- Incentives will be provided related to the purchase (Rs. 30,000 per vehicle) and use of new electric autos.
- An open permit system will be put in place to provide permits on a firstcome, first-served basis to those with valid light motor vehicle driving licences and a Public Service Vehicle badge.
- There will be no cap on permits issued to e-autos in Delhi since they are zero-emission vehicles and can be very effective in ensuring clean, lastmile connectivity.
- Currently, there is a cap on the number of CNG-run auto rickshaws, allowed to ply in the city.
- The policy envisions that half of the State-run buses to be procured over the next three years will be pure electric buses.
- It will start doing so with the induction of 1,000 pure electric buses by 2020. Central Government Initiatives on EVs Government has set a target of EV making up 30% of new sales of cars and twowheelers by 2030.
- To build a sustainable EV ecosystem, initiatives like National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) have been launched.
- Organisations like Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Department of Heavy Industry, Automotive Research Association of India are devising design and manufacturing standards of EVs, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSEs) and charging infrastructure to smoothen the advent of in-house production of EVs.
- Affordable, accessible, inclusive and safe mobility solutions are primary strategic levers for rapid economic development and improving ‘Ease of Living’.
- Quit India Movement
Why in News
On 8 Aug 2020, India completed 78 years of Quit India Movement also known as August Kranti.
- Taking inspiration from the Quit India Movement, the Prime Minister gave a call for the revival of its spirit of the Quit India Movement by coining a new slogan karenge aur karake rahenge in place of Gandhi’s slogan of karo ya maro (Do or Die).
- The aim of this slogan is to achieve the goal of building a “New India” by
- About: On 8 August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave a clarion call to end the British rule and launched the Quit India Movement at the session of the All-India Congress Committee in Mumbai.
- Gandhiji gave the call “Do or Die” in his speech delivered at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, now popularly known as August Kranti Maidan.
- Aruna Asaf Ali popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Independence Movement is known for hoisting the Indian flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai during the Quit India Movement.
- The slogan ‘Quit India’ was coined by Yusuf Meherally, a socialist and trade unionist who also served as Mayor of Mumbai. Meherally had also coined the slogan “Simon Go Back”.
- The immediate cause for the movement was the collapse of Cripps Mission. The British assumption of unconditional support from India to British in World War II was not taken well by the Indian National Congress.
- The anti-British sentiments and demand for full-independence had gained popularity among indian masses.
- The two decades of mass movement which were being conducted on a much more radical tone under the leadership of the various associated and affiliated bodies of the Congress, like All India Kisan Sabha, Forward Bloc had already prepared the ground for the movement.
- There were militant outbursts happening at several places in the country which got channelized with the Quit India Movement.
- The economy was also in shatters as a result of World War II.
- The demand was to end the British rule in India with immediate effect to get the cooperation of Indians in World War-II against fascism.
- There was a demand to form a provisional government after the withdrawal of the Britishers.
- Phases: The movement had three phases
- First Phase urban revolt, marked by strikes, boy cott and picketing, which were quickly suppressed.
- There were strikes and demonstrations all over the country and workers provided the support by not working in the factories.
- Gandhiji was soon imprisoned at Aga Khan Palace in Pune and almost all leaders were arrested.
- In the second phase, the focus shifted to the countryside, which witnessed a major peasant rebellion, marked by destruction of communication systems, such as railway tracks and stations, telegraph wires and poles, attacks on government buildings or any other visible symbol of colo nial authority.
- The last phase witnessed the formation of national governments or parallel governments isolated pockets (Ballia, Tamluk, Satara etc.)
- The movement saw violence at some places which was not premeditated.
- Underground activities were taken by leaders that included Ram Manohar Lohia, J.P. Narayan, Aruna Asaf Ali, Biju Patnaik, Sucheta Kriplani, etc which later emerged as prominent leaders.
- Women took active participation in the movement. Female leaders like Usha Mehta helped set up an underground radio station which led to the awakening about the movement.
- Muslim League, the Communist Party of India and the Hindu Mahasabha did not support the movement. The Indian bureaucracy also did not support the
- The League was not in favour of the British leaving India without partitioning the country first.
- The Communist party supported the British since they were allied with the Soviet Union.
- The Hindu Mahasabha openly opposed the call for the Quit India Movement and boycotted it officially under the apprehension that the movement would create internal disorder and will endanger internal security during the war.
- Meanwhile, Subhas Chandra Bose, organised the Indian National Army and the Azad Hind government from outside the country.
- As C Rajagopalachari was not in favour of complete independence, he resigned from the INC.
- Japanese aggression in South-East Asia, keenness of British Government to secure the full participation of India in the war, mounting pressure from China and the United States, as well as from the Labour Party in Britain, led British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to send Cripps Mission to India in March 1942.
- Under Stafford Cripps, the mission was sent to resolve the Indian question of a new constitution and self-government.
- Main proposals of the mission were:
- An Indian Union with a dominion status would be set up; it would be free to decide its relations with the Commonwealth and free to participate in the United Nations and other international bodies.
- A constituent assembly would be convened after the war to frame a new constitution.
- Members of the assembly partly elected by the provincial assemblies and partly nominated by the princes.
- Any province not willing to accept the constitution would be given ‘the same full status as the Indian Union’, – designed to appease the Muslim League’s call for
- The constitution making body and the British Government would negotiate a treaty to effect the transfer of power and to safeguard racial and religious minorities.
- The Indian National Congress, however, was not satisfied as its demand for immediate complete independence had been rejected.
- Mahatma Gandhi said that Cripps’ offer of Dominion Status after the war was a “postdated cheque drawn on a failing bank’’.
- The Quit India movement was violently suppressed by the British – people were shot, lathi-charged, villages burnt and enormous fines imposed.
- Over 100000 people were arrested and the government resorted to violence in order to crush the agitation.
- The Britishers declared the INC to be an unlawful association. New leaders like Aruna Asaf Ali emerged out of the vacuum of leadership.
- While the Quit India campaign was crushed in 1944, with the British refusing to grant immediate independence, saying it could happen only after the war had ended, they came to the important realization that India was ungovernable in the long run due to the cost of World War II.
- It changed the nature of political negotiations with British the, ultimately paving the way for India’s independence.
- Telemedicine Service Platform: eSanjeevani
Why in News
The telemedicine service platforms of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare i.e. ‘eSanjeevani’ and ‘eSanjeevaniOPD’ have completed 1.5 lakh tele-consultations.
- The top two States which have registered highest consultations through the platforms are Tamil Nadu (32,035 consultations) and Andhra Pradesh (28,960).
- Since November 2019, tele-consultation by eSanjeevani and eSanjeevaniOPD have been implemented by 23 States.
- Both the platforms have been developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)
- C-DAC is the premier R&D organization of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for carrying out R&D in IT, Electronics and associated areas.
- As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), telemedicine is the delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using Information Technology (IT) for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, etc, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.
- Tele-consultation is one of the applications of telemedicine. It uses IT to facilitate communications between a patient and a doctor who are otherwise geographically separated.
- It is a doctor to doctor telemedicine system, being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme.
- AB-HWCs are envisaged to be the platform for delivery of an expanded range of primary health care services closer to the communities.
- It seeks to connect all 1,50,000 HWCs using the hub-and-spoke model by December 2022.
- Under the model, a network will be established comprising an anchor establishment, or hub, which offers a full array of services, and will be complemented by secondary establishments, or spokes, which offer limited services, routing patients needing more intensive services to the hub for treatment.
- Presently, telemedicine is being provided through more than 3,000 HWCs in 10 States.
- It was launched amid the Covid-19 pandemic to enable patient-to-doctor tele-consultations.
- Offered at no cost, this e-health service has made it convenient for the people to avail of the health services without having to travel. It enables two-way interaction and even generates a prescription slip.
- It is hosting over 40 online Out Patient Department (OPD) services, more than half of these are speciality OPDs which include Gynaecology, Psychiatry, AntiRetroviral Therapy (ART) for the AIDS/HIV patients, Non- Communicable Disease (NCD)
- Comptroller and Auditor General
Why in News
Girish Chandra Murmu has been appointed the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
He has replaced Rajiv Mehrishi and will have a tenure up to 20 November, 2024.
- Constitutional Body: Article 148 provides for an independent office of the CAG. It is the supreme audit institution of India.
- Other Provisions Related to CAG include: Articles 149-151 (Duties & Powers, Form of Accounts of the Union and the States and Audit Reports), Article 279 (calculation of net proceeds, etc.) and Third Schedule (Oath or Affirmation) and
- Sixth Schedule (Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram).
Profile in Brief:
- Head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department – created in 1753. Guardian of the public purse and controls the entire financial system of the country at both the levels–the Centre and the state.
- One of the bulwarks of the democratic system of government in India. The others being the Supreme Court, the Election Commission and the Union Public Service Commission.
- The accountability of the executive (i.e. Council of Ministers) to theParliament in the sphere of financial administration is secured through audit reports of the CAG.
- Appointment: Appointed by the President of India by a warrant under his hand and seal.
- Tenure: A period of six years or upto the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- Removal: CAG can be removed by the President on the same grounds and in the same manner as a judge of the Supreme Court. He does not hold his office till the pleasure of the President.
- In other words, he can be removed by the President on the basis of a resolution passed to that effect by both the Houses of Parliament with special majority, either on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
Other Related Points:
- Not eligible for further office, either under the Government of India or of any state, after he ceases to hold his office.
- Salary and other service conditions are determined by the Parliament.
- The administrative expenses of the office of the CAG, including all salaries, allowances and pensions of persons serving in that office are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India (thus are not subject to the vote of Parliament).
- No minister can represent the CAG in Parliament.
- Duties & Powers as also under the CAG’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971:
- Audits the accounts related to all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, consolidated fund of each state and consolidated fund of each union territory having a Legislative Assembly.
- Audits all expenditure from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the contingency fund of each state and the public account of each state.
- Audits profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept by any department of the Central Government and state governments.
- Audits the receipts and expenditure of the following: Bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or state revenues; Government companies; and Other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.
- Audits the accounts of any other authority when requested by the President or Governor. For example, the audit of local bodies.
- Acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.
- The Constitution of India visualises the CAG to be Comptroller as well as Auditor General. However, in practice, the CAG is fulfilling the role of an Auditor- General only and not that of a Comptroller.
- In other words, the CAG has no control over the issue of money from the consolidated fund and many departments are authorised to draw money by issuing cheques without specific authority from the CAG, who is concerned only at the audit stage when the expenditure has already taken place.
- In this respect, the CAG of India differs totally from the CAG of Britain who has powers of both Comptroller as well as Auditor General.
- In other words, in Britain, the executive can draw money from the public exchequer only with the approval of the CAG.
- World Tribal Day
Why in News
World Tribal Day or International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9 August every year.
- Aim: The day is aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of the world’s indigenous population and to acknowledge the contributions that indigenous people make towards world issues such as environmental protection.
- Background: The day recognizes the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1982.
- It has been celebrated every year since 1994, in accordance with the declaration by the United Nations.
- Theme 2020: “Covid-19 and the indigenous peoples’ resilience”
Tribes in India:
- According to the 2011 census, tribals make up 8.6% of India’s population. There are over 700 tribal groups in India, out of which around 75 are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
- The Gond comprise the largest tribal group of India The largest number of tribal communities (62) are found in Odisha.
- No Tribe identified in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Puducherry.
- Article 342(1)- The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.
- Article 15- Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth only.
- Article 16- Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
- Article 46- Promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled castes, Scheduled tribes and other weaker sections,
- Article 335- Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to services and posts.
- As per Article 338-A of the Constitution of India, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been set-up.
- 5 and 6 Schedule- Administration and control of Scheduled and Tribal Areas.
- Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 against Untouchability.
- Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
- Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas.
- Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers.
- Committees Related to Tribal Communities:
- Xaxa Committee (2013)
- Bhuria Commission (2002-2004)
- Lokur Committee (1965)