Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020


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    Current Affairs – 11th October 2021

     News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually launch the Indian Space Association (ISpA).
     About Indian Space Association (ISpA):
    o ISpA is the premier industry association of space and satellite companies, which aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian space industry.
    o It will undertake policy advocacy and engage with all stakeholders in the Indian space domain, including the government and its agencies.
    o Echoing the Prime Minister’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, ISpA will help in making India self-reliant, technologically advanced and a leading player in the space arena, read the release.
    o ISpA is represented by leading homegrown and global corporations with advanced capabilities in space and satellite technologies.
    o Its founding members include Larson & Toubro, Nelco (Tata Group), One Web, Bharti Airtel, Map my india, Walchandnagar Industries and Ananth Technology Limited. Other core members include Godrej, Hughes India, Azista-BST Aerospace Private Limited, BEL, Centum Electronics and Maxar India.
     News: The Delhi government will start spraying bio-decomposer for free in 4,000 acres of paddy fields in Delhi from October 5, to tackle stubble burning.
     About Bio – Decomposer:
    o Bio-decomposer is a solution, which, if sprayed in fields, decomposes straw and stubble into manure.
    o The government sees it as a solution to stubble burning and has also been urging other States to adopt it.
    o A bio-decomposer capsule, developed by Pusa Institute, is made into a solution through a week-long process and then sprayed on stubble and straw left behind on fields after harvesting.
     News: The Odisha government has raised objections to non-lifting of surplus parboiled rice from the State due to restrictions imposed by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, saying it would affect paddy procurement from 10 lakh farmers.
     About National Food Security Act 2013:
    o The National Food Security Act 2013 (also ‘Right to Food Act’) is an Indian Act of Parliament which aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of the country’s 1.2 billion people.
    o The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA 2013) converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Government of India. It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System. Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements. The Midday Meal Scheme and the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
    o Under the provisions of the bill, beneficiaries of the Public Distribution System (or, PDS) are entitled to 5 kilograms (11 lb) per person per month of cereals at the following prices:
    o Rice at ₹3 (4.2¢ US) per kg
    o Wheat at ₹2 (2.8¢ US) per kg
    o Coarse grains (millet) at ₹1 (1.4¢ US) per kg.
    o Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.
    o Salient features:
    o Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): Up to 79.56% of the rural population and 64.43% of the urban population will be covered under TPDS, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. However, since Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households constitute poorest of the poor, and are presently entitled to 35 kg per household per month, entitlement of existing AAY households will be protected at 35 kg per household per month.
    o State-wise coverage: Corresponding to the all-India coverage of 75% and 50% in the rural and urban areas, State-wise coverage will be determined by the Central Government. Planning Commission has determined the State-wise coverage by using the NSS Household Consumption Survey data for 2011-12.
    o Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision: Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat, and coarse grains for a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act. Thereafter prices will be suitably linked to Minimum Support Price (MSP). In case, any State’s allocation under the Act is lower than their current allocation, it will be protected up to the level of average offtake under normal TPDS during last three years, at prices to be determined by the Central Government. Existing prices for APL households i.e. Rs. 6.10 per kg for wheat and Rs 8.30 per kg for rice has been determined as issue prices for the additional allocation to protect the average offtake during last three years.
    o Identification of Households: Within the coverage under TPDS determined for each State, the work of identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs.
    o Nutritional Support to women and children: Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Higher nutritional norms have been prescribed for malnourished children up to 6 years of age.
    o Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
    o Women Empowerment: Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
    o Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels. States will have the flexibility to use the existing machinery or set up separate mechanism.
    o Cost of intra-State transportation & handling of food grains and FPS Dealers’ margin: Central Government will provide assistance to States in meeting the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of food grains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose.
    o Transparency and Accountability: Provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
    o Food Security Allowance: Provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled food grains or meals.
    o Penalty: Provision for penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer.
     News: Obstacle course Work in progress at the second tunnel at Kuthiran hills on National Highway 544 between Palakkad and Thrissur in Kerala on Sunday. The work on the second tunnel is expected to be completed by January 2022.
     About Kuthiran Hills:
    o Kuthiran is a mountainous terrain in Thrissur district of Kerala state, south India.
    o It is located on the banks of Manali river, which has its source in the nearby mountains.
    o There is a famous Ayyappan Temple located here by the side of the highway.
    o It is in the NH544 highway. Kuthiran Tunnel is an under-construction tunnel at Kuthiran.