(National) Current Affairs 1-7 July, 2019

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FinMin started selling Electoral Bonds from July 1

  • The Finance Ministry of India has launched the 11th tranche of Electoral Bonds sale from July 1 to July 10.
  • India’s largest Public Sector Bank (PSB), State Bank of India (SBI) has been authorised to issue and encash electoral bonds in the XI phase of sale through its 29 branches.
Electoral Bonds
1. Electoral bonds will allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary. It will bring transparency in political funding.
2. Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest. The electoral bond, which will be a bearer instrument, will not carry the name of the payee and can be bought for any value.
3. So, while the political parties can receive donations anonymously, the identity of the donor is kept with the issuing authority. It would be a big step towards electoral reforms.
4. Electoral bonds may be purchased by a citizen of India, or entities incorporated or established in India. Only the registered Political Parties which have secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha elections or the State Legislative Assembly are eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.
5. The electoral bonds will be valid for 15 calendar days from the date of issue and no payment will be made to any payee political party if the bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period.

Further Reading

Jal Shakti Abhiyan for Water Conservation Launched

  • The Govt announced the commencement of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan- a campaign for water conservation and water security. The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July, 2019 to 15th September, 2019.
  • An additional Phase 2 will be run from 1st October, 2019 to 30th November, 2019 for States receiving the North East retreating monsoons. The focus of the campaign will be on water stressed districts and blocks.
  • The 5 key intervention areas under the campaign include water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse, bore well recharge structures, watershed development, and intensive afforestation.
  • These water conservation efforts will also be supplemented with special interventions including the development of Block and District Water Conservation Plans, promotion of efficient water use for irrigation and better choice of crops through Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

Further Reading

Indian Railways conducting Trials of Tri-Netra Technology

  • Railway Minister Piyush Goyal stated that In order to reduce accidents, Indian Railways is conducting extensive trials of modern technology TRI-NETRA (Terrain Imaging for Drivers Infrared, Enhanced, Optical & Radar Assisted) for detecting obstructions on tracks during fog.
  • Device uses infra-red and laser rays to detect objects on tracks up to 2 km, let’s trains run at over 100 km without safety compromise.
  • The device can also detect any minor damage or crack in the tracks and thus avert rail accidents.
  • It will help in reducing the accidents and help to maintain a high speed of the train.
  • The devices will be efficient in heavy rains as well.

Further Reading

Around 35 crore LED bulbs distributed under UJALA Scheme

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Budget 2019 informed that under the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) Scheme, around 35 crore LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs were distributed which saved Rs 18,341 crore annually.
  • Ujala scheme is aimed to promote efficient lighting, enhance awareness on using efficient equipment which reduces electricity bills and helps to preserve the environment.
  • The Electricity Distribution Company and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) implements the programme.

Further Reading

NITI Aayog launched Agricultural Marketing and Farm Friendly Reforms Index

  • NITI Aayog has released its “Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index” (AMFFRI) for the year 2019.
  • It is an index launched in 2016 to rank states and union territories based on the implementation of seven provisions proposed under the model Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act.
  • Addressing the issues of agrarian distress- low levels of productivity, growth and incomes ailing the farm sector in India, NITI Aayog has identified three key areas for reform and is now persuading states to undertake the reforms. The areas identified for immediate reforms are:
    • Agricultural market reforms
    • Land lease reforms
    • Reforms related to forestry on private land- felling and transit of trees. 
  • The state of Maharashtra achieved first rank in implementation of various reforms with 81.7 score. Madhya Pradesh is at 4th position with 69.5 score and Chhattisgarh achieved 11th position with 51.4 score.

Further Reading

UNESCO released Education Report for Disable Children

  • The first 2019 report of “State of the Education Report for India 2019: Children with Disabilities” has released by UNESCO.
  • The Report, an annual publication, highlights accomplishments and challenges with regards to the right to education of children with disabilities (CWDs).
  • It was jointly developed by CEIAR (TISS) & UNESCO recommends structural, funding and attitudinal changes to ensure that no child is left out of the right to education.

Key Findings:

  • Out of school children:
    • India is home to eight million children with disabilities and there are more than 78 lakh children aged under 19 lived with disabilities.
    • At present 75% of 5-year old children and 25% of kids aged between 5 and 19 with disabilities in India are out of school.
    • Only 61% of CWDs were attending an educational institution, about 12% had dropped out, which is comparable with the overall percentage of dropouts among all children.
    • 27% had never been to school at all, as opposed to the overall figure of 17 percent when the entire child population is taken into account.
    • The number of children enrolled in school drops significantly with each successive level of schooling.
  • Girls in school:
    • There are fewer girls with disabilities in school than boys. But the differences remain among various types of disabilities.
  • Open school:
    • A large number of children with disabilities do not go to regular schools but are enrolled at the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

Recommendations:

  • Amendment in the RTE Act to better align with the RPwD Act by including specific concerns of education of such children.
  • Establishment of a coordinating mechanism under HRD Ministry for effective convergence of all education programmes of children with disabilities.
  • Ensuring specific and adequate financial allocation in education budgets to meet the learning needs of children with disabilities.
  • Strengthening data systems to make them robust and reliable and useful for planning.
  • Massively expanding the use of information technology for the education of children with disabilities.
  • Giving a chance to every child and leave no child with disability behind.
  • Transform teaching practices to aid the inclusion of diverse learners.
  • Overcome stereotypes and build positive dispositions towards children with disabilities, both in the classroom and beyond.

Further Reading


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